Welcome to Helen Trevorrow, author of In The Wake.
Thanks so much, Ruby for having me on your blog to celebrate the launch of my debut novel, In The Wake. Although In The Wake is a thriller and I love breathtaking story-telling, my favourite top ten books here are more about character. The books that stay with me most have vivid characters that, like real people, never leave you. I could have picked many more!
- Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
This is where I had to start with the most influential books of my life. I read this book with horror. I played down to teachers how much it affected me. I didn’t want to be found out. Because there I was on the page – me and my intense and religiously maniacal mother. I feared for my future.
- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
As if being immersed in a world which gives you Frida Kahlo isn’t enough in itself to love it, then we’ve got a beautifully written story which plays with fiction and fact. She intertwines a fictional narrator into historical account laden with political subtext. What I remember most though is the literal claustrophobic sense of the Lacuna itself and the fear of drowning that it let rise in me. Read it at whatever level you want. A great story.
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
What world building! It’s as if I have been physically transported to another place and time. New Zealand to be exact in its gold-rush era and all the trimmings are meticulous and detailed. It’s a very Dickensian array of cast and characters and at the end of the day a yarn, a thriller in a way that you never want to end.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
Can someone explain how the Patriarchy works and how it came to be, please? Yes, here you go, said Naomi Alderman. So brave and brilliant.
- The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
I read this through the winter while at a low ebb in a new town. My toddler wouldn’t go to sleep without me, so I read surreptitiously on a kindle in the dark, under the covers while she fell asleep. A few pages each night. You relate to books in the context of your own life. It’s the last extra ingredient that the author can’t control. It marked a change for me and a moving on to a new stage of life. Just as it did with the main character of the book.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
I can never read enough of this genre. Beautifully written account that summarises the horror of life experience for so many women. Vivid day to day accounting of life, unexpected visitors and blood-curdling revulsion. Perfect. I don’t think anyone can ever be the same after reading it.
- The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
I love all her stories. The fact is that a decade after reading a Donna Tart novel you remember the characters as if they were your own real cousins. This particular fantastic yarn has epic descriptions of what we now know as vast crystal meth consumption. It’s a narrative from a precocious young girl. It is totally absorbing and I can’t drive past a water-tower without panicking for her survival.
- Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
Oh happy day! A good thing about feeling that you’re different is that when a book comes along that truly resonates with you it is revolutionary – earth shattering. It says, See Us! In history! Such a great story, wonderful writing but the historical context of darkened doorways and Toms, oh how I love it.
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The only man on my list (!) Honestly, I don’t know what it means but I love it. It’s like he bends back time or is in a separate time-narrative which he imagines so easily and vividly in all his books because I suppose they are all about life and death and continuity. On the surface though it’s a dashing thriller with plenty of blood and chases.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Save the best for last. At my convent we devoured this book. At the end of term school play we dressed as handmaids. It is both pleasing and devastating that this story is as current now as it was when first released. All this time has passed, and we haven’t moved on, yet I’m leading a ‘free’ life. I have the sort of life I would not have imagined possible when I was seventeen. A cautionary tale reminding us to vote, fight and vocalise or be enslaved.
In The Wake by Helen Trevorrow was published on 28 June 2018.
When a body is found floating in London’s Royal Albert Dock, successful public relations expert Kay Christie is sent to quiet the media, but things get complicated when it emerges that she knew the victim.
As events spiral out of control, Kay discovers that those close to her may be harbouring another secret – the story of a missing girl. Can Kay discover the truth before her life unravels and she risks losing everything?
In the Wake questions whether we can ever truly leave our pasts behind and explores the lengths that we will go to protect the people that we love…
Helen Trevorrow wrote In The Wake after graduating from Faber Academy. She studied at Leeds University and is a specialist food and drink PR.
Helen has ghost-written many articles for newspapers, magazines and websites. Born in Slough, she lived in London for twenty years and now lives in Brighton, Sussex.