2020 book recommendations

Bookshops closed, author tours ground to a halt and publishing schedules were thrown out of the window. In case you missed them, four authors of new books share their favourite reads of 2020

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Florence McNicoll

I am a true magpie when it comes to books, and love to hop between genres. One of my favourites this year was The Silent Daughter (Welbeck, £8.99), the debut novel by Emma Christie. When Chris Morris receives a call to say his wife is in a coma following an accident, he tries desperately to get in touch with his daughter – but his efforts are met with silence. What has happened to the two women? It’s a brilliant mystery about a family with too many secrets to keep, full of vivid characters and emotional heart.
Home For Christmas by Florence McNicoll is written in partnership with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and out now (Trapeze, £7.99)

Jo Thomas

My favourite book of 2020 has to be Milly Johnson’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day (Simon & Schuster). I think more than ever at the moment we need feelgood books that leave us with a big smile on our faces and give us hope. And this book does that. Set deep in the heart of the Yorkshire moors, it’s nearly Christmas and it’s snowing hard. A small hamlet with an inn at the heart of it becomes a haven for six people, travelling in different directions. This is a beautifully written, warm hug of a book. It made me laugh, smile and feel like I was in front of the fire, eating mince pies with new friends on the most lovely Christmas break ever.
Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas is out now in paperback and as e-book (Transworld, £7.99)

Anne Marie Ryan

One of the things I’ve missed most during lockdown is theatre – both being in the audience and performing at my local playhouse. So I loved Jenny Landreth’s fondly sardonic Break A Leg, which tells the story of amateur dramatics in Britain. An entertaining mix of memoir and social history, Break A Leg celebrates the joy of doing am-dram and the inclusive community it fosters. One of the characters in my own book, The Six Tales of Christmas, is a resting actor (like most actors this year) but Landreth’s delightful book will tide theatre lovers over until the curtains go up again!
The Six Tales of Christmas by Anne Marie Ryan is out now (Trapeze, £8.99)

MB Shaw

Although I haven’t yet finished it, I am enjoying Mary Trump’s book Too Much and Never Enough (Simon & Schuster) about growing up in the wildly dysfunctional Trump clan, and how Donald Trump was shaped by his childhood and upbringing. DT is Mary’s uncle, and there is no love lost between them, so no doubt there are biases at work. But she is also a trained psychologist, and an insider, and the insights she offers into what makes Trump tick are unique. I live in America and am fascinated by Trump and the hold he has over so many people here. This is well worth reading.
Murder At The Castle by MB Shaw (£8.99) was published by Trapeze on 10 December

Read more author recommendations in the New Year edition of Big Issue North

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