Related to: 'Sweet William'

Virago

A Quiet Life

Beryl Bainbridge

Seventeen-year-old Alan can't stand rows. But, though the Second World War has ended, peace hangs by a fine thread at home: his troublesome sister Madge creeps off for night-time liaisons with a German POW; their ineffectual father - broken by the hardships of war and an unhappy marriage - can't put food on the table despite the family's middle-class manners. Meanwhile, his mother pursues her escapist fantasies in romantic novels and love affairs. Obedient, faithful Alan is trapped among them all, the focus of their jibes and resentment, as inexorably the family heads towards disaster. Beryl Bainbridge's classic early novel is a vintage story of English domestic life, laced with sadness, irony and wicked black humour.

Virago

A Weekend With Claude

Beryl Bainbridge

An old snapshot shows a group of friends lounging in the sunshine, on a weekend in the country at the invitation of bearded, satyric Claude and his wife Julia. The girl in the centre is dreamy Lily, whose latest failed love affair forms the purpose of the weekend, as Lily's friends set out to help her ensnare an unwitting father for her unborn child. Next to her is Norman, a Marxist romantic hell-bent on seducing his milk-white hostess; behind them is old, persecuted Shebah; and, slightly apart, the young man on whom all hopes are pinned: quiet, pleasant Edward. Told through the fractured narratives of Claude, Lily, Shebah and Norman, in Beryl Bainbridge's first published novel a darkly comic weekend of friendship and failure unravels.

Virago

Harriet Said...

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

Mum and Mr Armitage

Beryl Bainbridge
Little, Brown

The Girl In The Polka Dot Dress

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

The Bottle Factory Outing

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

The Dressmaker

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

An Awfully Big Adventure

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

Master Georgie

Beryl Bainbridge

When Master Georgie - George Hardy, surgeon and photographer - sets off from the cold squalor of Victorian Liverpool for the heat and glitter of the Bosphorus to offer his services in the Crimea, there straggles behind him a small caravan of devoted followers; Myrtle, his adoring adoptive sister; lapsed geologist Dr Potter; and photographer's assistant and sometime fire-eater Pompey Jones, all of them driven onwards through a rising tide of death and disease by a shared and mysterious guilt. Combining a breathtaking eye for beauty with a visceral understanding of mortality, Beryl Bainbridge exposes her enigmatic hero as tenderly and unsparingly as she reveals the filth and misery of war, and creates a novel of luminous depth and extraordinary intensity.

Abacus

Injury Time

Beryl Bainbridge

Edward is throwing a dinner party with Binny , his mistress. Aware that she has long been denied those small intimacies that his wife takes for granted - choosing a birthday present for his sister, for example, or sorting his socks - he wants to give her a chance to feel more involved in his life, to socialise with some of his friends (the discreet ones). Things are a little awkward to begin with - a late start and him having to be away by half past ten - but everything seems to be going well. But then some uninvited, and reather forceful guests arrive, and it doesn't look like Edward is going to make it home on time.

The summer must-read from Kate Furnivall

EXTRACT: SHADOWS ON THE NILE

Beautifully written, compulsively plotted and truly satisfying – Shadows on the Nile is a summer must-have for fans of Julia Gregson, Rosie Thomas and other sumptuous historical romances Indulge yourself with this sneak-peek at the first chapter now.

Abacus

Young Adolf

Beryl Bainbridge
Abacus

According To Queeney

Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge's latest novel is a masterly evocation of the last years of Dr Johnson, arguably Britain's greatest Man of Letters. The time is the 1770s and 1780s and Johnson, having completed his life's major work (he compiled the first ever Dictionary of the English Language) is running an increasingly chaotic life. Torn between his strict morality and his undeclared passion for Mrs Thrale, the wife of an old friend, ACCORDING TO QUEENEY reveals one of Britain's most wonderful characters in all his wit and glory. Above all, though, this is a story of love and friendship and brilliantly narrated by Queeney, Mrs Thrale's daughter, looking back over her life. A few of Johnson quotes: *Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures *No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money *When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life

by Amanda Carlson

Full Blooded

Read the first chapter of Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson, the start of an exceptionally fast-paced and irresistibly sexy new urban fantasy trilogy!

by Val McDermid

The Vanishing Point - Chapter One

It's every parent's worst nightmare - your child abducted while you look on, helpless. But five-year-old Jimmy's life is shrouded in secrets, and his mother will be forced to make the most difficult choice of her life - a choice that will affect everyone around her...

C & R Crime

Bone Idle

Suzette Hill

Revd Francis Oughterard is in the grip of a blackmailer and under orders to steal a valuable figurine. Relief at success is short-lived when the theft backfires, and further skulduggery ensues. The Reverend's efforts to distance himself from yet another murder lead to embarrassing complications for him and his pompous bishop, Horace Clinker. When things come to a head in the form of crazily menacing Victor Crumpemeyer, it is once again up to the Reverend's world-weary cat, Maurice, and intrepid mongrel, Bouncer, to save his bacon. Praise for Suzette A. Hill: 'Perfect one-sitting summer read.' Laura Wilson, Guardian 'I think this is tremendous - amusing and professional' Dame Beryl Bainbridge 'E F Benson crossed with Jerome K Jerome' The Times audiobooks review 'Quite why this series should be charming, astringent and witty, instead of emetically twee, I am not sure, but it is entirely delightful' Guardian 'This dry, funny British gem, with its eccentric cast of characters, will have readers laughing and eagerly awaiting the next episode' Publishers Weekly 'An intriguingly quirky read! And Maurice the cat is a very clever puss indeed!' Leslie Phillips OBE

Corsair

Fin and Lady

Cathleen Schine

Eleven-year-old Fin and his older half-sister, Lady, have just been orphaned. Fin has not seen his glamorous sister in six years, but she is now his legal guardian - and his only hope. Uprooted from his home on a small dairy farm in rural Connecticut, Fin joins Lady in her Greenwich Village apartment. With the Swinging Sixties swirling in kaleidoscope colour all around him, Fin soon learns that his free-living, free-loving sister is going to be as much his responsibility, as he is hers. Comic and romantic, joyous and moving, Fin & Lady is a spirited love story about a brother and sister who must form their own unconventional bond in increasingly troubled times. Praise for The Three Weissmanns of Westport: 'Elegant prose, pin-sharp humour, and an ending that proves satisfyingly bittersweet.' Guardian 'Intelligent and beguiling.' The Times 'Sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious, and deeply affecting.' New York Times

Sphere

Whistling For The Elephants

Sandi Toksvig

There are two basic types of animal in Nature's Kingdom. The first, like lions and turtles, produce many offspring and simply hope that some will survive. The second, like elephants and people, produce one or two at long intervals and make great efforts to rear them. My mother belonged in a class of her own. She produced two at short intervals and made no effort to rear them whatsoever. Thus Dorothy, aged ten, finds herself making her own way in Sassaspaneck, New York in 1968. Her English father, who never talks above a whisper due to a youthful injury with a cricket ball, has tucked her and her mother away where the potential for embarrassment can be limited. All the other children in town have gone to camp, so Dorothy must provide her own entertainment. She comes across a small, faded zoo on the outskirts of town, and as she begins to get to know the eccentric group of women who live there she begins to discover a world way beyond the one she has glimpsed so far.

Indulge in a slice of vintage heaven

The Vintage Teacup Club

An uplifting tale of life and love, careers and families, and a friendship forged over a very special set of vintage teacups, we have been overwhelmed by all the positive responses we have already received for Vanessa Greene's debut novel The Vintage Teacup Club.

Abacus

Every Man For Himself

Beryl Bainbridge

For the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways are played out the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge's haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.