1) ROSS POLDARK by Winston Graham- in fact the whole series of twelve books which is a lengthy read that had me nothing short of totally submerged. They begin in the late eighteenth century as the limping Ross comes home from war happily heading to his bride to be Elizabeth only to discover that she impatiently supposed him dead and went ahead and married his cousin. Oh dear.
2) THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY by Oscar Wilde- my favourite playwright’s only novel. The beautiful young Dorian stays physically immaculate whilst his portrait in the attic takes on the image of all his wrongdoing.
3) THE SUPERNATRALIST by Eoin Colfer- I’ve read it twice! Though more famous for writing the Artemis Fowl books this, in my opinion, is Colfer’s best work. Set in a city of the future and around the orphan main character Cosmo Hill (I know, I know, not another orphan!) the challenge is to destroy luminous blue creatures that suck away people’s life force. The plot is fixating and not limited to young readers.
4) THE THREE MUSKATERS by Alexander Dumas- okay, okay, so the man needed an editor, but this is my favourite of his books. Though his plots are cluttered with the millions of characters he insists on including, who all then insist on having long, French and difficult to remember titles they are still existing and endearing storeys.
5) THE HITCHIKE’S GIDE TO THE GALIXSY by Douglas Adams- it just had to merit a place in my list, though I’m not sure I will ever forgive Adams for blind siding Zaphod Beebelbrox in the way he did. I liked Zaphod, so what became of him? Humm? HUMM?!! Anyway, the books are funny, outlandish and original. He smartly avoided those smug sniffs of “well that’s not very likely” that readers so often conclude with plots by inventing the “improbability drive”. Once switched on it would generate the most improbable things, but then by being improbable it was probable so therefore no longer improbable…maybe you should just read the books.