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Richard and Judy Book Club List 2020 With Free Checklist

The Richard and Judy Book Club is always broken down into individual seasons. Each season has six books featured, hand-picked by Richard and Judy themselves. There are 30 books in total and I’ve included a free downloadable checklist so you can tick off those you’ve read.

Richard and Judy Book Club List February 2020

Half A World Away by Mike Gayle

Kerry Hayes is a single mum, living on a tough south London estate. She provides for her son by cleaning houses she could never hope to afford. Taken into care as a child, Kerry cannot ever forget her past. Noah Martineau is a successful barrister with a beautiful wife, daughter and home in fashionable Primrose Hill. Adopted as a child, Noah always looks forward, never back. When Kerry reaches out to the sibling she lost on the day they were torn apart as children, she sets in motion a chain of events that will have life-changing consequences for them both.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri 

Nuri and his wife Afra live a simple life in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo. Nuri is a beekeeper and has created a life and job he loves, surrounded by family and friends. When their lives are destroyed by war, Nuri and Afra are left with no choice but to leave their home. We follow their journey as they head to the UK for a safer life. The journey is not just a geographical one. It is a journey to find each other again, and the people they once were, before unspeakable tragedy destroyed their family.

You can read my The Beekeeper of Aleppo review here.

No One Home by Tim Weaver

Nine neighbours gather for a dinner party but by the next morning, they had disappeared without a trace. Two and a half years later, it remains a mystery. Desperate for answers, the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker. How did an entire village vanish overnight? And is he looking for nine missing people or nine dead bodies?

The Snakes – Sadie Jones

Newly-weds Dan and Bea decide to escape London. Driving through France in their beaten-up car they anticipate a long lazy summer, worlds away from their ordinary lives. But their idyll cannot last. Stopping off to see Bea’s brother at his crumbling hotel, the trio is joined unexpectedly by Bea’s ultra-wealthy parents. Dan has never understood Bea’s deep discomfort around them but living together in such close proximity he begins to sense something is very wrong. Just as tensions reach breaking point, brutal tragedy strikes, exposing decades of secrets and silence that threaten to destroy them all.

Tidelands – Philippa Gregory

Midsummer’s Eve, 1648, and England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament.  The struggle reaches every corner of the kingdom, even to the remote Tidelands – the marshy landscape of the south coast. Alinor, a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband.  Instead, she meets James, a young man on the run, and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life. Suspected of possessing dark secrets in superstitious times, Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her out from her neighbours. This is the time of witch-mania, and Alinor, a woman without a husband, skilled with herbs, suddenly enriched, arouses envy in her rivals and fear among the villagers, who are ready to take lethal action into their own hands.

The Nanny – Gilly Macmillan

Jocelyn loves her nanny more than her own mother – until the night that the nanny disappears. Jo is seven years old when it happens and never gets over the loss. Now, thirty years later, Jo is returning to her family home with her daughter in tow – just as human remains are pulled out of the house’s lake. Then there’s a knock on the door. And a woman claiming to be her nanny stands outside. Is she who she says she is? Can she be trusted? And what really happened on that fateful night all those years ago?

Richard and Judy Book Club List July 2020

The Second Sleep – Robert Harris

Dusk is gathering as a young priest, Christopher Fairfax rides across a silent land. It’s a crime to be out after dark, and Fairfax knows he must arrive at his destination – a remote village in the wilds of Exmoor – before night falls and a curfew is imposed. He’s lost and he’s becoming anxious as he slowly picks his way across a countryside strewn with the ancient artefacts of a civilisation that seems to have ended in a cataclysm. What Fairfax cannot know is that in the days and weeks to come, everything he believes in will be tested to destruction, as he uncovers a secret that is as dangerous as it is terrifying.

Queen Bee – Jane Fallon

Welcome to The Close – a beautiful street of mansions, where gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee. It is here that Laura, seeking peace and privacy after her marriage falls apart, rents a tiny studio. Unfortunately, her arrival upsets suspicious Stella – who fears Laura has designs on her fiancé, Al. When Laura stumbles on the big secret Al is hiding, suddenly Stella’s perfectly controlled world, and Laura’s future, are threatened. Taking a chance on beating Al at his own twisted game, these two former strangers are fast becoming friends. But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?

We Know You Know – Erin Kelly

A lifetime ago, a patient escaped Nazareth mental asylum. They covered their tracks carefully. Or so they thought. Thirty years ago, Marianne Smy committed a crime then fled from her home to leave the past behind. Or so she thought. Now, Marianne has been forced to return. Nazareth asylum has been converted to luxury flats, but its terrible hold on her is still strong. A successful academic, a loving mother and a loyal wife, she fears her secret being revealed and her world-shattering.

So Lucky – Dawn O’Porter

Beth shows that women really can have it all. Ruby lives life by her own rules. And then there’s Lauren, living the dream. Beth hasn’t had sex in a year. Ruby feels like she’s failing. Lauren’s happiness is fake news. And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out.

The Lying Room – Nicci French

Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man and she doesn’t call the police. A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes. One that is now spiralling out of control. Bringing those around her into immense danger. A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things. Could she be a murderer?

Expectation – Anna Hope

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends. Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

Richard and Judy Book Club List September 2020

The Heatwave – Kate Riordan

Elodie was beautiful. Elodie was smart. Elodie was troubled. Elodie is dead. In Provence, under a sweltering sun, Sylvie returns to the crumbling family home of La Reverie with her youngest daughter Emma. Yet every corner of the house is haunted by the memories of Elodie, her first child – memories she has tried to forget, but whose long-ago death the villagers certainly haven’t. As temperatures rise, and forest fires rage through the French countryside, memories of Elodie spread further through Sylvie’s mind. Because there’s something Sylvie’s been hiding about what happened to Elodie all those summers ago. And it could change everything.

The Boy From the Woods – Harlan Coben

Thirty years ago, a child was found in the New Jersey backwoods. He had been living a feral existence, with no memory of how he got there or even who he is. Everyone just calls him Wilde. Now a former soldier and security expert, he lives off the grid, shunned by the community – until they need him. A child has gone missing. With her family suspecting she’s just playing a disappearing game, nobody seems concerned except for criminal attorney Hester Crimstein. She contacts Wilde, asking him to use his unique skills to find the girl. But even he can find no trace of her. One day passes, then a second, then a third. On the fourth, a human finger shows up in the mail. And now Wilde knows this is no game. It’s a race against time to save the girl’s life – and expose the town’s dark trove of secrets.

The Confession – Jessie Burton

When Elise Morceau meets the writer Constance Holden, she quickly falls under her spell. Connie is sophisticated, bold and alluring – everything Elise feels she is not. She follows Connie to LA, but in this city of strange dreams and razzle-dazzle, Elise feels even more out of her depth and makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever. Three decades later, Rose Simmons is trying to uncover the story of her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was a now reclusive novelist, Rose finds herself at the door of Constance Holden’s house in search of a confession.

Can You Hear Me – Jake Jones

A memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life as a paramedic. Jake Jones has worked in the UK ambulance service for ten years: every day, he sees a dozen of the scenes we hope to see only once in a lifetime. Can You Hear Me? – the first thing he says when he arrives on the scene – is a memoir of the chaos, intensity and occasional beauty of life on the front-lines of medicine in the UK.

Fifty Fifty – Steve Cavanagh

Two sisters are on trial for the murder of their father and they both accuse each other. Who do you believe? One of them is a liar and a killer. But which one?

Rough Magic – Lara Prior

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line. In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.

Richard and Judy Book Club List October 2020

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Veronica McCreedy is 85 years old and spends the majority of her time alone in her mansion by the sea. Other than her trusty assistant Eileen, Veronica never has any visitors. She has no known relatives and no friends to speak of and has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies. However after a nature documentary sparks an idea, Veronica embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

You can read my Away With The Penguins by Hazel Prior review here.

The Split by Sharon Bolton

A year ago Felicity Lloyd fled England to South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, escaping her past and the man she once loved. Can she keep running her whole life? Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder – and now he wants her back. Wherever she is, he won’t stop until he finds her. Will he be able to track her to the ends of the earth?

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Dana and Chaurisse are sisters, bound together by the life-changing secret of their father’s double life. Only one of them knows the truth. When they do finally meet and form a friendship, the fragile balance of ignorance and silence that has kept James’ secrets safe for so long threatens to explode. This soulful story of friendship and sisterhood paints an unforgettable picture of the messy knots that bind families together, from the prize-winning author of An American Marriage.

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

London, 1878. Three extraordinary people begin their life together – and the idea for Dracula is born. Fresh from life in Dublin, Bram Stoker – now manager of the Lyceum Theatre – is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. Soon, the eerie tale of Dracula begins to emerge. But Henry Irving, volcanic leading man and impresario, is determined that nothing will get in the way of Bram’s dedication to the Lyceum. And both men are growing ever more enchanted by the beauty and boldness of Ellen Terry, the most celebrated actress of her generation.

Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope

What happens when family roles are reversed and the children must look after mum and dad? It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in. As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?

A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs

It all starts with a series of text messages. Each message contains a new picture of a corpse, missing its face and hands. Dr Temperance Brennan needs to find out who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her. The only problem is, she has been kicked off the team. So she goes rogue, knowing that she is the only one who can solve this case. As she starts her investigation she discovers a connection to a decade-old missing child case. The more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes.

Richard and Judy Book Club List December 2020

The Other Passenger by Louise Candlish

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by riverbus with your charismatic neighbour Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife Melia has reported him missing. When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends – ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives? No, whatever danger followed you home last night, you are innocent, totally innocent. Aren’t you?

The Glass House by Eve Chase

When the Harrington family discovers an abandoned baby deep in the woods, they decide to keep her a secret and raise her as their own. But within days a body is found in the grounds of their house and their perfect new family implodes. Years later, Sylvie, seeking answers to nagging questions about her life, is drawn into the wild beautiful woods where nothing is quite what it seems.

Click here to read my review of The Glass House by Eve Chase.

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave. Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood. As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, chess prodigy Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood .

Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

A series of unsolved murders with one thing in common: each of the deaths bears an eerie resemblance to the crimes depicted in classic mystery novels. The deaths lead FBI Agent Gwen Mulvey to mystery bookshop Old Devils. Owner Malcolm Kershaw had once posted online an article titled ‘My Eight Favourite Murders,’ and there seems to be a deadly link between the deaths and his list – which includes Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Can the killer be stopped before all eight of these perfect murders have been re-enacted?

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything. For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner. But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever. Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home. Just because she knows that her former best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn’t seen Flora Braid for twelve years. But she can’t resist. She parks outside Flora’s house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children, Thomas and Emily, step out of the car. Except there’s something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older – just as Beth would have expected. It’s the children that are the problem. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily Braid were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt – Beth hears Flora call them by their names – but they haven’t changed at all. They are no taller, no older. Why haven’t they grown?

Click here to read my review of Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah.

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