Joy of joys! A new 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, who leaves England for America, only to discover that swapping 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, 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 new friendship is put to the test. The Giver of Stars is unputdownable. Penguin, R270.
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 dramatically in Budapest. 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, 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 final bereavement she reveals in the last chapter, when you may find yourself 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.
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, 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. But they, although extremely close, were hugely competitive and their relationship had rivalry and jealousy. When Jackie died and her will was 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 interviews with Lee, explores the tragedy and glamour of these two fascinating women. HarperCollins, R310.