Top Ten General Fiction Books of 2016

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We look for cracking good reads from our General Fiction favourites and here they are in alphabetical order by author.

Fell by Jenn Ashworth

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Now her parents have died, Annette returns to sell her old childhood home but there's work to do on the decrepit building first. As she wanders around and tries to make some order of the overgrown shambles, she's watched by the ghost of her mother, Netty; a spirit with regrets. Netty reminisces about Annette's childhood and the turning point their lives reached when the mysterious healer Timothy Richardson came to stay. It was a time that promised so much but one for which Netty now needs to make amends, even if she is beyond the grave. Full review...

Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

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This is the debut novel from Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, but you would never know it. It's an accomplished, unusual, poetically written story about a young Japanese girl, Yuki Oyama, who has lived most of her life in New York. As such, she feels an outsider: the American girls at school ignore her and she finds the rituals of her parents' home suffocating. Her father has hopes of her studying medicine, but the only thing Yuki enjoys is art. Full review...

Falling by Julie Cohen

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Here is the story of three women, from three generations within the same family. There is Jo, a forty year old single mother whose first husband died, and whose second husband ran off with their nanny. She is left caring for her older teenage daughter, Lydia, and her two little ones, Oscar and Iris, whilst harbouring a secret that she feels she cannot share with anyone. Her daughter Lydia is the second female character, and as well as the usual teenage angst she is also dealing with grief, still, over her father's death, anger with her mother for her second disastrous marriage, and her own very difficult secret that she is unable to talk to anyone about. Finally there's Honor who is Jo's mother in law, the mother of Jo's first husband, Stephen. Honor has a fall, breaks her hip, and is forced to move in with Jo for a time as she has no one else who can help her. She too is hiding a secret from the world, and as you read the story you begin to wonder if any of these characters actually know who the others are, and if any of them will ever start telling the truth. Full review...

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

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When you've had a heart attack and frightened the hell out of not just yourself, but your husband, your children – if they had known - your mother and your best friend, you imagine that some long overdue TLC is about to come your way. You're thinking cards, flowers, being waited on hand, foot and finger and even though the imminent influx of culinary gifts are likely to be low fat, low sugar and taste like the box they came in, they're coming, right? And you'll probably get a couple of months off work and not even have to think about the laundry. Or the housework? Or taking the twins to school? Right? Right???? Full review...

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

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It's 1949, and with the Second World War over, a new decade of recovery is beginning. For East End teenagers Lenny and Miriam, life has been suspended. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, they are sent away to a sanatorium in Kent, to take the cure, submit to the way of the Doctors, and learn the deferential way of the patient. Through doors newly opened by the one year old NHS, come Lenny in his striped London drape suit, and Miriam in cherry felt red coat, and beret pinned gingerly onto her blue-black curls. Trapped in a sterile closed environment, the twins find themselves meeting air force officers, a car salesman, a university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the Aristocracy, and, arriving to blast away their lethargic submission to authority - an American merchant seaman. Together they discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach, and may only be gained through full scale rebellion... Full review...

Ace of Spiders by Stefan Mohamed

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Stanly is frustrated. Having set himself up as London's protector, he's finding that the everyday practicalities of superheroism are challenging at best, and downright tedious at worst. So it's almost a relief when an attempt is made on his life and Stanly finds himself rushing headlong into a twisted adventure, with enemies new and old coming out of the woodwork. However, even with his friends and his ever-increasing power behind him, he may have bitten off more than he can chew this time. The monsters are coming… and nothing will ever be the same! Full review...

Holding by Graham Norton

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The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet the inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight, mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic, and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt her life a total waste. When human remains are discovered on a farm, thought to be those of Tommy Burke, an ex lover of both Brid and Evelyn, the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger, resentment, secrets, and regret. Full review...

The Trees by Ali Shaw

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There is no warning. No chance to prepare. They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed, broken bodies hanging among the leaves. Adrien, a man who has never been much of a hero, is forced to find help when he realises that none is coming to him. He meets Hannah, and her teenage son Seb. Together, they set out to find Hannah's brother, and Adrien's wife – meeting many people along the way. Some good, some bad, and one who stays with them – a young Japanese girl far from home. Their journey will take them to the heart of the forest, to a place of terrible beauty and violence, to the dark heart of nature and the darkness inside themselves… Full review...

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

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Finlay Montgomery, like her grandmother Eloise before her is a very powerful and gifted psychic. Sensitive to the unseen, unheard and unknowable, she spends her days among the dead. Visited, bothered, harassed and sometimes taunted, Finlay does her best to manage the gifts that Mother Nature has sought to bestow. But life is not that simple and studying for your degree is testing with five other visitors in the room who are all trying to get your attention in the loudest and most distracting way possible. Full review...

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

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Everything that is precious to Leon gets taken away. His Action Man toys, his home, his mum, and his brother. The world seems utterly unfair, and so he sneaks 20p here, and 50p there, out of people's purses, whilst building up a rucksack full of all the things he's going to need when he finds his baby brother, and reunites his family. Through all his planning he still manages to find enjoyment in small things, like a Curly Wurly, or riding his bike, or planting seeds with his new friends on the allotments, but how will he cope when he finally faces the truth of his new life without his family. Full review...

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