Related to: 'Sworn To Secrecy'

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Best Laid Plans

Mary Larkin

Belfast, the 1960s. When Tess Maguire and her best friend Agnes Quinn get free tickets to see the Rolling Stones, there is nothing that will stop them from going to the Ulster Hall, not even the disapproval of Tess's mother Alice. And though Alice's concerns about trouble are to prove right, for Tess and Agnes they have a silver lining. As the concert ends in panic and confusion, the girls are helped out by their very own pair of Jumping Jack Flashes - Jack Thompson and Tony Burke. To begin with, Tess is far keener on Jack than Agnes is on Tony. But after six, short, wonderful weeks, Jack suddenly stops contacting her. And when Tess pays his home a visit to find out the reason why, she soon discovers the shocking truth: Colette Burns, with her thick black hair and sultry looks, has captured his heart instead. Then Tess meets Dominic Sullivan, a Belfast boy who left Ireland for America many years earlier. Returning to his home city for a wedding, his good looks and sharp humour could be what Tess has been waiting for. But with Agnes interested in Dominic as well, their best laid plans might just become their worst-case scenario instead...

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Playing With Fire

Mary Larkin

Susan's boyfriend of six months, Jim, is a Catholic and her parents haven't yet found out. Jim has said all along that their romance is doomed and she must understand this - but, in fact, neither can bear not to see each other. Finally, Jim realises Susan is angling for a marriage proposal and he knows he must end their relationship. Susan is distraught and ends up being comforted (too much so!) by her sister Alison's current boyfriend, Graham, resulting in a pregnancy. Susan flees to her aunt in Darlington in shame, but has to return to Belfast when her mother has a stroke and Graham is in a car accident. Susan gives birth to a beautiful son but still refuses to tell anyone who the father is. And there are now three men in her life - Jim, who doesn't want to be the stepfather of someone else's son; Graham, who believes he is the father and who loves Susan and believes she loves him; and Donald, a man she met in Darlington...

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Painful Decisions

Mary Larkin

Life in 1920s Belfast is hard for the working class people, but the McGuigans are more fortunate than most. But when eldest son Johnnie shatters the family's peaceful existence with a shocking and unwelcome revelation, opinions become divided. And there are secrets in other quarters, too, when sister Louise discovers her boyfriend is hiding something - a secret so terrible it threatens their engagement. The once close-knit family are forced to make a series of painful decisions that will change all their lives for ever.

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Suspicious Minds

Mary Larkin

To her neighbours in Belfast, Maura Brady looks like she has it all - an attractive husband, a comfortable home and a gorgeous little boy, Danny. But behind closed doors, things are far from idyllic. Maura has long harboured doubts that her husband Adam only married her because he was quickly trying to mend a broken heart. Years ago, Adam's childhood sweetheart Evelyn suddenly left town to marry a rich, older man and left Adam shocked and shaken.But now that Evelyn has returned, as gorgeous and provocative as ever, can Adam keep his unresolved feelings for her in check? As Maura's suspicions grow, she turns to her good friend Francie for support - but will her own innocent feelings spill into something more with him? As the date of young Danny's birthday party draws near, the future of Adam and Maura's marriage hangs in the balance . . .

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Shades of Deceit

Mary Larkin

When her mother leaves the family home in Belfast for her lover, Louise McGuigan is left feeling betrayed. It is up to Louise to look after her brother and sister while her father loses himself to alcohol. Returning to work at the local linen factory, she has to endure the cruel gossip about her so-called righteous mother and when Conor O'Rourke, the man of her dreams, continues to drag his heels about their future together, Louise doesn't know how much more she can take.Louise's luck appears to change when she finds alternative employment in a local bookshop, but her family troubles still weigh heavy on her mind. And when she seeks solace in the arms of a man who isn't Conor, things become even more complicated. Can Louise find happiness with the right man or will she be tied to her troubled family for ever?Set in Belfast in the 1920s, Shades of Deceit is a gripping story of heartbreak, loyalty and hope from much-loved bestselling author Mary Larkin.

How My Dreams Came True

Inspiration for The Dressmaker

Read about Kate Alcott's inspiration for her novel, The Dressmaker

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The Dressmaker

Kate Alcott

Torn between her dreams and the truth, she was faced with an impossible choice . . . Tess, an aspiring seamstress, is stunned at her luck when the famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon hires her to be a personal maid on the Titanic's doomed voyage. When disaster strikes, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat - her employer also survives. On dry land, savage rumours begin to circulate: did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others?Tess's dream of becoming a skilled dressmaker is within her grasp but now she is faced with a terrible choice. Suddenly she finds herself torn between loyalty to the fiery woman who could help her realise her ambitions and the devastating truth that her mentor may not be all she seems.Authentic and honest, The Dressmaker is a compelling and vivid story that will have you holding your breath until the last page.*Shortlisted for the Goodreads Historical Novel Award*

Orbit

Playing With Fire

Mary Larkin

Susan's boyfriend of six months, Jim, is a Catholic and her parents haven't yet found out. Jim has said all along that their romance is doomed and she must understand this - but, in fact, neither can bear not to see each other. Finally, Jim realises Susan is angling for a marriage proposal and he knows he must end their relationship. Susan is distraught and ends up being comforted (too much so!) by her sister Alison's current boyfriend, Graham, resulting in a pregnancy. Susan flees to her aunt in Darlington in shame, but has to return to Belfast when her mother has a stroke and Graham is in a car accident. Susan gives birth to a beautiful son but still refuses to tell anyone who the father is. And there are now three men in her life - Jim, who doesn't want to be the stepfather of someone else's son; Graham, who believes he is the father and who loves Susan and believes she loves him; and Donald, a man she met in Darlington...

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The Wasted Years

Mary Larkin

Rosaleen Magee is the catch of the pride of Belfast in pre-war years - and the envy of her friends. For her future is already assured as the fiancee of Joe Smith, a steady young man with a thriving business of his own. Whey then does Sean Devlin move her so, with his flashing blue eyes and dark good looks?The war throws everyone's lives into turmoil, as the men of Northern Ireland rally to the British cause. But for Rosaleen it heralds the return of Sean and the anguish of forbidden love...

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Ties Of Love And Hate

Mary Larkin
ATOM

The Dream Thief: An Extraordinary Hotario Lyle Mystery

Catherine Webb
Piatkus

Sister

Rosamund Lupton
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Camberwell Beauty

Jenny Eclair

Welcome to South London, to one of the nicest streets in one of London's vilest boroughs, a determined middle-class oasis of skips and bay trees, where Volvos sniff each others' bumpers and men called Giles live with women called Samantha. This is a satellite-dish-free zone of tall houses, standing shoulder to shoulder with big front doors, five floors apiece. Come inside, shut the door and smell the coffee: you could almost be in Kensington. This is where the actors, writers and media types live, where small children wearing smart uniforms and shoes in the shape of lightbulbs get ferried every day to schools that are not local. Some people are luckier than others; fortune smiles on some and gobs on the rest. Jo Metcalf (no. 95) smokes and spies on the smug Cunninghams down the street as they play their bile-inducing game of happy families. Why is the grass greener on the other side of the fence? But happiness is a fragile thing and hairline cracks in a perfect world can become craters of misery. Each story is full of comic insight and realistic observation of contemporary British life and focuses on the very different lives of a set of characters living in the same street.

Import Aus

At the Altar of the Road Gods

Boris Mihailovic

His mother may not know it but Boris Mihailovic has lived a fast, furious, often politicially incorrect life chasing the epiphanies of speed (the sensation not the drug). For Boris, motorbike riding was the rite of passage into manhood he'd been searching for. Now, nearly 40 years since he first rode a bike, the wisdom of age has provided the perspective for Boris to look back and realise some pretty wild shit went down.At the Altar of the Road Gods is about popping your motorcycle-buying cherry with an XJ650 Yamaha. It's about fines, feuds and fractures, high-sides, tank-slappers, angry police, even angrier young men, crashing, getting up, cranky girlfriends, riding faster, outlaws, and partaking in copious amounts of alcohol and drugs. It is about mateship and motorcycles. Ultimately, is is about four decades of two-wheel-related mayhem. Just don't tell Boris's mum! Be warned: may cause laughter, sleeplessness and the desire to buy a Lucifer-black Katana.

Virago

A Glass Of Blessings

Barbara Pym
Little, Brown US

The Secret Rescue

Cate Lineberry
Piatkus

B is for Breast Cancer

Christine Hamill

'The day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was standing in the chemist with a basket in my hand, blinking back tears and thinking, "Now what does a breast cancer patient need?" All I could come up with was waterproof mascara. I put some in my basket and thought someone should write an alternative guide to breast cancer. Step one - buy waterproof mascara. You're going to need it. A few short months later, I found I was writing the guide myself. I sat in bed in between hospital appointments with my laptop, furiously, desperately trying to make sense of this alien world I had entered.'Written entirely while Christine Hamill was undergoing cancer treatment, this book is an honest and frank account of the emotional and physical impact of a cancer diagnosis. It is at turns funny, sad, angry and ultimately optimistic. Written without sentimentality, B is for Breast Cancer offers bite-size chunks of help and hope - a daily pep talk to anyone affected by the disease. It's packed full of the practical information that you really need.Read this book. It helps to know you are not alone.

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Meet Me At The Cupcake Café

Jenny Colgan
Orbit

The Oversight

Charlie Fletcher
Little, Brown US

Takeover

Charlie Savage

In 1789, the Founders devised a system of checks and balances to keep kingly powers out of the hands of presidents. But in the 1970s and 80s, a faction of Republicans, outraged by the weakening of the presidency after Watergate and Vietnam, abandoned the traditional conservative suspicion of concentrated government power. These men hatched a plot that would allow the White House to wield enormous powers, operating behind a veil of secrecy and unchecked by Congress or the courts.Today's administration is bringing this project to fruition. TAKEOVER reveals the machinations behind the headlines and lays bare a hidden agenda three decades in the making, one that links warrantless wiretapping and Bush's judicial nominees, torture and Cheney's energy task force, the faith-based initiative and the imprisonment of citizens without trial. It tells the story of how a group of true believers, led by Cheney, set out to establish near-monarchical executive powers that, in the words of one conservative critic, 'will lie around like a loaded weapon' for any future president.