books of the month
Search our site
The Heart of Mars by Paul Magrs Read the opening extract of the brand new Paul Magrs book before its publication on 15/03/2018

Bad Marriage by John Tagholm


Bad Marriage by John Tagholm

Bad Marriage explores a complex father - daughter relationship between Pakistani born Latif Popals and his rebellious, daughter Habiba Popals. They live in the uncompromising suburb of Tooting Bec, London. When Latif Popals, against his better judgement, allows his daughter to go on a summer art course at the National Gallery, he sets in motion a series of events beyond his wildest dreams. Habiba falls in love with a small portrait of Christ, a fact noticed by Sean Dunmore, a security officer who stalks her on the Gallery's CCTV cameras. She agrees to meet him and shortly afterwards is drugged and raped by him. Unable to tell her father for fear of dishonouring the family name, Habiba, haunted by not knowing exactly what happened to her, attempts to suppress the memory of the assault. Along the way she seeks advice from 'Uncle' Baddy, a close friend. From him she discovers more about her family and the tradition of 'bad marriage' which has so afflicted it. And into the life of Habiba Popals comes Florentine-born Giacomo Baldini, who takes over as Head of Security at the National Gallery. Bound by his own codes of honour and family, in tracking down Habiba he meets a woman whose story he instinctively understands and which poses him a choice between duty and love. In an exciting denouement, Habiba and Giacomo confront Sean Dunmore and Habiba is finally able to discover exactly what happened to her that fateful evening.


Reviews from 'No Identifiable Remains': This is a thoroughly good read... a novel of modern manners, or the lack of them.' - Barry Reynolds, Hampstead and Highgate Express

'The most brilliantly devised and most beautifully written of stories. Sonya rank as amongst the most wondrous of prize bitches ever created.' - Brough Scott, Sunday Telegraph

'Gripping. Engrossing. Sonya hideous, Karyn brave, Oliver cooking and repressing. Brilliant.' - Julia Hobsbawm, Editorial Intelligence

'Could not put it down - absolutely gripping. A real tummy-churner.
Caroline Boucher, Deputy Editor, Observer Food Magazine

About the Author

John Tagholm began his working life as Hawkeye to Big Chief I-SPY, writing the regular column in the Daily Mail and several of the much loved books. He is now a television producer, having worked for Thames Television before running his own independent company where he specialised in factual entertainment programmes, including many about food. To celebrate a recent birthday, he walked across France, from Sangatte to St Tropez, just over 1000 miles on footpaths. He has written for many publications and produces, on average, one poem a year. His is married, lives in London and has three grown-up sons.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

17th August 2009


John Tagholm

More books by John Tagholm
Author 'Like for Like'


Quartet Books


280 pages


Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

I read new, exciting writers and established authors before publication and there is a great website full of brilliant books and opinions.


I love the honest opinions, recommendations for every genre and every reader, wish lists and Like for Like.

Amrita Dasgupta

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


I love the 'like for like' author recommendations, it's like an old friend whispering in your ear.

Emma Caddick

With literary excellence, humour and drama, Lovereading's got value and is a real stress-calmer!

Siobhan McDowell