These five compelling books selected by Philip Blackwell of Ultimate Library showcase a diverse range of backdrops (and personalities) of the city of London. From a love story about two artists who meet at a pub in South East London, to the straight-talking, warm and funny ‘Sista Sister’ by Candice Braithwaite, these page-turners are bound to keep you up at night.
1. The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn
The year is 1625, and Nat Davy is transported to London hidden in a pie. Thus, begins the story of one man’s extraordinary life. Inspired by the true story of Nat Davy, the Queens Dwarf, and spanning two decades that changed England forever, this is a heart-warming story about finding your place in the world and fighting for what you believe in.
2. The Waiter by Ajay Chowdhury
Ex-detective Kamil Rahmna moves from Kolkata to London to start afresh as a waiter in an Indian restaurant. His simple life is quickly shattered when the host of a party he is catering is found dead in his swimming pool. Suspicion falls on his young wife and Kamil is called to investigate for the family. He struggles through the work trying to keep memories of a past case in Kolkata at bay. Little does he know that his past will soon catch up with him.
3. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
4. A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?
5. Sista Sister by Candice Brathwaite
A compilation of all the things Candice wishes someone had talked to her about when she was a young black girl growing up in London. From family and money to black hair and fashion, as well as colourism and relationships between people of different races, this is a fascinating read that will launch some much-needed conversations, between Sistas and Sisters alike. Written in Candice’s trademark straight-talking, warm and funny style, it will delight her fans, old and new.