Everyone has a list of things they want to do this lockdown; lose weight, master the art of sourdough, become Tiktok famous, read every classic under the sun… But if you’re not quite in the mood to start War and Peace or delve into Dickens, I have complied a list of the best books to pull you straight out of 2020 and immerse you into a fictional world. There’s a bit of everything in this list; thriller, drama, classics, contemporary, romance. Take your pick. These books are guaranteed to help you escape the real world.
In the small Australian town of Kiewarra, three members of the same family are brutally murdered. This is a who-dunnit that could rival Broadchurch. It is brilliant. It’s rare to get a great thriller that is also beautifully written but Harper does both here. I guarantee you will forgot lockdown and think only: who was it that killed the Hadler family?
Once you’ve finished The Dry, Harper has several other crime novels that are equally gripping.
I got this on Christmas day when it was first published and I had already finished it by Boxing Day lunch.
It follows the new life of Nella Oortman as she moves from rural Holland to live with her new husband in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. This isn’t quite the house of her dreams. There are secrets at every corner and a dollhouse which mirrors their real-life counterparts. Nothing is what it seems and the cruel world of 17th century Amsterdam that will only bring trouble.
There has been a T.V series since but I preferred the book, it’s wonderfully written.
Daphne Du Maurier
First published in 1938 and still going strong, Rebecca is a true classic. You will whisked out of your house and placed in Manderley. Everything about this book is enthralling, thee descriptions, the narrator, the mysterious Rebecca. If you haven’t read Rebecca, now is the time.
A Ladder to The Sky
Dark, chilling. Brilliant. I’ve written about this book in my last book but honestly it kept me hooked (so much so I read in the car and I get carsick).
It follows the story of would-be-novelist Maurice Swift, and his mission to rise to the top at all costs. There is nothing Maurice will stop at for a good story and the fame that comes with it.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Louis de Bernieres
I read this years ago, but it has remained one of my favourite books. It is set on the Greek island of Kefalonia during the Second World War, and is a story of love and loss. The imagery is so great in this book, that certain scenes stick with me even now.
Min Jin Lee
Packinko follows the story of a Korean family in Japan throughout the twentieth century. It is a full and rich saga. A story of struggle and identity in a hostile land, but also of family and love. You will get so lost in this world and the family’s struggle that Boris and his daily briefings become a faint memory.
Cross Stitch (the first in the Outlander Series)
I read these books years ago when I was in Uganda and they were brilliant.
It’s a historical romance with a time travel twist – which sounds terrible but is actually great. They are an epic story of love in a time of conflict, and they grip you from the star. The best bit about them is they are huge books and there are loads in the series, so once you’re hooked they will keep you going until this is all over.
The books are now also a major T.V series, which is hugely popular.
If you’re going to read one classic throughout the whole of lockdown, Jane Eyre should be the one. It is one of those novels which you can return to time and time again, and it only gets better. There is romance, but there is also so much more. There is a reason this book caused such a stir when it first published over 150 years ago.
To get your hands on these books, search your local bookshop. Lots of independent bookshops are still working and sending out books, so give them a try first before you head to Waterstones or Amazon.
If you do read any of these, let me know what you think in the comments.