A French Reader: Tony et Celia (French Readers t. 11) (French Edition)

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The Scottish Professional Football League board could do a U-turn and publish its secret data on the amount of bigoted chanting and other unacceptable behaviour by fans in Scotland. The governing body commissioned research on the number of incidents at games from to but, despite pressure having been The Scottish Professional Football League board could do a U-turn and publish its secret data on the amount of bigoted chanting For someone who made his international debut almost 40 years ago, David Johnston still cuts an annoyingly youthful figure, but if the years have not wearied the former Scotland centre — and later Scotland coach — then the machinations of the Scottish Rugby Union certainly have.

For someone who made his international debut almost 40 years ago, David Johnston still cuts an It was the cheekiest act during a cup draw in Scotland since Rod Stewart windmilled his arms into the bowl of balls, looking the worse for wear. A couple of feet away the chief executive of The government has written to Eir, the telecoms company, seeking information about claims that it could deliver the National Broadband Plan at a fraction of its current price.

The plan aims to deliver a high-speed internet connection to , homes and businesses in rural Ireland. The government has written to Eir, the telecoms company, seeking information about claims that it The taoiseach said that there was a risk of the Irish economy contracting if the UK were to leave the bloc without a deal. Mr Johnson, the Subscription Notification. We have noticed that there is an issue with your subscription billing details. Please update your billing details here.

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Click here to see more Tap here to see more Tap here to see more. Accessibility Links Skip to content. Subscribe Log in. Start your free trial today. Know the score Follow every game and every goal with unlimited digital access for 30 days. The ups and downs of Downing Street Know the score From fashion to food. In the News. Reginald D Hunter Comedian opens up on his greatest fear: mediocrity. World beaters The contrasting styles of the best batsmen on Earth. Read the full story. Scientists predict end of fight against cervical cancer.

Glastonbury gas guzzlers told that cheap high is no laughing matter. Second flaw found in Boeing Max. Hunt accused of taking voters for a ride. Doubters say Johnson burying bus news. Vaz bullying inquiry looms as complaint rules extended. Brexit Briefing Ian Robinson. Crashing out could mean interest rate cut, said Carney Mark Carney has given the clearest indication yet that the Bank of England may have to cut interest rates in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Artist faces eviction from studio he saved. Scientists chop years off ancient yew trees. Drone threat to airliners grossly underestimated, pilots tell MPs. Deborah Ross The benefits of state education — I know all the wrong people. Myth busting The LA doctor changing minds about the mind. Daily Quiz Which element is named after the Moscow oblast?

Glastonbury on guard for ailing rockers For the older campers at Glastonbury age is just a number. China goes mad for Midlands museums. Flightless bird that walked tall in Europe. Is it a bird, is it a plane? Millions misled over cannabis oil mania. Could you be a line judge? Porn sites warning after woman dies. Former Cunard bellboy, 99, is shipshape and back on board. Renters could transfer deposit from one landlord to the next. Diana godchild ruling lets parents act for disabled.

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Russian jet sees off the Red Arrows. Show more. Leading Articles. Press Gang Politically motivated campaigners are trying to smear and suppress fine reporting. Briefing UK: The Conservative Party holds hustings in the south central region this evening with the final two candidates in its leadership contest, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt; Extinction Rebellion, the climate change activists, hold a protest at Glastonbury Festival; a four-hour strike is to be held by staff at Aberdeen airport in a dispute over pensions.

Nature notes Crow garlic is growing in the grass at the edges of cornfields. Derwent May. Europe begs Iran not to break nuclear deal Britain and other European powers have issued a last-minute appeal to Iran to stop enriching uranium as Tehran announced that it was ditching the nuclear deal.

World at five. Student dies after being attacked by sharks in front of family. Haftar forces driven from key Libyan town. US border drowning puts spotlight on migrant crisis The Pope and the UN refugee agency have voiced sadness and outrage over a photograph of a father and his young daughter who drowned trying to cross from Mexico to the United States. Youngest PM to focus on environment. In pictures. Elephant in search of water tramples eight people to death. Pork import ban adds to tensions between China and Canada.

France opens holy tombs in Jerusalem. Houses built from , plastic bottles More than a thousand people gathered on the southwest shore of Nova Scotia this week to see what is thought to be a world first: a house built of recycled plastic bottles. Builders face the axe from Help to Buy Housebuilders could be forced to sign up to a code of conduct if they want to benefit from the revised Help to Buy scheme. Ford cuts 12, jobs in Europe, with 3, to go in Britain.

Ramsay puts US growth on the menu Jamie Oliver may have been forced to call time on his British restaurant dreams, but Gordon Ramsay is set to turn up the temperature on his American ambitions after teaming up with a private equity firm. Ex-Southern boss unaware of scandal. Pendragon chief quits after three months. Kingfisher names Carrefour boss as chief executive. Brussels watchdog hates United States, Trump says. Store revamp kicks off Boots overhaul. Starbucks pays more tax despite loss. Carmaking suffers full year of falls in production. Greene leaves Rio after less than a year.

Bathstore pulls the plug and puts hundreds of jobs at risk. Australian PM adds to pressure on China. Cricket World Cup Steve James. Football Oliver Kay. Cricket World Cup Mike Atherton. Football In depth. Football Rick Broadbent. Premier League. Cricket World Cup. Cricket World Cup John Westerby. Exclusive new tennis game.

Lifetimes podcast. Flora Mackie leads a remarkable life. Jane Wood, Publisher, Quercus. Author: M. Isolated at the tip of Australia as a lighthouse keeper, emotionally traumatised World War I veteran Tom fears for his wife's sanity after her third miscarriage. Then a boat turns up carrying a dead man and a newborn baby. They bring the baby girl up as their own. The repercussions of this on the girl's biological family, and eventually Tom's guilt, are movingly portrayed.

This covers vast themes, moral dilemmas and heartbreaking decisions. A doom-laden tale which really does make you question the rules as along the way someone has to get very hurt indeed Powerful stuff and highly recommended. What a brilliant and memorable debut. Superb characters, heart-rending plot and, set on an island miles from Australia, a uniquely beautiful setting. After the horrors of WW1 Tom finds first solace as a lighthouse keeper and joy as he shares the experience with his young wife.

Then one morning a decision they take, seemingly for the best, has devastating consequences. We think this is a perfect book for reading groups.

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A smart and sassy take on a 21st century mum making her way in the world, trying not to cause too much damage but also hoping that maybe, just maybe she may be able to find the contentment within herself that she so badly craves. Then her day takes an unexpected turn as the past creeps into her present. Suddenly there are questions demanding to be answered. Where is he disappearing to each day? How will she explain to Timby about the sister she never talks about? And what will happen to The Flood Girls? Long since consigned to the back of the closet. We also experience the crazy thoughts that often flit in and out of her head.

Thoughts we can all relate to and the unexplained conclusions we leap to and in turn the consequences they have on our happiness. Today Will Be Different shares the hope that we can learn to be more accepting of who we are and allow ourselves to be happier. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize Our first-person narrator, Anne Jaccobs, is an extraordinary young woman for her period.

This is Georgian London in and she a lady eager to learn. Her well-to-do family have plans for her but year old Anne is an interesting, forceful character. In a novel rich in period detail we follow this spirited girl through some highly unexpected scenarios which two-thirds of the way through the book turn into a bawdy romp. At times dark, at times humorous, this is an historical novel not to be missed, a debut from the much-loved Blue Peter presenter. Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize He takes it to a Lovell, a banker based on Golden Hill Street, in order to have it cashed.

Speculation is duly aroused: what on earth is Smith planning to do with such a quantity of cash? The depiction of place is gratifyingly sensory. While the puzzle at the heart of the novel is not revealed until the very last pages, the plentiful and nimbly executed plot twists provide much satisfaction throughout. Part mystery, part homage to eighteenth century literature, this is an exuberant literary delight with all the readability of a page-turner.

A great, unruly city is being born. Francis Spufford creates a world that is hypnotic and believable, brought to life in sparkling prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, and tells a gripping story that's full of tension and surprise, with characters who live on after the book is closed. His non-fiction writing has been much-admired. This first novel is an astonishing achievement because his novelist's voice is already enticing, rich and mature. An eighteenth-century treat. October Debut of the Month. Arthur quickly realises that before she met him, his wife had a whole host of experiences, and Arthur knew nothing about them!

Phaedra Patrick writes with a beautifully light touch, yet imbues each page with a meaningful eloquence. Arthur is a joy to get to know, you feel his sadness and bewilderment at his loneliness and loss, then as he steps out on his quest, you witness his cloistered heart and mind unfurling towards the possibilities that life can offer. This is a beautiful little gem of a read and I highly recommend it. Sarah Broadhurst's view Early on we meet Lucy, twenty-four, who needs a heart transplant. She is a plucky girl trying to live a normal life greatly hampered by her sad ill health.

For eighteen months she has been on the transplant list. Preparing to go on her first holiday ever with just her sister her family watch the television News and a report on a train crash which eventually turns into a motorway crash. Among the victims are three close women friends, all badly injured.

We swing back four months and get to know these three, their reliance on each other and their reason for being in that crash. Interspersed with their lives is their post-accident hospital treatment where surely one will die for Lucy to get her heart. This is a tale exploring many strong issues; fertility, loyalty, betrayal, responsibility, young motherhood, divorce, independence, dementia and much more. Pretty powerful stuff and excellent for reading groups. This witty and twisty tale of an elderly con man intent on a final hurrah when he initially goes on a blind date with a retired, wealthy woman, brings more than smiles to the face.

However she is not all she appears to be and as his own past is slowly unveiled in parallel to the con he studiously devotes himself to, increasing layers of lies and domestic intrigue are revealed which often turn the elaborate plot upside down. With echoes of Patricia Highsmith but without the die-hard cynicism, this is an affectionate and deliberately old fashioned psychological thriller with just the right touch of humour and humanity. Engrossing and with a tightly-engineered plot that holds surprises at every corner and what is there to dislike in a thriller where the main character is in his 80s?

Just fabulous. This is one of those wonderfully rare books that sets you in the middle of a familiar location and then prowls down a previously unexplored and unexpected path. Exquisitely pitch perfect, with clear and self assured writing, the story slides backwards in time, releasing information, raising suspicions and spiralling down into darkness.


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As I turned the last page, I paused, and felt within, one of those electrifying moments before applause bursts forth. I want to tell you about this fabulously compelling novel Viking is publishing in January. The response within Penguin has been extraordinary so far — with staff in every department raving about it. His target is Betty, a woman whom he is planning to seduce and then run off with her life savings.

Roy is incredibly creepy and Betty is wonderfully admirable, if a little mysterious. The twists and turns of the narrative are endlessly surprising. I have also, only very occasionally witnessed such an amazing in-house response. It would be terrific if you liked the book as much as we all do. Thanks so much for your time. Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize Traversing continents and generations, this sublime debut explores identity, self-sacrifice and dislocation with elegance and wit. Despite sharing a bed with Odile, Yuki never feels close to her. Odile is wrapped up in forging a modeling career, and then heads to Italy, abandoning Yuki to Lillian and her violent boyfriend.

Abandonment, loneliness, and seeking solace from loneliness are recurring themes. Some years later, when she has a home, a husband who loves her, a baby son, and the talent to be an artist, Yuki remains unsettled, and feels a desperate desire to leave. August Book of the Month. Tense and full of intrigue, this is a novel that sinks into the depths of obsession and discovers a very dangerous game afoot.

The newly opened, glamorous lido calls to Natalie and in one summer her life changes beyond all recognition. The prologue and first chapter declare from the outset that a dramatic event has occurred. The story explores the whole of the summer, occasionally touching on the past and then suddenly switching directly to the aftermath.

These jarring changes in time create a feeling of foreboding as the timelines slide towards their inevitable collision. Louise Candlish excels in looking at the darker side of relationships, she discovers thoughts and feelings that are recognisable but at the same time feel dangerously untouched. As decadent and scandalous as New York Society in the roaring twenties, A Certain Age will whisk you back to a time of Jazz, elegance, charm, and murder as only Beatriz Williams can. The world is slowly recovering from the horrors of the Great War.

She turns to Rofrano to carry out this small favour and sets in motion a string of events that will change their lives forever.


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Thrilling and heady, A Certain Age is a delightful novel to escape into. Click here to view the Reading Group Notes for this title. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. July Debut of the Month and eBook of the Month. From the author of Possession and The Children's Book comes an extraordinary tale, inspired by the myth of Ragnarok. Intensely autobiographical and linguistically stunning, this book is a landmark work of fiction from one of Britain's truly great writers. You might also say it's timely in that it is a book about how stories can give us the courage to face our own demise. So just as Wagner's Ring Cycle was inspired by Norse myth so Byatt has taken this remarkable finale and used it as the underpinning of this highly personal and politically charged retelling.

July Book of the Month. Also very present are the Gods themselves, playing with lives, betting on battles and arguing amongst themselves. It is a well-known tale, moving, frightening, bloody. This re-telling shows a feminine side, away from the battles but still dependent on their outcome. It is an engrossing world, easy to fall into. As spies, lovers, slaves and prophets these women of Troy show themselves the equal of the more famous men.

Even if you know the story well this is still an entrancing read. A beautifully quirky, yet at the same time completely logical love story well it is logical once you've realised that you too, have fallen in love with an alligator. I believe that John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway would remember their parts in this tale with glee, who wouldn't want to have been introduced to the charming and rather glorious Albert?

I quite simply devoured this enchanting book in one sitting, and I will want to read it again and again. It is easy to think of the Celts as savages and the Romans as the bringers of civilisation when in fact Celtic society was complex and well-structured. Skin captures the flavour of that ancient time beautifully.

The people feel a strong connection to nature and magic is everywhere. Within this ordered society Ailia is a misfit. A wonderful narrator full of youthful fire, fear, confusion and joy. Her journey is strange and compelling, for her and the reader, as she is torn between loves and duties in two different worlds. A thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve. It is difficult to know if this huge, sprawling novel would have quite the same appeal if you had not read the first two but I suspect you could probably dive into this as a complex historical adventure of India and China in the middle of the 19th century when the East India Company had great power.

It mostly revolves round opium. The story jumps from one strand to another for the first half of the book with some truly lovely cameo pieces, a joy. It is also a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story - the bestselling Ibis trilogy from the author of Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies - it is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The Ibis Trilogy Sea of Poppies2. River of Smoke3. Flood of Fire. Pencraw Hall, Cornwall, is a beautiful old house, the holiday retreat for the well-off Alton family of four children, twins and then a couple much younger, a hard-working father and a young, gregarious American mother, very liberal.

Wonderful times are had at Pencraw in the late 60s. It is nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall due to the silhouette of numerous rabbits which actually lead to the tragedy that shatters the family. We follow them and in alternating sections, Lorna, thirty years later who is looking for a wedding venue and is inexplicably drawn to the now decaying house and its mysterious occupants.

This is straight down the line pure country house, classic mystery, wonderful stuff. Suspenseful, haunting, startling and full of the unexpected. This isn't exactly a love story, it is rather, a tale about love, in all its different forms. While Cora and Will form the heart of this novel, every member of the surrounding cast is as important as these two, each fitting into a perfectly formed relationship jigsaw.

At times they may not be likeable, they may have their quirks, their differences, yet they are so well formed, it is possible to feel empathy as you question a decision or comment made. The Essex serpent coiled and waiting, exploits fear and mistrust, creating a fascinating setting in which connections flourish and wither. At times the Victorian setting vanished and the relationships felt very current and modern, while at others the different time period proclaimed the complications and difficulties faced by anyone judged as being different.

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award And then there are those books that you become so close to that you almost feel as though they are a part of you. It is a sumptuously imagined novel of lives playing out against bigger historical moments, and it is the most unusual and moving love story I have ever read. June Book of the Month and eBook of the Month. Ferney was one of my all time favourite books of the year it was published, It tells of a love through the ages, a tale of reincarnation, passion, longing, history and mystery.

This is its sequel. You do not have to have read Ferney first but I would highly recommend that you do so. This is a modern day love story bound up in the memory of past lives. It brilliantly brings together all the loose threads to a fulfilling conclusion that leaves a shiver down your back. To reunite the characters again, James Long has a school out, an archaeological dig, a busy mother and a mystified teacher all there to join up Ferney and Gally. Long said that "you either bore people with the complexity of the scenario who already know about it, or you baffle them.

Abandoned by his long-time girlfriend, travel writer Paul goes to Tuscany to research his next book. Arrangements are made but upon arrival no car is available. Enter one bulldozer, a wacky scenario which results in some charming pieces. Paul enters village life and that atmosphere is vividly and warmly described. Then long-time girlfriend turns up and life gets complicated.

Only McCall Smith has the literary dexterity to pull this off. May Debut of the Month. Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction A bittersweet, page-turning love story which jumps back and forth in time. It tells of a Japanese couple, Ameterasu and Kenzo, now living in America and the loss of their daughter and grandson after the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The identity of these men is at the centre of this tale.

So the past is revealed to us in dramatic bursts and Ameterau tells us of the emotional conflict between her and her daughter: so sad. At the beginning of each chapter there is a Japanese word and an explanation of its meaning and usage, not always relevant but always interesting, hence the title. A captivating and deeply dark family drama and mystery, set in the midst of a London communal garden square. The story then spins backwards in time, to Clare and her two daughters, Pip and Grace, as they get to know their new neighbours.

Focusing on several families, the story weaves among the children and adults as it begins to traverse a slippery and sinister slope. Lisa Jewell explores friendship, trust and suspicion. She writes with a familiar light touch, yet a threatening presence hovers over the pages and the innermost thoughts and feelings of the characters bubble with intensity. Beautiful adventurous Maisy and loyal, knowing ayah Pushpa tell their own tales, which are inextricably linked to each other.

Louise Brown writes with the lightest of touches, yet is able to convey earthy, vibrant tones with an expressive eloquence. There are occasional moments of heart wrenching savagery, described by a character in such an unaffected, matter of fact way, that the thrust travels all the more intensely. My imagination soaked up this moving tale, the emotion it generated constantly surprising as I found myself transported to an exotically precarious world. Her mother is a prostitute and alcoholic, and when Maisy is seduced at sixteen by her Indian tutor, her life changes forever, for better and for worse.

What sets it apart from me is the incredibly vivid sense of location, from the backstreets of the shared housing in Calcutta to the colonial bungalows beautifully wrapped by their flower-filled gardens — both dwellings are places that provide comfort and yet entrapment, too. The author also delves into some very serious issues simmering beneath the love story that arcs over the novel. It portrays an alternative story to the usual stories of dusty haired, bored British Colonial wives. It's colourful, rich in detail, probing in subject matter and beautifully researched.

A wonderfully unconventional and thought-provoking read, where a mystery waiting to be solved shelters behind a penetrating and wryly emotional family tale. The first paragraph, short as it is, marks itself indelibly in your minds eye, it also encapsulates the detached and challenging personality of Morwenna, the narrator. As the story ponders the weight of family expectations it also peeks at the tricky complexity that is imagination versus recollection and how often the two blend into a murky uncertainty. Julia Rochester has a fascinating way with words, words to make you stop, think and consider, she captures your thought processes and then hurls them in an unexpected direction.

This is an intelligent, discerning and surprising debut novel and deserves to be highly recommended. She brings the landscape to life just as she does her characters. We all felt we were with them at key points in the book. Winner of the Costa First Novel Award Perhaps it's the sheets of rain which fall continuously on The Loney, that " wild and useless length of English coastline", a "strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest", but I've not read so chilling a horror novel for years.

The setting for an Easter-time Catholic pilgrimage for Andrew Michael Hurley's teenage narrator, his mentally handicapped brother and a motley collection of parishioners, the dread builds slowly but inexorably, as strange movements from creepy locals start to intrude on the religious retreat, and it becomes clear that while some might be looking "for God in the emerging springtime", others are on the trail of something entirely different.

A truly eerie, captivating read, as mysterious and disturbing as its foggy, wet, bleak location. Masterfully pulled off. It's great April Debut of the Month. April Book of the Month. Totally and utterly and completely gorgeous in every way, the thought of having to put this book down for even a second is inconceivable.

The first few pages make you smile, make you laugh and charm you, there is a hint though, of the difficulties that seven nearly eight year old Elsa is experiencing. There is a beautiful simplicity to the writing, yet this is not a simple book by any means, there is a complexity to the emotions it evokes and explores. Set aside some quality time, so you can laugh and cry undisturbed, as the author is able to enchant, to capture your imagination and hold it spellbound from the first to the last page; this is a must have, must read, must treasure book.

Fox recollects meeting the love of his life just after the Second World War, while in the present, grieving the death of his wife, his grandson helps him reconnect with music and the world around him. There is a beguiling sense of honesty to the story, it feels as though Fox is seeking peace and reconciliation not only with others, but also with himself.

Natasha Solomons has a wonderful ability to connect to thoughts and feelings and bring them to life, make them feel totally and completely real. There aren't any cunning tricks, hidden mysteries or unpredictable events lurking to hijack you, just a beautifully written, special and moving story waiting to be heard. April Reading Group Book of the Month. A compelling, almost bittersweet read, where a shocking discovery leads to an emotional journey. Amanda Jennings encourages Bella to step out of herself, on occasion the words create an almost dreamlike quality, while on others short sharp sentences jolted me back into reality.

As shafts of understanding light the pages, shocking moments still lie in wait, ready to trip up your thoughts and feelings. In Her Wake is a chilling, exquisitely written and evocative thriller that hinges on the abduction of a child, and the effect this crime has on everyone connected with it. In Her Wake has bestseller written all over it, and in terms of psychological thrillers, I cannot think of even one that matches it.

When a host of highly regarded, well-known authors submitted their endorsements, one after one, in a virtual flood, my heart nearly burst with pride for Amanda. This is a book you will never, ever forget. Winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding in this hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller. Discovering the extraordinary Lie Tree which thrives off hearing lies and, in turn, reveals secrets long kept hidden Faith begins to uncover a web of secrets and mysteries that will change her view of the world forever.

Faith is a feisty heroine whose courage combined with a determination that girls can be brave and resolute leads to the exposure of much dishonesty and many deceptions. We loved the first in this post WW2 series, Brighton Belle, and the second adventure is even better with a satisfyingly complex plot bubbling over with period detail. Nostalgic, atmospheric, well written, crime fiction with a fantastic central character - ex Secret Service office girl Mirabelle Bevan. Sara just pulled me into the world of wintry post-war London, seedy jazz clubs and a missing heiress.

During editing Sara and I had many conversations about everything from car models and radio shows to rail travel, pies and shoes. No detail is too small for Sara, she really is obsessed with getting things absolutely right for the period of London Calling. As a result her writing evokes the early s impeccably, creating wonderful atmosphere and the perfect background to Mirabelle Bevan, a deeply engaging woman with a past. A delightfully unique and quirky novel that is able to provoke a sledgehammer of emotions into action. Three friends are due to take part in the annual Brilliant and Forever literary competition, and this is a competition with a difference.

While the focus remains on the three friends, the competition entries are included, consequently we read stories within the story, which encourages thought processes to fly in new directions. The writing is different, at times quite beautiful, while at others I sat and scratched my head as I puzzled and allowed thoughts to float just out of reach. Kevin MacNeil has created a striking, often amusing, sometimes menacing, and provocative tale. As soon as I had finished, I re-opened the book at random, sat back down and started to read again.

Talking alpacas! A wonderful and fascinating insight into hidden happenings at Wuthering Heights, from the perspective of Nelly Dean. Alison Case has gently and sensitively linked these two novels with a velvet ribbon of empathy and consideration.

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This story creeps into the background detail; the daily working of life in service and the moors and surroundings are all bought vibrantly to life. Hidden depths are revealed, heartrending secrets are spoken and a new panorama of understanding is offered for discovery. March Reading Group Book of the Month. Kate Riordan has written another heartfelt beautifully readable novel about two families, set in the dual time frames of and As a tragedy unfolds in front of our eyes in the prologue, captivating whispers of intrigue continue to echo through the tale.

The story revolves around Fenix House, a family home where Grace arrives as Governess in , her Grandmother Harriet held the same position in but in very different circumstances. The undertones of unease reflect through each story as connecting circles ripple and expand, linking the two until they become one. There is a gentle luminosity to the writing, it embraces you as you read, both poignant and moving, 'The Shadow Hour' is quite simply gorgeous. It also comes complete with an extract for The Shadow Hour. Shorlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize Set between and , Gavin McCrea has planted this story in fact, and then weaved a magical yet earthy tale.

Lizzie Burns was a woman of practical strength and determination, she takes the reader into her confidence and tells her own story, and what an amazing tale it is! The language surprises on occasion, and may cause a raised eyebrow, it is so full of attitude and down to earth. Lizzie Burns was a woman who would have been extraordinary today, the voice McCrea has created is startling, and this is a simply wonderful and entirely captivating debut.

The writing always surprises, his characters are compelling without having to be likeable and, as all of we judges noted, Mrs Engels is perhaps the most feminist novel we read for the Prize. February Book of the Month. Coming after Snowdrops, A. Miller's Booker-shortlisted Moscow spy thriller, The Faithful Couple is a very different sort of creature altogether, a novel about male bonding, class and the vagaries of life, growing up and passing years that resonates deeply with both sometimes the voice and structural touch of David Nicholl's measured novels of ordinary people.

Two young Englishsmen meet in California on an American gap year and forge a fascinating friendship in which envy and admiration make for awkward companions.

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An encounter they make whilst on a trip to Yosemite in which neither comes off with much honour will mark the rest of their lives and the ties binding them. The progress of their careers and love lives is examined at regular intervals with irony and acuity and their paths take surprising turns. A slow-building novel of British manners that grows on you page by page.

With strong psychological and sexual components, the terse prose style draws you into a very recognisable world yet seen through an intensely strange filter. A literary human drama of the highest calibre. One of our YA Books of the Year February NewGen Book of the Month. A deeply powerful novel for emotionally mature readers about surviving rape, speaking out and the ways in which women are forced to burden the blame for misogynist brutalities.

Rather, to Romy, make-up is armour, and worn for good reason. Romy goes missing on the night of the notorious annual lake party and wakes up on the roadside. When it emerges that another girl, Penny, went missing that same night, people turn on Romy again. For a time Romy bears the abuse, but knows she has to break her silence about what really happened that night. Mysterious, exciting, immensely rewarding, it is one of those memorable books that has to be among your of all-time favourites. I fell in love with this book when it was first published in It did moderately well but not as well as it should.

I think one of the problems was that up until then James Long had written adventure spy stories, he was formerly BBC correspondent and certainly knew his stuff — but then he produced this enthralling, tangled love story. It is such a wonderful, uplifting and unusual story of a couple settling in Somerset. As they renovate their house they discover its history, meet a previous inhabitant and unlock its secrets. Beautifully thought-provoking and yet simply and effortlessly readable, this is an intimate compassionate dance with life, death and hope.

Read the first letter, followed by the prologue and you think you know exactly what this is going to be, a book that makes you cry, however there is so, so much more to be experienced than heartache. The author allows us to see moments in time for four different people, it feels as though she has a deeply affectionate link to all four, all the more so when we see their inner confusion, agitation and pain.

The fleeting links become important and create stories within stories. The individual letters, so expressive and eloquent, sad, sometimes funny, create a pause, yet at the same time unify the feel and the emotion of this story. A teenager in the eighties and nineties, before any one had heard of emails or texts, I always wrote to old school friends to keep in touch, and they always wrote back. Letters would be long-winded, funny, fully illustrated, addressed to made-up names.

Then gradually over the years that followed it stopped being necessary to put pen to paper, in almost any form. Now we can say - to a loved one, and old friend, even a celebrity - what ever we want to say, instantly and often, publicly. I had started with a plan to write a letter, and post it every week, and it had been going really well. And then in the summer my youngest son was injured, in a deeply traumatic way, that although was not life threatening, shook my family very deeply.

My letter writing stalled, and never really found its feet again, but over those difficult, deeply upsetting weeks of summer, I got three letters from dear friends. Friends who knew what our family was dealing with, who knew how hard it had hit me, who knew that I was finding it difficult to find my feet again. Those three letters, each one unique, were little pieces of the people who wrote them, coming through my letterbox to offer me a hand of friendship.

It captures a moment in time, a feeling, a thought and a sentiment and it preserves it, for as long as the letter is preserved. It becomes a lasting token of what would otherwise be fleeting. So I keep those three letters in a special place, with my special things, because it meant so much to me that my friends took the time to think of me, and write those thoughts down. A 'Piece of Passion from the Publisher This is a sensitive, often funny and thoroughly engaging story of teenagers coming to terms with who they are.

David has known since the age of eight that he wants to be a girl. New boy Leo seems to have problems too and when the two become friends they discover they have more in common than they ever thought. This ultra-readable, highly entertaining story could also provide readers with some much needed reassurance that normal is as normal does. Alice Liddell, the young inspiration for Lewis Caroll, is the great-grandmother of the author of this novel.

Seventeen-year old Peggy has recently returned home, initially we know not from where. Her father is dead, her mother has destroyed all evidence of him from their home. Peggy has a nine-year old brother who she has only just met. Slowly we are drip-fed an extraordinary tale of madness and survival. Young eight-year old Peggy spent an idyllic summer living rough with her father, learning survival skills. He then takes her on a trek across Europe to a deserted wooden hut where they turn native for he believes the world has ended and he and Peggy the only people left alive.

How he dies and she eventually gets home is the heart of this terrific tale. It is an unusual, atmospheric, alarming, horrifying tale of madness and survival. This is a completely charming and very different slice of World War Two fiction. The prologue sets the story beautifully, releasing snippets of information yet encouraging you to feel, to appreciate the heart and soul of Noel. Lissa Evans balances a gentle charm with barbed spikes of wit and reality.

The other characters are as vibrant and fully formed, even those with walk on parts light up the pages. Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize. Winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction A quite simply sensational debut, one that reaches into the beastly heart of prostitution, drugs, and violence, and makes it relatable and so very very human.

Set in Ireland, an accidental murder twists the lives of five Cork residents into warped disarray. The five stories nudge, then collide together as they become one. I found I had to re-read the first paragraph, it felt deliberate, a statement of intent, once I was used to the style, I quite simply devoured this stunning novel. Lisa McInerney writes with eloquent beauty, words either gang up together to punch and kick your thoughts, or they linger, waiting to kiss your soul. That cloud, for some small British publishers, is Brexit. When it published her debut novel, Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs , it was her only foreign publisher.

Now Lina Wolff has Smart, surprising and funny, and always circling around MeToo concerns, the book features Ellinor, a working-class, small-town Swedish woman who asks her date to teach her to fight, a metropolitan literary critic who hides his complete collection of Michel Houellebecq novels behind more politically correct novels, an impoverished Italian aristocrat, and a manuscript, also called The Polyglot Lovers , that leaves no one unaffected.

And Other Stories says that Berg , set in a seedy s Brighton, is madcap and macabre. The title character, who is calling himself Greb, has tracked down his long-lost father, who is now a washed-up music-hall performer. Greb wants to kill him but is comically unable to. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom of the 21st century. Leonard and Hungry Paul is about uncelebrated people who have the ability to change the world not by effort or force but through their appreciation of all that is special and overlooked.

Caravan of the Lost and Left Behind By Deirdre Shanahan ; May At a time of dislocation, becoming unanchored and Brexit upheaval — leaving the European family after nearly 50 years — this novel, by a writer who was born in England but grew up in Ireland, is apposite. Many of the protagonists are children; loved, abused, in danger, they represent threatened hope for a better future. Popular opinion has often erroneously conflated county Protestantism with county unionism, but the two are not synonymous.

This book of essays aims to show that, as well as how Irish Protestants searched for and found a place in the new Ireland — a place quite different from the pastiche of them as a West Briton hunting elite. Then Again By Pat Boran ; March Treasures in galleries, artefacts on museum shelves, found objects of all shapes and sizes, the presence and shadow of the past Instead in Then Again he looks determinedly outwards, giving himself to chance and surprise, visiting parts of Ireland, Italy, France, Spain, Cyprus and elsewhere, travelling light and without expectation, and on the way discovering some of the unexpected connections between the past and present, between our personal histories and our shared fate.

She transformed war art by depicting conflict trauma, decades before its designation as a medical condition. She married a Tipperary man, William Butler, and in settled in Ireland, where she witnessed the turbulence of the War of Independence and the Civil War. The book is large-format, with some big reproductions of her paintings. The Making of Inequality in the Irish Free State, Women, Power and Gender Ideology By Maryann Gialanella Valiulis; August How did Ireland travel from the glorious Proclamation of , with its promise of equality and universal citizenship, to the conservative constitution of , which allowed for only a domestic identity for women?

The narrative plunges the reader inside the head of a stay-at-home mother struggling to pay her medical bills, communicate with her teenage daughter, put food on the table, keep her home safe. Eloise Millar describes Patience as almost two novels in one: the first a bitter-sweet meditation on the frailties and pleasures of language and communication; the second a glorious celebration of childhood, friendship and the sheer pleasure of running riot. Although knowledge of history can help explain our contemporary situation, an awareness of some of the myths and misuses of our history can further help create a framework for understanding our current political and social challenges.

His investigations aim to reveal the breakdown of land ownership across 32 counties, to show the truth about the people and institutions that own the ground beneath our feet. Set on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, the book is full of local colour and atmosphere. Lilliput bills Duncan as an exciting new voice in Irish fiction.

She still bears the scars of this trauma, both literally and figuratively. Cregan links her own experiences with a medical and cultural history of mental illness. The Scar illuminates this often stigmatised affliction with grace and compassion, according to Lilliput, and offers hope to those still struggling. All Better! By Inese Zandere, illustrated by Reinis Petersons, retold by Catherine Ann Cullen ; February 7th Almost every child hates going to the doctor: it means taking medicine, having their temperature taken, maybe even having to go for surgery.

This illustrated collection of rhymes should help make being sick a little less scary, with poems about things like broken bones, chickenpox and having an injection, and with characters to make young readers laugh and smile. It sounds like an ideal get-well-soon gift for readers aged four and over. She lives with her mum and has been best friends with Andrew since forever.