In case (God forbid!) you had forgotten, Mother’s Day this year is on 11 March. It’s the one day of the year when traditional roles are reversed and mothers should be pampered and spoilt by their children. Why not have a look at our special selection of books - all would make a lovely gift.
February 2018 Book of the Month. A deliciously readable, entertaining and enjoyable novel from Katie Fforde. Fran leaves her life behind for a dilapidated farm in the Cotswolds, she has just one year to make it a success. I always rub my hands with glee when I pick up Katie Fforde’s new novels, I create some ‘me time’, and settle down to relax and sink into the pages. ‘A Country Escape’ flows so beautifully I forgot myself and where I was, I just became at one with the book and immersed myself completely in Fran’s world. Katie Fforde has a wonderfully light touch, I always feel I am in trusted hands, all of her characters are fascinating, relatable, and (mostly!) likeable. A Country Escape is quite simply, captivating, charming, and an absolute delight.
Just gorgeous. I do love a feel-good read, add biting realism and aching intensity, and you have a winner in your hands. Ella and Henry have a deep and loving connection to Cornwall, when their grandmother dies the past throws up new possibilities, not all however, are welcome. Fern Britton writes so beautifully about Cornwall, the warmth and love is felt, bringing the houses and villages to life. The story is set in three main time frames which allows you to properly meet and get to know the three generations who walk through the pages. None of the characters are perfect, which is perfect, as they feel relatable, touchable, real. There is an exotic addition, which adds an extra glow, and as the story comes to its conclusion I had my fingers and toes crossed for a joyful ending. Coming Home is a truly lovely read, deeply rich and emotional, it is easy to sink into, easy to become a part of, and warmed the cockles of my heart.
Uplifting and delightful, The Year That Changed Everything is another gorgeous read from Cathy Kelly. Three women have three milestone birthdays on the same day, they don’t know each other, yet a featherlight connection binds them together. In one day, the day of their birthdays, a bombshell shatters the life Callie knew, Sam’s waters break but she might not be ready for motherhood, while Ginger is forced to reconsider who she wants to be. These women aren’t perfect, they make mistakes, yet they are just so likeable and relatable I would be more than happy to be their friend... to hug, to console, to cheer them on. I just adore Cathy Kelly’s books, she writes with a lovely warmth and kindness, beautifully engages with women across the years, and doesn’t shy away from reality. I found myself sinking into a delicious story that wrapped itself around me, and even with heart-ache along the way, The Year That Changed Everything is ultimately a captivating, enjoyable, feel-good read.
This is a beautifully crafted novel. Those familiar with Kostova’s writing will be delighted to know that her beautiful, descriptive prose has yet again created a masterful novel that will hold you entranced throughout as you immerse yourself into this gripping tale. In the spring of 2008, Alexandra Boyd, weary from travel and haunted by years of grief, arrives in the city of Sophia in Bulgaria. A chance encounter leaves her with a piece of lost property that turns out to be an urn of human ashes; the remains of some poor soul, now separated from his family in the hands of a stranger. Distressed and exhausted Alexander embarks on a quest to return the ashes to their family. Alone in a unknown city she soon finds herself accepting help from a young taxi driver who soon becomes as strange and mysterious as the quest she has suddenly found herself on. This is a deeply compelling story that moves from a seemingly simple search to return some lost property to a more profound and moving look into Bulgarian history and the effects of grief. Simply spellbinding. ~ Shelley Fallows
This delightful Quick Read from Sunday Times bestselling novelist Fern Britton is full of her usual warmth and wit. It is the perfect way to treat yourself to a gorgeous escape to Cornwall.
February 2018 Debut of the Month. Oh my word, this is an absolutely cracking psychological thriller. Anna is unable to leave her house, she views the world from her window and connects with it on her laptop, when she witnesses a horrific incident in a neighbouring house, turmoil awaits. The first few pages set me on edge, and I remained on high alert throughout the story, doubting and questioning my own reasoning. Even if you suspect, you can’t be confident, and there are plenty of shocks and surprises lying in wait. Set over a few weeks, the short chapters whipped into my consciousness, yet the story reveals itself gradually. A. J. Flynn allows the tension to build, slowly, torturously, and exquisitely. Anna tells her own story, wounded herself, can she be trusted? When the revelations came, they spilled from the page and slapped my thoughts. So clever and focused, yet utterly mind-bending, ‘The Woman in the Window’ is a heart-hammering read and I highly recommend stepping into Anna’s world.
An engaging and charmingly bittersweet slice of fiction set during the Second World War. In a Kent village during 1940, the vicar closes the choir, as the ladies of the village start their own choir, the small rebellion creates a chain reaction within their hearts and minds. The war lurks in the background, it’s presence undeniable, yet this tale almost feels timeless. The story is told in a variety of methods, from journals, diaries and letters, to newspaper articles, notices and telegrams. The author Jennifer Ryan creates a beautiful balance in this tale, gentle humour sizzles alongside slicing reality, and a spoonful of love helps proceedings along very nicely. We are allowed to see into the souls of the characters, and yet the gaps are filled in by the telling observations of others. Soft and gentle, yet cutting and knowing, ‘The Chilbury Ladies’s Choir’ is an absolutely gorgeous debut. ~ Liz Robinson
February 2018 Debut of the Month. A lovely warm and joyful squeeze of a read. When a family bombshell hits, four sisters each tell their own story. We get to know Fatima, Farah, Bubblee and Mae, and because their lives revolve around each other, we not only hear their own thoughts, but how those closet to them feel about them too. I loved the way their lives mingled and unexpected little hits of information floated free. With ups and downs, secrets and drama, these four sisters nudge their way into your heart. From watching her on the telly, I feel as though I know Nadiya and this book is just as I think of her… open, caring, engaging and full of warmth and sparkle. ‘The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters’ champions honesty, bravery, and love, open the cover and let it welcome you into it’s heart. ~ Liz Robinson
February 2018 Book of the Month. Romily, an author of mystery novels, returns home after a European promotional tour just shortly before her great love, Jack Devereux, somewhat her senior, falls ill and dies. He leaves three grown up natural children and his deceased younger brother’s girl, Allegra, whom he adopted. A motley bunch who all seem to dislike each other and squabble. They have to stay in the family house for a week if they wish to inherit. The widowed daughter was staying with her husband’s family in Germany when the Nazis started rounding up the Jews and has brought back a Jewish 14-month old girl to save her. This is 1939. War is declared. The boys disperse, the younger to join the RAF in Canada, the bullying elder to an Admiralty desk job (he is blind in one eye). Allegra’s husband has run off leaving her pregnant. All in all the women pull together and fair well, the men less so. Full of fascinating characters as one would expect from this lovely author, with great sub plots and lots of emotion and tragedy, this is one of the meatier of Erica’s romances. First rate.
Three short stories with the link the Cornish village of Pendruggan. Fern has used characters from her previous Cornish novels so those familiar with her work will feel at home. Those new to her work are not left to flounder for sufficient back story is given. The first, A Cornish Carol, is a modern day Christmas Carol, this is followed by The Beach Cabin where a London married couple sort out their lives and The Stolen Weekend closes the book. It tells us of a couple of female friends escaping to London but missing the events of the village. Warm, funny and engaging the collection is perfect with on a cold winter evening, to be transported to the sun, golden beaches and a lovely welcoming group of individuals.
Category Winner of the Costa Book Awards 2017, Costa Novel Award | One of our Books of the Year 2017 April 2017 Book of the Month. Aged 13 a girl goes missing. The whole village turns out to search. Over the course of thirteen chapters and thirteen years we follow the affect of this tragedy on the villagers. We meet them all through brief snippets of their lives. In single chapters, with just their names to guide us, a picture of their village, their rural life, the pattern of the year, through lambing, panto, cricket, pub and New Year fireworks is built up. Miss a few lines and you could miss huge revelations. Kids grow, become teenagers, go to university. Couples come together, couples split. Babies are born, the old die, and nature rolls on. The style is abrupt, staccato, yet gets under your skin and sings to you. The novel centres on the missing girl but it is really about human nature, village life and the rhythm of a year. It is outstanding, stunning and immensely beautiful. ~ Sarah Broadhurst The Costa Judges say: ‘An extraordinary novel – poetic, haunting and hypnotic.’
Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 Category Winner for the Costa Book Awards 2017, First Novel Award June 2017 Debut of the Month. It is the standard reply when people ask, “How are you?” ....you say “I’m fine.” Well, Eleanor is most definitely not fine and has not been since she was 10 years old. Shifted from one foster home to another, she does eventually go to university where she ends up in an abusive relationship. On graduation she gets a job in the accounts department of a graphic designer and there she is when we meet her, aged 31 and desperately lonely. Eleanor is on the spectrum with her life overshadowed by some dreadful childhood tragedy which has left her face badly scarred. She keeps her head down at work and spends the weekends with two bottles of vodka. She speaks to her mother on the telephone on a Wednesday and dreads the call. We are uncertain as to whether her mother is in prison or an asylum. Life ticks by until her works’ computer needs attention and enter one geeky IT man. How he and others break down her barriers is beautifully done. Very slowly we learn more about Eleanor and her past. Very slowly a future develops but once the geek (Raymond) arrives the novel is by no means slow. It becomes a page-turning, compulsive read of great charm.
February 2018 Book of the Month. Another joyful hug of a read from Katie Fforde, what more could you want, than to settle down with her latest book! Philly, Lorna and Anthea, all wonderful ladies, in various stages of their lives, sit centre stage in this delightful story. Set in a friendly community, with a garden to restore, will love pay a fleeting visit or settle in for a longer stay? As to be expected, the three main characters are surrounded by a lovely cast of friends, as life throws gravel, pebbles, and socking great boulders in their path. Katie Fforde has the wonderful ability to put a smile on my face, and I feel re-energised and ready to face the world again when I finish her lovely tales. To be honest, her stories speak for themselves, I really only need to tell you that the latest Katie Fforde is out, and it’s the warm and very charming ‘A Secret Garden’. Click here to read an exclusive interview with Katie Fforde by Mary Hogarth.
A book really is a perfect Mother's Day Gift.
While you are preparing her breakfast in bed, topping up her drink, or washing up after Sunday lunch, let mum put her feet up and escape into a great book.
To help you choose we’ve pulled together a selection of titles guaranteed to give lots of enjoyment, and to win you enough motherly love to get through another year!
Happy Mother’s Day!