More about books

As a writer and editor, I have enjoyed many years meeting and interviewing many fascinating people, and visiting wonderful locations worldwide.

These days I also indulge my passion for books, reading, and writing by interviewing authors, hosting events and sharing my reviews and recommendations.

Each month I host a book club on air for BBC Radio Suffolk with the afternoon presenter, Lesley Dolphin. You can listen again to our conversations by following the link below. Do join in with your own comments on the books we're reading!

I also have the pleasure of chairing and organising author talks for children and adults at events and festivals thoughout the year. Past events include Alexander McCall Smith, Margaret Drabble, Victoria Hislop, Griff Rhys Jones, Kate Mosse, Deborah Moggach, Maggie O'Farrell, Michael Morpurgo, Robert Peston, Kate Humble, Alan Johnson MP, Max Hastings and many more.

Each week I compile an e-newsletter offering book news, author events, my reviews and recommendations. If you'd like to receive it, please click here.

Thank you for reading

What's on

I am always planning new events but at the moment I have nothing quite ready to announce.

Events Archive

Visit my archive pages for details of all events in recent years.

Listening in

For some years I’ve been co-hosting a monthly book club on BBC Radio Suffolk with the presenter Lesley Dolphin. You can listen to past discussions here.

PODCAST - listen here to Catherine talking with Lesley on Tuesday 5th January 2021

And listen here for Christmas recommendations broadcast on Monday 14th December.

Scroll down for details of the title we’re reading this month or click here.

Browsers Book Group

Due to the current situation regarding coronavirus, we are no longer able to meet in person. If you wish to join in with the monthly online discussion, please sign up for the weekly e-newsletter here to receive details.

This is Happiness
by Niall Williams
Described as both comic and poignant, lyrical and tender, set in a rural Irish community, this is a book "to savour slowly like the way of life it enshrines". Will we agree?
Monday, 25 January 2021 - 8:00pm

Reader recommendations

At the end of each year, members of the Browsers Book Group meet together to share their favourite titles and offer ideas for gifts for friends and family, and for new authors to try ourselves. For 2020, this meeting took place online. The titles that were mentioned are listed here.

Buying books

As you get ideas for book purchases, please do remember to use your local high street bookshop. This is such a difficult time for them and they're all trying their best to find ways to allow us to shop safely.

But perhaps you've read about the new online bookshop initiative? It's called

There are curated booklists to browse, drawn up by booksellers and reviewers and, for every purchase made through the site, independent bookshops receive a commission. 

I've linked the reviews on my website so that you can purchase online if you wish (and I will receive a small commission for each purchase, with a further commission going to all independent bookshops). 

However, please note that it is still best to order direct from your local high street bookshop!

Book reviews

My recent recommendations

Here are the books I've been enjoying recently, both fiction and non-fiction titles.

by Wendy Hitchmough
Recommended non-fiction
With previously unpublished photography and new research, this is an analysis of how the Bloomsbury Group came to be.
Review date: 18.01.21
Hardback edition
by Abigail Dean
Review date: 18.01.21
Hardback edition
by Foreword by Kate Williams
Recommended non-fiction
Just like viewing an exhibition of diaries collected through the centuries. There are beautiful images and just enough information to tantalise,...
Review date: 06.01.21
Hardback edition
by William Hartston
Recommended non-fiction
An entertaining and enlightening presentation of the impact of mathematics on our daily lives and how we might respond to the figures we confront.
Review date: 27.12.20
Hardback edition
by Lisa Jewell
A fascinating mystery based on secrets and lies, and how we should never judge by appearances!
Review date: 16.12.20
Hardback edition
by Deirdre Mask
Recommended non-fiction
The story behind house numbers, street names, postcodes but also politics, power, kings and governments, managing disease and overcoming poverty. A...
Review date: 12.12.20
Hardback edition
by Kate Humble
Recommended non-fiction
A soothing and inspiring collection of thoughts about how to rid ourselves of some of the clutter of our lives.
Review date: 07.12.20
Hardback edition
by Melissa Harrison
Recommended non-fiction
Beautiful to look at and to hold, this is a fascinating and engaging diary of nature in both city and countryside from this award-winning writer.
Review date: 02.12.20
Hardback edition
by Polly Clark
Four stories interlinked to tell different facets of the life of the endangered Siberian tiger.
Review date: 05.01.21
by Helen Macdonald
Recommended non-fiction
Essays detailing a very personal response to the wonders of animals, plants, the natural world - this will delight time and again. A joy to read.
Review date: 30.11.20
Hardback edition

For children

These are my most recent recommendations for children. Click here to see listings by age.

by Libby Walden
This beautiful peep-through board book combines mesmerising, colourful images with rhyming text to open up conversations about feelings.
Review date: 11.01.21
by Gill Lewis
Taking place in the present day as well as Victorian England, there are two heroines who between them experience illegal immigration, early days of...
Review date: 06.01.21
by Jill Murphy
It's been a bad day for the Bear family. Warm, cosy pictures are supported by a fun, rhythmic story which has a message for all to enjoy.
Review date: 27.12.20
Hardback edition
by AM Howell
A beautifully atmospheric and nostalgic tale where, whatever happens, the clocks must not stop!
Review date: 20.12.20
by Alexandra Stewart
Beautiful illustrations support this true story of a baby elephant who makes the journey from Africa in 1860 to delight visitors to London Zoo and...
Review date: 14.12.20
Hardback edition
by Dan Brown
Review date: 14.12.20
Hardback edition
by Astra Taylor-Todd
A charming and amusing tale of the adventures of a blue tit meeting new friends and gaining in courage, with stunning and sophisticated illustrations.
Review date: 12.12.20
by Terry Pratchett
A collection of quirky and inventive short stories from the late, great, storyteller, Terry Pratchett. Illustrated by Mark Beech.
Review date: 07.12.20
Hardback edition

Look out for

These titles will soon be published but are not yet available in the shops. 

by Jane Harper
Secrets are unearthed in a close-knit community when the body of a young woman is discovered on the beach in Tasmania, Australia. Gripping.
Publication date: 21st January 2021
by Liz Kessler
Recommended for children
A powerful and heart-breaking story of Europe in the second world war, told through the perspective of three friends.
Publication date: 21st January 2021
by Cat Weldon
Recommended for children
Vikings, valkyries, gods, heroics, adventure and giggles. The first in a fun and action-packed trilogy.
Publication date: 21st January 2021
by Ellory Lloyd
What happens for the social media 'influencer' when they are no longer in control. A dark and compelling suspense you daren't put down!
Publication date: 21st January 2021
by Inga Vesper
A wonderfully atmospheric mystery. A housewife goes missing one stifling hot summer, in the suburbs of 1950s America.
Publication date: 4th February 2021
by Belinda Bauer
Published 11 February 2021. A quirky, comical murder mystery. Not what I was expecting! Loved it.
Publication date: 11th February 2021
by Mary Lawson
A gentle but powerful, funny and touching glimpse into a small Canadian community as three families cope with the day-to-day in the light of tragic events.
Publication date: 18th February 2021
by Hannah Gold
Recommended for children
There aren't meant to be any bears on Bear Island, and the only people living in this remote Arctic Circle landscape are April with her father, a scientist researching climate change. But April discovers that one weak, lonely polar bear has been left behind.
Publication date: 18th February 2021
by AJ Gnuse
An intriguing, puzzling, inventive, gothic tale of a young girl hiding in what used to be her family home.
Publication date: 4th March 2021
by Julietta Henderson
A warm, funny and touching story of a boy, a single mother and an elderly man embarking on a road trip of self-discovery. Wonderful!
Publication date: 1st April 2021
by Katherine Faulkner
Three couples look to 'have it all'. Careers, lovely homes, happy lives and babies on the way. But their lives are disrupted by a new friendship. A compelling domestic thriller.
Publication date: 15th April 2021
by Abbie Greaves
Mary stands outside Ealing Broadway station each day with a sign saying 'Jim Come Home'. Why is this action necessary? Where is Jim? A real pageturner as you long to solve the mystery. A clever, charming and poignant story.
Publication date: 29th April 2021
by Nancy Tucker
An eight-year-old girl kills a toddler, her actions seemingly an outlet for the lack of care and attention she receives from her mother. An astonishingly sensitive and compelling novel.
Publication date: 24th June 2021

On the radio

BBC Radio Suffolk

Catherine at BBC Radio SuffolkOn the first Tuesday of each month, at 2.30pm, I join Lesley Dolphin on the afternoon programme at BBC Radio Suffolk. We discuss the book of the month which I have chosen for her feature called Lesley's Readers. Listeners are invited to send in comments by text or email, or by phoning the programme on 0800 141 2121. You can listen to past discussions here.


Lesley's Readers are reading...

Agent Running in the Field
by John Le Carre
Nat is nearing the end of his career with MI6 when a new badminton partner takes him down a dangerous path. Join our discussion on Tuesday 2 February at 2.30pm.

We have just read.....

by Polly Clark
Four stories interlinked to tell different facets of the life of the endangered Siberian tiger.

My blog

Monday 18 January 2021

History lessons

These are historic times, I heard a comedian say this week, between quips, "but I'd rather not be living through them".

I'm sure many of us have been feeling the same, realising how much we should appreciate safe and comfortable lifestyles, and longing for 'slow' news days.

Some of you have mentioned that you've often selected historic fiction for your reading because stories of hardship, tragedy and suffering in different times help you to get through any of your own present difficulties.

I'm not sure I'm quite that resilient, but the books I've highlighted this week certainly look to the past and offer up other perspectives.