June’s Book Club approved reads you need to add to your ‘To Be Read’ list

Jun 29, 2023
Here are the top five June book recommendations from the Starts at 60 Book Club. Source: Getty

If you’re a book lover, your TBR (to be read) pile can feel never-ending, a delightful burden that seems to be constantly growing. 

Carefully selected by those who are immersed in the world of words, the Starts at 60 Book Club has five more enticing recommendations for your ever-growing TBR pile.

Whether you’re seeking an enchanting tale to pull at your heartstrings or an edge-of-your-seat thriller to keep you guessing until the very end, this treasure trove of recommendations has something for everyone. 

The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams


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For lovers of historical fiction and war stories, The Bookbinder of Jericho is perfect. This beautifully written book holds a 4.5/5 star rating and is a story of knowledge itself. The evocative storytelling leaves an unforgettable imprint on the reader.

What is lost when knowledge is withheld?

In 1914, when the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, it is the women who must keep the nation running. Two of those women are Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who work in the bindery at Oxford University Press in Jericho. Peggy is intelligent, ambitious and dreams of going to Oxford University, but for most of her life she has been told her job is to bind the books, not read them. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has. She is extraordinary but vulnerable. Peggy needs to watch over her.

When refugees arrive from the devastated cities of Belgium, it sends ripples through the community and through the sisters’ lives. Peggy begins to see the possibility of another future where she can use her intellect and not just her hands, but as war and illness reshape her world, it is love, and the responsibility that comes with it, that threaten to hold her back.

The Bookbinder of Jericho is a story about knowledge – who makes it, who can access it, and what is lost when it is withheld. In this beautiful companion to the international bestseller The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams explores another little-known slice of history seen through women’s eyes. Intelligent, thoughtful and rich with unforgettable characters.

This book comes recommended by Book Club member Lyn Fletcher, who shared a quote to entice fellow readers to pick “this brilliant book” up. 

“When we bound these books, I thought, they were all identical. As soon as someone cracks the spine, a book develops a character all its own,” the quote began.

“What impresses or concerns one reader is never the same as what impresses or concerns all others. 

“So, each book, once read, will fall open at a different place. Each book, once read, I realised, will have told a slightly different story.”

The Whispering by Veronica Lando


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This gripping novel written by a north Queensland author, Veronica Lando, is classified as Australian crime noir. Lando’s masterful storytelling saw her debut novel The Whispering win the 2021 Banjo Prize.

The whispering wild will take your child if you dare to look away …

Callum Haffenden swore he’d never return to Granite Creek. But, thirty years after a life-shattering accident, he’s thrust back into the clutches of Far North Queensland and a local legend he worked hard to forget.

When a man goes missing in the rainforest, the past begins to resurface, breathing new life into memories of previous tragedies – two girls lost, seventeen years apart. In a town where it’s easiest to turn a blind eye, the guilt runs deep and everyone in Granite Creek has something to hide.

In his search for answers, Callum fights to keep his feet firmly on the trail as he battles the deafening call of the rainforest burrowing into his ears. After all, everyone knows that the worst things in the rainforest are those unseen.

Recommended by Book Club member Beverley Bennett who said: “This is a slow burn thriller which I really enjoyed.” 

Lowbridge by Lucy Campbell


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Do you love a good mystery to solve? Then Lowbridge is a great addition to your TBR pile. This crime fiction novel is yet to be released, coming out on July 5, 2023, however, has already received rave reviews from the lucky few who were given an early read.

Where everybody knows everyone, how can somebody just disappear?

A missing girl. Decades of silence. A secret too big to bury. 

1987: It’s late summer and a time of change when 17-year-old Tess Dawes leaves the local shopping centre in the sleepy town of Lowbridge and is never seen again. 

Tess’s unsolved disappearance is never far from the town’s memory. There’s those who grew up with Tess, and never left. And those who know more than they’re saying …  

It just takes an outsider to ask the right questions. 

2018: Katherine Ashworth, shattered by the death of her daughter, moves to her husband’s hometown. Searching for a way to pick up the pieces of her life, she joins the local historical society and becomes obsessed with the three-decades-old mystery.

As Katherine digs into that summer of 1987, she stumbles upon the trail of a second girl who vanished when no one cared enough to see what was happening in plain sight.  

Her trail could lead right to Katherine’s door. 

In a town simmering with divisions and a cast of unforgettable characters, Lowbridge is a heart-wrenching mystery about the girls who are lost, the ones who are mourned and those who are forgotten.

Book club member Fran Spears, who read an early release of the book, said Lowbridge is well and truly worth adding to your TBR pile. 

“Lowbridge reminds you of how far society has come since the eighties, but will also remind you of how far we still have to go,” she said.  

“For myself, I found some of it a little hard to read and had to remind myself it is fiction, but fiction which is the story of so many.  

“Lucy Campbell has, in my opinion, a novel, bathed in mystery, worth reading.”

The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth


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For lovers of historical/political fiction, The Crimson Thread delightfully weaves Crete mythology into a captivating war story of tragedy and heroism. This book’s captivating tapestry of writing has seen it score a 4.4/5 star rating.

May 1941. German paratroopers launch a blitzkrieg from the air against Crete. They are met with fierce defiance, the Greeks fighting back with daggers, pitchforks and kitchen knives. During the bloody eleven-day battle, Alenka, a young Greek woman, saves the lives of two Australian soldiers.

Jack and Teddy are childhood friends who joined up together to see the world. Both men fall in love with Alenka. They are forced to retreat with the tattered remains of the Allied forces over the towering White Mountains. Both are among the 7000 Allied soldiers left behind in the desperate evacuation from Crete’s storm-lashed southern coast.

Alenka hides Jack and Teddy at great risk to herself. Her brother Axel is a Nazi sympathiser

and collaborator, and spies on her movements.

As Crete suffers under the Nazi jackboot, Alenka is drawn into an intense triangle of conflicting emotions with Jack and Teddy. Their friendship suffers under the strain of months of hiding and their rivalry for her love. Together, they join the resistance and fight to free the island, but all three will find themselves tested to their limits. Alenka must choose whom to trust and whom to love and, in the end, whom to save.

The Crimson Thread comes recommended by Book Club member Lorraine Parker, who said the novel is a “truly informative and a remarkable journey”. 

“The characters are unforgettable, some you will love, and others you will dislike intensely,” she said.

“A must read for all readers who appreciate excellent research woven into historical prose.”

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister


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There’s nothing quite like a book that grabs your attention right from the very synopsis. Full of murder, suspense and mystery, this thrilling psychological and science fiction story has it all, including time travel. Holding a 4.3/5 star rating, Wrong Place Wrong Time will have you rethinking your own thought process as you scramble to solve the mystery.

How do you stop a murder after it’s already happened? 

It’s every parent’s nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime- murdering a complete stranger.

You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost.

That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . .

. . . and it is yesterday.

Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .

Book Club member Jennifer Larmar gave this read an impressive nine out of 10 stars, but said she wished she’d taken notes to solve the mystery. 

“This is a brilliantly structured murder-mystery that keeps you guessing – but you’d better have your wits about you trying to keep all the pieces together,” she said. 

Do you love to read? Join our Starts at 60 Book Club here. 

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