Books have always been a huge part of my life but it’s only when I had my first son that my relationship with reading changed slightly. During pregnancy, I had to stay away from my usual crime and thriller novels as I found them too harrowing. Instead, when I wasn’t reading pregnancy books, I would turn to historical fiction and occasionally the odd fantasy novel. Once the baby arrived, long feeding sessions meant I had plenty of time to indulge in epic, lengthy series. Elena Ferrante’s The Neapolitan Quartet is one that particularly stuck in my mind.

When my second son arrived, I was lucky if I had the time to read a pizza delivery leaflet, but there were occasionally a few moments of the day when I managed to get both children sleeping at the same time and then I would dip back into whatever novel was by my bedside. Motherhood is a wonderful journey, but it can leave you with little energy for anything else. This is why reading was, and continues to be, the perfect way to relax – if you find the right book! So whatever stage of motherhood you’re at, here are a few of my recommendations.

Pregnancy

You’ve overdosed on pregnancy books and need some light relief in the form of the written word. Take a babymoon to Italy without leaving the comfort of your bed with Santa Montefiore’s The Temptation of Gracie. When Gracie Burton books a week-long cookery course in Tuscany using all her savings, her career-focused daughter and seventeen-year-old granddaughter are bewildered but decide to join her. As three generations of women settle into the Tuscan country-side, they discover things about each other and themselves that they could never have anticipated. This beautiful novel will capture your mind and heart as you follow Gracie’s journey on her path to rediscover life and love.

New-born

Those lovely early days of motherhood can sometimes be a maelstrom of emotion, ricocheting from happiness and euphoria to exhaustion and anxiety. With this in mind, welcome to the world of UpLit fiction - a genre that reflects the best of human nature. Check out One Day in December by Josie Silver where Laurie, who is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist, sees a man she knows instantly is the one through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. She thinks she'll never see him again, but a year later her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus. Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans. A joyous and heart-warming tale to be enjoyed especially over the festive season.

Babyhood

You’re several months in and finally getting into a routine. You may even be getting a full night’s sleep. Enjoy those extra hours and indulge in a real page turner that is simply impossible to put down. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is one such book that won’t disappoint. When you read this book, you will make many assumptions including that you are reading about a jealous ex-wife who was replaced by a younger model. But with every chapter a new twist arrives. It left me constantly in suspense and I raced through it to reach an incredible grand finale.

Toddlers

Your little one will be enjoying spending their days exploring and discovering new skills so come bedtime, they’ll be fast asleep in no time. With a little more time to yourself in the evenings as well as some much needed to time with your partner, romance fiction might just be your thing. Gone are the cliched but much-loved stories of Mills and Boon – discover romance between the pages of books by authors such as Mariana Zapata and her novel, From Lukov with Love. Jasmine Santos is a figure skater but after almost twenty years, she knows her window to compete is coming to a close. But when the offer of a lifetime appears, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything. There’s only one problem - the offer is from the arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing under a bus.

Pre-schooler

As the parent of a pre-schooler, it’s a bitter sweet time as you watch with pride as your child goes off to school or nursery. Make the most of your free time and lose yourself in a bit of historical fiction where the characters draw you in to the drama of times gone by. There’s no one better than the queen of historical fiction herself, Philippa Gregory, her latest novel being the fourth in the series of The Order of Darkness. However, if you fancy something a little different, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by award-winning author Hazel Gaynor is based on a true story and swings effortlessly between the centuries. Starting in England in 1838 at Longstone Lighthouse, Grace Darling and her father rescue shipwreck survivors from a storm and Grace becomes celebrated throughout the country as she captures the attention of George Emerson, a visiting artist. A hundred years later across the pond in Rhode Island, 19-year old pregnant Mathilda Emmerson has been sent to stay with Harriet, an assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women living a century apart will be linked forever.

Karen Osman is a best-selling author. Her debut novel, The Good Mother, which won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Novel Writing Prize in 2016, was published in September 2017. Her latest novel, The Home, is a dark psychological thriller, set between the 1970s and 1980s, about successful career woman Angela whose memories of an abusive children’s home affect her adult life. After discovering the identity of her birth mother, the journey takes them both even further away from the dream of a perfect family.

 

 

 

 

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