Duchess of Cornwall launches season five of her Reading Room

After launching The Reading Room earlier this year, The Duchess of Cornwall has announced her fifth season will be starting in the new year with a range of new books for followers to explore.

Camilla started the initiative to be a ‘celebration of literature in all its forms’ and to be ‘a hub for literary communities around the world’. For the second season, the Royal dedicated it to her late father-in-law, Prince Philip, with books and topics he enjoyed.

When the online book club launched on Instagram, Camilla said: “To me, reading is a great adventure. I’ve loved it since I was very small and I’d love everybody else to enjoy it as much as I do. You can escape and you can travel and you can laugh and you can cry. There’s every kind of emotion that humans experience in a book.”

The Duchess of Cornwall has announced the launch of her fifth season of The Reading Room. (Instagram).

This season, the books include:

‘The Magpie Murders’ by Anthony Horowitz

Susan Ryeland is the editor of the mystery author Alan Conway, who is known for his well-received series of novels centring upon the detective Atticus Pünd and for being very difficult to work with. Fans are eagerly awaiting Conway’s latest novel, rumoured to be the last in the series, but when Susan reads through the manuscript she discovers that it is unfinished. When she travels to Conway’s home to retrieve the final chapters, she discovers that he is dead. In order to discover the whereabouts of the final chapters Susan begins an investigation of her own and finds that the novel may have been based on true events, causing someone to murder Conway.

The novel is the first in the Susan Ryeland series.

‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet is the heart-stopping story behind Shakespeare’s most famous play.

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright.

‘The Queen’s Necklace’ by Alexandre Dumas

‘The Queen’s Necklace’ dramatises an unsavoury incident in the 1780s at the court of King Louis XVI of France involving the King’s wife, Marie Antoinette.

Her reputation was already tarnished by gossip and scandal, and her implication in a crime involving a stolen necklace became one of the major turning-points of public opinion against the monarchy, which eventually culminated in the French Revolution.

‘My Brilliant Friend’ by Elena Ferrante

The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but vibrant neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else, as their friendship, beautifully and meticulously rendered, becomes a not always perfect shelter from hardship. Ferrante has created a memorable portrait of two women, but My Brilliant Friend is also the story of a nation. Through the lives of Elena and Lila, Ferrante gives her readers the story of a city and a country undergoing momentous change.

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, in a red coat dress with her hand on a pile of books to launch her Reading Room

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, in a new photo to launch her Reading Room (Hugo Bernand/@ClarenceHouse)

As an avid reader herself, Camilla is patron of a number of literary charities, including the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust, The Royal Society of Literature, First Story, the Wicked Young Writer Awards and Beanstalk. She is also involved in the 500 Words BBC Radio 2 competition each year, as well as the Booker Prize.

To mark World Book Day 2021, The Duchess of Cornwall was asked about the importance of books and World Book Day, to which she replied: “I think it’s lovely that we have a special day to celebrate books. After all we have special days to celebrate everything else and books are very important things in our lives.

“A world without books is completely unimaginable. Because all you kind authors are giving out these books on World Book Day is something very, very special because so many of these children have no books or probably never read a book before.”

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