Catherine has kindly written a guest post for us talking about a few of her favourite books, are any of these your favourites too?
Love in a Cold Climate is such a wonderfully witty novel it opened my eyes to the possibilities of comedic writing. Despite the glamorous Radlett and Hampton families, Nancy Mitford provides us with a sensible and down to earth narrator in Fanny. Not nearly as beautiful or as wild as her exotic cousins, Fanny is far easier to identify with and the novel is an eloquent reminder that the best way to write about frivolous young things, is from the vantage point of the outsider looking in.
Anne Tyler is probably my favourite contemporary novelist. She's so good yet she never draws attention to her writing, she lets you forget it. Back When We Were Grownups is a wry and comic tale about a woman who feels herself disappearing in middle age and tries to claw back the sense of who she once was before she became consumed by her dead husband's family.
I still return to JD Salinger's Franny and Zooey when I'm in need of reminding how brilliant writing can be. A novella in two parts it documents a crisis undergone by the undergraduate Franny and her brother's response to it. It's witty and clever and the dialogue leaps off the page. The best writer about children, teenagers and young adults.
I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson was a deserved best seller and I wish she'd written more novels. How to make Chick Lit look easy. Don't be deceived: not many people can do it like this. Follow her in the Telegraph and she still makes a great deal of sense, particularly when she writes about children.
I couldn't write about the novels that inspire me without including Persuasion. Thirty years ago it would have been the young Bennet girls, but the heroine of this tale, like the author - and like this reader - is more mature. Jane Austen's final novel might be slightly sombre but it never fails on irony and insight. I feel a bit panicky if I can't find it in the bookshelves and rush out and buy another. My husband tells me we are the proud owners of six copies at present.
by Catherine Alliott (1 August, eBook £7.99/ Trade paperback £12.99, Michael Joseph) BUY HERE:http://bit.ly/MHNDebook
And thanks to the generosity of Catherine's publisher Penguin I have a fab giveaway for you, 5 lucky followers can win a pair of printed wellies from Joules RRP £39.95 (UK only). There's a fantastic selection to choose from here.
Entries will close at midnight on 10th August when the lucky winners will be selected. I will then contact you to find out your preferred choice of wellies and your shoe size to pass onto Penguin to enable them to order your wellies for you.