I’m delighted to report that I’m definitely getting back up to speed after my op and that all went perfectly. No complications, all clear on the biopsy results and healing all going well. I don’t want to rush the cleaning though – just in case! On that front I was thinking the New Year would be a nice goal to aim for. However I expect that even I with my high cleaning threshold I will succumb well before then but a girl can dream.
I’ve recently been reminded that November is a double cause for celebration. Twitter informed me that it’s 13 years since I joined. Good grief, 13 years and I’m still rubbish at it. To be fair for the first 7 of those years I was fairly inactive with few followers and very little to say. The reason that changed was starting up this blog, which is 6 years old this month. So happy birthday to me and a very big THANK YOU to all of you who take the time to drop by, comment, like, support and generally encourage me. I know we all say we blog for ourselves, which is true, but at the same time we still don’t want to feel that we’re just shouting into the void.
Coincidentally, one of my recent features on the blog harks back to the very early days of Jill’s Book Cafe, before the blog was even a twinkle in my eye. As some of you already know I started JBC on Facebook as a page for sharing my Kindle bargain finds. I don’t think at that stage I even knew what a blog was, so certainly never had any aspirations to have one. I’ve always continued to share my Kindle bargains directly to my Facebook page however Facebook and it’s increasingly obstructive platform has forced me to think again about how I operate. My Jill’s Book Cafe page was always seen as page linked to my personal account, now it’s been made a separate entity and will only link to Amazon via an app (thanks for nothing Facebook). Anyway, the upshot is, it’s getting increasingly problematic to run Jill’s Book Cafe on Facebook so I needed to think about another way of either continuing with it, or sadly closing it. Facebook’s algorithms also mean fewer and fewer people are interacting and seeing the page which results in a self fulfilling prophecy of being seen less and less.
My answer to the problem has been to create a daily post via the blog to highlight Kindle bargains. As well as allowing me the opportunity to spread what would have been my monthly ‘Kindle Sale’ over the month it has the advantage of picking up on shorter term deals that pop up. I’ve already had feedback that suggests that this is working for my Facebook followers as they are in some cases ‘seeing’ my posts for the first time in a long time. So I seem to have come full circle with the blog now featuring daily Kindle bargains. I feel I should say at this point I am sharing what I think are cracking reads at a bargain price, I am not advocating that all books should be 99p. I really appreciate how my fellow bloggers have been sharing this feature, so hopefully that means it is a positive addition to the blog.
I reported in October that I hadn’t read as much as I’d hoped and sadly November has followed in the same vein. Not exactly sure why as I’ve had the time and the inclination but seem to have frittered time away (can’t even pretend I was catching up on the cleaning). I haven’t been anywhere or done anything apart from a hospital trip for my delayed mammogram and a trip to the GP for my flu jab – hardly scintillating excursions. At least I did manage one goal on the reading front and that was to start my Christmas reading, so not a totally negative month.
The time I spent convalescing did give me some thinking time to consider things I might like to feature on the blog and things I might change. I always seem to dream up ideas that involve a regular feature that can be quite tying, so I’d certainly like to be a bit more spontaneous and get round to doing some of the things I’ve already started as well as working on some new ideas. Watch this space!
I think I’ve wittered on enough for now, so here’s my month in books.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Books I Bought this Month
The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return. An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.
Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.
Execution by SJ Parris
A TREASONOUS PLOT
England, 1586. Giordano Bruno, heretic turned spy, passes on vital information to spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. A band of Catholic Englishmen are plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth and install Mary, Queen of Scots, on the English throne.
A DEADLY TRAP
Walsingham, already aware of the plot, is allowing it to progress. He hopes that Mary will put her support in writing – and condemn herself to a traitor’s death.
A QUEEN IN DANGER
Bruno must go undercover, join the conspirators and stop them. A queen is destined to die; Bruno must make sure it is the right one…
Should We Fall Behind by Sharon Duggal
A BBC 2 Between The Covers Book Club Choice.
Should We Fall Behind is about the passing of time and the intricate weaves of joy and suffering, love.
The Dark by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin
If the truth’s in the shadows, get out of the light . . .
Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow?
DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.
William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw books changed the face of crime fiction. When he died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of Laidlaw’s first case. Now, Ian Rankin is back to finish what McIlvanney started. In The Dark Remains, these two iconic authors bring to life the criminal world of 1970s Glasgow, and Laidlaw’s relentless quest for truth.
The Merry Christmas Project by Cathy Bramley
Christmas has always meant something special to Merry – even without a family of her own. This year, her heart might be broken but her new candle business is booming. The last thing she needs is another project – but when her hometown’s annual event needs some fresh festive inspiration, Merry can’t resist.
Cole loves a project too – though it’s usually of the bricks and mortar variety. As a single dad, his Christmas wish is to see his kids again, so getting the new house finished for when they’re all together is the perfect distraction.
But this Christmas, magic is in the air for these two strangers. Will it bring them all the joy they planned for . . . and take their hearts by surprise too?
After all, anything can happen at Christmas. . .
The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone
Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Suffer the Children by Cheryl Rees-Price
When Natalie Benyon’s eighteen-month-old daughter Ella disappears from a housing estate, the police and local community act quickly to organise a search.
Given the age of the child, once the local area is scoured, DI Winter Meadows draws the frightening conclusion that Ella has been abducted.
The attention of the police focuses on the family itself: the lifestyle of the mother, the boyfriend, the raucous party they had the night before Ella’s disappearance.
And a search in their garden reveals a chilling discovery that turns the case upside down and sends a shockwave through the community.
All of a sudden Meadows has a murder case on his hands – one that threatens to side-line the search for Ella. Can the detective join up the dots, solve the case and find the child?
Ballymaloe Cookery Course by Darina Allen
Ballymaloe is one of the world’s best cookery schools and Darina Allen, its co-founder and main teacher, is in a league of her own. Every student who has gone through her school has begged her to write down her recipes and thoughts, tips and shortcuts, and here they are in this definitive teaching book, which has everything to inform and inspire you to become adventurous in the kitchen. Ballymaloe Cookery Course explains 1,175 recipes, 370 variations and more than 100 basic skills, from making pastry to the art of carving, from preserving lemons to making delicious home-made pasta, from culturing creamy yogurt to butterflying a leg of lamb: the simple instructions given by one of the world’s great cookery teachers will inspire you to prepare and enjoy the art of fresh produce and fine food.
One More Christmas at the Castle by Trisha Ashley
This Christmas will be the most special of them all…
Elderly widow Sabine knows this will be her last Christmas in her beloved home, Mitras Castle. Determined to make it just like the ones she remembers from her childhood, she employs Dido Jones of Heavenly Houseparties to help with the big day.
Dido is enchanted by the castle as soon as she steps through the imposing front door. And as Christmas day approaches, her feeling of connection to the old house runs deeper than she first thought.
But when the snow begins to fall and Sabine’s family arrive at the house – including Dido’s teenage crush Xan – tensions rise around the castle’s future and long-buried mysteries begin to unravel…
As past secrets come to light, can this still be a magical Christmas to remember?
Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain
Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.
But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.
When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Seamas O’Reilly
Séamas O’Reilly’s mother died when he was five, leaving him, his ten brothers and sisters and their beloved father in their sprawling bungalow in rural Derry. It was the 1990s; the Troubles were a background rumble (most of the time), and Séamas at that point was more preoccupied with dinosaurs, Star Wars and the actual location of heaven than the political climate.
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? is a book about a family of argumentative, loud, musical, sarcastic, grief-stricken siblings, shepherded into adulthood by a man whose foibles and reticence were matched only by his love for his children and his determination that they would flourish. It is the moving, often amusing and completely unsentimental story of a boy growing up in a family bonded by love, loss and fairly relentless mockery.
The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (Gamache 17)
When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide crowd control at a statistics lecture given at the Université de l’Estrie in Quebec, he is dubious. Why ask the head of homicide to provide security for what sounds like a minor, even mundane lecture?
But dangerous ideas about who deserves to live in order for society to thrive are rapidly gaining popularity, fuelled by the research of the eminent Professor Abigail Robinson. Yet for every person seduced by her theories there is another who is horrified by them. When a murder is committed days after the lecture, it’s clear that within crowds can lie madness.
To uncover the truth, Gamache must put his own feelings about the divisive Professor to one side. But with her ideas gaining ground, the line separating good and evil, right and wrong, is quickly blurring – especially when the case leads unexpectedly close to home …
Drinking Custard by Lucy Beaumont
From TV’s award-winning comedy mum, Lucy Beaumont, comes her hilarious debut on the trials and tribulations of motherhood.
Known for her sharp, witty and surreal view on everyday life, Lucy shares the unpredictable craziness of being a mum in this brilliant and laugh-out-loud ‘mumoir’. Mums everywhere will recognise the madness of it all. Like when Lucy was hospitalised during her third trimester with chest pains but it turned out to be a burrito. Or when she was so tired at the park she forgot her own child’s name.
Heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny, Drinking Custard also captures Lucy’s marriage to comedian Jon Richardson, as they navigate Lucy’s raging pregnancy hormones and balk at pram prices together.
The Last Rose of Shanghai by Weina Dai Randel
In Japanese-occupied Shanghai, two people from different cultures are drawn together by fate and the freedom of music…
1940. Aiyi Shao is a young heiress and the owner of a formerly popular and glamorous Shanghai nightclub. Ernest Reismann is a penniless Jewish refugee driven out of Germany, an outsider searching for shelter in a city wary of strangers. He loses nearly all hope until he crosses paths with Aiyi. When she hires Ernest to play piano at her club, her defiance of custom causes a sensation. His instant fame makes Aiyi’s club once again the hottest spot in Shanghai. Soon they realize they share more than a passion for jazz—but their differences seem insurmountable, and Aiyi is engaged to another man.
As the war escalates, Aiyi and Ernest find themselves torn apart, and their choices between love and survival grow more desperate. In the face of overwhelming odds, a chain of events is set in motion that will change both their lives forever.
From the electrifying jazz clubs to the impoverished streets of a city under siege, The Last Rose of Shanghai is a timeless, sweeping story of love and redemption.
The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan
Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?
It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event that only occurs once every few decades.
When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.
Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city . . .
And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences . . .
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.
Coasting by Elise Downing
Running away from your problems doesn’t solve anything – but sometimes it’s more fun than dealing with them
Elise was spending a lot of time crying on buses. She had just graduated from university; she had a shiny new flat, her first proper job and a budding relationship – and they were all making her utterly miserable. Sitting at work one day, she hit upon the obvious solution:
Run 5,000 miles around the coast of Britain, carrying her kit on her back.
Six months later Elise set off, with absolutely no ultra-running experience, unable to read a map and having never pitched a tent alone before. Over the 301 days that followed she developed a debilitating fear of farmyard animals, cried on a lot of beaches and saw Britain at its most wild and wonderful.
Coasting is about putting one foot in front of the other, even when it feels impossible, and trying to enjoy it too. With heart and humour, Elise explores the thrill of taking risks and putting your trust in total strangers, and learns some home truths along the way.
The Best is Yet to Come by Katy Collins
Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that we need others to hear the loudest . . .
Izzy has always taken everything in her stride but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase but the dark clouds are starting to appear.
Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way.
When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?
Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft
Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…
When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.
Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.
However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…
Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?
The Car Share by Zoe Brisby
A ninety-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s and a heartbroken young man end up sharing a ride to Brussels that changes their lives forever.
When Alex pulls up to meet “Max”, he expects everything but a ninety-year-old lady who has her heart set on getting to Brussels by carpool.
As for ‘Max’, who is actually called Maxine, she could not be more ill at ease when settling into the seat next to this young man with bloodshot eyes. God help her if he turned out to be a drug addict who hasn’t slept in days!
When it becomes clear that Maxine is suffering from Alzheimer’s and wants to take matters in her own hands while she still can, and that Alex battles severe depression, a wonderful friendship starts to form between the unlikely pair. Before long, their travel plans take an unexpected turn…
The Bookshop of Second Chances by Jackie Fraser
Thea’s having a bad month. Not only has she been made redundant, she’s also discovered her husband of nearly twenty years is sleeping with one of her friends. And he’s not sorry – he’s leaving.
Bewildered and lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But, when she learns the great-uncle she barely knew has died and left her his huge collection of second-hand books and a house in the Scottish Lowlands, she seems to have been offered a second chance.
Running away to a little town where no one knows her seems like exactly what Thea needs. But when she meets the aristocratic Maltravers brothers – grumpy bookshop owner Edward and his estranged brother Charles, Lord Hollinshaw – her new life quickly becomes just as complicated as the life she was running from…
The Christmas Holiday by Sophie Claire
Can a trip away lead you home?
After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.
Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.
Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?
And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?
The Curator by M W Craven
It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6
Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?
And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.
And nothing will ever be the same again . . .
The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung – Capital Crime sub
Alexa Wú is a brilliant, darkly self-aware young woman whose life is manipulated by a series of alternate personalities.
One woman, many selves. But which one is telling the truth?
Only three people know.
Her best friend
When her best friend falls into danger, Alexa is drawn into London’s criminal underbelly to save her.
But will this lead to self-discovery, or to self-destruction?
Agent in Berlin by Alex Gerlis – Capital Crime sub
War is coming to Europe.
British spymaster Barnaby Allen begins recruiting a network of agents in Germany. With diplomatic relations quickly unravelling, this pack of spies soon comes into their own: the horse-loving German at home in Berlin’s underground; the young American sports journalist; the mysterious Luftwaffe officer; the Japanese diplomat and the most unlikely one of all… the SS officer’s wife.
Despite constant danger and the ever-present threats of discovery and betrayal, Allen’s network unearths top-secret plans for a new German fighter plane – and a truly devastating intelligence prize… an audacious Japanese plan to attack the United States. But can they prove it?
The race is on.
When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray – NB magazine sub
Emma’s husband Chris is fretting about starvation and societal collapse. He’s turned off the heating and is stockpiling off-label medicines and tins of baked beans.
Chris, certain that society will soon spiral to its doom, finds Emma’s optimism exasperating. Emma finds Chris’s obsession with disaster relentless. She’s beginning to wonder whether relationships, like mortgages, should be conducted in five-year increments. But when Chris’s mother turns up for a visit, the cracks begin to show. Will Emma and Chris be able to find their way back to each other?
Wins and Gifts
The Diamond Daughter by Janet MacLeod Trotter – a lovely competition win, thanks Janet
In this emotional story set in 1946 post-war India, can a woman’s quest for love survive shocking secrets and betrayal?
Filled with excitement and a little trepidation, Jeanie Munro is returning to India and her husband Mungo, having been forced apart from him by the long years of the Second World War. She has high hopes of helping him with his new role as headmaster of the prestigious Nicholson’s School in the idyllic setting of Murree in the foothills of the Himalayas. Together, they can start their longed-for family. But post-war India is in a ferment of change and the undercurrents of tension begin to disturb their tranquil outpost. Still grieving for her beloved brother, killed in action in the recent war, Jeanie – vivacious and optimistic by nature – tries to make the most of her new life. But after serving in the Anti-Aircraft Brigade during the war, she is no longer the biddable, naive young wife who left India in 1939 and finds life at Nicholson’s restrictive and lonely. Despite Mungo disapproving of them, her only true friends are the Lomaxes, a family haunted by scandal and owners of the glamorous Raj Hotel in Rawalpindi. Invited to the Raj for an Anglo-Indian wedding, Jeanie finds escape and enjoyment among this vibrant mixed-race community – and is especially drawn to handsome, fun-loving Rick – but knows that duty must not allow their mutual attraction to grow. Then, just as Jeanie is becoming reconciled to her lot, explosive, long-buried secrets come to light that shake her world to the core – and leave her facing the hardest decisions of her life.
THE DIAMOND DAUGHTER is the third and final novel in THE RAJ HOTEL SERIES.
The Olive Grove by Eva Glyn – a lovely gifted book, many thanks to Eva
A woman searching for a different future
A man desperate to escape his past
Can they find what they are looking for on the beautiful island of Korčula?
Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.
Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.
But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…
The Red Cross Orphans by Glynis Peters – a lovely gifted book, many thanks to Glynis
A journey into war, but not one she’ll take alone…
Orphan Kitty Pattison is young, naïve and ready to do her bit for the war effort when she volunteers with the Red Cross and pledges to help those most in need. It’s one of the most nerve-wracking moments of her life, but then she meets fellow volunteers Joan Norfolk and Trixie Dunn, and a bond of friendship is forged in the fire of life on the wards during the Blitz.
Days are spent nursing injured soldiers back to life and nights are spent anticipating bombs falling from the sky and then trawling through the wreckage to save who she can, but the light and laughter she finds with Jo and Trix see Kitty through the darkest hours.
And when Kitty starts growing closer to handsome Canadian doctor Michael McCarthy, it’s her friends who help her to find the courage to realise that no matter what has happened or what is to come, we all deserve love…
Books I Read
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
A child’s bones are discovered on the windswept Norfolk marshes. Believing them to be ancient, the police call in Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist. But this is no prehistoric grave. A cold missing person case has now become a murder investigation.
‘I’ve never before read a crime novel in which [archaeology and detection] blend as successfully as in The Crossing Places‘ Shots
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?
DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.
But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…
The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir
When a body of a woman is discovered at a lighthouse in the Icelandic town of Akranes, it soon becomes clear that she’s no stranger to the area.
Chief Investigating Officer Elma, who has returned to Akranes following a failed relationship, and her collegues Sævar and Hörður, commence an uneasy investigation, which uncovers a shocking secret in the dead woman’s past that continues to reverberate in the present day …
But as Elma and her team make a series of discoveries, they bring to light a host of long-hidden crimes that shake the entire community. Sifting through the rubble of the townspeople’s shattered memories, they have to dodge increasingly serious threats, and find justice … before it’s too late.
The puppet Show by M W Craven
A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .
Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.
As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …
Always and Forever at Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters
What if we’re all just searching for something?
Anna Stewart is lost. After barely surviving a car accident as a teenager, Anna is scared of settling. Flitting between jobs, boyfriends and homes whenever she gets bored, she has no idea what the future holds. Then her brother Brodie, minister of Glendale, suggests she moves to the beautiful Scottish village, lining up a housekeeper job for her at Glendale Hall.
Out of options, Anna agrees to take the job just for the summer. Once at the hall, her culinary skills impress everyone, and she agrees to give Hilltop Farm’s new manager, Cameron, cooking lessons. Sparks fly between Anna and the handsome Scot, but Cameron keeps pushing Anna away, and Anna definitely isn’t looking for love. But it’s wedding season at Glendale Hall, and Anna is about to discover that her new home has a way of working its magic on even the coldest of hearts.
Will she really be able to just walk away at the end of summer, or could Anna have finally found a place to belong?
The Talk of Pram Town by Joanna Nadin
For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel, comes a story about mothers, daughters and second chances . . .
It’s 1981. Eleven-year-old Sadie adores her beautiful and vibrant mother, Connie, whose dreams of making it big as a singer fill their tiny house in Leeds. It’s always been just the two of them. Until the unthinkable happens.
Jean hasn’t seen her good-for-nothing daughter Connie since she ran away from the family home in Harlow – or Pram Town as its inhabitants affectionately call it – aged seventeen and pregnant.
But in the wake of the Royal Wedding, Jean gets a life-changing call: could she please come and collect the granddaughter she’s never met?
We all know how Charles and Diana turned out, and Jean and Sadie are hardly a match made in heaven – but is there hope of a happy ending for them?
Christmas at Fox Farm by Helen Pollard
Daisy is preparing to spend her first Christmas in the only place she’s ever really felt at home: beautiful Fox Farm. But when tragedy strikes, she will need all her festive cheer, and all the mulled wine, to keep Christmas from being cancelled…
Living atFox Farm, with its cosy café and charming pottery workshop, is a dream come true for thirty-one-year-old Daisy. The kindly owner, Jean, and the close-knit village feel like the family Daisy has never had. She’s been looking forward to finally having people to buy gifts for and to share cookies with in front of the fire after too much Christmas dinner.
When Jean suddenly falls ill, Daisy is the first to lend a hand in organising the holiday celebrations. She ropes in Alex – Jean’s handsome Scrooge of a nephew – to help her. From the get-go Daisy and Alex cannot agree on anything, butting heads through decorating disasters and tripping over each other at the holiday barn dance. Alex hates Christmas, and Daisy is feeling so festive she might as well be the fairy on top of the ten-foot tree. Can Daisy melt Alex’s icy exterior and prove to him just how magical Christmas can be?
But then Alex discovers Fox Farm is almost bankrupt, and suddenly its whole future is in jeopardy. They need a plan, and quickly, if Jean is to have a place to come back to this Christmas. Will Daisy be able to save the only real home she’s ever had? And might this Christmas be the beginning of something special.
Always in December by Emily Stone
It started with a letter. It ended with a love story.
From London to Manhattan, from Edinburgh to the English countryside, from December to December, this stay-up-all-night read is impossible to forget…
Josie Morgan never looks forward to December. It’s always a reminder of the life she lost, twenty years ago. Now, she always switches off the radio when Christmas music comes on. She always wants to tear down the tinsel her flatmate insists on pinning up. And she always posts a letter she knows will never be read.
Max Carter never expected to find himself stranded in London just days before Christmas. He never expected it would be so hard to say goodbye to a woman he hardly knows. Then again, he never expected to fall in love.
But, this December, when Josie’s letter leads her to Max, a chance encounter will change their lives in the most remarkable way. And their story is only just beginning . . .
That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!