The Sealwoman's Gift
By Sally Magnusson
A Zoe Ball ITV Book Club Pick'Sally Magnusson has taken an amazing true event and created a brilliant first novel. It's an epic journey in every sense: although it's historical, it's incredibly relevant to our world today. We had to pick it' Zoe Ball Book Club 'A remarkable feat of imagination ... I enjoyed and admired it in equal measure' Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent 'A powerful tale of Barbary pirates ... richly imagined.' Sunday Times'Engrossing' Sunday Express 'Fascinating ... a really, really good read' BBC R2 Book Club'The best sort of historical novel' Scotsman 'A lyrical tale' Stylist 'A poetic retelling of Icelandic history' Daily Mail 'Compelling stuff' Good Housekeeping'An extraordinarily immersive read ... examining themes of motherhood, identity, exile and freedom' Guardian1627. In a notorious historical event, pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers. Among them a pastor, his wife, and their children.In her acclaimed debut novel Sally Magnusson imagines what history does not record: the experience of Asta, the pastor's wife, as she faces her losses with the one thing left to her - the stories from home - and forges an ambiguous bond with the man who bought her.Uplifting, moving, and witty, The Sealwoman's Gift speaks across centuries and oceans about loss, love, resilience and redemption.Chosen for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club and the ITV Zoe Ball Book Club.'Icelandic history has been brought to extraordinary life... An accomplished and intelligent novel' Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, author of Why Did You Lie?'Vivid and compelling' Adam Nichols, co-translator of The Travels of Reverend Ólafur Egilsson
The Sara Gruen Collection
By Sara Gruen
FROM INTERNATIONALLY-BESTSELLING AUTHOR SARA GRUEN, A COLLECTION OF HER MOST BELOVED NOVELS'ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST COMPELLING STORYTELLERS' Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help1 - WATER FOR ELEPHANTSThe international phenomenon - with over 10 million copies sold, made into a film with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.'I loved Water for Elephants' Stephen King'You are so immersed in circus life that you are blinded by the thrilling, fatal dazzle of sequins and sawdust' The Telegraph'An imaginative modern fairy story, teeming with eccentric characters' The Times The Great Depression 1929 - when Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits in the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive making one-night stands in town after endless town. He meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her...2 - AT THE WATER'S EDGEA gripping and poignant love story set in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands at the end of the Second World War.'The only fault I can find with this book is that I've already finished it' Jodi Picoult'Truly enthralling' Scotsman'Breathtaking' Harper's Bazaar1945. After disgracing themselves at a high society party, spoilt young Philadelphia socialites Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off from the family without a penny. Ellis decides their salvation will be to hunt down the Loch Ness Monster, a venture his father very publicly failed at. So, oblivious to WW2 raging around them, they make their way to the Scottish Highlands, where Maddie has to face reality and decide just who the real monsters are.3 - APE HOUSE The New York Times bestseller.'If you love animals like I do, it's a must read' Ellen DeGeneres'Had me instantly enraptured' Dallas Morning News'Wildly entertaining' Booklist (starred review)These bonobos are no ordinary apes. Like others of their species, they are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships - but, unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets, especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside.When an explosion tears apart the lab, severly injuring Isabel and 'liberating' the apes to an unknown destination, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime.
Shadow of the Serpent
By David Ashton
...WHILE THE STREETS OF LONDON HAD SHERLOCK HOLMES, THE DARK ALLEYS OF EDINBURGH HAD INSPECTOR JAMES McLEVY| 'ASHTON IS THE DIRECT HEIR TO ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON' actor Brian Cox | 'EXCELLENT' The Sherlock Holmes Society | 'DRIPPING WITH MELODRAMA AND DERRING-DO' Herald ELEGANT AND CONVINCING' The Times 1880, Edinburgh.Election fever grips the city. But while the rich and educated argue about politics, in the dank wynds of the docks it's a struggle just to stay alive. When a prostitute is brutally murdered, disturbing memories from thirty years ago are stirred in Inspector McLevy who is soon lured into a murky world of politics, perversion and deception - and the shadow of the serpent. BASED ON THE LONG-RUNNING BBC RADIO 4 McLEVY DRAMA SERIESTHE INSPECTOR MCLEVY SERIES1 - Shadow of the Serpent2 - Fall from Grace3 - A Trick of the Light4 - Nor Will He Sleep
By Jamie Kornegay
It begins as a simple dream.An idealistic environmental scientist moves his wife and young son off the grid, to a stretch of river bottom farmland in the Mississippi hills, hoping to position himself at the forefront of a revolution in agriculture.Within a year, he is ruined.When a corpse appears on his family's property, the farmer is convinced he's being set up. And so begins a journey into a maze of misperceptions and personal obsessions, as the farmer, his now-estranged wife, a predatory deputy, and a backwoods wanderer, all try to uphold a personal sense of honour.A darkly comic debut novel by an independent bookseller, Soil traces one man's apocalypse to its epic showdown in the Mississippi mudflats.
The Still Point of the Turning World
By Emily Rapp
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWith a new chapter detailing the events that have taken place since Ronan's passing in February 2013. Like all mothers, Emily Rapp had ambitious plans for her son, Ronan. He would be smart, loyal, physically fearless, level-headed but fun. He would be good at crossword puzzles like his father. He would be an avid skier like his mother. Rapp would speak to him in foreign languages and give him the best education. But all of these plans changed when Ronan was diagnosed at nine months old with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare and always-fatal degenerative disorder. Ronan was not expected to live beyond the age of three; he would be permanently stalled at a developmental level of six months. Rapp and her husband were forced to re-evaluate everything they thought they knew about raising a family. They would have to learn to live with their child in the moment; to find happiness in the midst of sorrow; to parent without a future. The Still Point of the Turning World is the story of a mother's journey through grief and beyond it. Rapp's response to her son's diagnosis was a belief that she needed to 'make my world big' - to make sense of her family's situation through art, literature, philosophy, theology and myth. Drawing on a broad range of thinkers and writers, from C.S. Lewis to Sylvia Plath, Hegel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Rapp learns what wisdom there is to be gained from parenting a terminally ill child. In luminous, exquisitely moving prose, she re-examines our most fundamental assumptions about what it means to be a good parent, to be a success, and to live a meaningful life.
The Stockholm Octavo
By Karen Engelmann
'A delicious page-turner that brings 18th century Stockholm to vivid life, complete with scandal, conspiracy, mystery, and a hint of magic.' - Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird SistersIn 18th century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, the key to a nation's fate rests in the hands of an unlikely hero. Emil Larsson is a drinker, card player and contented bachelor until he is told that his position at the Office of Excise and Customs depends on his settling down and finding a wife. Mrs Sparrow, proprietor of an exclusive gaming house, fortune teller (and confidante of King Gustav III) offers to lay an Octavo for him - a form of cartomancy which can divine his future if he can find the eight individuals who can help him realise his vision. When Mrs Sparrow wins a mysterious fan in her card game, the Octavo's deeper powers are revealed. No longer just a game of the heart, collecting his Eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the brink of rebellion and chaos.A debut novel full of opulent period detail, brilliantly interweaving history, romance and intrigue, in which one man's fortune holds the key to a nation's precarious fate.
The Sea on Our Skin
By Madeleine Tobert
Set in a tiny, traditional community on a Pacific island, this is the story of a marriage and a family, of great loves and great betrayals and how real island life is so much more than the blissful idyll Westerners see. Ioane Matate has been a traveller running away from his island since he was fifteen, restless, dissatisfied and troubled. Amalia Hoko has grown up an island child, loved and sheltered, accepting as a boundary and limitation the sea that Ioane uses as his escape route. They belong to different worlds, but when Ioane returns to the island, Amalia is the wife he chooses, loves and maltreats, with far-reaching and disturbing consequences for both them and their children.The Sea on Our Skin transports the reader to the South Pacific with an immediacy that makes the island almost tangible. This is a beguiling and lyrical story, taking its rhythms from the oral storytelling tradition of island life and the myths of the South Seas and blending them with the age-old stories of mothers and children and characters whose joy and suffering linger hauntingly in the mind of the reader.
Signs of Life
By Natalie Taylor
Signs of Life is Natalie Taylor's story. It starts the day her husband dies and ends sixteen months later on her son's first birthday. Natalie's journey from wife to widow to mother is heartbreaking, blackly funny and will move you to laughter and tears as she makes it across that finish line. And you have no doubt she will make it because Natalie is a warrior and a woman to cheer for. Intelligent, witty and moving, this is the very best kind of indie movie in a book. A book to delight, to treasure and to press into the hands of your best friend.