Early One Morning
By Virginia Baily
A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other, lock eyes for a single moment. One of the women, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents' house in the hills. The other has been herded on to a truck with her husband and their young children, and will shortly be driven off into the darkness. In that endless-seeming moment, before she has time to think about what she is doing, Chiara makes a decision that changes her life for ever. Loudly claiming the woman's son as her own nephew, she demands his immediate return; only as the trucks depart does she begin to realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, single, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead of her, and now a child in her charge - a child with no papers who refuses to speak and gives every indication that he will bolt at the first opportunity. Three decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained, self-possessed woman working as a translator and to all appearances quite content with a life which revolves around work, friends, music and the theatre. But always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, the boy from the truck, whose absence haunts her every moment. Gradually we learn of the havoc wrought on Chiara, her family and her friends by the boy she rescued, and how he eventually broke her heart. And when she receives a phone call from a teenage girl named Maria, claiming to be Daniele's daughter, Chiara knows that it is time for her to face up to the past. This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful, suspenseful, heartbreaking and inspiring tale of love, loss and war's reverberations down the years.
By Andrea Semple
When Martha Seymore finds out about her boyfriend's one-night-stand she doesn't know what to do. And Martha's business is relationships. She's the girl who gets paid to sympathise with the cheated and jilted, the under-sexed and over-attached at Gloss magazine. Realising she's just as clueless as her hapless readers, Martha finds it increasingly difficult to continue giving relationship advice whilst dealing with her own heartache. Also, there's the distinctly unattractive prospect of admitting a failed relationship not only to her colleagues, but also to her oldest friend, Desdemona, whose irritatingly perfect lifestyle would make even a saint harbour murderous tendencies. Worse, Desdemona's new fiance is Alex, Martha's first ex-boyfriend, who, contrary to all expectations, has matured into an infuriatingly sexy and talented chef. Life just isn't fair. Tired of always doing the right thing, Martha starts to wonder is she has the right approach to relationships after all: is the best way to get one man off your mind, at least temporarily, to get another one into your bed?
Loughborough Junction, summer 2013. A shopkeeper has gone missing and rumour is rife. What happened to him? Who has the motive and who the means to do him in? Has he been done in? And where will everyone get their fags, booze and lottery tickets without him? Local artist Beth Lamb sets out to investigate. But when you play detective in your own neighbourhood, things are bound to get complicated...Exquisite Corpse: Or, How Not to Kill Your Neighbours is Southbank Centre's first ever novel, written on Twitter by members of the public as part of the 2013 Festival of Neighbourhood. Curated by ten leading novelists - Stella Duffy, Alex Preston, Kamila Shamsie, Stuart Evers, Naomi Alderman, Vanessa Gebbie, Marcel Theroux, G Willow Wilson, Matt Haig and Joe Dunthorne - this unique publication brings together ideas of collaboration, participation and community... and is a thrilling read too!
East Into Upper East
By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
This brilliant collection spans two worlds - the restless, aspiring society of New York's Upper East Side and the world of India's capital city, New Delhi, where the old India symbolized by Gandhi's spinning wheel is giving way to one powered by industry and property development. A rich cast of characters inhabits these stories - Indian businessmen and holy women, students, society hostesses and ambitious young politicians; New Yorkers preoccupied with money yet also in search of meaning - anxious and often manipulative parents, alienated children, men and women struggling with their longings and failures and their complicated sex lives. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's quiet but insistent probing goes to the very heart of her characters, showing us all their complexities and contradictions. In these absorbing stories, there is a feeling of ambivalence, a subtle sensuality and a poignant sense of time passing. Like all great storytellers, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala suggests many questions but supplies no easy answers. This is a fascinating and wonderfully readable collection which is also a literary event.
Everybody Has Everything
By Katrina Onstad
After years of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving a child, Ana and James become parents overnight, when a terrible accident makes them guardians to 2 ½ year-old Finn. Suddenly, two people who were struggling to come to terms with childlessness are thrust into the opposite situation - responsible for a small toddler whose mother's survival is in question. Finn's crash-landing in their tidy, urban lives throws into high relief some troubling truths about their deepest selves, both separately and as a couple. Several chaotic, poignant, and life-changing weeks as a most unusual family give rise to an often unasked question: Can everyone be a parent?
By Iain Banks
Daniel Weir used to be a famous - not to say infamous - rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty-one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He's made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he'll regret forever (however long that turns out to be). Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted - and who can blame them? And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future - well, the future is something else.
By Candice Dow
Ayana Blue is best known for the relationship advice she gives to women who call in to her radio show. After working hard to make a career for herself, Ayana is finally able to splurge and purchase the dream home she's always wanted. A friend puts her in contact with top realtor Cameron Small who is charming, sexy, and very good at what he does. She immediately falls for the home and him, and suddenly a simple business transaction turns into a hot and steamy night of passion and lust.Reeling over her evening with Cameron, Ayana goes into work feeling extra inspired. That is, until a woman calls in claiming that Ayana slept with her husband the previous night. Everyone in the studio thinks the woman is just an angry caller, but Ayana knows she's gotten herself into a situation she will soon regret.
By David Cristofano
THE EXCEPTIONS will be Jonathan Bovaro's story, The Girl She Used to Be from the young mafioso's perspective. As part of the Bovaro family, one of the most powerful and respected families in organized crime, violence is passed down to each member like other families share blue eyes or musical talent. Jonathan Bovaro always knew he become a part of that legacy, but he never realized how the beautiful little blonde girl he saw when he was ten years old could change the course of his life and the his family's legacy forever.Melody Grace McCartney was with her parents, entering his family's restaurant, when Jonathan first saw her--a beautiful little girl with golden ringlets and an innocence he'd never seen before. But when the McCartneys saw a demonstration of that legendary Bovaro violent streak, it was clear they needed to be taken care of before they could tell prosecutors what they saw. But it was too late. The McCartneys joined the Witness Protection Program, but they're anything but safe.As he comes of age, Jonathan is chosen to exterminate the McCartneys and prove himself. But as he watches her grow up, he can't get the little girl who becomes a beautiful but broken woman out of his mind....or his heart. Within the Bovaro clan, he pledges to kill her and her family. But he does that to keep her safe, to protect her from upstarts in the Bovaro organization who are out to gain power by exterminating her. When they finally meet, Jonathan falls in love with Melody. She knows a part of himself that nobody else knows, the part of himself that he's hidden away. Torn between this duty to his family and his love for Melody, the mysterious, dangerous, yet vulnerable mafioso must choose between the life he's always known, the destiny his family carved out for him, and a future unlike anything he ever imagined.
By Alan Lightman
A modern classic, Einstein's Dreams is a fictional collage of stories dreamed by Albert Einstein in 1905, when he worked in a patent office in Switzerland. As the defiant but sensitive young genius is creating his theory of relativity, a new conception of time, he imagines many possible worlds. In one, time is circular, so that people are fated to repeat triumphs and failures over and over. In another, there is a place where time stands still, visited by lovers and parents clinging to their children. In another, time is a nightingale, sometimes trapped by a bell jar.Now translated into thirty languages, Einstein's Dreams has inspired playwrights, dancers, musicians, and painters all over the world. In poetic vignettes, it explores the connections between science and art, the process of creativity, and ultimately the fragility of human existence.
The Empty Nesters
By Nina Bell
Clover Jones and Laura Dangerfield have been best friends since their children were born. Along with Clover's stylish, powerful friend, Alice, they share holidays, sleepovers, school runs and childcare. They're like one big family.But all families have their secrets. When the children leave home, Clover and Laura's lives and marriages change forever, and the old rules on love and loyalty no longer apply. And when Alice decides she wants what they've got, Clover and Laura have to find out who they really are. Without the children, can their marriages - and friendship - survive?
Edge Of Sight
By Roxanne St. Claire
Samantha McDowell is working her way through law school as a waitress, her life finally on track to become a public defender. While at the restaurant, she witnesses the murder of media star Joshua Sterling. As a witness, her life is in danger so she turns to her college friend Vivi Angelino. Unfortunately, help comes in the form of Vivi's brother, Zach, a man Samantha is alternately terrified of and magnetically attracted to. The only reason Zach agrees to offer 24/7 protection of Samantha McDowell is to help the new business he and Vivi are building. Even if she can't pay much, a security gig for a criminal witness would look good for the Guardian Angelinos and help get them other clients. Wasn't that the only reason? Or was it the chance to be around a seriously hot woman whose company he had enjoyed for a brief time before he left for Iraq? The only problem is that keeping Samantha safe gets increasingly difficult. Almost as difficult as keeping his hands off her.
The Empress Of Ice Cream
By Anthony Capella
FRANCE 1670. Carlo Demirco's mastery of the extraordinary new art of creating ice creams has brought him wealth, women, and a position at the court of Louis XIV.Then Carlo is sent to London, along with Louise de Keroualle, an impoverished lady-in-waiting. The most powerful ministers of two countries have decided that Louise is to be Charles II's new mistress, and will stop at nothing to make sure she submits.But Carlo too is fascinated by the enigmatic Frenchwoman.With the king's every pleasure the subject of plots and betrayals, and Carlo's only weapons his exquisite ice creams, soon he must decide . . . Where do his loyalties lie?
By Jesse Kellerman
Things aren't going well for Joseph Geist. He's broke. His graduate school advisor won't talk to him. And his girlfriend has kicked him out of her apartment, leaving him homeless and alone. It's a tough spot for a philosopher to be in, and he's ready to give up all hope of happiness when an ad in the local paper catches his eye.'Conversationalist wanted', it reads. Which sounds perfect to Joseph. After all, he's never done anything in his life except talk. And the woman behind the ad turns out to be the perfect employer: brilliant, generous, and willing to pay him for making conversation. Before long, Joseph has moved in with her, and has begun to feel very comfortable in her big, beautiful house. So comfortable, in fact, that he would do anything to stay there-forever.
Everyone Is Beautiful
By Katherine Center
Piling everything she owns into her car, Lanie leaves family and friends behind - all so her husband can realise his dreams of becoming a professional musician. But, somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she's willing to count after she said 'I do', Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It's time to fish her va-va-voom out of the nappy bin and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her existence - harder said than done, when by finding herself she seems to be losing everything else in the process.
Evenings At The Argentine Club
By Julia Amante
When Victor Torres and his wife Jaqueline left Buenos Aires for southern California, they imagined a life of ease. But what they found instead was a world of frustration. Victor owns a restaurant but his hard work has yet to yield the kind of success he craves. Jaqui has lived her whole life for her daughters, only to feel isolated and unappreciated now that they are grown. And Victoria, their eldest, is torn between trying to be the perfect Argentine daughter and an independent American woman.Antonio and Lucia Orteli had similar dreams when they came to America and now they have similar problems. Especially with their only son Eric, who left the family and their close-knit Argentine community years ago in pursuit of his own dreams.When Eric unexpectedly shows up one evening at the Argentine Club - the heart of their community--a series of events begins that will bring these two families closer than ever. New relationships are formed; old relationships are tested. In the end everyone will learn that it's possible to live the life you want without hurting the ones you love.
Every Breath You Take
By Judith McNaught
It's the eve of wealthy philanthropist Cecil Wyatt's eightieth birthday but all the money in the world won't bring back his missing grandson, William Wyatt. And the only thing that seems clear so far is that foul play was involved. The family, the police, the media - all have tried in vain to discover the young man's fate. Now suspicion has turned shockingly toward William's own half-brother, the cool and enigmatic Mitchell Wyatt. Kate Donovan never dreamed that a chance romantic encounter on a tropical island paradise would lead to her being named as a suspect in a high-society murder case. But after Kate tangles with the darkly charismatic Mitchell Wyatt, she finds herself in serious trouble. As the Chicago police tighten their net, it will take all of Kate's ingenuity to clear her name, and the help of a man who may or may not be a dangerous catch...
The Evening Of The Holiday
By Shirley Hazzard
Passionate undercurrents sweep in and out of this eloquent novel about a love affair in the summer countryside in Italy and its inevitable end. It takes place in a setting of pastoral beauty during a time of celebration -- a festival. Sophie, half English, half Italian, meets Tancredi, an Italian who is separated from his wife and family. In telling the story of their love affair, author Shirley Hazzard punctures the placid surface of polite Italian society to reveal the intense yearnings and surprising responses in sophisticated people caught up in emotions they do not always understand.
The Englishman's Boy
By Guy Vanderhaeghe
1873. Under a full moon, two Assiniboine Indians rustle twenty horses from a group of sleeping white men, wolf hunters taking in their pelts to trade. This sets the scene for two parallel narratives. One is the haunting story of a young drifter known as 'the Englishman's boy' who joins the wolf hunters en route north to Canada on the trail of the horse thieves. Vanderhaeghe's rendering of the stark, dramatic beauty of the landscape becomes a perfect backdrop for vivid scenes of action, adventure and violence. The other story is set in 1920s Hollywood, where Harry Vincent, a struggling young hack writer in a movie studio, is plucked from obscurity by the enigmatic studio head, Damon Ira Chance. Vincent is enlisted to find the elusive old-time Western actor, Shorty McAdoo. Chance believes McAdoo will be able to provide him with the authentic material he needs to fulfil his ambition to make the big film about the American West. But Chance has a darker ambition and the story Vincent painfully extracts brings the two narratives together in a brutal climax.
By Frank Deford
Gavin Grey is everyone's All-American. A star running back at the University of North Carolina in the late 1950s, he graces the covers of Time and LIFE magazines and appears on the "Ed Sullivan Show." Everyone wants a piece of him or to be around him to bask in his glory, including his nephew Donny, who narrates the story and is Gavin's only real confidant.After college, Gavin goes on to the NFL where he has a solid career. As his playing days wind down and the cheering stops, however, he finds the adjustment to life as an ex-athlete difficult to accept. His wife "Babs" goes off to work, becomes the primary breadwinner for the family while Gavin continues to trade on his memories of old times, when he was everybody's All-American.
By Gore Vidal
Here is the story of arguably America's finest hour; of the time when the twentieth century dawned, Queen Victoria died, and America, basking deliciously in excess wealth, rather thought it might snap up an empire of its own. Yet while politicians muse over the potential of China or the Philippines - even Russia - empires are being built at home; railway empires; industrial empires; newspaper empires. Into this arena float the delectable Caroline Sanford, putative heiress and definite catch. Caroline is an oddity; she has been raised in France where they teach rich girls to talk and think. American society women, required only to think of themselves as the most interesting beings on earth, are rather alarmed. American men are amused - until Caroline shirks from marriage, sues her brother, buys a newspaper, and becomes that even greater oddity - a powerful woman. Mingling with the movers and shakers of the day - with President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Randolf Hearst, Henry James, the Astors, Vanderbilts and Whitneys - Caroline Sanford echoes the glorious passage of the United States as it sweeps into a new century, reaching boldly for the world.