The Soak Sunday Book Club
In partnership with the expert booksellers at Sevenoaks Bookshop, winners of the independent book shop of the year 2021
The third and final of Soak Sunday’s September Book Club recommendations, this week we explore different cultures and times with Cleo’s Paradise. A range inspired by Cleopatra’s iconic milk and honey bathing ritual, created to invoke a sense of immortal calm, we’ve paired it with equally indulgent fiction to transport your soul, and take you on a journey of exploration.
Indulge in storytelling, self-care and escapism with Soak Sunday...
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a unique and unforgettable culture, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children.
Exploring women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives from the Japanese colonialism of the 1930s and 1940s to the era of cellphones.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children. Throbbing with righteous anger and visceral prose, The Nickel Boys takes the real-life Florida reform school as a jumping off point to explore the tensions inherent in the US Civil Rights movement.
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide 'physical, intellectual and moral training' which will equip its inmates to become 'honorable and honest men'.
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear 'out back’…
Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Set against the brutal backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War, Adichie’s soaring epic entwines three deftly drawn characters in a web of faded colonialism, racial antagonism and vexed romance. Conjuring a richly evocative image of a complex, violent West Africa, Half of a Yellow Sunis a magnificently accomplished and emotionally engaging novel.
Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna's enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race - and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things. Vividly written, thrumming with life...
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Anappara’s tremendously accomplished debut is a singular take on the modern crime novel. Redolent of the bazaars and backstreets of the sub-continent, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line follows the exploits of three juvenile sleuths on the trail of a child stealer.
Three weeks ago I was only a schoolkid but now I'm a detective and also a tea-shop boy...
Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows, thinks he's smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than Faiz (even though Faiz is the one with a job).
When a boy at school goes missing, Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from episodes of Police Patrol to find him. With Pari and Faiz by his side, Jai ventures into some of the most dangerous parts of the sprawling Indian city; the bazaar at night, and even the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But kids continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an indifferent police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth.