It's 1887 and Nancy Astley sits in the audience at her local music hall: she doesn't know it yet, but the next act on the bill will change her life. Tonight is the night she'll fall in love... with the thrill of the stage and with Kitty Butler, a girl who wears trousers. Giddy with desire and hungry for experience, Nancy follows Kitty to London where unimaginable adventures await. Sarah Waters' debut novel, Tipping the Velvet was highly acclaimed and was chosen by The New York Times and The Library Journal as one of the best books of 1998. Reviewers have ... View Full Review
A classic of fantastic literature, Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet is the occult twin to Alice in Wonderland, published with an introduction by Ali Smith in Penguin Modern Classics.
One of the first things ninety-two-year-old Marian Leatherby overhears when she is given an ornate hearing trumpet is her family plotting to commit her to an institution. Soon, she finds herself trapped in a sinister retirement home, where the elderly must inhabit buildings shaped like igloos and birthday cakes, endure twisted religious preaching and eat in a canteen overlooked by the mysterious portrait of a leering Abbess. ... View Full Review
Rennie Wilford, a young jounalist running from her life, takes an assignment to a Caribbean island and tumbles into a world where no one is what they seem. When the burnt-out Yankee Paul (does he smuggle dope or hustle for the CIA?) offers her a no-hooks, no strings affair, she is caught up in a lethal web of corruption. View Full Review
'It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I had ever known,' says Anna Morgan, eighteen years old and catapulted to England from the West Indies after the death of her beloved father. Working as a chorus girl, Anna drifts into the demi-monde of Edwardian London. But there, dismayed by the unfamiliar cold and greyness, she is absolutely alone and unconsciously floating from innocence to harsh experience. Her childish dreams have been replaced by harsh reality. Voyage in the Dark was first published in 1934, but it could have been written today. It is ... View Full Review
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize
Secrets and lies linger in the very walls of the solid old Normandy house where Therese and Leonie, French and English cousins, grow up after the war. Intrigued by adults' guilty silences and the broken shrine they find in the woods, the girls weave their own fantasies, unwittingly revealing the village's buried shame, a shame that will haunt them both for the rest of their lives. View Full Review
Throughout her life, Antonia White struggled with a formidable writer's block: the Frost in May quartet was thought to be her final achievement. Yet on her death, this extraordinary work - her autobiography up to the age of six - was discovered among her papers.
The freshness and vitality with which Antonia White recorded her much younger self is breathtaking. A writer with the phenomenal power of almost total recall, she recreates her capricious and extravagant mother and the indomitable father she both feared and adored, who taught Antonia the first line of the Iliad when she was three. Here, ... View Full Review
Nanda Gray, the daughter of a Catholic convert, is nine when she is sent to the Convent of Five Wounds. Quick-witted, resilient and eager to please, she accepts this closed world where, with all the enthusiasm of the outsider, her desires and passions become only those the school permits. Her only deviation from total obedience is the passionate friendships she makes.
Convent life is perfectly captured - the smell of beeswax and incense; the petty cruelties of the nuns; the eccentricities of Nanda's school friends. View Full Review
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her . . .
When sixteen-year-old Janie is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before she finally meets the man of her dreams - who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds. View Full Review
In this radiant, highly anticipated debut, a cast of unforgettable women battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their Jamaican village.
Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis-Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate.
When plans for a new hotel threaten the destruction of ... View Full Review
Eric calls up a demon to grant him three wishes - but what he gets is the Discworld's most incompetent wizard...Eric is the Discworld's only demonology hacker. The trouble is, he's not very good at it. All he wants is the usual three wishes: to be immortal, rule the world and have the most beautiful woman fall madly in love with him. The usual stuff.But what he gets is Rincewind, the Disc's most incompetent wizard, and Rincewind's Luggage (the world's most dangerous travel accessory) into the bargain.Terry Pratchett's hilarious take on the Faust legend stars many of ... View Full Review
What an evocative and vibrant series this is, Jean Fullerton has created fascinating characters and storylines, all set during the Second World War.
Books in The Ration Book Series:
1. A Ration Book Dream
2. A Ration Book Christmas
3. A Ration Book Childhood
4. A Ration Book Wedding View Full Review
Books in The Harry Potter Series:
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows View Full Review