Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!
Today I’m delighted to be the starting point for Della Parker’s blog tour for her new serialised novel, The Reading Group. The first three stories in the series will be published on 1st December in ebook formats and publisher Quercus kindly sent me preview copies of parts 1-3 to review for this tour. Having joined a local reading group myself earlier in the year, I was very intrigued by the premise for this new set of short stories and having read the stories for December, January and February, I think that Della has captured the friendships, support and comfort that can come from being a member of a reading group very well.
Part one, The Reading Group: December is a short introductory story of about 30 pages that introduces us to all of the main members of the reading group; Grace, Kate, Anne-Marie, Jo-jo, Serena and and sets the scene for the months to come which each focus in on a different member of the group. Each month the group are reading a literary classic. For December its A Christmas Carol and readers familiar with the story will recognise some of the themes of the Christmas favourite within the contemporary story that Della is telling as group member Grace has to face the possibility of a less than merry Christmas. Grace is mum to five year old triplets and this endeared her to me straight away. I really enjoyed this introductory story and it left me looking forward to the next part and getting to know the group better. The good news is that The Reading Group: December will be free to download when it is released so you can all try it soon too!
The Reading Group: January sees the ladies of Little Sanderton reading Jane Austen’s Emma and the story focuses on the youngest member of the group: Anne Marie. I loved the way Della modernised the story of Emma for this part of the series and Anne Marie’s antics made me smile. Her character is lovably flawed and in keeping with the classic, this is a lovely romantic part to the series. The descriptions of Little Sanderton come alive in this part too and as regular readers will know, I have a weakness for seaside-set stories so this was right up my street!
February sees the romance turn a little more sultry as the group turn their attention to Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Kate is the focus for the story. Again, I enjoyed how the classic that the group are reading linked to the story and I’ve enjoyed the variety of storylines that each of the parts of The Reading Group have featured so far. The Reading Group: February highlighted for me how quickly friendships can flourish in a group where the members trust and confide in each other and how wonderfully supportive this can be.
I love serialised novels; they give me quick bursts of a story that I can fit in when I don’t have time to sit down and get engrossed in a full book and I’m delighted to have discovered a new author in Della Parker. I can’t wait to read parts four, five and six when they are released early next year!
The Reading Group December, January and February will be released in ebook formats on 1st December.
To celebrate the launch, Quercus and Della Parker are holding an online book club on Friday 2nd December – full details below! Please do join us!