What’s your favourite kind of non-fiction? Mine is definitely biographies. Other people’s lives seem endlessly fascinating, as long as they are in the right hands. You certainly couldn’t get a better pair of hands than those of Helen Rappaport, whose Four Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses is reviewed in this issue. For more sisters, there’s Claudia Renton’s Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power, or if you like your biographical heroines a bit more up to date you might prefer Sylvia Plath or Tove Jansson.

But maybe you like reading about reading? Then there’s Andrew Taylor’s Books that Changed the World, or Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great?. We’ve also got travel, we’ve got history, we’ve got gardens, we’ve even got ships.

I’m rather excited about all these, but top of my list are Four Sisters, a fascinating  story of  four strange and ultimately tragic lives, and Vita Sackville West’s Sissinghurst: The Creation of a Garden, by Vita Sackville West and Sarah Raven. I wonder what yours will be? Do let us know in the comments.  Enjoy!


Harriet, Non-Fiction Editor at Shiny New Books

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