For World Book Day, the Woman Alive team share their most loved books - from The Secret Garden to Redeeming Love



My favourite book is my own, Still Standing - 100 Lessons from an ‘Unsuccessful’ Life. It’s a very British thing to be coy about one’s own achievements but I went through a hellish time in my 20s when my baby died after birth followed by my then husband and best friend filing successfully for divorce, and I wrote this book in the aftermath before any kind of ‘Job redemption’. At the time, no one was talking about how to live life in the middle of the wilderness and I realised that many Christians had leaned into the narrative that when everything was better, they would start living again and give God praise for the desired outcome. But as the years went on and nothing changed for me - no new husband, no baby - I wondered, did we really think God was only good when things were “good”?

Now in my 30s, I sometimes go back to the pages where I talk about how God upheld me in the most traumatic moments and I still feel like I’m learning from the lessons of faith, hope and joy that the Holy Spirit taught me in those times. I’m a great reader; I love many, many books and Still Standing will surely not be my last. But it is my first and I will always love it and be proud of that.

My favourite book of the Bible although I don’t read it that often, is Romans. I grew up in a church where we studied the Old Testament in great depth but not so much the New Testament. I like how real and relevant the wisdom is in this book for how to live a spirit-filled life in our human bodies. currently I have been leaning on Romans 8:28 which reads: ‘For God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them’. This is a great reminder when things appear to be going “wrong”, whether in our personal lives or the wider world around us.

Tola Doll Fisher, Woman Alive editor and creative director


Redeeming love

My favourite book: this is a really tough one but I think probably Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - it was the first of her books that I ever read and got me hooked on her writing. But it also spoke to my husband deeply when he picked it up during the time we separated - God used it to reach his heart and urge him to love me sacrificially and wholeheartedly. Other books I want to mention: Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown - it changed our local book club forever as it had such an impact (and we renamed ourselves after it) but also got me exploring spiritual practices for the first time, which have been so life-giving. Finally, I have in recent years been on a real journey exploring lament, which is the subject of book I’m currently working on, and Mark Vroegop’s book Dark Clouds Deep Mercy has been so helpful.

My favourite book of the Bible: I’d say that I probably spend most time with the Psalms as they have so much expression within them, and certain ones resonate for particular life experiences and circumstances. They are a great reminder that we can be totally honest before God - in times of joy but also sorrow. But I’d probably pick Ruth - I love her quiet, yet huge courage and faithfulness (her determined speech in Ruth 1 is incredible), the story of sacrifice and redemption, honest love, Boaz the kinsman redeemer as a foreshadower of Jesus and God’s blessing after a time of great loss and pain.

Claire Musters, Woman Alive book club host


little women

My favourite book is Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I actually (very geekily) collect editions of it, and people gift me pretty versions that they stumble upon, and it’s just the loveliest thing. But also I’ve read Faith, Hope and Carnage, by Nick Cave and Sean O’Hagan, like four times in the last year. Which I think means that it’s my favourite book right now! It’s a collection of conversations between two friends, one of whom happens to be a Christian (and also happens to be Nick Cave!) and the other, an atheist. And it’s just the most beautiful, truthful, gritty, raw, messy, and profound book. I would recommend it, 100%.

My favourite book of the Bible has to be John’s Gospel. It’s a piece of literary genius. There’s this phrase that people use when they speak about John – ‘it’s shallow enough for children to paddle in , and deep enough for elephants to wade in.’  And it’s so true, you could just flick through it, and you’ll find plenty of gold in there to splash around in. Or you can plunge the depths of this book - you can spend your life poring over every detail and studying every word - and still never reach the bottom. Seriously, I did a whole doctorate (that’s 100,000 words!) on just one chapter of John’s Gospel, and still only scratched the surface of it. Its levels of beauty and intelligence are just nuts.

Dr Belle Tindell, Woman Alive columnist




My favourite book is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and others seem to agree it’s a corker as it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2005. It is set in 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames’ life, and he begins a letter to his young son. I once went to hear Marilynne speak at the South Bank centre in London, and I think she might be an actual genius.

My favourite book in the Bible is Genesis, I love the big picture story of how it all began, and the lessons we can learn from the life of Abraham and the Israelites journey to the promised land. God was speaking about his goodness and kindness right from the beginning.

Jemimah Wright, Woman Alive deputy editor 


the stand

My favourite book is probably The Stand by Stephen King. To be honest, I haven’t read it since my pre Christian days, so I may look back now and read it and be horrified, but I remember at the time being so pulled in and mesmerised by the story he created.

My favourite book of the Bible is probably Isaiah. It has my life verse 41:10: “Fear not for I am with you, neither be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes I will help you. I will hold you up with my righteous right hand.” Also other lovely verses, like 40:31: “those who wait on the Lord will rise up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.” And 43:2: “When you walk through deep waters, I will be with you, when you go through the rivers the waves will not overtake you, when you pass through the fire you will not be burned up, the flames will not consume you.” I once heard a pastor teach that the book is like a mini book of the entire Bible in that Isaiah has 66 chapters, and the Bible has 66 books, the first section is like the Old Testament and the later chapters have a lot of the hope and redemption themes of the New Testament.

Hope Bonarcher, Woman Alive columnist


 My favourite book is from my childhood - The Secret Garden. It is such a story of redemption and healing, and all set in glorious Yorkshire which I have fallen in love with in the last few years.

secret garden

My favourite book of the Bible has to be Luke. It is my favourite Gospel — in particular I love the way he pairs every parable in which a man stands for God, with another parable in which a woman stands for God (e.g the lost coin/the lost sheep, or the mustard seed/the woman kneading yeast into bread dough). I also love Luke’s general interest in the poor and marginalised, and his version of the Sermon on the Mount is remarkable in pronouncing woes on the rich and the oppressors, as well as blessings on the poor and oppressed.

Veronica Zundel, Woman Alive columnist



My favourite book: At the moment I’m loving Abuelita Faith by Kat Armas, it’s a passionate faith-filled look at the women who shaped our faith even though they have no formal qualifications or titles. It’s a beautiful tribute to the women in church who tell you to call them auntie, who stand by the gospel and overcome hardship to demonstrate God’s strength. You definitely know them – and they refuse any credit. I loved reading about them and how Jesus shines through them.


My favourite book of the Bible I love Esther. Firstly, it’s the right length to read in one sitting… but that’s not the only great thing about it! I love that it is an ode to bold women, not just Esther – who appeared in front of the King uninvited to petition for her people, but also Vashti – who refused to appear in front of the King when he summoned her to seductively dance for his courtiers. It’s a reminder not to bow to what others say is correct or right, but to look to God for my instruction.

Lauren Windle, Woman Alive contributor