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Five Must Read Novels for 2023

Five Must Read Virago Novels for 2023

This International Women’s Day we are celebrating some of the captivating novels being published on the Virago list this year.

Discover the fantastical eight lives of Ms Mook in Mirinae Lee’s 8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster.

Find yourself haunted by Aoife Fitzpatrick’s The Red Bird Sings.

Lose yourself in Kim Sherwood’s ground-breaking historical novel, A Wild & True Relation.

Land in the tumultuous world of early-twentieth-century Europe in Linda Grant’s The Story of the Forest. 

Recall lost love with Caroline O’Donoghue’s The Rachel Incident.

Dive in and find your favourite.

A Wild and True Relations by Kim Sherwood

A Wild and True Relation by Kim Sherwood

‘Remarkable’ Hilary Mantel

A Wild & True Relation opens during the Great Storm of 1703, as smuggler Tom West confronts his lover Grace for betraying him to the Revenue. Leaving Grace’s cottage in flames, he takes her orphaned daughter Molly on board ship disguised as a boy to join his crew. But Molly, or Orlando as she must call herself, will grow up to outshine all the men of Tom’s company and seek revenge – and a legacy – all of her own.


8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster by Mirinae Lee

8 Lives of a Century-Old Trickster by Mirinae Lee

‘Mesmerising, heartbreaking … a wild ride of a novel’ Monica Ali


At the Golden Sunset retirement home, it is not unusual for residents to invent stories. So when elderly Ms Mook first begins to unspool her memories, the obituarist listening to her is sceptical. Stories of captivity, friendship, murder, adventure, assumed identities and spying. Stories that take place in WWII Indonesia; in Busan during the Korean war; in cold-war Pyongyang; in China. The stories are so colourful and various, at times so unbelievable, that they cannot surely all belong to the same woman. Can they?


The Red Bird Sings by Aoife Fitzpatrick

The Red Bird Sings by Aoife Fitzpatrick

‘Compelling’ Anne Enright

A prize-winning Gothic feminist suspense based on a murder trial in 1897 West Virginia when the testimony of a ghost was admitted in court. The Red Bird Sings is to be read with your heart in your mouth down your spine to the final, haunting page. It also explores important questions which we are still asking to this day. Who is listened to and who is ignored? Why are women so often not believed? And what does justice truly mean?


The Story of the Forest by Linda Grant

The Story of the Forest by Linda Grant

‘I’m in awe, I’m charmed, and I want to press a copy on everyone I know’ Nigella Lawson

It’s 1913 and a young, carefree and recklessly innocent girl, Mina, goes out into the forest on the edge of the Baltic sea and meets a gang of rowdy young men with revolution on their minds. It sounds like a fairy tale but it’s life.

The adventure leads to flight, emigration and a new land, a new language and the pursuit of idealism or happiness – in Liverpool. But what of the stories from the old country; how do they shape and form the next generations who have heard the well-worn tales?


The Rachel Incident by Caroline O'Donoghue

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

‘If you’ve ever been young, you will love The Rachel Incident‘ Gabrielle Zevin

The Rachel Incident is an all-consuming love story. But it’s not the one you’re expecting. It’s unconventional and messy. It’s young and foolish. It’s about losing and finding yourself. But it is always about love.