NEW BOOKS FOR FEBRUARY 2021
FROSTQUAKE by Juliet Nicolson
On Boxing Day 1962, when Juliet Nicolson was eight years old, the snow began to fall. It did not stop for ten weeks. The drifts in East Sussex reached twenty-three feet. In London, milkmen made deliveries on skis. On Dartmoor 2,000 ponies were buried in the snow, and starving foxes ate sheep alive.
It wasn’t just the weather that was bad. The threat of nuclear war had reached its terrifying height with the recent Cuban Missile Crisis. Unemployment was on the rise, de Gaulle was blocking Britain from joining the European Economic Community, Winston Churchill, still the symbol of Great Britishness, was fading. These shadows hung over a country paralysed by frozen heating oil, burst pipes and power cuts
And yet underneath the frozen surface, new life was beginning to stir. A new breed of satirists threatened the complacent decadence of the British establishment. A game-changing band from Liverpool topped the charts, becoming the ultimate symbol of an exuberant youthquake. Scandals such as the Profumo Affair exposed racial and sexual prejudice. When the thaw came, ten weeks of extraordinary weather had acted as a catalyst between two distinct eras.
OPEN WATER by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it. With gorgeous, soulful intensity, Caleb Azumah Nelson has written the most essential British debut of recent years.
THE SURVIVORS by Jane Harper
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home.
Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn.
When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah
Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli had finally found the life she’d yearned for. A family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds.
Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonizing decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Loreda and Ant, west to California in search of a better life. Will it be the land of milk and honey? Or will their experience challenge every ounce of strength they possess?
From the overriding love of a mother for her child, the value of female friendship and the ability to love again – against all odds, Elsa’s incredible journey is a story of survival, hope and what we do for the ones we love.
ASYLUM ROAD by Olivia Sudjic
A couple drive from London to coastal Provence. Anya is preoccupied with what she feels is a relationship on the verge; unequal, precarious. Luke, reserved, stoic, gives away nothing. As the sun sets one evening, he proposes, and they return to London engaged.
But planning a wedding does little to settle Anya’s unease. As a child, she escaped from Sarajevo, and the idea of security is as alien now as it was then. When social convention forces Anya to return, she begins to change. The past she sought to contain for as long as she can remember resurfaces, and the hot summer builds to a startling climax.
Lean, sly and unsettling, Asylum Road is about the many borders governing our lives: between men and women, assimilation and otherness, nations, families, order and chaos.
What happens, and who do we become, when they break down?
NEIGHBOURS by Danielle Steel
Meredith White was one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces. But a personal tragedy cut her career short and alienated her from her family. For the last fifteen years, Meredith has shut herself away from the world, living in her San Francisco mansion.
Then, on a late summer day, a devastating earthquake strikes, plunging the city into chaos. Without hesitation, Meredith invites her now homeless neighbours into her largely undamaged house as the recovery begins. From the respected doctor, to the beautiful young woman whose boyfriend views her as a rich man’s toy, to the brilliant concert pianist in his eighties, each has a story and a closely guarded secret that will slowly be revealed.
Strangers become friends and relationships are forged as they support each other through not just the aftermath of the earthquake, but their own personal crises.
As Meredith finds herself venturing back into the world she suddenly sees her isolation, her estranged family and even her career in a whole new light. And thanks to the suspicions of one of her new acquaintances, a shocking truth in her own life is exposed.
THE CITY OF TEARS by Kate Mosse
June 1572: for ten, violent years the Wars of Religion have raged across France. Neighbours have become enemies, countless lives have been lost, and the country has been torn apart over matters of religion, citizenship and sovereignty. But now a precarious peace is in the balance: a royal wedding has been negotiated by Catherine de’ Medici and Jeanne d’Albret, an alliance between the Catholic Crown and Henri, the Huguenot king of Navarre. It is a marriage that could see France reunited at last.
Meanwhile in Puivert, an invitation has arrived for Minou Joubert and her family to attend this historic wedding in Paris in August. But what Minou does not know is that the Joubert family’s oldest enemy, Vidal, will also be there. Nor that, within days of the marriage, on the eve of the Feast Day of St Bartholomew, Minou’s family will be scattered to the four winds and one of her beloved children will have disappeared without trace . .
LETS DO IT by Victoria Wood
In her passport Victoria Wood listed her occupation as ‘entertainer’ – and in stand-up and sketches, songs and sitcom, musicals and dramas, she became the greatest entertainer of the age. Those things that might have held her back – her lonely childhood, her crippling shyness and above all the disadvantage of being a woman in a male-run industry – she turned to her advantage to make extraordinary comedy about ordinary people living ordinary lives in ordinary bodies. She wasn’t fond of the term, but Victoria Wood truly was a national treasure – and her loss is still keenly felt.
Victoria had plenty of stories still to tell when she died in 2016, and one of those was her own autobiography.
‘I will do it one day,’ she told the author and journalist Jasper Rees. ‘It would be about my childhood, about my first few years in showbusiness, which were really interesting and would make a really nice story.’
GIRL A by Abigail Dean
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.
THE NEIGHBOURS WIFE by Tony Parsons
Tara Carver seems to have the perfect life. A loving mother and wife, and a business woman who runs her own company, she’s the sort of person you’d want to live next door to, who might even become your best friend.
But what sort of person is she really?
Because in one night of madness, on a work trip far from home, she puts all this at risk. And suddenly her dream life becomes a living nightmare when the married man she spent one night with tells her he wants a serious relationship with her. And that he won’t leave her or her precious family alone until she agrees.
BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED by Lisa Gardener
Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.
A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier.
Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own. And she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered.
But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her …
NEW BOOKS FOR JANUARY 2021
CROCODILE TEARS by Mercedes Rosende
The setting: Montevideo’s Old Town, with its dark alleys, crumbling facades and watchful residents. The gig: an armoured truck robbery. The cast: Diego, a failed kidnapper with weak nerves, Ursula Lopez, an amateur criminal with an insatiable appetite, the Hobo, a notorious hoodlum with excessive self-confidence. Dr. Antinucci, a shady lawyer with big plans. And finally, Leonilda Lima, a washed out police inspector with a glimmer of faith in justice.
PINCH OF NOM by Kate Allinson and Kay Feathertone
From all-in-one family favourites to batch-cook basics and speedy sweet treats, Pinch of Nom Quick & Easy is packed with dishes so delicious you won’t even notice they’re slimming. With tasty, satisfying meals such as Veggie Satay Noodles, Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta and Apple and Apricot Oaty Crumble, you definitely won’t feel like you’re missing out. Featuring Pinch of Nom’s trademark big flavours, these recipes use easy-to-find ingredients to create meals that everyone will love – whether they’re watching their waistline or not.
‘These fast, healthy recipes are so easy and made with simple-to-find ingredients. We’re so proud of this food that the whole family can enjoy together.’ – Kate & Kay
THE COFFIN MAKERS GARDEN by Stuart Macbride
A house full of secrets…
With the storm still raging, it’s too dangerous to retrieve the bodies and waves are devouring the evidence. Which means no one knows how many people Smith’s already killed and how many more he’ll kill if he can’t be found and stopped. An investigator with nothing to lose…
The media are baying for blood, the top brass are after a scapegoat, and ex-Detective Inspector Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way. ‘Stuart MacBride’s deft plotting and whipcrack dialogue, along with a strong sense of place, make The Coffinmaker’s Garden a must read. If you like your serial killers with lashings of dark humour, this is for you’
THE APPEAL by Janice Hallett
Dear Reader – enclosed are all the documents you need to solve a case. It starts with the arrival of two mysterious newcomers to the small town of Lockwood, and ends with a tragic death.
Someone has already been convicted of this brutal murder and is currently in prison, but we suspect they are innocent. What’s more, we believe far darker secrets have yet to be revealed.
Throughout the Fairway Players’ staging of All My Sons and the charity appeal for little Poppy Reswick’s life-saving medical treatment, the murderer hid in plain sight. Yet we believe they gave themselves away. In writing. The evidence is all here, between the lines, waiting to be discovered.
Will you accept the challenge? Can you uncover the truth?
THE GIRL WHO READS ON THE METRO by Christine Feret-Fleury
But when, one day, she decides to alight the train a few stops early and meets Soliman – the mysterious owner of the most enchanting bookshop Juliette has ever seen – she is sure her life will never be the same again . . .
For Soliman also believes in the power of books to change the course of a life – entrusting his passeurs with the task of giving each book to the person who needs it most – and he thinks Juliette is perfect for the job.
And so, leaving her old life behind, Juliette will discover the true power a book can have . . .
A PROMISED LAND by Barack Obama
Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office.
Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.
THE LAST THING TO BURN by Will Dean
Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.
She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.
Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.
For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting . . .
CHESS FOR DUMMIES by James Eade
Whether you’re playing chess online, in a tournament, or across the dining room table with a family member or friend, this hands-on guide is sure to capture your interest (and your opponent’s queen), getting you up to speed on the game and its components and giving you the know-how you need to put the principles of play into action from the opening to the endgame.
- Grasp the rules of play and the nuances of each phase of the game
- Familiarize yourself with the pieces and the board
- Pick the perfect chess set and chessboard for you
- Get to know each of the pieces and their powers. If you feel like you’re in a stalemate before you even begin a game, Chess For Dummies is your guide to forcing moves, raking bishops, and skewering your opponents like a true champion.
THE STRANGER TIMES by C.K. McDonnell
At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.
When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.
GOOD VIBES GOOD LIFE by Vex King
Vex overcame adversity to become a source of hope for thousands of young people, and now draws from his personal experience and his intuitive wisdom to inspire you to:
– practise self-care, overcome toxic energy and prioritize your wellbeing
– cultivate positive lifestyle habits, including mindfulness and meditation
– change your beliefs to invite great opportunities into your life
– manifest your goals using tried-and-tested techniques
– overcome fear and flow with the Universe
– find your higher purpose and become a shining light for others
In this book, Vex will show you that when you change the way you think, feel, speak and act, you begin to change the world.
INTENSIVE CARE by Gavin Francis
Gavin Francis is a GP who works in both urban and rural communities, splitting his time between Edinburgh and the islands of Orkney. When the pandemic arrived in our society he saw how it affected every walk of life: the anxious teenager, the isolated care home resident, the struggling furloughed worker and homeless ex-prisoner, all united by their vulnerability in the face of a global disaster. And he saw how the true cost of the virus was measured not just in infections, or deaths, or ITU beds, but in the consequences of the measures taken against it.
WORD PERFECT by Susie Dent
Welcome to a year of wonder with Susie Dent, lexicographer, logophile, and longtime queen of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner.
From the real Jack the Lad to the theatrically literal story behind stealing someone’s thunder, from tartle (forgetting someone’s name at the very moment you need it) to snaccident (the unintentional eating of an entire packet of biscuits), WORD PERFECT is a brilliant linguistic almanac full of unforgettable stories, fascinating facts, and surprising etymologies tied to every day of the year. You’ll never be lost for words again.
EXCITING TIMES by Naoise Dolan
When you leave Ireland aged 22 to spend your parents’ money, it’s called a gap year. When Ava leaves Ireland aged 22 to make her own money, she’s not sure what to call it, but it involves:
– a badly-paid job in Hong Kong, teaching English grammar to rich children;
– Julian, who likes to spend money on Ava and lets her move into his guest room;
– Edith, who Ava meets while Julian is out of town and actually listens to her when she talks;
– money, love, cynicism, unspoken feelings and unlikely connections.
KEEPING TABS by Beverley Courtney
She’s allowed her controlling husband to bully her into a corner. Again. Now she risks losing everything – her drama school for children, her gentle lover, her beloved dogs – just to stay in her cold and barren marriage. Tabitha is devastated by her husband’s bombshell demand that she leaves all she loves and goes abroad with him. What choice does she have, though, when he alone offers financial security? Even when a perfect opportunity arises at the National Drama School’s Junior Academy, she struggles to believe in herself. Her only solace and comfort is her few friends and her dogs. Will Tabitha beat her wings to shreds against that window, or will she get the courage to break free at last?
MAYFLIES by Andrew O’Hagan
Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news. Mayflies is a memorial to youth’s euphorias and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.
BURNT SUGAR by Avni Doshi
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her arranged marriage to join an ashram, took a hapless artist for a lover, rebelled against every social expectation of a good Indian woman – all with her young child in tow. Years on, she is an old woman with a fading memory, 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 mother who never seemed to care for her.
This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers – between mother and daughter. Sharp as a blade and laced with caustic wit, Burnt Sugar gradually untangles the knot of memory and myth that bind two women together, revealing the truth that lies beneath.
DEAR READER by Cathy Rentzenbrink
For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.
THE NEW WILDERNESS by Diane Cook
Bea’s five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is slowly wasting away. The smog and pollution of the overdeveloped, overpopulated metropolis they call home is ravaging her lungs. Bea knows she cannot stay in the City, but there is only one alternative: The Wilderness State. Mankind has never been allowed to venture into this vast expanse of untamed land. Until now. Bea and Agnes join eighteen other volunteers who agree to take part in a radical experiment. They must slowly learn how to live in the unpredictable, often dangerous Wilderness, leaving no trace on their surroundings in their quest to survive. But as Agnes embraces this new existence, Bea realises that saving her daughter’s life might mean losing her in ways she hadn’t foreseen. At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary, urgent novel from a celebrated new literary voice.
THE SHADOW KING by Maaza Mengiste
With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade.
Hirut and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms. But how could she have predicted her own personal war, still to come, as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers?
THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS by Jodi Picout
Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully.
But when the plane she’s on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago – when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved.
Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to – but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain.
As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she’s never truly asked: what does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us?
A TIME FOR MERCY by John Grisham
Deputy Stuart Kofer is a protected man. Though he’s turned his drunken rages on his girlfriend, Josie, and her children many times before, the police code of silence has always shielded him.
But one night he goes too far, leaving Josie for dead on the floor before passing out. Her son, sixteen-year-old Drew, knows he only has this one chance to save them. He picks up a gun and takes the law into his own hands.
In Clanton, Mississippi, there is no one more hated than a cop killer – but a cop killer’s defence lawyer comes close. Jake Brigance doesn’t want this impossible case but he’s the only one with enough experience to defend the boy.
As the trial begins, it seems there is only one outcome: the gas chamber for Drew. But, as the town of Clanton discovers once again, when Jake Brigance takes on an impossible case, anything is possible …
BETWEEN THE STOPS by Sandy Toksvig
‘Between the Stops is a sort of a memoir, my sort. It’s about a bus trip really, because it’s my view from the Number 12 bus (mostly top deck, the seat at the front on the right), a double-decker that plies its way from Dulwich, in South East London, where I was living, to where I sometimes work – at the BBC, in the heart of the capital. It’s not a sensible way to write a memoir at all, probably, but it’s the way things pop into your head as you travel, so it’s my way’.
THE LAW OF INNOCENCE by Michael Connelly
Heading home after winning his latest case, defense attorney Mickey Haller – The Lincoln Lawyer – is pulled over by the police. They open the trunk of his car to find the body of a former client. Haller knows the law inside out. He will be charged with murder. He will have to build his case from behind bars. And the trial will be the trial of his life. Because Mickey Haller will defend himself in court. With watertight evidence stacked against him, Haller will need every trick in the book to prove he was framed. But a not-guilty verdict isn’t enough. In order to truly walk free, Haller knows he must find the real killer – that is the law of innocence…
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Between March and June, due to Covid 19 no new books were purchased.