The Cactus by Sarah Haywood was one of our Book Club picks, and was generally a really popular book. Prickly Susan won over most of our members and we’re often asked for recommendations for other books similar to The Cactus, so we thought we’d put a list together for you!

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live. Eleanor leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than…. fine?

This book was one that was absolutely everywhere, and for good reason! It’s a story that will make you think twice about making assumptions about others, and it’s a really impressive debut.

The Rosie Project series (Graeme Simsion) 

This series is made up of three books: The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Rosie Result. It’s the story of Don Tillman, a thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, who has never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – and she throws Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos.

One of my all-time favourite series, it’s a charming, funny, endearing story with absolutely brilliant characters. 

A Man Called Ove (Fredrik Backman)

At first sight, Ove is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots – neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d’etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents’ Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.

In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible…

Ove is one of those people that everyone has encountered at some point in their lives. This is a book I think everyone should read, it’s beautifully written, completely charming and manages to be the perfect blend of funny and sad. 

Three Things About Elsie (Joanna Cannon)

Florence lives at Cherry Tree, a residential home for the elderly. She has fallen in her flat, and as she lies there, waiting for someone to find her, her thoughts turn to her past, with secrets coming to light and a familiar face of someone she thought had died years before…

Aside from having the prettiest cover, this book is absolutely wonderful. It’s sad, poignant, beautifully written and full of so much love and warmth. It took me a while to get into it but I’m so glad I persevered. Florence may not be the most reliable narrator, but I found I was happy to go along with her on her journey.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Abbi Waxman)

Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, an excellent trivia team and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. So when the father she never knew existed dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers.

It’s time for Nina to turn her own fresh page, and find out if real life can ever live up to fiction.

A sweet, charming read, this book is perfect escapism – plus, who wouldn’t love reading about someone who loves books as much as we do?!