Greetings Hoogly fans! It’s that time again: the chance to discover what’s hot in the literary world, sharing our top picks to help you relax, unwind and distract yourself from the stresses and strains of everyday life! It’s been a sensational year of publishing, with so many established authors bringing out big books, as well as stunning breakthrough debuts by a host of rising stars—it’s been very hard to whittle down our choices. But we’re here to make the tough decisions so you don’t have to; so, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin…
Will Smith, ‘Will’
This charts the career of one of the biggest stars of music and film of our time. This profound read is not only a life story that chronicles some of the most recognisable cultural moments of the last few decades, but also a personal journey of self-discovery, acknowledging the toll his stardom took on those around him, and the vital lessons he learned about the way his mind works, and how best to grapple with all the pressure that surrounded him. It’s a book that—like its subject—is in a category all of its own, a book that will transport you behind the scenes into superstardom, as well as provide genuine universal wisdom that will echo in your own life.
Jennifer Saint, ‘Ariadne’
This debut has become a huge hit, latching onto the current popularity of the Greek Myths in literature, and carving out its own distinct niche with a dazzling re-telling of the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, written from the perspective of Ariadne, Princess of Crete. First capturing your heart with a sensational cover jacket (really—look it up, it’s gorgeous), this beautifully written novel weaves themes of sisterhood, love and secrets into a world of petulant gods and monsters, asking us to look afresh at an old story, bolstered by the shining beacon of female strength and courage. This wonderful book will brighten the darkest February day and put a smile on your face.
Sophie Hannah, ‘Haven’t They Grown’
This gripping read came out in 2020 and got a little lost in the chaos of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. I picked it up the other night and couldn’t put it down for the next two days!! It tells the story of Beth, a mum-of-two who lost touch with her best friend Flora and her family twelve years before. While she is in the vicinity of Flora’s new house, Beth decides to have a cheeky snoop. She sees Flora’s two children get out of the car, Flora calling their names. But the kids haven’t aged a single day. They look exactly the same as they did twelve years ago—and Flora seems in some distress. Beth drives away, thinking she must be mad. Thus begins a feverish, unsettling and paranoid search for the truth of what Beth has witnessed, a mission she cannot let lie, even though her husband protests, and there appear to be no plausible answers. What secret lies at the heart of Flora’s family? Whatever it is, Beth realises, it can’t be good…
Mark Dawson, ‘The Case of the Smuggler’s Curse’
A brand-new book for ages 9-12, with echoes of an all-time favourite: Enid Blyton. Lucy, Max, Charlie and Joe spot a phantom figure on Southwold beach one winter evening and are soon thrown into an unexpected mystery. But this should be no problem for the After-School Detective Club! As they dig deeper, the task gets more difficult, and they have to summon all their wits when they realise they are up against a ruthless gang of smugglers! Prepare for motorboat tracking devices, bedroom escapes, daring ocean rescues and undercover operations! This is the perfect read to keep the kids engrossed and entertained, harking back to those glorious Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures of yesteryear!
That’s it for the book recommendations—now for the tea recommendations!
This month, our perfect book club companion is Apple Strudel Green Tea! A classic Hoogly combination of taste and scent, this delightful brew will warm your cockles with a blend of juicy apples and sweet spices, bound together with a beautiful roasted green tea, adding a well-baked twist!
And if you really want to treat yourself, why not go for Chocolate Brownie black tea? This is a pleasingly rich and unapologetically decadent chocolate delight, perfect to sip as you flip pages of the latest best-seller, satisfying your craving for something oh-so-naughty. Just like your book—you won’t want it to end!
That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Have fun with your books, stay safe, and we’ll see you soon!
Written by Chris Bedford