My pick of this month’s Kindle deals (August 2020)

As I mentioned last month these offers seem to be growing. This month there are 1,000 to trawl through. However rather than split the list into two as I did last month I’m going to try a different tack. I’m going to adopt the genre headings used by Amazon, this means I’m searching 3 or 4 shorter lists, rather than one large one. It also means you can jump any category that doesn’t appeal, so it makes going through my selection better for you too.

The categories I’ve used are, for better or worse – Crime, Thriller and Mystery; History and Biography; Romance/Relationships; Historical; Literary/Contemporary Fiction

Having decided to do it this way, I’ve realised that Amazon’s genre fields leave something to be desired which means a fair bit of jumping about for me. Plus I don’t know WordPress well enough to link to text in the same document so not sure it’s the help I though it was. Maybe back to the drawing board for next month. Any thoughts ideas gratefully received, providing it doesn’t make the process any lengthier than it already is.

Usual rules apply – all books I include are those I’ve either read and recommend, books that are patiently waiting to be read, or they’re ones I’d happily to add to my reading list. Therefore, it’s a list that’s skewed towards what currently appeals to me so feel free to look at the complete list on Amazon here.

This post includes affiliate links (image/title) and you can see what this means here.

 

Crime, Thriller and Mystery

 

Lost youLost You by Haylen Beck

You’re looking for your son. But she found him first.

When a little boy goes missing, his mother desperately wants to find him . . . before someone else does.

Libby would do anything for her three-year-old son Ethan. And after all they’ve been through, a holiday seems the perfect antidote for them both. Their hotel is peaceful, safe and friendly, yet Libby can’t help feeling that someone is watching her. Watching Ethan. Because, for years, Libby has lived with a secret.

Just days into their holiday, when Libby is starting to relax, Ethan steps into an elevator on his own, and the doors close before Libby can stop them. Moments later, Ethan is gone.

Libby thought she had been through the worst, but her nightmare is only just beginning. And in a desperate hunt for her son, it becomes clear she’s not the only one looking for him.

Who will find him first?


 

Dog WalkerThe Dog Walker by Lesley Thomson

Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present.

January, 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage and disappears.

Twenty-nine years later, Helen’s body has never been found. Her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago. But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold.


 

All This I Will Give to YouAll This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo

When novelist Manuel Ortigosa learns that his husband, Álvaro, has been killed in a car crash, it comes as a devastating shock. It won’t be the last. He’s now arrived in Galicia. It’s where Álvaro died. It’s where the case has already been quickly closed as a tragic accident. It’s also where Álvaro hid his secrets.

The man to whom Manuel was married for fifteen years was not the unassuming man he knew.

Álvaro’s trail leads Manuel deep into one of Spain’s most powerful and guarded families. Behind the walls of their forbidding estate, Manuel is nothing but an unwelcome and dangerous intruder. Then he finds two allies: a stubbornly suspicious police lieutenant and Álvaro’s old friend—and private confessor—from seminary school. Together they’re collecting the pieces of Álvaro’s past, his double life, and his mysterious death.

But in the shadows of nobility and privilege, Manuel is about to unravel a web of corruption and deception that could be as fatal a trap for him as it was for the man he loved.


 

day of the accidentDay of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow… her daughter is still alive?


 

the great darkness

The Great Darkness by Jim Kelly

1939, Cambridge. The opening weeks of the Second World War, and the first blackout – The Great Darkness – envelops the city. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke, a wounded hero of the Great War, takes his nightly dip in the cool waters of the Cam. Sirens wail and yet in this Phoney War the enemy never comes.

But daylight reveals a corpse on the riverside, the body torn apart by some unspeakable force. Brooke investigates, calling on the expertise of his fellow ‘nighthawks’, all condemned, like him, to a life lived away from the light. Within hours there is another victim slaughtered under cover of The Great Darkness. War has many casualties, but what links these crimes of the night?


 

into the blueInto the Blue by Robert Goddard

Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure. Leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, he is reduced to caretaking a friend’s villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa – a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to – disappears on a mountain peak.

Under suspicion of her murder, Harry stumbles on a set of photographs taken in the weeks before her disappearance. Obsessed by the mystery that has changed his life and determined to clear his name, he begins to trace back the movements and encounters that led to the moment when she vanished into the blue. The trail leads him back to England, to a world he thought he had left for ever – and a past he has tried desperately to forget.


 

death deservedDeath Deserved by Thomas Enger

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…


 

daughter of timeThe Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

Richard III reigned for only two years, and for centuries he was villified as the hunch-backed wicked uncle, murderer of the princes in the Tower. Josephine Tey’s novel The Daughter of Time is an investigation into the real facts behind the last Plantagenet king’s reign, and an attempt to right what many believe to be the terrible injustice done to him by the Tudor dynasty.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains – a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the the Tudors?

Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower.


 

gallows court

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

LONDON, 1930.

Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: this is a night where no woman should be walking the streets. But Rachel Savernake is not an ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s embarrassment, she solved the Chorus Girl Murder, and now she’s on the trail of another killer: a man responsible for a spate of deaths so violent that even newspapermen consider the details too foul to print.

But Jacob Flint, the naive young journalist manning The Clarion‘s crime desk, is looking for the scoop that will make his name. He’s certain there is more to the Miss Savernake’s amateur sleuthing than meets the eye.

Flint’s pursuit of his story will lead him deep into a labyrinth of deception and corruption. And then, murder by murder, he will be swept inexorably to that ancient place of execution, where everything began and where everything will end: Gallows Court.


 

SnapSnap by Belinda Bauer

SNAP DECISIONS CAN BE DANGEROUS . . .

On a stifling summer’s day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack’s in charge, she’d said. I won’t be long.

But she doesn’t come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they’re alone in the house, and – quite suddenly – of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother . . .


 

the colours of all the cattleThe Colours of all the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith

THE NINETEENTH BOOK IN THE BELOVED NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY SERIES

The one with the election . . .

When Ramotswe enters politics to oppose the construction of the dubious-sounding ‘Big Fun Hotel’, her opponent turns out to be local troublemaker, Violet Sephotho. But the general air of excitement cannot eclipse important matters of detection. Charlie, assigned a mysterious hit-and-run case, strives to prove his worth to his superiors as well as Queenie-Queenie, the woman who has captured his heart.

Mma Makutsi is meanwhile in danger of being outwitted by a local bigwig property developer.


 

Mystery on Hidden LaneMystery on Hidden Lane by Clare Chase

When Bernard Fitzpatrick drowns in a river close to his home, the village mourns a tragic accident… and amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case.

Obituary writer Eve is looking forward to her new assignment, as well as spending a few days in the sweet little village of Saxford St Peter, walking the country lanes with her beloved dachshund Gus. But it turns out that it’s Bernard’s death that she’ll need to investigate, not his life. On the day she arrives, news breaks that the world-famous cellist was the victim of a grisly murder. Could this quaint English village be hiding a dark secret?

As Eve starts to interview Bernard’s friends and colleagues, she finds that he’d ruffled more than a few feathers. In fact, from the landlords of the Cross Keys Inn to his own seemingly devoted secretary, there’s barely a person in town who doesn’t have some reason to hate him… is one of the friendly villagers really a cold-blooded killer?

Eve hoped Saxford St Peter would be the perfect escape from her busy city life. But there is darkness even in the most sunlit of settings. And when a second body is found, Eve realises she’s spoken to every single suspect. Her notebook contains all the clues she needs. But will she be able to crack the case and identify them… before they realise she’s on their trail and make her their next target?


 

Cruel ActsCruel Acts by Jane Casey

Guilty?
A year ago, Leo Stone was convicted of murdering two women and sentenced to life in prison. Now he’s been freed on a technicality, and he’s protesting his innocence.

Not guilty?
DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve digs, the less convinced she is that he did it.

The wrong decision could be deadly…
Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?


 

The FlightThe Flight by Julie Clark

Claire and Eva lead very different lives, but they have one thing in common – they are both in huge danger and need to disappear.

A chance encounter at the airport presents the two women with a simple but crazy solution: switch places then drop off the grid when they land.

But one woman will never reach her destination.

In a smart, tense and twisting narrative that will have you hooked from the first page to the last.


 

blue lighteningBlue Lightning (Shetland Book 4) by Ann Cleeves

With the autumn storms raging, Fair Isle feels cut off from the rest of the world. Trapped, tension is high and tempers become frayed. Enough to drive someone to murder . . .

A woman’s body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory, with feathers threaded through her hair. The islanders react with fear and anger. Detective Jimmy Perez has no support from the mainland and must investigate the old-fashioned way. He soon realizes that this is no crime of passion – but a murder of cold and calculated intention.

There’s no way off the island until the storms abate – and so the killer is also trapped, just waiting for the opportunity to strike again.


 

In the Absence of MiraclesIn the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.


 

Stolen SisterStolen Sister by Linda Huber

What happens when a baby goes missing?

Twenty-two years ago, Erin and Vicky’s parents were killed in an explosion.

Now grown up, Erin and Vicky – who have been separated – are unaware they are siblings. But when Vicky is called to her great-aunt’s deathbed, she learns that she isn’t alone after all.

But where is Erin? Vicky’s search begins…

Elsewhere, Christine has problems of her own. In the first week of her new job, she makes a disturbing discovery and is struggling to come to terms with impending motherhood.

Vicky is almost ready to give up her search when an old foster mother calls with shocking news.

What links Vicky and Christine?

Will Vicky ever find her sister?

And can Christine’s baby escape the past that befell her mother?


 

silenced for goodSilenced for Good by Alex Coombs

Can she catch the killer before someone else is silenced for good…?

Detective Hanlon is addicted to violence. She likes the rush, the danger, the losing control…

When Hanlon is suspended from the force for assaulting a suspect, she escapes to the remote Scottish island of Jura, home to the mysterious Corryvreckan whirlpool.

But wherever Hanlon goes, violence is sure to follow.

As soon as she checks into The Mackinnon Arms, Hanlon senses something isn’t quite right about the staff at her home for the week.

Sure enough, within days of arriving, the body of a member of staff is found floating in the sea. While police believe she was claimed by the local whirlpool, Hanlon isn’t so sure.

As she pieces together the evidence, dark secrets begin to unravel. Can Hanlon work out what is going on before another floating body is found…?


 

girl who came backThe Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

Thirteen years ago Olivia Adams went missing. Now she’s back… or is she?

When six-year-old Olivia Adams disappeared from her back garden, the small community of Stoneridge was thrown into turmoil.  How could a child vanish in the middle of a cosy English village?

Thirteen years on and Olivia is back. Her mother is convinced it’s her but not everyone is sure. If this is the missing girl, then where has she been – and what happened to her on that sunny afternoon?

If she’s an imposter, then who would be bold enough to try to fool a child’s own mother – and why?

Then there are those who would rather Olivia stayed missing. The past is the past and some secrets must remain buried.


 

love you gone

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

‘Hello? Police? My husband and our children… they’re gone.’

When Mel arrives at the holiday cottage in the Lake District, she expects to find the heating on and her husband Luke and the two children waiting for her. Maybe a bottle of wine open…

Instead, there is just a note on the side, saying they’ve gone out for a walk.

But they aren’t back several hours later, and Mel knows something is wrong. Really wrong. When a search doesn’t find them, she has to confess to the police that her marriage isn’t all that it seems.

Even if that risks her own secrets being revealed…


History and Biography

 

I love the bones of youI Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston

Be it as Nicky Hutchinson in Our Friends In The North, Maurice in The A Word, or his reinvention of Doctor Who, one man, in life and death, has accompanied Christopher Eccleston every step of the way – his father Ronnie. In I Love The Bones Of You, Eccleston unveils a vivid portrait of a relationship that has shaped his entire career trajectory, mirroring and defining his own highs and lows, from stage and screen triumph to breakdown, anorexia, self-doubt, and a deep belief in the basic principles of access and equality denied to generations. The actor reveals how his background in Salford, and vision of a person, like millions, denied their true potential, shaped his desire to make drama forever entwined with the marginalised, the oppressed, and the outsider.

Movingly, and in scenes sadly familiar to increasing numbers, Eccleston also describes how the tightening grip of dementia on his father slowly blinded him to his son’s existence, forcing a new and final chapter in their connection, and how ‘Ronnie Ecc’ still walks alongside him today. Told with trademark honesty and openness, I Love The Bones Of Youis a celebration of those on whom the spotlight so rarely shines, as told by a man who found his voice in its glare. A love letter to one man, and a paean to many.

‘My father was an “ordinary man”, which of course means he was extraordinary. I aim to capture him and his impact on my life and career.’  – Christopher Eccleston


 

stepney doorstop societyThe Stepney Doorstep Society by Kate Thompson

Meet Minksy, Gladys, Beatty, Joan, Girl Walker . . .

While the men were at war, these women ruled the streets of the East End. Struggling against poverty to survive, and fighting for their community in our country’s darkest hours.

But there was also joy to be found. Across the East End the streets were alive – you need only walk a few steps for a smile from a neighbour or a strong cup of tea.

From taking over the London Underground, standing up to the Kray twins and crawling out of bombsites, The Stepney Doorstep Society tells the vivid and moving stories of the matriarchs who remain the backbone of the East End to this day.


 

cleanClean by Michele Kirsch

***2020 winner of the Christopher Bland Prize***

When Michele Kirsch’s father is killed in a train crash, her mother gets the vapours and Michele gets extremely nervous. By her mid-teens, she has found salvation in valium. Her favourite words on the prescription sheet are “Take As Needed”, which she interprets as Take All The Time.

Later, as a wife and mother, she adds alcohol into the mix, and before long her life is spinning out of control. Leaving home “for the sake of the family”, she takes the scenic route to rehab, redemption and reinvention.

But this is no misery memoir. Clean is a darkly comic tale about the difficult choices we have to make as we navigate our lives. While working as a domestic cleaner in her 50s, Michele finds herself living vicariously through other people’s messes, tidying her way through early sobriety. As the Duster of Large Things, she taps into her natural nosiness to reveal the absurdities of a seemingly banal job.


 

How Not To Be a BoyHow Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

RULES FOR BEING A MAN
Don’t Cry; Love Sport; Play Rough; Drink Beer; Don’t Talk About Feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.

Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not To Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.


 

The Five

The Five : The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.


 

she merchantsShe-Merchants, Buccaneers & Gentlewomen by Katie Hickman

The first British women to set foot in India did so in the very early seventeenth century, two and a half centuries before the Raj.

Women made their way to India for exactly the same reasons men did – to carve out a better life for themselves. In the early days, India was a place where the slates of ‘blotted pedigrees’ were wiped clean; bankrupts given a chance to make good; a taste for adventure satisfied – for women. They went and worked as milliners, bakers, dress-makers, actresses, portrait painters, maids, shop-keepers, governesses, teachers, boarding house proprietors, midwives, nurses, missionaries, doctors, geologists, plant-collectors, writers, travellers, and – most surprising of all – traders.

As wives, courtesans and she-merchants, these tough adventuring women were every bit as intrepid as their men, the buccaneering sea captains and traders in whose wake they followed; their voyages to India were extraordinarily daring leaps into the unknown.

The history of the British in India has cast a long shadow over these women; Memsahibs, once a word of respect, is now more likely to be a byword for snobbery and even racism. And it is true: prejudice of every kind – racial, social, imperial, religious – did cloud many aspects of British involvement in India. But was not invariably the case.

In this landmark book, celebrated chronicler, Katie Hickman, uncovers stories, until now hidden from history: here is Charlotte Barry, who in 1783 left London a high-class courtesan and arrived in India as Mrs William Hickey, a married ‘lady’; Poll Puff who sold her apple puffs for ‘upwards of thirty years, growing grey in the service’; Mrs Hudson who in 1617 was refused as a trader in indigo by the East Indian Company, and instead turned a fine penny in cloth; Julia Inglis, a survivor of the siege of Lucknow; Amelia Horne, who witnessed the death of her entire family during the Cawnpore massacres of 1857; and Flora Annie Steel, novelist and a pioneer in the struggle to bring education to purdah women.

For some it was painful exile, but for many it was exhilarating. Through diaries, letters and memoirs (many still in manuscript form), this exciting book reveals the extraordinary life and times of hundreds of women who made their way across the sea and changed history.


 

Between the stopsBetween the Stop by Sandi Toksvig : The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus

This long-awaited memoir from one of Britain’s best-loved celebrities – a writer, broadcaster, activist, comic on stage, screen and radio for nearly forty years, presenter of QI and Great British Bake Off star – is an autobiography with a difference: as only Sandi Toksvig can tell it.

 


 

 

Black and BritishBlack and British : A Forgotten History by David Olusoga

In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean.

Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.

Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries.


 

oscarOscar : A Life by Matthew Sturgis

Oscar Wilde’s life – like his wit – was alive with paradox. He was both an early exponent and a victim of ‘celebrity culture’: famous for being famous, he was lauded and ridiculed in equal measure. His achievements were frequently downplayed, his successes resented. He had a genius for comedy but strove to write tragedies. He was an unabashed snob who nevertheless delighted in exposing the faults of society. He affected a dandified disdain but was prone to great acts of kindness. Although happily married, he became a passionate lover of men and – at the very peak of his success – brought disaster upon himself. He disparaged authority, yet went to the law to defend his love for Lord Alfred Douglas. Having delighted in fashionable throngs, Wilde died almost alone: barely a dozen people were at his graveside.

Yet despite this ruinous end, Wilde’s star continues to shine brightly. His was a life of quite extraordinary drama. Above all, his flamboyant refusal to conform to the social and sexual orthodoxies of his day make him a hero and an inspiration to all who seek to challenge convention.

In the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years, Matthew Sturgis draws on a wealth of new material and fresh research to place the man firmly in the context of his times. He brings alive the distinctive mood and characters of the fin de siècle in the richest and most compelling portrait of Wilde to date.


 

the devil in the white cityThe Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

One was an architect. The other a serial killer. This is the incredible story of these two men and their realization of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and its amazing ‘White City’; one of the wonders of the world.

The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens.

The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair – and his own devilish charms – to lure scores of young women to their deaths.

While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago’s infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World’s Fair Hotel.

In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium.

These two disparate but driven men are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century . . .


 

till the cows come homeTill the Cows Come Home by Sara Cox

Till the Cows Come Home is DJ and TV presenter Sara Cox’s wonderfully written, funny coming of age memoir of growing up in 1980s Lancashire.

The youngest of five siblings, Sara grew up on her father’s cattle farm surrounded by dogs, cows, horses, fields and lots of ‘cack’. The lanky kid sister – half girl, half forehead – a nuisance to the older kids, the farm was her very own dangerous adventure playground, ‘a Bolton version of Narnia’.

Her writing conjures up a time of wagon rides and haymaking and agricultural shows, alongside chain smoking pensioners, cabaret nights at the Conservative club and benign parenting. Sara’s love of family, of the animals and the people around them shines through on every page. Unforgettable characters are lovingly and expertly drawn bringing to life a time and place.

Sara later divided her childhood days between the beloved farm and the pub she lived above with her mother, these early experiences of freedom and adventure came to be the perfect training ground for later life.

This funny, big-hearted and often moving telling of Sara Cox’s semi rural upbringing is not what you’d expect from the original ladette, and one of radio’s most enduring and well loved presenters.


Romance/Relationships (broadly speaking)

 

Like Water For ChocolateLike Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the De la Garza family. As the youngest daughter, Tita is forbidden by Mexican tradition to marry. Instead, she pours all of her emotions into her delicious recipes, which she shares with readers along the way.

When Tita falls in love with Pedro, he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. Unfortunately, he’s married to her sister…

Filled with recipes, magical realism and bittersweet humour, this charming story of one family’s life in turn-of-the-century Mexico has captivated readers all over the world and was made into an award-winning film.


 

memory bookThe Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

When time is running out, every moment is precious…

When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold onto the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?

 


 

beautiful strangersThe Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.

1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.

As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.


 

The Memory ShopThe Memory Shop by Ella Griffin

Will every treasured possession find its perfect home?

Nora’s world has been turned upside-down. Escaping heart-break in London, she returns to her childhood home in Dublin where her grandmother’s beloved house is being sold. Nora has been left with an inheritance of treasured belongings, but no home of her own in which to keep them.

Unable to bear auctioning them off, Nora resolves to stay in Dublin and open The Memory Shop, a very special business which matches each gorgeous object with a perfect new owner. It’s not long before these objects begin to transform the lives of those they touch, creating new stories and new chances at happiness.

As Nora lets go of a lifetime of treasures, she unlocks tantalising clues to her grandmother’s mysterious past. But can she finally let go of her own…?


 

sealskinSeal Skin by Su Bristow

What happens when magic collides with reality?

Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous … and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence?

Based on the legend of the selkies – seals who can transform into people –Sealskin is a magical story, evoking the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Exeter Novel Prize-winner Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance.

Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set. And it is, quite simply, unforgettable.


 

memory treeThe Memory Tree by Linda Gillard

Can the power of love overcome life’s darkest memories and deepest losses?

When her favourite beech tree is felled in a storm, Ann feels as if someone has died. But when long-hidden seed packets are found inside the trunk, Ann realises there are more memories than her own lurking within the ancient tree . . .

A century earlier, head gardener William Hatherwick and Hester Mordaunt, mistress of Beechgrave, share a love for the mighty estate – and an undeclared love for each other. But when war breaks out, William is sent to the battlefields of France, and as the conflict rages on, Hester grieves beneath the tree. Can she and William ever find happiness once he’s witnessed the horror of the trenches?

In the present day, historian Connor Grenville wants to understand why his late grandmother tried to destroy Hester’s archive before she died. Who was she trying to protect – and why? His findings bring long-suppressed memories back to Ann’s mind . . .

Beneath the shadow of the tree, love is won and lost, and secrets are hidden and revealed. Will the truth heal the wounds that lie buried in the past?

Revised edition: Previously published as The Trysting Tree, this edition of The Memory Tree includes editorial revisions.


 

The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueenThe Fall and Ride of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.

Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.

Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.

Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.


 

finding hope ar hillside farmFinding Hope at Hillside Farm by Rachael Lucas

Hillside Farm, nestled in the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, is a safe haven for Ella. Living on the remote farm, with just horses and her aunt Bron for company, Ella thinks she has finally found a place where she can forget her past and find peace.

But the arrival of a small girl called Hope and her father Harry changes everything. As Ella helps the pair come to terms with their loss, she realizes that she too deserves happiness. But is it too late to find it?


 

The Day We MetThe Day we Met by Roxie Cooper

Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they’re both with other people…

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything…

Ten years. Two people. One epic love story.


 

woman like herA Woman Like Her by Marc Levy

It’s been five years since fate upended resilient Chloe Bronstein’s world. While she may be living with her father, and her acting career has taken a decidedly unexpected turn, she’s alive. And she’s intrigued by Sanji, the charming new elevator operator in her quaint Manhattan apartment building. There’s just something about the Mumbai-born, Oxford-educated, thoroughly modern elevator man that doesn’t quite add up.

Sanji is dazzled by Chloe. They have so much in common: Both defiant. Both independent. Both determined to live by their own rules. But there’s one thing about Sanji that Chloe doesn’t know. Yet.

However hesitant Chloe and Sanji’s burgeoning romance is—complicated by family, friends, neighbors, and the past—it also awakens them to life’s limitless possibilities.


 

dear emmie blueDear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

Emmie Blue has a secret…

A long time ago, Emmie Blue released a red balloon with a secret message hidden inside – and against all odds, across hundreds of miles of ocean, it was found on a beach in France by a boy called Lucas.

Fourteen years later, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Emmie hopes that Lucas is finally about to kiss her. She never expected him to announce that he was marrying someone else!

Suddenly Emmie’s dreams are shattered and the one person in her life she can rely on is slipping through her fingers. But what if Lucas isn’t her forever? What if her love story is only just beginning…


 

The Olive BranchThe Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his family… Then there’s the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.


 

the life we almost hadThe Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley

This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.

Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.

Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…


 

something to hideSomething to Hide by Deborah Moggach

‘Nobody in the world knows our secret … that I’ve ruined Bev’s life, and she’s ruined mine.’

Petra’s love life is a bit of a car-crash, even in her sixties. But then she falls for Jeremy, an old chum, visiting from abroad. The catch? Jeremy is her best friend’s husband.

And just as Petra is beginning to relax guiltily into her happy ever after, she finds herself catapulted to West Africa, and to Bev, her best friend who she’s been betraying so spectacularly.

It turns out that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has something to hide. Can Bev – can anyone – be trusted?


 

the secret by the lakeThe Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

When a tragedy forces the family Amy works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now.

A SISTER’S SECRET
But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen.

A WEB OF LIES
Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?


 

The Day that Changed EverythingThe Day that Changed Everything by Catherine Miller 

When you lose the love of your life, how do you find yourself again?

For Tabitha, the day that changed everything started like any other.

She woke up, slid her feet into fluffy slippers, wrapped herself in a dressing gown and tiptoed out of her bedroom, leaving her husband Andy sleeping. Downstairs, she boiled the kettle and enjoyed a cup of tea as the sun rose.

Upstairs, Andy’s alarm sounded, and Tabitha took him a freshly brewed coffee, like every other morning. Except today, the incessant beeping rang out and her husband hadn’t stirred. She called his name, she nudged his shoulder. But Andy wouldn’t wake up.

Three years later Tabitha is trying her hardest to get by in the shadow of her grief. She may have lost the love of her life but she won’t give up on the family they dreamed of. Fostering troublesome teenage girls and a newborn baby is a chance to piece together her broken heart.

But being a mother isn’t easy, and neither is healing the heartache she carries around. After losing everything, could saving these three children help Tabitha save herself too?


 

Queenie Malone's Paradise HotelQueenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning.

Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all …

Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … but it can also turn out to have a happy ending.


Historical Fiction

 

coming up for airComing Up for Air by Sarah Leipciger

THREE EXTRAORDINARY LIVES INTERTWINE ACROSS OCEANS AND TIME

On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toy-maker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Canada where a journalist, battling a terrible disease, risks everything for one last chance to live.

Taking inspiration from a remarkable true story, Coming Up for Air is a bold, richly imagined novel about the transcendent power of storytelling and the immeasurable impact of every human life.


 

BelongingBelonging by Uni Sinha

Set during the years of the British Raj, Umi Sinha’s unforgettable debut novel is a compelling and finely wrought epic of love and loss, race and ethnicity, homeland – and belonging. Lila Langdon is twelve years old when she witnesses a family tragedy after her mother unveils her father’s surprise birthday present – a tragedy that ends her childhood in India and precipitates a new life in Sussex with her Great-aunt Wilhelmina. From the darkest days of the British Raj through to the aftermath of the First World War, BELONGING tells the interwoven story of three generations and their struggles to understand and free themselves from a troubled history steeped in colonial violence. It is a novel of secrets that unwind through Lila’s story, through her grandmother’s letters home from India and the diaries kept by her father, Henry, as he puzzles over the enigma of his birth and his stormy marriage to the mysterious Rebecca.


 

in the darkIn the Dark by Deborah Moggach

1916. Pretty Eithne Clay runs a ramshackle South London boarding house with the help of her teenage son, Ralph, and their maid, Winnie. Struggling to keep herself, her lodgers, and her son going as every day life vanishes in the face of war, Eithne’s world is transformed by the arrival of Mr Turk, the virile, carnal, carnivorous local butcher who falls passionately in love with her. As the house bursts to life with the electricity – metaphorical and real – he brings, dark secrets come to light…


 

the other side of the bridgeThe Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson

A powerful, heartbreaking story about tempting fate and living with the consequences.

Arthur and Jake: brothers, yet worlds apart. Arthur is older, shy, dutiful, and set to inherit his father’s farm. Jake is younger and reckless, a dangerous to know. When Laura arrives in their 1930s rural community, an already uneasy relationship is driven to breaking point…


 

Swan SongSwan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

To the outside world, they were the icons of high society — the most glamorous and influential women of their age. To Truman Capote they were his Swans: the ideal heroines, as vulnerable as they were powerful. They trusted him with their most guarded, martini-soaked secrets, each believing she was more special and loved than the next…

Until he betrayed them.


 

The MuseThe Muse by Jessie Burton

A picture hides a thousand words . . .

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .


 

https://amzn.to/2XkiUWU

years of wonderYear of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

A young woman’s struggle to save her family and her soul during the extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly struck a small Derbyshire village.

In 1666, plague swept through London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, in an attempt to escape contagion. The north of England remained untouched until, in a small community of leadminers and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth arrived from the capital. The tailor who cut the cloth had no way of knowing that the damp fabric carried with it bubonic infection.

So begins the Year of Wonders, in which a Pennine village of 350 souls confronts a scourge beyond remedy or understanding. Desperate, the villagers turn to sorcery, herb lore, and murderous witch-hunting. Then, led by a young and charismatic preacher, they elect to isolate themselves in a fatal quarantine. The story is told through the eyes of Anna Frith who, at only 18, must contend with the death of her family, the disintegration of her society, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit attraction.

Geraldine Brooks’s novel explores love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggle of 17th century science and religion to deal with a seemingly diabolical pestilence. ‘Year of Wonders’ is also an eloquent memorial to the real-life Derbyshire villagers who chose to suffer alone during England’s last great plague.


 

the italian villaThe Italian Villa by Daniela Sacerdoti

Callie, a lonely small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino, Italy in search of answers – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. Inside the rusted gates, and through a large wooden front door dripping with sun-kissed flowers, Callie can’t decide if she’s more astonished by her new home or her first encounter with the mysterious young groundskeeper, Tommaso.

Wandering the villa barefoot at night, Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa, wrapped in faded blue ribbon and hidden in her birthmother’s antique wardrobe. Page by page, Callie is swept away by its story of love, passion, heartbreak and betrayal as she reads how Elisa married her childhood sweetheart in secret before fleeing to the woods to join the resistance. They vowed to find each other again when the war was over, but history had other plans.

Callie is certain that her and Elisa’s lives are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the diary’s crinkled yellow pages. It gives her the courage to start asking questions around the close-knit village until, at long last, she feels her closed-off heart begin to open. Perhaps even enough to let someone in…

But when a devastating betrayal in the final pages of the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is, the chance for a new life shatters in front of her. Can she persuade the locals to forgive her past and accept the truth about her identity?


 

the chilbury ladies choirThe Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan

IN WARTIME, SURVIVAL IS AS MUCH ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AS IT IS ABOUT COURAGE…

Kent, 1940. In the idyllic village of Chilbury change is afoot. Hearts are breaking as sons and husbands leave to fight, and when the Vicar decides to close the choir until the men return, all seems lost.

But coming together in song is just what the women of Chilbury need in these dark hours, and they are ready to sing. With a little fighting spirit and the arrival of a new musical resident, the charismatic Miss Primrose Trent, the choir is reborn.

Some see the choir as a chance to forget their troubles, others the chance to shine. Though for one villager, the choir is the perfect cover to destroy Chilbury’s new-found harmony…


 

Secret WifeThe Secret Wife by Gill Paul

A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .

Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914

Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .

2016

Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .

Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.


 

The Glittering HourThe Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.  When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules.  By the end of that summer everything has changed.

A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.


 

the guest bookThe Guest Book by Sarah Blake

The Miltons are a powerful old New York family, the kind that runs the world. And in 1935, they do. For generations, Kitty and Ogden Milton revel in their own utopia, a small island they own off the coast of Maine, but it cannot last.

Across the generations, we see the Milton myth slowly unravel. In 1959, two strangers enter their circle, forcing each member to question what their family stands for. Then by the 21st century, the money has run dry, the island is up for sale, and their granddaughter is about to uncover disturbing evidence about her family’s wealth.

Epic and sweeping, The Guest Book is a family saga that explores privilege and racism in America, and how choices made in the past can be felt in the present.


 

spiritedSpirited by Julie Cohen

Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom?

Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her – and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . .

Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them – but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.


 

Emerald AffairThe Emerald Affair by Janet MacLeod Trotter

In this evocative tale of life in India between the wars, friendships will be tested and loyalties torn. But can love win the day?

In Scotland in the aftermath of the First World War, nurse Esmie McBride meets handsome Captain Tom Lomax at her best friend Lydia’s home. Esmie is at first concerned for Tom’s shell shock, then captivated by his charm, but it’s effervescent Lydia he marries, and the pair begin a new adventure together in India.

When marriage to Tom’s doctor friend Harold offers Esmie the chance to work in India, the two sets of newlyweds find themselves living wildly different lives on the subcontinent. Esmie, heartbroken but resolved, is nursing at a mission hospital on the North West Frontier. Lydia, meanwhile, is the glamorous mistress of the Raj Hotel, where Tom hopes his sociable new wife will dazzle international guests.

As Esmie struggles with her true feelings for Tom and the daily dangers of her work, Lydia realises the Raj is not the centre of high society she had dreamed of. And when crisis strikes both couples, Esmie faces a shattering choice: should she stay the constant friend she’s always been, or risk everything and follow her heart?


 

The Tuscan ContessaThe Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies

ONE WAR. TWO WOMEN. WILL THEY BE ABLE TO SAVE THE ONES THEY LOVE?

In 1943, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan villa among the olive groves is upturned by the sudden arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she agrees to shelter a wounded British radio engineer in her home, keeping him hidden from her husband Lorenzo – knowing that she is putting all of their lives at risk.

When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Feisty, independent Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a handsome partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep…

Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?


 

the pearl of penangThe Pearl of Penang by Clare Flynn

Evie Fraser, paid companion to a crotchety spinster, seems destined for a lonely life. Then out of the blue, a marriage proposal arrives by post. She met the handsome Douglas Barrington just once – at his wedding – but never forgot him. Now widowed, plantation-owner Douglas offers her a new life on the lush, exotic island of Penang. How can Evie resist?

But what are Barrington’s motives in marrying Evie when he barely knows her, and why is he so hostile and moody?

Evie soon finds herself pitched against Douglas on the one hand and the shallow, often spiteful world of the expatriate British on the other. Has she made the biggest mistake of her life?


Literary/Contemporary Fiction (ie the Rest!!)

 

Lights on the SeaLights on the Sea by Miquel Reina

On the highest point of an island, in a house clinging to the edge of a cliff, live Mary Rose and Harold Grapes, a retired couple still mourning the death of their son thirty-five years before. Weighed down by decades of grief and memories, the Grapeses have never moved past the tragedy. Then, on the eve of eviction from the most beautiful and dangerously unstable perch in the area, they’re uprooted by a violent storm. The disbelieving Grapeses and their home take a free-fall slide into the white-capped sea and float away.

As the past that once moored them recedes and disappears, Mary Rose and Harold are delivered from decades of sorrow by the ebb and flow of the waves. Ahead of them, a light shimmers on the horizon, guiding them toward a revelatory and cathartic new engagement with life, and all its wonder.

Wildly imaginative, deeply poignant, and entirely unexpected, Lights on the Sea sweeps readers away on a journey of fate, acceptance, redemption, and survival against the most rewarding of odds.


 

InterpretorsThe Interpreters by Sue Eckstein

When Julia Rosenthal returns to the suburban estate of her childhood, the unspoken tensions that permeated her seemingly conventional family life come flooding back. Trying to make sense of the secrets and half truths, she is forced to question how she has raised her own daughter — with an openness and honesty that Susanna has just rejected in a very public betrayal of trust. Meanwhile her brother, Max, is happy to forge an alternative path through life, leaving the past undisturbed. But in a different place and time, another woman struggles to tell the story of her early years in wartime Germany, gradually revealing the secrets she has carried through the century, until past and present collide with unexpected and haunting results. In her devastating and beautifully understated second novel, Sue Eckstein takes the reader on a skilfully plotted journey where our growing awareness of Julia and Max’s true heritage is in stark contrast to Julia’s own interpretation of the past. Interweaving universal themes — the nature of identity, the meaning of family, the emotional legacy of the past — Interpreters magnificently unravels the impact of a war that resonates across four generations.


 

half a heartHalf a Heart by Karen McQuestion

At nine years of age, Logan Weber knows the routine. Keep quiet, make the food last, and don’t ever cause trouble. He’ll do what it takes to evade the rages of his troubled, violent father. Even though he’s only a child, Logan already knows too much—has seen too much.

So when the opportunity presents itself, Logan runs. He has no idea where his journey will lead, or that the grandmother he’s been told is dead is desperately searching for him.

Alone with no home of his own, Logan looks for a safe place to hide. Relying on his instincts and the kindness of strangers, the boy manages to touch the lives of everyone he meets. But his innocent heart cannot survive in the adult world without the most basic human need of all: love.


 

I wanted you to knowI Wanted You to Know by Laura Pearson

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you them in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a true love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.


 

three things about elsieThree Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she considers the charming new resident who looks exactly like a man she once knew – a man who died sixty years ago. His arrival has stirred distant memories she and Elsie thought they’d laid to rest. Lying prone in the front room, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light …

 


 

 

miss janie's girlsMiss Janie’s Girls by Carolyn Brown

Miss Janie is at the end of a long and full life, but she has no intention of crossing that finish line until she’s found her girls…

It’s been ten years since Teresa and Kayla shook off the dust of Birthright, Texas, went their separate ways, and never looked back. Apart from their foster mom, Miss Janie, they don’t have many fond memories of their hometown. Or of each other. Still, neither can forget the kind woman who opened her home and heart to two teenagers in need.

When a private investigator—who just happens to be Miss Janie’s handsome nephew—tracks them both down and tells them Miss Janie is dying, Teresa and Kayla know deep down that they’ve got to be there for her as she had been there for them.

With Teresa and Kayla together again under the same roof, old tensions may flare, but with Miss Janie’s help, they might rediscover that home is the perfect place for new beginnings.


 

garden of lost memoriesThe Garden of Lost Memories by Ruby Hummingbird

Just because you feel ordinary doesn’t mean you aren’t extraordinary to someone else.

Sixty-two-year-old Elsie knows what she likes. Custard creams at four o’clock, jigsaw puzzles with a thousand pieces, her ivy-covered, lavender-scented garden.

Ten-year-old Billy would rather spend his Saturdays kicking a ball, or watching TV, or anything really, other than being babysat by his grumpy neighbour Elsie and being force fed custard creams.

If it was up to them, they’d have nothing to do with each other. Unfortunately, you can’t choose who you live next door to.

But there is always more to people than meets the eye…

Elsie doesn’t know that Billy’s afraid to go to school now, or why his mother woke him up in the middle of the night with an urgent shake, bags already packed, ready to flee their home.

Billy doesn’t know that the rusting red tin he finds buried in Elsie’s treasured garden is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode her carefully organised life. And that when he digs it up, he is unearthing a secret that has lain dormant for twenty-eight years…


 

the overdue life of Amy BylerThe Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.


 

growing up for beinnersGrowing Up for Beginners by Claire Calman

It’s not easy being a grown-up, but Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…

When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.

Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.

Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.

Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.


 

seven lettersSeven Letters by Sinead Moriarty

Sarah loves being a mother – it defines her.

Every year she writes a birthday letter of love to her adored daughter, Izzy, now seven. And after she falls pregnant, she promises Izzy that the arrival of a baby brother will make their family complete. So when she collapses a few months later, the safe happy life Izzy knows is shattered.

With Sarah’s future, and the future of her pregnancy, in their hands, her husband and sister disagree fiercely about her treatment. The once close family starts to fall apart.

The clock is ticking, and the doctors need a decision. Can those who love Sarah get beyond the fog of grief and anger to figure out what’s for the best? Can they ever forgive each other for the decisions they make?

Will Izzy lose everything she knows and loves?


 

ChocolatChocolat by Joanne Harris

In the small French village of Lansquenet, nothing much has changed in a hundred years. Then an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, blows in on the changing wind with her young daughter, and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church. Soon the villagers cannot keep away, for Vianne can divine their most hidden desires.

But it’s the beginning of Lent, the season of abstinence, and Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock. Perhaps even a witch. If Vianne’s chocolaterie is to survive, it will take kindness, courage and a little bit of magic…


 

the place we call homeThe Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan

Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills, until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.


 

expectationExpectation by Anna Hope

What happened to the women we were supposed to become?

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?


 

Phew!! So that’s my selection. There are probably the same number again I could have included but these are supposed to be ‘edited’ highlights. Still not sure about the genre thing, I don’t really like pigeonholing books beyond the obvious factual descriptors such as biography or crime. It’s so easy to miss a wonderful read because it’s described as one thing when it can encompasses so many others. Anyway hope you find something you like, and once again here’s the link to the full list, until next month – Happy Reading!!

15 comments

Leave a Reply to Davida Chazan Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.