The best book spoils of lockdown including authors Dawn O'Porter, Raynor Winn,Trisha Ashley, Sarah J Dodd | Books with Nicola Adam

In the height of lockdown when we all felt essentially alone, many books were born and many diaries were written.

Saturday, 30th October 2021, 12:30 pm
Keeper of Secrets by Sarah J Dodd
Keeper of Secrets by Sarah J Dodd

Dawn O’Porterdid both, and Life in pieces is the result, chronicling her day to day realities and emotional upheavals as she juggles family life, grief at the loss of her friend Caroline Flack, her own mental health and myriad pets during the pandemic. On paper she’s a British author married to a movie star (Chris O’Dowd) in LA -so how can we relate? But Dawn’s irreverent over-sharing and utter honesty makes you wish you lived next door. She’s the best friend you never knew you wanted. One chapter is simply called: ‘When in doubt, drink.’

Another piece of non-fiction which will have you crying with its searing honesty for different reasons is Raynor Winn’s The Salt Path.

It’s been out for a while but well worth picking up as it is beautifully evocative and deeply compelling in its description of British landscape and emotional journey.

This is the story of a couple at rock bottom - they lost everything including their home just days after Raynor learned Moth, her husband of 32 years, was terminally ill. So, homeless, they pack some rucksacks and walk the 630-mile South West coast path with no experience of living outdoors and a dwindling bank account.

Yet the journey changed their lives in so many ways and you will want to travel with them.

Raynor Winn now has a follow up out The Wild Silence which tells the story of the couple’s return to four walls and what follows, with insights from before their journey.

I highly recommend reading the Salt Path first.

And what do you mean it’s too soon for the C word?

Sunday Times bestselling author Trisha Ashley, is the queen of feel-good and her new Christmas novel is called One More Christmas at the Castle. It’s worth a delve if you want to be transported into a world with a joyous happy ending.

Trisha now lives in Wales but was born in St Helens and considers herself a Lancastrian - the settings of her novels are largely inspired by the Lancashire countryside.

She has quite the story herself as she literally wrote herself out of poverty to her current success.

This is a hugely enjoyable story, like treating yourself in book form and full of humour with a large dose of Christmas spirit.

It tells the story of elderly widow Sabine who knows it will be her last Christmas in her grand home Mitras Castle - so she employs a house party firm to make it go with swing. But not quite everything as it seems - I’d tell you but you can read it yourself. Out in hardback on November 11.

Keeper of Secrets is Lancashire author Sarah J Dodd'’s debut for older children and appropriately during COP26 tackles how nature can heal. Former Leyland Methodist Primary School teacher Sarah, born in Lytham St Annes and now living in Lancaster, says: “It is set in a snowy forest and ends with a Christmas gathering of family and friends.

“I wrote it with one reader in mind – the child quietly battling loneliness or grief who needs to hear that someone else has felt it too.”