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Romance, Crime, Historical Fiction…exploring some of my reads for the month of November.

NORMAL PEOPLE (SALLY ROONEY) – Perhaps a little late to join the bandwagon for this one, having read or seen neither the book nor the tv series before the month just gone, it was worth the anticipation for sure. Following the on-again, off-again relationship between two teenagers, Marianne and Connell, the book relies on a sitcom trope – constantly bearing the question, will they or won’t they be together? Normal People for me was an easy and enjoyable read; awarding it 4/5 stars, I would definitely recommend for your December TBR list if you have not already read!

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (COLSON WHITEHEAD)By far, the best book I’ve read this month and maybe even for a good while. The Underground Railroad is a historical fiction, following character Cora who makes for escape from her Georgia plantation via the underground railroad. Imploring emotions of angst and dread in us readers as Cora encounters each barrier to freedom. This novel for me was extraordinarily compelling and I did not want to put it down; awarding it 5/5 stars and an obvious recommendation.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (PAULA HAWKINS) – A little more controversially, this book was not for me. Whilst the Girl on the Train has won numerous awards, I found it to be a little slow burning and predictable. This novel explores the narratives of three women whose lives are all intertwined, in more ways than first thought. I enjoyed the unusual writing style Hawkins used for this work, but found the plot lacked a little; awarding it a 3/5 stars as it was somewhat of an enjoyable read, but on a whole largely predictable which was disappointing.

THE GIRLS (LISA JEWELL)With this novel having been my first of those by Lisa Jewell, I can say I am thoroughly impressed! The book follows a family who have just moved into communal living. Their new home boasts a huge garden where the children of the houses hang out all the time…until one of the girls is attacked. I found the writing style very compelling and was another novel I did not want to put down! Unlike some other crime or thriller books I have read, I was not able to predict the ending, which was a great positive too; awarding this book 4/5 stars, I would definitely recommend The Girls in particular, but also trialling other Jewell novels too. I can’t wait to get started on the ones I have on my shelf!.

Beth Edson

Nottingham '24

A History student, with a love for all things books and writing.