Book mentions in this thread

  • Votes: 12

    PAH

    by Orla Owen

  • Votes: 7

    Would I Lie to You?

    by Judi Ketteler

    Go ahead. I can handle the truth. We protest when we don't get it. We divorce spouses who withhold it. We insist our children practice it. We're hurt when our friends don't divulge it. But when it comes to our own behavior, how often do we transgress? Out of diplomacy, kindness, sympathy, and privacy we don't always tell the truth. Yet we often barely notice. What happens when we notice? When we truly focus on the decisions we're making around honesty? When we view our entire life through the lens of honesty? When award-winning journalist and New York Times contributor Judi Ketteler looked at her Facebook page she saw an absolutely content, non-clinically-depressed daughter, sister, mother, and friend who believed in openness and generosity of spirt. She saw a wife whose marriage was authentic. It wasn't quite the whole story. After building up so many defense mechanisms and justifications and compartments of feelings, Judi realized that the line between truth and deception was beginning to blur. How often had she herself paltered, exaggerated, concealed, side-stepped, or spun the truth? To answer that question, Judi started her "Honesty Journal." She knew she'd have to follow through if she was to get to the bottom of her complicated relationship with honesty. Blending her personal journey--as well of that of family, friends, and share-givers--with years of research into the psychology of deception, Would I Lie to You? is a timely consideration of the joys and pains of truth. In it, Ketteler explores the reasons we lie: shame, convenience, regret, fear of emotions and confrontations, and to keep a secret. She examines the value of kind lies, and cautions against those that are cruel. And she reveals the importance and differences between "social honesty" with co-workers, acquaintances and social media, "intimate honesty" with those we love, and the "self-honesty" of the stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves. The bottom line: focusing on honesty is the ultimate way to actively engage with the world and create healthier and happier relationships. Honesty work isn't necessarily the easiest work, but it may well be the most important.
  • Votes: 7

    The Best is Yet to Come

    by Katy Colins

  • Votes: 7

    We Are Family

    by Nicola Gill

  • Votes: 7

    The Smallest Man

    by Frances Quinn

    ‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’ A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll Factory, The Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars. My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story. The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England. They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story. Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together. Praise for The Smallest Man: ‘Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn't bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare ‘A perfect fusion of history and invention… Nat’s wit and humour make the poignancy of his story all the more powerful’ Beth Morrey 'What a page-turner! A timely tale celebrating courage, determination and friendship' Anita Frank ‘A perfectly formed masterpiece’ C.S. Quinn ‘I loved this book - a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield 'I found myself rooting for the Smallest Man in England from the very first page' Sonia Velton ‘A beautiful, heartwarming tale, weaving history and fiction intricately and seamlessly… I loved this book’ Louise Fein ‘A beguiling and well-written tale, whose mysterious protagonist is plucked from a famous painting; the carefully crafted historic context uncannily reflects contemporary politics’ Ellen Alpsten ‘What a wonderful romp through such a turbulent period of history. I absolutely fell for the book’s narrator: an ebullient character whose voice and world view I adored’ Polly Crosby
  • Votes: 5

    A Net for Small Fishes

    by Jago Lucy

  • Votes: 5

    In a Good Light

    by Clare Chambers

    From the highly-acclaimed author of SMALL PLEASURES - longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 **Soon to be reissued with stunning new cover artwork - out in July 2021** _________________________ Without even noticing, Esther Fairchild has become locked into routine. Living with her adored brother, Christian, she divides her time between illustrating children's books, nightly shifts as a waitress, weekly visits to her father and fortnightly meetings with her married lover. Then one day she encounters a face in the crowd which jolts her out of her mundane existence and makes her question both her life and the past that has helped to shape it. Memories she had long chosen to forget begin to resurface. Memories of an eccentric childhood in a large and shabby house, where the children were left to fend for themselves within the loose boundaries of their parents' unorthodox values. A chaotic existence peopled by a rich collection of feckless 'guests'. And into this shambolic world came Donovan - regularly deposited by his unreliable mother - and Penny, Christian's girlfriend and Esther's idol. Until tragedy struck and shattered their joint existence. But now, it seems, their lives are about to become intertwined once more . . . Praise for Clare Chambers: 'A wonderful novel. I loved it' Nina Stibbe on Small Pleasures 'Effortless to read, but every sentence lingers in the mind' Lissa Evans on Small Pleasures 'A captivating read' Woman's Own 'An irresistible novel - wry, perceptive and quietly devastating' Mail on Sunday on Small Pleasures 'Shines with an old-fashioned moral certainty that is as subtle and refreshing as it is unexpected' Independent on Sunday 'An almost flawlessly written tale of genuine, grown-up romantic anguish' The Sunday Times on Small Pleasures
  • Votes: 5

    The Fortune Men

    by Nadifa Mohamed

    'Chilling and utterly compelling, The Fortune Men shines an essential light on a much-neglected period of our national life' Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. It is true that he has been getting into trouble more often since his Welsh wife Laura left him. But Mahmood is secure in his innocence in a country where, he thinks, justice is served. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of freedom dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a terrifying fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and the inhumanity of the state. And, under the shadow of the hangman's noose, he begins to realise that the truth may not be enough to save him. 'A writer of great humanity and intelligence. Nadifa Mohamed deeply understands how lives are shaped both by the grand sweep of history and the intimate encounters of human beings' Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire 'A novel of tremendous power, compassion and subtlety, it feels unsettlingly timely' Pankaj Mishra
  • Votes: 5

    Dog Days

    by Ericka Waller

    'Perfect for fans of A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant...Definitely one of my favourite novels of 2021' AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird 'Funny, sad, gritty and beautifully told.' Hazel Prior, author of Away with the Penguins George is angry at the world. His wife has died and now all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there's the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn't want a dog - he wants a fight. Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people - if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life. Lizzie is living in a women's refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge's fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons - if she can keep her secret just a while longer... Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy and comfort in living life off the leash. _________________________________________________ 'A charming, surprising and moving story of three troubled characters' encounter with love, grief, healing...and dogs' Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures 'A soulful, lyrical tale... Such a treat.' Beth Morrey, author of Saving Missy 'Moving, uplifting, full of charm and warmth' Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters 'Tender, humorous and hopeful' Lissa Evans, author of V for Victory __________________________________________________ Readers are moved by Dog Days: ***** 'Delves deep into the highs and lows of mental illness, of loss and of love' ***** 'So beautifully written, captivating and endearing' ***** 'Wonderful journey of three complicated characters and the dogs that saw them through their individual journeys'
  • Votes: 4

    Captain Jesus

    by Colette Snowden

  • Votes: 4

    Blacktop Wasteland

    by S A Cosby

    *GUARDIAN BEST CRIME AND THRILLERS OF 2020* 'BLACKTOP WASTELAND may be the book of the year.' MICHAEL CONNELLY 'Sensationally good' LEE CHILD 'I loved BLACKTOP WASTELAND' STEPHEN KING 'An urgent, timely, pitch-perfect jolt of American noir' DENNIS LEHANE 'Stunning. Can't remember the last time I read such a powerful crime novel' MARK BILLINGHAM "Bug" Montage: honest mechanic, loving family man. He's no longer the criminal he was - the sharpest wheelman east of the Mississippi. But when his respectable life crumbles, a shady associate comes calling with a one-time job promising a huge payout. Inexorably drawn to the driver's seat - and haunted by the ghost of his outlaw father - Bug is yanked back into a savage world of bullets and betrayal. Like Breaking Bad in a high-speed collision with Drive, this dazzling novel holds up a cracked mirror to the American Dream - and tells the story of one man pushed to his limits by poverty, race and a self-destructive masculinity. 'Every once in a while a writer comes along with an incredible voice...add S. A. Cosby to that list.' STEVE CAVANAGH 'A superb character study wrapped up in a high-octane heist novel' Guardian 'The action sequences are superb, the dialogue wouldn't shame Elmore Leonard, and Bug's experiences recall Walter Mosley at his most powerful...fantastic' Sunday Times 'Spectacular....a voice as stark and distinctive as Elmore Leonard's, and a humanity that touches the soul.' Daily Mail 'A delicious slice of country gothic wrapped in smart, hard, contemporary neo noir.' ADRIAN McKINTY 'The book will leave you breathless, but also desperate to know where Cosby will take us next.' LAURA LIPPMAN '...S. A. Cosby reinvents the American crime novel. Blacktop Wasteland thrums and races - it's an intoxicating thrill of a ride'. WALTER MOSLEY
  • Votes: 4

    While Nobody Is Watching

    by Michelle Dunne

    A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl. They called it peacekeeping. For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but. It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever. Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her. Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die. And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming. While Nobody is Watching is the first crime novel from an author who lived the life of a soldier herself, which explores with authority, expertise, and empathy the dark world of PTSD while telling the riveting story of a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.
  • Votes: 4

    The Queen’s Spy

    by Clare Marchant

    1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne. There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy... 2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England. Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home? Enchanting and gripping, The Queen’s Spy effortlessly merges past with present in an unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal – perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes.
  • Votes: 4

    A Snowfall of Silver

    by Laura Wood

    In the Autumn of 1931, Freya leaves her family in Cornwall to follow her dream of becoming an actress. She joins a theatrical company and, amidst all the enchantment and bustle of stage life, falls in love with the handsome leading man. Neither being an actress nor having a love affair lives up to Freya's grand expectations.
  • Votes: 4

    The Stubborn Light of Things

    by Melissa Harrison

    A SUNDAY TIMES NATURE BOOK OF THE YEAR A nature diary by award-winning novelist, nature writer and hit podcaster Melissa Harrison, following her journey from urban south London to the rural Suffolk countryside. 'A writer of great gifts.' Robert Macfarlane 'The journal of a writer to compare to Thomas Hardy. Melissa Harrison is among our most celebrated nature writers.' John Carey, The Times A Londoner for over twenty years, moving from flat to Tube to air-conditioned office, Melissa Harrison knew what it was to be insulated from the seasons. Adopting a dog and going on daily walks helped reconnect her with the cycle of the year and the quiet richness of nature all around her: swifts nesting in a nearby church; ivy-leaved toadflax growing out of brick walls; the first blackbird's song; an exhilarating glimpse of a hobby over Tooting Common. Moving from scrappy city verges to ancient, rural Suffolk, where Harrison eventually relocates, this diary - compiled from her beloved Nature Notebook column in The Times - maps her joyful engagement with the natural world and demonstrates how we must first learn to see, and then act to preserve, the beauty we have on our doorsteps - no matter where we live. A perceptive and powerful call-to-arms written in mesmerising prose, The Stubborn Light of Things confirms Harrison as a central voice in British nature writing.
  • Votes: 4

    Hamnet

    by Maggie O'Farrell

    WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED AN POST BOOK AWARDS IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR 'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times 'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART. On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker's son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.
  • Votes: 4

    Dreamland

    by Rosa Rankin-Gee

    For fans of Children of Men, Years and Years & Station Eleven, a postcard from a future Britain that’s closer than we think. ‘A beautiful book: thought-provoking, eerily prescient and very witty.’ Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half 'Water courses through its pages, as rising sea levels heighten inequalities, buoy populist politicians and wash away every certainty of civilisation. But there’s also the novel’s prose – its liquid grace and glinting sparkle – and the sheer irresistibility of a narrative that sweeps along with a force that feels tidal in its pull.' The Observer ''You said that you would come back. You looked me in the eye and said that. Well, if you had, this is what you would have seen: soft wood, black cracks, fridges in the road. The broken spines of old rides at Dreamland.' In the coastal resort of Margate, hotels lie empty and sun-faded ‘For Sale’ signs line the streets. The sea is higher – it’s higher everywhere – and those who can are moving inland. A young girl called Chance, however, is just arriving. Chance’s family is one of many offered a cash grant to move out of London - and so she, her mother Jas and brother JD relocate to the seaside, just as the country edges towards vertiginous change. In their new home, they find space and wide skies, a world away from the cramped bedsits they’ve lived in up until now. But challenges swiftly mount. JD’s business partner, Kole, has a violent, charismatic energy that whirlpools around him and threatens to draw in the whole family. And when Chance comes across Franky, a girl her age she has never seen before – well-spoken and wearing sunscreen – something catches in the air between them. Their fates are bound: a connection that is immediate, unshakeable, and, in a time when social divides have never cut sharper, dangerous. Set in a future unsettlingly close to home, against a backdrop of soaring inequality and creeping political extremism, Rankin-Gee demonstrates, with cinematic pace and deep humanity, the enduring power of love and hope in a world spinning out of control.
  • Votes: 3

    Three Summers (New York Review Books Classics)

    by Margarita Liberaki

    A tender story about three sisters coming of age in Greece over the course of three summers, now available after being out of print for over twenty years. Three Summers is the story of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a big old house surrounded by a beautiful garden are Maria, the oldest sister, as sexually bold as she is eager to settle down and have a family of her own; beautiful but distant Infanta; and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to figure out their parents and other members of the tribe of adults, take note of the weird ways of friends and neighbors, worry about and wonder who they are. Karen Van Dyck’s translation captures all the light and warmth of this modern Greek classic.
  • Votes: 3

    The First Day of Spring

    by Nancy Tucker

    ________________________ 'Tense, addictive and powered by an unforgettable narrative voice.' PAULA HAWKINS 'A darkly dazzling debut, a harrowing story of neglect and cruelty written with a delicate touch and a big heart. As gripping as the tensest of thrillers and as moving and humane as the most intimate of memoirs.' LISA JEWELL ______________________ 'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.' Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands. Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer. Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away. That's when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago. And it's time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed? _______________________ 'The First Day of Spring is Nancy Tucker's first work of fiction and MY GOD this is OUTSTANDING.... This book is so powerful and so disturbing that I will be thinking about it for months to come. Without a doubt this goes into my Top Ten Books of 2021' TRACY FENTON 'The First Day Of Spring is a gut-wrenching tale about the effects of neglect and loneliness on a child. Eight-year-old Chrissie's voice is so raw and authentic that I could not stop turning the pages, desperate to find out what she would do next. A harrowing, incisive debut.' STEPHANIE WROBEL, author of The Recovery of Rose Gold 'Chilling, thought-provoking, and compulsively readable, The First Day of Spring is a novel that will break your heart on every page and never leave you. I loved it.' ASHLEY AUDRAIN, author of The Push 'Tucker wastes no time grabbing the reader in her chilling debut novel ... a riveting thriller in every sense, but Tucker is asking big questions, too. Can society forgive the unforgivable? Does everyone deserve a second chance? She forces us to reconsider the perils of poverty and neglect. A chilling suspense novel about guilt, responsibility, and redemption.' KIRKUS 'A spectacular fiction debut . . . The taut, meticulously observed narration mines the dangers that childhood trauma causes. Fans of Lisa Jewell and smart psychological suspense will eagerly await Tucker's next.'
  • Votes: 3

    American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club)

    by Jeanine Cummins

  • Votes: 3

    The Art of Fielding

    by Chad Harbach

  • Votes: 3

    Empire of Pain

    by Patrick Radden Keefe

  • Votes: 3

    Leave the World Behind

    by Rumaan Alam

  • Votes: 3

    The Savage Instinct

    by Marjorie DeLuca

    "DeLuca keeps readers guessing. Minette Walters fans will be pleased." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) In the lineage of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman's struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer. England, 1873. Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children. Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.
  • Votes: 3

    Cathedral

    by Ben Hopkins

    “A thoroughly engrossing, beautifully told look at human frailty.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred) “I haven’t been able to put this down! It’s such a great read and contains so much! Politics and religion, the birth of an artistic sensibility, the rise of global trade, sassy women, fascinating and original characters.” — Alison Finch, BBC Radio 4 "Cathedral is a brilliantly organised mess of great, great characters. It is fascinating, fun, and gripping to the very end." — Roddy Doyle A sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire. At the centre of this story, is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 12th and 13th centuries in the fictional town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. From the bishop to his treasurer to local merchants and lowly stonecutters, everyone, even the town’s Jewish denizens, is implicated and affected by the slow rise of Hagenburg’s Cathedral, which in no way enforces morality or charity. Around this narrative core, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a choral novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise. Ambitious, immersive, a remarkable feat of imagination, Cathedral deftly combines historical fiction, the literary novel of ideas, and a tale of adventure and intrigue. Fans of authors like Umberto Eco, Elif Shafak, Hilary Mantel, Ken Follett and Jose Saramago will delight at the atmosphere, the beautiful prose, and the vivid characters of Ben Hopkins’s Cathedral.
  • Votes: 3

    The Howling Hag Mystery

    by Nicki Thornton

    Seth is the oppressed kitchen boy at the remote Last Chance Hotel. But when a strange gathering of magicians arrives for dinner, their leader is poisoned. A locked-room murder investigation ensues - and Seth is the main suspect. Can he solve the mystery and clear his name, especially when magic's afoot?
  • Votes: 2

    Brixton Hill

    by Lottie Moggach

    'Brixton Hill shares the confident sheen of its predecessors and offers [Moggach's] most accomplished plot yet . . . And, like all the best storytellers, Moggach knows how to choreograph an ending' - the Observer As Rob reaches the end of a seven year stretch inside, he winds up in an open prison in Brixton. Each morning, he exits the prison gates and begins the short walk to a local charity shop, where he spends the day in the backroom sorting through other people's discarded belongings. All he needs to do is keep his nose out of trouble and in just a few months' time, he'll be out for good. One morning in the bustle of commuters on Brixton Hill, Rob notices a well-dressed woman trip over. He helps her up and they exchange a few words before parting ways, but she's made a lasting impression on him. From that day on, Rob keeps an eye out for her - and always seems to get lucky with a sighting. Despite coming from very different worlds, the pair slowly become acquainted and Rob gets increasingly desperate to hide his current residence from her. But who exactly is this woman who seems to have a growing interest in him? Rob must be very careful - one false step and it could set him back years . . . Brixton Hill is a teasing study of desperate lives delivered in a series of charged encounters on the streets of south London. Nail-biting in its execution, award-winning author Lottie Moggach ratchets up the tension, taking us behind the prison walls and into a world in which no one is quite who they seem. ------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Brixton Hill is brilliant. So utterly gripping and clever and heartbreaking. The details of the prison and the sense of being poised-over-the-abyss are acutely conjured and yet never overload the nail-biting nature of the story' Sabine Durrant '[A] compelling, twisty-turny look at a prisoner coming to the end of his sentence' The Sun (Fabulous Magazine) 'Gripping and full of twists and turns' Daily Mail (review of the Radio 4 production) 'I was soon pulled right into the novel's tight, twisting plot that never relaxes its hold. The prison scenes are extraordinarily well drawn, as are the characters, and in particular the main protagonist's fear of been pulled into a situation which could jeopardize his desperately-sought release' CJ Sansom
  • Votes: 2

    The Lost Future of Pepperharrow

    by Natasha Pulley

    'A Japan that never was, a future lost, ghosts that are not dead ... not even a partial list of ingredients can do justice to this wonderful cake of a book ... A time-defying thriller' ROBIN HOBB Strange things are happening in Tokyo. As war with Russia looms, the city is plagued by strange electricity storms, while the staff at the British Legation have gone on strike, claiming that the building is haunted. Thaniel Steepleton is sent over from London to act as interpreter, bringing with him his partner, Keita Mori the watchmaker, their adopted daughter, Six, and Mori's clockwork octopus, Katsu. Thaniel is dazzled by life in Tokyo, but he feels increasingly out of his depth – especially when he meets Takiko Pepperharrow, and learns of her connection to Mori. But then Mori disappears, and Thaniel and Takiko's paths diverge as they desperately try to find him. As their searches lead them to snow-steeped prisons and mountainside shrines, Thaniel is faced with the terrifying revelation that Mori's powers are no longer enough to save them – and that the watchmaker's time may have run out. Natasha Pulley's extraordinary new novel, The Kingdoms, will be available in Spring 2021.
  • Votes: 2

    Skin

    by Kerry Andrew

    'A writer of frankly alarming talent' ROBERT MACFARLANE London, 1985. Joe, father to eleven-year-old Matty, has disappeared, and nobody will explain where he's gone, or why. In the long, hot summer that follows, Matty's hunt for Joe leads to the ponds at Hampstead Heath. Beneath the water, there is a new kind of freedom. Above the water, a welcoming community of men offer refuge from an increasingly rocky home life. Fourteen years later, a new revelation sees Matty set off alone in a campervan, driving westwards through Ireland, swimming its wild loughs and following the scant clues left behind about Joe. The trip takes a dangerous turn, and Matty is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers. But safety comes at a price, and with desire and fear running high, the journey turns into an explosive, heart-rending reckoning with the past. Skin is inventive, compelling and deeply moving - a novel of loss and recovery, of wild swimming and identity from a rising star of British fiction. *A 'BOOKS OF 2021' PICK IN i NEWSPAPER*
  • Votes: 2

    Expectation

    by Anna Hope

    THE MUST-READ SUMMER 2020 RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK 'If you wished Normal People had tackled female friendship, try Expectation' GRAZIA 'Profoundly intelligent and humane. Deserves to feature on many a prize shortlist' GUARDIAN 'A brilliant exploration of friendship, feminism and thwarted ambition' PANDORA SYKES ______________________ What happened to the women we were supposed to become? Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry - and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends. Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life? The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, EXPECTATION is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. ___________________ 'Thoughtful, beautifully written, honest. A sensual book. I URGE YOU TO READ IT' MARIAN KEYES 'Beautiful, sharp, moving. I urge you to read it'' ELIZABETH DAY 'A brilliant exploration of friendship, feminism and thwarted ambition' PANDORA SYKES 'I loved it ... 10 out of 10' BRYONY GORDON 'Will resonate with approximately 99% of women' RED MAGAZINE summer pick 'One of the most intensely readable novels this year' METRO 'One of our most gifted contemporary writers' WATERSTONES 'SO GOOD. A 'What they did next' story of characters from a Sally Rooney novel' SARAH FRANKLIN 'The story of 3 college friends, if you're a fan of Sally Rooney, you'll love EXPECTATION' IRISH EXAMINER 'A must-read' FABULOUS MAGAZINE 'A generation-defining book on motherhood, ambition and sex. Like NORMAL PEOPLE with female friendship under the microscope.' ERIN KELLY 'Few novels leave me so genuinely breathless with their brilliance' HANNAH BECKERMAN 'Sublime' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Book of the Year 'A marvellously tangy London novel' DAILY MAIL 'A grown-up, honest take on female camaraderie. Packed with talking points' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Hugely absorbing, massively enjoyable' LISSA EVANS 'Totally unputdownable, immersive, sharp, FAB' HARRIET EVANS 'Beautifully observed study of female friendship and a moving account of the collision between aspiration and reality' DAILY MAIL MUST-READ 'Fantastically well-realised portrait of female friendship's joys and pains from an exciting new voice in British fiction' DAILY TELEGRAPH
  • Votes: 2

    Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

    by Samira Ahmed

    Discover New York Times bestseller Samira Ahmed’s romantic, sweeping adventure through the streets of Paris told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, continents, and the lives of two young Muslim women fighting to write their own stories. Smash the patriarchy. Eat all the pastries. It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday with her parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light. Two hundred years before Khayyam’s summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of Alex, a très charmant teen descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam searches for a rumored lost painting, uncovering a connection between Leila and Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron that may have been erased from history. Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam’s lives intertwine, and as one woman’s long-forgotten life is uncovered, another’s is transformed.
  • Votes: 1

    The Beekeeper of Aleppo

    by Christy Lefteri

    This unforgettable novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the immigrant story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable. “A beautifully crafted novel of international significance that has the capacity to have us open our eyes and see.”—Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz WINNER OF THE ASPEN WORDS LITERARY PRIZE • FINALIST FOR THE DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE Nuri is a beekeeper and Afra, his wife, is an artist. Mornings, Nuri rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, Afra sells her colorful landscape paintings at the open-air market. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo—until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home. But escaping Syria will be no easy task: Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to navigate her grief as well as a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece toward an uncertain future in Britain. Nuri is sustained only by the knowledge that waiting for them is his cousin Mustafa, who has started an apiary in Yorkshire and is teaching fellow refugees beekeeping. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss but dangers that would overwhelm even the bravest souls. Above all, they must make the difficult journey back to each other, a path once so familiar yet rendered foreign by the heartache of displacement. Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book for our times: a novel that at once reminds us that the most peaceful and ordinary lives can be utterly upended in unimaginable ways and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten. Praise for The Beekeeper of Aleppo “This book dips below the deafening headlines, and tells a true story with subtlety and power.”—Esther Freud, author of Mr. Mac and Me “This compelling tale had me gripped with its compassion, its sensual style, and its onward and lively urge for resolution.”—Daljit Nagra, author of British Museum “This novel speaks to so much that is happening in the world today. It’s intelligent, thoughtful, and relevant, but very importantly it is accessible. I’m recommending this book to everyone I care about.”—Benjamin Zephaniah, author of Refugee Boy