Guilty Women by Melanie Blake, One Good Thing by Alexandra Potter, Into The Dark by Fiona Cummins and The Magic Faraway Tree by Jacqueline Wilson

Janet Gordon, who lives in Takeley, reviews bestsellers and early fiction for India…

Guilty Women by Melanie Blake (Harper Collins £12.99)

Soap-watchers may have noticed the proliferation of “older” women who are now playing leading, cutting-edge roles rather than being relegated to being “invisible.”

The reason for the resurgence of these wonderful “mature” ladies is more or less entirely due to the negotiating skills of super agent Melanie Blake.

She used her considerable talents to give us a behind-the-scenes look with the launch of her best-selling novel Ruthless Women, which hit bestseller charts.

And now she’s back in full force in Guilty Women. We’re back in Falcon Bay where the coterie of glamorous, sexy, enterprising, ball-busting women thought they had their futures sewn up with the disappearance – at work level – of Jake Monroe and the unfortunate shark-bitten death of the owner of Falcon Bay, Madeline Kane.

Guilty Women by Melanie Blake (Harper Collins £12.99) (56471692)

But Madeline’s grief-stricken husband doesn’t like Falcon Bay and isn’t open to any kind of persuasion, so, incredibly, Jake Monroe is back.

Think back to all those bonkbusters we knew and loved from writers like Jackie Collins, Jilly Cooper and Tilly Bagshaw. Melanie Blake not only joined this cast of illustrious women, but surpassed the lot of them.

Guilty Women is jam-packed with revenge, sex, and all sorts of behind-the-scenes shenanigans — and I loved, loved, loved it. Strongly the last of this trilogy.

A Good Thing by Alexandra Potter (MacMillan £14.99)

I recently reviewed Alexandra Potter’s paperback, Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which is currently in development for a TV series. And now this terrific author has given us a complete change of pace in One Good Thing.

Newly divorced, Liv left the house she shared with David, who was supposed to be the love of her life. And not only moved, she moved. Far away, to the Yorkshire Dales of her hometown, fell in love with a ramshackle cottage in the village of Nettlewick. So not only did she quit her marriage, but she also quit her job as an English teacher.

On a walk to the local store, she spots an elderly man staring at her from his window and giving her an impulsive wave. Equally impulsively, she puts £20 in the collection box of a teenager who collects on behalf of the local dog rescue home.

A Good Thing by Alexandra Potter (MacMillan £14.99) (56471688)
A Good Thing by Alexandra Potter (MacMillan £14.99) (56471688)

And so begins his new life in Nettlewick. It’s such a beautiful and heartwarming story of friendships between the ages, of lonely people too scared to go on living after heartbreak, of a child who is somehow different, and a magical dog who is convinced that he is the answer to everything – and of course he is.

It’s a wonderful read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Once again I loved it.

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins (MacMillan £14.99)

Fiona Cummins is another favorite “dark reading” author, and Into The Dark takes us deeper into the realm of what you would do for your best friend.

Seawings is a beautiful art deco home overlooking the bay in the town of Midtown-on-Sea where we are introduced to the Holden family. Piper, Gray and their two teenage boys are living their best life at Seawings – lots of money, lots of friends and life is good.

Until Piper’s best friend, calling her friend for their daily jog, finds the house deserted. And not just deserted – their phones are charging, their cars are still in the garage, the breakfast dishes are still on the table, and the kettle is still hot.

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins (MacMillan £14.99) (56471690)
Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins (MacMillan £14.99) (56471690)

Enter DS Saul Anguish, who is called to investigate. His name echoes his moral compass.

Is it a crime? Was the Holden family kidnapped or disappeared on their own?

It’s a spooky, scary read and definitely his best yet. I think we’re going to see more DS Anguish.

The Magical Distant Tree by Jacqueline Wilson (Hodder Children’s Books £12.99)

Raise your hand to those of you who remember Enid Blyton’s wonderful The Magic Faraway Tree with Silky, Moonface and the Saucepan Man. I can’t think of a single kid I know who hasn’t fallen in love with the characters, and in fact my grandson William was the Casserolier on World Book Day.

The Magical Distant Tree by Jacqueline Wilson (Hodder Children's Books £12.99) (56471686)
The Magical Distant Tree by Jacqueline Wilson (Hodder Children’s Books £12.99) (56471686)

Now Jacqueline Wilson, who is one of Enid Blyton’s true successors as a fun children’s storyteller, has taken this magical tale one step further by introducing new visitors to the Enchanted Wood and new lands atop the tree.

And so that young readers can have their own magical introduction, Hodder has also produced Silky’s Story as well as Moonface’s Story. Illustrated by Mark Beech, these picture books for young readers are an absolute riot of color and imaginative illustrations at £6.99 each.

Enid Blyton's Magical Distant Tree: Silky's Story (56471682)
Enid Blyton’s Magical Distant Tree: Silky’s Story (56471682)
Enid Blyton's Magical Distant Tree: The Moonface Story (56471684)
Enid Blyton’s Magical Distant Tree: The Moonface Story (56471684)

Alycia R. Lindley