By Charlie Hart
'A love letter to English horticulture written by a passionate gardener. A must-read for anyone who has dreamt of cultivating their own patch of land' Jane Perrone'Skymeadow is a fascinating book . . . Every flower, every passing bud, every change in the season is described with rapture' Jilly CooperWhen Charlie Hart first visited Peverels, a small farmhouse that sits lazily on the lip of a hill running down into the Peb Valley, he was at breaking point, grieving the loss of his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. He and his wife Sybilla felt that their London life had been steadily growing in noise: the noise of grief, the noise of busyness, the noise that comes from the expectations of others and, for Charlie, the constant clamour of dissatisfaction at work. At Peverels, Charlie found an expanse of untouched meadowland, the perfect setting for an audacious garden. Charlie felt an unquenchable urge to dig, to create something. The days he spent wrestling with the soil in the rose garden were the days in which he mourned the loss of his parents. Gardening has taught him that you can dig for victory, but you can also dig for mental health. As the garden formed around Charlie, he buried his fears and anxieties within it. A garden that is now known as Skymeadow and grows with a lusty, almost biblical vigour.In Skymeadow, Charlie seamlessly weaves together his own memoir with that of his garden. The result is a lyrical and incisive story of mental health at an all-time low, the healing powers of digging and, ultimately, a celebration of nature.
By Stephen Glover
'I thoroughly enjoyed Splash! It's a delicious confection of excellent plotting, an inventively bonkers cast of characters, subtle insights into the world of newspapers and a satisfying ending which invokes the great Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece, Scoop. A fine comedy of manners by a writer who knows the media inside out' BEL MOONEYSam Blunt is a drunken, broken-down tabloid reporter, working for a once-mighty newspaper struggling to come to terms with the digital age. With the assistance of Benedict, an earnest though clever wet-behind-the-ears young intern on the paper, Sam grapples to uncover the story of the century which reveals the political corruption and cynicism at the heart of a rotten Establishment.As they try to nail the story amid a series of capers, Sam and Benedict are frustrated by the self-serving proprietor of the Daily Bugle, various self-appointed do-gooders who want to rein in the Press, and Trevor Yapp, the malign and untrustworthy editor of Bugle Online. Splash! is a satire of the Press and politics in a modern London peopled by a Chinese billionaire would-be press proprietor, a worldly bishop, neglected immigrants, a corrupt and plaintive Prime Minister, and journalists who are often most interested in doing one another down.Yet however self-serving newspapers may sometimes be, Sam and Benedict are ultimately on the side of the angels as they battle to write their triumphant story.
Sonic Youth Slept On My Floor
By Dave Haslam
A ROUGH TRADE MUSIC BOOK OF THE YEAR'Beautifully judged account of the Manchester scene . . . There is something of the fairy tale about Dave Haslam's sage joyful testament to the kind of life that nobody could ever plan, a happy aligning of a cultural moment and a young man who instinctively knew that it was his once upon a time' Victoria Segal, Sunday Times'Witty, sometimes dark, revealing, insightful, everything one could hope for from one of those folk without whom independent music simply wouldn't exist' Classic RockSonic Youth Slept on My Floor is writer and DJ Dave Haslam's wonderfully evocative memoir. It is a masterful insider account of the Hacienda, the rise of Madchester and birth of the rave era, and how music has sound-tracked a life and a generation.In the late 1970s Dave Haslam was a teenage John Peel listener and Joy Division fan, his face pressed against a 'window', looking in at a world of music, books and ideas. Four decades later, he finds himself in the middle of that world, collaborating with New Order on a series of five shows in Manchester. Into the story of those intervening decades, Haslam weaves a definitive portrait of Manchester as a music city and the impact of a number of life-changing events, such as the nightmare of the Yorkshire Ripper to the shock of the Manchester Arena terror attack.The cast of Haslam's life reads like a who's who of '70s, '80s and '90s popular culture: Tony Wilson, Nile Rodgers, Terry Hall, Neneh Cherry, Tracey Thorn, John Lydon, Johnny Marr, Ian Brown, Laurent Garnier and David Byrne. From having Morrissey to tea and meeting writers such as Raymond Carver and Jonathan Franzen to discussing masturbation with Viv Albertine and ecstasy with Roisin Murphy, via having a gun pulled on him at the Hacienda and a drug dealer threatening to slit his throat, this is not your usual memoir.
Star of the East
By Tasha Alexander
From New York Times best-selling author Tasha Alexander comes Star of the East, a Lady Emily holiday story that will enchant readers and keep them guessing until the very last page... Emily and Colin Hargreaves make it a rule to spend as little time as possible with her parents in Kent, but are unable to refuse Lady Catherine Bromley's invitation to join them for a pre-Christmas party that includes the family of Ala Kapur Singh, a powerful Punjabi maharaja who has come to England after receiving the Order of the Star of India. Lady Bromley, quite taken with the exotic beauty and spectacular jewels of the maharani and her daughter, Sunita, throws herself with abandon into planning a spectacular feast. But when a priceless diamond maang tika and a simple gold bangle disappear from Sunita's room, a diplomatic incident seems imminent, particularly when the maang tika turns up in Emily's possession. Emily may have what appears to be the more valuable of the two pieces, but the maang tika cannot be worn without the bangle, upon which is engraved the words necessary to ward off a curse placed on the set 500 years ago by a princess forced to forsake the man she loved. Sunita must wear the maang tika at her wedding but cannot do so without the bangle. Can Emily convince the maharaja that she is not a thief? And, more important, can she and Colin find the bangle?'A holiday treat for Lady Emily fans' Library Journal
The Sheep Stell
By Janet White
'Every animal needs its own territory and humans are no exception. My plans were clear at an early age. I intended to live somewhere wild and supremely beautiful . . . I imagined searching the whole world for a place, high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery, challenging and virginal, untouched and unknown.'Over twenty years ago, well before the current trend for nature writing, Janet White wrote The Sheep Stell, a beautiful and evocative memoir about her life as a shepherdess.Throughout her life Janet has always tended sheep - first as a young woman in the Cheviot Hills, where she was treated with bewilderment by the other shepherds, before leaving Britain to live on an uninhabited island off the coast of New Zealand with a bonfire as her only means of communication with the mainland and only her flock of 200 sheep for company. After a brutal attack by an obsessed young man bent on her destruction, she was forced to leave her beloved island and return to England, where she married, became a smallholder in Sussex and finally bought a hill farm in Somerset where she still lives today. Her memoir tells the tale of a woman before her time, with incredible courage and determination, and wanting only peace and solitude in nature and a life with animals. Underpinning The Sheep Stell is Janet's devotion to the land and her total commitment to combining the principles of conservation with successful farming.Janet White is a trailblazer, both in her life and work. The Sheep Stell is testament to that and homage to the nature we're so rapidly losing touch with. It is a true celebration of the pastoral and pure escapism to a simpler life.'This is a strange and lovely book, and quiet as it is, it makes you gasp at the profoundly lived quality of the life it so modestly describes' Jenny Diski'A hymn to country solitude, lyrical, unpretentious and deeply felt' Colin Thubron
By James Phelan
'Jed Walker is right there in Reacher's rear-view mirror.' Lee Child, international bestselling author.Jed Walker is the man you want watching your back.A sinister group - code-named Zodiac - has launched devastating global attacks. Twelve targets across the world, twelve code-named missions.Operating distinct sleeper cells, they are the ultimate terrorist organisation, watching and waiting for a precise attack to activate the next group. It is a frightening and deadly efficient way to stay one step ahead. And cause the most chaos. For ex-CIA operative Jed Walker, chaos is his profession. On the outer, burned by his former agency, he is determined to clear his name. Stopping Zodiac is the only way. Desperate to catch the killers and find the mastermind, he can't afford to lose the next lead, but that means that sometimes the terrorists have to win.Ultimately, it all comes down to Walker: he's the only one who can break the chain and put the group to sleep . . . permanently. It's exactly eighty-one hours until deadline.Praise for James Phelan:'James Phelan has produced a big, juicy, rollicking tale in the spirit of Robert Ludlum. We haven't seen an international thriller like this for a long time' Jeffery Deaver'A fast and furious ride through a complicated maze of timely political intrigue. James Phelan has earned a new avid fan' Steve Berry'A corker ... Phelan writes in swift, gritty prose, never wasting a word. An espionage novel with grunt.' Sydney Morning Herald
Secret Diary of a 1970s Secretary
By Sarah Shaw
Secret Diary of a 1970s Secretary is the diary of Sarah Shaw for the year of 1971, which she recently uncovered whilst clearing out her loft. Working as a secretary for the BBC at the time, Sarah's diary describes the life of a suburban girl who certainly wasn't 'swinging' but who was, ironically, not only working on a cutting edge BBC survey on sex education but also in the throes of an unlikely affair with middle-aged, working-class, Irish lift attendant, Frank.Sarah talks humorously and frankly about what it was like to be a young, working woman at the time as well as life at the BBC during the 1970s and the difficulties of navigating her first romance. She is funny and self-effacing with a self-knowledge that only few attain. Her innocence and naivety are hugely charming and the diary forms a valuable snapshot of a time not so far away that is now lost to us.
By Emlyn Rees, Josie Lloyd
From the creators of the bestselling parodies We're Going on a Bar Hunt, The Very Hungover Caterpillar and The Teenager Who Came to Tea.Shabby - because there is no word for Hygge in English.We all know Shabby when we see it. It's that welcoming pair of pants drying on the radiator. That half-mouldy, but perfectly gin-and-tonic-worthy lemon on display in the fruit bowl. That tin of plum tomatoes in the cupboard with a sell-by date of 1983. It's never dusting higher than your tallest friend's line of sight. But Shabby is more than just an attitude; it's a quintessentially British way of life, tried and tested for generations, and founded on the Four Central Pillars of Shabbism, Messiness, Dilapidation, Clutter and Bodged Works.Being Shabby is about spending less time fussing and clearing up and getting stressed out about stuff that doesn't really matter anyway. And more time hanging out with your family and friends. It's a celebration of a life that is neither tidy nor empty, but rather one that is splendidly cluttered and full.Shabby - because life's just too bloody short to waste time striving for perfection, or caring too much about what other people think about you and yours. Instead of worrying about what could be, it's time to start celebrating what actually is.Praise for The Very Hungover Caterpillar'Hilarious and painfully accurate, The Very Hungover Caterpillar is liable to be one of those parodies that becomes more famous than the original' IndependentPraise for We're Going on a Bar Hunt'. . . a parody that will draw a smile from any parent' Guardian Praise for The Teenager Who Came to Tea'A hilarious parody of a much-loved children's book and a perfect read for anyone who remembers the original, or has ever been a teenager or is the parent / grandparent of a teenager today' gransnet.com
By David Roberts
A murder mystery featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity BrowneAugust 1939, the last hot days of a perfect English summer as the certainty of war descends. Newlyweds Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne are determined to spend these last days of peace quietly in their new house in a sleepy Sussex village - a honeymoon of sorts. But fight against it as he might, for Edward it turns out to be a busman's holiday. When poet Byron Gates is bizarrely murdered after the village fete - executed, in fact, his head chopped off on a wooden block - Edward is asked to investigate.Alas, murder is not yet done with Verity and Edward, for even in the hallowed studios of Broadcasting House, murder dares to rear its ugly head. Before Verity can take up her new foreign posting, there are more deaths and the intrepid couple embark on one of their most dangerous investigations to date.Praise for David Roberts:'A gripping, richly satisfying whodunit with finely observed characters, sparkling with insouciance and stinging menace' Peter James'A really well-crafted and charming mystery story' Daily Mail'A perfect example of golden-age mystery traditions with the cobwebs swept away' Guardian
By David Roberts
A murder mystery featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne.August 1935. The Duke of Mersham's exclusive party ends in tragedy as General Sir Alistair Craig VC collapses, victim of a poisoned glass of port, just as Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne join the soirée. The unlikely pair - the younger son of a duke and a journalist committed to the Communist Party - find common ground as they seek the truth and discover that everyone present that evening, including the Duke of Mersham himself, had motive for wanting Sir Alistair out of the picture.But more deaths will follow before Lord Edward and Verity can get to the bottom of this intriguing mystery...Praise for David Roberts:'A classic murder mystery [...] and a most engaging pair of amateur sleuths' Charles Osborne, author of The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie'A gripping, richly satisfying whodunit with finely observed characters, sparkling with insouciance and stinging menace' Peter James'A really well-crafted and charming mystery story' Daily Mail'A perfect example of golden-age mystery traditions with the cobwebs swept away' Guardian
By David Roberts
A murder mystery featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity BrowneReturning from Prague with suspected tuberculosis, Verity Browne checks into a private clinic on Henley-on-Thames - the perfect place for her new fiancé, Lord Edward Corinth, to keep an eye on her. While Verity recuperates at the clinic, Edward is called to investigate a series of murders. Edward's dentist, Dr Eric Silver has been found murdered, shortly after sharing with Edward his suspicions about the deaths of three of his elderly patients. Dr Silver thinks the three deaths have an entomological connection: General Lowther had had a heart attack drinking a wine called Clos des Mouches; Hermione Totteridge, a well-known gardener, had been poisoned by the new insecticide with which she had been experimenting; and James Herold had been stung to death by his bees.Edward's investigation comes to a thrilling climax during what many believe will be the last Henley Royal Regatta before a new European war, and both Edward and Verity are threatened by someone, or something, wicked.Praise for David Roberts:'A classic murder mystery [...] and a most engaging pair of amateur sleuths' Charles Osborne, author of The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie'A really well-crafted and charming mystery story' Daily Mail'A perfect example of golden-age mystery traditions with the cobwebs swept away' Guardian
The Shadow of the Great Game
By Narendra Singh Sarila
The untold story of India's Partition.The partition of India in 1947 was the only way to contain intractable religious differences as the subcontinent moved towards independence - or so the story goes. But this dramatic new history reveals previously overlooked links between British strategic interests - in the oil wells of the Middle East and maintaining access to its Indian Ocean territories - and partition. Narendra Singh Sarela reveals here how hte Great Gane against the Soviet Union cast a long shadow. The top-secret documentary evidence unearthed by the author sheds new light on several prominent figures, including Gandhi, Jinnah, Mountbatten, Churchill, Attlee, Wavell and Nerhu. This radical reassessment of one of the key events in British colonial history is important in itself, but its claim that many of the roots of Islamic terrorism sweeping the world today lie in the partition of India has much wider implications.
By Howard Watson
'We were told we would never get planning consent and we did. We were told we would never be able to fund it and we did. Then we were told we would never be able to build it and we did.' Irvine SellarIn 2000, Irvine Sellar, a former market trader famous for helping to create the look of the Swinging Sixties on Carnaby Street, stood on a rooftop in Southwark, London, and decided to build the tallest building in western Europe. He had virtually no experience, and he wanted to build at the wrong height, in the wrong place, on the wrong side of the river and at the wrong time.Twelve years later, the Shard, a 'vertical city' designed by one of the world's leading architects, Renzo Piano, changed the skyline of London. It immediately became one of the most instantly recognizable and admired contemporary buildings in the world.This is the story of one man's vision for London and his determination to redefine an ancient but maligned part of the city despite seemingly insurmountable challenges including mass opposition, a huge planning inquiry, the financial crash, and major construction issues that required radical improvisation at every turn. At every twist in the tale, Sellar refused to give up.The Shard is a tale of extreme ambition, innovation and a relentless desire to recast the skyscraper as a force for good.
The Silence Between Breaths
By Cath Staincliffe
Eight strangers.One deadly secret.Passengers boarding the 10.35 train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed. Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. Onboard customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . .How do you survive the unthinkable?
The Spaces In Between
By Caroline Jones
'Beautiful and heart-rending . . . I could smell Africa on every page' - A. A. GillCaroline Jones was born in Ethiopia and spent most of her childhood in East Africa. She read French and Spanish at Oxford University and went on to make documentaries for the BBC. Now aged 39, she is happily married with two children. Yet beneath this seemingly perfect public exterior, Caroline was in fact privately indulging in a pattern of destructive behaviour that left her exhausted, anxious, depressed and full of self-loathing - from the ages of 17 to 31, for 14 years, Caroline was suffering from an extremely widespread yet comparatively little-talked about mental illness - bulimia. Caroline is articulate, intelligent, insightful and frank about her experiences, interweaving the journey of her illness with memories of her African childhood, her time at Oxford, her work for the BBC, her family and other relationships, making for a warm and engaging memoir. Her perceptive, retrospective approach to her illness allows her to transcend the topic of bulimia and talk more generally about self-destructive behaviour - there are lessons here which will speak to a little part of everyone.
Skin and Bone
By Robin Blake
1743, and the tanners of Preston are a pariah community, plying their unwholesome trade beside a stretch of riverside marsh where many Prestonians by ancient right graze their livestock. When the body of a newborn child is found in one of their tanning pits, Cragg's enquiry falls foul of a cabal of merchants, dead set on modernising the town's economy and regarding the despised tanners - and Cragg's apparent championship of them - as obstacles to their plan. The murder of a baby is just the evidence they need to get rid of the tanners once and for all. But the inquest into the baby's death is disrupted when the inn in which it is being held mysteriously burns down. Then Cragg himself faces a charge of lewdness, jeopardising his whole future as a coroner. But the fates have not finished playing with him just yet. The sudden and suspicious death of a very prominent person may just, with the help of Fidelis's sharp forensic skills, bring about Cragg's redemption...
By Alan Palmer
Ypres today is an international 'Town of Peace', but in 1914 the town, and the Salient, the 35-mile bulge in the Western Front, of which it is part, saw a 1500-day military campaign of mud and blood at the heart of the First World War that turned it into the devil's nursery. Distinguished biographer and historian of modern Europe Alan Palmer tells the story of the war in Flanders as a conflict that has left a deep social and political mark on the history of Europe. Denying Germany possession of the historic town of Ypres and access to the Channel coast was crucial to Britain's victory in 1918. But though Flanders battlefields are the closest on the continent to English shores, this was always much more than a narrowly British conflict. Passchendaele, the Menin Road, Hill 60 and the Messines Ridge remain names etched in folk memory. Militarily and tactically the four-year long campaign was innovative and a grim testing ground with constantly changing ideas of strategy and disputes between politicians and generals. Alan Palmer details all its aspects in an illuminating history of the place as much as the fighting man's experience.
The Speaker's Wife
By Quentin Letts
The Rev Tom Ross's quiet and semi-alcoholic life as chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons is about to be shattered. Pastor Petroc Stone of a central London, evangelical church gives sanctuary to a young man being chased by the police for making an anti-Islamic protest. Politicians rage about the Church of England giving a safe haven to a dangerous criminal and Islamists surround the church building, furious at the boy's insult.Meanwhile, the charismatic, white-maned Don of Doubt, Augustus Dymock, and his secular campaign, the Thought Foundation, are pressuring the Church to sell hundreds of its under-used places of worship.As the stories twist and flow together, Ross finds himself caught up in a world of bribes, violence and political spin and, at high personal cost, he must confront his demons. The Speaker's Wife mixes Westminster intrigue with searching depictions of an England which has neglected its beliefs. Laugh-aloud satire is mixed with moving passages about the human condition and even a fairytale love story.
A Slice of Pi
By Liz Strachan
A new look at maths without the Boring Bits . . .How many trillions are there in a googol? Which fractions are vulgar? What famous mathematician refused to eat beans? And which one never travelled without his pet spider in an ivory box?Mathematical theorems and equations are inextricably entangled with the great, and often eccentric thinkers who made breakthrough discoveries. Teacher and numbers expert Liz Strachan takes readers beyond the classroom, combining anecdotes, proofs and party tricks to reveal the foundations of algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a clear and entertaining style.From the Difference Engine to magic squares and from the Fibonacci rabbits to Fermat's Last Theorem, this fascinating tour of the weird world of numbers, imaginary, real or infinite, will appeal to anyone with an enquiring mind.
Secrets in the Stones
By Tessa Harris
The 18th-century meets the sharp blade of forensic science...Newly released from the notorious asylum known as Bedlam, Lady Lydia Farrell finds herself in an equally terrifying position - as a murder suspect - when she stumbles upon the mutilated body of Sir Montagu Malthus in his study at Boughton Hall. Meanwhile, Dr Thomas Silkstone has been injured in a duel with a man who may or may not have committed the grisly deed of which Lydia is accused. Despite his injury, Thomas hopes to clear his beloved's good name by conducting a postmortem on the victim. With a bit of detective work, he learns that Montagu's throat was slit by no ordinary blade, but a ceremonial Sikh dagger from India - a clue that may be connected to the fabled lost mines of Golconda. From the mysterious disappearance of a cursed diamond buried with Lydia's dead husband, to the undying legend of a hidden treasure map, Thomas must follow a trail of foreign dignitaries, royal agents - and even more victims - to unveil the sinister and shocking secrets in the stones...The Dr Thomas Silkstone Mysteries are perfect for fans of Antonia Hodgson's The Devil in the Marshalsea, E. S. Thomson's Jem Flockhart series and Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent.Praise for Tessa Harris:'A densely plotted yarn about a crafty 18th-century poisoner wreaking havoc on the Oxfordshire estate of a noble family . . . we await - indeed, demand - the sequel' New York Times Book Review'Harris' research is meticulous. The results are a historical CSI with a romance and excellent mystery' Romantic Times'Populated with real historical characters and admirably researched, Harris's novel features a complex and engrossing plot' Library Journal'The author will have you flipping the pages at each unexpected turn in the plot. The novel is an absorbing read with a shocking twist at the end' Historical Novel Society'Well-rounded characters, cleverly concealed evidence, and an assured prose style point to a long run for this historical series' Publishers Weekly Starred Review'The exceptionally strong historical background in this 1780s London-set novel makes it impossible to put down. With each book, the mysteries have become stronger . . . Silkstone is an admirable character and he captures readers' emotional interest' RT Book ReviewsThe Dr Thomas Silkstone Mysteries:The Anatomist's ApprenticeThe Dead Shall Not RestThe Devil's BreathThe Lazarus CurseShadow of the RavenSecrets in the Stones