The Valentine House
By Emma Henderson
'Henderson's Grace Williams Says It Loud was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and this more than matches it.'Elizabeth Buchan, Daily MailIn June 1914, Sir Anthony Valentine, a keen mountaineer, arrives with his family to spend the summer in their chalet, high in the French Alps. There, for the first time, fourteen-year-old foundling Mathilde starts work as one of the 'uglies' - village girls employed as servants and picked, it is believed, to ensure they don't catch Sir Anthony's roving eye. For Mathilde it is the start of a life-long entanglement with les anglais - strange, exciting people, far removed from the hard grind of farming. Except she soon finds the Valentines are less carefree than they appear, with a curiously absent daughter no one talks about. It will be decades - disrupted by war, accidents and a cruel betrayal - before Mathilde discovers the key to the mystery. And in 1976, the year Sir Anthony's great-great grandson comes to visit, she must decide whether to use it. Vividly evoking the dramatic landscape that so enthrals the Valentines, this deeply involving, intriguing novel tells the story of an English family through the generations and a memorable French woman, whose lives seem worlds apart yet which become inextricably connected.
By Ivy Pochoda
Summer in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a blue collar neighbourhood where hipster gourmet supermarkets push against tired housing projects, and the East River opens into the bay. Bored and listless, fifteen-year-old June and Val are looking for some fun. Forget the boys, the bottles, the coded whistles. Val wants to do something wild and a little crazy: take a raft out onto the bay.But out on the water, as the bright light of day gives way to darkness, the girls disappear. Only Val will survive, washed ashore semi-conscious in the weeds.June's shocking disappearance will reverberate in the lives of a diverse cast of Red Hook residents. Fadi, the Lebanese bodega owner, trolls for information about the crime. Cree, just beginning to pull it together after his father's murder, unwittingly makes himself the chief suspect - although an elusive guardian seems to have other plans for him. As Val emerges from the shadow of her missing friend, her teacher Jonathan, Juilliard drop-out and barfly, will be forced to confront a past riddled with tragic sins of omission.In VISITATION STREET, Ivy Pochoda combines intensely vivid prose with breathtaking psychological insight to explore a cast of solitary souls, pulled by family, love, and betrayal, who yearn for a chance to escape, no matter the cost.
By Adam Penenberg
Here's how it works: you read a book, you recommend it to a friend. That friend tells another friend. And another... until the book becomes this year's word-of-mouth sensation.This is the first to analyze the power of the 'pass-it-on' phenomenon, introducing us to the architects of the mightily efficient, money-spinning model known as the Viral Loop - the secret behind some of the most successful businesses in recent history. Outfits such as Google, eBay, Flickr and Facebook all employ the model at their core; all have seen their stock valuations skyrocket within years of forming. The genius lies in the model's reliance on replication: what's the point of using Facebook if none of your friends can see your profile, or using Flickr if you can't share your photos? Where's the joy in posting a video on YouTube if no one watches it? Thus, in creating a viral product that people want, need and desire, growth can, and will, take care of itself. Find out why the Loop will catch us all up, sooner rather than later...
By Robert Girardi
Victim of the Aurora
By Thomas Keneally
In the waning years of the Edwardian era, a group of gentlemen wait out a raging blizzard in the perpetual darkness of the Antarctic winter, poised for a strike at the South Pole. As the storm lifts, a new challenge faces Captain Sir Eugene Stewart - to discover which of his twenty-five carefully chosen men has become a murderer. The quest for adventure has become a quest for justice.