Five children meet on their first day of school, one bright September morning. Drawn by that magical spark of connection that happens to the young, Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean – each bursting with their own personality, all with strikingly different looks and diverse talents – soon become an inseparable group, known to everyone else as the Big Five.
As they grow up, their seemingly perfect lives are altered by families falling apart, unfortunate mistakes, and losses and victories great and small. Throughout their adolescence, the five are able to turn back to their trusted group to regain their footing and steady their course. But as they emerge from school, their futures seem neither safe nor clear. As their lives separate, the challenges and risks they face become greater, the losses sharper, and it becomes much harder to know the right path to choose.
But despite life’s ups and downs, together they are able to face up to challenges with the help of the important bonds forged all those years ago. And the five realise just how lucky they are to treasure valuable friendships that last a lifetime.
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, eccentric Mr Emerson and. most of all, his passionate son George. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Victorian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse, until she finally learns to follow the power of her own heart. A Room with a View was brought to life in a film starring Helena Bonham Carter.
Sophie Kinsella - The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
Meet Rebecca Bloomwood. She's a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money. She spends her leisure time...shopping. Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can't. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something - just a little something... Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card?
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View / Howards End / Maurice
In these three novels Forster explores a perennial theme - the contradictory demands of passion ans civilization and the difficulties of staying true to the best ideals of each. A Room With A View, Howard's End and Maurice combine wit, a love of nature, astute social criticism and a complex and sympathetic understanding of human nature.
Jane Austen - Persuasion
At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen's last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, "Persuasion" is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.
Jane Austen - Northanger Abbey
Harper Collins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'Northanger Abbey! These were thrilling words, and wound up Catherine's feelings to the highest point of ecstasy.' Considered the most light-hearted and satirical of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey tells the story of an unlikely young heroine Catherine Morland. While staying in Bath, Catherine meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor who invite her to their family estate, Northanger Abbey. A fan of Gothic Romance novels, naive Catherine is soon letting her imagination run wild in the atmospheric abbey, fuelled by her friendship with the vivacious Isabella Thorpe. It is only when the realities of life set in around her that Catherine's fantastical world is shattered. A coming-of-age novel, Austen expertly parodies the Gothic romance novels of her time and reveals much about her unsentimental view of love and marriage in the eighteenth century.
Cassandra Clare - City of Ashes
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go -- especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil -- and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings -- and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? ;In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.
Cassandra Clare - City of Glass
To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight. As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost? Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.
Mandy Baggot - Made in Nashville
Made in Nashville...feel the country! An on-stage attack left Honor Blackwood with more scars than just the one on her face. It's been ten years since she left her spot as Nashville's brightest country music star. Is now the time to return? And is she brave enough to do it? Country rebel and rock star, Jared 'Jed' Marshall is hot property on the Tennessee music scene in more ways than one. He's wild, he's sexy and everybody wants a piece of him. But when he sets his sights on Honor, is it pure attraction or just distraction on his mind? Honor's record label sign the ex-boyfriend that dumped her and suddenly going back to her old life is harder than she thought. And when a secret from the past becomes public knowledge it's no longer just about the music...Are all the people in her life lying to her to get what they want? Join the country scene to find out! Made in Nashville - where the off-stage action's as hot as the music!
Kelley Armstrong - Bitten
An erotically charged, addictive thriller from the future queen of suspense. Living in Toronto for a year, Elena is leading the normal life she has always dreamed of, including a stable job as a journalist and a nice apartment shared with her boyfriend. As the lone female werewolf in existence, only her secret midnight prowls and her occasional inhuman cravings set her apart. Just one year ago, life was very different. Adopted by the Pack when bitten, Elena had spent years struggling with her resentment at having her life stolen away. Torn between two worlds, and overwhelmed by the new passions coursing through her body, her only option for control was to deny her awakening needs and escape. But now the Pack has called Elena home to help them fight an alliance of renegade werewolves who are bent on exposing and annihilating the Pack. And although Elena is obliged to rejoin her "family," she vows not to be swept up in Pack life again, no matter how natural it might feel. She has made her choice. Trouble is, she's increasingly uncertain if it's the right one. An erotically charged thriller, Bitten will awaken the voracious appetite of every reader, as the age-old battle between man and beast, between human and inhuman forces, comes to a head in one small town and within one woman's body.
Sarah Dessen - This Lullaby
"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.
Joanne Harris - Five Quarters of the Orange
Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow named after a raspberry liqueur, plies her culinary trade at the creperie - and lets memory play strange games. Into this world comes the threat of revelation as Framboise's nephew - a profiteering Parisian - attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes she has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers of Les Laveuses. As the split blood of a tragic wartime childhood flows again, exposure beckons for Framboise, the widow with an invented past. Joanne Harris has looked behind the drawn shutters of occupied France to illuminate the pain, delight and loss of a life changed for ever by the uncertainties and betrayals of war.
A. S. Byatt - Possession
Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once a literary detective novel and a triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars investigating the lives of two Victorian poets.Following a trail of letters, journals and poems they uncover a web of passion, deceit and tragedy, and their quest becomes a battle against time.
Danielle Steel - The Kiss
First kisses are often explosive, but not all are quite as disaster-ridden as the one that propels Steel's latest romance. Isabelle Forrester, elegant and refined wife of cold and indifferent Paris-based banker Gordon Forrester, has spent most of her marriage caring for her desperately ill teenage son, Teddy. Isolated in her Paris home, Isabelle's only comfort is her long-distance friendship with millionaire Washington power broker Bill Robinson, also stuck in an empty marriage. Isabelle and Bill, kindred spirits satisfied with their chaste relationship, agree to meet for a few platonic days in London. Following an enchanting evening on the town, they head back to their hotel in Bill's limousine. As the couple share their first, probing kiss, their car is struck by a speeding, double-decker bus. The horrendous crash kills many and leaves both Isabelle and Bill in critical condition. The long and arduous road to recovery is filled with both physical and emotional pain as Bill must make decisions about his crumbling marriage and the future of his career, and Isabelle must confront bitter truths about her husband. From adjoining hospital beds, they pledge their love to one another, but then Isabelle heads back to Paris to tend her ailing son, and Bill returns to the States for a stay at a rehabilitation center where he hopes to regain use of his legs. Will Isabelle eventually leave her husband and reclaim her freedom? Will Bill ever walk again? Will the two soul mates ever be reunited? Despite the wacky unlikeliness of the bus-crash plot device and the his-and-her IVs, Steel pulls through with skillful plotting, steeping a gentle brew that will once again gratify her legions of fans.
Lora Leigh - Aiden's Charity
The forces of survival and destruction swirl in the darkest corners of men's minds. The nature of the beast cannot be harnessed, and survival is the purest of all instincts. Survival of the species itself goes soul deep. But can the human heart accept and adapt as easily? Can Charity bestow the love and the acceptance that has always been a part of her, to the man whose very survival depended on the hardening of his heart, of his soul? And can Aiden maintain that cruelty now, in the face of the sacrifices she made? Only time and nature can tell.
Gil McNeil - Divas Don't Knit
Jo Mackenzie needs a kickstart to her dull life. Despite having two energetic young sons to cope with, everyday existence has become boring and stale, and relations with her husband are not good. When given the opportunity, Jo absolutely jumps at the chance to take over her Gran's wool shop in a small, seaside town. Of course, things are not going to be easy -- strife and conflict are the source of good comedy (and there are some wonderful and memorable moments here)! Unlikely though it might be, an A-list actress moves into the local mansion -- and that is always going to cause a fuss in such a small place. Add to that the fact that the local knitting group seem to like cake more than making stuff and you've got more than enough elements to make for a lovely, warm, uplifiting read.
Benita Brown - The Dressmaker
Melissa Dornay is the daughter of a humble dressmaker. When her mother dies, Melissa is offered a home by wealthy Lilian Winterton, but she soon realises Lilian wants an unpaid seamstress. Treated as a servant by the Wintertons, Melissa is befriended by Reenie, a kitchen maid, and they enjoy dressing up in Lilian’s cast-off clothes. Wearing finery, Melissa meets handsome young artist James Pennington, but she runs away, frightened he will guess her true status. Scandal follows and Melissa is unfairly thrown out on to the streets. Can the rags of her life be sewn into riches…?
Josephine Cox - Her Father's Sins
Queenie seemed born to suffer. Her mam died giving birth to her, her drunken father George Kenney ignored her unless he was cursing her, and only beloved Auntie Biddy provided an anchor for the little girl. Growing up in post-war Blackburn, life could be tough when Biddy had to take in washing to make ends meet - at a time when the washing machine began to gain popularity. After Auntie Biddy's death there was only Queenie to care for the home and to earn money, and no one to protect her from the father who blamed his daughter for her mother's death. But Queenie was resilient. And in spite of hardship, she grew up tall and strikingly beautiful with her deep grey eyes and her abundant honey-coloured hair. Love, in the shape of Rick Marsden, might have released her from the burden of the drink-sodden George. But the sins of the fathers would not be easily forgotten...
Cassandra Clare - City of Bones
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Kieran Kramer - When Harry Met Molly
_He’s always been a player._ Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he’s named by the Prince Regent as one of society’s “Impossible Bachelors,” Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: The bachelor whose mistress wins the title of “Most Delectable Companion” gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status…until his latest lightskirt abandons him. _Who will win this game of love?_ Enter Lady Molly Fairbanks. Harry’s childhood friend—actually, “foe” is more like it—is the most unlikely companion of all. She’s attractive but hot-headed, and in no mood for games. Besides, what could the self-indulgent Harry possibly know about what makes a woman delectable? It’s time for Molly to teach him a lesson once and for all…but will it lead to “happily ever after?”
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, the Sea
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.