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Sagas and Romance

Stories from the heart. This category combines Romantic Fiction with Sagas and Romance to create a collection of lovely tales. From rags to riches stories to tales of tight-knit communities, this carefully curated collection is bound to have the perfect match for you, and as the Beatles said, ‘love is all you need’.

The Silence of Scheherazade

The Silence of Scheherazade

Author: Defne Suman Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2021

At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in the ancient city of Smyrna, a devastating moment determines the fates of four families. On an orange-tinted evening in September 1905, Scheherazade is born to an opium-dazed mother in the ancient city of Smyrna. At the very same moment, a dashing Indian spy arrives in the harbour with a secret mission from the British Empire. He sails in to golden-hued spires and minarets, scents of fig and sycamore, and the cries of street hawkers selling their wares. When he leaves, seventeen years later, it will be to the heavy smell of kerosene and smoke as the city, and its people, are engulfed in flames. But let us not rush, for much will happen between then and now. Birth, death, romance and grief are all to come as these peaceful, cosmopolitan streets are used as bargaining chips in the wake of the First World War. Told through the intertwining fates of a Levantine, a Greek, a Turkish and an Armenian family, this unforgettable novel reveals a city, and a culture, now lost to time.

Debut Books of the Month
The Promise

The Promise

Author: Damon Galgut Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/06/2021

The Promise charts the crash and burn of a white South African family, living on a farm outside Pretoria. The Swarts are gathering for Ma's funeral. The younger generation, Anton and Amor, detest everything the family stand for -- not least the failed promise to the Black woman who has worked for them her whole life. After years of service, Salome was promised her own house, her own land... yet somehow, as each decade passes, that promise remains unfulfilled. The narrator's eye shifts and blinks: moving fluidly between characters, flying into their dreams; deliciously lethal in its observation. And as the country moves from old deep divisions to its new so-called fairer society, the lost promise of more than just one family hovers behind the novel's title. In this story of a diminished family, sharp and tender emotional truths hit home. Confident, deft and quietly powerful, The Promise is literary fiction at its finest.

Fortune's Daughter

Fortune's Daughter

Author: Dilly Court Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2021

Don't miss the brand-new six-part series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Dilly Court! Rockwood was home and she would do anything she could to stop it being stolen from them. Abandoned by their parents and left to fight for themselves, headstrong Rosalind Carey has no choice but to take charge of her younger brothers and sister in Devonshire's grand Rockwood Castle. But their once much-loved home is crumbling like the family that lives within it. Living hand to mouth and desperate to provide for the estate that depends on them, the Carey family are one debt away from ruin. Until the day comes when the dashing Piers Blanchard appears on their doorstep from Cornwall, claiming he is Rosalind's distant cousin and that Rockwood Castle is his. Piers says he wants to help pay off the family's debts. But how can Rosalind be sure he isn't out to take what is his and leave them all homeless? Only a closely-guarded secret will convince Rosalind she can trust Piers to protect her family - and her fragile heart. Book One of The Rockwood Chronicles ...

The Mirror and the Light

The Mirror and the Light

Author: Hilary Mantel Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

The long-awaited sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy. 'If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?' England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith's son from Putney emerges from the spring's bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Author: Victor Hugo Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/04/2021

A fine exclusive edition of one of literature's most beloved stories. Featuring a laser-cut jacket on a textured book with foil stamping, all titles in this series will be first editions. No more than 10,000 copies will be printed, and each will be individually numbered from 1 to 10,000. It was one of those spring days which possesses so much sweetness and beauty, that all Paris turns out into the squares and promenades and celebrates them as though they were Sundays. A mad priest, a vagabond playwright, a social-climbing soldier, and a misshapen bell-ringer-all are captivated and intrigued by a gypsy girl's beauty and charm. Who will betray her, and who will remain loyal, even beneath the shadow of the gallows? This motley group of outlaws finds sanctuary within the walls of medieval Paris' greatest monument, the grand Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Call Me Cali: Book 2: Becoming

Call Me Cali: Book 2: Becoming

Author: Lana Gold Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/04/2021

In the second book of the ‘Call Me Cali’ series, ‘Becoming’,  we return to Cali Kistler and her new ambition to do whatever it takes to join the legendary GG’s bordello. After being told by GG herself to get more life experience before committing to the lifestyle of a high-class call girl, Cali signs on to a new Interior design class, and works on experience and self improvement in all aspects of her life. The characters that we have been introduced to us in ‘Call Me Cali: Blooming’ are back with more racy encounters than ever, and there’s a few new faces too. With her “Will they? Won’t they?” relationship with Jean-Chris getting more serious, will Cali leave her salacious life behind before it's had time to properly begin? There’s plenty of ups and downs in Cali’s story, with cringy mistakes, positive revelations and an intense motivation to claim her own future, whatever path that may be. I liked to see how the character of Cali has developed over these two books. In ‘Becoming’, Cali seems more sure of herself, and dedicated to doing what it takes to carve out the life she wants. Cali’s time at her interior design school leads Cali to face a whole host of other problems and her numerous temp agency jobs will have you chuckling even if it’s from second-hand embarrassment.  Cali’s will and determination are as apparent as ever in this second book in the series as she focuses on carving out her own place in the world, one racy encounter and college course assignment at a time.

Call Me Cali: Book 1: Blooming

Call Me Cali: Book 1: Blooming

Author: Lana Gold Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2021

'Call Me Cali' sees the girl from the small town head to a big city to seek romance and adventure. At 18, Cali Kistler is cast out by her parents and sets off to New York City with a scholarship to a prestigious design school. But her naivety and perhaps overindulgence in her fantasies puts her in some difficult situations. Intrigued by the idea of dancing and in need of an income quickly, Cali goes looking for a way to make her every fantasy a reality.  I found Cali endearing in her own way, at some points superficial but I found myself reading on to make sure she was going to be ok as the plotline progressed. There are some hairy moments and Cali’s strength of character shines through. In contrast to her aim for a sexually free lifestyle, Cali meets Jean-Chris, a young Frenchman with a slightly more old-fashioned outlook on life who could perhaps lead to a more conventional path. But will she commit to her initial more racy dreams, or head to a more “normal” life plan? If I’m being honest I didn’t like Jean-Chris, I felt he was quite judgemental and condescending which came across as quite hypocritical considering his own affairs. I particularly liked Cali’s sense of character during these parts of the books because she did what she wanted, despite his thoughts and attempts to guilt her into change. As we read the story, Cali resolves to commit to work for her goals, with a plan to take on extra education, learn to become more cultured and of course indulge in her romantic fantasies as often as she can. As the book ends there’s hope and a lingering sense of anticipation as we wait to see what more is to come from Cali.

Relative Secrets

Relative Secrets

Author: Helen Stancey Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

Helen Stancey’s Relative Secrets is a highly readable story for readers who like to get lost in the drama and intrigue of other people’s relatable lives. Told in a straightforward style, with domestic detail and emotional ups and downs to heighten engagement, three generations of women are at the heart of this saga of family secrets. It’s set in 1999 and follows the family from the 1920s through to the millennium. The eldest of the women, Mary, is in a care home, her mind deteriorating. During a visit from grand-daughter Lucy, Mary makes strange statements that arouse Lucy’s curiosity. She tries to put them out of mind - until she finds a locket while clearing out Mary’s former room. Not wanting to upset her mother (not with her father gone, her elder brother away, and her little brother misbehaving), Lucy takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of the mystery - risking discovering truths that might unsettle the very foundations of their family.    The drama builds slowly at first - there’s a considered, unhurried build-up, with lots of family backstory delivered before the revelations come. Then tension builds as Lucy delves deeper, and the questions keep coming - not merely what the secret is, but why it was covered-up. And, a question with universal resonance - is it sometimes better to simply let things be?

eBooks of the Month
The World at My Feet

The World at My Feet

Author: Catherine Isaac Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/03/2021

An evocative and satisfyingly engaging read focusing on family, friendship, and hope. Ellie knows she needs to step beyond the sanctuary offered by her home and garden, but she hasn’t left it for over two years. Sitting alongside the main story in 2018, we also visit Romanian state orphanages with journalist Harriet in 1990 and the two stories begin to merge. I so love Catherine Isaac’s writing, she has the gift of transporting you both in heart and mind. She encourages a connection to her characters, and makes them relatable, even when exploring darkness. This is as much about Ellie’s relationship with herself as it is with others. The story explores trauma in an open yet balanced way and encourages thoughts to expand. I similarly adored Messy, Wonderful Us which journeys to Italy and I described as both heart warming and achy. The World at my Feet just has so much heart, it really is a lovely read and joins my Liz Picks of the Month. 

Audiobooks of the Month
The Shipyard Girls on the Home Front

The Shipyard Girls on the Home Front

Author: Nancy Revell Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/03/2021

THE TENTH NOVEL IN THE BESTSELLING SHIPYARD GIRLS SERIES December 1943 As the war effort gathers steam in Europe, it's all hands on deck on the home front. Gloria is over the moon to be reunited with her sweetheart Jack. But her sons Bobby and Gordon are away with the Navy and still know nothing of their mother's divorce and new half-sister. Rosie's squad of welders must work gruelling hours in the yard as they prepare for the Allied invasion of Normandy. All the while Rosie herself waits anxiously for news of her husband Peter, who is carrying out dangerous work as an undercover operative in France. Meanwhile welder Dorothy has a feeling that her beau Toby is planning to pop the question when he's next on leave. But it seems that her head is being turned by someone closer to home... It will take great strength and friendship if the shipyard girls are to weather the storms to come. 

Coming Home to the Four Streets

Coming Home to the Four Streets

Author: Nadine Dorries Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

A moving and engaging addition to the family saga and drama of The Four Streets series set in 1950’s Liverpool. The Doherty’s, who everyone relies on have moved to Ireland, another family is in serious trouble, and corrupt police officer Frank the Skank is about to move into the street. After several standalone novels, Nadine Dorries returns to the series that launched with her debut The Four Streets, and continued with Hide Her Name, and The Ballymara Road. The characters and location are still firmly stamped into my mind and I looked forward to their return. This is just as warm, gossipy and familiar as I remember, though among the ups, there are plenty of downs for the families on the street to contend with. Vibrancy and colour warm the pages, while the villain of the piece adds tension, and oh how I hoped that he would received his comeuppance! Coming Home to the Four Streets will appeal to anyone who loves an entertaining family saga, this is a satisfying and rewarding return to the series.  

Books of the Month
The Dog Share

The Dog Share

Author: Fiona Gibson Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/03/2021

If you’re in need of a truly lovely and heart-warming relationship tale then I can recommend that you stop right here. If the thought of a rescue dog and a Scottish island also appeal, then you really have come to the right place. An abandoned small terrier enters the lives of residents and visitors on the Island of Sgadansay. I do so love Fiona Gibson’s writing, as I’ve said before, she writes with empathy, and the extra sparkle of romance and wit is just delightful. Her tales feel as though they are grounded in reality and I always find myself really connecting to her characters. This is a multi-generational tale and we meet 10 year old Arthur through to 78 year old Harry. Suzy and Ricky who are both in their late 40’s head the chapters, each telling their own tale and living life with its ups and downs. I love the dog sharing aspect of this story, connections form, seconds chances beckon, and friendships begin to flourish. There may well be a heart-stopping moment or two to encounter, but ultimately this is as feel-good as it gets. As a ray of sunshine to combat darkness, The Dog Share is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining read.

Books of the Month