Thursday 31 December 2020

My Top Reads of 2020 #AmReading #TopReads2020 #TopBooks2020 #BookBlogger


My Top Reads of 2020

2020 .... what a year! I can say nothing that hasn't already been said.

It's been a year like no other in our life times. It's been a year of disruption and sorrow. It's been a year of unease and unrest. I hope I never have to live through another year like it.

I have continued to read. I have continued to shout about books. Luckily, I didn't lose my reading mojo, in fact I probably read more, and I certainly read a wider range of books.

I read around 140 books in total. Most of them have been reviewed on this blog. I rarely finish a book that I'm not enjoying, so picking out my top reads of a year is always incredibly difficult. I have 25 books on my list, there could have been so many more.

As always, my list is split into three sections; I start with some of the 2020 books that I read in 2019. I mentioned them last year and hoped that they would be huge.

The second part is my list of  Top Books of 2020

Finally, I'll give a mention to some 2021 publications that I've read early.
I really think that 2021 is going to be another fabulous book year!


2020 books that I predicted would do well

At the end of last year, I'd read these 2020 books pre-publication, and predicted that they would do well. I'm still recommending them, twelve months later.  (click on the title for my full review).

A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone published by Orenda Books on 23 January 

The Home by Sarah Stovell published by Orenda Books on 22 January 

It Started With A Secret by Jill Mansell published by Headline on 23 January 

Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson published by Bantam Press on 23 January 

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper published by Headline on 9 January 

My Top Reads of 2020

My Top Reads of the year are listed in order of reading. The list contains some favourite authors who pop up year after year, and also some debuts. I think it's a great list, with something for everyone. I heartily recommend all of these books.  (click on the title for my full review)

Firewatching by Russ Thomas published on 20 February by Simon & Schuster
Firewatching is smart, it's suspenseful yet considered. The plotting is so intricate and the pace is absolutely perfect.

I Am Dust by Louise Beech published on 16 February by Orenda Books
There's a tenderness to this author's writing that brings a lump to the throat, and the final scenes are heart-stopping in their beauty.

The River Home by Hannah Richell published on 19 March by Orion
The writing is captivating, the sense of place is incredible and the story itself is intricate and perfectly woven. The River Home is beautifully and insightfully written, this probably one of the most beautiful books that I will read this year.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan published 2 April by Simon & Schuster
It is so carefully crafted, with multiple threads and so many shocks revealed. It is a story that haunts the reader as more is revealed. I was totally gripped throughout.

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent published 26 March by Penguin Ireland 
I was left breathless by this novel and I have so much respect for an author who can create characters who evoke so many feelings in a reader.
Sublime and really just brilliant.  Highly recommended

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman published 7 May by Allen & Unwin
A novel that looks at perception and belief. A story that is so powerfully moving, from an author who really is at the top of her game.  Highly recommended.

The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith published 9 July by Orenda Books
This novel is shockingly brilliant, and I devoured it. It is thought provoking yet written with such an exquisite touch and is a devastating yet eye-opening story of how humanity and science merge.

Watch Him Die by Craig Robertson published 11 June by Simon & Schuster
Watch Him Die is absolutely absorbing. The sense of place, of LA and of Glasgow is perfect. It's unsettling yet compelling. Totally unputdownable.  Highly recommended by me

The Curator by MW Craven published on 4 June by Constable
Masterful and quite brilliant, this is an extraordinary story. It is an intelligent and  exhilarating read. Craven has done it again. Another pitch perfect addition to this top class series. Now I need the next one please.

The Shadow Friend by Alex North published 9 July by Michael Joseph
This is an ambitious story that is told incredibly well. It is dark, creepy and at times, a little bit terrifying. I found it really difficult to put down, and impossible to forget.

Quiet Acts of Violence by Cath Staincliffe published 2 July by Constable
This is a powerful story, excellently written with compassion and painful honesty. Outstanding and highly recommended by me.

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers published 9 July by W&N
This author writes magnificently. Her prose is just sublime, from the descriptions of everyday things such as the falling rain and a suburban living room, to the more complicated affairs of heart and emotion, she never puts a word wrong.

Finders Keepers by Sabine Durrant published 9 July by Hodder
Finders Keepers is mesmerising and mysterious. I was absolutely gripped throughout. This author really cannot put a foot wrong, in my view. Highly recommended 

Below The Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin published 23 July by Bonnier Zaffre
This is a captivating and heart-rending story and I was totally involved and immersed. It really is just beautiful; sensitive, empathic and polished to perfection

The Seven Doors by Agnes Ravatn published 17 September by Orenda Books
The writing is skilled and the plotting seems effortless, yet is so dramatic, leading the reader to the final, shocking reveal.

Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall published 20 August by Orion
The novel is structured perfectly, it is a dark but very powerful read and the characterisation is quite fabulous.  This is a first-class read 

The Island by Ben McPherson published on 6 August by Harper Collins
Ben McPherson is a master story teller. This brilliantly unnerving read leaves the reader in shock, with questions of their own. It is brilliantly and sensitively written

Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh published 3 September by Orion Books
An intense and powerful crime thriller, populated by characters who are totally believable and who the reader will invest in. Yet another tense and inventive story from one of the most talented crime authors around.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo published 5 March by Penguin
Girl, Woman, Other is an important book, it's a revelation for those of us that have little knowledge of the worlds inhabited by the characters within it. It is compassionate and moving, and filled with life.

The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone published 20 August by Orenda Books
This talented author can do no wrong in my eyes. His depiction of the complexities of a the female family relationship is wonderfully done, with empathy, warmth and some deliciously dark humour

Burning Island by by Suzanne Goldring published 20 January by Bookouture
Burning Island is an absorbing and emotionally charged read and I learnt so much about parts of Corfu's history that I had no idea about before. It is so well researched and the sense of place is so well portrayed

The Housewarming by SE Lynes published 21 October by Bookouture
The frailties of human kind are laid bare, and the long term damage caused by impetuous and quite selfish acts are laid out starkly.
The Housewarming is a gripping thriller but is also a mediative look at the nature of community and close relationships. 

When The Music Stops by Joe Heap published on 29 October by Harper Collins
This is bold, inventive and perceptive. Dazzlingly good, this one will stay with me forever. Highly recommended. 

Sins of the Father by Sharon Bairden published 27 November by Red Dog Press
I am in awe of this writing, and the story. It's heart-breaking and brutal and filled with characters who are far more than they appear to be on the surface. 
Tough, emotional, raw and shocking. The Sins of the Father is an outstanding read. Highly recommended from me. 

And so, I come to my final choice; my favourite book of 2020

This is the only the second time that I've ever singled out an individual  book in my favourites list in over 10 years of compiling one. 

There is just something about this book; the writing, the characters, the plot. It has stayed with me ever since I turned the last page. 
I will shout about this one for a long time.

published by Orenda Books on 21 November, digitally - the paperback will be published on 21 January 2021

It's an exploration of family, of community and of how the past is not always another country. A book filled with honesty and written with a tenderness that is faultless. 
There's Only One Danny Garvey is one of the best books I've read for years.

Books to look out for in 2021 ....

I've already made a start on the 2021 books, and if the ones that I've read already are anything to go by, we are in for another outstanding book year.
Here are a few tips; books that I think will be huge next year. 

The Push by Ashley Audrain - 7 January 2021 from Michael Joseph
It is an exceptional debut novel. Raw and honestly brutal. Highly recommended. 

The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean - 7 January 2021 from Hodder & Stoughton
An extraordinary book. One that will haunt me for a very long time. A masterpiece.

Daughters Of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson - 18 February 2021 from Mantle/Pan Macmillan
This impressive story will have you on the edge of your seat. What an incredibly talented author she is. I really want more now.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles - 9 February 2021 from Two Roads
My review of this one has not been published yet. Look out for my thoughts which will be in the Daily Express in January

Everything Happens For a Reason by Katie Allen - 10 April (digital), 10 June (paperback) from Orenda Books
My review of this one has not been published yet.  I read this really early, on submission and fell for it hook, line and sinker. I intend to read the finished version and review very soon.

That's 2020 over and done with. Thank goodness!

It's been a fabulous year for books, but very little else has been joyful.

I want to wish everyone the VERY BEST for next year - let's hope that we can all meet again very soon.

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who reads my reviews and puts up with my book shouting.

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Dear Reader : The Comfort & Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink @CatRentzenbrink @picadorbooks @CamillaElworthy #DearReader

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help. 

Dear Reader : The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink was published in hardback by Picador on 17 September 2020. The paperback edition is published in August 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I love books about books. I love books about people who love books, and I love books written by people who I've spent time with and chatted to. Dear Reader ticks all of those boxes for me. It's so beautifully written, honest and down to earth. It is a book written by someone for whom reading is as natural as breathing. Someone who can remember the key points in her life by the books that she read at the time. Someone who has learnt so much from books, and who, in turn has taught so many others through her career with books. 

The reader learns so much about the author's life. From the evenings spent serving customers in her parents pub in North Lincolnshire. The devastating and tragic accident that took the life of her beloved brother. How she began in bookselling, and how she sought and found solace between the pages of the books that she sold, and how she passed on that love to her customers. 

We learn about how she found love, about her own child and about how she felt like an imposter in the quite frightening and intimidating book world. Some of these stories made me nod my head in agreement and ironically, it was the author herself who made me more comfortable in the book world. Around six years ago she Tweeted that she would choose one person as her 'plus one' for the launch party of The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, and she chose me! I was petrified as I arrived at the doors of The Ivy in London and entered a room full of faces that were so familiar to me; Jojo Moyes, Victoria Hislop, Rebecca Chance and so many more. Cathy found me, gave me a huge grin and whilst I was completely star struck all night, I left feeling that maybe, just maybe, I could be a part of all of that. I have never forgotten her kindness. 

Dear Reader is Cathy's love letter to reading, to books and to authors. I loved every single page. I loved re-discovering books that I too had read and enjoyed, I loved finding books that I'd not read, and that I really now must read. This book is a joy; it is a real gift for a bibliophile. It doesn't matter what you read, or how many books you read, the author does not judge. She does not discriminate, she's certainly no book snob. She's a book lover.

It is tender and down to earth and feels almost like a bible for readers. I will cherish my copy and it's a book that I will buy for others. Highly recommended, such a special book. 

Cathy Rentzenbrink has lived in Cornwall, Yorkshire and London and recently returned to Cornwall,
where she lives with her family and works as a writer and journalist. 

She is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling memoir The Last Act of Love, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize and selected for the Richard & Judy Book Club.

Twitter @CatRentzenbrink

Tuesday 29 December 2020

The Girl Who .... by Andreina Cordani @AndreinaCordani @AtomBooks @LittleBrownUK #TheGirlWho #BookReview


Leah is the perfect survivor. She was seven years old when she saw her mother and sister killed by a troubled gang member. Her case hit the headlines and her bravery made her a national sweetheart: strong, courageous and forgiving.

But Leah is hiding a secret about their deaths. And now, ten years later, all she can think of is revenge.

When Leah's dad meets a new partner, stepsister Ellie moves in. Sensing Leah isn't quite the sweet girl she pretends to be, Ellie discovers that Leah has a plan, one she has been putting together ever since that fateful day. Now that the killer - and the only one who knows the truth - is being released from prison, time is running out for Ellie to discover how far Leah will go to silence her anger . . .

The Girl Who ... by Andreina Cordani is published by Atom Books / Little Brown on 14 January 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I don't read a lot of Young Adult novels, in fact I think The Girl Who ... is the only one that I've read this year. I was really attracted to this one by the blurb; the fact that it's not a 'girl meets boy' story, but a psychological thriller that deals with some really serious issues. I'm far too old for teenage love stories, but any story that deals with the effects of trauma does resonate with me. I'm so glad that I picked this one up. It's sophisticated and extremely well written.

Leah's name is well-known throughout the country. What happened to her as a child is so difficult for people to comprehend that she's usually referred to as 'the girl who ..', with a long silence after the 'who'. 
Leah witnessed the brutal murder of her mother and younger sister. Stabbed by a teenage gang member, seemingly at random. Leah was unharmed physically, but her mental scars are deep and instead of healing with time, they just get bigger and more painful.

On the surface, Leah is the poster girl for the charity that her father set up after the murders. She speaks of forgiveness, she looks wholesome and pretty and well mannered. Inside, Leah is broken. There are things about 'Crow', the boy who killed her mother and sister that she has never told another person. She is eaten up by guilt, by anger and by a desire for revenge. She holds all of that inside.

When Leah's father meets a new partner, two families blend to try to become one. Suddenly, Leah is no longer the only girl in the household. Ellie has arrived. Ellie is outspoken and glittery. Obsessed with 'likes' on her YouTube channel and hates having to live above a stuffy bookshop with this strange, perfect girl who is protected from everything.

The novel is narrated by both Leah and Ellie, and also by Boyd - aka Crow; the teen who is responsible for the whole situation. I thought this was an excellent way to structure the story, enabling the reader to have some insight into the most private thoughts of each character. We see them as nobody else does, we see the real them, we are privy to their innermost thoughts and anxieties.

Cordani deals with the effect of trauma so very well. She realises that young people who are not quite adults yet are often told how they should feel, rather than be allowed to express their actual emotions. We learn how guilt and anger can consume one person, destroying them from the inside, controlling their every moment and affecting the people around them. 

The Girl Who ... is sensitively written. It is a multi-layered story with characters who are incredibly well crafted. Whilst aimed at the Young Adult market, this  is a story that is relevant and appropriate for any age of reader. 

When she was at school, Andreina Cordani used to get out of gym class by saying she would use the
time to write a book and dedicate it to her gym teacher. Sadly it took years of exercise-dodging before she was able to complete The Girl Who…, and she hasn’t been able to touch her toes since 2002.

In the following years, she pursued a career in journalism, working for women’s magazines including Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. Specialising in ‘real life’ stories, she interviews seemingly ordinary people about their extraordinary lives – most of which you wouldn’t believe if you read it in a novel.

She lives on the Dorset coast with her family where she reads voraciously, watches YouTubers with increasing fascination and swims in the sea.

Sunday 27 December 2020

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson @LauraSRobinson @MantleBooks @panmacmillan #DaughtersOfNight @rosiewillsreads


London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thief taker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.

But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . . .

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson is published by Mantle / Pan Macmillan on 18 February 2021, and is the author's second book. I read and reviewed her first; Blood and Sugar here on Random Things back in April.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have been absolutely transfixed by this wonderful story for the past three days. It was the perfect Christmas read for me. 

Caro Corsham appeared briefly in Shepherd-Robinson's first novel and I'm delighted that she decided to give Caro her own story. She's an absolutely fabulous creation; determined and appearing quite fearless, a woman way before her time who takes risks in the name of justice.

When Caro discovers the body of her friend Lucia in a bower in the Vauxhall Gardens, she is devastated. Whilst she didn't know Lucia well, she liked her very much. However, it soon becomes clear that Lucia was not, in fact, a wealthy gentlewoman. She was actually Lucy Loveless; a five-guinea prostitute. Well known in the area, and it seems, the holder of many secrets. The police are not interested in the death of a working girl, but Caro is. She engages the services of Peregrine Child; a local thief-taker and former magistrate and unwittingly places herself, and Child into extreme danger. 

Caro has her own secrets. Secrets that could mean that she is banished from society, her child taken from her, and her money cut off. She's battling to save her own face whilst also determined to seek justice for Lucy. 

This really is historical fiction at its very best. The author paints such a vivid and evocative setting for some really dastardly and quite horrific crimes. The attention to detail is just incredible and it is far more than just a reading experience, this is like a history lesson from a teacher who loves her subject. We don't just learn about the squalor and poverty; the addiction and deviance. We learn about the total lack of any rights of people who are not men, and who are not rich. We constantly worry about society today; about the violence, the lack of morals and the corruption by those in power. In Daughters of Night, Shepherd- Robinson clearly and intricately details the absolute horror that life was for the residents of London in the late 1700s, there are situations in this story that are still as relevant today; well over two hundred years later. 

Not only is this a story rich in historical detail, with immaculately created characters, it is also a complex and incredibly well woven crime mystery. There are a lot of characters here, there is a lot to take in, but it's written so well and with such vibrancy that the story just flows through the pages. Revealing dangerous men who do evil things, the utter contempt for anyone who may cross them, especially if they are female. The total feeling of how the rich and powerful have no regard for anyone but themselves. The desperation of trying to cover their tracks, the destruction of anyone who may get in their way ... all of it is here, in mighty and colourful prose that will thrill the reader. 

Daughters of Night is an epic, harrowing and astonishing historical crime thriller. I loved the author's first novel, but I adored this one and despite it having almost 600 pages, I really didn't want it to end.

This impressive story will have you on the edge of your seat. What an incredibly talented author she is. I really want more now. 

Laura Shepherd-Robinson was born in Bristol in 1976. She has a BSc in Politics from the University
of Bristol and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics. Laura worked in politics for nearly twenty years before re-entering normal life to complete an MA in Creative Writing at City University. She lives in London with her husband, Adrian.

Twitter @LauraSRobinson

Instagram @laurashepherdrobinson

Thursday 24 December 2020

Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson @DoubledayUK @alisonbarrow @HJ_Barnes #ThreeWomenAndABoat #BookReview


Meet Eve, who has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia: defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.

Inexperienced and ill-equipped, Sally and Eve embark upon a journey through the canals of England, guided by the remote and unsympathetic Anastasia. As they glide gently - and not so gently - through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of canalboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds.

Disarmingly truthful and narrated with a rare, surprising wit, THREE WOMEN AND A BOAT is a journey over the glorious waterways of England and into the unfathomable depths of the human heart.

Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson was published by Doubleday in hardback on 12 November 2020, the paperback is released in July 2021. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Eve has been given the sack after thirty years in the Engineering industry. Sally has just told her husband that she no longer wants to be married to him and Anastasia is sick and is facing a life-saving operation.

These three women meet by chance and between them they form a plan. Eve and Sally will navigate Anastasia’s narrow-boat along the English canals, while she receives her hospital treatment.

Neither Sally or Eve have ever set foot upon a narrow boat before, and they hardly know each other. This is either a massive mistake, or it could be the beginning of a wonderful new friendship.

Along the way, the characters learn more about each other. They meet many friends of Anastasia along the way; some are friendly, some are mysterious, but all of them have nothing but good to say about Anastasia, despite the fact that she’s bristly and curt and often dismissive.

This is so much more than a journey on a boat. This is a journey of life and discovery; a story of how friendships are formed and how sometimes the biggest, most drastic changes in life are the ones that do the most good.

Anne Youngson writes with such humour and compassion. The characters are a joy to discover and the depiction of life in the narrow-boat community is vividly done. This author excels in stories of second chances and championing those in later life.

An insightful, emotional and absorbing tribute to friendship and community.

ANNE YOUNGSON lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren
to date. 
MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM, her debut novel, was shortlisted for the Costa Best First Novel Award and won the inaugural Paul Torday prize for debut fiction by writers over sixty.  Her exquisite new novel, a BBC Radio Two Bookclub pick, is also about the joy of discovering new experiences and friendships.  Her work is published around the world.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Hungry by Grace Dent @gracedent #Hungry @mudlarkbooks @HarperCollinsUK #BookReview #AMemoirOfWantingMore


From Frazzles to Foie Gras: a memoir of wanting more.

From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better.

Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. It’s the high-point of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen, on an otherwise grey day of double-Maths and cross country running. It’s the real story of how we have all lived, laughed, and eaten over the past 40 years.
Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.

Hungry by Grace Dent was published in hardback on 29 October 2020 by Mudlark / Harper Collins. I saw Damian Barr share an extract from this book on Twitter and after reading that, I bought a copy for myself. 

I have long been a fan of Grace Dent. Masterchef is one of my favourite TV programmes and I adore the 'critics round'. When I see that it's Grace Dent in one of the critic's chairs, then it is extra special, oh and if Jay Rayner is in one of the other chairs, my day is complete!

I have enjoyed every single page of this well-written, funny, emotional and completely honest memoir. I admire the author's ability to make the most mundane and ordinary of households sound like such an adventure. Grace Dent is a few years younger than me, but it really feels that time didn't move quite so fast back in the 70s and 80s, and I could relate to her adolescent experiences so much. 
I live in the North, not as far North as Grace did, but it's the North - I won't be told otherwise! I remember the advent of the huge supermarkets; the excitement of the 'Whoops' yellow reduced price sticker (I still get that buzz today!). I remember microwaves being introduced (ours was second hand and my mother didn't allow us to walk past it whilst it was cooking .... in case we radiated our insides!)

Grace Dent was a determined young woman, she'd been brought up within a family of workers and she made sure that she got where she wanted to be. She's not ashamed to say that she accepted most jobs that were offered to her, despite the humour, it is so clear that she worked long and hard to get where she is today. 

This is not just Grace's story of how she made her career though. It is also an emotional and often quite heart-breaking account of how her family has dealt with her father's illness. From the beginning, when all of them just thought Dad was a bit grumpy, ate too much Cadbury's Fruit n Nut and was obsessed with his daily newspaper. Right through to the very end, where Dad often no longer recognises them, where he sits in a room, skeletal and not interested in food anymore. It's devastating. Grace was her father's 'only little girl' ... and that phrase hides yet another story! 

I really liked Grace Dent before I read her book. Now I think I actually love her. I flew through this one, I felt as though I was there with her. It's honest and highly entertaining. I'd really like some more! 

Grace Dent is a broadcaster, author and columnist. is restaurant critic for the Guardian and one of Britain's best-known voices in food.

She has been a regular face on MasterChef - in all its formats - since 2013.

Grace currently presents the multi-award-winning show The Untold on BBC Radio 4 and What We Were Watching for BBC Four. She is a familiar face on shows such as Have I Got News For You, Pointless and Great British Menu. Grace has published nine books for young adults and for several years wrote ‘Grace and Flavour’ for the London Evening Standard as well as a popular Independent column.

Twitter @gracedent