The SheerLuxe Culture List: April

Whether you fancy a trip to the cinema or want a series or novel to get stuck into, SheerLuxe’s monthly edit of the best new books, films and TV will see you through April.
By Heather Steele

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The Diplomat, Netflix

Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is the new US ambassador to the UK. She was supposed to go to Afghanistan. She’s great in a crisis zone. In a historic home… less so. War is brewing on one continent and boiling over on another. Kate will have to diffuse international crises, forge strategic alliances in London, and adjust to her new place in the spotlight – all while trying to survive her marriage to fellow career diplomat and political star Hal Wyler (Rufus Sewell). From showrunner Debora Cahn (The West Wing, Homeland), The Diplomat is a high-stakes, contemporary political drama about the transcendence and torture of long-term relationships, between countries and people.


Boom! Boom! The World Vs. Boris Becker, Apple TV+

Boom! Boom! The World Vs Boris Becker is a new two-part documentary from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (Enron, Going Clear) and Oscar-winning producer John Battsek (One Day in September). Landing on Apple TV+ on 7th April, it explores every aspect of the man who became a tennis sensation after winning the Wimbledon Championships at the age of just 17, including his high-profile – sometimes tumultuous – personal life.


One Fine Morning

One Fine Morning is a moving portrayal of love, loss and contemporary womanhood, featuring a career-best performance from Léa Seydoux. Set in Paris, Seydoux plays Sandra – a young, widowed mother who juggles her job as a translator with caring for her young daughter and elderly father. Sandra’s life is further complicated when she embarks on a passionate affair with Clement, an old friend in an unhappy marriage. Also starring Melvil Poupaud and Pascal Gregory, this is a gently poignant romantic drama shot through with Bergman Island director Mia Hansen-Løve’s characteristically charming touch.


The Last Thing He Told Me, Apple TV+

The highly anticipated The Last Thing He Told Me is almost here. Based on the number-one New York Times bestselling novel by Laura Dave, the one-off series stars Jennifer Garner, with an ensemble cast that also includes Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Angourie Rice, Aisha Tyler, Augusto Aguilera, Geoff Stults and John Harlan Kim. Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s hit-maker Hello Sunshine and 20th Television, the series follows Hannah (Garner), who must forge a relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter Bailey (Rice) in order to find the truth of why her husband has mysteriously disappeared.


Drops of God, Apple TV+

Drops of God is set in the world of gastronomy and fine wines. Frenchman Alexandre Léger, creator of the famous Léger Wine Guide and an emblematic figure in oenology, has just passed away at his home in Tokyo. He leaves behind a daughter, Camille (Fleur Geffrier), who lives in Paris and hasn’t seen her father since her parents separated when she was nine. When Camille flies to Tokyo and Léger’s will is read, she discovers her father has left her an extraordinary wine collection – the greatest in the world according to the experts. But, to claim the inheritance, Camille must compete with a brilliant young oenologist, Issei Tomine (Tomohisa Yamashita). Biological daughter versus spiritual son: the duel is about to begin. There are three tests, all related to wine tasting. The winner will take ownership of Léger’s empire, the loser will leave empty handed. But how could Camille win such a duel? She knows nothing about wine, and worse: she has never drunk a single drop.


Tiny Beautiful Things, Disney+

Based on the bestselling collection by Wild’s Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things follows Clare (Kathryn Hahn), a floundering writer who becomes a revered advice columnist while her own life is falling apart. When we first meet Clare, her marriage to Danny is barely limping along; her teenage daughter Rae is pushing her away; and her once-promising writing career is non-existent. So, when an old writing pal asks her to take over as the advice columnist Dear Sugar, she thinks she has no business giving anyone advice. After reluctantly taking on the mantle of Sugar, Clare's life unfurls in a complex fabric of memory, exploring her most pivotal moments from childhood to present day, and excavating the beauty, struggle, and humour in her unhealed wounds. Through Sugar, Clare creates a salve for her readers – and for herself.


Dreamland, Sky Atlantic

Dreamland is a big-hearted drama about secrets, lies, loves and aspirations within a family of four sisters. Set in the sun-drenched British seaside town of Margate, it is a dark comedic exploration of multi-generational female relationships, and their (somewhat dysfunctional) family dynamics. Eldest sister Trish (Freema Agyeman) is pregnant for the third time with her partner Spence (Kiell Smith- Bynoe). And this time, she’s decided: it’s going to be a girl. Her two sisters Clare (Gabby Best) and Leila (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) rally around her with their mum (Frances Barber) and their Margate- legend nan (Sheila Reid), ‘manifesting’ a little girl at Trish’s ‘mani-festival’. But when their other sister, Mel (Lily Allen), makes an unexpected reappearance, her return threatens to destabilise the entire family. A knock on their door and their ‘Dreamland’ is no more.



A House For Alice by Diana Evans

Diana Evans, author of 26a, The Wonder and Ordinary People. After 50 years in the wilderness of London, Alice wants to live out her days in Nigeria, the land of her birth. Her children are divided on whether she stays or goes, and in the wake of their father's death, the imagined stability of the family begins to fray. Meanwhile, youngest daughter Melissa has never let go of a love she lost, and Michael, even within the sturdy walls of his marriage to the sparkling Nicole, is haunted by the failed perfection of the past. As Alice's final decision draws closer, all that is hidden between Melissa, Michael and Nicole, rises to the surface. Set against the shadows of a city and a country in turmoil, Evans's ordinary people confront fundamental questions. How should we raise our children? How to do right by our parents? And how, in the middle of everything, can we satisfy ourselves?


Go As A River by Shelley Read

Go As A River is a heart-wrenching coming-of-age story and a drama of enthralling power that some readers have compared to Where The Crawdads Sing. On a cool autumn day in 1948, Victoria Nash delivers late-season peaches from her family's farm in the wild beauty of Colorado. As she heads into her village, a dishevelled stranger stops to ask her the way. How she chooses to answer will unknowingly alter the course of both their young lives. So begins the mesmerising story of split-second choices and courageous acts that propel Victoria away from the only home she has ever known and towards a reckoning with loss, hope and her own untapped strength. Gathering all the pieces of her small and extraordinary existence, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, she will arrive at a single decision that will change her life for ever.


Happy Place by Emily Henry

Two exes, one pact. Could this holiday change everything? Harriet and Wyn are the perfect couple. Every year for the past decade, they have run away from their lives to drink far too much wine and soak up the sea air with their favourite people in the world. Except this year, they are lying through their teeth. Harriet and Wyn broke up six months ago. And they still haven't told anyone. But this is the last time they'll all be together here. The cottage is for sale, and since they can't bear to break their best friends' hearts, they'll fake it for one more week. But how can you pretend to be in love – and get away with it – in front of the people who know you best?


Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

A TV script writer thinks she's over romance, until an unlikely love interest upends all her assumptions in this humorous, subversive and tender-hearted novel from the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of Rodham, American Wife and Prep. With a series of heartbreaks under her belt, Sally Milz has long abandoned the search for love. But when her friend and fellow writer begins to date a glamorous actress, he joins the growing club of interesting but average-looking men who get romantically involved with accomplished, beautiful women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch, poking fun at this 'social rule'. The reverse never happens for a woman. Then Sally meets Noah, a pop idol with a reputation for dating models. But this isn't a romantic comedy, it's real life. Skewering all our certainties about why we fall in love, Romantic Comedy is a witty and probing tale of how the heart will follow itself, no matter what anyone says.



Shy by Max Porter

From the bestselling author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny, this is a novel about guilt, rage, imagination and boyhood. It’s the story of a few strange hours in the life of a troubled teenage boy. He is wandering into the night listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt, and the people who are trying to love him. He is escaping Last Chance, a home for ‘very disturbed young men’, and walking into the haunted space between his night terrors, his past and the heavy question of his future. Like Max Porter’s previous novels, this is a heavy read, but one you won’t forget.


Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre

Following huge success with its opening run, this month Operation Mincemeat makes its mark on the West End. The year is 1943 and Britain is losing the war. Luckily, the country is about to gamble all its futures on a stolen corpse. Dubbed ‘Singin’ in the Rain meets Strangers on a Train’ or ‘Noel Coward meets Noel Fielding’, Operation Mincemeat is the fast-paced, hilarious and unbelievable true story of the twisted secret mission that won World War II. The question is, how did a well-dressed corpse wrong-foot Hitler?


The Rossettis, Tate Britain

This exhibition follows the romance and radicalism of the Rossetti generation, through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years. Visitors will get to experience world-renowned works from the boundary-pushing careers of Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (née Siddal). The Rossettis’ approach to art, love and lifestyles are considered revolutionary, and will be thoroughly explored in an immersive show, using spoken poetry, drawings, paintings, photography, design and more. This is the first retrospective of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at the Tate and the largest exhibition of his iconic pictures in two decades. It will also be the most comprehensive exhibition of Elizabeth’s work for 30 years, featuring rare surviving watercolours and important drawings.


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