This week on the podcast, Vick is joined by best-selling American novelist, Kristin Hannah. As a prolific writer herself it was a joy to discover Kristin’s five favourite novels written by a woman.

Her choices take us from a little house in the woods, to the complex politics of a witches dynasty to a painfully honest little boy growing up in the Appalachian Mountains.

Little House in the Big Woods

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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With the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, there was this sense of this family, and they were settled. And they lived in a community. And Laura, she was a self reliant and confident and bold, and she was sort of everything I wanted to be, and she lived in this world, that seemed incredibly romantic to me, because it was so settled. And she could always rely on the people around her.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harpar Lee

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It’s probably my favourite novel of all time…I loved how it’s one of those books that opened my eyes to so many things, and introduced me to a kind of character that prior to that book, I hadn’t experienced. And of course, there’s always the Atticus and Scout father daughter relationship, which impacts me a lot. And just the writing and the story.

The Witching Hour

by Anne Rice

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It’s one of the first books that I read as a reader and as a writer sort of at the same time. And I mean, obviously I was swept away and is was just a beautiful wordsmith. And she was philosophically really interesting. And here was a book that yes, it’s about witches and otherworldly beings. And it has, this kind of a supernatural cast to it. But at its core, it’s about this woman, this neurosurgeon who is discovering her own family history and her own powers in a very, very unexpected way.

Demon Copperhead

by Barbara Kingsolver

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I remember as a writer, reading the first 15 pages of this novel, and just being blown away, at the way, Barbara had crafted this particular boy’s voice. I mean, he sounded so sort of deeply genuine, so a boy of his time of his age of his circumstance. And that’s a really difficult thing to do. So I knew going in what amazingly competent and brilliant hands I was going to be in.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

by Susanna Clarke

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What I particularly loved about Jonathan strange was the world building this world that was almost our world, but just this little twist that changes everything. And so you get all the joy of reading a dense, rich, historical novel, but you also get something that you’ve never read before. And that to me, as a reader, if I can stumble across a novel that both teaches me, and gives me a view of either the real world or an imaginative world that I have not seen before. I mean, to me that’s the golden ticket.