November Book Picnic Recommendations

On the first Wednesday of every month, GWL team members and volunteers share what we’ve read recently at our Book Picnic:

  • There are More Things by Yara Rodrigues Fowler  

    Recommended by Gaby, this novel presents a rich tapestry of two women’s lives, Catarina and Melissa, from disparate backgrounds—one from Brazil’s political elite and the other from the bustling urbanity of South London. The narrative unfolds across two continents, connecting the dots between Brazil during its military dictatorship and contemporary Britain. The story delves into the complexities of friendship, sisterhood, queerness, the essence of political upheaval, and the intimate intersections of personal histories. Gaby thought it was a really unique and interesting book. 

  • The Unpicking by Donna Moore

    Written by GWL’s own Donna Moore, this book was recommended by Wendy, who thought it was absolutely brilliant and loved that it gives a voice to women who were often silenced in history. Set against the backdrop of Victorian and early 20th century Glasgow, “The Unpicking” is a saga that traces the lives of three generations of “hysterical women”. Through the characters’ experiences with asylums, the fight for women’s suffrage, and personal battles against deep-rooted societal corruption, the novel paints a vivid picture of the resilience and tenacity of women in the face of adversity. It is a testament to the spirit of those who dared to confront the injustices of their time.

  • That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn

    This book was recommended by Eileen, who really enjoyed it and preferred it to Quinn’s first book. In the heart of Georgian London, “That Bonesetter Woman” follows the ambitious Endurance Proudfoot. Fueled by a desire to follow her father and grandfather into the family business and break into the male-dominated field of bonesetting, Endurance’s journey is one of fierce determination and physical prowess. The novel celebrates the courage required to defy societal expectations and the strength found in embracing one’s unique identity.

  • The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer

    This book was recommended by Anna, who found it to be very clever and well worth a read. Inspired by the tragic history of the 17th-century witch hunts in East Anglia, this book weaves a narrative that explores the dark times of suspicion and persecution. Martha Hallybread, who was born mute, lives in a small town called Cleftwater, where she works as a midwife and healer. Against her will, Martha is pulled into the dangerous witch hunt that is sweeping the country after the arrival of witch finder Silas Makepeace. The novel brings to life the harrowing experiences of those affected by the witch trials, immersing the reader in the atmospheric tension of an era where superstition and fear could dictate one’s fate. 

    GWL is hosting a free online event in conversation with Margaret Meyer on the topic of this book on 30th November. You can book in to this here.

  • Mrs. Keppel and her Daughter by Diana Souhami

    This biography explores the public and private lives of Alice Keppel, the socially accepted mistress of King Edward VII, and her daughter Violet Trefusis. It delves into the stark contrast between Keppel’s discreet affairs within Edwardian high society and her daughter’s scandalous relationship with Vita Sackville-West. Through memoirs, diaries, and letters, the book provides an intimate look at the complexities of this mother/daughter relationship, societal norms, double standards, and the pursuit of personal and sexual freedoms during a time of strict moral codes. This book was also recommended by Anna, who found it absolutely riveting.

  • Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

    Pauline recommended this book, which she described as a real page-turner with funny, fascinating characters. Set during the roaring twenties, “Radio Girls” captures the spirit of a pivotal time in history. American-raised Maisie Musgrave lands a secretary job at the burgeoning BBC, a world alight with the new and electrifying medium of radio. Featuring both historic and fictional characters, the book encapsulates the zeitgeist of the 1920s and ’30s, reflecting on women’s evolving roles, political shifts, and cultural transformations as Maisie finds her voice and place in this dynamic setting.

  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    Recommend by Jenna, ”Malibu Rising” unfolds the story of the Riva siblings over a single day and night in 1983, during their famous end-of-summer party. Each character grapples with their own complex emotions and relationships, set against the backdrop of Malibu’s sun-soaked beaches and their family’s tumultuous history. The narrative encapsulates the themes of legacy, identity, and the enduring bonds of family amidst the glamour and turmoil of life in the public eye. Jenna loved Reid’s authentic, interesting characters.

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