By Louisa May Alcott
'It takes so little to make a child happy, that it is a pity in a world full of sunshine and pleasant things, that there should be any wistful faces, empty hands, or lonely little hearts.'Jo March - now Mrs Bhaer - is married, and the couple have set up Plumfield, a boarding school for orphans. With twelve boys to care for, as well as their own two sons, the Bhaers rarely have a minute to themselves, but though they are busy, they are happy and fulfilled, guiding their young charges with wisdom and compassion. With so many lively children, though, it takes the support of the whole March family to prevent the boys' mischievous scrapes from leading to full-scale disasters.Also available in Virago Children's Classics: Little Women, Good Wives and Little Men
By Louisa May Alcott
'I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.' The four March sisters couldn't be more different: Meg, the eldest, is dutiful and patient; Jo is adventurous, with dreams of being a great writer; shy, musical Beth is the peacemaker; and headstrong Amy likes the finer things in life. They may not always get along, but with their father away in the Civil War and their mother struggling to make ends meet, the sisters have never needed each other more. Together, the girls navigate growing up - from first love to sibling rivalry, loss and marriage. Whatever comes their way, they know they can rely on each other.Also available in Virago Children's Classics: Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys
The Little Stranger
By Sarah Waters
Now a major motion picture starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter and Charlotte Rampling, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize'Sarah Waters's masterly novel is . . . gripping, confident, unnerving and supremely entertaining' Hilary MantelIn a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, its owners - mother, son and daughter - struggling to keep pace. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.
The Last Girl
By Nadia Murad, Jenna Krajeski
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize'Those who thought that by their cruelty they could silence her were wrong. Nadia Murad's spirit is not broken and her voice will not be muted' Amal Clooney'Offers powerful insight into the barbarity the Yazidi suffered alongside glimpses into their mystical culture . . . this is an important book by a brave woman, fresh testament to humankind's potential for chilling and inexplicable evil' Ian Birrell, The Times'Courageous . . . Anyone who wants to understand the so called Islamic State should read' The EconomistWith a foreword by Amal Clooney A Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the first Goodwill Ambassador the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations and winner of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, Nadia Murad is a courageous young woman who has endured unimaginable tragedy (losing eighteen members of her family) and degradation through sexual enslavement to ISIS. But she has fought back. This inspiring memoir takes us from her peaceful childhood in a remote village in Iraq through loss and brutality to safety in Germany. Courage and testimony can change the world: this is one of those books.
Living the Dream
By Lauren Berry
'Bridget Jones's Diary for the millennial set' InStyle'Cheeky, sweet and serious' Psychologies'Will strike a chord with anyone who's survived their twenties' Red'A funny quarter-life crisis tale' Glamour---------Does your side-hustle pay the rent? Yes [ ] No [ x ]Is your boss a dick? Yes [ x ] No [ ]Do you ever cry in the toilet? Yes [ x ] No [ ]---------Emma works in advertising.Clem lives with her mum.This is not where they thought they would be by the time their thirties loomed - too old to blag buses but too skint to take cabs. London budgets and bastards from the past spur Emma and Clem towards success, but it's not as easy as everyone else makes it look, right?Living the Dream is a spiky comic novel of friendship, day jobs and the search for a career with meaning.
Love & Fame
By Susie Boyt
Susie Boyt's sixth novel is the story of the first year of a marriage. Eve a nervous young actress from a powerful theatrical dynasty has found herself married to an international expert on anxiety called Jim. Could it work? Should it work? Must the show always go on? This is a highly-strung comedy about love, fame, grief, showbusiness and the depths of the gutter press. Its witty and sincere tone - familiar to fans of Susie's newspaper column - will delight and unnerve in equal measure.
The Little Book of Feminist Saints
By Julia Pierpont, Manjit Thapp
'A beautifully illustrated tome honouring 100 exceptional women dating back to 630BC' RedA Stylist Must-read Book of 2018'This finely illustrated book is brimful of startling anecdotes about females who flouted traditional gender roles' Observer'Short, snappy and inspiring, these mini biographies celebrate women who headed out into the world determined to make a difference' Psychologies'Essential reading for anyone...this beautifully illustration collection...deserves to be framed in every woman's living room - an inspiration for any situation' DivaIn this luminous volume, New York Times bestselling writer Julia Pierpont and artist Manjit Thapp match short, vibrant and surprising biographies with stunning full-colour portraits of secular female 'saints': champions of strength and progress. These women broke ground, broke ceilings and broke moulds - includingMaya Angelou - Jane Austen - Ruby Bridges - Rachel Carson - Shirley Chisholm - Hillary Clinton - Marie Curie & Irene Joliot Curie - Isadora Duncan - Amelia Earhart - Artemisia Gentileschi - Grace Hopper - Dolores Huerta - Frida Kahlo - Billie Jean King - Audre Lorde - Wilma Mankiller - Toni Morrison - Michelle Obama - Sandra Day O'Connor - Sally Ride - Eleanor Roosevelt - Margaret Sanger - Sappho - Nina Simone - Gloria Steinem - Kanno Sugako - Harriet Tubman - Mae West - Virginia Woolf - Malala YousafzaiOpen to any page and find daily inspiration and lasting delight.
A Little Princess
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
A timeless Cinderella story, A Little Princess is one of the best-loved children's classics of all time. A heartwarming tale that champions the power of imagination.'I'd read Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden and loved it - so I tried A Little Princess and liked it even more!' Jacqueline Wilson'Sara Crewe is a Cinderella figure... She is intelligent and good humoured with an infectious warmth that embraces the lowliest of her new acquaintances. The sunshine continues when impoverishment and drudgery befall her and she relies on her private fantasies to preserve her natural zest for life' Guardian'It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.'When Sara Crewe is sent to Miss Minchin's school for young ladies, her indulgent father provides for her as if she were a little princess. But although her toys and clothes are the envy of the other girls, Sara's kindness and gift for storytelling soon win her lots of friends. Then, the tragic news arrives that her father has died penniless and, without wealth or a guardian, Sara is at the mercy of Miss Minchin. Forced to work from dawn until dusk as the school's unpaid servant, she looks over the rooftops from her damp attic room and dreams of a better life. All is not lost: she has friends, courage and imagination - maybe that's all she really needs.A collection that will be coveted by children and adults alike, this list is the best in children's literature, curated by Virago. These are timeless tales with beautiful covers, that will be treasured and shared across the generations. Some titles you will already know; some will be new to you, but there are stories for everyone to love, whatever your age. Our list includes Nina Bawden (Carrie's War, The Peppermint Pig), Rumer Godden (The Dark Horse, An Episode of Sparrows), Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden, The Gift Giving) E. Nesbit (The Psammead Trilogy, The Bastable Trilogy, The Railway Children), L. M. Montgomery (The Anne of Green Gables series) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.
Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew
By Susan Fletcher
Provence, May 1889. The hospital of Saint-Paul-de Mausole is home to the mentally ill. An old monastery, it sits at the foot of Les Alpilles mountains amongst wheat fields, herbs and olive groves. For years, the fragile have come here and lived quietly, found rest behind the shutters and high, sun-baked walls. Tales of the new arrival - his savagery, his paintings, his copper-red hair - are quick to find the warden's wife. From her small white cottage, Jeanne Trabuc watches him - how he sets his easel amongst the trees, the irises and the fields of wheat, and paints in the heat of the day. Jeanne knows the rules; she knows not to approach the patients at Saint-Paul. But this man - paint-smelling, dirty, troubled and intense - is, she thinks, worth talking to. So ignoring her husband's wishes, the dangers and despite the word mad, Jeanne climbs over the hospital wall. She will find that the painter will change all their lives.Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew is a beautiful novel about the repercussions of longing, of loneliness and of passion for life. But it's also about love - and how it alters over time.
London Lies Beneath
By Stella Duffy
In August 1912, three friends set out on an adventure. Two of them come home. Tom, Jimmy and Itzhak have grown up together in the crowded slums of Walworth. They are used to narrow streets, the bustle of East Lane market, extended families weaving in and out of each other's lives. All three boys are expected to follow their father's trades and stay close to home. But Tom has wider dreams. So when he hears of a scouting trip, sailing from Waterloo to Sheppey and the mouth of the Thames - he is determined to go. And Itzhak and Jimmy go with him.Inspired by real events, this is the story of three friends, and a tragedy that will change them for ever. It is also a song of south London, of working class families with hidden histories, of a bright and complex world long neglected. London Lies Beneath is a powerful and compelling novel, rich with life and full of wisdom.
Love Like Salt
By Helen Stevenson
CHOSEN BY MAGGIE O'FARRELL IN THE GUARDIAN AS ONE OF HER BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR'It's a slice of a life . . . a complex, intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, rather lyrical book' -Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love'A moving treatise on inheritance, not just of a disease like cystic fibrosis, but of our attitudes to living and loving, our sense of cultural and familial landscape, and how these intangibles pass down through generations. Stevenson picks apart her life like a strand of DNA to uncover just how we become the sum of our parts' Daily Telegraph'A beautiful memoir . . . [Stevenson] is a novelist and a translator and her memoir is about translation in the larger sense. Translating the world is what we all do but she reminds us that one can hope - with a mind as intricately well read and original as hers - to translate misfortune; to absorb and see beyond it . . . Stevenson makes of poetry, fiction and philosophy a protective shawl for her story . . . Although intense she has a carefree wit' Kate Kellaway, Observer'Motherhood, medicine and music are explored with a spellbinding intensity. It is a beautifully written and entirely honest memoir... Stevenson acknowledges the pain and overwhelming melancholy of being the mother of a sick child but she also manages to wholeheartedly celebrate the life of her family, who are still determined to live as luminous a life as possible, to make a kind of poetry out of the everyday' Eithne Farry Sunday Express'Stevenson is a writer and musician, and her memoir is distinguished by its ravishing prose and sensitive understanding of the role that loss, misfortune and grief play in the story of our lives' Jane Shilling, Daily Mail'Love Like Salt is a human triumph ... it's all told in the most mesmerising of words, no adjective is extraneous and Love Like Salt flows with poetic precision ... Ultimately, Love Like Salt follows in the hallowed footsteps of Helen MacDonald's brilliant H is for Hawk or Cathy Rentzenbrink's The Last Act of Love. These are not misery memoirs but reminders that life comes in all shades - that in the darkest moments, beauty and humour can be found' Francesca Brown, Stylist'Did Clara taste salty when I kissed her? She did. She tasted of mermaids, of the sea.'Love Like Salt is a deeply affecting memoir, beautifully and intelligently written. It is about mothers and daughters, music and illness, genes and inheritance, writing and story-telling. It is about creating joy from the hand you've been dealt and following its lead - in this case to rural France, where the author and her family lived for seven years. And back again.'I had always written, and until the birth of Clara I wrote for a living. Once I knew the Cystic Fibrosis gene had unfolded itself in our daughter's body, like a paper flower meeting water, I felt that to write, even if I had had time, or been able, would have been to squander a kind of power which was needed for tending and nurturing. Every moment became a moment in which I protected my baby. Some of it I did in secret, like a madwoman muttering spells. I thought of her as a candle, cupping my hand around her.A beautifully written memoir, in the vein of H is for Hawk and The Last Act of Love, about motherhood, music and living the best life you can, even in the shadow of illness.
The Laughing Academy
By Shena Mackay
The Laughing Academy is as witty, black and compelling as anything Shena Mackay has written. From antiques fayres to Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, geriatric wards to Crystal Palace, this collection offers a journey around the bizarre yet familiar characters and settings that Mackay has made her own. There are Roy and Muriel Rowley, the fun-running charity-junkies who give blood by the gallon (offending their daughter's religious principles); we meet Gerald Creedy who only loves three beings - his twin brother, Harold, and his two tortoises, Percy and Bysshe - and the mysterious lodger Madame Alphonsine who has the strange powers to make things (including tortoises) disappear; and then there is the rather arrogant bestselling novelist who gives a reading at a women's bookshop only to find, to her horror, that two of her old schoolfriends are in the audience.
By Marilynne Robinson
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church-the only available shelter from the rain-and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister and widower, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the days of suffering that preceded her newfound security.Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood of itinerant work. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a lucky knife to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonize the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Orange Prize-winning Home, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence.
The Last of the Wine
By Mary Renault
'All my sense of the ancient world - its values, its style, the scent of its wars and passions - comes from Mary Renault. Her Theseus novels are perhaps the most exciting of her Greek fictions, and The Last of the Wine the most moving. I turned to writing historical fiction because of something I learned from Renault: that it lets you shake off the mental shackles of your own era, all the categories and labels, and write freely about what really matters to you' EMMA DONOGHUE'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 MILLERCombining the scholarship of a historian with the imagination of a novelist, Mary Renault masterfully brings the ancient world to life in this page-turning drama of the Peloponnesian War.Alexias, a young Athenian of good family, comes of age during the last phases of the Peloponnesian War. The adult world he enters is one in which the power and influence of his class have been undermined by the forces of war. Alexias finds himself drawn to the controversial teachings of Socrates, following him even though it at times endangers both his own life and his family's place in society. Among the great teacher's followers Alexias meets Lysis, and the two youths become inseparable - together they wrestle in the palaestra, journey to the Olympic Games, and fight in the wars against Sparta. As their relationship develops against the background of famine, siege and civil conflict, Mary Renault expertly conveys the intricacies of classical Greek culture.'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'The most vivid and convincing reconstruction of ancient Greek life that I have ever seen' Sunday Times
The Lady and the Unicorn
By Rumer Godden
In a crumbling Calcutta mansion, with faded frescos and a jasmine-covered garden, the Lemarchant family live, clinging to the fringes of respectability: neither Indian nor English, they are accepted by no one and exploited by all.After only a day in India, Stephen Bright meets Rosa Lemarchant. In an ill-fitting dress once belonging to her sister, she is awkward and shy, and couldn't be more different from the stories he has heard of fast 'Eurasian' girls. Ignorant of Calcutta's strict codes of conformity, he falls in love with Rosa and becomes enchanted by the building in which she lives, determined to uncover its secrets.Mystery pervades this story of a memory-haunted house in old Calcutta, as secret as a sundial in a ruined garden.
Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
By Zarqa Nawaz
Being a practicing Muslim in the West is sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding and sometimes downright absurd. How do you explain why Eid never falls on the same date each year; why it is that Halal butchers also sell teapots and alarm clocks; how do you make clear to the plumber that it's essential the toilet is installed within sitting-arm's reach of the tap? Zarqa Nawaz has seen and done it all. And it's not always easy to get things right with the community either: Zarqa tells of being asked to leave the DBW (Dead Body Washing) committee after making unsuitable remarks; of undertaking the momentous trip to Mecca with her husband, without the children, thinking (most incorrectly) that it will also be a nice time to have uninterrupted sex; of doing the unthinkable, and creating Little Mosque on the Prairie, a successful TV sitcom about that very (horrified, then proud) community. You have to laugh.
Little Tales of Misogyny
By Patricia Highsmith
'These little tales are tremendous fun, glorious hand grenades lobbed at the reader by a gleeful, cackling Patricia Highsmith' Dan Rhodes Little Tales of Misogyny is Highsmith's legendary, cultish short-story collection. With an eerie simplicity of style, Highsmith turns our next-door neighbours into sadistic psychopaths, lying in wait among white picket fences and manicured lawns. In these darkly satirical, often hilarious, sketches you'll meet seemingly familiar women with the power to destroy both themselves and the men around them. 'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times
The Last Kings of Sark
By Rosa Rankin-Gee
'My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy.'Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tuition to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling- Pip is awkward, over-literal, and adamant he doesn't need a tutor, and upstairs, his enigmatic mother Esmé casts a shadow over the house.Enter Sofi: the family's holiday cook, a magnetic, mercurial Polish girl with appalling kitchen hygiene, who sings to herself and sleeps naked. When the father of the family goes away on business, Pip's science lessons are replaced by midday rosé and scallop-smuggling, and summer begins. Soon something surprising starts to touch the three together. But those strange, golden weeks cannot last forever. Later, in Paris, Normandy and London, they find themselves looking for the moment that changed everything. Compelling, dark and funny, The Last Kings of Sark is tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities, from an extraordinary new writer.
Losing the Dead
By Lisa Appignanesi
As her mother slipped into the darkness of old age, Lisa Appignanesi began to realise how little she knew of the reality behind the tales she had heard since childhood. She had shunned her parents' stories of war-time Poland, but now she set out to find the truth. In her quest she flew to Warsaw - imagining and revisiting a past she never knew.This is the moving story of the Jews who survived outside the camps, but it is also the author's own voyage of self-discovery - a family memoir of the rites of passage of emigration, childhood, and growing up an outsider in a closed community
Lucky In The Corner
By Carol Anshaw
In many ways, Nora and Fern are just like any other mother and daughter - their tumultuous relationship marked by brooding silences and curt exchanges. But Fern has never really forgiven her mother for detonating their nuclear family in the process of coming out as a lesbian, and replacing Fern's father with her lover, Jeanne. For Nora, Fern is an enigma - incomprehensible.Nora's relationship with Jeanne has settled into domestic stability, triggering in Nora a familiar restlessness that leads to an affair. When Fern discovers her mother's indiscretion, she looks for support to her best friend, Tracy, who is struggling to raise a baby. As Fern begins to take on more of the baby's care herself, she discovers some of the powerful ambiguities of parental love - and starts to find her way back to her own mother.