Lots of this month’s books are about girlhood and that strange and fragile growing up time. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman is an electric account of a redemptive friendship that leads to trouble, When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson gives us two beautiful children who are badly treated by the world, and The Photographer’s Wife is a story of betrayal set in Jerusalem seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Prue.
Nina searches for the truth about the father she thinks is dead in The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans, Jeannie witnesses her brother go off to the Vietnam War in Hannah Kohler’s The Outside Lands, and Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell takes us from Belfast to London and back again.
Animal by Sara Pascoe is an entertaining and provoking look at what it means to be a woman that made me laugh and feel angry at almost the same time. There are few things I look forward to as much as a new Maggie O’Farrell and This Must Be The Place doesn’t disappoint. I loved The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney which shows us a spoilt New York family whose trust fund is depleted by the reckless behaviour of one of their own. I’ve saved the saddest to the end: Beyond the High Blue Air by Lu Spinney is the author’s account of the long death of her son. Beautiful and necessary, but one to read with a box of tissues to hand.