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Charlotte Bingham comes from a literary family – her father sold a story to H. G. Wells when he was only seventeen – and Charlotte wrote her autobiography, CORONET AMONG THE WEEDS, at the age of nineteen. Since then, she has written comedy and drama series, films and plays for both England and America with her husband, the actor and playwright Terence Brady. Her other published novels are the highly acclaimed bestsellers SUMMERTIME, THE SEASON, THE BLUE NOTE, THE LOVE KNOT, THE KISSING GARDEN, LOVE SONG, TO HEAR A NIGHTINGALE, THE BUSINESS, IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW, STARDUST, NANNY, CHANGE OF HEART, which won the 1994 Romantic Novel of the Year Award, DEBUTANTES, THE NIGHTINGALE SINGS, GRAND AFFAIR, THE CHESTNUT TREE, THE WIND OFF THE SEA and THE MOON AT MIDNIGHT, DAUGHTERS OF EDEN and THE HOUSE OF FLOWERS.
A well-established, lovely author who frequently gives us war-based dramas returns to her horse racing world of To Hear a Nightingale and The Nightingale Sings. This is exciting, eventful, magical stuff where the love for a horse unites a bunch of interesting characters. I love her. Comparison: Rosie Thomas, Rosamunde Pilcher, Penny Vincenzi. Please note that an extract from this book will not be available to download until 14th August 2008.
A contemporary tale which harks back to the eighteenth century when a mother and daughter unite in helping a young man regain his memory. It turns out that although he has links to the nearby manor house, when we learn of the horrific trauma that unbalanced him, it sent shivers down my spine. I love this author.Similar this month: None but try Carol Birch.Comparison: Sarah Harrison, Adele Geras, Imogen Parker.
I love this author. Real characters, strong plots and lots of incidents carry you along at a good pace. This, with its Cornish setting and compelling love story, is a great introduction to her work. Then there are many to try, The Blue Note or To Hear a Nightingale are my favourites.Comparison: Judith Lennox, E V Thompson, Caroline Harvey.Similar this month: Jojo Moyes, Valerie Wood.
Heartwarming, compelling and full of charm Out of the Blue tells the story of Florence, a lady recovering from a family tragedy who discovers a strangely dressed and suspiciously disorientated young man asleep in her guest cottage at her home. Against the advice of friends and family who fear he may be a fraud, she decides to help him restore his wandering mind and to discover who he might be. As the mystery unfolds it is apparent his real identity is quite close to home and in their quest an adventure takes them into many pasts, not least that of the young man. In doing so they are finally able to put the tragedies of her own past and that of the young man behind them, repair their once disjointed lives, and embrace a new and happy future.
A compelling love story set in post-war Britain. Incident packed with complicated relationships, jealousy and deception, this is one of those glorious reads you just have to curl up and immerse yourself in. She is terrific.Comparison: Rosamunde Pilcher, Michelle Paver, Marcia Willett.Similar this month: Judith Lennox, Sara MacDonald.
A love story of a couple meeting after the tragedy of war â€“ but will the past destroy their happiness?
The wickedly funny sequel to the MI5 and Me, described by Tatler as 'a stone cold comic classic', following the irrepressible Lottie's adventures in 1950s London London in the 1950s. Lottie is a reluctant typist at MI5 and the even more reluctant daughter of the organisation's most illustrious spy. Now she has had the bad luck to fall in love with Harry, a handsome if frustrated young actor, who has also been press-ganged into the family business, acting as one of her father's undercover agents in the Communist hotbed of British theatre. Together the two young lovers embark on a star-studded adventure through the glittering world of theatre - but, between missing files, disapproving parents, and their own burgeoning creative endeavours, life is about to become very complicated indeed...
'A Jilly Cooper heroine in a John le Carre world' (Libby Purves, TLS); a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carre's George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5 Much to her surprise, eighteen-year-old Lottie has just found out that her aloof, rather unexciting father is a spy. And now he's decreed that she must make herself useful and get a Proper Job - so she's packed off to MI5 herself, trussed up in a dreary suit. Luckily her delightful colleague Arabella is on hand to enliven the torments of typing and decode the enigmas of office life. But as Lottie's home fills with actors doubling as spies, and Arabella's mother is besieged with mysterious telephone calls, the girls start to feel well and truly spooked... A hilarious true story, and a unique window into 1950s Britain - where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour - MI5 and Me is a sparkling comic memoir.
From the bestselling author comes a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carre's George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5 It seems to me now that everyone who came to our house in those days was a spy... When Lottie is summoned to her father's office at the age of eighteen, she is astonished to learn that this aloof, unexciting parent is a spy. Even more perturbing is his view that she should stop drifting around and get a proper job, something patriotic and worthwhile. So Lottie finds herself outside MI5's Mayfair headquarters in a dreary suit, feeling naked without her false eyelashes. Miserably assigned to the formidable Dragon, Lottie longs to escape, or for anything to release her from the torment of typing. Thankfully the serene Arabella is on hand to decode the enigmas of office life - from the strange disappearance of some security films to the career-transforming properties of garlic. But as Lottie's home fills with actors doubling as spies, and Arabella's mother is besieged by fishy telephone calls, Lottie begins to feel well and truly spooked. This unique memoir is a window into 1950s Britain: a country where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour. Discretion and honour meet secrecy and suspicion in this enchanting, extraordinary and hilarious true story.
It is 1947, the worst winter in England since records began, and even the sea is frozen. For the women living in the little fishing port of Bexham, the chronic lack of everything from fuel to food has left them reeling. When Waldo Astley, a handsome young American, drives through thick Sussex snow into the village in his large Buick, he finds Bexham filled not only with grumbling residents, but with frustrated wives and mothers, forced back behind their stoves after celebrating the victory for which they fought so hard on the home front.But Waldo is no ordinary character, and while he has come to Bexham on a personal mission, his effect on all the residents is truly electrifying. For Judy, whose marriage to Walter has been badly affected by long years of separation; for Rusty, whose miscarriage has been mind-shattering; for Mathilda, whose single motherhood has put her eligibility in jeopardy; and for Meggie, still not recovered from her ordeal as a secret agent. For all these women, Waldo Astley is not just a breath of fresh air--but the wind off the sea.
Mums on the Run tells the often hilarious story of two middle-aged women intent on fleeing hearth and home for a blissful, family-free fortnight of drawing and cooking classes - only to end up at leaky old Hartley House. There the ever-resourceful Aunt Biddy is struggling to get her nephew Tom's life back on track by opening his only asset as an idyllic country retreat.Throw in a Polish butler in Dad's Army uniform, a lovelorn artist, and a succession of oddball guests - and the Mums intent on their run certainly get more than the change they had bargained for!"e;Charlotte Bingham's books make me happy, and none more than Mums on the run. Her sense of humour is infectious."e; WENDY CRAIG"e;A feelgood, put on your dancing shoes kind of book."e; SIMON WILLIAMS"e;Check in at Hartley House for a great read that every stressed-out mum will empathise with."e; LIZA GODDARD
By bestselling British writer Charlotte Bingham, The Chestnut Tree is a sweeping, romantic novel about the women who stayed behind in World War II.It is the summer of 1939, and the residents of the idyllic Sussex fishing port of Bexham are preparing for war. Beautiful but shy Judy Melton, daughter of a naval hero; her determinedly feckless friend, the social butterfly Meggie Gore-Steward; seemingly demure Mathilda Eastcott, and Rusty Sykes, the tomboy daughter of the owner of the local boatyard, are all in their very individual ways determined to play an active part in the defense of their country. But knitting socks and bomb-dodging are not what they have in mind.Under the tree on the green the women of Bexham meet to look back on a landscape that has changed irrevocably, and which they have in their own ways helped to alter. None of them are the same, and yet, with the men returning from war, they are expected to slip back into their simple roles of mother, daughter, grandmother. This, more than anything perhaps, is their greatest sacrifice.Only the chestnut tree planted by Corrie at the edge of the village flourishes in the accepted manner, finally becoming the uniting symbol of all that has passed forever.
It is 1941, and England is at its lowest ebb, under-nourished, under-informed and terrified of imminent invasion. Even at Eden Park, the beautiful country estate where Poppy, Lily, Kate, Marjorie and her adopted brother Billy are working in espionage, confidence is at an all-time low, and that is before the authorities discover there is a double agent operating from its MI5 unit. Lily volunteers to be dropped into France, only to find herself linked to Poppy's husband Scott. Meanwhile, Kate's lover Eugene is in Sicily to sabotage the bombers besieging Malta while her mother is recruited to work for Jack Ward, known affectionately as 'the Colonel'. As further agents are wiped out by the informant at Eden Park, Poppy leaves to train as a pilot. But as she closes the wooden shutters at the House of Flowers, the old folly where she and Scott began their married life, she realises that they were made over a century before to keep out another invader. England survived then, and will again.
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