A trio of brilliant books for the holidays


The Giver of Stars 

Oh my. Joy of joys! A new book from Jojo Moyes, just in time for the holidays. Inspired by a remarkable true story, the book is described as ‘the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times’. The Giver of Stars is the story of Alice Wright, a woman who leaves England for America, only to discover that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for being the wife of an American businessman and living in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn’t, actually, the answer to her prayers. Then she meets Margery O’Hara, a woman who isn’t afraid of anything or anyone. And a woman
on a mission! The pair, along with three others, join up and, ignoring obvious dangers and loads of social disapproval, travel hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. When a body is found in the mountains, and one of the group becomes a suspect, their newly formed friendship is put to the test.
The Giver of Stars is unputdownable. Penguin, R270

Travel Light, Move Fast

Ever since reading the marvellous Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight, we’ve pounced on any new Alexandra Fuller with delight (unlike her mother, who thinks they’re ‘dreadful’). Just released is Travel Light, Move Fast, a tribute to Alexandra’s father, who died unexpectedly – and not with the drama the family expected – in Budapest, ‘the poor man’s Paris’. Read in equal parts of envy and horror – her parents launched from one calamity to the next, fuelled with gin and in a haze of cigarette smoke, along with the children, a handful of dogs and a collection of orange Le Creuset pots – the memoir jumps from present to past. Alexandra tells of the lessons her father taught her. Lessons about life, love, loss and tragedy. Lessons that led her to cope with the loss of her father, of the fallout with her sister, and of the unbearable final bereavement she reveals in the final chapter, when you may find yourself, as we did, holding the book further away than normal, so as to distance yourself from the grief she pours into the pages. Brilliantly written, heartbreaking, and often laugh-out-loud funny. Not much more you need from a great read, really. Profile Books, R300

The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters

If there was ever anyone as glam as the marvellous Jackie Kennedy Onassis, it was her sister, Lee. One the most iconic women of her time – and the favourite of their rakish father, John ‘Black Jack’ Vernou Bouvier – she lived in the shadow of her older sister, their mother’s favourite. Both had a keen eye for beauty – in fashion, design, painting, music, dance, sculpture, poetry – and both were talented artists. Both loved pre-revolutionary Russian culture. Both adored the blinding sunlight, calm seas and ancient olive groves of Greece. But the two, although extremely close, were hugely competitive and their relationship included much rivalry and jealousy. When Jackie died and her will read, Lee discovered that cash bequests were left to family, friends and staff, but nothing to her. ‘I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime,’ it read. The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, who had many candid interviews with Lee, explores the tragic and glamorous lives of these two fascinating women. HarperCollins, R310.