Good reads this holiday season

File picture by Susan Yin/Unsplash

By Lesley Thomson

BETTY by Tiffany McDaniel.

Betty Carpenter, born in a bathtub in 1954, to a white mother and a Cherokee father, lives in a world of prejudice and poverty.

Her father, while keeping the old Indian myths and culture alive in their lives, helps Betty – who he calls his “Little Indian” – her sisters and brothers with his imaginative stories to face their hardships and inspires them to be themselves. His love for his family permeates this emotive and at times distressing family saga, with all its unexpected twists and turns.

Huge in scope and emotions, this is a book that will be remembered.

*Published by Weidenfield & Nicholson/Jonathan Ball; ISBN 978 1 4746 1753 6

NINE LETTERS by John Webb.

Set in Durban and the Natal Midlands, Teddy Dickerson, a lawyer in Pietermaritzburg, is asked by his dying aunt to post letters to her friends. Thus starts a correspondence between people from different parts of the world and – originally rather reluctantly – Teddy, who is also involved in an interesting court case.

Aunt Val certainly had a vivid imagination while being of comfort to her readers, an impression Teddy takes care not to dispel.

An amusing, light read.

*Published by Penguin/Random House; ISBN 978 1 48590 413 7

AGENT SONYA by Ben Macintyre.

A very readable account of the incredible life of Mrs Burton, as she was known in the quiet English village she and her children lived in.

Sonya was the codename of Ursula Kuczynski, a German Jew who became a colonel in Russia’s Red Army, a dedicated communist and highly trained spy. She conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the 20th Century, while being a devoted mother, wife and lover.

Supplying Russia with secret information helped them keep pace with the west, thus possibly preventing a nuclear war.

*Published by Penguin/Random House; ISBN 978 0 241 40851 3

GOOD GIRL BAD GIRL by Michael Robotham.

Another exciting page-turner by a master story-teller. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven is called to asses Evie. Evie, found hiding in a secret room six years ago, has never told her true identity, but has a strange gift.

This is an accomplished and suspenseful crime novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

*Published by Sphere ISBN 978 0 7515 7343 5

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