Marian Keyes: Books of the year
Matthew Shardlake’s gripping life under Henry VIII
Lamentation, by CJ Sansom (Mantle), is the sixth book about Matthew Shardlake, the hunchbacked lawyer living in London under Henry VIII. Sansom has an extraordinary gift for atmosphere: he immerses the reader in the sights, sounds, smells and dreadful paranoia of life in the last days of Henry VIII. Shardlake is tasked by Queen Katherine Parr to track down a stolen religious tract, which would result in her being burned at the stake if her husband knew about it. Utterly gripping.
Liberty Silk, by Kate Beaufoy (Transworld Ireland), is a glamorous, elegantly written three-generational epic, moving from the French Riviera in the 1920s to Hollywood in the 1940s to war-torn Belfast in the 1970s. A gorgeous read.
Only Ever Yours, by Louise O’Neill (Quercus), is a young-adult novel set in a dystopian world where girls are bred to be perfect physical specimens, having their weight and food intake constantly policed. The competitive undereating between the girls feels uncomfortably close to current reality. Every teenage girl – and, actually, everyone – should read this book.
Marian Keyes’s new novel, The Woman Who Stole My Life, is published by Michael Joseph