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.
A hot, edgy and hugely entertaining novel, with an inner molten core of provocative tension. Set between 1994 and 2014, separated twins, Calida and Teresita Santiago, find themselves on a rocky path that is set to collide. Twisted and manipulated from a young age, each seeks to prove their worth while an unknown malevolent voice, hell bent on revenge flits in and out, ensuring the glamour and sexy setting is enveloped in disquiet. Victoria Fox writes with balance, some particularly steamy steams retain an air of danger and Hollywood isn't just about the glitz and dazzle. ‘The Santiago Sisters’ is a romp of a read, full of passion, thrills and drama, a perfect novel to escape into and enjoy.
Ginger is in her forties and a recovering alcoholic when she meets and marries Paul. When it becomes clear it's too late for her to have a baby of her own, she tries to persuade him to consider adoption, but he already has a child from a previous marriage and is ten years older than her, so doesn't share her longing to be a parent at any cost. As a compromise, they sign up to an organisation that sends poor inner-city kids to stay with country families for a few weeks in the summer, and so one hot July day eleven year old Velveteen Vargas, a Dominican girl from one of Brooklyn's toughest neighbourhoods, arrives in their lives, and Ginger is instantly besotted. Bemused by her gentle middle-aged hosts, but deeply intuitive in the way of clever children, Velvet quickly senses the longing behind Ginger's rapturous attention. While Velvet returns her affection, she finds the intensity of it bewildering. Velvet's own passions are more excited by the stables nearby, where she discovers she has a natural talent for riding and a deep affinity with the damaged horses cared for there. But when Ginger begins to entertain fantasies of adopting her, things start to get complicated for everyone involved.
Set in turbulent times before and during WW1, The Silent Land is an interesting exploration of loss, grief, love and hidden family secrets. The death of Rebecca’s mother in 1903 triggers a total change of lifestyle from Fens village to London society, but sadly this is just the start of the tragedy that she must face as she also loses her father to a heart attack and her husband to the war.With strong, believable characters combined with good research to add depth and realism this historical novel, from a woman’s perspective, is sad but the novelist’s skill is to make you want to keep reading as you are invested in the characters and you care what happens to them.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. Dinah Jefferies has presented another beautifully told and vividly stunning tale, this time set in 1950’s Vietnam. The story revolves around 18 year old Nicole, half French and half Vietnamese, Nicole finds herself torn as war between the ruling French and indigenous population prowls ever closer. Nicole hovers between two men, both from opposing worlds, both with their own journey to take. It feels as though you are watching a wide framed view of history, from the personal perspective of Nicole, her disorientation and heartfelt feelings clamour and writhe from the pages. It is the moments of quiet that really set this story apart, the descriptions of the surroundings, of the small and simple but oh so important things that shape, colour and bring this world to such vibrant life. The colours, smells and heat are all within touching distance, allowing Vietnam to sit beguilingly in the background, adding depth and flavour to the story of Nicole. Visually and emotionally powerful, ’The Silk Merchant’s Daughter' is quite simply a gorgeous read.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A finely-etched tale of domestic terror and a debut novel with a nod to girls gone and on a train, and unsurprisingly already snapped up by Hollywood. After a serious assault at a party, a fifteen year old teenager is given experimental treatment to help her banish the trauma but also inevitably forgets the specifics of the attack in the process. However, she now lives in dread of the unknown and it slowly tears her conflicted family apart. The psychiatrist working with the victim has to both probe for the facts and the culprit and struggle with the family break-up that ensues and treads a delicate ethical line in the process of seeking out the truth and justice for poor Jenny. A veritable page-turner with a good amount of 'you can't see them coming' twists to boot, this is a tale that will lodge deep inside your own memory. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... Unique, fascinating and thought-provoking, ‘All Is Not Forgotten’ slammed into my thoughts and sent them spiralling. When the memory of the brutally violent rape on 15 year old Jenny is removed from her mind in experimental therapy, the treatment and the attack have far-reaching consequences in this chillingly provocative tale. The start sucked me straight into a vortex of shocking intensity, someone is telling us about Jenny and the attack, describing with articulate, almost dispassionate clarity what happened, just who is this narrator? I occasionally had to remind myself that this was fiction, Wendy Walker made me feel this was very real, at times as though I was reading a journal of facts. My thoughts and feelings were sent to and fro, searching for answers, uncertainty gradually becoming understanding, before being spun in a new direction. This isn't a fast-paced dash from start to finish, instead it stings, scours and bites… with bold, clever writing, I highly recommend ‘All Is Not Forgotten’. ~ Liz Robinson August 2016 Debut of the Month. July 2016 eBook of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. August 2016 Book of the Month. A tale of lost memories and hidden secrets but will the truth destroy or heal? Lisa Jewell returns with yet another page-turner as she delves into the darker corners of the mind where the memories of our true self exist. The memories that we'll do anything to keep hidden. Alice Lake is drawn to a man she spots sitting on the beach. He simply stares out to sea oblivious of the rain, a man who remembers nothing of who he is or where he came from. Alice offers him shelter and the opportunity to attempt to rediscover what or who he is running away from. But something sinister is lurking in his memory and as the past begins to come back to him he wonders if he is running away from a monster or if indeed the monster is actually him. This gripping read is not only a thrilling mystery but is also about accepting the past and learning to find a way to move on. Jewell keeps you guessing what the connections between threads and subtexts are until they all come gloriously together. A wonderful novel to escape in to. ~ Shelley Fallows Click here to read an exclusive interview with Lisa Jewell by Mary Hogarth.
'The truth is he didn't care how long he was going away. Forever would have suited him. It didn't matter it was America.' Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.
Two parallel stories, set in two time frames, where second chances and the links between two women flicker and burn with energy. In Chicago during 1999, Madeleine tells her own story as she flounders in a loveless marriage, she finds a journal and as she reads, describes her Grandmother’s story, which begins in 1919. As Madeleine discovers her grandmother, can she also re-discover herself? Eleanor Brown has a wonderful eye for detail, the descriptive detailing encouraged smells, sights and sounds to travel from the page into my consciousness. The two stories, full of life and emotion, twist and merge together into a beautiful relationship tale, yet for me, it was the subtle bitter sweet notes of reality that really added substance to this novel. ‘The Light of Paris’ traverses time and continents, in a captivating and gorgeously told, hope filled tale, it really is very lovely indeed.
An enjoyable and captivating relationship tale, where an enchanting bookshop takes centre stage, what more could you ask for! Della has a special relationship with her mother’s cookbooks, she is convinced that a specialist bookshop will work, but not everyone agrees. Ellen Berry also writes as Fiona Gibson, her novels have focused on women as they negotiate rocky relationship roads, and are always warm, amusing and full of hope. Here, we also occasionally hear from the men, their thoughts as they ponder over the hand they've been dealt by life offer a new perspective, these really are interesting snapshot additions to the storyline. This is the first in the ‘Rosemary Lane’ series, focusing on family and friends, ups and downs, life as it really is, ‘The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane’ is a feel-good and absolutely charming read.
Another dramatic and engagingly expressive historical novel by Lesley Pearse. Set before and during the Second World War, we follow Ruby and Verity during the ups and downs of their young lives. Ruby has a less than auspicious beginning, while Verity appears to live a charmed life, yet they become friends and each brings the other a much needed perspective on their upbringing. Lesley Pearse has the ability to cover brutal and emotional aspects in a gentle and intimate way, not holding back, yet ensuring hope remains. The captivating and varied cast of characters are brought to vivid life, with the romantic interest taking time to come to the boil. ‘Dead to Me’ swings from despair to anticipation and looks at life during the Second World War from the home front, creating a stimulating and evocative read. July 2016 eBook of the Month.
Another provocative, edgy and at times unbelievably sad story from the author of ‘The Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family’ series. Julie Shaw really has hit on a winner with her bold and girtty stories based on her family and neighbours. This time she focuses on 17 year old Christine, pregnant and about to give birth in Bradford in the early 1980’s. Josie, one of the main characters from ‘Our Vinnie’ makes a welcome reappearance, and it’s good to catch up with her again. I wonder how many more Hudson tales there are to come? If this is your first in the series, you can read it as a standalone, however I really do recommend starting with ‘Our Vinnie’. There was a painful inevitability to ‘Bad Blood’, at times difficult to comprehend and emotional, this really is eye-opening stuff and well worth reading. Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family series:1. Our Vinnie2. My Uncle Charlie3. My Mam Shirley4. Blood Ties5. Bad Blood6. Blood Sisters
July 2016 Book of the Month. Lovely, warm and engaging, 'The Perfect Gift’ is just that, a delightful treat of a book. Loveable, spirited Roisin always knew she was adopted, she came back home to start up her food emporium and lick her wounds after a doomed love affair, then a 30th birthday letter from her birth mother speaks to her soul. Roisin may be the main character, however this is a proper family and friends story, with a range of catastrophes, thrills and celebrations all jumping up and down and adding to the drama of the tale. Emma Hannigan doesn't just bring the wonderful characters to life, I felt as though I could step into the story, walk down the streets of Ballyshore, buy yummy foodie items in Roisin’s shop and have a natter with Mo to pick up all the gossip. The pages just flew by, and although on occasion my heart ached, this is basically a book to make you smile. ~ Liz Robinson
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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