Serial spotlight: The Reading Group April by Della Parker

11 Apr

reading aprilMeet the Reading Group: five 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!

Serena, the ambitious young Headmistress of Poppins Private School, has just begun reading Jane Eyre alongside her friends in the Reading Group. She would never admit it out loud, but she’s half hoping that reality might once again echo fiction. Will she perhaps meet her own Mr Rochester?

That doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with one Mr Winchester, the handsome father of a troubled pupil in the midst of a messy divorce. But when the line between work and pleasure begins to blur, and troubles in her own family come to a head, Serena is left wondering if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the reading group series (you can read my thoughts on the earlier episodes here) and I’ve been looking forward to Serena’s turn in the spotlight. This is a lovely series for a quick read and the focus on classic novels that the group is reading each month, is a fab premise for the stories.

Each month the reading group choose a classic book for their meeting and the book that the group is reading for April installment is Jane Eyre. I was intrigued to find out how Della would bring the themes and characters of Jane Eyre into a modern day story but I must say she’s done it with flair and the April episode of The Reading Group is my new favourite of the set.

Serena is a school headmistress and has plunged herself into her career as a result of the sad loss of her husband Nick at a very young age. In this episode we finally get to delve into Serena’s character and her background more with the detail of her life at school, her relationships with her family and her past with Nick coming through strongly. Serena is one of my favourite reading group characters and the events of this story only made me like her even more.

As Serena meets Mr Winchester – who might just be her very own Mr Rochester – the scene is set for a gripping storyline as she becomes involved in his family’s troubles. As if this wasn’t drama enough, there’s an excellent sub plot involving Serena’s niece that had me hooked too.

The ladies of the reading group have by now established a close relationship and I loved how they rallied round to support Serena in this April story. For followers of the series, you’ll be pleased to know that there are brief (and exciting) updates on some of the other ladies in the group and the promise of much more to come in the next installment: The Reading Group – Summer Holiday which is thankfully out at the end of the month!

If you haven’t tried this series yet, don’t be afraid to jump in here as each story does stand alone very well. You might also like to note that there’s a free taster, The Reading Group December available to download too!


The Reading Group -April is out now in ebook formats from Quercus.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.


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