Normal People, by Sally Rooney

£8.99

The second novel from young Irish writer Sally Rooney and already with a Booker Longlist nomination to its credit. This is a thoughtful and intimate coming of age story of Connell and Marianne, the novel moves between menace and tenderness with a truly original voice. 

£8.99 paperback since May 2019.

Hardback edition no longer available. 

Please check for availability as this title is currently very popular. 

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Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

£8.99

***WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019****SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020*

From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl, Woman, Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They're each looking for something - a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope . .

.A choral love song to black womanhood in modern Great Britain' Elle 'Ambitious, flowing and all-encompassing, an offbeat narrative that'll leave your mind in an invigorated whirl... [It] unites poetry, social history, women's voices and beyond.' 

Recently featured in our BooksPaperScissors bookclub, see BLOG for review.

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Big Girl Small Town, by Michelle Gallen ( paperback from 18, Feb 2021)

£8.99

Already shortlisted for a Women Comedy writing award, this has been described as Derry Girls meets Milkman. The unique blend of comedy and tragedy, with Michelle Gallen's 'Majella', is outrageous and honest.

 

Pre-order for delivery asap after publication.

 

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Milkman, by Anna Burns (paperback)

£8.99

The Booker prize winning book of 2018, now available as paperback. 

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The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett ( Paperback from 29 April 2021)

£14.99

* Longlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 * 

'The Vanishing Half is an utterly mesmerising novel. It seduces with its literary flair, surprises with its breath-taking plot twists, delights with its psychological insights, and challenges us to consider the corrupting consequences of racism on different communities and individual lives. I absolutely loved this book' Bernardine Evaristo, winner of the Booker Prize 2019

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical.

But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past.

Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' story lines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

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Long Bright River by Liz Moore ( paperback 31 Dec 2020)

£8.99

SELECTED BY BARACK OBAMA AS ONE OF HIS BEST BOOKS OF 2020

Once inseparable, sisters Mickey and Kacey are on different paths, but they walk the same streets. Mickey on her police beat and Kacey in the shadows of the city's darkest corners where the drug addicts and sex workers preside.

When a string of murders coincides with Kacey's disappearance, Mickey is terrified her sister could be next. But in a community where death and murder is rife, will Mickey be able to save her sister before it's too late?

A remarkable, profoundly moving novel about the ties that bind and the irrevocable wounds of childhood. It's also a riveting mystery, perfectly paced.

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Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart (paperback from April , 2021)

£8.99

Winner of  the Booker Prize 2020. Paperback cover as hardback.

'Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.' - Observer

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life.

She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves.

It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother's sense of snobbish propriety.

The miners' children pick on him and adults condemn him as no' right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place. Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride.

A counterpart to the privileged Thatcher-era London of Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty, it also recalls the work of Edouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell. 'We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love.' - The judges of the Booker Prize

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American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins ( paperback Feb 2021)

£8.99

PAPERBACK out 18 FEB 

Vivid and utterly compelling, AMERICAN DIRT is the first novel to explore the humanity in the experience of attempting to illegally cross the US-Mexico border. Described as 'impossible to put down' (Saturday Review) and 'essential reading' (Tracy Chevalier), it is one of my books of 2020.

Yesterday, Lydia had a bookshop.

Yesterday, Lydia was married to a journalist. Yesterday, she was with everyone she loved most in the world. Today, her eight-year-old son Luca is all she has left.

For him, she will carry a machete strapped to her leg. For him, she will leap onto the roof of a high speed train. For him, she will find the strength to keep running.

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A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne ( paperback)

£8.99

John Boyne’s novel after the last bestselling The Hearts Invisible Furies. 

A dark and twisted psychological drama about a would be writer, Maurice Swift. 

'A deliciously dark tale of ambition, seduction and literary theft . . . an ingeniously conceived novel that confirms Boyne as one of the most assured writers of his generation.' Hannah Beckerman, Observer * You've heard the old proverb about ambition, that it's like setting a ladder to the sky. It can lead to a long and painful fall. If you look hard enough, you will find stories pretty much anywhere. They don't even have to be your own. Or so would-be-novelist Maurice Swift decides early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated author Erich Ackerman gives Maurice an opportunity. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell; whether or not he should is another matter. Once Maurice has made his name, he finds himself in need of a fresh idea. He doesn't care where he finds it, as long as it helps him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous, but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse. This is a novel about ambition.

 

In paperback from Febuary 2019, £8.99

 

 

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A Good Neighbourhood, Therese Anne Fowler ( pb March 2021)

£8.99



In Oak Knoll, a tight-knit North Carolina neighbourhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door - an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenage daughter.

With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard.

But as they fight, they fail to notice that there is a romance blossoming between their two teenagers. A romance that will challenge the carefully constructed concepts of class and race in this small community. A romance that might cause everything to shatter...

'Compelling, complicated, timely, and smart . . . hard to put down and hard to forget'

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Longhand, by Andy Hamilton ( hardback, September 2020)

£16.99

Malcolm George Galbraith is a large, somewhat clumsy, Scotsman. He's being forced to leave the woman he loves behind and needs to explain why. So he leaves her a handwritten note on the kitchen table (well, more a 300-page letter than a note).

In it, Malcolm decides to start from the beginning and tell the whole story of his long life, something he's never dared do before. Because Malcolm isn't what he seems: he's had other names and lived in other places. A lot of other places.

As it gathers pace, Malcolm's story combines tragedy, comedy, mystery, a touch of leprosy, several murders, a massacre, a ritual sacrifice, an insane tyrant, two great romances, a landslide, a fire, and a talking fish. And the book was genuinely written in handscript and printed! 
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Eight Detectives, Alex Pavesi ( hardback, Sept 2020)

£14.99

Discover this year's most original mystery that will have you guessing until the very last page... SUNDAY TIMES CRIME BOOK OF THE MONTH'

Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked the rules of crime fiction all out.

But that was thirty years ago. Now he's living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island - until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories.

An author, hiding from his past, and an editor, probing inside it. But as she reads the stories, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are parts that don't make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder.

One that's remained unsolved for thirty years . . .

If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there's a mystery, but she doesn't yet realise there's already been a murder . .

. Shortlisted for the Capital Crimes Reader Award for Debut Book of the Year. 'A box of delights .

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A Single Thread, by Tracy Chevalier ( Pub Sept 2019, paperback Oct 2020)

£9.99

 It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiance and her brother and regarded by society as a `surplus woman' unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester.


Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the Broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything...

Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals Tracy Chevalier back to her best form.

Paperback October 2020

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The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley (pb)

£8.99

Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, The Butterfly Room is a spellbinding, multi-generational story from Sunday Times bestseller Lucinda Riley. Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday. Still living in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, set in the glorious Suffolk countryside where she spent her own idyllic childhood catching butterflies with her beloved father, and raised her own children, Posy knows she must make an agonizing decision.

Despite the memories the house holds, and the exquisite garden she has spent twenty-five years creating, the house is crumbling around her, and Posy knows the time has come to sell it. Then a face appears from the past - Freddie, her first love, who abandoned her and left her heartbroken fifty years ago. Already struggling to cope with her son Sam's inept business dealings, and the sudden reappearance of her younger son Nick after ten years in Australia, Posy is reluctant to trust in Freddie's renewed affection.

And unbeknown to Posy, Freddie - and Admiral House - have a devastating secret to reveal . . .
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Friendship Fails of Emma Nash, by Chloe Seager

£7.99

Emma Nash is back....and determined to work out the world of friendships and relationships once and for all (...ish). `Great fun and full of laugh-out-loud moments. Perfect for fans of Holly Bourne.

Katy Birchall, author of the It Girl series Now she's in the sixth form, Emma's expecting life to be a breeze but when her best friend Steph suddenly has a boyfriend who she's spending more time with Emma's not sure what to do with herself. So Emma's got a mission in mind: making new friends. Signing up for the school fashion show seems like the perfect opportunity.

Although soon, through a series of mishaps that are absolutely not Emma's fault (well, sort of), her world is teetering on the edge of disaster again. Would going back to creating a life for herself online really be so bad?
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The Librarian, by Salley Vickers ( paperback)

£8.99

Recently into paperback this is a warm and energising story of a young girl bringing life to a library and a community.

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Small Pleasures, Clare Chambers ( paperback, 29 April 2021)

£8.99

LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021

'An almost flawlessly written tale of genuine, grown-up romantic anguish' The Sunday Times

1957, the suburbs of South East London.  Jean Swinney is a journalist on a local paper, trapped in a life of duty and disappointment from which there is no likelihood of escape. When a young woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. As the investigation turns her quiet life inside out, Jean is suddenly given an unexpected chance at friendship, love and - possibly - happiness.  But there will, inevitably, be a price to pay. 

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Love After Love, Ingrid Persaud (paperback, Jan 2021)

£8.99

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD 2020

Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: forged through loneliness, broken by secrets, saved by love. Irrepressible Betty Ramdin, her shy son Solo and their marvellous lodger, Mr Chetan, form an unconventional household.

Happy in their differences, they build a home together. Home: the place keeping these three safe from an increasingly dangerous world - until the night when a glass of rum, a heart to heart and a terrible truth explodes the family unit, driving them apart. Brave and brilliant, steeped in affection, Love After Love offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back.

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Nora, Nuala O’Connor ( large paperback, April 2021)

£14.99

Acclaimed Irish novelist Nuala O’Connor’s bold reimagining of the life of James Joyce’s wife, muse, and the model for Molly Bloom in Ulysses is a “lively and loving paean to the indomitable Nora Barnacle” (Edna O’Brien).


Dublin, 1904. Nora Joseph Barnacle is a twenty-year-old from Galway working as a maid at Finn’s Hotel. She enjoys the liveliness of her adopted city and on June 16—Bloomsday—her life is changed when she meets Dubliner James Joyce, a fateful encounter that turns into a lifelong love. Despite his hesitation to marry, Nora follows Joyce in pursuit of a life beyond Ireland, and they surround themselves with a buoyant group of friends that grows to include Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and Sylvia Beach.

But as their life unfolds, Nora finds herself in conflict between their intense desire for each other and the constant anxiety of living in poverty throughout Europe. She desperately wants literary success for Jim, believing in his singular gift and knowing that he thrives on being the toast of the town, and it eventually provides her with a security long lacking in her life and his work. So even when Jim writes, drinks, and gambles his way to literary acclaim, Nora provides unflinching support and inspiration, but at a cost to her own happiness and that of their children.
  With gorgeous and emotionally resonant prose, Nora is a heartfelt portrayal of love, ambition, and the quiet power of an ordinary woman who was, in fact, extraordinary.
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Dear Edward, by Ann Napolitano ( paperback, 4 Feb 2021)

£7.99

A transcendent coming-of-age story about the ways a broken heart learns to love again. One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles: there are 192 people aboard. When the plane suddenly crashes, twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor.

In the aftermath, Edward struggles to make sense of his grief, sudden fame and find his place in a world without his family. But then Edward and his neighbour Shay make a startling discovery; hidden in his uncle's garage are letters from the relatives of other passengers - all addressed him. Following the passengers' final hours and Edward's unique coming-of-age, Dear Edward asks one of life's most profound questions:What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

 

'A very moving and emotional read' Anne Tyler 'Gripping and elegiac, this is a captivating novel about loss, love and growing up' Rosamund Lupton'

Don't miss this one' Jodi Picoult

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The Lamplighters, Emma Stonex ( hardback, 4 Mar 2021)

£14.99

As recommended by the BBC Radio 2 Book Club'A mystery, a love story and a ghost story, all at once.

Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore.

The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper's weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.

What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves? Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on.

Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story.

But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .

Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.

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What Abigail Did That Summer, Ben Aaronovitch ( HB, March 2021)

£12.99

The brand new novella in the much-loved and #1 bestselling Rivers of London series!Ghost hunter, fox whisperer, troublemaker. It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake.

While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery. Teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged, the teens return home - unharmed but vague about where they've been. Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real, and a posse of talking foxes that think they're spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly - why?*

 

Ben Aaronovitch has created a wonderful world full of mystery, magic and fantastic characters. I love being there even more than the real London.' Nick Frost

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Valentine, Elizabeth Wetmore ( paperback March 2021)

£8.99

A top ten New York Times bestseller :  a compulsive debut novel that explores the aftershock of a brutal crime on the women of a small Texas oil town. 'The very definition of a stunning debut' Ann Patchett 'Brilliant, sharp, tightly wound, and devastating' Elizabeth Gilbert 

It's February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom.

While the town's men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. When a fourteen-year-old girl shows up at Mary Rose Whitehead's door, bleeding and desperate for shelter, she has to make a choice. To choose to aim her rifle at the man pursuing Gloria Ramirez.

To choose to acknowledge that the town she calls home is small-minded and brutal and built for those who have the money to control it. To choose to see the damage men do and hold her nerve. When justice is as slippery as oil, and kindness becomes a hazardous act, sometimes the courage to choose is all we have to keep us alive.

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The Walking People, Mary Beth Keane ( hardback March 2021)

£14.99

Mary Beth Keane wrote Ask Again, Yes last year, an American small town drama with Irish immigrants, it was compelling and emotional without being dense. This time she goes right back to the roots of Irish immigration. 

1960s Rural Ireland. Greta Cahill must abandon her deserted village to follow her fearless sister Johanna on a ship bound for New York . . It's here that she steps out of her sister's shadow and into a life of her own, rich with love, work and family.

As the years pass, Greta longs to revisit the past - to see her mother, to show her what she has made of herself. But she must protect a family secret, decades old. So when her children conspire to unite the worlds she's kept so carefully apart, Greta fears she could lose it all .

. . A profoundly moving, compassionate story of self-discovery, The Walking People is a powerful and compelling story about our connection to the past.

 'I'll read everything she writes' Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies 

'Immersive and deeply moving' Anna Hope, author of Expectation 

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A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson ( hardback, March 2021)

£14.99

Mary Lawson is an overlooked writer in the UK, but since Graham Norton's approval on a recent BBC bookclub TV show, perhaps this is the year to discover her. This is her new book.

Clara's sister is missing. Angry, rebellious Rose, had a row with their mother, stormed out of the house and simply disappeared. Eight-year-old Clara, isolated by her distraught parents' efforts to protect her from the truth, is grief-stricken and bewildered.

Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember and within hours gets a visit from the police. It seems he's suspected of a crime. At the end of her life Elizabeth Orchard is thinking about a crime too, one committed thirty years ago that had tragic consequences for two families and in particular for one small child.

She desperately wants to make amends before she dies. Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, A Town Called Solace explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. By turns gripping and darkly funny, it uncovers the layers of grief and remorse and love that connect us, but shows that sometimes a new life is possible.

'Poised, elegant prose, paired with quiet drama that will break your heart. The sort of book that seems as if it has always existed because of its timeless perfection' GRAHAM NORTON

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A Long Petal of the Sea, Isabel Allende ( pb Mar 2021)

£8.99

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERTHE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER'A powerful love story spanning generations... Full of ambition and humanity' Sunday Times'

Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War, a tragedy that leaves his life - and the fate of his country - forever changed. Together with his sister-in-law, he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile in Chile.

There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over the course of four generations, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world. 

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The Good The Bad - and the Little Bit Stupid. Marina Lewycka, ( pb, March )

£9.99

A LAUGH-OUT-LOUD NOVEL FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF A SHORT HISTORY OF TRACTORS IN UKRAINIAN

After walking out on his wife to shack up with 'Brexit Brenda' next door, George Pantis thinks he's got it made - especially when he wins millions on a Kosovan lottery he barely remembers entering. Unfortunately, he can't access the money because he's forgotten his password. What is he meant to tell all the forceful people who keep appearing at his doorstep desperate to know his mother's maiden name?The situation is shadier than he thinks, and George is need of rescue.

But will his dysfunctional family be able to save him, and in the process, can they save each other?

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The Long Long Afternoon, Inga Vesper (hardback, 14 Feb 2021)

£14.99

'A remarkably assured debut. A tale of inequality, broken dreams and quiet desperation behind a picture-perfect facade' Guardian

. . It's the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun.  At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor. While the Haney's neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family's 'help', who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes' starched curtains than anyone, and it isn't long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help.

But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole 'perfect' world to set alight . . . A great read!
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Blonde Roots, Bernadine Evaristo

£8.99

If you loved Girl Woman Other last year, then try dipping into some of Booker winner Evaristo’s back catalogue:-  Think The Handmaid's Tale meets Noughts and Crosses with a bit of Jonathan Swift and Lewis Carroll thrown in.

This should be thought of as a feminist classic.' Women's Prize for Fiction Podcast Welcome to a world turned upside down. One minute, Doris, from England, is playing hide-and-seek with her sisters in the fields behind their cottage. The next, someone puts a bag over her head and she ends up in the hold of a slave-ship sailing to the New World 

. . In this fantastically imaginative inversion of the transatlantic slave trade - in which 'whytes' are enslaved by black people - Bernardine Evaristo has created a thought-provoking satire that is as accessible and readable as it is intelligent and insightful.

Blonde Roots brings the shackles and cries of long-ago barbarity uncomfortably close and raises timely questions about the society of today. 'A bold and brilliant game of counterfactual history. Evaristo keep[s] her wit and anger at a spicy simmer throughout' Daily Telegraph 'So human and real.

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Weather, Jenny Offil ( paperback Jan 2021)

£8.99

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

An obligatory note of hope, in a world going to hell. Lizzie Benson, a part-time librarian, is already overwhelmed with the crises of daily life when an old mentor offers her a job answering mail from the listeners of her apocalyptic podcast, Hell and High Water. Soon questions begin pouring in from left-wingers worried about climate change and right-wingers worried about the decline of Western civilization. Entering this polarized world, Lizzie is forced to consider who she is and what she can do to help: as a mother, as a wife, as a sister, and as a citizen of this doomed planet.

* Linda's note : the blurb for this book is not very encouraging! But it's actually full of hope, humour and just the absurdity of the everyday. I enjoyed it! 

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A Burning, Megha Majumdar, hardback( Jan 2021)

£14.99

A big hit in America last year, this buzzy debut about the impact of a terrorist attack in a Kolkata slum on three connected characters is full of hot-button global topics, including violent nationalism' Metro'

A girl walks through the slums of Kolkata holding an armful of books. She returns home smelling of smoke, and checks her most prized possession: a brand-new smartphone, purchased in instalments.

On Facebook, there is only one conversation. #KolabaganTrainAttack On the small, glowing screen, she types a dangerous thing... 'If the police didn't help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn't that mean that the government is also a terrorist?' Set in contemporary India, A Burning is the story of three unforgettable characters, all dreaming of a better future, whose lives are changed for ever when they become caught up in the devastating aftermath of a terrorist attack.

Taut, propulsive and electrifying, from its opening lines to its astonishing finale, A Burning confronts issues of class, fate, prejudice and corruption with a Dickensian sense of injustice, and asks us to consider what it means to nurture big ambitions in a country hurtling towards political extremism. A Burning is a novel for our times and for all time.

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LUSTER, by Raven Leilani ( Jan 2021)

£14.99

* Longlisted for Women's Prize for Fiction 2021 * 

A taut, sharp, funny book about being young now. It's brutal - and brilliant.' Zadie Smith, author of Swing Time'Remarkable, the most delicious novel I've read.' Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie'

Edie is just trying to survive. She's messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting.

No one seems to care that she doesn't really know what she's doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn't have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. As if navigating the constantly shifting landscape of sexual and racial politics as a young black woman wasn't already hard enough, with nowhere else left to go, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric's home and family.

Razor sharp, provocatively page-turning and surprisingly tender, Luster by Raven Leilani is a painfully funny debut about what it means to be young now.

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Girl A, by Abigail Dean ( hardback Jan 2021)

£14.99

Girl A,' she said. 'The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.' Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family.

She doesn't want to think about growing up in her parents' House of Horrors. And she doesn't want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer.

Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings - and with the childhood they shared. Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love.
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Red at The Bone, Jacqueline Woodson (pb, 21 Jan 2021)

£8.99

 An unexpected teenage pregnancy brings together two families from different social classes, and exposes the private hopes, disappointments and longings that can bind or divide us. From the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming. Brooklyn, 2001.

It is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress - the very same dress that was sewn for a different wearer, Melody's mother, for a celebration that ultimately never took place. Unfurling the history of Melody's family - from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre to post 9/11 New York - Red at the Bone explores sexual desire, identity, class, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, as it looks at the ways in which young people must so often make fateful decisions about their lives before they have even begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
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The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain (paperback, 2020)

£8.99

*Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2020* 'Poignantly paints the extraordinary in ordinary lives. A brilliant first book from Hussain.' The Sunday Post '

'One of the best new books by black and POC authors in 2020' Cosmopolitan 'Top Book Releases To Look Forward To In 2020'

Amjad cradles his baby daughter in the middle of the night. He has no time to mourn his wife's death.

Saahil and Zahra, his two small children, are relying on him. Amjad vows to love and protect them always. Years later, Saahil and his best friend, Ehsan, have finished university and are celebrating with friends.

But when the night turns dangerous, its devastating effects will ripple through the years to come. Zahra's world is alight with politics and activism. But she is now her father's only source of comfort, and worries she'll never have time for her own aspirations.

Life has taken her small family in different directions - will they ever find their way back to each other? The Family Tree is the moving story of a British Muslim family full of love, laughter and resilience as well as all the faults, mistakes and stubborn loyalties which make us human. ** 'A multi-generational story crafted with warmth... an engaging debut.' Vaseem Khan 'Provides a much needed voice for characters who have been drastically affected by the headlines throughout an emotionally wrought narrative.' 

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The Autumn of the Ace, Louis de Berniers, (hardback Nov 2020)

£17.99

Louis de Bernieres is the master of historical fiction that makes you both laugh and cry, in the perfect nostalgic read to escape with this autumn. Is it ever too late to change your story? Daniel Pitt was an RAF fighter in the First World War and an espionage agent for the SOE in the Second. Now the conflicts he faces are closer to home.

Daniel's marriage has fractured beyond repair and Daniel's relationship with his son, Bertie, has been a failure since Bertie was a small boy. But after his brother Archie's death, Daniel is keen for new perspectives. He first travels to Peshawar to bury Archie in the place he loved best, and then finds himself in Canada, avoiding his family and friends back in England.

But some bonds are hard to break. Daniel and Bertie's different experiences of war, although devastating, also bring with them the opportunity for the two to reconnect. If only they can find a way to move on from the past.
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Sweet Sorrow, David Nicholls ( paperback, Aug 2020

£8.99

One life-changing summer Charlie meets Fran... In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don't remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well.

At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread. Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope. But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person.

He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling. The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.

Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.
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How Much of These Hills is Gold, by C Pam Zhang (hardback, April 2020)

£14.99

LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020

The boldest debut of the year . . .

 In the twilight of the Gold Rush, two siblings cross a landscape with a gun in their hands and the body of their father on their backs . .

Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Lucy and Sam, twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run.

With their father's body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial. How Much of These Hills is Gold is a sweeping adventure tale, an unforgettable sibling story and a remarkable novel about a family bound and divided by its memories. 'The 19th-century American West is the setting for C Pam Zhang's impressive debut.

Linda's note : it's raw, visceral and heartbreaking, a Sebastian Barry novel set in the American West but with an extra helping of destructive humanity. Very impressive for a debut.

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My Dark Vanessa, Kate Elizabeth Russell (PB, 21 Jan 2021)

£8.99

An instant New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller
An era-defining novel about the relationship between a fifteen-year-old girl and her teacher 
Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn't abuse.

It was love. She's sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life - her great sexual awakening - as rape.

Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many. Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues of our age.
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