Our high-quality Family Drama selection offers the heart-breaking and heart-warming conflicts and dramas directly from the hearth, telling the stories of these families that have been struck by tragedy, conflict and drama and their struggle to survive intact.
It's 1997 and Sam is supposed to be going into Year Twelve, listening to Jeff Buckley far too loud and staying out skating with his friends until late. But instead, after the death of his mother, he finds himself moving from Sydney to the coast to live with estranged cousins Minty and Shane. Confused, alone and grieving, Sam starts surfing with Minty to ease the static in his head. But out of the water he finds hostility and suspicion practically vibrating from every corner. What exactly happened seven years ago that tore such a rift in the family? In the face of hostility and loss, Sam is able to escape in the water - and even in love. Will he find a way through? Will he sink or swim? The first UK publication of a YA sensation from Australian author Claire Zorn. This is her third novel (all three have won many awards) but it is the first to be published in the UK. Awarded the 2017 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers Shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Young Adult Readers Shortlisted for the 2016 Queensland Literary Award - Young Adult Literature
‘Pieces of Her’ blew me away, it’s sharp, edgy, compulsive reading. I foolishly started to read late in the evening and ended up keeping the early hours company for some time as I simply couldn’t put it down! 31 year old Andrea finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her mum Laura when a birthday trip ends in horrific violence, further danger rushes in and Andy desperately needs to find answers. The prologue encourages intrigue to bubble away nicely then, oh my word… chapter one! Chapter one brilliantly sets the scene before exploding in the most shocking way, I gulped, settled further into my chair and just read. Karin Slaughter has the ability to set the page on fire, she fans the flames, and I needed my wits about me as the time frame changed and left my understanding floating for a while, searching for answers. Andy and Laura are fascinating characters, they challenged my thoughts and feelings in the best possible way. Incredibly stimulating and enthralling ‘Pieces of Her’ has left me on a heart-hammering reading high!
Full of intrigue ‘11 Missed Calls’ weaves separate intriguing strands into a taut fascinating tale of family drama. Anna’s mum Debbie disappeared 30 years ago when Anna was just a month old, she has spent her whole life wondering what became of her, then a strange letter arrives and Anna wants answers. Elisabeth Carpenter handles the story with care and attention, focusing on thoughts and feelings, where they can take you, what they can become. The past sets traps as the present slips forward. Two women tell their own story, each chapter headed by one of them, then another voice starts to speak, who is it? As information was revealed and thoughts became clearer, a number of questions still knocked at the door of my consciousness. Prodding, poking and shaking feelings ‘11 Missed Calls’ is a stimulating and thoughtful psychological thriller.
A short, sharp, shock of read and it’s absolutely fabulous! Maxwell is determined to win his ex-wife Lily back even though she has moved on and found love with Sebastian, jealousy, spite, and rage enter their lives, laying waste. This is just so incredibly easy to read, even though the prologue cranks up the tension, and each chapter adds a whip-crack of suspense I simply galloped my way through ‘Do No Harm’. L. V. Hay has created characters who entered my mind in vibrant colourful intensity, the different points of view clear to see and feel yet disquiet fills the pages. Maxwell’s conversational diary-like entries as he makes his feelings clear slices through the new relationship. My thoughts almost turned themselves inside out as I read and the ending… oooh that ending! ‘Do No Harm’ is a little cracker, bursting with fiery energy, it certainly creates a stir.
Make no mistake, this debut novel is startling and often painfully uncomfortable, yet it is a stunning, actually breathtaking piece of literature. 14 year old Turtle is strong, capable, different, she is also suffering… deeply and painfully. Within the first few pages I knew that ‘My Absolute Darling’ was going to be an unforgettable read. By the end of the first chapter, ice-cold fingers had run down my spine and sent my whole system into shock. I felt as though I was viewing life from an entirely different perspective, one absolutely humming with intensity. I wanted to stop the feelings of disbelief and horror that were crowding into my mind, but I knew that I had to bear witness. Gabriel Tallent’s writing is surprisingly simple, yet he paints a vibrant pulsating picture, this man sees life, sees beneath the surface, and grants you access too. The plants, wildlife, and surrounding countryside, so beautifully described, link with the reality of Turtle’s life and on occasion act as a buffer to what is happening. There were times when ‘My Absolute Darling’ made me scream inside, yet I couldn't stop reading this remarkable and actually rather beautiful novel. It will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year.
A hammer-hard blast of a novel set in the underworld of Essex. Alfie and Vaughn return from Spain looking to become kingpins in the world of crime, however the local criminals are already forming a queue ready to take them down. Jacqui Rose immediately sets the action loose in a fast-paced wild ride and I just leapt straight in. There are characters full of bravado and swagger who set the pages on fire. The chapters are short, snappy, and full of menace. I raised my eyebrows and smirked at the brilliantly snarky quips and retorts. A mystery of whispers from the past gather to meet the present setting up a tidal wave, ready to crash into the ending. ‘Toxic' comes with shocks a plenty and a tommy gun of wise-cracking comebacks, plus there is a particular storyline ready to melt hearts, all resulting in a captivating, absolutely cracking read.
An electrifying and riveting tale, my thoughts and feelings were captured from the moment I opened ‘Watching You’. Joey returns home to Bristol, she soon becomes rather obsessed with an older man, however doesn’t realise that while she is watching him, someone else is watching her. I was absolutely thrilled to hear I would be reviewing Lisa Jewell (sharp elbows and pushing to the front of the queue may have been involved), as her books have the ability to really get under my skin. Intrigue and suspicion smiled slyly as they settled over the first page and prologue. I adored the way this book opened out in front of me, tight fast moving chapters created a throbbing energy which played havoc with my emotions. I met each character with a certain amount of uncertainty, weighing, judging, evaluating as I got to know them. Information is steadily and exquisitely revealed, a beautiful balance is maintained, keeping thoughts on a knife edge. ‘Watching You’ is a completely wonderful, intensely satisfying tale. I can highly recommend just letting go and sinking into the pages, be warned though, I didn’t want to come up for air and it was a one-sitting read for me.
This is quite simply a wonderfully gorgeous must-read! My whole being poured into ‘The Possible World’, soaked up the words, the feelings, the story. Six year old Ben is left traumatised after a violent crime, Lucy the doctor who initially treats Ben in the Emergency Room has her own issues, while Clare has lived a lifetime of secrets, is she ready to tell her story? Each chapter is headed by one of the characters, each story, stands resolute, almost isolated, and yet a transparent thread weaves between them, creating a cobweb of a connection. Liese O’Halloran Schwarz writes with such beautiful heartfelt emotion, yet is also able to communicate stark realism. At certain points, my mind clouded in confusion, before clarity hit me like a hammer blow. I adored the storyline, the mysterious, spellbinding route that is taken almost feels as though you happen upon it by chance. I read without stopping, completely consumed by the story and it hurt when I turned the final page, when I had to come back into my world. I still ache when I think about ‘The Possible World’, it truly is a beautiful read and will topping my books of the year.
A beautifully constructed, absolute dream of a read. Three women (including the wickedly wonderful Emily from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’) join forces when one of them is set up, publicly discarded and viciously humiliated by her husband. Emily, Miriam and Karolina live what may appear to be a charmed jet-setting, party-licious life, however there is a very long way to fall when the knives are out. I absolutely adore Lauren Weisberger’s novels, they read as a master class in setting the scene and creating an eloquently enjoyable and pointedly wicked read. Each chapter focuses on one of the women, so perfectly describing their life I could not only picture myself there, I was there. My eye-popping disbelief mounted at the tactics, the lifestyle, and I seethed away, joining ranks, willing them on. A quick note, just in case you’ve already hunted this down and read it, ‘The Wives’ was published in the USA as ‘When Life Gives you Lululemons’. ‘The Wives’ is a hugely entertaining, read in one sitting, smoking-hot loaded gun of a read - and I highly recommend it.
A beautiful yet powerful debut that shares the story of twelve characters and empathises with the struggle of the urban native American. It’s a masterclass, an incredible book that has conflict, poverty, despair, humour, hope and so much sadness it’s heart-breaking. The stories are intertwined and involve the dozen individuals travelling to the Oakland Powwow about to embark upon a chain of events that build to a real crescendo. Get your tissues at the ready and prepare to be wow’ed.
The heartwarming new novel from the No. 1 Irish bestseller Emma Hannigan, author of The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift and the memoir All to Live For. Letters to my Daughters will make you laugh and it will make you cry. This books tells the tale of three close knit sisters who have been devastated by the loss of one mother figure and are at the end of their tether with another. The loss of Nanny May profoudly effects Beatrice and twins Jeannie and Rose as well as Rose's daughter and their father. Their loss at the start of the novel is only the beginning of a series of lifechanging events for the whole family. Each of the daughters have their own secrets and their bond as sisters could be the only thing that will stop them from falling apart completely. Their mother, Martha, is struggling with retirement and Jim is the glue that holds the mother and daughters together. This book has as many funny moments as heartbreaking ones, and makes you realise the importance of family and doing what makes you happy. The author's acknowledgements at the end of the novel reinforces this and had me in tears. I would definately recommend that you read this book from cover to cover.
A touchingly intimate yet scorchingly dramatic and fully realised view of a couple who meet just before the Second World War. This is a relationship tale that took hold of me, brought me to its very centre and allowed me access to innermost thoughts and feelings. Martin and Nancy fall in love, as Martin departs for the battlefields of France, they continue to communicate by letter, until suddenly Martin’s letters stop. My advice to you is to pick this book up, start to read, and whatever you do, do not allow the final few pages to fall open before you reach them. For me the ending was a heart-stopping moment, and is still very much in my mind, the emotion of the realisation continues to affect me. The letters are exquisitely crafted, with real heart, tying into the story perfectly and bringing a sense of nostalgia for this type of communication. S. C. Worrall allows the war to edge ever closer, until it strikes with a sharp hammer blow. ‘The Very White of Love’ takes you step by step into another time, heartfelt and beautiful I can wholeheartedly recommend this read.
Tragedy Begins at Home
Whether it’s Barbara Taylor Bradford’s window into the dark secrets of dynastic powerhouses, or the hard realities of Allison Pearson’s writing: the incisively humourous observations of Nick Hornby, or the light touch of Charlotte Bingham: the engrossing passion of Jojo Moyes, or the captivating worlds conjured by Jodi Picoult and Daisy Waugh, the range of fantastic stories in the Family Drama section is almost endless. Luckily our unique expert reviews and hand-picked recommendations are here to help match you with your perfect next read. Sign up to our monthly emails to stay in touch with the latest output from warm, wise Elizabeth Buchan, insightful Kate Atkinson, sensory-stimulating Joanna Harris, huge-scale Sidney Sheldon, magical Alice Hoffman and so many more in the varied family of fantastic authors of the genre.
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