Tag Archives: reading

Recommended Reads

This week’s Book of the Week is The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. We’ve put together a selection of some historical fiction you may enjoy after reading Gregory’s Tudor romance.


wolf hall book cover

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall documents Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII in the 16th Century. Born into a working-class family with no political history or renown, Wolf Hall highlights Cromwell’s pragmatism and skill in aiding Henry during the tumultuous Reformation period. Winning the Man Booker prize amongst other notable awards, Wolf Hall has been named as one of the 10 best historical novels by The Observer.


the gates of rome book cover

The Gates of Rome, by Conn Iggulden

Gladiatorial combat, conniving senators, and mass warfare whisk Iggulden’s readers off to the ancient world of the Roman Empire. Full of suspense and dastardly plots, the first book in the Emperor Series is not to be missed.


the mermaid and mrs hancock book cover

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, by Imogen Hermes Gowar

A stunning twist on the historical novel, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock takes the reader back to 1785 and the world of merchant sailing. Jonah Hancock leads the normal life of a merchant trader, until one day his Captain arrives on his doorstep claiming he has sold Jonah’s ship for the most staggering prize of all; a mermaid. But with great beauty comes a destructive power, one which has the potential to change Jonah’s life forever.


the narrow land book cover

The Narrow Land, by Christine Dwyer Hickey

Set in the 1950’s, The Narrow Land explores the unlikely friendship between Michael, a 10 year old boy living with his troubled mother, and the Hoppers, an artistic couple who live nearby. The legacy of the Second World War haunts this novel, shaping landscape and characters alike and making for a nostalgic read.

All of these books (and more!) are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a Westminster library card and if you are not a member, don’t worry,  just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources.

Recommended Reads

This week, our Book of the Week is The Butchers, by Ruth Gilligan. The Butchers deals with the subjects of the Irish borderlands, Catholicism vs Celtic Tradition, and family relationships. We have selected a list of similar books you might enjoy.  

normal people

Normal People, by Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne are from different worlds. He is the effortlessly popular star of the school football team; she keeps her head down and dreams of escaping their small Irish town. When the pair are both accepted into Trinity College Dublin, their worlds drift apart and collide in a realistic portrayal of growing up. 


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Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry

Barry’s latest novel looks at the impact of crime on the soul through Charlie and Maurice, ageing Irish gangsters chatting about their lives in a Spanish ferry terminal. These men are deeply flawed, carrying their familial tragedies into Spain on the hunt for Charlie’s missing daughter. This book is darkly comic, with a look into the devastating results of serious crime, and was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2019.


nine folds make a paper swan book pic

Nine Folds Make A Paper Swan, by Ruth Gilligan

Telling the untold stories of Irish Jews, Nine Folds Make A Paper Swan examines belonging, communities, and Irish identity in one spellbinding novel. Three intertwining voices combine to tell their stories throughout three different time periods, creating a comprehensive account of previously overlooked religious history in Ireland.


where the crawdads sing book cover

Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

Owens’ 2018 novel is a beautiful coming of age story which has topped the NYTimes’ Best Seller List for the past two years. The story follows two different timelines which slowly come together, combining a murder investigation with a young girl’s experiences growing up in an isolated marsh in North Carolina in the 1950’s-60’s.

Some of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a Westminster library card and if you are not a member, don’t worry,  just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources. 

Recommended Reads

Our Book of the Week is Chan Ho-Kei’s Second Sister. This novel deals with the themes of crime, family, and investigation, so we have put together a list of similar titles we hope you will enjoy.

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11 Missed Calls, by Elisabeth Carpenter

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and suspense, this book is perfect for you. Past and present are woven together in Anna’s desperate search for answers. What happened to her mother 30 years ago? And, on the discovery of another woman’s love letter in her husband’s wallet, is there anyone left she can trust?

dead man's folly book cover

Dead Man’s Folly, by Agatha Christie

A classic crime favourite, Dead Man’s Folly is a detective story featuring one of Christie’s best-loved detectives, Hercule Poirot. Summoned to Devonshire to investigate the details of a Murder Mystery Party, Poirot begins to realise not all is as it seems as a real murder plot emerges amongst the summer festivities.

cat spitting mad book cover

Cat Spitting Mad, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

If you’re looking for a more modern read, try Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Cat Spitting Mad, a humorous take on the crime genre narrated by felines. Joe Grey and Ducie are two former housecats turned detectives in their bid to absolve an old friend from a gruesome murder. Will they prove successful?

splinter book cover

Splinter, by Sebastian Fitzek

Our last recommendation is Sebastian Fitzek’s Splinter, a chilling tale of memory loss and illegal experimentation. Wrecked with grief after the death of his wife, Marc wants nothing more than to forget everything. When Marc returns home one day to find his wife still alive, he is plunged into a nightmare unable to recognise reality from fiction. But is there a deeper conspiracy at work?

All of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a Westminster library card and if you are not a member, don’t worry,  just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources.

Cousins in Mayfair

Cousins by Salley VickersMayfair Library Reading Group met yesterday to discuss Cousins by Salley Vickers.

May 1994: Will Tye, a student at Cambridge, falls from the tower of King’s College. This event is the starting point for a story running through three generations of the Tye family, told from the view point of three different women: Will’s sister Hetta, grandmother Betsy and his aunt Bell. The group felt that this device was sometimes confusing, they weren’t always sure who was speaking.

All agreed that the ending (which we won’t give away!) was the best part of the book, when the story really picked up. They saw it as interesting rather than shocking or surprising.

Salley Vickers is probably best known for her first novel, published in 2000, Miss Garnet’s Angel. You can find her other books, including Cousins, in Westminster Libraries.

Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers  The Boy who could see Death by Salley Vickers  The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

The group meets at the end of March to discuss their next book, Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop. Come and join in!


Arthur sends his apologies

The apology of Arthur Tresbit by Robert Thayer

“Arthur Tresbit is about to cause the destruction of civilisation as we know it… And for that he’s very sorry.”

Robert ThayerAuthor Robert Thayer gave a balanced and interesting talk about the nature of high finance, and in particular the financial crash of 2008, to the Paddington Library Reading Group recently.
The illustrated talk formed a backdrop to his recently published novel, The Apology of Arthur Tresbit, an amusing fictional account of an ordinary man who destroys the world financial system.

To find out more about forthcoming events at Paddington Library, visit our News & events page.