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Book Club – The Vote is on for May’s Read

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.  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 month’s choice head on over to the Facebook page and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 5th May and we will announce the choice the next day! 

See you there! Much love Amanda xx

 

THE DUTCH HOUSE – ANN PATCHETT 

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 mother’s 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 mother’s 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 – the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker – 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 – including her own.

On Chapel Sands is a book of mystery and memoir. Two narratives run through it: the mother’s childhood tale; and Cumming’s own pursuit of the truth. Humble objects light up the story: a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vick’s 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 – with its curious gaps and missing persons – finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter.

 

THE RECOVERY OF ROSE GOLD –  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, VOX 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 denial—this 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 naïve 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 teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa 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 of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

 

 

 

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Elsie’s Attic Book Club: Interview with Author Chloe Kent

OK, final question that I just need to ask . . . What did your mother in law say to the book?

She doesn’t know! I know that’s probably not the answer people will want  but for now it’s true. I think because my husband cut all contact so she hasn’t been aware of what we have been doing.

I’m 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!

 

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Our epic Beetroot & Raspberry Chocolate Vegan Brownies – probably the best you will ever taste!

So, how is life in lockdown going for everyone? Hope you are all well and sending you lots of love and positive vibes from the Attic.

One thing I have always wanted to do it perfect my own recipe for vegan brownies and now we have lots more time on our hands, that’s what I have done.  I thought I’d share it with you beautiful bunch as I know lots of you are keen bakers and foodies!

This makes two trays and I am a bit fast and loose with the measurements so you don’t need too be exacting 

400g beetroot – I buy the cooked stuff, not pickled, obvs!
300g fresh raspberries but frozen would work too
500g dark chocolate, chopped. Most dark chocolate is vegan, Asda do one that is raspberry flavoured this is just epic!
250g vegan spread. I use Floral buttery, all Flora is vegan now
100ml of nut milk – I like Oatly Barista as it is nice and creamy
250g caster sugar
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
Little splash of high quality vanilla flavouring

Break the chocolate up into small chunks into a bowl, add the butter and melt over a saucepan of hot water.

Whisk together the milk and sugar. Add the chocolate mixture.

I whizz the beetroot and raspberries up in the Nutribullet as my boys act as though fresh fruit will poison them so that way I can hide it! But, I think it is nicer if you can mash up the raspberries and grate the beetroot. Add the beet and berry mixture to the chocolate mix. Fold in the flour and dash of vanilla.

Pour into a lined, deep baking tray. Cook in the oven on approx gas mark 4 for around half an hour. I like mine nice and gooey so I take them out when the centre is still quite soft. Cook for longer if you prefer them to be more cake like.

Happy scoffing, i enjoy mine with a raspberry and mint prosecco, cheers! ❤️✌️🍫🍰🍓

If you give it a go, please let me know what you think and share your piccies on our Facebook page.

Big love – Amanda xx

 

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Book club vote is on! Read all about April’s choices . . .

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 story—their story—at 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 fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s 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 other’s 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 – coins, fragments of glass, human bones – 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 – about himself, his faith and the history of his world – is tested to destruction.

 

The Lido – Libby Page

A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her eighty-six-year-old subject—and 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 she’s 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 she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history—with the help of a charming photographer—she 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 lido’s 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 generations—an 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 columnist—a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and 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 the 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 Unpleasantness—must 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 can’t 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 Pearce’s 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 – 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 – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – 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 month’s choice head on over to the Facebook page and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 31st March and we will announce the choice the next day! 

See you there! Much love Amanda xx

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Vote for March’s Read of the Month for our Epic Book Club

How is it March already! Anyway, we have five great books for you to vote on this month.  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 didn’t exist. She hadn’t been registered for a birth certificate. She had no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t 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 Floss―a striving wannabe A-lister―who 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 popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow 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.

Followers 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 we’ll 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. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

 

To vote on this month’s choice head on over to the Facebook page and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Tuesday 3rd March and we will announce the choice the next day! 

See you there! Much love Amanda xx

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An Interview with Best Selling Author, Clare Mackintosh

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 here  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 of 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 Clare’s second and third novels, I See You and Let Me Lie, were number one Sunday Times bestsellers. Clare’s latest novel, 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.  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. 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 she’d 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 in  . . .

How’s the flooding situation and have you found the frog? (Clare’s house has recently been affected but Storm Ciara and Dennis!).
We’ve had two feet of water in our cellar for the last fortnight. It went up to three feet, with only another couple till it came into the house, but fortunately the rain has stopped and the levels are slowly subsided. The water came in through tiny cracks in the floor, along with a frog no bigger than my thumb. He seems to have disappeared now, but whether he’s gone back out or is somewhere in the house is anybody’s guess…
Tea or coffee?
Tea, always. Buckets of it. Milk with half a sugar in the morning, then just milk for the rest of the day. Decaf after 4pm. I like fresh mint tea too, and ginger when I need perking up.
Disciplined writer or go with the flow . . . 
Very disciplined. I plan my books down to chapter level, and although lots still happens that takes me by surprise, this helps me work quite quickly because I’m rarely staring at a blank page.
What is your favourite book?

Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. Closely followed by Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson.

I have to confess I Let You Go is probably one of my most favourite books ever, mostly due to the fact I didn’t see ‘that bit’ (no spoilers) coming . .  I genuinely did gasp out loud when I read ‘that’ bit.  Having your first book become a Sunday Times Bestseller, is just amazing, how did you make the move from CID to Best selling novelist?
It wasn’t quite as simple as that… I was working as a public order Inspector, in charge of large scale events like demonstrations and protests. I rarely saw my children, and wanted to get my priorities straight. I took a career break, and started working as a freelance copywriter and journalist, and I wrote I Let You Go in that first year of freelancing. I was very lucky to be one of the rare writers who finds success with their debut, and I’ve worked very hard ever since to try and keep it that way!
After the End was a very emotional read for our book club and lots of us are Mothers, too, which I think adds another layer of emotion to the read.  You have been very open in sharing your own similar experience.  How do you cope as a writer dealing with such emotional topics, not just in After the End but in all your books and then have to switch off and carry on with everyday life?
I’m pretty good at compartmentalising, which is possibly a hangover from being in the police, where you have to learn to leave tough jobs at the door when you get home. After the End was a really therapeutic book for me to write, because it forced me to address some of the grief I’d kept locked away since my son died.
How do you relax? Most of us read for relaxation is it still the same for you or do you slip into work mode, analysing the content, structure and plot of the book?
I’m always analysing books, but that doesn’t take away my enjoyment of them. I read around 100 books a year, and it’s still my go-to pastime. I also love swimming, particularly outdoors, and anything crafty.
Tips for dealing with rejections . . . 

Onwards and upwards!

What’s next for Clare Mackintosh?
I’m writing another thriller, which will be out next year. It’s set on a twenty hour non-stop flight from London to Sydney and it’s very tense and twisty – I’m loving writing it.
Thanks for your time, Clare, much appreciated!   We are giving away one signed copy of Clare’s book, I Let You Go on our Facebook page (giveaway ends Sunday 8th March 2020). Hope on over and be in with a chance!
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Pop Up Events are Coming to the Attic!

So Elsie’s Attic is six years old this year and the best thing has been getting to know lots of our lovely followers online but we really really love holding events so we can get to meet you amazing bunch in person!

So, not only are we bringing back our warehouse sales we are also going to have pop up events! The first one will be an arm knitting workshop! Super excited about this one as we are a bunch of knitters in the Attic.  The workshop will give you the chance to knot a jumbo blanket like below in just two hours!  As always there will be plenty of coffee and cake!

We are also planning meet ups for our amazing book club, are you a member yet? It’s a lovely cosy space to chat about all things literary. Join in the conversation here.

We’d love to hear what other events you would like us to lay on. Why not leave a comment on this post and let us know your thoughts or pop me an email at amanda@elsiesattic.co.uk

Look forward to hearing from you all and hopefully meeting some of you soon.  Much love EA Amanda xx

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The Vote for February’s Book Club Read is On . . . .

So, we have five amazing choice for you to vote on for this month’s read.  Here’s a quick summary of each of them and details on how to vote are at the bottom . . .

 

One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

I actually wanted to choose One of Us is Next by the same author, just released but this is the prequel to that, so maybe we should have this one first!

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online.   Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right?

 

Resistance Women – Jennifer Chiaverini

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work-but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Inspired by actual events, Resistance Women is an enthralling, unforgettable story of ordinary people determined to resist the rise of evil, sacrificing their own lives and liberty to fight injustice and defend the oppressed.

 

Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens. . . .

 

 

 

Adults – Emma Jayne Unsworth

Jenny is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and whilst her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent.

Adults is what you want it to be. A misadventure of maturity, a satire on our age of self-promotion, a tender look at the impossibility of womanhood, a love story, a riot. And Emma Jane Unsworth is the only voice to hear it from. Adults is excruciating, a gut punch of hilarity and a book laden with truth that you will read again and again.

 

 

 

The Doll Factory – Elizabeth McNeal

This darkly atmospheric debut from Elizabeth Macneal is a brooding examination of female subjugation wrapped in the cloak of a rattling good period yarn. In a Victorian London so richly evoked that you can practically taste the fog, the aspiring artist Iris Whittle finds herself caught between the affections of pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost and the altogether more unsavoury taxidermist Silas Reed. Alongside her two admirers Iris also has to contend with the festering resentment of her jealous sister and a society which seems determined to keep her in her place. As events move toward their end, repressed desire and obsessive love threaten to destroy everything that Iris holds dear.

 

 

 

To vote on this month’s choice head on over to the Facebook page and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Thursday 6th January and we will announce the choice the next day! 

See you there! Much love Amanda xx

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January Book Choices – The Vote is On!

 

The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

 

When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him.

The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

 

 

 

 

Blood Orange – Harriet Tyce

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

I did it. I killed him.

Alison’s client stabbed her husband; she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story feels off…

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

Someone knows Alison’s secret. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

Bold, provocative and compelling, Blood Orange introduces a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

 

 

Brain on Fire – Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire is the stunning debut from journalist and author Susannah Cahalan, recounting the real-life horror story of how a sudden and mysterious illness put her on descent into a madness for which there seemed to be no cure

‘My first serious blackout marked the line between sanity and insanity. Though I would have moments of lucidity over the coming days and weeks, I would never again be the same person …’

Susannah Cahalan was a happy, clever, healthy twenty-four-year old. Then one day she woke up in hospital, with no memory of what had happened or how she had got there. Within weeks, she would be transformed into someone unrecognizable, descending into a state of acute psychosis, undergoing rages and convulsions, hallucinating that her father had murdered his wife; that she could control time with her mind. Everything she had taken for granted about her life, and who she was, was wiped out.

This is Susannah’s story of her terrifying descent into madness and the desperate hunt for a diagnosis, as, after dozens of tests and scans, baffled doctors concluded she should be confined in a psychiatric ward. It is also the story of how one brilliant man, Syria-born Dr Najar, finally proved – using a simple pen and paper – that Susannah’s psychotic behaviour was caused by a rare autoimmune disease attacking her brain. His diagnosis of this little-known condition, thought to have been the real cause of devil-possessions through history, saved her life, and possibly the lives of many others. Cahalan takes readers inside this newly-discovered disease through the progress of her own harrowing journey, piecing it together using memories, journals, hospital videos and records. Written with passionate honesty and intelligence, Brain on Fire is a searingly personal yet universal book, which asks what happens when your identity is suddenly destroyed, and how you get it back.

 

The Nickel Boys – Colson Whitehead

Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honorable and honest men’.

In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors.

The tension between Elwood’s idealism and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions.

Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.

 

Based on a True Story – Delphine De Vigan

‘A wonderful literary trompe l’oeil: a book about friendship, writing and the boundary between reality and fantasy … Dark, smart, strange, compelling’

Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and suffering from a crippling inability to write, Delphine meets L.

L. embodies everything Delphine admires; sophisticated and unusually intuitive, she slowly but deliberately carves herself a niche in the writer’s life. However, as she makes herself indispensable to Delphine, the intensity of this unexpected friendship manifests itself in increasingly sinister ways. And as their lives become further entwined, L. begins to threaten Delphine’s identity and her safety.

 

 

 

To vote on this month’s choice head on over to the Facebook page and cast your photo. Voting closes 12 midnight Thursday 9th January and we will announce the choice the next day! 

See you there! Much love Amanda xx

 

 

Posted on

Are you the Elsie’s Attic’s Next Top Model?!

We are on the hunt for more fabulous, relatable models to join our team! Fancy joining us? Then have a read and get in touch – we’d love to hear from you! 

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 . . . 😘

So what’s involved . . .
We will hold shoots, mostly on Saturdays, on a regular basis. and you will be invited to come and hangout with us at our new base, ‘down on the farm’. We have a mini photo studio where we will shoot latest arrivals. There will also be occasional photo shoots to get involved with.  In return you will receive free/discounted items and expenses.

If you think this could be you then please email us at amanda@elsiesattic.co.uk. 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!

Excited to hear from you! Much Love EA Amanda x
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