Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Fans of the BBC3’s recent Normal People adaptation will be pleased to learn that Sally Rooney’s critically acclaimed debut – Conversations With Friends – is also due to get the TV treatment. The novel is a challenging exploration of the frictions and politics of female friendship, setting up a thrilling conflict between the protagonist’s lofty mind and carnal body as the relationships of several friends unfold in person and online. The best news is that the series will be directed by Normal People’s Lenny Abrahamson. Based on the casting of Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Wright, we can’t wait to see who’ll play Frances and Bobbi.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages. Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves and get to know each other. Watching over them is the resort's director, a woman on a mission, but quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined. From the writer behind Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, page-turner is set to become a Hulu series, with Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy in the lead roles. We can’t wait.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
This gothic classic turned 80 last year and has never been out of print. Made even more famous by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940, Rebecca’s plot follows an unnamed narrator, who has married into a family still reeling from the death of the master’s former wife Rebecca, who died in mysterious circumstances. In 2020, Ben Wheatley – the man behind the Tom Hiddleston-starring High Rise – will release a new version, starring Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristen Scott Thomas, Sam Riley and Keeley Hawes. The film will land on Netflix later this year.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2013, The Luminaries is set in 1866. Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 locals, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a sex worker has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of an unlucky drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes. This six-part mini-series – which has already screened in NZ – stars Eva Green, Eve Hewson and Himesh Patel and is set to land on BBC1 at some stage this year.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Anyone who grew up in the 90s will remember the film adaptation of The Secret Garden. This August, a new film starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Dixie Egerickx will offer a fresh take on the beloved classic novel written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Set in England during a different time period of 1947 – rather than 1900 – the film follows a young orphan girl who, after being sent to live with her uncle, discovers a magical garden on the grounds of his estate. But there are other, more frightening, secrets to uncover within the house itself.
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl’s classic tale is getting a second Hollywood run later this year. The tale focuses a world where child-hating societies of witches secretly exist in every country. The witches are all ruled by the powerful Grand High Witch – played by a deliciously evil Angelica Houston in 1990 – who has just arrived in England to organise her worst plot ever. But an elderly former witch hunter and her young grandson find out about the evil plan and must do everything to stop it and defeat the witches. In this 2020 remake – set for release in October – Anne Hathaway takes on the lead role, joined by Stanley Tucci, Chris Rock and Octavia Spencer.
The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn
Hailed as the biggest thriller of 2018, you’ll want to read this dark, twisty novel before the major film – starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore – is released later this year. With an unreliable alcoholic-playing-detective for a protagonist, it’s easy to see why comparisons have been drawn with The Girl on the Train, but we think this is the better of the two. Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to the picture-perfect family of three. But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened.
This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
Adam Kay is in the process of pulling together a BBC comedy drama series based on his bestselling book This Is Going To Hurt about his time as a junior doctor. The BBC describe the forthcoming show as: “a blisteringly funny, politically enraging and frequently heart-breaking wake-up call to anyone who values the NHS, and a frank and moving love letter to the 1.4m people working on the front line every day". Set on labour ward with all its heart-lifting highs and gut-wrenching lows, the show will deliver a brutally honest depiction of life as a junior doctor on the wards, and the toll the job can take back home.
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