A Boy in Winter
By Rachel Seiffert
From the Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Dark Room, an extraordinary new novel: `A spellbinding evocation of fear and threat tinged with the possibility of hope and change' - Philippe Sands, author of East West StreetEarly on a grey November morning in 1941, only weeks after the German invasion, a small Ukrainian town is overrun by the SS. A Boy In Winter tells of the three days that follow and the lives that are overturned in the process. And in the midst of it all is the determined boy Yankel who will throw his and his young brother's chances of surviving to strangers.A Boy In Winter is a story of hope when all is lost, and of mercy when the times have none.'Superb, delicately poised' FT'Magnificent' Linda Grant'A joy to read ' Helen Dunmore
Begin Again: Poems by Gracey Paley
By Grace Paley
A teacher, activist, feminist and masterful writer of short fiction and essays, Paley was also an accomplished poet. Combining her two previous collections with unpublished work, Begin Again traces the career of a direct, attentive, and always unpredictable poet. Whether describing the vicissitudes of life in New York City or the hard beauty of rural Vermont, whether celebrating the blessings of friendship or protesting against social injustice, her poems brim with compassion and tough good humour.
By Angela Thirkell
Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.When Jack's widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond's son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man? First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell's much-loved classic series.
Babies in Rhinestones and Other Stories
By Shena Mackay
In 'Babies in Rhinestones', the Alfred Ellis School of Fine Art and the Araidne School Elliot School of Dance and Drama stand side by side, much to their proprietors' dismay. The two trade insults daily as they exchange the mail that so often ends up in the wrong letterbox. The tension increases when the owners find that they have adopted the same stray cat.Here is a wonderful collection of short stories by the writer known for 'the Mackay vision, suburban - as kitsch, as unexceptional, and yet as rich in history and wonder as a plain Victorian terrace house, its threshold radiant with tiling and stained-glass birds of paradise, encased in leaded lights' Guardian.
A Bowl of Cherries
By Shena Mackay
In A Bowl of Cherries Shena Mackay tells the story of twin brothers whose lives are inexorably intertwined: Rex, a self-absorbed and successful writer, and Stanley, a minor poet who works as a dishwasher. Rex lives on the family estate being the older of the twins by one minute with his unhappy wife, Daphne, who writes children's books. Their overweight daughter, Daisy, lives nearby, and as a result of a guilty secret of her own, has married an overbearing, misogynist, and skinflint husband, Julian. Rex's illegitimate son, Seamus, 14, discovers Daisy quite by accident and their relationship blossoms despite the many flawed characters that surround them. He carries a family secret that proves to be devastating, but which ultimately releases his half-sister Daisy from her torments.
The Birds And Other Stories
By Daphne Du Maurier
'How long he fought with them in the darkness he could not tell, but at last the beating of the wings about him lessened and then withdrew . . . 'A classic of alienation and horror, 'The Birds' was immortalised by Hitchcock in his celebrated film. The five other chilling stories in this collection echo a sense of dislocation and mock man's sense of dominance over the natural world. The mountain paradise of 'Monte Verità' promises immortality, but at a terrible price; a neglected wife haunts her husband in the form of an apple tree; a professional photographer steps out from behind the camera and into his subject's life; a date with a cinema usherette leads to a walk in the cemetery; and a jealous father finds a remedy when three's a crowd . . .
The Boy Who Followed Ripley
By Patricia Highsmith
The continuing adventures of Ripley, played by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley.When a troubled young runaway arrives on Tom Ripley's French estate, he is drawn into a world he thought he'd left behind: the seedy underworld of Berlin, involving kidnapping plots, lies and deception. Ripley becomes the boy's protector as friendship develops between the young man with a guilty conscience and the older one with no conscience at all.The Boy Who Followed Ripley is followed by Ripley Under Water.
By Patricia Highsmith
'My suspicion is that when the dust has settled and when the chronicle of 20th-century American literature comes to be written, history will place Highsmith at the top of the pyramid, as we should place Dostoevsky at the top of the Russian hierarchy of novelists' A. N. Wilson, Daily TelegraphThe Blunderer was written by Highsmith in between Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. The novel follows the young, successful and handsome, Walter Stackhouse who seems to have it all, that is, until the day his wife's body is found at the bottom of a cliff. Under the intense scrutiny of the investigation he commits one mistake, then another, until - in true Highsmithian fashion - Walter finds his perfect life derailed. Now Walter is running from the obsessions of the murderer, and the suspicions of the lead cop, not to mention his own increasingly life-threatening blunders.
Be Safe I Love You
By Cara Hoffman
Be Safe I Love You tells the story of Lauren Clay, a woman soldier returned from Iraq, and her beloved younger brother Danny,obsessed with Arctic exploration and David Bowie, whom she has looked out for since their mother left them years before. Lauren is home in time to spend Christmas with Danny and her father, who is delighted to have her back and reluctant to acknowledge that something feels a little strange. But as she reconnects with her small-town life in upstate New York, it soon becomes apparent that things are not as they should be. And soon an army psychologist is making ever-more frantic attempts to reach her.But Lauren has taken Danny on a trip upstate - to visit their mother,she says at first, although it becomes clear that her real destination is somewhere else entirely: a place beyond the glacial woods of Canada, where Lauren thinks her salvation lies. But where, really,does she think she is going, and what happened to her in Iraq that set her on this quest?Be Safe I Love You is an exquisite and unflinching novel about war,its aftermath, and the possibility of healing.
The Bull from the Sea
By Mary Renault
'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' HILARY MANTEL'Mary Renault's portraits of the ancient world are fierce, complex and eloquent, infused at every turn with her life-long passion for the Classics. Her characters live vividly both in their own time, and in ours' MADELINE MILLERThe sequel to The King Must Die. The Bull from the Sea continues the story of the hero Theseus after his return from Crete.Having freed the city of Athens from the onerous tribute demanded by the ruler of Knossos - the sacrifice of noble youths and maidens to the appetite of the Labyrinth's monster - Theseus has returned home to find his father dead and himself the new king. But his adventures have only just begun: he still must confront the Amazons, capture their queen, Hippolyta, and face the tragic results of Phaedra's jealous rage. Piecing together the fragments of myth and using her deep understanding of the cultures reflected in these legends, Mary Renault has constructed an enthralling narrative of a time when heroes battled monsters and gods strode the earth.'There's much to say about her interweaving of myth and history and, just as interestingly, there's much to wonder at in the way she fills in the large dark spaces where we know next to nothing about the times she describes . . . an important and wonderful writer . . . she set a course into serious-minded, psychologically intense historical fiction that today seems more important than ever' Sam Jordison, Guardian
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita
By Rumer Godden
When their mother leaves the country to be with her lover, Hugh and Caddie Clavering's seemingly perfect life falls apart. Devestated, and desperate for her to come back, the children travel alone to the Villa Fiorita on Lake Garda, determined not to leave without her. On arrival, they can tell Fanny and Rob are deeply in love, and their mother is happier than they've ever seen her, but the scheme lives on and Rob's young daughter is only too glad to help destroy their relationship. Will Hugh and Caddie realise that their actions have consequences before it is too late?
By Angela Thirkell
Lavinia Brandon is quite the loveliest widow in Barsetshire, blessed with beauty and grace, as well as two handsome grown-up children, Delia and Francis. So thinks their cousin Hilary Grant when he comes to stay and - like many before him - promptly falls for his fragrant hostess. Meanwhile, the Brandons' ill-tempered dowager aunt is stirring up controversy over her legacy, and Lavinia's attention is further occupied by the challenges of making a match between the vicar and gifted village helpmeet Miss Morris, and elegantly deterring her love-struck suitors. Angela Thirkell's 1930s comedy is bright, witty and winning.
Blood & Beauty
By Sarah Dunant
By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched only by its brutality and corruption. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy, he is defined not just by his wealth, charisma and power, but by his blood: a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If he is to succeed, he must use his Machiavellian son and innocent daughter.Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, Blood & Beauty breathes life into the astonishing family of Alexander VI and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex, and relentless.
The Black House
By Patricia Highsmith
'A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not-quite accidental' New York Times Book ReviewThe Black House eerily evokes the warm familiarities of suburban life: the manicured lawns, the white picket fences, and the local pubs, each providing the setting for Highsmith's chilling portraits.Some neighbours are playing scrabble one evening when their cat drags into their house not a bird, or some other catch, but human fingers; a guest arrives at a dinner party where he is not welcome, and his hosts conspire to find and attack his Achilles heel; the crew of the Emma C rescue a beautiful girl floating unconscious in the sea and tension explodes between the men on board; a childless thirty-something couple decide to invite two elderly folk to live with them, but have they been too generous? In this collection of Patricia Highsmith's wonderfully unsettling short stories, people's motives are frequently twisted and no occurrence is without a sinister underlying meaning.
Becoming A Mother
By Kate Mosse
Combining medical and historical information with real life accounts of ordinary women, this book is an essential guide to the facts, feelings and emotions experienced during pregnancy and birth. It takes you week by week, from the decision to conceive, through to first impressions of life with your baby, offering invaluable information. Topics include: Conception - If and When; Feelings for Your Growing Baby; Your Career and Financial Position; Fear that Something May Go Wrong; Changing Relationships with Family and Friends; Choosing Where and How to Give Birth; How Others Felt - Women Relate their Experiences; The First Few Days with Your Baby
Bedsit Disco Queen
By Tracey Thorn
I was only sixteen when I bought an electric guitar and joined a band. A year later, I formed an all-girl band called the Marine Girls and played gigs, and signed to an indie label, and started releasing records.Then, for eighteen years, between 1982 and 2000, I was one half of the group Everything But the Girl. In that time, we released nine albums and sold nine million records. We went on countless tours, had hit singles and flop singles, were reviewed and interviewed to within an inch of our lives. I've been in the charts, out of them, back in. I've seen myself described as an indie darling, a middle-of-the-road nobody and a disco diva. I haven't always fitted in, you see, and that's made me face up to the realities of a pop career - there are thrills and wonders to be experienced, yes, but also moments of doubt, mistakes, violent lifestyle changes from luxury to squalor and back again, sometimes within minutes.
By Hannah Rothschild
A Rothschild by birth and a Baroness by marriage, beautiful, spirited Pannonica - known as Nica - seemed to have it all: children, a handsome husband and a trust fund. But in the early 1950s she heard a piece by the jazz legend Thelonious Monk. The music overtook her like a magic spell, and she abandoned her marriage to go and find him. Arriving in New York, Nica was shunned by society but accepted by the musicians. They gave her friendship; she gave them material and emotional support. Her convertible Bentley was a familiar sight outside the clubs and she drank whisky from a hip flask disguised as a Bible. Her notoriety was sealed when drug-addicted saxophonist Charlie Parker died in her apartment. But her real love was reserved for Monk, whom she cared for until his death in 1982.The Baroness traces Nica's extraordinary, thrilling journey - from England's stately homes to the battlefields of Africa, passing under the shadow of the Holocaust, and finally to the creative ferment of the New York jazz scene. Hannah Rothschild's search to solve the mystery of her rebellious great aunt draws on their long friendship and years of meticulous research and interviews. It is part musical odyssey, part dazzling love story.
Breakfast with the Nikolides
By Rumer Godden
For Emily Pool, India is a magical place where she has the freedom to escape her mother's suffocating influence. Her days are spent exploring the canals and gardens of East Bengal, and admiringly observing her glamorous, dignified neighbours, the Nikolides. But just as the cracks in Emily's family home are papered over, so do the Pools strive to maintain an outward impression of respectability, and it is through the Nikolides that Emily is exposed to a world of adult deceit and attrition. And when her beloved dog dies, the event forces a confrontation and reveals to Emily that nothing in the town is quite as it seems . . .
By Rumer Godden
High in the Himalayas near Darjeeling, the old mountaintop palace shines like a jewel. When it was the General's 'harem' palace, richly dressed ladies wandered the windswept terraces; at night, music floated out over the villages and gorges. Now, the General's son has bestowed it on an order of nuns, the Sisters of Mary.Well-intentioned yet misguided, the nuns set about taming the gardens and opening a school and dispensary for the villagers. They are dependent on the local English agent of Empire, Mr Dean; but his charm and insolent candour are disconcerting. And the implacable emptiness of the mountain, the ceaseless winds, exact a toll on the Sisters.When Mr Dean says bluntly, 'This is no place for a nunnery,' it is as if he foresees their destiny...
The Birth Of Venus
By Sarah Dunant
Alessandra is not quite fifteen when her prosperous merchant father brings a young painter back with him from Holland to adorn the walls of the new family chapel. She is fascinated by his talents and envious of his abilities and opportunities to paint to the glory of God. Soon her love of art and her lively independence are luring her into closer involvement with all sorts of taboo areas of life. On excursions into the streets of night-time Florence she observes a terrible evil stalking the city and witnesses the rise of the fiery young priest, Savanarola, who has set out to rid the city of vice, richness, even art itself.Alessandra must make crucial decisions about the shape of her adult life, as Florence itself must choose between the old ways of the luxury-loving Medicis and the asceticism of Savanorola. And through it all, there is the painter, whose love will change everything.