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.
Blow on a Dead Man's Embers is a wonderful piece of storytelling, rich in atmosphere and full of characters that leap from the page. It is a gripping and moving portrait of a society emerging from the shadow of war, and of Non Davies, an unforgettable woman out of kilter with her time.
August 2011 Debut of the Month. Falling in love, maintaining fragile family relationships and growing to understand the incremental effect of every experience, Hilary Thayer Hamann's coming-of-age novel is a depiction of sexual and intellectual awakening against the backdrop of East Hampton in the 1970s and moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan in the 1980s. More than just a love story, Anthropology of an American Girl is an extraordinary piece of writing, original in its vision and thrilling in its execution.
August 2011 Debut of the Month. 'See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much.' THE WEIRD SISTERS is a trenchantly observant novel about the often warring emotions between sisters that threaten to pull apart but sometimes even draw together familial ties. It's at once hilarious, thought-provoking and poignant, this sparkling and devourable debut explores the roles that we play with our siblings, whether we want to or not.
August 2011 Book of the Month. The old proverb 'marry in haste, and repent at leisure' is given a darker mysterious and obsessive twist in Dorothy Koomson’s latest page turner. Worried her widowed husband never really loved her Libby uses his, now dead, wife’s diary to discover more… perhaps too much more….
It was heartening to read this story of a woman down but not out. The shock of losing her husband to another woman is overcome with determination, a strong sense of humour...and a gypsy caravan. Together with her not always willing children she takes to the road with her not always willing horse, Doris. They find Bramley Cottage by the sea, settle in and explore a new life. With plenty of animals, friends and ideas for making money, life is too short for regret, her aim to give her children the best possible childhood and prepare them for life. However much life throws at her Nicola Hodgkinson bounces back, she finds new love, her children grow and leave home, there are grandchildren and new challenges to face. A joyful celebration of life, one that won the hearts of the judges of The People’s Author national writing competiton featured on the Alan Titchmarsh show. Like for Like ReadingUp with the Larks: Starting Again in Cornwall, Tessa HainsworthThe Exmoor Files: How I Lost a Husband and Nearly Found Rural Bliss, Liz Jones The Lovereading view... This book is simply delightful. The first chapter has you hooked before you realize it and it’s not surprising it was the winner of the recent ‘People’s Author’ award from the Alan Titchmarsh TV show. With wit and warmth it is the antidote to all those misery memoirs.
Emily Griffin’s writing gets right to the heart of the characters and stories you can’t help but feel part of it. A tragic accident brings two women’s lives and families together making them both question the decisions they have made so far – and to explore what changing things might do.
Shortlisted for the Galaxy International Author of the Year Award 2011. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011. August 2011 Book of the Month. Getting a copy of a new novel from award-winning Sebastian Barry in the office is always a treat and his latest is simply superb. Spanning nearly seven decades, it is a devastating and beautiful novel of memory, war, family-ties and love, which once again displays Sebastian Barry's exquisite prose and gift for storytelling.
Nineteen-year-old Joy Louie has run away from her home in 1950s America to start a new life in China. Idealistic and unafraid, she believes that Chairman Mao is on the side of the people, despite what her family keeps telling her. How can she trust them, when she has just learned that her parents have lied to her for her whole life, that her mother Pearl is really her aunt and that her real father is a famous artist who has been living in China all these years? Joy arrives in Green Dragon Village, where families live in crowded, windowless huts and eke out a meagre existence from the red soil. And where a handsome young comrade catches her eye...Meanwhile, Pearl returns to China to bring her daughter home - if she can. For Mao has launched his Great Leap Forward, and each passing season brings ever greater hardship to cities and rural communes alike. Joy must rely on her skill as a painter and Pearl must use her contacts from her decadent childhood in 1930s Shanghai to find a way to safety, and a chance of joy for them both
A penniless publisher teetering on the brink Hugh Emerson runs a small, prestigious publishing house. But literature doesn't pay the bills, and now his bestselling author is the subject of a salacious story in the gutter press. A newspaper dynasty struggling to survive Ned Macaulay, heir to a newspaper fortune and Hugh's best friend, steps in to help. But Ned has problems of his own. The family firm faces bankruptcy, and to save it he must outsmart the self-serving sycophants at Waring's bank. Ruthless bankers closing in for the kill Hugh and Ned are about to be dragged into a cut-throat world of devious investors and muck-raking journalists. It's darker and dirtier than they ever imagined - and if they want to succeed, they'll have to play dirty too...
August 2011 Book of the Month. The story of Bertie and his dysfunctional family at 44 Scotland Street continues in this seventh instalment alongside the familiar cast of favourites - Big Lou, Domenica, Angus Lordie, Cyril and others - in their daily pursuit of a little happiness but domestic bliss seems in short supply. Alexander McCall Smith published The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in 1998 and then, suddenly, it took off in America to the extent that no less than11 reprints were required in 2003. Since then, so prolific has been his output, and so has his popularity soared, that there was a time when the sheer multitude of McCall Smith's books led to confusion as to which book fitted into each of the various series under which he writes. One has hardly been able to keep up with the sheer abundance of books published - we reckon at least thirty in less than a decade. Now, thankfully, things have settled down and the legions of McCall Smiths avid fans can compartmentalise his new books into the four main series under which they sit - The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, The Isabel Dalhousie Novels, The 44 Scotland Street Series and The Corduroy Mansions Series with a few more on top!There are constant features across the whole panoply of McCall Smith's output. Wry and witty observations about the day-to-day lives of normal people. An innocence and delight in the human condition. And, always, a twinkle on the eye shared by writer and reader. He is a happy writer and that makes for happy readers. 'Bertie Plays the Blues' follows 'The Importance of Being Seven' as the seventh 44 Scotland Street novel. Set in Edinburgh, of course, the old familiar characters are there and McCall Smith is still on sparkling form. Bertie puts himself up for adoption on eBay. This short, eight-word sentence captures the unique McCall Smith sense of fun. You won't be disappointed.
Catherine Alliott is at her sparkling and brilliant best in this her latest feel-good read. Full of her trademark wit and characters you feel instantly drawn to. Perfect to curl up with in that 'me' time you've been promising yourself!
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. Her book on euthanasia, The Kindest Thing, was terrific. This one is on gang culture and how a community deals with murder witnessed by four unconnected people (almost). It is unputdownable, light to read but weighty in subject matter. I think she is very good.
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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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: