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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Prudence Wade

5 new books to read this week

TV barrister Rob Rinder has written his debut novel, inspired by his own experiences…


1. The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue is published in hardback by Virago, priced £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Cork-born novelist, podcaster and screenwriter Caroline O’Donoghue returns with her latest novel, The Rachel Incident – a witty, heartbreaking friendship love story based in Ireland in the mid-Noughties. When Rachel sets her heart on seducing her married professor, she enlists the help of her best friend and housemate James to ensnare her pray. But when their mission finds them on an entirely different path, Rachel and James discover they are stuck in a web of deceit they couldn’t unravel if they wanted to. Hilarious, messy, and all the things being young and infatuated can often be, The Rachel Incident creates a world so vivid you feel it wrap around you. Much as O’Donoghue’s masterpiece Promising Young Women did, this book won’t leave you willingly… nor will you want it to.9/10(Review by Holly Cowell)

2. The Trial by Rob Rinder is published in hardback by Century, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Who better than a barrister-turned-author to write a book about the dramatic death of a hero policeman just as he was about to give evidence at the Old Bailey? Rob Rinder has drawn from his firsthand legal knowledge to produce a classic whodunnit, with a sensational twist. The hero policeman, Grant Cliveden, was poisoned, with all the evidence pointing to Jimmy Knight, a criminal he helped to convict. A seemingly open and shut case, especially when Knight makes the outrageous claim that he was framed for his previous arrest, and the only person prepared to believe him is trainee barrister Adam Green. An overheard row between the policeman’s widow and a liaison officer and a surprising discovery on CCTV footage of events leading up to the death help Adam uncover some shocking discoveries. The book is gripping from from the first page, and The Trial is the first in a new series from the author, who starred in the reality courtroom show Judge Rinder.8/10(Review by Alan Jones)

3. The Other Side Of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker is published in hardback by Fourth Estate, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

If you’re looking for a fun beach read, you could do a lot worse than this tale of rival mediums duking it out in Victorian London. The Mrs Wood of the title is an established medium, providing entertainment and solace to the genteel bereaved with a mixture of clever psychology and ridiculous tricks. But the world of spiritualism is a fickle one and Mrs Wood fears her act is getting stale. Taking on an adoring young fan as an apprentice seems like the answer to a prayer. Only there’s a lot more to the apparently innocent Emmie than meets the eye – and it soon starts to look as if there’s not enough room for both of them at the séance table. Although it has its darker moments, it’s essentially a comic tale, briskly told, which, while it raises smiles rather than belly laughs, definitely has the feel-good factor.7/10(Review by Jackie Kingsley)


4. Life On Other Planets by Dr Aomawa Shields is published in hardback by Constable, priced £22 (ebook £12.99). Available now

Life On Other Planets is a beautiful meditation on space, identity and belonging. Leading American astronomer Dr Aomawa Shields takes us through the story of her life – from her obsession with the sky as a young girl, through to studying astronomy at MIT, pursuing acting and then finding her way back to science. Astronomical themes run throughout the book, from the chapter titles to the metaphors and tidbits of information Shields weaves throughout her story. As one of the few black women in her field, Shields’ story is one of resilience – battling detractors and imposter syndrome to become a prominent astronomer. Her writing style is lyrical and readable, and while Shields might not be a household name in the UK, her story is well worth knowing.9/10(Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. Roar by Beth Mead is published in paperback by Wren & Rook, priced £9.99 (ebook £5.49). Available now

An inspiring and informative interactive guide written for children of all ages, to get them thinking about what sports they enjoy the most or could be interested in. This easy-to-read motivational book includes tips and helpful activities, as well as an insight into the England forward’s life, from growing up to her greatest achievements in football and where she is now. The 28-year-old, who was Golden Boot winner when the Lionesses won the 2022 Euros, shares her football knowledge and encourages the reader throughout to work hard to focus on becoming the best they can be in their favourite individual or team sport. What’s also good is that MBE Mead doesn’t shy away from the negative as, despite certain setbacks during her football career, she gives an honest reflection on a one-to-one level with her reader to get them dreaming of where their passions may lie.8/10(Review by Karen Shield)


HARDBACK (FICTION)1. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros2. A Death In The Parish by Reverend Richard Coles3. Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang4. The Square Of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson5. Happy Place by Emily Henry6. The Trial by Rob Rinder7. Winter’s Gifts by Ben Aaronovitch8. Atlas by Lucinda Riley & Harry Whittaker9. The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor10. Four Seasons In Japan by Bradley(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. The Extra Mile by Kevin Sinfield2. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken3. Hitler, Stalin, Mum And Dad by Daniel Finkelstein4. Pageboy by Elliot Page5. 1964 by Paul McCartney6. The Wager by David Grann7. But What Can I Do? by Alastair Campbell8. The Future Of Geography by Tim Marshall9. Strong by Ashley Cain10. Johnson At 10 by Anthony Seldon & Raymond Newell(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken2. Atomic Habits (Unabridged) James Clear3. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien4. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver5. Spare by The Duke of Sussex6. Mythos by Stephen Fry7. The Good, The Bad And The History by Jodi Taylor8. Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus9. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman10. Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister(Compiled by Audible)

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