Our Fiction Editor’s 5 Favourite Books of 2023

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What a pleasure it is to see so many incredible books published this year. Whether you’re into romance, crime, fantasy or drama, we’ve been spoiled for choice – which makes choosing my five best fiction books of 2023 a tall order. Here are some of my picks from the many fabulous books we received in 2023.

My Top 5 Books of 2023

Queen Bee by Ciara Geraghty. HarperFiction, PB, £9.99Queen Bee book cover

Huge steps have been taken even just in the last year to destigmatise the shame and invisibility of people going through the menopause. Ciara Geraghty is an author who writes about it with no over-eagerness or preachiness, just facts.

Her protagonist, Agatha Doyle, is someone who just happen to be menopausal, but it’s not the only thing she’s dealing with in life. Her father’s a nuisance, her sons barely talk to her, and her husband might be having an affair.

When she accidentally becomes the poster girl for menopause, it’s a great opportunity for her to demystify it – after all, why should it be what defines you? By writing about Agatha in this way, Geraghty works towards addressing the topic with laugh-aloud humour, sensitivity and intelligence. Queen Bee is written in a relatable diary style, and Agatha will soon become your fictional best friend.

The Old Haunts by Allan Radcliffe (Fairlight Books, PB, £7.99)

Allan Radcliffe’s debut novel is one that has stuck with me for a while. It follows Jamie who is dealing with losing both his parents and coming to terms with his relationship with them.

It’s a story of love between family and the love Jamie has for his boyfriend Alex. Radcliffe’s writing is understated and sweet, but it’s also so full: full of hope, full of wit, and full of intelligence.

As we travel through Jamie’s memories of childhood, his coming of age, and his current situation, Radcliffe gives the bildungsroman genre a breath of fresh air.

This is one to slip into the stocking of anyone who is feeling loss keenly, or who loves a perfectly crafted, compact gem of a book.

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver. Penguin Random House, PB, £8.99A Winter In New York book cover

I read A Winter in New York a few months ago, and I still can’t get Josie Silver’s descriptions of gelato out of my head! Iris has moved to New York to get away from an emotionally abusive ex and to find herself again. She meets Gio, who works at his family’s gelato store, but their will-they-won’t-they relationship is just one of the important ones woven into the story.

Family is at the crux of A Winter in New York: both close-knit and estranged – and the book explores the good points and the bad points about each. Silver also reinforces the importance of loyalty – and where being overly loyal can go wrong.

Ultimately, A Winter in New York is about a fierce young woman finding her passion, finding her power and standing up for herself again.

You, Again by Kate Goldbeck. Transworld Publishers, PB, £9.99You, Again book cover

What would a good modern romance be without an undercurrent of frustration, unspoken desire and miscommunication?

In You, Again, Kate Goldbeck tells a story that’s shot through with will-they-won’t-they, friends-to-lovers, and grumpy x sunshine tropes, making it eminently readable as a result.

You’ll fall for comedian Ari and chef Josh as much as they fall for each other, and root for them the whole way through, whether that’s hoping for them to succeed in their careers, in their family lives or in their love lives.

Just a note: this one gets a bit spicy at times, so make sure you’re prepared for some heat.

The Witch is Back by Sophie H Morgan. HarperCollins, PB, £8.99The Witch Is Back book cover

I think we could all use a little bit of magic right now, so why not immerse yourself into Sophie H Morgan’s world of witches, warlocks and marriage contracts?

The world of magical high society doesn’t seem too different from reality, so when Emmaline Bluewater has her engagement broken by Bastian Truenote, it is considered shameful for everyone involved.

Emmaline is an endearing and familiar character who is a joy to read, picking herself up, dusting herself off and reassimilating into the non-magic world.

The Witch is Back hits all the notes for an enticing read: a strong female lead, unrequited love, betrayal and family dysfunction – all wrapped up in a tongue-in-cheek, funny, enchanting bow.

Don’t miss great short stories, author interview and book reviews inside My Weekly magazine, out every Tuesday!

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