As mentioned last month, the ‘Kindle Monthly Sale’ has been subsumed into their generic Kindle offers. Consequently this month’s offers include ‘Countdown to Christmas‘, ‘Best selling Kindle Books of 2020‘, ‘Amazon Originals on Offer‘ and ‘£1 Book Deals‘. Whilst the terms and conditions at the bottom of the full listing states it lasts a calendar month, I’m a bit wary. Some of the books currently on offer, were also on offer last month and this month’s ‘Countdown to Christmas’ titles are identified as being on offer only until the 22nd December. Throw in the further cover all proviso that ‘offer may be changed or withdrawn without notice by Amazon.co.uk‘ and basically I’d say, if you see something you want just get it while you can, or at least before 22nd December.
Usual rules apply, I’ve concentrated on the more recent titles, but have dropped in a few older titles that I wouldn’t want you to miss. All the 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.
I’ve gone light on the Christmas inclusions with this list as I’m toying with the idea of a ’99p Christmas’ post, but in case time runs away with me on that one, I’ve included the more recent titles.
Genres have been allocated by me and have been generously applied. I don’t necessarily like to pigeon hole but it helps to give the post a bit more structure.
(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
It’s That Time of Year by Roisin Meaney
It’s the day before the wedding …
Three strangers arrive home to Ireland to the house that gave each of them refuge when they needed it most. They are there to celebrate the winter wedding of their beloved Annie, the woman who fostered them in their childhoods.
Now Julia is a world-famous singer living in luxury in Paris and Eddie is a chef in London, while Steph spends her days on a remote Greek island, running a writers’ retreat with her older lover.
All three have moved on from the past, but as the wedding celebrations get underway, certain truths come to light. It turns out that some hurts last longer than others …
As Annie says ‘I do’, with an unexpected twist for her wedding party, will Julia, Eddie and Steph discover their own happy-ever-afters in time for Christmas Day? It’s That Time of Year is the spellbinding, warm-hearted new novel from one of Ireland’s best-loved writers.
A Winter’s Dream by Sophie Claire
Liberty has never been a risk-taker. She loves the routine of her quiet life in the charming village of Willowbrook, with her Labrador, Charlie. But the arrival of a mysterious gift prompts Liberty to make some changes: starting with a daily challenge to say yes to everything for the month of December…
Fearless and independent, Alex could hardly be a less obvious fit for peaceful village life. But after an accident cuts short his promising motorcycling career, he finds himself in Willowbrook in search of new direction.
When the pair become unlikely housemates, sparks fly at Damselfly Cottage. Will living together prove impossible – especially when the first snow falls? Or, cut off from the outside world, can they help each other find what it takes to be brave this Christmas?
Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman
Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina.
Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in.
When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.
But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?
The Winter We Met by Samantha Tonge
When charming, mysterious Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.
As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen!
But time is running out with the closure looming and Jess becomes increasingly drawn to enigmatic Nik who joins forces with her and best friend Oliver to realise those plans.
Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?
Christmas for Beginners by Carole Matthews
IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR . . .
Christmas is fast approaching at the new Hope Farm. Owner Molly Baker has been convinced to organise an open day to raise some much-needed funds ahead of the New Year, but the nativity tableau is proving challenging. With anti-social sheep, awkward alpacas and a seriously sequined Santa Claus to assemble, Molly is feeling overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some Christmas spirit . . .
Despite the chaos of the farm getting in the way of her event planning, Molly is looking forward to spending the holidays with boyfriend Shelby and his son, Lucas, hopeful that a happy family Christmas is exactly what they need to draw them all together. But while she is busy making plans on the farm, Shelby, it seems, has ideas of his own.
As the nativity draws near, the team are working hard to pull off a spectacular festive fete – and make sure the animals and humans remain on their best behaviour.
Will this Christmas be merry and bright… or is there more than one surprise in store for Molly and Hope Farm?
Crime, Thriller and Mystery
Out for Blood by Deborah Masson
DI Eve Hunter is back in the edge-of-your-seat new detective thriller from Deborah Masson, winning author of the Bloody Scotland Crime Debut of the Year 2020.
A young man, the son of an influential businessman, is discovered dead in his central Aberdeen apartment.
Hours later, a teenaged girl with no identification is found hanged in a suspected suicide.
As DI Eve Hunter and her team investigate the two cases, they find themselves in a tug-of-war between privilege and poverty; between the elite and those on the fringes of society.
Then an unexpected breakthrough leads them to the shocking conclusion: that those in power have been at the top for too long – and now, someone is going to desperate lengths to bring them down…
Can they stop someone who is dead set on revenge, no matter the cost?
The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney
A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.
A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.
A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.
How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
The Daughter She Lost by Lauren Westwood
As I walk into the stark white house in the shadow of the pine trees, I can’t help but feel uneasy. I’ve always imagined what it would have been like to meet my birth mother before she died. Or to return, a lost daughter, to Avalon Springs, the place where I should have been raised. But nothing prepared me for this…
I should have realized something was wrong when I saw the way people looked at me in the hotel that morning. The way they glanced at my daughter Madison and the fearful look in their eyes when they found out I had inherited the old family home.
Then I find a jewelry box in my mother’s room. It sits covered in blue satin, hidden away in dust, untouched for years. And the contents inside change everything.
In my gut I know I need to admit this was a mistake, take my children by the hand and forget about my past forever. But now I’ve started digging I know that it’s impossible to leave…
The Glass House by Eve Chase
When the Harrington family discovers an abandoned baby deep in the woods, they decide to keep her a secret and raise her as their own.
But within days a body is found in the grounds of their house and their perfect new family implodes.
Years later, Sylvie, seeking answers to nagging questions about her life, is drawn into the wild beautiful woods where nothing is quite what it seems.
Will she unearth the truth?
And dare she reveal it?
Everyday Lies by Louise Guy
Wife. Mother. Liar.
At first glance Emma and Lucie seem very different, but they share an unspeakable vice. Beautiful, wealthy Emma appears to have it all with a loving husband and a seemingly successful life, but a restless craving has driven her to foolish actions. Meanwhile, young widow Lucie is struggling to make ends meet while coping with a troubled five-year-old.
When the law catches up with them they soon discover what they have in common: they lie. A lot.
Punished with community service, Emma and Lucie form an intense friendship, finding an unlikely third ally in Florrie, a septuagenarian who offers wise words and a shoulder to cry on.
But the lies don’t stop. They are hiding their misdemeanours from their loved ones and neither want their shame to come to light. As these unhealthy relationships drive them towards destruction, can they survive the fallout from their deceptions or will their lies destroy everything they love the most?
The 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.
The Flight has been highly acclaimed across the world and delivers a smart, tense and twisting narrative that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. It’s the perfect escapism, wherever you are!
Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan
Josie flinches as she takes in the faded blue sports jacket wrapped around the girl they just pulled from the water. Josie knew someone who’d once owned that jacket. He had died in her arms five years ago.
Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.
Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.
Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.
Paper Girls by Alex Smith
The one case he couldn’t crack was the one that finally broke him.
Haunted by his inability to track down and save his missing wife, DCI Robert Kett leaves the Metropolitan Police behind and moves to Norwich with his three young children, hoping to heal their broken family.
But his newfound peace doesn’t last. Two newspaper delivery girls have gone missing in the city, and the clues point to a serial kidnapper.
Kett is dragged into the centre of one of the darkest cases of his career — a case that pits him head to head against a horrifying evil.
And a case that might uncover the terrible truth of what happened to his wife.
The Second Wife by Sheryl Browne
She made her bed. You’ll lie in it.
Rebecca only wanted to help out – to be kind. Richard seemed so alone after his wife, Nicole, died, and Rebecca wanted to make sure he knew he had someone to rely on.
But now she’s in Nicole’s immaculate house. Drinking from her favourite crystal wine glass. Keeping shoes in her orderly closet. Comforting her sweet and grieving step-daughter. It feels like Rebecca is living another woman’s life.
And as she gets to know the neighbours, Rebecca hears stories that make her wonder: was free-spirited Nicole happy in this perfect life, or did she feel trapped? Did she feel, as Rebecca is beginning to, that something wasn’t quite right?
An Honest Man by Simon Michael
Barrister Charles Holborne may have just escaped the hangman by proving he was framed for murder, but his life is now in ruins.
His wife is dead, his high-flying career has morphed into criminal notoriety, and bankruptcy threatens.
So it seems too good to be true when the brief of a lifetime lands on his desk – with a pay check to match.
But as Charles delves deeper into the police corruption and warring criminal gangs involved in the case, he realises his reputation – and his life – could once more be on the line…
Can Charles win the case without compromising his integrity?
Or will he fail to remain An Honest Man…?
The Quickening by Rhiannon Ward
England, 1925. Louisa Drew lost her husband in the First World War and her six-year-old twin sons in the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Newly re-married and seven months pregnant, Louisa is asked by her employer to travel to Clewer Hall in Sussex where she is to photograph the contents of the house for auction.
She learns Clewer Hall was host to an infamous séance in 1896, and that the lady of the house has asked those who gathered back then to come together once more to recreate the evening.
When a mysterious child appears on the grounds, Louisa finds herself compelled to investigate and becomes embroiled in the strange happenings of the house. Gradually, she unravels the long-held secrets of the inhabitants and what really happened thirty years before… and discovers her own fate is entwined with that of Clewer Hall’s.
All My Lies are True by Dorothy Koomson
Verity is telling lies…
And that’s why she’s about to be arrested for attempted murder.
Serena has been lying for years. . .
And that may have driven her daughter, Verity, to do something unthinkable…
Poppy’s lies have come back to haunt her . . .
So will her quest for the truth hurt everyone she loves?
But whose lies are going to end in tragedy?
The Guest List By Lucy Foley
On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.
All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .
The Big Man Upstairs by JD Kirk
Just when he thought he was out…
Burdened by guilt over the trauma recently inflicted on his friends and colleagues, former-Detective Chief Inspector Jack Logan has spent the past nine months living in self-imposed exile.
When a mother and her young daughter are the victims of a double murder staged to look like suicide, Logan is dragged back to help hunt down and catch a brutal, calculating killer.
But the world has moved on without him. To do what needs to be done, Logan must first find his place among old friends and new enemies before the killer strikes again, and a whole Highland community tears itself apart.
Maybe early retirement wasn’t such a bad idea, after all…
Child’s Play by Angela Marsons
Finally we’re playing a game. A game that I have chosen. I give one last push of the roundabout and stand back. ‘You really should have played with me,’ I tell her again although I know she can no longer hear.
Late one summer evening, Detective Kim Stone arrives at Haden Hill Park to the scene of a horrific crime: a woman in her sixties tied to a swing with barbed wire and an X carved into the back of her neck.
The victim, Belinda Evans, was a retired college Professor of Child Psychology. As Kim and her team search her home, they find an overnight bag packed and begin to unravel a complex relationship between Belinda and her sister Veronica.
Then two more bodies are found bearing the same distinctive markings, and Kim knows she is on the hunt for a ritualistic serial killer. Linking the victims, Kim discovers they were involved in annual tournaments for gifted children and were on their way to the next event.
With DS Penn immersed in the murder case of a young man, Kim and her team are already stretched and up against one of the most ruthless killers they’ve ever encountered. The clues lie in investigating every child who attended the tournaments, dating back decades.
Faced with hundreds of potential leads and a bereaved sister who is refusing to talk, can Kim get inside the mind of a killer and stop another murder before it’s too late?
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?
Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.
As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.
The Silent Friend by Diane Jeffrey
One night changed everything.
For Laura and Sandy, one tragic event changed the course of their lives forever.
Now they are the only ones who understand each another, drawn together by the night that changed everything.
But one of them is keeping a secret that could destroy their fragile friendship. Only she knows just how closely their lives are linked.
When the secret is revealed, will their friendship survive? Or will the truth tear them apart?
Silver by Chris Hammer
A HOMECOMING MARRED BY BLOOD
Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth.
A TERRIBLE CRIME
The media descends on the coastal town, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal.
A PAST HE CAN’T ESCAPE
As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…
Feel Good Fiction and Romance
The Gin O’Clock Club by Rosie Blake
Bring the sparkle and fizz back into your life with the help of The Gin O’Clock Club
Lottie is always in a hurry, rushing through her days ticking tasks off her to-do lists. Teddy is worried about his granddaughter – and he knows that his late wife, Lily, would have known exactly what to say to make things better. Now that Lily has gone, it’s up to Teddy to talk some sense into Lottie.
With the help of Arjun, Geoffrey and Howard, the elderly reprobates who make up his Gin O’Clock Club, Teddy makes a plan to help Lottie find her way back to the things that really matter – family, friendship and love. But as Lottie balances a high-powered job with her reluctant attendance at whist drives, ballroom dances and bingo, Teddy wonders if she’s really ready to open up her heart to the possibility of true happiness…
An Almost Perfect Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond
The holidays are here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. The sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way . . .
Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend, George . . . but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?
Maggie’s hoping a seaside holiday will bring her and her daughter closer together, but when her ex makes a surprise reappearance, it changes everything. Can she trust the man who broke her heart?
Olivia has escaped the domestic grind, only for the past to catch up with her. Maybe the time has come to confess all – if she can find the courage . . .
Meanwhile, the teenagers are running wild and love is in the air. With friendship, heartache and secrets in the mix, will this holiday turn out to be a scorcher – or simply too hot to handle?
Something to Live For by Richard Roper
Everybody likes Andrew. But they don’t really know him. They know what he’s told them – that he’s happily married with two kids. Living the kind of life that’s either so boring it’s true, or so perfect it’s a lie…
Peggy arrives in Andrew’s life in a burst of kindness and possibility. For the first time in ages, Andrew feels alive again. So now that he has everything to lose, can he risk it all and tell Peggy the truth?
Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .
Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.
Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.
She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).
Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.
But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.
The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
Adult life is hard. Send help.
Ivy Edwards is thirty-one years old, funny, shameless, and a bit of a romantic.
She’s also currently trying not to cry in the office toilet.
Partly because she’s just run out of money for fags. A bit because her mum continues to annoy her. Definitely not because she’s just been dumped by her fiancé.
With her London life in shambles and her family miles away in the Welsh valleys, Ivy doesn’t actually feel like she belongs anywhere.
At least, she has her friends – and a bottle of vodka.
Embarking on a journey of singlehood, Ivy is about to discover that sometimes, having your life fall apart can be surprisingly fun.
The Tea Room on the Bay by Rachel Burton
It’s time for Ellie to return home and rediscover the past she left behind…
After a tough break-up, Ellie returns to the only place she’s ever really felt at home – the coastal town of Sanderson Bay. A year later, she’s living her dream, brewing delicious artisan teas and selling them at her very own café. And when the mysterious and brooding Ben walks into her tearoom, Ellie finally dares to dream of true love.
But then her ex shows up in the Bay, and just as Ellie discovers some tragic truths about her family’s past, she learns Ben might be hiding an unwelcome secret of his own…
Can Ellie let go of her past and brave a future with Ben?
The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts
Florence Fairfax might have been single for quite a while – well, forever, actually – but she isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her beloved cat Marmalade who keeps her company at night. She’s perfectly happy, thank you.
So when Florence meets an eccentric love coach who asks her to write a wish list describing her perfect man, she refuses to take it seriously. Until later that week, Rory, a handsome blond man with the sexual athleticism of James Bond she asked for just happens to walk into the bookshop…
Rory seems to tick all of the boxes on Florence’s list. But is she about to discover there’s more to love than being perfect on paper?
Meet Me in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May
The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.
Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.
Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.
With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.
When the Music Stops by Joe Heap
This is the story of Ella.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.
‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean.
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’
Ella has known Robert all her life. Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…
Five French Hens By Judy Leigh
The best days of your life might be still to come…
When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.
The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.
From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.
A Year in the Chateau by Sarah Long
When Nicola’s husband, Dominic, retires they decide not to spend their days finding hobbies to fill the time until Countdown is on channel 4. Instead, they fulfil their life-long fantasy of buying a house in the French countryside and filling it with their dearest friends. Reliving their youth and spending their children’s inheritance.
Joined by seven of their friends they club together to invest in a château in Normandy. Group dinners, fine wine, beautiful scenery – they’re living the dream!
But la vie en rose is harder than it first appears. Is there a reason why only teenagers take gap years?
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
When Alice Hale leaves a career to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in the basement, she becomes captivated by its previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the pages Nellie left clues about her life.
Soon Alice learns that while a Baked Alaska may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister, even dangerous, side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
Homeland by Fernando Aramburu
The Basque Country, Spain, 2011
Miren and Bittori have lived side by side in a small Basque town all their lives. Their husbands play cards together, their children play and eventually go out drinking together. The terrorist threat posed by ETA seems to affect them little.
When Bittori’s husband starts receiving threatening letters – demanding money, accusing him of being a police informant – she turns to her friend for help. But Miren’s loyalties are torn: her son has just been recruited as a terrorist and to denounce them would be to condemn her own flesh and blood. Tensions rise, relationships fracture, and events move towards a tragic conclusion . . .
Where the Edge Is by Grainne Murphy
As a sleepy town in rural Ireland starts to wake, a road subsides, trapping an early-morning bus and five passengers inside. Rescue teams struggle and as two are eventually saved, the bus falls deeper into the hole.
Under the watchful eyes of the media, the lives of three people are teetering on the edge. And for those on the outside, from Nina, the reporter covering the story, to rescue liaison, Tim, and Richie, the driver pulled from the wreckage, each are made to look at themselves under the glare of the spotlight.
When their world crumbles beneath their feet, they are forced to choose between what they cling to and what they must let go of.
Confessions of a Forty-Something F##k Up by Alexandra Potter
Nell Stevens’ life is a mess.
When her business goes bust and her fiancé with it, Nell’s happy ever after in California falls apart and she moves back to London to start over. But a lot has changed since she’s been gone. All her single friends are now married with children, sky-high rents force her to rent a room in a stranger’s house and in a world of perfect Instagram lives, she feels like a f**k up. Even worse, a forty-something f**k up.
But when she lands a job writing obituaries, Nell meets the fabulous Cricket, an eighty-something widow with challenges of her own, and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Together they begin to help each other heal their aching hearts, cope with the loss of the lives they had planned, and push each other into new adventures and unexpected joys.
Because Nell is determined. Next year things are going to be very different. It’s time to turn her life around.
The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne
Thirty-two-year-old Jess Abbot has lost everything: her job, her apartment, and—most heart-wrenching—her eight-year-old son, Chance, to a tragic accident. Haunted by memories and grief, Jess packs what’s left and heads for the small mountain town of Pine Lake, where she takes a position as caregiver to an eccentric old woman.
A rumored clairvoyant, Lucy is strange but welcoming and immediately intuits Jess as a “loose end” in need of closure. But Jess isn’t the only guest in Lucy’s large Victorian home. There’s also Star, a teenage runaway with a secret too painful to share. And the little boy with heart-shaped stones, who comes with a hope for reconciliation—and a warning.
Soon Jess learns that she’s not the only lost soul running from the ghosts of the past. She and Star have been brought together for a reason: to be saved by the very thing that destroyed them.
After the End by Clare Mackintosh
Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. Only now they’re facing the most important decision of their lives – and they don’t agree.
With the consequences of an impossible choice threatening to devastate them both, nothing will ever be the same again.
But anything can happen after the end . . .
Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.
Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.
Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.
When All is Said by Anne Griffin
‘I’m here to remember – all that I have been and all that I will never be again.’
At the bar of a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84-year-old Maurice Hannigan. He’s alone, as usual -though tonight is anything but. Pull up a stool and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally ready to tell his story.
Over the course of this evening, he will raise five toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Through these stories – of unspoken joy and regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden, a fierce love that never found its voice – the life of one man will be powerfully and poignantly laid bare.
Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, the voice of Maurice Hannigan will stay with you long after all is said.
Hashim & Family by Shahnaz Ahsan
It is New Year’s Eve, 1960. Hashim has left behind his homeland and his bride, Munira, to seek his fortune in England. His cousin and only friend, Rofikul, introduces Hashim to life in Manchester – including Rofikul’s girlfriend, Helen. When Munira arrives, the group must learn what it is to be a family.
Over the next twenty years, they make their way in the new country – putting down roots and building a home. But when war breaks out in East Pakistan, the struggle for liberation and the emergence of Bangladesh raises questions about identity, belonging and loyalty.
Hashim & Family is a story of family ties, of migration and of a connection to home, and is the debut of an extraordinary new talent.
This is Happiness by Niall Williams
After dropping out of the seminary, seventeen-year-old Noel Crowe finds himself back in Faha; a small Irish parish where nothing ever changes, including the ever-falling rain.
But one morning the rain stops and news reaches the parish – the electricity is finally arriving. With it comes a lodger to Noel’s home, Christy McMahon. Though he can’t explain it, Noel knows right then: something has changed.
As Noel navigates his coming-of-age by Christy’s side, falling in and out of love, Christy’s buried past gradually comes to light, casting a glow on a small world and making it new.
The Missing Sister by Dinah Jefferies
Belle Hatton has embarked upon an exciting new life: a glamorous job as a nightclub singer in 1930s Burma. But she’s haunted by a family mystery – a 25-year-old newspaper clipping found in her deceased parents’ belongings about the disappearance of their baby daughter, Elvira.
Desperate to find out what happened to the sister she never knew she had, when Belle starts asking questions, she is confronted with unsettling rumours, outright threats and a handsome American journalist named Oliver.
Can she trust her growing feelings for Oliver? Is her sister really dead? And could there still be a chance Belle might find her?
A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester
IN 1920s NEW YORK, EVERYONE IS CHASING A DREAM . . .
The Roaring 20s – a time for glamour, frivolity and freedom for women. But for Evie Lockhart, a small-town girl who is determined to become one of the first female doctors, it means turning her back on her family and the only life she’s ever known.
In a desperate attempt to support herself through Columbia University’s medical school, Evie auditions for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. But if she gets the part, what will it mean for her new relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman – a man Evie thinks she could fall for, if only she lived a less scandalous life . . .
Ardnish by Angus MacDonald
Ardnish, the Highlands of Scotland, 1944. On his deathbed, Donald John Gillies sends for a priest to hear his last confession. During his 85 years he has witnessed much – world wars, the loss of family through death and emigration, and the daily struggles which face the small remote community.
Waiting anxiously for the priest, his mind travels back to the dusty plains of South Africa in 1901, where he fought as a Lovat Scout during the Boer War, and where he met the woman who was the love of his life. Forced to abandon her and her young daughter in a British concentration camp, DJ returns to Scotland and his old life after his camp is ambushed by Boers and many of his fellow soldiers are massacred.
As he lies dying, an unexpected visitor arrives at Ardnish. making it more imperative then ever for DJ to come to terms with the past and to make peace with himself – and his family – while there is still time.
Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop
Athens, 1941. Nazi forces occupy Greece … and a nation falls apart. Victoria Hislop’s NEW Sunday Times Number One bestseller takes you into the darker days of Greek history and, through the eyes of its extraordinary heroine, illuminates the courage it takes to live in peace.
After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.
In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.
Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.
As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.
The Queen’s Rival by Anne O’Brien
England, 1459. One family united by blood. Torn apart by war…
The Wars of the Roses storm through the country, and Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, plots to topple the weak-minded King Henry VI from the throne.
But when the Yorkists are defeated at the battle of Ludford Bridge, Cecily’s family flee and abandon her to face a marauding Lancastrian army on her own.
Stripped of her lands and imprisoned in Tonbridge Castle, the Duchess begins to spin a web of deceit. One that will eventually lead to treason, to the fall of King Henry VI, and to her eldest son being crowned King Edward IV.
Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world?
It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.
Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.
Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.
The 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 Italian Villa by Daniel 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 Binder of Lost Stories by Cristina Caboni
With her delicate touch, Sofia Bauer restores books to their original splendor. In this art she finds refuge from her crumbling marriage and the feeling that her once-vibrant life is slipping away. Then an antique German edition takes her breath away. Slipped covertly into the endpapers is an intriguing missive, the first part of a secret…from one bookbinder to another.
Two hundred years ago, Clarice von Harmel defied the constraints of family and society to engage in a profession forbidden to women. Within three separate volumes, Clarice bound her own hidden story filled with pain, longing, and love beyond all reason. A confession that now crosses centuries to touch the heart of a stranger.
With the help of book collector Tomaso Leoni, Sofia connects the threads of Clarice’s past, page by page, line by line, town by town. She’s determined to make Clarice’s voice heard. With each new revelation, Clarice is giving Sofia the courage to find her own voice and hope for the future she thought was lost.
The Tucci Cookbook by Stanley Tucci
The Tucci Family brings wine pairings, updated recipes, gorgeous photography, and family memories to a new generation of Italian food lovers.
There is some truth to the old adage “Most of the world eats to live, but Italians live to eat.”
What is it about a good Italian supper that feels like home, no matter where you’re from? Heaping plates of steaming pasta . . . crisp fresh vegetables . . . simple hearty soups . . . sumptuous stuffed meats . . . all punctuated with luscious, warm confections.
For acclaimed actor Stanley Tucci, teasing our taste buds in classic foodie films such as Big Night and Julie & Julia was a logical progression from a childhood filled with innovative homemade Italian meals: decadent Venetian Seafood Salad; rich and gratifying Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese; spicy Spaghetti with Tomato and Tuna; delicate Pork Tenderloin with Fennel and Rosemary; fruity Roast Duck with Fresh Figs; flavorful Baked Whole Fish in an Aromatic Salt Crust; savory Eggplant and Zucchini Casserole with Potatoes; buttery Plum and Polenta Cake; and yes, of course, the legendary Timpano.
Featuring nearly 200 irresistible recipes, perfectly paired with delicious wines, The Tucci Cookbook is brimming with robust flavors, beloved Italian traditions, mouthwatering photographs, and engaging, previously untold stories from the family’s kitchen.
Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem
Mudlark (/’mAdla;k/) noun A person who scavenges for usable debris in the mud of a river or harbour
Lara Maiklem has scoured the banks of the Thames for nearly twenty years, in pursuit of the objects the river unearths: from Neolithic flints to Roman hairpins, medieval buckles to Tudor buttons, Georgian clay pipes to Victorian toys. What began as a search for solitude came to reveal the story of a city, its people and their lost ways of life.
To War with the Walkers by Annabel Venning
How would it feel if all your sons and daughters were caught up in war?
What would it be like to spend six years fearing what a telegram might bring?
That was the heart-wrenching reality faced by so many families throughout the Second World War, including the parents of the Walker children. From the Blitz to the battlefields of Europe and the Far East, this is the remarkable story of four brothers and two sisters who were swept along by the momentous events of the war. Harold was a surgeon in a London hospital alongside his sister Ruth, a nurse, when the bombs began to fall in 1940. Peter was captured in the fall of Singapore. Edward fought the Germans in Italy, and Walter the Japanese in Burma, while in London, glamorous Bee hoped for lasting happiness with an American airman.
In To War With the Walkers, Annabel Venning, Walter’s granddaughter, tells the enthralling and moving tales of her relatives, six ordinary young men and women, who each faced an extraordinary struggle for survival.
Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter
LIFE IN PIECES is a book for anyone who’s been thrown into a life they didn’t plan, or who just wants to stick it to 2020. When it looks like everything’s falling apart, we’ll piece it back together.
From reflections on grief and identity, bad hair and parenting, sleep and spirituality, to the things we can control and the things we cannot, Dawn has been doing a lot of thinking about life in lockdown. Mostly from a cupboard. Discover the daily diaries that track the journey – for a hilarious, heartbreaking and highly entertaining glimpse into the new normal.
‘There’s been a lot of well-meaning but mad advice on how to contend with the strangest period of human history any of us has ever lived through. Dawn O’Porter redresses the balance by telling it as it really has been: holding out for 5pm to crack open the tequila’ Mark Watson
Made in Scotland by Billy Connolly
‘Where do you come from? It’s one of the most basic human questions of all. But there is another question, which might sound a wee bit similar but is actually very different: What do you come from? And, let me tell you, that question can take you all sorts of strange places…’
In Made in Scotland, legendary comic and national treasure Billy Connolly returns to his roots, reflecting on his life, his homeland and what it means – then and now – to be Scottish.
Full of Billy’s distinctive humour, Made in Scotland is a hilarious and heartfelt love letter to the place and the people that made him.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour.
In this remarkable composite biography, Alison Weir brings Henry’s six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualised pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason and violence.
The Boy on the Shed by Paul Ferris
The Boy on the Shed is a story of love and fate. At 16, Paul Ferris becomes Newcastle United’s youngest-ever first-teamer. Like many a tricky winger from Northern Ireland, he is hailed as ‘the new George Best’.
As a player and later a physio and member of the Magpies’ managerial team, Paul’s career acquaints him not only with Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Bobby Robson, Ruud Gullit, Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer but also with injury, insecurity and disappointment.
Yet this autobiography is more than a tale of the vagaries of sporting fortune. It begins during ‘The Troubles’ in a working-class Catholic family in the Protestant town of Lisburn, near Belfast. After a childhood scarred by his mother’s illness and sectarian hatred, Paul meets the love of his life, his future wife Geraldine.
Talented and carefree on the pitch, shy and anxious off it, he earns a tilt at stardom. His first spell at Newcastle turns sour, as does his return as a physio, although obtaining a Masters degree shows him what he could achieve away from football.
When Paul qualifies as a barrister, a career in Law beckons. Instead, a craving to prove himself in the game draws him back to St James’ Park as part of Shearer’s management triumvirate – with unfortunate consequences.
Written with brutal candour, dark humour and consummate style, The Boy on the Shed is a riveting and moving account of a life less ordinary
Close to Where the Heart Gives Out by Malcolm Alexander
In his forties, Malcolm gave up his job in suburban Glasgow when a persistent seed that had been growing inside him started to bloom, disrupting the foundations of his life. When he saw the job advert, ‘urgent: island doctor needed’, he applied immediately. What he didn’t anticipate was how much Orkney would affect his family, for better or worse.
In stories that range from the humorous to the deeply moving, Malcolm describes what it’s like adjusting to life without modern conveniences and to the extreme – and constantly changing – weather; and what it means to be providing the best medical care to the local population with limited resources. Which often includes the wildlife as well …
Malcolm’s journey evokes the awe that the Orkney landscape can inspire, as well as the challenges of island life and the demons that the dark, cold winter months can give birth to. Gripping and beautifully written, Close to Where the Heart Gives Out reminds us of the importance of listening to our heart, as well as to the rhythms of the landscape.
Gaff Goddess by Laura de Barra
Laura de Barra is quite simply a Gaff Goddess. Expanding on her popular online home hacks, Laura will teach you how to handle the problems we all encounter in our homes.
Straight-talking and hilarious and packed with Laura’s stunning illustrations, her step-by-step guides will prepare you to handle the most common household emergencies with style. From dripping taps to hanging a frame, how best to look after your white goods, how to treat moths, mould and everything in between, and with invaluable design ideas to improve the living spaces in your home, this book is for everyone who has ever wanted to tackle a bit of She-IY without really knowing how.
Ingenious and sure to be an instant household must-have, Gaff Goddess will empower you to make those repairs and rediscover your space saving you time, money and stress in the process.
That’s it for another month folks, a bit of something for everyone I hope.
I was very late getting to this, Jill, but managed to find a few bargains 🙂
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Glad you found a few. It was unfortunate they had mixed closing dates this month so I know some of the very popular titles have already increased in price.
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I think I bought about eight – mostly feel good titles. I romp through them then can’t remember the title or the author! I must learn to make a note of what I read 🙂
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I’ve been on a Christmas reading binge and really enjoyed them. Always a happy ending – just what we need right now I think. I use Goodreads to keep a tally of what I own and what I’ve read.
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