Name: Lesley Wright

Department: Connect

Role: Senior Editor

In Motivate since: 2013–17 / 2018–present

Why should we trust your recommendation? I always appreciate good books but I don’t become attached to them. When moving apartment, which I’ve done many times, I usually give my books away or donate them to a community library. I keep very few. This recommendation is one of those few books I’ve kept and I’ve read it several times over the years since it was published in 2014.

• • •

My Recommendation: 2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Why did I pick this book? It’s an easy read that weaves together the stories of three main characters over the course of one night in Philadelphia. It’s a story of love, hope and despair that pivots around the backdrop of an ailing jazz club, punctuated with some fabulous laugh-out-loud dialogue.

What do I love about it? One of the main characters is Madeleine Altimiri, a smart-mouthed nine-year-old who wants nothing more than to be a jazz singer. Although she’s precocious, she’s endearing and I was captivated by this character’s spirit as she pursues her dream. Likewise, I was sucked into the pain and frustration of jazz club owner Lorca as he sees his dream slipping away.

What do I hate about it? Nothing much. There are a few phrases that are used more than once, which is a bit grating. But it’s a small gripe, all things considered.

Best read during? Anytime

Value for money? Any good read is value for money. Any book that you return to time and again – and it still leaves a smile on your face – is an absolute bargain.

How many stars would you rate it? 4.5/5

Order the book directly on