Books

Why The Sealwoman’s Gift should be your next weekend read

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Susan Devaney
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Join us (and The Zoe Ball Book Club) as we tackle the 10 best books of summer 2018…

Are you looking for the perfect read to accompany you to the park this weekend? Well, look no further, as Stylist has teamed up with The Zoe Ball Book Club (part of the Sunday edition of her weekend show Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday) in a bid to track down the best books of summer 2018.

Speaking about the project, Ball says: “I adore reading so I’m beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a book club back to TV. I’m so excited to read all the brilliant titles on our list, and can’t wait to chat about each and every one of them with my wonderful guests and hear what viewers across the country think too – we’ll have a wide range of books that should hopefully encourage everyone to try something new! Thanks to our esteemed panel we can be sure they are splendid reads.”

The reading picks, chosen by Amanda Ross, the guru behind the original Richard & Judy Book Club, and a team of crack book-experts, are seriously diverse – and the next one on the list is a great piece of historical fiction. 

Written by Sally Magnusson, The Sealwoman’s Gift is a thrilling historical tale that’s hard to put down. 

Here’s what Stylist’s resident bookworm, Francesca Brown, had to say about it:

“Set in 1627, the book opens with Icelandic wife and mother Asta about to give birth in the bowels of a Barbary pirate whose crew has just ransacked and kidnapped her village to sell as slaves. ‘Asta can hear her fellow prisoners, and smell them. She can feel the weight of their torpid misery pressing in on her. Stockfish tossed together end to end and skin to skin for selling is hardly packed more tight than this wretched human cargo.’

“Deftly skipping between this journey and the past, Magnusson builds up a portrait of a community held together by folklore and tradition – and the magnitude of its destruction as the villagers are sold off and slowly come to grips with their new lives in Algiers. Here, Asta is separated from her older pastor husband but is allowed to keep her younger children with her. Slowly adapting to the new world and tentatively building a relationship with her master, Cilleby, it’s a fascinating and captivating as Asta finds solace in worlds of storytelling and knowledge.

“Crucially, it’s also about history from a woman’s perspective exploring the human impact of war, diplomacy and power. It may be set four centuries ago but The Sealwoman’s Gift is utterly relevant to the world right now.”

The Zoe Ball Book Club, in association with Specsavers, from 17 June on Zoe Ball on Sunday for 10 weeks.

Zoe Ball on Saturday and Zoe Ball on Sunday (ZBoS) is on ITV at 8.30am every weekend, or catch-up on ITV Player.

Images: Courtesy of publisher / Instagram

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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