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Margaret Leroy studied music at Oxford. She has written four novels, one of which was televised by Granada and reached an audience of eight million. Margaret has appeared on numerous radio and TV programmes, and her articles and short stories have been published in the Observer, the Sunday Express and the Mail on Sunday. Her books have been translated into ten languages. Margaret is married with two daughters and lives in Surrey.
Author photo © Nikki Gibb
When seventeen-year-old Stella Whittaker is offered the chance to study at the Academy of Music in Vienna it's a dream-come-true, made possible by old family friends, Rainer and Marthe Kraus, who offer her a place to live. Seduced by the elegant beauty of the city, Stella explores the magnificent palaces, gardens and fashionable coffee houses, and after a chance meeting in an art gallery, falls in love with Harri Reznik, a young Jewish doctor. But as the threat of war casts a dark shadow over Europe, Stella soon discovers that both the household where she lives, and the city she has come to call home, are not as welcoming as they once seemed.
June 2011 Book of the Month. Margaret Leroy explores a forbidden friendship in the frightening world of Guernsey during the German occupation in the Second World War. With her husband fighting on the frontline Vivienne begins a relationship with a Nazi soldier - to her it feels like a betrayal but can she fight against it or is love stronger than everything else around? Historically accurate and the storytelling is terrific, so much so it will keep you gripped to the page. Margaret Leroy's novels The Downing Girl and The Perfect Mother are also featured on the Lovereading site. Click the titles to view them.
February 2010 Book of the Month. A compelling read tackling one of those subjects that is difficult to comprehend – how a mother could purposefully harm her own child. Beautifully written and keeping the reader guessing as to what the truth really is, you will be intrigued and fascinated until the end.
May 2009 Book of the Month. A great read, a well thought-out plot with a good build to the final crisis. It concerns a disturbed child with a mother who is at her wits’ end to find help. She eventually takes Sylvie to a professor who deals with children and the paranormal and together they unravel an extraordinary mystery. It’s well worth reading. Comparison: Alice Hoffman, Cecelia Ahern, Audrey Niffenegger.
September 1940. England is a war once again and London has become an ever-fragile place for widowed Livia Ripley and her two young daughters, Polly and Eliza. When Livia meets charismatic publisher Hugo Ballantyne, she is hopeful that her life is about to change for the better. But as clouds gather in the clear autumn sky, the wail of the siren heralds the arrival of the Luftwaffe. As the raids intensify, Livia volunteers to be a warden at the invitation of enigmatic Justin Connelly. Here she experiences the true reality and despair of war, a contrast to the world of comfort and cocktails provided in fleeting afternoons at the Balfour Hotel with Hugo. And ultimately, Livia discovers a strength she never knew she had that will give her the power to save those she loves. For when you don't know what tomorrow may bring, there is no choice but to live for today. Reminiscent of classic films like Brief Encounter and The End of the Affair, this is a stunningly captured story of a woman finding herself whilst the world is at war
'A riveting story of betrayal' -Stylist 1940, GUERNSEY Vivienne de la Mare waits nervously for the bombs to drop. Instead comes quiet surrender and insidious occupation. Nothing is safe any more. As her husband fights on the front line, Vivienne's facade as the perfect wife begins to crack. Her new life is one where the enemy lives next door. Small acts of kindness from one Nazi soldier feel like a betrayal. But how can you hate your enemy when you know his name, when he makes you feel alive, when everything else is dying around you? It's time for Vivienne to decide: collaboration or resistance. But, in the darkest hours of history, no choices are simple. 'Stunning and evocative...utterly beguiling' Rosamund Lupton
A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife asks "e;What would you do for your family?"e;, "e;What should you do for a stranger?"e;, and "e;What would you do for love?"e;As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship--and her family--safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.Includes a reading group guide for book clubs.