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5 new books to read this week

This week’s bookcase includes reviews of The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson and (M)otherhood by Pragya Agarwal.

Prudence Wade
Wednesday 23 June 2021 10:26

Take your pick of some of the best new books, from political thrillers to moving memoirs…

Fiction

1. The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson is published in hardback by Century, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Imagine every parent’s worst nightmare, then magnify it by 10 and add a dose of terrorist activity and political intrigue. This is the central premise of The President’s Daughter, the second novel from former US President Bill Clinton and prolific thriller writer James Patterson. Like 2018’s The President Is Missing, this is a rollicking ride combining Clinton’s insider knowledge of the top echelons of US power with Patterson’s snappy pacing and forensic prose. Their second collaboration draws more obviously on the hopes, fears and frustrations of a former president readjusting to some semblance of normal life. It follows former Navy SEAL turned politician Matthew Keating after he is ousted from the White House by his conniving Vice President. Soon he is on the trail of a mysterious group who have abducted his daughter. Yes, the book has the required twists, turns and gunfights. But better than that, it illustrates the frustration and vulnerability of a capable man suddenly alone.7/10(Review by Alex Green)

2. This Eden by Ed O’Loughlin is published in hardback by riverrun, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.99). Available now

Alice and Michael meet during a snowball fight as students in Vancouver, and what follows is an avalanche of twists and turns in a murky, misty world of spies, mysterious government agents and cyber warfare. Alice is a coder genius, but when she dies Michael is recruited to follow in her footsteps, moving to Silicon Valley with no idea what he has let himself in for. Money is at the centre of a fast moving and dangerous adventure-meets-deadly chase, moving from the US to Uganda, Gaza and Paris and a quick brush with death in Belfast. This Eden brings spying up to date, with high frequency trading bots running amok and a cryptocurrency playing havoc with online financial systems. It’s a classic page-turning thriller.7/10(Review by Alan Jones)

3. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides is published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, priced £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Following his debut, The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides strikes again with another compulsive summer thriller. Still reeling after her fiance’s tragic death, group therapist Mariana Andros rushes to Cambridge University after a frightened call from her niece, Zoe. One of Zoe’s friends has been murdered, and she seems to know who did it. Following Zoe’s suspicions, Mariana begins to investigate the charismatic professor Edward Fosca and his secret society of female students known as The Maidens. Clearly written for adaptation, Maidens ticks a lot of boxes if you like a good thriller – fast pace, lots of misdirection, intriguing backstory and a damaged protagonist. That said, it’s one to enjoy for the ride rather than the conclusion. Maidens is the book club version of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History – a compelling campus thriller that keeps you on your toes, but lacks the depth and follow through of a literary read.6/10(Review by Scarlett Sangster)

Non-fiction

4. (M)otherhood by Pragya Agarwal is published in hardback by Canongate, priced £16.99 (ebook £13.59). Available now

(M)otherhood by Dr Pragya Agarwal is a deeply researched memoir/investigation into the realities of women’s bodies as mothers: from puberty to parenting, via pregnancy, infertility, abortion, surrogacy and birth. The book swaps between Agarwal’s own experiences, strongest when exploring the cultural and societal expectations placed on her as a girl, wife and mother in her native India, to factual detailing of historical and scientific aspects of these areas. From the history of pregnancy tests – which until the 1970s involved injecting frogs with the urine of a potential mother – to explorations of intersectionality and the impact of pregnancy and mothering across race, class and gender lines. While the book touches on trans and non-binary parenting, Agarwal is clear that she can only speak to her own experience as a cis woman. However, the level of academic detail might leave you detached from the heart of the book: the writer’s personal journey.7/10(Review by Jessica Frank-Keyes)

Children’s book of the week

5. Ace Of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide is published in paperback by Usborne Publishing, priced £8.99 (ebook £4.99). Available now

It is the final year at private school Niveus Academy for head girl Chiamaka and talented musician Devon – but their dreams of graduating and attending a top college are threatened by anonymous texter Aces, who starts revealing their secrets to the school. Joining forces to uncover the mysterious saboteur, they are in for a huge shock – but who can they trust? South London author Faridah Abike-Iyimide and Gossip Girl fan wanted to write a story about a private school with black characters as the stars. As the chapters switch between Chiamaka and Devon’s story, this gripping high-school thriller will open your eyes to what institutional racism looks like, and is hard to put down.7/10(Review by Sharron Logan)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING JUNE 19

HARDBACK (FICTION)1. True Crime Story by Joseph Knox2. Sorrow And Bliss by Meg Mason3. The President’s Daughter by President Bill Clinton & James Patterson4. The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley5. The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz6. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro7. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides8. Falling by T. J. Newman9. Mrs England by Stacey Halls10. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. Tornado by John Nichol2. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall3. Joe’s Family Food by Joe Wicks4. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy5. Operation Pedestal by Max Hastings6. Tom Kerridge’s Outdoor Cooking by Tom Kerridge7. Omelette by Jessie Ware8. Ancestors by Alice Roberts9. Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records10. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman2. The Secrets Of Strangers by Charity Norman3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig4. Mrs England by Stacey Halls5. Close Your Eyes by Rachel Abbott6. Atomic Habits by James Clear7. Carrying The Fire by Michael Collins8. The Rock by LJ Ross9. Dishonesty Is The Second-Best Policy by David Mitchell10. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey(Compiled by Audible)

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