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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.
March 2014 Guest Editor Jojo Moyes on Behind the Scenes at the Museum. I would, frankly, read Kate Atkinson's shopping list. This was the first book which really made me understand the importance of 'voice'. She's a writer who inspires as she's brave, and inventive, and you never know where her novels are going to go next, all too rare a trait, in my opinion. The Lovereading view... This is very special. Even with all she has written since and with her change of direction into crime mysteries this, her first novel, in my mind still stands out as her best. It is simply just the life of Ruby and her dysfunctional family. It’s warm, addictive, quite wonderful – and quite unlike anything else she has written. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... ‘I have a vivid memory of the first time I read the first page of Kate Atkinson’s first novel. It was nearly 10 years after I’d left York and in a page I was back there, in the streets around the Minster – transported by the voice of an unborn child to a world that was familiar but warped. Never mind its unusual developmental stage, the voice was immediately distinct, a little mad, a little caustic, and yet brilliantly true and completely hilarious. It was delicious. Behind the Scenes at the Museum is in a class of its own. The odd structure, tone, cast of characters all made it unique, exciting , a bit disturbing and utterly captivating. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I think it is a masterpiece.' Susanna Wadeson, Publishing Director at Transworld
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice. Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Author shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2011. One of Erica James' favourite books. After a terrible family tragedy Ian Bedloe seeks guidance at the aptly named Church of the Second Chance. For the next 20 years he tries to make amends for the things that happened to his family. Intricate story lines and characters seem to effortlessly flow together and the uplifting ending makes this a brilliant family drama. August 2009 Guest Editor Erica James on ANNE TYLER Similarly Anne Tyler’s novels deal with the every day ups and downs of relationships and family life. She has a wonderful knack for creating totally believable but wholly ordinary characters to whom we can all relate. Nobody does domestic drama better than Anne Tyler and she is the standard to which I aspire!
For a “literary” family saga, it’s hard to beat A Thousand Acres, set in Iowa; Jane Smiley’s novel is a modern retelling of the King Lear story. A novel to sweep you up and carry you along as the tragic story of this thousand acres of the best black, densest, deepest earth unfolds. Like for Like Reading: The Way the Crow Flies, Ann-Marie MacDonaldMiddlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
In the summer of 1959 Nora Silk moves into a quiet suburb on Long Island with her two, young sons, a collection of Elvis records and a marked absence of husband. Her glamour and cheerfully chaotic ways immediately arouse the suspicions of the neighbourhood where life runs according to two rules - 'mind your own business and keep up your lawn'. Seventh Heaven is a lyrical, optimistic novel of yearning and desire, 'this writer can cut through to the true magic and true grit beneath' (Financial Times).
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFÉ is the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women—of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth—who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. And as the past unfolds, the present—for Evelyn and for us—will never quite be the same.
A heart wrenching tale of families torn apart by abandonment and death. True tear-jerk stuff as always from Danielle Steel. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... ‘Poignant and moving, this classic novel shows why Danielle Steel is one of the world's favourite authors' Cat Cobain, Editorial Director at Transworld
To all intents and purposes this was Joanna’s first novel and it was the start of a genre labelled ‘aga saga’ – upper-middleclass country families getting into all sorts of messes. Joanna is queen of this type of novel and has grown with each new one. She’s lovely. She actually started her writing career penning historical novels under the name of Caroline Harvey. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... ‘A funny, intelligent and wonderfully involving novel for anyone who’s ever thought of leaving the rat race for the peace of village life – or who’s wondered if their present existence really contains all that life has to offer.' Linda Evans, Senior Editorial Director at Transworld
One of Katharine McMahon's favourite books. Highly evocative of time and place this wonderful novel set in the early 20th century is funny, touching and curious. A real treasure of a novel. A "Piece of Passion" from the publisher... Perhaps Penelope Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Beginning of Spring is the story of Frank Reid, an ex-pat Englishman struggling to run his printing firm and keep his family together in turn-of-the-century Moscow. Written in Fitzgerald’s beautifully light, careful and evocative style and packed with her perfectly observed portraits of human nature (particularly of Frank’s young, but precociously intelligent, children), it is a wonderfully touching novel, about the confusions that life can throw at any of us. April 2010 Guest Editor Katharine McMahon on Penelope Fitzgerald... I was introduced to this author just as I began to be published, and I love her wit, and her quirky approach to plot. The Beginning of Spring is a delicious novel, and it's as if the entire book is pitched towards the very last few lines. This reads like a small, perfectly formed, Russian novel, but amazingly is written by a very English author.
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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