NEW BOOKS FOR JULY 2020
HOW THE DEAD SPEAK by Val McDermi
‘We are all creatures of habit. Even murderers . . .’
When human remains are discovered in the grounds of an old convent, it quickly becomes clear that someone has been using the site as their personal burial ground. But with the convent abandoned long ago and bodies dating back many years, could this be the work of more than one obsessive killer?
The investigation throws up more questions as the evidence mounts but, after their last disastrous case, Tony Hill and Carol Jordan can only watch from afar. As they deal with the consequences, someone with a terrifying routine is biding their time – and both Tony and Carol find themselves closer to the edge than they have ever been before . . .
BLESSING IN DIGUISE by Danielle Steel
As a young intern at an art gallery in Paris, Isabelle McAvoy meets Putnam Armstrong, wealthy, gentle, older and secluded from the world. Her time at his Normandy château is the stuff of dreams, for when she learns she is pregnant, she knows that marriage is out of the question. Returning to New York, Isabelle enters a new relationship that she hopes will be more stable but before long she realizes she has made a terrible mistake and once again finds herself a single mother. With two young daughters Isabelle unexpectedly finds happiness and a love that gives her a third child, a baby as happy as her beloved father. And yet, life brings more change . . .Her three girls grow up to be very different women and Isabelle’s relationship with each of them is unique. When one final turn of fate brings a past secret to light, it bonds mother and daughters closer, turning a challenge into a blessing.
FIRST MAN IN by Ant Middleton
Special forces training is no walk in the park. The rules are strict and they make sure you learn the hard way, pushing you beyond the limits of what is physically possible. There is no mercy. Even when you are bleeding and broken, to admit defeat is failure. To survive the gruelling selection process to become a member of the elite you need toughness, aggression, meticulous attention to detail and unrelenting self-discipline, all traits that make for the best leaders. After 13 years service in the military, with 4 years as a Special Boat Service (SBS) sniper, Ant Middleton is the epitome of what it takes to excel. He served in the SBS, the naval wing of the special forces, the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal, achieving what is known as the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the UK’s Elite Forces. As a point man in the SBS, Ant was always the first man through the door, the first man into the dark, and the first man in harm’s way.
NO ONE HOME by Tim Weaver
No bodies. No evidence. No clues. Two and a half years later, it remains a mystery. Desperate for answers, the families of the missing turn to investigator David Raker.
How did an entire village vanish overnight?
And is he looking for nine missing people, or nine dead bodies?
GROWN UPS by Marian Keyes
They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?
QUEENIE by Kimberley Chambers
For young Queenie, life in the backstreets of Whitechapel was a lesson in survival – Hitler’s bombs hit those with nothing the hardest. When danger strikes close to home, Queenie finds an ally in Mrs O’Leary, whose two sons are the kingpins of the East End. But while the O’Learys are the light in Queenie’s life, fate has a different path in store.
AND MEN ARE WHAT THEIR MOTHERS MAKE THEM . . .
Now married to the useless Albie Butler, Queenie is raising her children to fight their own battles. If the O’Learys taught her anything, it was that surviving meant doing whatever you had to, no questions asked, and family always comes first. The Butler boys will make sure their mother’s name becomes East End legend.
MUM AND DAD by Joanna Trollope
It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . .Sebastian is busy running his company with his wife, Anna, who’s never quite seen eye-to-eye with her mother-in-law. Katie, a successful solicitor in the City, is distracted by the problems with her long-term partner, Nic, and the secretive lives of their three daughters. And Jake, ever the easy-going optimist, is determined to convince his new wife, Bella, that moving to Spain with their eighteen-month-old would be a good idea. As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?
A SPRING TIME AFFAIR by Katie Ford
Gilly runs her own B&B business from her much-loved family home, which she doesn’t want to part with – at any price. But that’s before she meets handsome estate agent Leo, and soon she begins to wonder whether selling up might not be such a bad idea after all. Meanwhile Gilly’s daughter Helena has a budding romance of her own. A talented weaver, she’s becoming very close to her new landlord, Jago, who’s offered to help her at an upcoming craft fair. It’s what friends do, and they are just friends. Aren’t they? With spring in full bloom, Helena and Gilly begin to ask themselves the same question:
THE MIRROR AND THE LIGHT by Hilary Mantel
England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?
THE LANTERN MAN by Elly Griffiths
She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging. Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths. Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?
MORAL COMPASS by Daniel Steele
Saint Ambrose Prep has been the school of choice for the sons of the great and the good for over a hundred years. Now, for the first time, Saint Ambrose has just enrolled its first female students. While many of the kids on the campus have all the privilege in the world, some are struggling dealing with family, insecurity and loneliness. In such a heightened environment, even the smallest spark can become a raging fire. The day after a Halloween party, a student lies in the hospital, seriously injured and with a dangerous level of alcohol in her blood. Only the handful of students who were there when she was attacked know what happened, and they have closed ranks. As parents, students, staff and the media attempt to establish the truth, no-one at Saint Ambrose will escape the fallout.
QUEENIE by Candice Carty-Williams
She just can’t cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That’s just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn’t seem to see her, a family who don’t seem to listen (if it’s not Jesus or water rates, they’re not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don’t really understand her, it’s no wonder she’s struggling. She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?
LOKI WHERE MISCHIEF LIES by Mackenzie Lee
When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, a younger Loki, desperate to prove himself, is sent to investigate.
But as he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect. He finds himself on a path to discover the source of his power – and who he’s meant to be.
BLIND SIDE by James Patterson
Bennett and the mayor have always had a tense relationship, but now the mayor sees in Bennett an exceptional investigator who might be willing to take on a case that needs to be kept under the radar. The two men strike the deal. Sources lead Bennett to a homicide in the Bronx. The victim has ties to a sophisticated hacking operation – and also to the mayor’s missing daughter. But this murder is part of a serial killing spree, one with national security implications. And suddenly Bennett is at the centre of a dangerous triangle anchored by NYPD, FBI and an international crime organization. Michael Bennett has always been an honourable man, but sometimes honour has to take a back seat. Survival comes first.
Between March and June, due to Covid 19 no new books were purchased.
NEW BOOKS FOR FEBRUARY 2020
NIGHTINGALE by Marina Kemp
Marguerite Demers is twenty-four when she leaves Paris for the sleepy southern village of Saint-Sulpice, to take up a job as a live-in nurse. Her charge is Jerome Lanvier, once one of the most powerful men in the village, and now dying alone in his large and secluded house, surrounded by rambling gardens. Manipulative and tyrannical, Jerome has scared away all his previous nurses.
It’s not long before the villagers have formed opinions of Marguerite. Brigitte Brochon, pillar of the community and local busybody, finds her arrogant and mysterious and is desperate to find a reason to have her fired. Glamorous outsider Suki Lacourse sees Marguerite as an ally in a sea of small-minded provincialism. Local farmer Henri Brochon, husband of Brigitte, feels concern for her and wants to protect her from the villagers’ intrusive gossip and speculation – but Henri has a secret of his own that would intrigue and disturb his neighbours just as much as the truth about Marguerite, if only they knew …
Set among the lush fields and quiet olive groves of southern France, and written in clear prose of crystalline beauty, Nightingale is a masterful, moving novel about death, sexuality, compassion, prejudice and freedom.
SCRUBLANDS by Chris Hammer
A powerful, compelling, vividly written Australian crime novel, perfect for fans of Peter May and Jane Harper
WILDING by Isabella Tree
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade. Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
SAYING YES TO LIFE by Ruth Vallerio
Saying Yes to Life lifts our focus from natural, everyday concerns to issues that are having an impact on millions of lives around the world. As people made in the image of God, we are entrusted to look after what he has created: to share in God’s joy and ingenuity in making a difference for good. Ruth Valerio imaginatively draws on the Days of Creation (Genesis 1) as she relates themes of light, water, land, the seasons, other creatures, humankind, Sabbath rest and resurrection hope to matters of environmental, ethical and social concern. Foundational to Saying Yes to Life is what it means to be human and, in particular, to be a follower of Jesus. Voices from around the world are heard throughout, and each chapter ends with discussion questions and a prayer to aid action and contemplation.
THE LOVE CHILD by Rachel Hore
When nineteen-year-old Alice Copeman becomes pregnant, she is forced by her father and stepmother to give up the baby. She simply cannot be allowed to bring shame upon her family. But all Alice can think about is the small, kitten-like child she gave away, and she mourns the father, a young soldier, so beloved, who will never have the chance to know his daughter. Edith and Philip Burns, a childless couple, yearn for a child of their own. When they secretly adopt a baby girl, Irene, their life together must surely be complete. Irene grows up knowing that she is different from other children, but no one will tell her the full truth. Putting hopes of marriage and children behind her, Alice embarks upon a pioneering medical career, striving to make her way in a male-dominated world. Meanwhile, Irene struggles to define her own life, eventually leaving her Suffolk home to find work in London.
THE PIANIST OF YARMOUK by Aeham Ahmad
One morning in war-torn Damascus, a starving man drags a piano into a rubbled street. Everything he once knew has been destroyed by war. Amidst ruin and despair, he begins to play. He plays of love and hope, he plays for his family and his fellow Syrians. He plays even though he could be killed for doing so. As word of his defiance spreads around the world, he becomes a beacon of hope and even resistance. Yet he fears for his wife and children – the more he plays, the more he and his family are endangered until, finally, he must make a terrible choice . . .
A LONG PETAL OF THE SEA by Isabel Allende
Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life – and the fate of his country – forever changed. Together with his sister-in-law, the pianist Roser, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world
NEW BOOKS FOR JANUARY 2020
ALL THE RAGE by Cara Hunter
History doesn’t repeat itself. Does it? A distressed teenage girl is found on the outskirts of Oxford. The story she tells is terrifying: grabbed off the street, a plastic bag forced over her head, then driven somewhere remote and subjected to an assault. DI Adam Fawley is doing the best he can to investigate, but the teenager refuses to press charges. All he can do is try to ignore the sickening feeling he’s seen something like this before…But when another girl goes missing, Fawley knows his time is running out
BLOOD ORANGE by Harriet Tyce
Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.
But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….
WHY WOMEN READ FICTION by Helen Young
Ian McEwan once said, ‘When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.’ This book explains how precious fiction is to contemporary women readers, and how they draw on it to tell the stories of their lives. Female readers are key to the future of fiction and―as parents, teachers, and librarians―the glue for a literate society. Women treasure the chance to read alone, but have also gregariously shared reading experiences and memories with mothers, daughters, grandchildren, and female friends. For so many, reading novels and short stories enables them to escape and to spread their wings intellectually and emotionally.
THE SUN SISTER by Lucinda Riley
To the outside world, Electra D’Aplièse seems to be the woman with everything: as one of the world’s top models, she is beautiful, rich and famous.Yet beneath the veneer, Electra’s already tenuous control over her state of mind has been rocked by the death of her father, Pa Salt, the elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters from across the globe. Struggling to cope, she turns to alcohol and drugs. As those around her fear for her health, Electra receives a letter from a complete stranger who claims to be her grandmother . . . In 1939, Cecily Huntley-Morgan arrives in Kenya from New York to nurse a broken heart. Staying with her godmother, a member of the infamous Happy Valley set, on the shores of beautiful Lake Naivasha, she meets Bill Forsythe, a notorious bachelor and cattle farmer with close connections to the proud Maasai tribe. But after a shocking discovery and with war looming, Cecily has few options. Moving up into the Wanjohi Valley, she is isolated and alone. Until she meets a young woman in the woods and makes her a promise that will change the course of her life for ever.
BRUTAL by Mandasue Heller
When Frank Peter’s wife Maureen dies, he feels that his once-idyllic life on the Yorkshire Moors is over. And with a daughter emigrating to Australia and a son who has his own marital problems, Frank feels resigned to a life of loneliness. Then one night he finds a frightened young woman hiding at the back of his farmhouse. She explains that her name is Irena and was brought to this country by a man who promised her the world and then forced her into prostitution. Frank offers her a bed for the night but it’s the middle of winter, and when heavy snowfall prevents her from leaving the next day, he’s forced to extend the invitation. But the longer Irena stays, the easier it gets for the men she’s trying to escape from to find her. People-trafficking could just be the tip of the iceberg, and Frank has no idea what these people are really capable of
DEEPLIGHT by Frances Hardinge
The gods of the Myriad were as real as the coastlines and currents, and as merciless as the winds and whirlpools. Then one day they rose up and tore each other apart, killing many hundreds of islanders and changing the Myriad forever. On the jumbled streets of the Island of Lady’s Crave live Hark and his best friend Jelt. They are scavengers: living off their wits, diving for relics of the gods, desperate for anything they can sell. But now there is something stirring beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it. Something valuable. Something dangerous.Nothing is quite as it seems, and when the waves try to claim Jelt, Hark will do anything to save him. Even if it means compromising not just who Jelt is, but what he is . .
ELEVATION by Stephen King
In the small town of Castle Rock word gets around quickly. That’s why Scott Carey only confides in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition. Every day he’s losing weight – but without looking any different. Meanwhile a new couple, Deirdre and Missy, owners of a ‘fine dining experience’ in town, have moved in next door. Scott is not happy that their dogs keep fouling on his lawn. But as the town prepares for its annual Thanksgiving 12K run, Scott starts to understand the prejudices his neighbours face. Soon, they forge a friendship which may just help him through his mysterious affliction…
SILVER by Chris Hammer
A HOMECOMING MARRED BY BLOOD
Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth. A TERRIBLE CRIME
The media descends on the coastal town, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal. A PAST HE CAN’T ESCAPE
As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…
THE SPHINX: THE LIFE OF THE DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH by Hugo Vickers
Born in Paris to American parents in 1881, Gladys emerged from a traumatic childhood – her father having shot her mother’s lover dead when Gladys was only eleven – to captivate and inspire some of the greatest literary and artistic names of the Belle Epoque. Marcel Proust wrote of her, ‘I never saw a girl with such beauty, such magnificent intelligence, such goodness and charm.’ Berenson considered marrying her, Rodin and Monet befriended her, Boldini painted her and Epstein sculpted her. She inspired love from diverse Dukes and Princes, and the interest of women such as the Comtesse Greffulhe and Gertrude Stein. In 1921, when Gladys was forty, she achieved the wish she had held since the age of fourteen to marry the 9th Duke of Marlborough, then freshly divorced from fellow American Consuelo Vanderbilt. Gladys’s circle now included Lady Ottoline Morrell, Lytton Strachey and Winston Churchill, who described her as ‘a strange, glittering being’. But life at Blenheim was not a success: when the Duke evicted her in 1933, the only remaining signs of Gladys were two sphinxes bearing her features on the west terraces and mysterious blue eyes in the grand portico. She became a recluse, and the wax injections she’d had to straighten her nose when she was 22 had by now ravaged her beauty. Gladys was to spend her last years in the psycho-geriatric ward of a mental hospital, where she was discovered by a young Hugo Vickers.
HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS by Carole Matthews
Thirty-eight years old, she lives on the twenty-five-acre Hope Farm in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by (mostly) four-legged friends and rolling hills. There’s Anthony the anti-social sheep, Tina Turner the alpaca with attitude, and the definitely-not-miniature pig, Teacup. Molly runs the farm as an alternative school for kids who haven’t thrived in mainstream education. It’s full on, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. So when the well-groomed Shelby Dacre turns up at Hope Farm asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn’t fazed. But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And then there’s the added problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. Molly has her beloved farm to think of – could letting Lucas and Shelby in be a terrible mistake, or the start of something wonderful?
THE STARLESS SEA by Erin Morganstern
When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood. Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.
SNOWED IN AT THE PRACTICE by Penny Parkes
Dr Holly Graham is finding life with two sets of twins exhausting. Even with husband Dr Taffy Jones and devoted friend Elsie by her side, she is completely outnumbered. Making the transition back to work will be no easy feat but a regular slot on Radio Larkford as their on-air doctor might be the perfect stepping stone, until an unexpected job offer changes everything. Dr Alice Walker’s new canine clinic at Larkford Surgery with Coco, her assistance dog, has been a storming success. If only shipping her best friend, Dr Tilly Grainger, in from South America to cover for Holly had been such a smooth transition. It seems that Tilly isn’t finding life in the peaceful Cotswolds valley as rewarding as she’d hoped, and she is causing chaos …
MIDDLE ENGLAND by Jonathan Coe
The country is changing and, up and down the land, cracks are appearing – within families and between generations. In the Midlands Benjamin Trotter tries to help his aged father navigate a Britain that seems to have forgotten he exists, while in London his friend Doug doesn’t understand why his teenage daughter is eternally enraged. Meanwhile, newlyweds Sophie and Ian can find nothing to agree on except the fact that their marriage is on the rocks . . .