Celebrated singer Katherine Jenkins shares five favourite reads, from a story about nuclear war to a classic Welsh play

Children of the dust
Louise Lawrence

This book blew my mind when I read it as part of the GCSE English syllabus and it has stayed with me ever since. It is set in Wales just as a nuclear bomb has gone off and tells the story from the viewpoint of three characters over several decades as they struggle to survive and leave behind life as they know it. Highlighting the best and worst of humanity, it presents a terrifying potential future, encourages us to challenge our prejudices and ultimately gives us hope. This is such a great, timely story, my husband and I have been developing a film based on this.

Children of the dust front book cover
The other Boleyn girl
Philippa Gregory

This book is probably responsible for my obsession with the Tudor period. You almost feel you could be there, among the gowns and the tapestries and maybe it’s why I chose to get married at Hampton Court Palace.Being a fan of stories of strong women, this book ignited an intrigue in Anne Boleyn that has never gone away.

The other Boleyn Girl book cover
Elie Wiesel

In 2013, when I knew I would be marrying my then boyfriend and wanting to better understand his Jewish faith, his Rabbi recommended I read Night by Elie Wiesel. It is a personal, intimate and harrowing account of Elie’s experience struggling to survive in two Nazi concentration camps, losing his family, his dignity and his faith. Even though at times I found the darkness of human nature  almost too overwhelming, it is a beautiful testament to the enduring power of hope and a lesson in forgiveness.

NIGHT by Elie Wiesel front book cover
The joy of music
Leonard Bernstein

Having been a fan of Bernstein since I first saw the documentary of him conducting Dame Kiri and José Carreras in West Side Story, I was thrilled to discover this book by him with such a joyful title. A must have for music lovers, I found this to be an enthusiastic and clever way to discuss ideas and concepts through imaginary conversations. It is almost a guide for how to really hear classical music and tips on how to discuss it.

The joy of music front book cover
Under milk wood
Dylan Thomas

Under Milk Wood is a story about the goodness of people, the warmth of friendship and family and that strong sense of community that reminds me of home. Poignant in places, funny at times,it is uplifting, honest and makes me miss Wales.

Under milk wood front book cover
Katherine’s new premium gin, Cygnet 22, is out now. Visit cygnet-distillery.com