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5 Extraordinary Contemporary Reads for Book Groups

We've picked five contemporary novels which are perfect for book clubs, with plenty for reading groups to talk about.

1) Animal Lovers by Rob Palk

When Stuart married Marie, who saved his life, he didn't expect her to leave him to protest the badger cull. Stuart can care about badgers too - if it means getting his wife back. But out in the woods animal instincts are stirring. Stuart's about to enter a world of sexy witches, militant vegans and gun-toting farmers in this dark comedy about nature and love.

‘Hilarious, poignant and stuffed full of brilliant secondary characters. I couldn’t put it down.’ -The Daily Mail

2) Crocodile by Daniel Shand

It’s the summer before high school and Chloe’s been sent to her grandparents because her mother can’t cope. At first, all Chloe wants is to go home, but when she falls in with a feral gang of local boys, life takes a darker turn. By the time summer ends, Chloe will have learned where the greater danger lies.

‘With skill and precision, Shand has expressed the sad truth that coming of age is not just about discovering who you are, but also about scything down the person you used to be, happy memories and all.’ -The Guardian

3) The Posthumous Adventures of Harry Whittaker by Bobbie Darbyshire

When Harry Whittaker, much loved star of stage and screen, dies suddenly of a heart attack, he finds himself still in this world. Trapped in a bizarre afterlife, he struggles to free himself. Meanwhile, his estranged son Richard is also trying to escape - from his failing café, his dotty mother and the wrong girlfriend. Perhaps what they all need is a guardian angel.

‘A wonderful story that, for all its focus on death, proves to be a delightful, life-affirming read.’ -The Courier, Book of the Week

4) The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

19 year-old Chani lives in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of north west London. She has never had physical contact with a man, but is bound to marry a stranger. The Rabbi’s wife teaches her what it means to be a Jewish wife, but Rivka has her own questions to answer. Soon buried secrets, fear and sexual desire bubble to the surface in a story of liberation and choice; not to mention what happens on her wedding night...

‘Harris writes of this closed world with knowledge and understanding, and highly observant, slightly acidic humour. Deservedly longlisted for the Booker.’ -The Times

5) A Message From the Other Side by Moira Forsyth

Catherine knows that the face she glimpsed in a crowd can’t be her dear friend Hugh because he’s dead. Kenneth is more concerned about someone who might still turn up one day, while Helen hopes that Joe, who certainly isn’t dead, will come back.

All three are waiting for the message that will free them.

'The author highlights the damage people can do to each other in a suspenseful novel that swings the emotions to and fro.’ -Scots Magazine

Moira Forsyth

Moira Forsyth

Bobbie Darbyshire

Bobbie Darbyshire

Daniel Shand

Daniel Shand

Rob Palk

Rob Palk

Eve Harris

Eve Harris