The best domestic dramas for making you glad your own life is relatively normal and stress-free

Who am I?

I love writing about families and what makes them tick: the minor dramas being played out behind every front door, make for intriguing reading. As a journalist, I have interviewed so many people with fascinating stories to tell, and with my fiction I throw my characters into a tricky situation and see what unfolds. Inevitably, if you pull one playing card from the bottom, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. When faced with unexpected challenges, my characters often behave badly, make poor decisions and get themselves into the kind of mess that makes you want to read one more chapter before turning out the light at night. 

I wrote...

His Other Woman

By Sarah Edghill,

Book cover of His Other Woman

What is my book about?

Her husband is with another woman—but it’s not who she thinks it is, and the results may be more devastating than an affair...

Lucy’s husband has been missing for days while she tries to pretend to those around her, including her distracted teenagers, that everything is normal. In desperation she uses a phone app to track him—and discovers he’s with another woman. As her life falls apart, Lucy realises nothing is as it seems. There is another woman in her husband’s life, but it’s someone she has known – and hated – for 20 years. As the story unfolds—including in the national press—the family must pull together before lives are destroyed...

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Hotel New Hampshire

Why did I love this book?

A friend gave me a copy of this book many years ago and told me I’d treasure it. She wasn’t wrong and I’ve since bought many more copies to pass on to others. This is a huge novel, with the story taking place over decades, following the lives of an oddball family, the Berrys. At times the plot seems unrealistic and almost ridiculous. But it works and I was captivated by it. Irving is a genius: he creates extraordinary characters and his writing is funny, beautiful, and lyrical.

By John Irving,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Hotel New Hampshire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The first of my father's illusions was that bears could survive the life lived by human beings, and the second was that human beings could survive a life led in hotels.'

So says John Berry, son of a hapless dreamer, brother to a cadre of eccentric siblings, and chronicler of the lives lived, the loves experienced, the deaths met, and the myriad strange and wonderful times encountered by the family Berry. Hoteliers, pet-bear owners, friends of Freud (the animal trainer and vaudevillian, that is), and playthings of mad fate, they 'dream on' in this funny, sad, outrageous, and moving novel.

Ladder of Years

By Anne Tyler,

Book cover of Ladder of Years

Why did I love this book?

I could choose almost any novel by Anne Tyler because she’s such a reliable writer: you pick up one of her books and you know what you’re getting, yet each has its own unique cleverness. There are rarely big thriller-esque dramas, but ordinary people do slightly less than ordinary things, and the way she develops her characters and helps us understand them is masterful. Ladder of Years is about Delia Grinstead, who spontaneously walks out on her family while they’re on a beach holiday. It’s a simple premise, but a great starting point for a novel. 

By Anne Tyler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ladder of Years as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Breathing Lessons


The headlines are all the same: Beloved mother and wife Delia Grinstead was last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing only a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To the best of her family's knowledge, she has disappeared without a trace. But Delia didn't disappear. She ran.

Exhausted with her routine and everyone else's plans for her, Delia needed an out, a chance to make a new life for herself and to…

Book cover of I’m Sorry You Feel That Way

Why did I love this book?

Yet more dysfunctional families and tormented sibling relationships, but this book is funny as well as clever, and I loved the fractured relationships between Alice and Hanna, twins who have always been saint and sinner. Now the two women are adults, nothing has turned out as they expected in their lives and they struggle with each other as well as with their domineering mother and critical older brother. Some great family tension and well-written dialogue, and despite the subject matter, this isn’t a book that will leave you down-hearted.

By Rebecca Wait,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I’m Sorry You Feel That Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Times Best Fiction Book of the Year
A Guardian Best Fiction Book of the Year
A BBC Culture Book of the Year

'It's a warm book and a touching one. And did I mention it's funny? Just read it. You'll see' The Times

'Funny, tender and sad' Sunday Express

'If you liked Meg Mason's Sorrow and Bliss, you'll love this novel' Good Housekeeping

'One of the richest explorations of family dysfunction I've read' the i newspaper

'Shades of Fleabag in this smart, funny drama' Mail on Sunday…

Getting Rid of Matthew

By Jane Fallon,

Book cover of Getting Rid of Matthew

Why did I love this book?

Jane Fallon does seriously good messed-up families. I’ve read most of her books, but particularly enjoyed this one – the characters aren’t all likeable by any means, but the set-up is great and you’re desperate to find out how things will be resolved. Helen has been having an affair with a married man, Matthew, for four years when he suddenly turns up on her doorstep, announcing he has left his wife and twin daughters; the timing is unfortunate because Helen has just decided she wants to dump him. Rather than doing the sensible thing and knocking the relationship on the head, Helen goes rogue and ends up befriending Matthew’s wife and getting off with his grown-up son (she’s his age, and initially doesn’t know they’re related). Not surprisingly, chaos ensues.

By Jane Fallon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Rid of Matthew as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially when he's left his wife for you . . .

What to do if Matthew, your secret lover of the past four years, finally decides to leave his wife Sophie and their two daughters and move into your flat, just when you're thinking that you might not want him anymore . . .

PLAN A: Stop shaving your armpits. And your bikini line. Tell him you have a moustache that you wax every six weeks. Stop having sex with him. Pick holes in the way he dresses. Don't brush your teeth. Or your…


By John Lanchester,

Book cover of Capital

Why did I love this book?

This book follows a year in the lives of the occupants of a London street and the people who work for them. The guaranteed wealth of those who are lucky enough to own houses in the street – where property prices have soared – is contrasted with the struggles of those who keep the lives of the homeowners on track: the Polish builder, the Hungarian nanny, the Kamal family who run the shop at the end of the road. This is a moral fable about money, but it’s also a witty, perceptive story that gallops along and is hard to put down.

By John Lanchester,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Capital as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** From the author of The Wall **

Adapted into an Emmy Award-winning BBC One drama

'Effortlessly brilliant . . . hugely moving and outrageously funny.' Observer

The residents of Pepys Road, London - a banker and his shopaholic wife, an elderly woman dying of a brain tumour, the Pakistani family who run the local shop, the young football star from Senegal and his minder - all receive anonymous postcards with a simple message: We Want What You Have. Who is behind it? What do they want?

As the mystery of the postcards deepens, the world around Pepys Road is…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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