The Lubetkin Legacy by Marina Lewycka, new NetGalley approval not published until 5/5/16.
From the bestselling author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian North London in the twenty-first century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother, rather than lose the council flat. A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker or put up with champagne and posh French dinners while your boss hits on you. A place rich in language – whether it’s Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Swahili or buxom housing officers talking managementese. A place where husbands go absent without leave and councillors sacrifice cherry orchards at the altar of new builds. Marina Lewycka is back in this hilarious, farcical, tender novel of modern issues and manners.
When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family – is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he ends up living in St Albans with Vera Sedge – thirty-six and drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
Noel’s mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Brought up to share her disdain for authority and eclectic approach to education, he has little in common with other children and even less with Vee, who hurtles impulsively from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s thrown up new opportunities for making money but what Vee needs (and what she’s never had) is a cool head and the ability to make a plan.
On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together they cook up an idea. Criss-crossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to make a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life.
But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all…
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle, another NetGalley approval due for publication 14/1/16.
This is a life told back to front.
This is a man who has lied all his life.
Roy is a conman living in a leafy English suburb, about to pull off the final coup of his career. He is going to meet and woo a beautiful woman and slip away with her life savings.
But who is the man behind the con and what has he had to do to survive this life of lies?
And why is this beautiful woman so willing to be his next victim?
The Promise by Alison Bruce, a welcome return to DC Goodhew (no 6 in series). Another NetGalley approval due for publication 4/2/16.
In a single night, Kyle Davidson’s life is derailed. His relationship is over, he is denied access to his young son and everything important to him is at risk.
His thoughts stumble between fear and revenge. Kyle Davidson has a choice to make.
Meanwhile, after the tragic end to a previous case, DC Gary Goodhew finds himself questioning his reasons for returning to work until the badly beaten body of a homeless man is found on Market Hill. Having known the homeless man for several years Goodhew feels compelled to be part of the investigation – but routine lines of enquiry soon take a dark and unexpected turn…
Suddenly the Cambridge back streets hold deadly secrets for Goodhew and the only person who has the answers is planning one final, desperate act.
If I could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide. NetGalley approval due for publication 4/2/16
Suffolk, 1939: Julia Compton has a beautifully well ordered life. Once a promising musician she now has a handsome husband who pays the bills, a young son she adores and a housekeeper who takes care of her comfortable home. Then on the eve of war something unexpected happens. She falls in love.
The consequences are devastating. Cut off from family and friends, Julia loses everything. Penniless, denied access to her son, completely unequipped to fend for herself, she is cast adrift in wartime London with her bohemian filmmaker lover Dougie. As invasion looms and the bombs rain down her struggle is only beginning.
While Dougie seeks truth wherever he can find it, Julia finds herself lost. Before long, ruined and broken, she faces a choice – succumb to her fate, or fight to forge a new identity in the heat of war.
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies. Fast becoming one of my favourite authors having read and enjoyed her previous two books. Another NetGalley approval due for publication 25/2/16
1952, French Indochina. Since her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule – and her own family’s involvement shocks her to the core…
Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she’s always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?
The Silk Merchant’s Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry
The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths, book 8 in the Ruth Galloway series. Courtesy of NetGalley and due for publication 4/2/16.
The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation. When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting, he take it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear Cathbad’s vision was all too human, and that a horrible crime has been committed. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation, and soon establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital. Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. Hilary has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’. Then another woman is murdered – a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…
The Accidental Life of Greg Millar by Aimee Alexander amazingly a Kindle freebie this week. Published December 2014.
From the best selling author of Pause to Rewind comes this moving family drama about the lengths we go to for the people we love.
Lucy Arigho is not the sort of woman to be swept off her feet. She is sober, career-minded and numb since the death of her fiancé. So it’s completely out of character for her to race a man in traffic – and even more unusual when they meet again and she is irritated, intrigued and finally enraptured by the driver, writer Greg Millar. Within eight weeks, she is seriously considering his pleas to marry him and wondering if she can take on his two motherless children. But before she can make a decision about becoming part of Greg’s world, events plunge her right into it. Her careful existence is shattered as she has to figure out how to handle two vulnerable children and face the fact that she doesn’t really know the man whose life has so overwhelmed hers.
The Silent Hours by Cesca Major published in June 2015. Based on the real life tragedy of Oradour sur Glane – A Kindle bargain at 99p!
An epic, sweeping tale set in wartime France, The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:
Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;
Sebastien, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;
Tristan, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.
Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss.
The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester, published January 2015. Charity shop bargain at 10p
1912 and London is in turmoil…
The suffragette movement is reaching fever pitch but for broke Fleet Street tomboy Frankie George, just getting by in the cut-throat world of newspapers is hard enough. Sent to interview trapeze artist Ebony Diamond, Frankie finds herself fascinated by the tightly laced acrobat and follows her across London to a Mayfair corset shop that hides more than one dark secret.
Then Ebony Diamond mysteriously disappears in the middle of a performance, and Frankie is drawn into a world of tricks, society columnists, corset fetishists, suffragettes and circus freaks. How did Ebony vanish, who was she afraid of, and what goes on behind the doors of the mysterious Hourglass Factory?
From the newsrooms of Fleet Street to the drawing rooms of high society, the missing Ebony Diamond leads Frankie to the trail of a murderous villain with a plot more deadly than anyone could have imagined…
The Dandelion Years by Erica James published June 2015. Another charity shop bargain at 20p.
‘Someone had made a perfect job of creating a place in which to hide a notebook . . . there was no address, only a date: September 1943 . . .’
Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling cottage on the edge of a Suffolk village, it provided a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.
Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to broken and battered books, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a hidden notebook – and realises someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.
Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight published September 2015. Final charity shop find at 20p.
Motherhood hasn’t come at all easy for Molly Anderson. But she’s finally enjoying life as mother to five-year-old Ella and as Arts reporter for the small but respectable Ridgedale Reader. That is, until a body is found in the woods adjacent to Ridgedale University’s ivy-covered campus. This is a discovery that threatens to unearth secrets long buried by the town’s most powerful residents, and brings Molly to two women who are far more deeply connected than they have ever realised.
Where They Found Heris a riveting domestic thriller which offers a searing portrait of motherhood, marriage, class distinctions and the damage wrought by betrayal.
A letter from America by Geraldine O’Neill published in August 2015, another Kindle bargain for 99p.
It is the late 60’s in Tullamore, County Offaly, and life is full of exciting possibilities for Fiona Tracey, as she prepares to leave Ireland to work for a wealthy family in New York.
Fiona’s parents have the local shop and bar, and her younger sisters are already leading independent lives. Bridget is at a convent school preparing to be a nun and Angela has led a life of her own since she was hospitalised up in Dublin for years with childhood polio.
Then, sudden tragedy forces Fiona to postpone her departure for New York. As her mother sinks into illness and depression, her responsibilities mount. When help is offered by her aunt and cousin, Fiona is mystified by her mother’s animosity towards them.
As summer approaches, an American architect, Michael O’Sullivan, takes a room above the bar. Within a short time Fiona finds herself involved in an unexpected and passionate affair.
Then, as a surprising incident threatens Bridget’s vocation, Angela uncovers information which explodes old family secrets.
Before Fiona can embark on an independent life again, perhaps in New York, she must find a new understanding of her family – and of herself.