By day, Emelia is a freelance writer, theatre director and workshop facilitator and by night she is a book reviewer for Dental Life.

Since graduating with an MA Theatre Directing from Royal Holloway in 2019 she has been expanding her portfolio and delving into online theatre. For more information on what she’s up to, follow @emeliajanetheatre on Instagram

As the romantic season rolls around this year, there is not much cause for celebration. With everywhere closed and loved ones out of reach, I am here to offer you some literary tonics that at least will keep you imbued with a warm romantic glow. So, here’s three recommendations that will keep you entertained for hours. 

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. There’s a reason why everyone, or seemingly everyone, has read this book, and that is because it is fantastic! A light-hearted romp through the Regency Era, we follow Lizzie Bennet and her family through their trials both in and out of love. Full of Austen’s trademark wit, this is a highly amusing analysis of ‘polite society’. With unforgettable characters such as Lizzie Bennet, William Darcy, and, my personal favourites, Mr and Mrs Bennet, this book is the perfect tonic to Lockdown blues. ★★★★★

Normal People – Sally Rooney. Rooney’s sophomore novel has been in the headlines this year following the release of the much-lauded TV adaptation. If you too have been mesmerised by Connell’s chain and the chorus of beautiful Irish accents, but haven’t got round to reading the book yet, I would highly recommend putting this at the top of your list. Truly a love story of our age, Normal People follows the (now infamous) relationship of Connell and Marianne, from their meeting at school to the end of their time at Trinity College. Normal People is sweeping in a quiet and understated way and Rooney perfectly treads the line between commercial and literary fiction, creating characters whose love story rivals that of Cathy and Heathcliffe. ★★★★

My Sister The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite. Don’t be put off by title, this book was longlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize in 2019. Braithwaite tells the story of Korede and Ayoola, two sisters, the latter of whom never seems to be able to keep boyfriends around for long. Braithwaite’s debut whistles through the action at break-neck speed. The heart of this story lies not in the relationships between Ayoola and her boyfriends, but rather the un-shakeable (though often tested) relationship between the sisters. More thrilling than romantic, it is a perfect way to spend a less than conventional Valentine’s Day, with a less than conventional love story. ★★★★★

Where to buy your books.

When times get hard, where better to turn than a good book? Authors, publishers and booksellers do so much for our economy and in the last few years, it’s my opinion that we have not treated them with the respect they deserve. 

In the last year the demand for books and media has peaked worldwide, with books sales up 5% on the previous year. All of which is great news, but instead of buying from Amazon why not turn to your local bookshop for your regular fix of fiction and put your money back in the pocket of your local economy, rather than Jeff Bezos.

At the end of 2020 a brand-new website was launched, which will allow you all the comfort of purchasing from your home, whilst also allowing you to support your local independent bookshop. 

www.bookshop.org does exactly what it says on the tin. With the option to buy directly from the website, or to choose your local bookshop, or one that you have visited and loved. 

The important thing is that it’s a convenient way of buying, but it directs the money to the people who need it and is helping booksellers to sustain their businesses in these most difficult of times. They just need our support to do it.

All links from my posts will take you directly to the bookshop.org website. 

Emelia Hutchinson

Author Emelia Hutchinson

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