A Good Read

Oh William by Elizabeth Strout
Lucy Barton is a writer and widowed. “William”, she confesses, “has always been a mystery to me”. Another mystery is why they have remained good friends after all these years, despite their divorce and subsequent remarryings. They know they can rely on each other. So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret. At the age of seventy-one William has discovered that he has a half-sister. Continue reading

After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell
Alice Raikes takes a train from London to Scotland to visit her family, but when she gets there she witnesses something so shocking that she insists on returning to London immediately. A few hours later Alice is lying in a coma after an accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt. Continue reading

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. They soon establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of alcohol, and hosts raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Continue reading
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet was reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, the work was both tedious and terrifying. But after the war ended Juliet presumed the events of those years would be relegated to the past forever. Continue reading
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
For her 25th birthday Libby Jones inherits an eight bedroom mansion in London’s SW3 - the heart of Chelsea. Most people would be over the moon to own a house in that area of multi million pound homes, but the house is dilapidated, and has a very sinister past. Continue reading.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Kya Clark was barefoot and wild, for years she had been known as the Marsh Girl. As a very young girl Kya watched her Mother walk away without looking back. Soon, all her siblings followed suit, leaving Kya alone with her drunk, abusive and often absent father, who also eventually left. She had to care for their home, learn to shop, to provide food, cook and clean, all while dealing with loneliness, abandonment, loss and prejudice, and always wondering when and if her Mother would ever return. Continue reading

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
This is a very harrowing read, at times I didn’t think I could continue with it. It’s powerful and painful. Lydia lives in Acapulco. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist, and while cracks are beginning to show in Acapulco because of the cartels, Lydia’s life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. But after her husband’s tell-all profile of the newest drug lord is published, her life will never be the same. Continue reading

The Miniaturist by Jess Burton
On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen year old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of the illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, 21 years her senior. Her new home, while splendid, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse, leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. As a wedding gift to his bride Johannes acquires a cabinet, a kind of dollshouse that mirrors the Brandt home. Nella engages the services of a miniaturist, a craftsperson, to help fill the house. What she receives is far more than she expected. Continue reading
Dewey by Vicki Myron
How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you read the endearing story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa, USA. Continue reading

The Violin Makers Daughter by Sharon Mass When the Nazis march onto the cobbled streets of Colmar on November 1st 1940, Josef, a Jewish violin maker, gathers his wife and daughters closely to him and tells them everything will be alright. His plan is to evade attention by keeping their heads down and saying little. But during such terrible times it was impossible to keep a secret. Continue reading
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow  tells the fantastical story of January Scaller, a young woman growing up at the turn of the 20th century who is sucked into an adventure that takes her between worlds. January’s father is an employee of the fabulously wealthy Mr. Locke. While he is away, January staves off the boredom by losing herself in pulp adventure novels.
One day, she discovers a mysterious book called The Ten Thousand Doors, and inside its pages she mets the vivacious Miss Adelaide Lee Larson. Continue reading
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
A Dr Ruth Calloway Mystery.
DCI Nelson has received some anonymous letters that have left him feeling uneasy, not least because they bear a strong resemblance to some received years earlier, but the author of those earlier ones is dead isn’t he? Continue reading

Worst Idea Ever by Jane Fallon
Georgia and Lydia are more than best friends, they are surrogate sisters. Their friendship began when they were art students, both studying illustration. Georgia is now a successful published children’s author. Lydia works for a small publisher producing educational books, not doing the illustrations but overseeing those who do. She hates her job, she knows she’s more than just someone who showcases other people’s talents. Continue reading
The Lies We Tell by Jane Corry
Sarah always thought of herself and her husband, Tom, as good people. But that was before their son Freddy came home saying he'd done something terrible. Begging them not to tell the police. Sarah and Tom are thrust into a moral dilemma, how far are they willing to go to protect their only child? Continue reading

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
 Set in 1957, the south-east suburbs of London, Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local newspaper. Disappointed in love and on the brink of forty she is living with her truculent, overbearing mother, a drab existence from which there is no likelihood of escape. When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, Jean is assigned to write a feature about Gretchen, to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. Continue reading
Bone China by Laura Purcell
is an atmospheric gothic tale full of strange characters and whispers of folk lore. Set in the 18th century consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft's family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment. With Louise’s help, he takes a group of local prisoners who are suffering from the illness and lodges them in a cave beneath the cliffs, where he claims the salty sea air will be good for their health. Continue reading

Up: My Life Journey to the Top of Everest by Ben Fogle & Marina Fogle
In April 2018, seasoned adventurer Ben Fogle and Olympic cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, along with mountaineer Kenton Cool, took on their most exhausting challenge yet – climbing Everest for the British Red Cross to highlight the environmental challenges mountains face. It would be harrowing and exhilarating in equal measure as they walked the fine line between life and death 8,000 metres above sea level. Continue reading

The Heights by Louise Candlish
The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among warehouses in London. Its roof terrace is so discreet, you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing there. You're glancing around looking at the window of the flat directly opposite and that’s when you see a man - a man you’d recognize anywhere. He may be older now, but it’s definitely him. But that can’t be because he’s been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact - because you’re the one who killed him. Continue reading.

Pine by Francine Toon
The story focuses on ten-year-old Lauren who lives with her father in a small village set in the Highlands of Scotland surrounded by pine forests. Lauren and her father Niall are struggling through life after the strange disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago. Continue reading
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Set over the course of five decades the novel tells the story of siblings Maeve and her younger brother Danny, whose world is torn apart when their mother leaves them, and they are cast out of their childhood home, a suburban Philadelphia mansion. Continue reading

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s grim spare bedroom because she won’t let him use her sitting room. After being suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies, he is angry and turns to the world wide web for professional advice. There he finds the charismatic, odious, and sinister Bryn, and the dark world of incel—involuntary, celibate—forums. He is on a downward spiral with no chance of working out how to stop it. Continue reading.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
627 miles in 87 days is how far Harold Fry walked after receiving a letter one morning in mid-April. The letter is from Queenie Hennessey. Twenty years have passed since they worked together at the brewery, and now Queenie was writing to say goodbye as she was dying from cancer. Harold writes a short reply and sets off to post it. However at the post box he has a kind of epiphany, he decides to deliver the letter in person. Continue reading
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
The setting is Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival, the street is crowded with people lining up to get into a venue. A man steps out into the road without looking, a Peugeot breaks suddenly to avoid hitting him and a Honda behind crashes into the Peugeot. The angry Honda driver gets out of his car and attacks the driver of the Peugeot. A bystander in the crowd throws his briefcase at the Honda guy, clipping him on the shoulder, and stopping the beating long enough for the police to arrive. Continue reading

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
The story starts on a summer’s day in 1596. A young girl takes to her bed with a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother Agnes, is over a mile away tending her garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of their children will not survive the week. Continue reading
The Foundling by Stacey Halls
Our very young protagonist Bess Bright is forced to part with her daughter the day after she was born. Bess knows it will take several years before she has enough money to retrieve Clara and give her a home. Six years later Bess returns to reclaim her daughter, only to be told that Clara was reclaimed by her the day after she put her into care. Bess is in turmoil as she sets about trying to find out who has taken her little girl - and why. Continue reading
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Set in Cambridge, Case Histories is the first novel of the Jackson Brodie series. It follows private investigator Brodie, investigating three cold cases. Case 1: A little girl, Olivia goes missing from the family's garden. Case 2: is about the unsolved murder of an 18-year-old young woman named Laura when a stranger walked into her office and killed her. The third case concerns a young family in which the wife was convicted of her husband’s brutal murder. Continue reading
Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain
tells the story of the death of Frazer Lattimer, narrated in part by his six children. The family is dysfunctional, made that way by the narcissistic and manipulative Frazer. One by one he systematically criticised, undermined and ridiculed his children, nothing was good enough for him. He was largely responsible for the death of their kind, gentle mother Kathleen. In June 2008 twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanished, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance broke his already fragile family. Continue reading

Gallowstree Lane by Kate London
The novel opens with a fatally injured teenager, his life cut short in a single moment of rage in a tit for tat stabbing in Gallowstree Lane. Detective Inspector Kieran Shaw is head of Operation Perseus - a covert police investigation into a powerful criminal network. For two years he's been painstakingly building evidence against the Eardsley Bluds, and now Shaw is about to make the arrests of his career. But then the brutal murder of a teenager threatens not only his case, but everyone with a connection to the boy who was killed on Gallowstree Lane. Continue reading
Everybody Died So I Got A Dog by Emily Dean Emily Dean is a writer and radio presenter. She is Frank Skinner's co-host on the Frank Skinner Show. Her story is heartbreaking. From 2012-2015 she lost her sister Rachel followed by her mother and then her father. Continue reading

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
If I ever have to live in a retirement community, please let it be like Cooper's Chase, where Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim have a lot of fun. They formed The Thursday Murder Club with the intention of trying to solve "cold cases" from former member Penny's police files. They invited PC Donna De Freitas over to talk about home security, but really they wanted to ask about murder and stab wounds. Continue reading

Let This be our Secret by Deric Henderson
The shocking true story of a killer dentist, his mistress, how they murdered their spouses, and how they almost got away with it. The date was May 1991. The location: a quiet, picturesque seaside town. The scene: two bodies in a car filled with carbon monoxide. It was thought that police officer Trevor Buchanan and nurse Lesley Howell had taken their own lives, unable to live with the pain of their spouses’ affair with each other. Continue reading

Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
This is the last of the Jackson Brodie series, it’is not essential to read them in order but after this I did then want to do just that. This one has a sinister opening – eastern European sisters Nadja and Katja are skyping with the representative of an employment agency called Anderson Price Associates, who is arranging to fly them to the UK to take up jobs in high-end hospitality. Nooo, the reader cries, don’t do it. Sure enough, with the Skype connection severed, we learn that the swanky offices they can see behind “Mr Price” are a stage set. Continue reading
I Made A Mistake by Jane Corry 
In Poppy’s mind, there are two types of women in this world: those who are faithful to their husbands, and those who are not. Until now, Poppy has never questioned which one she was. But when handsome, charming Matthew Gordon walks back into her life after almost two decades, that changes. Continue reading

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman
"Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave"? Asks Erin in the first line of this suspenseful psychological thriller. The story begins as Erin digs a grave in a forest in Norfolk. She contemplates the difficulty of digging six feet deep, and reveals that the body is her husband’s. She wants to do a good job so she will not get caught, but also struggles with her moral compass. She does not believe she is a bad person, and then addresses the reader, telling us to decide as she tells us her story from the beginning, going back three months to when it all began. Continue reading

The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst
The date is December 15th, 1664. A dark night is lit up by a comet, something that wasn’t particularly seen as a good omen in those days. While this comet travels along, Ursula Flight is born. The story follows the progress and pitfalls of the delightful Ursula growing up in 17th century England. The narration flows through Ursula’s thoughts, diary entries, lists and letters, while crucial moments of her life are presented as scenes from plays. Ursula dreams of being a playwright, she writes and stars in plays to entertain her friends. Continue reading

Some Day I’ll Find You by Richard Madeley
When Diana Arnold’s brother introduces her to James Blackwell she is smitten, he is sexy, handsome and a fighter pilot - every girl's dream man. Before long they are in love and decide to marry, just as war is declared. After tying the knot James is called into action on a mission in northern France, flying back he is shot down and killed. Diana is left not only a widow but pregnant with their child. Ten years later, contentedly remarried, Diana is sitting in a sunny village square in the south of France when she hears a familiar voice. Continue reading
The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein 
Named after Enzo Anselmo Giuseppe Maria Ferrari, the founder of the legendary racing team, Enzo, a terrier/lab cross knows he is different from other dogs - he is wise and loyal, a philosopher with a nearly human soul. Believing he will be a human in his next life Enzo has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny, an up-and-coming race car driver. Enzo loves Denny. Denny, a down on his luck dad is a kind owner who loves Enzo, and uses racing philosophies in his life. Continue reading.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Set in a remote part of Australia, Tranquillem House is a health and wellness resort that many clients claim transformed their lives for the better. Nine strangers gather hoping that it can do the same for them. Some want to lose weight, some want to detox from the alcohol they've become a bit too fond of, some are here to get a reboot on life, and some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves. Amidst the luxury and pampering, the mindfulness and meditation, they know their ten day stay will involve some challenging work. But none of them could envisage just how challenging. Continue reading
Away With The Peguins by Hazel Prior
If, like me, you have a fondness for penguins, and what’s not to like about those perfect little gentlemen waddling around dressed in tuxedos, you will love this book. It’s a lovely, charming, gentle story. Veronica McCreedy is 85 and lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick. Although nowadays Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because her days are spent mostly at home alone. Continue reading
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton 
Well I don’t know what to say about this. It’s billed as Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day. It is a clever plot, well written, with excellent descriptions of the characters, but I spent a lot of time in a state of confusion! There are a lot of characters in lots of places, gathering lots of clues to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. Continue reading

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd
Imagine the horror if, through no fault of your own, you lost everything - home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, money, credit cards, mobile phone - all gone and you don't know how to get them back? This is what happened to Adam Kindred one May evening in Chelsea, doing a good turn. In London for a job interview, climatologist Adam Kindred chats briefly with a stranger in a restaurant. After leaving the restaurant Adam notices the man has left a folder and, finding a business card, he heads to the man’s apartment to return it. There he finds the door to the apartment open and inside is Dr. Philip Wang with a knife in his side. Continue reading

A gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles 
I have read a lot of excellent books, but now and again along comes a novel that is outstanding, this is one of those. The beautiful prose, the story, the wonderful characters, words can’t really do it justice. I immersed myself completely in the life of Count Rostov and his friends, I wanted to visit the Metropol hotel to meet them.
Set amongst the chaotic birth of a brutal communist Russia the novel opens on the 21st June 1922, with Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov being tried by a Bolshevik tribunal in front of the Emergency Committee of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs. Continue reading

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night Time by Mark Haddon
is a murder mystery with a difference. The detective and narrator is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings, he relates well to animals. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. Continue reading
How The Dead Speak by Val McDermid 
A former convent school and refuge for girls has been closed for decades. During the demolition the remains of 40 bodies of young girls are found. A cadaver dog is brought in and it discovers eight more graves of male remains in nearby gardens. Continue reading

Always The Children by Anne Watts A Nurse’s Story of Home and War.
Anne Watts grew up in a small village in north Wales in the 1940s. Her early life is very interesting. After training as a nurse and midwife she joined the Save the Children Fund, and in 1967 was posted to Vietnam where she was faced with a vision of hell that her training at Manchester's Royal Infirmary could not have prepared her for. Thrown in at the deep end, she witnessed the random cruelty of warfare. Continue reading
The Sicilian by Mario Puzo
This was a book club choice, not one I would have chosen myself, but I did enjoy it. With a bit of romance, lots of bloodshed, injustice and treachery, it gave a very real insight into why and how the Cosa Nostra came into being. The year is 1950. Michael Corleone is nearing the end of his exile in Sicily. The Godfather has commanded Michael to bring a young Sicilian bandit named Salvatore Giuliano back with him to America. Continue reading
The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Oh what a delight this was, and the film, which stays true to the book. Guernsey was the only part of British soil that was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The GL&PPS tells the story of that occupation via a series of letters exchanged between residents of the island and a writer wanting to learn of their experiences. The time is January 1946. The place is London emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Continue reading
Love And War In The Appenines by Eric Newby

In 1942 at the tender age of 22 Eric Newby was captured by the Germans during a failed raid on a Sicilian air base, and spent time in a POW camp. This memoir tells the story of his captivity, his escape and the subsequent period that he spent hiding in the inhospitable terrain around the village of Fontellanato. Continue reading

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle are beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, a pair of blonde identical twins, and an outlier, redheaded Gemma. They attract attention everywhere they go. Whenever they're together, laughter, drama, and mayhem ensue, they are like one entity, but apart each is very different, and very much her own woman, dealing with her own share of ups and downs.
The novel follows the Kettle sisters through their thirty-third-year, as they struggle to survive their divorced parents' dating each other, their technologically savvy grandmother, a cheating husband, and champagne hangovers. Continue reading
Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This was a book club choice and I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy it, I thought it was going to be very political, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Full of life and energy, Girl, Woman, Other has been described as a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood. Continue reading

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
"Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore”. 
At 701 pages this is a long read, but don't let that put you off reading this magnificent novel. It is a story of Ireland from the 1940's to present day through the eyes of one ordinary man, Cyril Avery, from conception to old age, beginning with the above paragraph narrated by Cyril before his birth. Continue reading

The Trophy Child by by Paula Daly
Karen Bloom is not an indulgent mother, she believes in raising her daughter, Brontë for success, she is proud of the fact that she pushes her to excel in all aspects of life. So what if Brontë’s demanding schedule rarely leaves time for family dinner and has even led to her developing numbness in her hands? Karen can’t help but compare her perfect 10-year-old daughter to her teenage stepdaughter, Verity, who was recently discovered in possession of drugs and must now attend counseling sessions. Or to her older son, Ewan, who spends most of his time smoking pot. Continue reading
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Ove is a grumpy old man. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - sweaty joggers, neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly and shop assistants who talk in code. The world that he knew is becoming more foreign to him every day, with its new gadgets and trends that he doesn’t understand. Ove has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. He doesn’t shy away from doing battle with bureaucrats. Continue reading
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A murder...A tragic accident...or just parents behaving badly? The story deals with ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and little lies that can become dangerous. Continue reading
The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup
Sapna Sinha works in an electronics store in downtown Delhi. She hates her job, but she is ambitious and determined to succeed, and her family depend on the money she brings in, without it they won’t be able to survive. As she leaves the shop on her lunch break one day, she is approached by a man who says he is the CEO of one of India's biggest companies. He tells her he is looking for an heir for his business empire, and that he has decided it should be her. But first she must pass seven tests. And then the biggest lottery win of all time will be hers. Continue reading

The Silence of the Sea by Yrsa Sigurdardsttir
An abandoned yacht, a missing family, a chilling crime. 'Mummy dead, daddy dead, Adda dead, Bygga dead.' The child sighed and clutched her grandmother's leg. 'All dead.'
Waiting on the dock at Reykjavik harbour is an elderly couple with a small child, they are waiting for the rest of their family - their son, daughter in law and twin granddaughters. Their son was working for an insurance company detailed to ensure the safe arrival of a yacht. He thought it would be a nice treat for his wife and twin children to join him. The luxury yacht, repossessed from its crooked wealthy owner arrives and crashes into the harbour. There is nobody on board, the vessel is empty. What has happened to the crew, and to the family who were on board when it left Lisbon? Continue reading

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
The date is December 30th, the place is an idyllic, isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands where a group of thirty something friends meet to celebrate the new year, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning, foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a while a decade of secret resentments becomes difficult to contain, the group’s nostalgia and tenuous bonhomie begins to crumble. Continue reading

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a psychological thriller about a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive. 
Alicia Berenson lives a seemingly perfect life. Married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word. Continue reading

The Dry by Jane Harper
The small Australian town of Kiewarra is thrown into shock by the brutal killing of the Hadler family, Luke, his wife Karen and their son Billy.  It appears that Luke shot his family and then himself, driven to despair by their poor financial state and unrelenting suffering caused by the worst drought of the century.
Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier when he and his father were run out of their home over rumours of Aaron's involvement in the death of local girl Ellie Deacon. Continue reading

Lazy Bones by Mark Billingham 
Someone is writing to convicted rapists in prison, befriending them and then brutally killing them when they are released. DI Thorne and his team have difficulty mustering up the motivation to investigate the murders of rapists, how can he catch a killer when he doesn't really care about the victims?
Continue reading
Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
Edith Hope writes romance novels. Suddenly her life begins to resemble her plots - she has been having an affair with a married man, and she left her fiancé at the altar. Friends pack Edith off to Switzerland, where they hope the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac out of season will restore her senses. Edith enjoys the solitude of the hotel, but instead of peace and rest, she finds herself drawn into the casualties and exiles of love’s assorted guests. She is also attracted to a worldly wise man who is determined to get her to indulge in some mischief and pleasure which she isn’t averse to, but she knows she must find direction in her life. Continue reading
The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
London 1988, Frank owns a small indie music shop in a neighborhood struggling to survive in rapidly changing times. The shop is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, pop, punk – as long as it’s vinyl Frank sells it. Some customers walk into the shop knowing exactly what they want, others arrive not knowing quite what they want, but know it when they hear it. Frank has a unique talent, day after day he finds his customers the music they need. Continue reading

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Maud is forgetful. Sometimes she doesn’t recognise her home, her daughter or her granddaughter. But there is one thing that Maud is sure of - she hasn’t seen her friend Elizabeth in a long time, and is convinced she is missing, and no matter how many people tell her to stop going on about it, leave it alone, she is determined to get to the bottom of it. She writes notes for herself but often forgets why she has written them, except when she reads Elizabeth’s name. Continue reading

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
Specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology, Kay’s diaries recorded the highs and lows of his life as an overworked and often overwhelmed young doctor in an overstretched NHS. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, the book provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn't – about life on and off the hospital ward. Continue reading
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom 
This book is testament to Mitch Albom's talents as a musician and a writer. It is an engaging magical story of legendary fictitious guitarist, Frankie Presto - the greatest guitar player who ever lived - and the 6 lives he changed.
'Music' is the narrator. The story starts at Frankie's funeral in his birthplace of Villareal, Spain, at an unspecified time but close to present day. One by one as real life famous people arrive Music tells the story of how they ‘knew’ Frankie. Continue reading

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy
Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them. Two generations later Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, adrift and desperate to find a connection with her past. Continue reading

Behind Closed Doors by B.A.Paris
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better but it’s difficult, because Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone or how she can never meet for coffee. Continue reading
Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen 
I love Carl Hiaasen's satiric, hugely witty, laugh out loud novels - which generally highlight some atrocity humans are inflicting on the state of Florida. In Skinny Dip Hiassen concentrates on Everglades pollution.
Chaz Perrone - who likes to be called 'Dr. Perrone' - has a Ph.D. in marine biology and a cushy job for the state of Florida monitoring pollution in the Everglades. In reality Chaz should be called 'Dr. Scumbag' because he's being paid off by Red Hammernut, a south Florida farmer whose fertilizer is contaminating the region. Chaz creates fake results for the Everglades water samples and collects his payoff. Continue reading

Things In Jars by Jess Kidd
Roll up, roll up, suspend belief, prepare to be entertained. Things In Jars reads like an old fashioned circus.
The story starts in London in 1863, Bridie Devine is a private detective. She wears a dagger strapped to her thigh, smokes a pipe, often enlivened with substances other than pure tobacco, and she solves murders by reading corpses and talking to a ghost. Continue reading
The Uncommon Reader by the wonderful treasure that is Alan Bennett
An absolutely charming, witty, (and a little cheeky) novella celebrating the pleasure of reading. Our protagonist is none other than HRH Queen Elizabeth.
One day whilst Her Majesty is walking with her corgis in the grounds of Buckingham Palace the dogs wander off. In pursuit of them she sees the Westminster travelling library parked just outside the Palace gates, and feels duty bound to borrow a book. Continue reading

Three things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon 
"There are three things you should know about Elsie,” said Florence.
“ The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better, and the third thing….. might take a little bit more explaining”. Continue reading
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 
In a split second Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Desperate to escape, she moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but her hopes of moving on and starting afresh are haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of that cruel November night. Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness, but her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating.
The Ice Child by Camilla Läckberg
January in the peaceful seaside resort of Fjällbacka. A semi-naked girl wanders through the woods in freezing cold weather. She stumbles into the road straight into the path of an oncoming car. The driver is unable to brake in time and the girl is killed. The post mortem reveals she has been subjected to unimaginably brutal horrific torture, and subsequent investigations reveal she went missing four months agoContinue reading
After Anna by Alex Lake
Five year old Anna disappears from outside her school, she has vanished, no one saw anything, the police are at a loss, her parents are beyond grief - their daughter is lost, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. One week after she was abducted, Anna returns home. She has no memory of where she has been,  and this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare. Continue reading
End of Watch by Stephen King
 the last of the Bill Hodges trilogy.
Bill Hodges is still running Finders Keepers agency with partner Holly Gibney. One day his old cop partner and friend Pete Huntley asks him to take a look at a crime scene knowing that Bill and Holly often have a ‘nose’ for something that isn’t immediately obvious. Hodges is intrigued by the letter Z written with a marker at the scene. Continue reading.

The Muse by Jessie Burton
 is two interlocking stories about two women: Odelle in 1960’s London and Olive in 1930’s Spain.
The novel starts on a hot July day in 1967. Since arriving in London from Trinidad five years earlier Odelle Bastien has struggled to find her place in the city. Now she is excited to be entering the renowned Skelton art gallery to start work as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic part owner Marjorie Quick. One day a young man walks into the gallery with a painting under his arm. Quick is sure she recognises it but says nothing. The owner of the gallery is excited by the painting, thinking it could be a lost masterpiece by Spanish painter Isaac Robles, who died under mysterious circumstances.  Continue reading

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
For animal lovers this is a real tearjerker. It’s a story about love, a deep and beautiful love for that special someone you trust and can’t live without. For Ted that special someone is Lily, an ageing dachshund. Ted is a lonely, middle-aged gay man who loves no one as much as he loves Lily. Lily ‘talks’, they have conversions. After ten wonderful years together Ted notices a lump on Lily’s head, which he calls the octopus (because it resembles said mollusc), an octopus that no dog or person should have. Continue reading

Daughters In Law by Joanne Trollope
Rachel and Anthony Brinkley live an idyllic life. Anthony is a well-known artist. Rachel has devoted herself to bringing up their three sons and maintaining a vibrant, creative home. Rachel loves being at the centre of her family. One by one the sons grow up, marry and have homes, and families of their own. The first two daughters-in-law can’t resist Rachel’s maternal control and Anthony’s gentle charm, and settle into their husbands’ family without rocking the boat. Everyone enjoys dinners and weekends at their country home, it's a place of happy conversations and generous hospitality, steered by Rachel. It all works very well until daughter-in-law number three joins the happy group. Continue reading

All The Light We Cannot See
 by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laurea, a blind girl, lives with her father who is a locksmith at the Paris Museum of Natural History. Marie-Laure is raised in the museum and at home. She has a semi-idyllic childhood until, aged 12 the Nazi's invade Paris and she and her father flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.
Unknown to Marie-Laure, her father is smuggling what is probably the world's most priceless jewel out of the city on behalf of the museum. It's price tag is beyond monetary value, many believe it has magical powers, in that whoever possesses the stone will not die, but people around that person will succumb to misfortune. A German soldier also knows about the jewel  and will stop at nothing to find it. Continue reading

The Power by Naomi Alderman
"This is going to be good" I thought, women suddenly had power, they could right all the wrongs in the world. All the bad people, the arms dealers, drug dealers, terrorists, human trafficking, child abductions, paedophiles, rapists, all those people could be eliminated. It started well. Set in the present time women around the world have been genetically altered by pollutants and have developed a skein, an immense physical power which enables them to generate electricity, shooting lightning from their palms causing agonising pain and death. Suddenly they are the more powerful sex. Continue reading
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This is an absolutely wonderful story.
Eleanor is a lonely but self contained 30-year-old. At the age of 10 she experienced a trauma that she never received any help with so she repressed her memories and her emotions. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. I found her deadpan quirkiness and unconscious wit endearing.
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Finders Keepers by Stephen King is the second in the Bill Hodges trilogy.
The story starts in 1978 when petty criminal Morris Bellamy robs and murders acclaimed iconic author John Rothstein. Bellamy is a huge fan of Rothstein and obsessed with his most famous creation, a rebel without a cause named Jimmy Gold, but Bellamy thinks that Rothstein ruined the character in the final book of a trilogy by having him become just another suburbanite working in advertising.
After killing Rothsteim, Bellamy empties the safe of cash, but the real treasure is a stash of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.
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Exposure by Helen Dunmore
London in 1960, the Cold War is in full flow. Admiralty employee Simon Callington is not overly ambitious. He is a middle ranking official who is more focused on his family - wife Lily and their three children - and their life in Muswell Hill. One day Simon is asked to carry out a favour for an old friend Giles, who secured the job for him. The favour is to pick up a highly sensitive file from Giles’ home. Things go wrong from the moment Simon enters his friend’s home, and having collected the file Simon immediately regrets having agreed to do it. But it’s too late to back out now, and when the disappearance of the file is discovered Simon is accused of passing information to the Soviets, and arrested. Continue reading

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry 
"You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair." He paused, considering what he had just said. "Yes" he repeated. "in the end, it's all a question of balance". This magnificent heart wrenching novel revolves around four main characters. Dina Dalal, a spirited widow who struggles to maintain her independence after her husband tragically died; tailors Ishwar and his nephew Om, who have fled the caste violence of their native village; and Maneck a young man who has enjoyed an idyllic life in a Himalayan hill station helping in his father’s store, but must now move to the city college to gain qualifications in order to earn him a life of repute. They all survive sharing Dina’s cramped one bedroom flat and a balcony. Continue reading

The Widow by Fiona Barton
When the police started asking questions Jean Taylor turned into a different woman, one who enabled her and her husband to carry on when more bad things began to happen. But that woman’s husband died last week, and Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. Continue reading
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
Roseanne McNulty is almost 100 years old. For most of her adult life she has been a patient in Roscommon Mental hospital in rural west Ireland. The hospital is going to be shut down and she is facing an unsure future. In the weeks leading up to the hospital’s closure she has frequent talks with her therapist/psychiatrist. His job is to determine what to do with the patients. He is a gentle, understanding man who is doing his best for his wards. Continue reading
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed White Teeth I had high hopes for this. The prologue hinted of a good story. The opening line reads “It was the first day of my humiliation. Put on a plane, sent back home to England". And towards the end of the prologue a sentence which read  "Now everyone knows who you really are” Ooh I thought, this is going to be good - wrong  Continue reading
My Husbands’s Wife by Jane Corry
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start and leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe, a convicted murderer to whom Lily is strangely drawn—and for whom she will soon be willing to risk almost anything. But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Continue reading

The Island by Victoria Hislop The story starts with Alexis taking a trip to Crete hoping to learn more about her mother Sofia’s history. Sofia has never been able to talk about her past, all Alexis knows is that her mother grew up in a small Cretan village, before moving to London. As the departure date approaches Sofia gives her daughter a letter to take to an old friend Fotina, and promises that through her she will learn more. Continue reading
The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
The story starts at Heathrow airport when Ted Severson heads for the bar after hearing his flight is delayed. There he meets the magnetic Lily and after a few too many martinis he confides his darkest thoughts. He tells Lily about his wife’s infidelity, how they were a mismatch from the start - he the rich businessman, she the artistic free spirit—a contrast that once inflamed their passion, but has now become a cliché. But most of all he confides how he wishes her dead. In a heartbeat Lily offers to help him carry out his wish. Contine reading

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959.
The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Continue reading
Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner
Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed in snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw is spending another sleepless night wondering if internet dating is ever going to work for her, and finding solace listening to the low murmuring of the police radio, when she hears a report of a missing woman.
Twenty four year old Cambridge student Edith Hind is missing. She is the daughter of Sir Ian Hind, a distinguished doctor to the royal family. Manon knows this case will be big. Continue reading
Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
Norwegian Inspector Harry Hole has recently gained some notoriety for solving a difficult case involving the death of a Norwegian citizen in Australia, so when his country’s ambassador is found dead in a Bangkok brothel Hole seems the ideal choice to investigate the murder. At the moment, however, Harry can most often be found battling his demons in an alcoholic fog. The expectation is that he will go to Thailand for a few days, drink himself into a stupor, and allow the locals to sweep the whole embarrassing incident under the rug. Continue reading
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 
This is a heart-rending story of a family whose choices lead to some terrible consequences, a family saga, a forbidden love story, and a political drama. The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, India, 7 year old fraternal twins Esthappen and Rahel fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family. Continue reading
Coffin Road by Peter May follows three perilous journeys.
A man is washed up on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris, barely alive and borderline hypothermic. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity is a map tracing a track called the Coffin Road. He doesn't know where it will lead him, but filled with trepidation he knows he must follow it.
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The Frozen Dead by Bernard Minier
Diane Berg, a young psychiatrist starts her first job at a secure asylum for the criminally insane. She is made to feel very unwelcome by the current director of the institute, Dr Xavier, and his grim assistant Lisa Ferney. Diane soon suspects there is something going on between them. Meanwhile, at a nearby hydroelectric power plant accessible only by cable car, maintenance workers make a gruesome discovery. A decapitated horse hangs suspended from the edge of the frozen cliff. Continue reading
The English Assassin by Daniel Silva is a taut, fast-paced thriller confidently rooted in fact - Switzerland's shameful WWII record of profiteering and collaboration with Nazi Germany. 
When art restorer and occasional Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is sent to Zurich to restore the painting of a reclusive millionaire banker, he arrives to find his would-be employer murdered and a secret collection of priceless, illicitly gained Impressionist masterpieces is missing. Continue reading
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
The year is 1922 and life in a South London suburb has become one of drudgery and tedium for Frances Wray. Single, in her late 20's, and living with her widowed mother, Frances’ life has become a monotonous routine of housework and Wednesday trips to the cinema.  She feels stifled by time and culture and although comfortable with her sexuality she has already paid a stiff price for a previous romance with a woman. She could, as her former lover did, move to London and live a far freer life, yet she chooses duty to her mother. Her older brothers were killed in the war and her father’s shady financial dealings left her and her mother in ruin. The Wrays are forced to take in lodgers. Continue reading

Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry
Bombay 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. Hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who struggles to do his best for his family and friends. His is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. Times are changing and gradually Gustad’s modest life starts unravelling. His young daughter falls ill and his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him by refusing a college scholarship he has won. Continue reading
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves 
Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to the Fair Isles, where strangers are viewed with suspicion and distrust, to introduce his fiancé, Fran, to his parents. 
Soon after their arrival a woman's body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory. Continue reading

The Outcast by Sadie Jones  The story starts in the summer of 1957 with Lewis Aldridge travelling back to his home in suburban Surrey. He is nineteen and has just been released from prison. No one was waiting for him. 
Over a decade earlier Lewis was awaiting his father Gilbert's homecoming from the war. Gilbert doesn't know what to do with this seven year old boy except shake his hand and wish him elsewhere. Gilbert reverted easily to suburban life - cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays followed by lunch. But his wife resists the stuffy, stifling routines, escaping instead with Lewis to the woods or the river for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Continue reading

The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers
Absence is at the heart of Agnes Morel’s life. Absence of a mother and father, absence of love, guidance and protection, and the most heartbreaking of all the absence of her illegitimate baby boy, taken from her soon after birth. Her story is beautifully written in fragments of the lives of the people she comes into contact with. Beautiful and elusive Agnes was a foundling, discovered by a farmer, she was wrapped in a white tablecloth and placed in a straw shopping basket.  Continue reading

The Tax Inspector by Peter Carey
Set in Franklin, New South Wales, Australia. Catchprice Motors is a dismal, run-down used car business run by Granny (Frieda) Catchprice with senility, cunning and a handbag full of gelignite. She runs her family the same way. Responsibility for the day to day running of the business lies with Frieda’s daughter Cathy, a sad aspiring Country and Western singer and her sleazy husband Howie, who sports ‘a secret rash which stops in a clean line at his collar and the cuffs of his shirt'.  
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Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek
What would happen if we could erase the worst experiences of our lives forever from our memory? Marc Lucas is slowly putting his life back together after the car crash that killed his pregnant wife when things start to go horribly wrong. His credit cards stop working. His key no longer fits his door. He discovers someone else working in his office and one day he comes home to find himself face to face with his dead wife, and she doesn't have a clue who he is. Continue reading

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King
Retired cop Bill Hodges is haunted by 'the Mercedes' massacre, a case he never solved. He spends his depressed and vacant retirement sitting in his lay z boy watching rubbish day time television and thinking about killing himself, until that is, he receives a letter from the Mercedes killer. Continue reading

Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson
Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life. Continue reading
The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
This beautifully written novel is set in Canada in 1867. Winter is tightening its grip on Dove River, a small isolated settlement in the Northern Territory. Laurent Jammett is found brutally murdered. He had been a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company. Mrs Ross stumbles upon the crime scene and sees tracks leading from the dead man’s cabin north toward the forest. Soon after the investigation is launched Mrs Ross makes another discovery – her 17 year old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect. She decides to go after him to clear his name.  Continue reading

In The Kitchen by Monica Ali
Gabriel Lightfoot is an enterprising man from a northern England mill town, making good in London as executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial Hotel. He is trying to run a tight kitchen but his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is constantly challenged by the demands of an exuberant multinational staff, an eagle-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning to open a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to payoff, until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. Continue reading

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
Sunny is the proud proprietor of a small coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth. She offers hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through the doors. Sunny and four very different women befriend each other and form a bond of friendship and secrets. Continue reading

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
Pilot Chip’s plane is struck by a flock of geese shortly after take-off. His attempt to land on the Hudson River goes terribly wrong and 39 people perish. Haunted by the accident, Chip and his wife, Emily, and their 10-year-old twin daughters move across country to Bethal in rural New Hampshire. Their hopes to recover from the trauma and rebuild their lives are hindered by a mysterious door (sealed with 39 bolts) in the basement of their dark creepy Victorian house, and some malevolent neighbours who have an unhealthy obsession with herbs and potions. 
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A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
New Year's Eve. Strangers Martin, Maureen, Jess and JJ plan to commit suicide by jumping off a high building called Toppers' House in London. Their plans for a solitary death are ruined when they accidentally meet each other on the roof. Continue reading

In the Woods by Tana French.  Twelve year old Adam and his friends Jamie and Peter were playing in woods near their homes when something terrible happened. Adam was found with his back to a tree clawing the bark, he had blood on his shoes and slash marks on his back. Jamie and Peter were never seen again and Adam’s amnesia holds to the present day. Twenty years on Adam has changed his name to Rob and is a detective in Dublin. The plot circles around the murder of a twelve year old girl, Katy Devlin, whose case Rob and his partner Cassie Maddox are assigned to investigate. The body was found in the same woods where Rob’s friends disappeared, at an archaeological dig site, and the coincidence is enough to make him nervous.
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Secrets And Lies
Christine Keeler's name is as synonymous with the sixties sexual revolution as is the pill. An English former model and showgirl, little did she know when she walked into a dance-club and met society osteopath Stephen Ward she was also walking into the history books. And what a history. She can never escape being Christine Keeler, she will be a headline forever. Continue reading

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Continue reading

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself. But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Continue reading

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood 
Artist Elaine Risley, in her late fifties is revisiting Toronto for the opening of a retrospective of her work. This rekindles vivid memories of her childhood and teenage years. Her strongest memories are of Cordelia, who was the leader of a trio of girls who were both very cruel and very kind to young Elaine, in ways that tint Elaine's perceptions of relationships and her world, not to mention her art. Continue Reading

Crimson China by Betsy Tobin
On a freezing night in February 2004 twenty-three illegal Chinese migrants perished whilst picking cockles in the deadly waters of Morecambe Bay. Only twenty-one bodies were recovered. At a memorial service for the victims, a member of the local community offered the hope that one or both of those not found had somehow managed to survive. This is fact. The rest of the story is based around what Tobin imagined might have happened to one of the survivors. Continue reading

The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest
Lisbeth Salander lies in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital with a bullet wound to her head. She is fighting for her life in more ways than one: just two rooms away, under guard, is Zalechenko. Also, if and when she recovers she will be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. Continue reading

The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire
In the second of the trilogy we find Lisbeth in the Caribbean having laundered a few million dollars into a disguised bank account. From her hotel room she observes her neighbour, Dr Forbes, an American tourist physically abusing his wife, on several occasions. Lisbeth utilises her connections among hackers to investigate Dr Forbes and learns that he has no assets, but his wife is the heiress to a fortune worth $40 million. Continue reading

The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
In the first book of the Millenium Trilogy Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. Soon afterwards he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, unaware that Vanger has checked into his personal and professional history. The investigation was carried out by Lisbeth Salander a taciturn young woman, anti-social, fiercely private and highly intelligent; she works as a surveillance agent. 
Blomkvist is promised considerable financial reward and solid evidence against Wennerström in exchange for writing the Vanger family history. Vanger believes that his great-niece, Harriet, was murdered by a member of his family 36 years earlier, and has spent the intervening years obsessively trying to solve the mystery. Continue reading

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.
The title is very apt. This is a story about horrible people doing horrible things. They are the kind of people we know exist but hope we never come into contact with. 
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas. As her family lay dying little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived and testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. 

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Untorn Tickets by Paul Burke Essentially a coming of age tale. Notting Hill 1978. Andy Zymancyk and Dave Kelly are the teenage offspring of staunchly Catholic Polish and Irish families. Both are pupils of St Bede's Roman Catholic Grammar School for Boys, an institution whose "manifesto of academic and sporting excellence, religious fervour and iron discipline" is described by headmaster, Father "Johnny Mac" McLafferty, as "work hard, play hard and pray hard".  
Part-time jobs in Westbourne Grove's Gaumont Cinema provide the boys with rather a different kind of education which changes their lives in more ways than they can imagine.  Continue reading

The Devil’s Acre by Matthew Plampin
1853, Colonel Samuel Colt expands his gun-making business into England. He acquires a riverside warehouse and sets about converting it into a pistol works capable of mass producing his patented revolvers on an unprecedented scale - aware that the prospect of war with Russia means huge profits. Continue reading

The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres
Set in an imaginary Latin American country the novel's political themes parody the worst excesses of the Pinochet government of Chile, the collapse of democratic social order in Uruguay in the 1970's and other dirty wars of the 1960's to 1980's in Southern and Central America.
In the village of Cochadebajo macho philosophers, defrocked priests and reformed (though still active) prostitutes live in cheerful anarchy. But this unruly utopia is about to be interrupted when the demon-harried Cardinal Guzman decides to inaugurate a new Inquisition, with Cochadebajo as its ultimate target. Continue reading

Restless by William Boyd  depicts the tale of a young woman who discovers that her mother was recruited as a spy during World War II. 
"I am Eva Delectorskaya” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Continue reading

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
“A spellbinding thriller” says the synopsis, mmm well I can’t be that generous. It features Sigmund Freud and the search for a diabolical killer in turn of the century New York. Continue reading

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas 

An epic story of wartime, family secrets and forbidden love, set against the stunning exotic backdrop of 1940's Kashmir. Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime. It is the eve of 1941 and World War II is engulfing the globe. Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Continue reading

Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai
Full of Chinese villains, English heroes and brave virtuous women, this is a sprawling family saga of three generations of women. Yip Mann, an elderly spice farmer, purchases fifteen-year-old Pai-Ling as his concubine in the hope of producing sons. Pai-Ling has lotus feet and is beautiful but to Yip Mann’s dismay she delivers a worthless daughter. Yip Mann snatches the new born baby and goes to bury her in the paddy fields where he has buried his previous daughters. Continue reading

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger 
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her American nieces, twins Julia and Valentina. The girls had never met their English aunt, they only knew that their mother was a twin, and Elspeth was her sister. Julia and Valentina are fairly normal teenagers with an abnormally intense attachment to one another, and very little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cosy home in the suburbs of Chicago.  Continue reading

The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Pearl has a secret which she keeps from her mother Winnie, and Winnie has her own long kept secrets about her past and the confusing circumstances of Pearl’s birth. Continue reading

Testimony by Anita Shreve
This was my book group's read, and a very thought provoking one it was too. 
It deals with a sex scandal at a New England boarding school. Three males aged between 17 and 19 and a 14 year old girl engage in an alcholoc-fuelled evening of bad choices, immaturity and hormones. Continue reading

Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moaggach
When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks and move from London to rural Wales he has no idea what he is letting himself in for. 
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Millroy The Magician by Paul Theroux
The story begins at the Barnstable County Fair. The narrator is Jilly Farina, a 14-year-old girl. Her mother is dead, her father is a drunk and she lives with her abusive grandmother. Jilly walks into a tent and her life is transformed. Continue Reading

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
What if there were second and third chances, in fact an infinite number of chances to live your life. Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?
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Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington (pseudonym of Nugi Garimara) 
The remarkable true story of three young girls who cross the harsh Australian desert on foot to return to their home. 
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Complicity by Iain Banks
Involvement, connection, liability. Are we guilty by association?
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Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.
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White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Focuses on the later lives of two wartime friends— Bangladeshi Samad Iqbal and Englishman Archie Jones, and their families.
Archie is contemplating suicide until he meets Clara, who is fleeing an oppressive Jehovah's Witness mother. Meanwhile Samad has arrived in England to meet with his old war-time friend and to complete his arranged marriage. Continue reading

A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka
Sisters Vera and Nadezhda must put aside a lifetime of feuding to save their émigré engineer father from voluptuous gold-digger Valentina. Nikolai is eighty four, she is thirty six and will stop at nothing in her pursuit of Western wealth, a British passport and an education for her son. 
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. 
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Holiday reading. I grabbed this off my book shelf a few days before leaving.
Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland 
tells the absurd and tender story of Susan Colgate, a former tv star and beauty pageant contender, and John Johnson, a hard-living movie producer, who find each other by losing themselves. Continue reading

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Born in a village in heartland India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape. Continue reading 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Fierce evangelical Baptist Nathan Price takes his wife, four daughters and his mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959
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