Last night the shortlist for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced in London. Chair of the judges, Daisy Goodwin said: “The shortlist achieves the near impossible of combining literary merit with sheer readability . . . With a thriller, historical novels that reflect our world back to us, as well as a tragi-comedy about post 9/11 America, there is something here to challenge, amuse and enthral every kind of reader.”
The winner will be announced at the Royal Festival Hall on 9 June.
The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison
Anna Sands, eight, is evacuated from wartime London to Yorkshire where she gets drawn into the unravelling relationship of the childless couple who offer to put her up.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
At the time of the Mexican Revolution, Harrison Shepherd works for artists Diego Riviera and his wife Frida Kahlo before violent upheavals send him to America where he finds himself torn between two nations.
Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
Saving a distressed woman from drowning in the Houston bayou, Jay Porter opens a Pandora’s Box which ensnares him in a murder investigation that could put his own life and work in danger.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Blacksmith’s son Thomas Cromwell rises to become the powerful adviser to Henry VIII and the fixer of his desire for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Wolf Hall has already won the Man Booker Prize and was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel Award.
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Just after the September 11 attacks, a Midwestern farmer’s daughter takes a job as part-time nanny to a couple and gets drawn into their complicated lives.
George and Sabine settle in Trinidad and rub along in marriage until George discovers unsent letters revealing Sabine’s hopes and fears.