The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Intense emotions and maze-like psychological motives characterise this fiendishly plotted novel. Nora is a 37-year-old school teacher, the ‘woman upstairs’ who devotes her working days to her job, and her nights to crafting meticulously researched dioramas of authors’ living spaces. That is until the Shahid family move in downstairs and shake her isolated world in ways she could never have imagined.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
The brilliant Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction winning author of Bel Canto does not disappoint in this fantastic collection of essays. Patchett deploys her beautiful prose and enviable insight, to meditate on the moments which have defined her as an artist, a woman and a lover.
Now is the Time to Open Your Heart by Alice Walker
You can always count on the incredible Alice Walker to inspire and enlighten, and this novel is no exception. It follows the adventurous Kate who, after experiencing the first signs of age, leaves her lover and sets upon a spiritual journey.
Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed
Ideal for would-be thrill seekers, this true story of a journey on foot across the Pacific Crest Trail is an incredible emotional tour-de-force. Strayed’s desperate bid to escape her demons will have you both cheering her on and lacing up your hiking boots.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller certainly lives up to it’s tagline: ‘one woman’s search for everything. Whether you’re finally planning the trip of a lifetime, or you’re dealing with the worst break-up ever, or even if you just need a night off from your usual routine – Eat, Pray, Love is the perfect fictional fuel.
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
Need a bit of inspiration to help you stick to those ambitious New Year’s resolutions? Why not look to Janie Crawford, Hurston’s flawed, yet loveable central character whose honesty and determination to stay true to herself amid racial tensions in early 20th century America is, quite simply, awe-inspiring.