Thanks to time away from the PC, it’s been a while since I had time to catch up with my book hauling. Consequently when you’re scrolling through, just remember it does reflect 4 weeks worth 🙂
I have been so good in not requesting/accepting review copies but when I saw this on Netgalley, I succumbed. As it’s not actually published until April 2018 it also gives me plenty of time to read it.
London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance – but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine.
Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear and Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . .
Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers and the art of letter-writing itself.
Traveling overseas and backpacking around Europe seemed like an out-of-reach dream for John Clark, until he learned of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a 500-mile pilgrimage across the country that dates back more than 1,200 years. With encouragement from family and friends, never having traveled outside the United States, the self-proclaimed homebody from Texas hopped on a plane at age 53 alone and headed for the Iberian Peninsula. It wasn’t just the beginning of a month-long journey, but also, as he would discover, the beginning of a new life.
When he arrived in Pamplona, home of the famous San Fermin Running of the Bulls Festival, Clark immediately began to regret his decision. To put it bluntly, he was scared to death. Possessed by an obsessive mind, he could not shake the idea that he was all alone in a foreign country, some 5,000 miles and an ocean’s distance away from home, about to go on a very long walk with nothing but a backpack full of basic supplies. His first impulse was to simply pack up and go back home, but somehow, though full of anxiety, he survived that first sleepless night in a hotel room near the Plaza del Castillo, and began his trek the following day.
What happened to John Clark on his 500-mile pilgrimage? Did he make it? Find out when you crack open this colorful, insightful, and revelatory memoir full of tears and triumph. Be inspired as you experience this harrowing and heartwarming coming-of-age story that proves it’s never too late in life for a new adventure.
For generations, the Stone family have been making wishes on the old willow tree in their garden. And this year they’re wishing harder than ever…
Benedict and Estelle thought they’d found their happy ending. But, unable to have the children they’ve longed for, their marriage has hit the rocks. And as their tenth anniversary approaches, Estelle decides it’s time to move out. Devastated but unwilling to accept defeat, Benedict vows to win her back – he just doesn’t know how.
The unexpected – and uninvited – arrival of his estranged sixteen-year-old niece is the last thing he needs. But when a decades-old secret is brought to light, Benedict and Estelle realise they’re not the only ones in need of a second chance. And that maybe the family they wished for has been there all along…
Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Sûreté Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Sûreté Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him.
When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the frantic search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a series of shattering secrets are poised to be revealed . . .
Venetian gondola-maker Luca Vianello considers his whole life arranged. His father charted a course for his eldest son from the day he was born, and Luca is positioned to inherit one of the city’s most esteemed boatyards. But when Luca experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride.
The Gondola Maker brings the centuries-old art of gondola-making to life in the tale of a young man’s complicated relationship with his master-craftsman father. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice.
After twenty years of living in cities around the world, British writer Mike Ormsby settles in a tiny village in Romania’s fabled Transylvania, where the air is clean, the scenery spectacular, and solitude a balm for the soul. But Mike and his wife Angela discover that their learning curve is as steep as a Carpathian slope. Following his critically acclaimed 2008 debut ‘Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania’, Mike returns with his inimitable wit and sense of wonder. Join him in Transylvania. And never mind the vampires.
For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.
It’s 1999 and his hard won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny’s finally been given a crack at the big time. He’s set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbery gang in Irish history. So the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.
Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?
It’s Julianne Morgen’s first Christmas in the Cornish village of Ceffylgwyn, and life seems perfect. Her job as an event planner couldn’t be better, she’s beginning to feel at home despite being an American in a tiny English village, and her relationship with handsome English horticulturist Matthew Rose continues to slowly blossom from friendship to love.
But when an old flame of Julianne’s appears on the spot, she finds herself tangled up in her own past. A grand charitable ball planned at Cliffs House for Christmas brings its own challenges to Julianne’s world, along with a last-minute wedding in London. And when she learns that Matthew’s former career in America has invited him back, she worries about what it means for their future together if he says ‘yes.’
Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.
Violet’s heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.
Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.
Succumbing to a rather clichéd midlife crisis, Dan Haywood swaps his family for an expensive red sports car and a younger woman. After 24 years of marriage, his wife Sarah is left to pick up the pieces.
Trying her best to re-style her life, comfort hurt children, make time for ‘helpful’ friends and maintain her burgeoning career as a dress designer, Sarah feels pulled in a hundred directions. And it doesn’t help that obstacles – mostly in the form of other middle-aged men – seem to conspire against her.
Proud of herself for moving house and starting to build an independent life, she is shocked when Robert Maynard, her rather dashing new next-door neighbour, insists that the house was promised to him. Now she is destined to be pulled into his life by events beyond her control.
After one failed marriage, will she be able to find happiness again? And do second chances really come to those who wait?
This book was previously published as The Orchid Lover under the name Mary De Laszlo.
Bereaved, broke and recently dumped, Orla O’Shea thinks life can’t get any worse. That is until, after a year of not paying her mortgage, the banks move in, and the only way she can save her home is to ask her eccentric Aunt Imelda for a loan.
Imelda readily agrees to help her niece, but on one condition – she must move to the tiny island of Inisheer for a year. With a population of 249, the majority of whom are drawing their pension, Orla thinks she’s in for a bleak winter of loneliness.
That is until he arrives… Sean McFury: The Infamous.
MMA fighter Sean is Ireland’s most famous sports star, a multi-millionaire and occasional underwear model to boot. He’s tall, handsome, has the body of a God — and he’s also an arrogant jerk. When he arrives in Inisheer, licking his wounds from a humiliating defeat, Orla instantly takes a dislike to the cocky celebrity.
However, as destiny may have it, Orla and Sean find themselves crossing paths again and again on the tiny island and sparks soon begin to fly.
Can these two lost souls find love on an island, or will the arrival of Sean’s manager and supermodel ex-girlfriend put a halt to their budding romance?
Hattie Weatherall’s heart leapt when she first saw Abbot’s Mill, and with her dog and an assortment of wild fowl for company she sets about renovating the mill. Sarah Farley feels a pang of envy for Hattie’s freedom. For over twenty years, Sarah has tolerated her husband’s infidelities – and her love for him is about to be tested again… As Hattie settles into life at the mill, she befriends two young boatmen. Toby is recovering from a broken marriage and, when he has a another chance at happiness, Hattie is glad welcome his new family into the fold. Joss’s problems are not so easily solved, but when he turns to Hattie for help, the motherly love that blossoms in her heart enables them both to heal old wounds…
What would you do if your best friend’s last wish was to help him escape from a hospice so he could “take care of a few things?”
The initial dilemma for Dennis Sullivan is not the anger he will incur from Jack’s family, or how to manage a terminally-ill curmudgeon who mistakenly believes he knows everyone. He can even humor Jack’s desire to become like a mayfly – one of those nasty spring bugs with a lifespan of only a few days, but are unforgettable monsters.
The true question is why help someone who was not there for him when his own wife was dying and he needed a friend?
Guilted into this late odyssey, Dennis soon discovers the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions and it takes courage, faith, and a generous dose of anarchy to change the destination. He finds his best friend’s “bucket list on steroids” is not a tale of self-absorption at all, but rather a well-considered plan to touch his estranged family and seek forgiveness. And Jack plans the biggest makeover of all for Dennis.
Chasing Mayflies is a “R.I.P.” roaring, hilarious journey that matches an intriguing plot with a thought-provoking message that will resonate with your soul long after the story ends.
Some places stay with you forever…
When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso.
It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors?
What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.
Betrayed and abandoned by her husband, Eve dreams of escaping their sleepy Dorset village. So when the chance arises for Eve and her family to spend a summer in France, she grabs it with both hands. Set in the wonderful wine producing surroundings of the Dordogne, Eve meets charming Marco and his less charming older brother Gabriel. She toys with the idea of a summer romance. Which brother will she choose? She couldn’t possibly realise the dark secrets she’d uncover, which will bring her family closer and change their lives forever. Escape with Eve to a life less ordinary.
HOMER’S Where the Heart Is continues the story where the acclaimed first memoir left off. Two journalists and their crazy terrier Wallace are in their second year of their amazing adventure, living in the Mani, southern Greece, sharing an olive grove with their new Greek landlords as the country veers towards bankruptcy and social upheaval.
Soon enough, the couple are pulled into the chaos of the economic crisis with some of the original village characters from Marjory’s first memoir, Things Can Only Get Feta. This candid memoir is also the story of the author’s passion for Greece. Woven into the narrative is Marjory’s thrilling back story from another dark time while she was working in Athens, during the military dictatorship of the 1970s. It will reveal haunting parallels between this period of history and the current crisis and will highlight as much about Greece as it does about her own personal journey at a young age.
Homer also takes the reader on a fascinating trip around the Mani region, visiting the island of Kythera and also taking an exclusive tour of the late Patrick Leigh Fermor’s unique home in Kardamili. This edition also features some of the author’s own photographs of Greece.
Escape to the cosy little village of Appledore for an absolutely hilarious second chance at love. Will this Christmas prove that miracles really can happen when you least expect them?
A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas day, Chloe’s heart is finally on the mend as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…
It’s the manager of Gianni’s new seaside restaurant in Appledore, begging for Chloe’s help. Equally famous for his gold-leaf Christmas puddings and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! It’s the last thing she wants to do, but Chloe knows she is the only one that can help.
As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But as Chloe’s eyes meet Gianni’s as they tussle over a plate of turkey tartlets, could there also be a chance for new romance on the menu?
The Garment Maker’s Daughter is a multigenerational saga of immigrant dreams and sweatshop realities, labor strikes and women’s rights. It is the story of Lena Rothman, a shirtwaist-maker and active suffragette whose plans get derailed when she falls in love with her best friend’s boyfriend; Jake Brenner, a passionate labor organizer determined to lead the shirtwaist-makers on a high-stakes strike; and Daniel Cowan, a brilliant and ambitious night-school student hobbled by a shameful past.
Fate draws them together. Emotions bind them to each other. But secrets will tear them apart. When a devastating blaze engulfs the shirtwaist factory, Lena must fight for her life. And in the chaos of the fire’s aftermath, mistakes will be made with consequences that continue into the next generation.
Spanning the first half of the twentieth century, this is a story about unforgettable characters and the threads of friendship, love, betrayal, and redemption that form the fabric of their lives. FAns of Adriana Trigiani, Kristin Hannah, and Christine Baker Kline, will love The Garment Maker’s Daughter. It’s that rare novel you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve finished it.
Romance is the last thing on Frankie Bell’s mind as she gets ready for Christmas in the English village of Little Perran. It’s going to be a quiet affair once the annual Great Little Perran Christmas Bake Off cake competition is over, with Frankie, and her little dog Buster, tucked up warmly in Primrose Cottage. Fate, however, has other plans and Little Perran is thrown into turmoil when the film star, Roux Lockhart, comes to stay.
The spirit of the season weaves its magic and a freak snow storm that blows in a surprise visitor. Frankie discovers love from an unexpected quarter, but can she trust it? And is someone cheating with their Christmas cake?
A delightful Christmas love story to be enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate and a roaring log fire.
After the death of her son, Hallie Remington hides from the world in her apartment in New York City. With the help of a Russian immigrant named Nicholas, she begins to take her life back, finding refuge in her art. With the possibility of a sculpture commission from a big company, Hallie immerses herself in her work.
Her friendship with Nicholas continues to grow, and she encourages him on his quest to start his own restaurant someday—one that will be better than the Russian Tea Room in New York City. After Hallie witnesses Nicholas participating in an old Russian ritual at his father’s funeral, she senses a change in him—something that he himself cannot begin to describe.
Hallie’s own life is also changing. She can no longer stay in her marriage, and she asks her husband for a divorce. But when she and Nicholas begin a torrid affair, Hallie cannot begin to imagine where her life will lead. In Nicholas’s arms, she feels treasured and safe. But can the power of love overcome their differences?
Emmelin inherits her childhood home and must decide whether to move back to the small town of Solvik or sell it. With a husband who can’t stand the country life, and no jobs available, the decision seems like an easy one – or is it?
Confronted with decisions made in her younger days, Emmelin faces deep remorse and indecisiveness. Trying to justify her actions and make things right, she discovers she’s far from the only one withholding the truth and hiding secrets.
Done mourning his late wife, Dennis is ready to leave France and move home after years abroad. He’s devastated when he discovers his childhood sweetheart Emmelin has lied and kept his daughter from him, even if she claims she had his best interest at heart.
Can Dennis overcome his fury and forgive Emmelin for her deceit? And can Emmelin forgive Dennis for withholding essential information that would have changed their lives forever? Can they learn to trust each other again, embrace the future, and give their love a second chance?
Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.
Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.
Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?
When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.
A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.
Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?
When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent café owner, Owen Maltby.
As Alice employs Richard to start renovating the barn next to her house, all is not what it seems. Why does she start seeing Owen when he clearly isn’t there? Where – or when – does the strange crying come from? And if Owen is the village charmer, what exactly does that mean?
The Cheesemaker’s House is a gripping read, inspired by a framed will found in the dining room of the author’s dream Yorkshire house. The previous owners explained that the house had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726 – and that the cheesemaker was a woman. And so the historical aspect of the story was born.
In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.
When twenty-eight-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.
Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.
As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.
The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?
With a recent divorce and empty nest Eloise Brandon is facing Christmas alone until a harried phone call from her godfather changes everything.
Accepting his challenge, Eloise finds herself en-route to Verbier and to her godfather’s chalet in the beautiful Swiss Alps to help cater for some seriously rich, high rolling guests.
What ensues makes it a Christmas to remember. A heady alpine mixture of old friends, ex-husbands, mega-rich, super demanding guests, a dishevelled proprietor and Bert the dog.
Giving a present is not always easy. Clover O’Brian knows that only too well: her job consists of helping people in the arduous task of choosing unusual gifts. Christmas is coming, New York is buzzing, and Clover, who has always loved the festive period, savours the atmosphere.
Cade Harrison already has everything in life. A Hollywood actor, he is handsome, rich, famous and popular. Success, however, has its downsides; having just emerged from a disastrous relationship with an actress, he feels a need to hide away in an area unfrequented by stars, in an apartment lent him by a friend, far from prying eyes – especially those of tabloid reporters. But as chance will have it, the apartment in question is right opposite the one occupied by Clover, who until now has seen Hollywood actors only on the big screen. Two quite different lives meet by chance, at the most exhilarating time of year…
Christmas has arrived in the little village of Welford. The scent of hot roasted chestnuts is in the air, and a layer of frost sparkles on the ground.
This year, vet Mandy Hope is looking forward to the holidays. Her animal rescue centre, Hope Meadows, is up and running – and she’s finally going on a date with Jimmy Marsh, owner of the local outward bound centre.
The advent of winter sees all sorts of animals cross Mandy’s path, from goats named Rudolph to baby donkeys – and even a pair of reindeer! But when a mysterious local starts causing trouble, Mandy’s plans for the centre come under threat. She must call on Jimmy and her fellow villagers to put a stop to the stranger’s antics and ensure that Hope Meadows’ first Christmas is one to remember.
One thing’s for certain: this Christmas, there’ll be animal escapades, kisses under the mistletoe…and plenty of festive cheer for all.
In the Spring of 1911, suffragist Louisa Russell finds an old diary in a box of artefacts, while attending a census evasion night at the Old Museum in Ipswich.
The diary recounts the last days of Mary Emily Cage, executed for the murder of her husband six decades earlier.
When Louisa’s next door neighbour, Charles Drummond, dies under suspicious circumstances, the parallels between the two deaths become impossible to ignore.
But can two deaths sixty years apart be linked and can Louisa find the poisoner before an innocent woman is convicted?
In Japanese-occupied Malaya, lives are shattered and a woman discovers her inner strength in a world ravaged by war.
Following the death of their matriarch, the lives of Chye Hoon’s family are turned upside down. Now that the British have fled and the Japanese have conquered, their once-benign world changes overnight.
Amid the turmoil, Chye Hoon’s daughter-in-law, Mei Foong, must fend for her family as her husband, Weng Yu, becomes increasingly embittered. Challenged in ways she never could have imagined and forced into hiding, Mei Foong finds a deep reservoir of resilience she did not know she had and soon draws the attentions of another man.
Is Mei Foong’s resolve enough to save herself, her marriage, and her family? Only when peace returns to Malaya will she learn the full price she must pay for survival.
Prepare to fall in love with beautiful village of Burley Bridge.
Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?
Emma Frazer packs up her job in Dublin and flees to Fuengirola in southern Spain, where she finds refuge in a beautiful little hotel right on the beach – Casa Clara. Here she can escape the mounting pressure from her domineering elder sister Trish who is pushing her into a marriage she herself has grave doubts about.
Emma quickly falls in love with the hotel – her little room overlooking the courtyard with its vivid flowers and soothing fountain, the cast of quirky guests, warm staff and flamboyant owner. When the post of receptionist falls vacant she seizes the bull by the horns and, with little Spanish and no experience, cajoles her way into the job. She soon discovers a talent for management and Casa Clara flourishes in her care.
When Fate brings the man of her dreams to the door, the future looks perfect.
But her scheming sister is still busy tracking her down and eventually Emma must face forces that threaten to destroy the idyllic life she has built for herself.