Mutant bees and a missing friend make a good winter read

A Morpeth bookshop has suggestions aplenty for a good read this winter.

Waterstones Book Club presents a selection of books that could be suitable for groups to read and discuss.

Here, Lead Bookseller Jo Graham introduces two of them.

First off, The Bees, by Laline Paull.

Born into the lowest class of her society, Flora 717 is a sanitation bee, only fit to clean her orchard hive. But Flora is not like other bees, she has talents that are not typical of her kin.

While mutant bees are usually instantly destroyed, Flora is removed from sanitation duty and finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers secrets both sublime and ominous.

Enemies are everywhere, and when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all, her instinct to serve is overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will lead to the unthinkable.

For fans of Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey.

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went.

Sometimes her home is unrecognisable, or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so.

This has just won the Costa award for first novel. It is a detective novel that draws you in and shows the impact of mental illness. It is a wonderful read and will suit readers who love a well-written novel with a twist.