Hello book lovers! How are you all? I hope you are all coping well during these strange times and finding some spare time for reading?
The vote for Augustâs read is on.Â So many amazing new releases to choose from it was hard to whittle it down to five! I hope you like the ones I have chosen.
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Thursday 6th August and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel JoyceÂ
Margery Bensonâs life ended the day her father walked out of his study and never came back. Forty years later, abandoning a dull job, she advertises for an assistant. The successful candidate is to accompany Margery on an expedition to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty is not who she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an adventure that exceeds all Margeryâs expectations, eventually finding new life at the top of a red mountain.
This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story and it is also a tender exploration of a friendship between two unforgettable women that defies all boundaries
I am an Island – Tamsin Calidas
When Tamsin Calidas first arrives on a remote island in the Scottish Hebrides, it feels like coming home. Disenchanted by London, she and her husband left the city and high-flying careers to move the 500 miles north, despite having absolutely no experience of crofting, or of island life. It was idyllic, for a while. But as the months wear on, the children she’d longed for fail to materialise, and her marriage breaks down, Tamsin finds herself in ever-increasing isolation.
Injured, ill, without money or friend she is pared right back, stripped to becoming simply a raw element of the often harsh landscape. But with that immersion in her surroundings comes the possibility of rebirth and renewal. Tamsin begins the slow journey back from the brink.
Startling, raw and extremely moving,Â I Am An IslandÂ is a story about the incredible ability of the natural world to provide when everything else has fallen away – a stunning book about solitude, friendship, resilience and self-discovery.
Burnt Sugar – Avni DoshiÂ
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her loveless marriage to join an ashram, endured a brief stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents), and spent years chasing after a dishevelled, homeless ‘artist’ – all with her young child in tow. Now she is forgetting things, mixing up her maid’s wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
This is a love story and a story about betrayal. But not between lovers – between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit,Â Burnt SugarÂ unpicks the slippery, choking cord of memory and myth that binds two women together, making and unmaking them endlessly.
Feathertide – Beth Cartwright
Born covered in the feathers of a bird, and kept hidden in a crumbling house full of secrets, Marea has always known she was different, but never known why. And so to find answers, she goes in search of the father she has never met.
The hunt leads her to the City of Murmurs, a place of mermaids and mystery, where jars of swirling mist are carried through the streets by the broken-hearted.
And Marea will never forget what she learns there
A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom – John BoyneÂ
Some stories are universal. They play out across human history. And time is the river which will flow through them.
It starts with a family, a family which will mutate. For now, it is a father, mother and two sons. One with his fatherâs violence in his blood. One who lives his motherâs artistry. One leaves. One stays. They will be joined by others whose deeds will change their fate. It is a beginning.
Their stories will intertwine and evolve over the course of two thousand years â they will meet again and again at different times and in different places. From distant Palestine at the dawn of the first millennium to a life amongst the stars in the third. While the world will change around them, their destinies will remain the same. It must play out as foretold. It is written.
A Traveller at the Gates of WisdomÂ is the extraordinary new novel from acclaimed writer John Boyne. Ambitious, far-reaching and mythic, it introduces a group of characters whose lives we will come to know and will follow through time and space until they reach their natural conclusion
Hello book lovers! How are you all? I hope you are managing to squeeze in some reading during lockdown?
The vote for Julyâs read is on.Â So many wonderful choices to choose from it was hard to whittle it down to five! I hope you like the ones I have chosen.
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Friday 3rd July and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
The Phonebox at the Edge of the World –Â Laura Imai Messina
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .
When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel to it from miles around. Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.
What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking. For when you’ve lost everything – what can you find?
Sorry for the Dead – Nicola Upson
In the summer of 1915, the sudden death of a young girl brings grief and notoriety to Charleston Farmhouse on the Sussex Downs.
Years later, Josephine Tey returns to the same house–now much changed–and remembers the two women with whom she once lodged as a young teacher during the Great War. As past and present collide, with murders decades apart, Josephine is forced to face the possibility that the scandal which threatened to destroy those women’s lives hid a much darker secret.
Queenie – Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where sheâs constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong placesâ¦including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, âWhat are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?ââall of the questions todayâs woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
With âfresh and honestâ (Jojo Moyes) prose,Â QueenieÂ is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in todayâs world
The Burning Land – George Alagiah
‘It was never meant to be like this. Sabotage, yes. Propaganda, yes. All of that and more – but not this. Not murder.’
South Africa has become a powder keg. Its precious land is being sold off to the highest bidders while the country’s corrupt elite pocket the profits. As the dreams and hopes of its people are threatened, frustration turns to violence. With the shocking murder of one of the country’s bright young hopes, the fuse is well and truly lit.
Conflict mediator Lindi and her childhood friend Kagiso find themselves in the heart of the chaos, fighting to save themselves and their country as events are set in motion that no one – least of all they – can control.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars -Â Glendy Vanderah
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the childâs home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stayâjust until she learns more about Ursaâs past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why arenât Jo and Gabe checking the missing childrenâs website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
Hello book lovers! How are you all. I do hope you are safe and well.
The vote for Juneâs read is on.Â So many wonderful choices to choose from it was hard to whittle it down to five! I hope you like the ones I have chosen.
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Saturday 6th June and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
The Witness – Nora Roberts
Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.
With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller — and will leave people hungering for more.
Lost Connections – Johann Hari
From the New York Times bestselling author ofÂ Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.
Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was toldâlike his entire generationâthat his problem was caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate this questionâand he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.
Across the world, Hari discovered social scientists who were uncovering the real causesâand they are mostly not in our brains, but in the way we live today. Hariâs journey took him from the people living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlinâall showing in vivid and dramatic detail these new insights. They lead to solutions radically different from the ones we have been offered up until now.
Just asÂ Chasing the ScreamÂ transformed the global debate about addiction, with over twenty million views for his TED talk and the animation based on it,Â Lost ConnectionsÂ will lead us to a very different debate about depression and anxietyâone that shows how, together, we can end this epidemic.
Blackout Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget – Sarah Hepola
Alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure” for Sarah Hepola. She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.
But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should have been. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.
A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor,Â BlackoutÂ is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventureâthe sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish mostâbut getting yourself back in return.
Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.
Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both housesâthe loneliness of Francisâs wife, Lena, and the instability of Brianâs wife, Anneâsets the stage for the explosive events to come.
Ask Again, YesÂ is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lenaâs daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anneâs son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive,Â Ask Again, YesÂ reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthoodâvillains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peterâs love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
Big Summer – Jennifer Weiner
The #1Â New York TimesÂ bestselling author of the ânothing short of brilliantâ (People)Â Mrs. EverythingÂ returns with an unforgettable novel about friendship and forgiveness set during a disastrous wedding on picturesque Cape Cod.
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasnât spoken one word to Drue in all this timeâshe doesnât even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social mediaâso when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.
Drue was always the one who had everythingâexcept the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphneâs no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. Sheâs built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friendâs siren song.
A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart,Â Big SummerÂ is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.
Hello book lovers! How are you all. I do hope you are safe and well and coping OK in lockdown?
The vote for May’s read is on.Â So many wonderful choices to choose from it was hard to whittle it down to five! I hope you like the ones I have chosen.
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 5th May and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
THE DUTCH HOUSE – ANN PATCHETTÂ
Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish folly in small-town Pennsylvania taken on by his property developer father. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her delicacy, her brilliance.
Life is comfortable and coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings, or under the cover of the draperies around the window seat in Maeve’s room. Then one day their father brings Andrea home: Andrea, small and neat, a dark hat no bigger than a saucer pinned over a twist of her fair hair. Though they cannot know it, Andrea’s advent to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives.
Her arrival will exact a banishment: a banishment whose reverberations will echo for the rest of their lives. For all that the world is open to him, for all that he can accumulate, for all that life is full, Danny and his sister are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own enforced exile is that of their mother’s self-imposed one: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.
Told with Ann Patchett’s inimitable blend of wit and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a story of family, betrayal, love, responsibility and sacrifice; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole lives, and the lives of those who survive us.
ON CHAPEL SANDS: MY MOTHER AND OTHER MISSING PERSONS – LAURA CUMMING
Uncovering the mystery of her motherâs disappearance as a child: Laura Cumming, prize-winning author and art critic, takes a closer look at her family story.
In the autumn of 1929, a small child was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach. Five agonising days went by before she was found in a nearby village. The child remembered nothing of these events and nobody ever spoke of them at home. It was another fifty years before she even learned of the kidnap.
The girl became an artist and had a daughter, art writer Laura Cumming. Cumming grew up enthralled by her motherâs strange tales of life in a seaside hamlet of the 1930s, and of the secrets and lies perpetuated by a whole community. So many puzzles remained to be solved. Cumming began with a few criss-crossing lives in this fraction of English coast â the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker â but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach â including her own.
On Chapel SandsÂ is a book of mystery and memoir. Two narratives run through it: the motherâs childhood tale; and Cummingâs own pursuit of the truth. Humble objects light up the story: a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vickâs jar. Letters, tickets, recipe books, even the particular slant of a copperplate hand give vital clues. And pictures of all kinds, from paintings to photographs, open up like doors to the truth. Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album â with its curious gaps and missing persons â finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter.
THE RECOVERY OF ROSE GOLD -Â STEPHANIE WROBEL
Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.
She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .
Turns out her mother is a really good liar.
After five years in prison, Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with the daughter who testified against her – and care for her new infant grandson.
When Rose Gold agrees to have Patty move in, it seems their relationship is truly on the mend. And she has waited such a long time for her mother to come home.
But is she still the pliable young girl she once was? And is Patty still as keen on settling an old score?
Because if mothers never forget then daughters never forgive.
VOX – CHRISTINA DALCHER
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced,Â VOXÂ is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denialâthis can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
This is just the beginning.
Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.
But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
MY DARK VANESSA – KATE ELIZABETH RUSSELL
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naÃ¯ve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenagerâand who professed to worship only herâmay be far different from what she has always believed?
Alternating between Vanessaâs present and her past,Â My Dark VanessaÂ juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy ofÂ The GirlsÂ and the creeping intensity ofÂ Room,Â My Dark VanessaÂ is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
Definitely tea! Actually, Iâm obsessed with this new tea I discovered which tastes like biscuits! I think itâs by Yorkshire Tea and it actually tastes so nice! Plus I donât need a sugar in it. So win, win!
Definitely going with the flow! In the future I may come up with a more structured approach but for my firstÂ book I just found myself constantly writing without much planning. Sometimes I would take a break for an hour or sometimes my break couldÂ last a couple of days, but the second a new idea came into my mind about how I wanted to proceed with the nextÂ chapters I was back writing again. I enjoyed it this way. I felt like I was writing because it was my hobby and my passion and not because I had to stick to a plan.
Hardly any! I really enjoyed English language and literature at school and I went on to study itÂ again in college as an A-Level but I would say that is as far as my skills go. I have always enjoyed writing though, even from a very young age I was keeping a diary and would usually fill it up in no time at all! Pretty sure none of them were a literary masterpiece though, it would haveÂ just been me writing little made up stories and making out I was the new member of the Spice Girls!
I would say there is definitely a lot of me that comes through Mollie. I tried to make Mollie a stronger character though. The real story
would have had to involve a lot of anxiety and depression, as that was the case during that time of my life but I wanted Mollie to have the strength to bounce back a little quicker than I could. I did show some aspects of Mollieâs struggles but for this particular book I wanted to keep it a little light, I didnât want her feelings to overshadow what Reuben was also going through.
Other than making Mollie stronger, I wanted to keep her fairly close to my true characteristics as possible. I wanted to put in the book all of the highs and lows. I wanted to write the parts where Mollie sometimes reacted badly to something or lost her temper because I felt that it was important to tell the truth. After all, the aim of this book was to share my story and hope people could relate to it. So honesty was important.
It was the best chapter and the hardest chapter to write. I loved writing it because it was almost therapeutic to get it down on paper. I also felt my Mum would have really appreciated that I made her quite an important character in the book. Reliving it wasnât easy though, I sobbed my heart out for a good couple of hours after I finished the chapter. I wanted to detail it as much as possible but I also wanted to keep it fairly short. I wanted to pay tribute to her but without overdoing it. Some things just canât be put into words and Iâm still healing.
Majority of the book was based on real issues and situations that we experienced. So much has happened in the past few years between myself and my mother-in-law alongside my husband and his Mum that it was hard to fit it all in. I chose which bits to add and which bits
to keep out that werenât vital to the overall story. Even though these experiences were bad they have taught me a lot and ultimately made us stronger and above all else – it gave me a story to tell!
I really love Anna Todd. I only discovered her last year after I saw a new film on Netflix called After. The film itself was a little PG, but I soon realised that the film was based on a four part book series and theyâre much more mature. So I ordered them and read all four books within two weeks. I was absolutely hooked and it really reminded me why I used to love reading in the first place. Thanks to her,
Itâs encouraged me to purchase more books and get back into reading. Which really helps with my anxiety and helps the boredom during this lockdown!
Yes! So without giving much away, The Mother-in-Law ended on a pretty big cliffhanger which has lined me up nicely to begin my second book. The second book will help answer any questions readers may have and tie up some loose ends. Iâm really excited to write it because a lot of interesting jaw-dropping moments happen in the next book! Also I will be touching on some mental
Health aspects a little more this time. After this, Iâm very much interested in writing more of a serious thriller with adult themes.
Absolutely surreal. I cried happy tears! I just thought, wow, I managed to write this whilst fighting anxiety and depression as well as mourning the loss
of my Mum. I was really proud of myself and it made me realise the things we are capable of achieving even in our toughest struggles. When I realised that, I wanted to dedicate my book to anybody struggling with mental health. I Â hope people know that even through those dark days we can do anything we put our minds too. Even though we can feel so consumed by things like depression, we canât forget that actually we are still creative and we still have interests and ambitions. We can still achieve those things. So donât let mental health make you believe you canât.
I really strongly believe that everybody has at least one great story to tell. We have all experienced something individually that gives us the tools and knowledge to put pen to paper and create a story people will love or relate too. So I would sit down and think about what youâre passionate about. What do you want to tell the world? Whatâs important to you? Do you want your book to have a message? Or do you want to entertain? Are your passions romance novels or murder mysteries? Once you can pin point where your strengths are, everything else should start feeling easier. I personally think the first chapter is the hardest. If you can get through that, you can do a whole book!
OK, final question that I just needÂ to ask . . . What did your mother in law say to the book?
She doesnât know! I know thatâs probably not the answer people will want Â but for now itâs true. I think because my husband cut all contact so she hasnât been aware of what we have been doing.
Iâm a little nervous about what she might try and do when/if she finds out. But we are quite well protected now by the non-molestation order.
I did repeatedly discuss it with my husband before the book was released. I wanted to be hundred percent sure that he was happy and comfortable with me releasing it. He was my biggest supporter and thought the book deserved to be out there. So we did.
Chloe’s book is available to buy on Amazon and she is working on her second novel, too!
Happy April everyone! So, in this awful time, I think we could all do so with some distraction so have a read of these summaries and see what piques your interest.
The Light we Lost – Jill Santopolo
Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her storyâtheir storyâat the very beginning.
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fatedâperhaps theyâll find lifeâs meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each otherâs hearts.
The Second Sleep – Robert Harris
All civilisations think they are invulnerable. History warns us none is.
1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts â coins, fragments of glass, human bones â which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?
As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes â about himself, his faith and the history of his world â is tested to destruction.
The Lido – Libby Page
A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subjectâand the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.
Kate is a twenty-six-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When sheâs assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an eighty-six-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that sheâs found communion during her marriage and since Georgeâs death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemaryâs life.
But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemaryâs fond memories and sense of community are under threat.
As Kate dives deeper into the lidoâs historyâwith the help of a charming photographerâshe pieces together a portrait of the pool, and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lidoâs closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.
In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generationsâan irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.
Dear Mrs Bird – A J Pearce
A charming, irresistible debut novel set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnistâa warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans ofÂ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyÂ andÂ Lilac Girls.
London 1940, bombs are falling. Emmy Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at theÂ London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent seem suddenly achievable. But the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.
Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantnessâmust go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who canât bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write letters back to the women of all ages who have spilled out their troubles.
Prepare to fall head over heels with Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are spirited and gutsy, even in the face of events that bring a terrible blow. As the bombs continue to fall, the irrepressible Emmy keeps writing, and readers are transformed by AJ Pearceâs hilarious, heartwarming, and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
“Gosford Park” meets “Groundhog Day” by way of Agatha Christie â the most inventive story you’ll read this year.
Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden â one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party â can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 31st March and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
How is it March already! Anyway, we have five great books for you to vote on this month.Â Here is a short summary of each to help you make up your mind!
Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover and her family grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon community in the mountains of Idaho preparing for the End of Days but, according to the government, she didnât exist. She hadnât been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because sheâd never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didnât believe in hospitals. She spent her days stewing hers and salvaging. Entirely self taught and cut off from the modern world.
As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the transformative power of education, and the price she had to pay for it. She eventually studied at Harvard and Cambridge. Unflinching and fascinating.
The Cactus – Sarah Haywood
In this charming and poignant debut, one woman’s unconventional journey to finding love means learning to embrace the unexpected.
For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.
Enter Rob, the dubious but well-meaning friend of her indolent brother. As Susan’s due date draws near and her dismantled world falls further into a tailspin, Susan finds an unlikely ally in Rob. She might have a chance at finding real love and learning to love herself, if only she can figure out how to let go
Followers – Megan Angelo
Orla Cadden is a budding novelist stuck in a dead-end job, writing clickbait about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Then Orla meets Flossâa striving wannabe A-listerâwho comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they dream about. So what if Orla and Floss’s methods are a little shady and sometimes people get hurt? Their legions of followers can’t be wrong.
Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularityâtwelve million loyal followersâMarlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is based on a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.
FollowersÂ traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people weâll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.
The Chain – Adrian McKinty
You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain
The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E Harrow
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrowâs spellbinding debutâstep inside and discover its magic.
To vote on this monthâs choice head on over to theÂ Facebook pageÂ and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 3rd March and we will announce the choice the next day!Â
See you there! Much love Amanda xx
Hopefully you all know of or are even members of our amazing Elsie’s Attic Book Club . . . if not, you can join in the literary chat hereÂ Â After we had Clare’s book, After the End as our Read of the Month back in September last year, we jumped at the opportunity to be able to interview Clare for Elsie’s Attic Book Club.
With more than two million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author ofÂ I Let You Go, which was a Sunday Times bestseller and the fastest-selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in 2016.
Both Clareâs second and third novels,Â I See YouÂ andÂ Let Me Lie, were number one Sunday Times bestsellers. Clareâs latest novel,Â After the End, was published in June 2019 and spent seven weeks in the Sunday Times hardback bestseller chart.
Clare is a former Thames Valley Police Officer enjoying a 12-year career, rising to Inspector before leaving in 2011.Â Â In 2006, Clare and her husband, Rob, had had twin boys, Josh and Alex, via IVF. They were born prematurely and three weeks later, Alex contracted meningitis. Two weeks after that, he died.Â Amidst the shock and grief, and the sheer exhaustion of caring for a premature baby, seven months later Clare discovered she was pregnant, despite being told that sheâd never conceive naturally. Incredibly, it was twins again. Daughters Evie and George were born at 37 weeks and Clare suddenly had to care for three children under 15-months.
Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions for our book club. So let’s dive straight inÂ . . .
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. Closely followed by Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson.
Onwards and upwards!
It does not matter what age, size, height etc you are but you do need to be local to us in South Leicestershire, Cosby to be precise,or at least able to get to us once or twice a month.
You do need to be . . .
*Comfortable in front of a camera
* Happy to appear live on our social media channels
*Happy and smiley
* A fan of the Attic and what we do . . .Â ð
If you think this could be you then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a bit of info about yourself and two recent photos of yourself, at least one full length photo – we can’t consider any applicants without a recent full length photo. Please note we can only accept applications via email not Facebook etc.
What are you waiting for!