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Drawing on a host of enthralling characters - a farmer, a cuckold and a teenager exploring his sexuality; good parents, bad parents, writers and soldiers; a student, a rent boy and a hitman - Boyne examines the hopeful and the damaged without prejudice or judgement. This, his first collection of short stories, is some of John Boyne's finest writing to date. It includes 'Rest Day' which won the 2015 Writing.ie Short Story of the Year award in Ireland.
London, spring 1939. Eighteen-year-old Ada Vaughan, a beautiful and ambitious seamstress, has just started work for a modiste in Dover Street. A career in couture is hers for the taking - she has the skill and the drive - if only she can break free from the dreariness of family life in Lambeth. A chance meeting with the enigmatic Stanislaus von Lieben catapults Ada into a world of glamour and romance. When he suggests a trip to Paris, Ada is blind to all the warnings of war on the continent: this is her chance for a new start. Anticipation turns to despair when war is declared and the two are trapped in France. After the Nazis invade, Stanislaus abandons her. Ada is taken prisoner and forced to survive the only way she knows how: by being a dressmaker. It is a decision which will haunt her during the war and its devastating aftermath.
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time. Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son's well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story - and it is a terrifying one. More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder's world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker. It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters - and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.
Jim Francis has finally found the perfect life - and is now unrecognisable, even to himself. A successful painter and sculptor, he lives quietly with his wife, Melanie, and their two young daughters, in an affluent beach town in California. Some say he's a fake and a con man, while others see him as a genuine visionary. But Francis has a very dark past, with another identity and a very different set of values. When he crosses the Atlantic to his native Scotland, for the funeral of a murdered son he barely knew, his old Edinburgh community expects him to take bloody revenge. But as he confronts his previous life, all those friends and enemies - and, most alarmingly, his former self - Francis seems to have other ideas. When Melanie discovers something gruesome in California, which indicates that her husband's violent past might also be his psychotic present, things start to go very bad, very quickly.
Marching straight into action, Simon Scarrow has created a wonderfully evocative and energetic addition to the ‘Eagles of the Empire’ series. You could read this as a standalone, however I do recommend starting at the beginning with ‘Under the Eagle’. ‘Britannia’ is the 14th novel, maps, the chain of command and cast list set you up nicely. Set in AD52, Scarrow keeps the intrigue and warfare just galloping along. The honourable Cato and steadfast Macro find themselves yet again, even in the most far flung corner of the empire, smack in the centre of some serious political wrangling. The writing ensures your senses are as aware of the surroundings as your mind. While I’ve always felt in safe hands, Cato and Macro are most definitely in the most precarious of positions, consequently this is edge of your seat reading. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'This is a terrific read from Simon Scarrow, whose Eagles of the Empire novels are regular bestsellers. The setting is western Britannia in the first century AD. Such is the confidence of Rome’s military leaders in the superiority of their army that they are unprepared for the trap the native enemy springs on them, stranding thousands of the best trained soldiers in the world in the wintry mountains far from the safety of their fort. Simon writes very powerfully about courage and cunning, about fighting for survival, about standing by your comrades till the last. This is unmissable for anyone interested in history, the Roman world, or the military escapades of any era.' Click here to see Hearts of Stone by the same author.
A quietly, deep and fascinating debut novel proving that communication doesn't have to be a nonsense of chatter or commotion. The author explores friendship, faith, desire, retreat and the gentle strength of women in the thirteenth century. Father Ranaulf is newly in charge of the Priory’s manuscripts and confessor for Sarah who has chosen at seventeen to become an Anchoress, shut away from the world, giving herself to prayer and service to God. Entirely captivating, Sarah’s story takes you by the hand and leads you in contemplation, through heartbreak, suffering and understanding. The author has the ability to evoke emotions with a whisper, with a suggestion, letting you reach a level of awareness alongside Sarah and Ranaulf. Clever and stimulating this is a surprisingly beautiful read.
An atmospheric, touching and compassionate story based in London during the Second World War, where living on the edge and in the moment occurred on a daily basis. We seem to view Elinor and Paul from a distance, the writing initially skates over their feelings, creating a boundary and a sense of remoteness. When Bertha enters the tale there is an immediate burst of character, colour and emotion, effectively highlighting the other relationships. Pat Barker writes with an eloquently simple, stark style that somehow conveys the significance and consequences of the London Blitz, with even more power and emotion. The London of bombs, fire, craters, rubble, plaster dust, fear and exhaustion is an achingly moving and thought provoking place. This is the third in a trilogy, however I read Noonday as a stand-alone novel and didn’t feel as though I was missing out on what had gone before, though there are enough back references and tantalising hints to encourage me to go back to the beginning just as soon as I can, and I don't think having already read‘Noonday will spoil that experience. Able to delve into the most intimate, hidden places of a relationship, yet simultaneously display the wider aspect of the London Blitz during 1940, this is a commanding and memorable read.
A fascinating portrait of life in Shakespeare's London, seen from the theatrical perspective, by popular historian, Catharine Arnold. Arnold creates a vivid portrait of Shakespeare and his London from the bard's own plays and contemporary sources, combining a novelist's eye for detail with a historian's grasp of his unique contribution to the development of the English theatre. This is a portrait of Shakespeare, London, the man and the myth.
A riveting, powerful exploration of love, guilt, survival and how echoes of the past can clamour and cause confusion in the present. This is a story with a ferocious intensity that asks… just how far would you go in order to survive. Primarily about Robin and Paul, each with their weaknesses and strengths, it is the fleeting vivid glimpses of the background characters that binds and unites this story together. The author has the ability to explore humanity and in one sentence he can make you pause and consider. Kennedy paints a vibrant luminous picture with words and the fierce colour of Morocco is given life. Suspense builds, emotions are ripped asunder and you're left to explore the fragility of life in this clever, impactive tale. ~ Liz Robinson
A much talked about novel of female alienation, US poet Essbaum's is a curious blend of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina brought into the modern post-feminist age. Married to Bruno, a stolid Swiss banker, American middle-aged wife Anna Benz is stranded in middle class Switzerland, feeling trapped in her marriage, with three children towards whom she is highly ambivalent about, her German language skills imperfect, isolated in a spider web of trains running on time, mountain peaks, her own secrets and the depressingly clean Zurich suburbia. A curiously passive character she almost accidentally falls into an affair, then another, finding sex a momentary relief from her assigned role in society. Inevitably, between language classes, few close friends and psychotherapy sessions, her life begins to unwind. Even the eroticism of her liaisons, albeit reasonably explicit, has a bland Swiss monotony until tragedy strikes and engufls her. A book that could both fascinate and annoy you. Make your mind up. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Harry Bosch no longer works for the LAPD having retired six months ago. He hired his half-brother, defence lawyer Mickey Haller, to sue the department for forcing him out. Not popular! But this does enable Connelly to mix his two main series together for, although this is Harry Bosch’s twentieth book, Haller is Connelly’s other series character. The mixing works well in another well-paced, intriguing and complex mystery. Mickey is happy to help Harry but he needs help himself. He has a client, a former gang member whom the police are prosecuting for murder but the man adamantly proclaims his innocence. Harry Bosch has never worked for the defence. His life has been spent putting bad people behind bars, not finding ways of getting them acquitted, but this particular case seems to be full of holes. It is starting to look rather like a set up. Certainly Bosch’s former colleagues will view him a traitor but if Mickey believes in his client then someone else is guilty and needs to be found. This is ace stuff; difficult to put down. One of our Books of the Year 2015.
‘The Disappearance’ is a wonderfully tense and readable family tale, capable of delivering sharp shocks as you sink into the story. 70 year old Audrey vanishes during a cruise after telling her two children that they are set to receive a large amount of money when she dies. Setting the timeline before, during and after the disappearance of Audrey, we hear daughter Lexi tell her own tale, while Audrey’s is told on her behalf as it moves forward in time from 1970, allowing us to learn more about Audrey, in fact far more than even her children. Annabel Kantaria sets sinister undertones lying in wait, they menace the story, surprising and harassing your senses and yet, as events unfold, moments of love and compassion create a quite beautiful balance. This is a convincing and clever tale, handled with empathy, and all too easy to lose yourself in… prepare to read this in one go!
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eBooks have at last come of age and although you have been able to see if an eBook is available on a title by title basis on Lovereading for a while now, we also wanted to create a special section which features all of our eBook recommended reads.
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