We love a big, fat blockbuster, whether it's a 'thought-provoking' saga or wall-to-wall sex and family feuds. If you fancy a guilty pleasure look no further. Here's our pick of the best trashy books ever
Book prizes and literary tomes are all well and good, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for something that’s pure entertainment. Something that grips you from the first page, shakes you up and doesn’t let you go till the last. That will have you whipping through those pages faster than you can shout, ‘but he CAN’T be her half brother – they just had sex!’ Yes, we love trashy books and we’re not afraid to admit it. Here are a few of our favourites.
Lace, by Shirley Conran
‘Which one of you bitches is my mother?’ Yep – it’s that one. Set in 1980s Manhattan, four friends – Kate, Maxine, Judy and Pagan – are confronted by young film star, Lili, who, on her quest to find the truth has travelled ‘from the streets of Paris to the playgrounds of the rich and famous’. (God, we love this so much.) Conran’s debut novel, this is one of the best blockbusters around. It focuses more on the friendships than Lili’s search and there is a ton of sex in it. Ice cubes, the possibility of live-goldfish-as-sex-toys. Really a lot.
Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult
There are writers who try and do what Picoult does, and then there’s Picoult. This best-selling phenomenon writes a book on average every nine months. The mistress of the moral dilemma, her books are always centred around a quest, with alternating points of veiws from various characters, a legal case, a police investigation and a lovely resolution that’s clever enough not to feel forced but deeply satisfying. Leaving Time examines Jenna’s search for her mother, who disappeared years before. Intelligent and compulsive, but a bit quieter than her others, if you want something a bit more omigod-high-drama read her earlier work, especially My Sister’s Keeper (which looks at the morals around conceiving a second child to act as a donor for a first) or the riveting school shooting tale, 19 Minutes.
Riders, by Jilly Cooper
Never read a Jilly Cooper before? Well, just climb out of that box where you’ve been hiding, do yourself a favour and make this the first one ever. Set in the fictional country of Rutshire (geddit?) it will have you hooked. It’s based around the world of show-jumping…so far so posh you may think. But it’s so much more than that. There are three male characters that will fight for your affections (Jake Lovell, Rupert Campbell-Black and Billy Lloyd Fox – best surnames ever) and enough love, alcohol, romance, double-dealings and feuds to keep you gripped. It probably helps if you quite like horses – and cads.
The Last Kiss Goodbye, by Tasmina Perry
Okay so this one isn’t strictly speaking a blockbuster. Or even that trashy. But it’s so compelling we feel justified in adding it to our list of guilty pleasures. This is a slight departure from Perry’s previous books (remember Daddy’s Girls, or Gold Diggers?), in that it’s got a more detailed plot without sacrificing all the sex. Set in the 1960s and present day, it’s a great story about lost love, exploration and long-buried secrets. Abby, in her 30s, finds out her husband has cheated on her and promptly throws him out. In the archives where she works, she discovers a faded decades-old photo of a man saying goodbye to the woman he loves. Abby becomes obsessed with the story and is determined to discover what happened to him. A perfect rainy Sunday read
The Santangelos, by Jackie Collins
Look at this cover. Mansion, swimming pool, diamond necklace thing sort of worn backwards, gun, cocktail. Do we need to explain why this is a cracking read? From the doyenne and sadly departed queen of the blockbuster, Jackie Collins, this epic family saga details the exploits of Lucky Santangelo – she who has graced the pages of nine (yes nine) of JC’s best-selling blockbusters. You always get your money’s worth with her books, and this is no exception. There’s a drug-addled Columbian club owner, a sex-crazed Italian family, a troublesome teenage daughter, a son who’s got a hit on him… And of course there’s the sex. Lots of it. Strong as ever, we love Lucky because she always comes out on top.