A novel of relationships set in 1940s London that brims with vivid historical detail, thrilling coincidences, and psychological complexity, by the author of the Booker Prize finalist Fingersmith.
Sarah Waters, whose works set in Victorian England have awards and acclaim and have reinvigorated the genres of both historical and lesbian fiction, returns with novel that marks a departure from nineteenth century and a spectacular leap forward in the career of this masterful storyteller.
Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit liasons, and sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch tells the story of Londoners: three women and a young man with a past-whose lives, and those of their friends and lovers, connect in ways that are surprising not always known to them. In wartime London, the women work-as ambulance drivers, ministry clerks, and building inspectors. There are feats of heroism, epic and quotidian, and tragedies both enormous and personal, but the emotional interiors of her characters that Waters captures with absolute and intimacy.
Waters describes with perfect knowingness the taut composure of a rescue worker in the aftermath of a bombing, the idle longing of a young woman her soldier lover, the peculiar thrill convict watching the sky ignite through the bars on his window, the hunger a woman stalking the streets for encounter, and the panic of another who sees her love affair coming end. At the same time, Waters is absolute control of a narrative that offers up subtle surprises and exquisite twists, even as it depicts the impact grand historical event on individual lives.
Tender, tragic, and beautifully poignant, The Night Watch is a towering achievement that confirms its author as “one of the best storytellers alive today” (Independent on Sunday).
Naomi Alderman - Disobedience
By the age of 32, Ronit has left London and transformed her life. She has become a cigarette-smoking, wise-cracking, New York career woman, who is in love with a married man. But when Ronit's father dies she is called back into the very different world of her childhood, a world she thought she had left far behind. The orthodox Jewish suburb of Hendon, north London is outraged by Ronit and her provocative ways. But Ronit is shocked too by the confrontation with her past. And when she meets up with her childhood girlfriend Esti, she is forced to think again about what she has left behind.
Louise Walters - Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase
_Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong..._ Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war. Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...
Maureen Hill - Britain at War
More than 750 original photographs from the archives of the Daily Mail packed into this book give a fascinating insight into a time when Britain faced the biggest threat in its history. A time when Britain stood for months alone against dictatorship and tyranny; a time when Britain faced the very real danger of invasion and occupation. The tireless and selfless individual and community contributions to the war effort recorded here are a testament to the spirit of the people in what was Britain's darkest and its finest hour.
Virginia Woolf - Orlando (angol)
Virginia Woolf's exuberant 'biography' tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through numerous historical and geographical worlds to finish as a modern woman writer in the 1920s. The book is in part a happy tribute to the 'life' that her love for Vita Sackville-West had breathed into Virginia Woolf's own day-to-day existence; it is also Woolf's light-hearted and light-handed teasing out of the assumptions that lie behind the normal conventions for writing about a fictional or historical life. In this novel, Virginia Woolf plays loose and fast: Orlando uncovers a literary and sexual revolution overnight.
Alan Hollinghurst - The Stranger's Child
In the late summer of 1913 the aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance comes to stay at 'Two Acres', the home of his close Cambridge friend George Sawle. The weekend will be one of excitements and confusions for all the Sawles, but it is on George's sixteen-year-old sister Daphne that it will have the most lasting impact, when Cecil writes her a poem which will become a touchstone for a generation, an evocation of an England about to change for ever. Linking the Sawle and Valance families irrevocably, the shared intimacies of this weekend become legendary events in a larger story, told and interpreted in different ways over the coming century, and subjected to the scrutiny of critics and biographers with their own agendas and anxieties. In a sequence of widely separated episodes we follow the two families through startling changes in fortune and circumstance. At the centre of this often richly comic history of sexual mores and literary reputation runs the story of Daphne, from innocent girlhood to wary old age. Around her Hollinghurst draws an absorbing picture of an England constantly in flux. As in "The Line of Beauty," his impeccably nuanced exploration of changing taste, class and social etiquette is conveyed in deliciously witty and observant prose. Exposing our secret longings to the shocks and surprises of time, "The Stranger's Child" is an enthralling novel from one of the finest writers in the English language.
Robert Galbraith - The Cuckoo's Calling
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his long-time girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Landry walks through his door with an amazing story. His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, fell, famously, to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rockstar boyfriends, desperate designers, and every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detective novels, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know the world of the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen it investigated by a detective like this one.
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol (Oxford Bookworms)
Christmas is humbug, Scrooge says - just a time when you find yourself a year older and not a penny richer. The only thing that matters to Scrooge is business, and making money. But on Christmas Eve three spirits come to visit him. They take him travelling on the wings of the night to see the shadows of Christmas past, present, and future - and Scrooge learns a lesson that he will never forget.
John Escott - England (Oxford Bookworms)
Every year millions of people visit England from all over the world. Why? Read about the History of the country and some of the things you can see and do there today - the cities, national parks, sports, the cinema and the theatre, pubs and music. All the things that make England a beutiful and exciting place to visit!
Maureen Lee - Mother of Pearl
Pretty Amy Curran was just eighteen years old when she met Barney Patterson, the love of her life, on Southport Pier in 1939. Their romantic, passionate marriage was made in heaven - but with the outbreak of war, Barney volunteered to fight, and the couple were separated for five long years. When he returned to Liverpool after VE Day he wasn't the same person - and neither was Amy. How could things have become so twisted that one day Amy would kill the husband she once so adored? And what happened to their little girl, Pearl, just five years old at the time? In 1971 Amy is released from prison - although her freedom will change the lives of others, not least that of her daughter. But Pearl has her own demons to exorcise in her quest for happiness. And the greatest question she must ask herself is this: can she ever love her mother after what she did?
Ken Follett - Winter of the World
Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, the first novel in his extraordinary new historical epic, The Century Trilogy, was an international sensation, acclaimed as “sweeping and fascinating, a book that will consume you for days or weeks” (USA Today) and “grippingly told and readable to the end” (The New York Times Book Review). “If the next two volumes are as lively and entertaining as Fall of Giants,” said The Washington Post, “they should be well worth waiting for.” Winter of the World picks up right where the first book left off, as its five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, Welsh—enter a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil, beginning with the rise of the Third Reich, through the Spanish Civil War and the great dramas of World War II, up to the explosions of the American and Soviet atomic bombs. Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism. . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come. These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as their experiences illuminate the cataclysms that marked the century. From the drawing rooms of the rich to the blood and smoke of battle, their lives intertwine, propelling the reader into dramas of ever-increasing complexity. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With passion and the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.
Robert Capa - Slightly Out of Focus
In 1942, a dashing young man who liked nothing so much as a heated game of poker, a good bottle of scotch, and the company of a pretty girl hopped a merchant ship to England. He was Robert Capa, the brilliant and daring photojournalist, and Collier's magazine had put him on assignment to photograph the war raging in Europe. In these pages, Capa recounts his terrifying journey through the darkest battles of World War II and shares his memories of the men and women of the Allied forces who befriended, amused, and captivated him along the way. His photographs are masterpieces -- John G. Morris, Magnum Photos' first executive editor, called Capa "the century's greatest battlefield photographer" -- and his writing is by turns riotously funny and deeply moving. From Sicily to London, Normandy to Algiers, Capa experienced some of the most trying conditions imaginable, yet his compassion and wit shine on every page of this book. Charming and profound, Slightly Out of Focus is a marvelous memoir told in words and pictures by an extraordinary man.
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist (Oxford Bookworms)
Oliver’s mother dies when he is born and he is brought up in a workhouse. His first years are cold and lonely – and then he runs away to London. But he falls into the hands of Fagin and the terrifying Bill Sykes. They try to turn Oliver into a criminal. Will he escape to find a better life?
Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
Egy ötvenes éveiben járó úrinő, Clarissa Dalloway, egy konzervatív politikus felesége London belvárosában sétálgat. Estélyt készül adni, amelyre meghívott jó néhány hírességet, köztük régi barátait, akikkel együtt töltötte vidéki birtokukon az ifjúkorát. - Egy fiatal hivatalnok, Septimus Warren Smith és felesége, Rezia is a belvárosban sétál, de ők sokkal fontosabb: terápiás céllal, Septimus ugyanis idegösszeomlást kapott a harctéren átélt borzalmaktól (nem sokkal az első világháború után vagyunk). - A belvárosban sétál, parkokban üldögélve eleveníti fel a régi időket, s rágódik házaséletének mostani válságán Peter Walsh, Clarissa régi hódolója, aki nemrég tért vissza Indiából. Az ő sorsuk - és még sokaké, ismerősöké, vadidegeneké - kapcsolódik össze ennek az érzésekből, érzékelésekből és emlékekből építkező regénynek sajátos világában, az ő egyéni, vissza-visszatérő s finoman változó dallammotívumuk olvad szinte zenei harmóniába, mire az utolsó mondat is elhangzik. A főtéma azonban Mrs. Dalloway - az ő alakja köré szerveződik a mű, ő az, aki mindenkinek másképp tűnik fel: hol régi reménytelen szerelemként, hol a konvenciók üresfejű rabjaként, hol felejthetetlen, noha sznob barátnőként, hol az életnek értelmet adó, sugárzó középpontként. Hangvilla ő, Clarissa, aki minden érintésre másképp rezeg, s a teljesség vágyva vágyott képzetét kelti az emberekben. Az írónőnek ez a műve ihlette Az órák című nagysikerű filmet.
Ismeretlen szerző - So Fey
They're immortal. They cannot lie. Often they are unnaturally beautiful or horrendously ugly. With a song or a glance or a single kiss they can bewitch. They are the Fey Folk. For centuries they have captivated us, in folktales and in fiction.
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist (Penguin Readers)
Oliver's mother dies when he is born and he is brought up in a workhouse. His first years are cold and lonely - and then he runs away to London. But he falls into the hands of Fagin and the terrifying Bill Sykes. They try to turn Oliver into a criminal. Will he escape to find a better life?
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
This engrossing tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge's ghostly journeys through Christmases past, present, and future and his ultimate transformation from a harsh and grasping old miser to a charitable and compassionate human being. A perennial classic that has become as much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths.
Louis de Bernières - Captain Corelli's Mandolin
It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscientious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consummate musician. When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiancé go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?
Mark Mills - The Savage Garden
A beautiful Tuscan villa, a mysterious garden, two hidden murders - one from the 16th century, one from the twentieth - and a family driven by dark secrets, combine in this evocative, intriguing mystery set in post-War Italy. In 1958, Adam Strickland, a young Cambridge scholar, travels to the Villa Docci in Tuscany to study a sixteenth-century garden. Designed and laid out by a grieving husband to the memory of his dead wife, it is a mysterious world of statues, grottoes, meandering rills and classical inscriptions. But tragedy has hit the Docci family more recently. The German occupation during World War 2 had a devastating impact on them, and the tensions between collaborators and partisans were played out within their own tight circle. Adam is fascinated by the Doccis and increasingly aware that there are dangerous secrets hidden within the family domain. The garden itself starts to exercise a powerful influence over his imagination, its iconography seeming to point to some deeper, darker truth than was first apparent. And what really lay behind a killing at the villa towards the end of the war? Past and present, love and intrigue, intertwine in an evocative mystery which vividly captures the experience of an innocent abroad in the uncertain world of post-War Italy.
Jeanette Winterson - Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Jeanette, the protagonist of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and the author's namesake, has issues–"unnatural" ones: her adopted mam thinks she's the Chosen one from God; she's beginning to fancy girls; and an orange demon keeps popping into her psyche. Already Jeanette Winterson's semi-autobiographical first novel is not your typical coming-of-age tale. Brought up in a working-class Pentecostal family, up North, Jeanette follows the path her Mam has set for her. This involves Bible quizzes, a stint as a tambourine-playing Sally Army officer and a future as a missionary in Africa, or some other „heathen state”. When Jeanette starts going to school ("The Breeding Ground") and confides in her mother about her feelings for another girl ("Unnatural Passions"), she's swept up in a feverish frenzy for her tainted soul. Confused, angry and alone, Jeanette strikes out on her own path, that involves a funeral parlour and an ice-cream van. Mixed in with the so-called reality of Jeanette's existence growing up are unconventional fairy tales that transcend the everyday world, subverting the traditional preconceptions of the damsel in distress. In Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Winterson knits a complicated picture of teenage angst through a series of layered narratives, incorporating and subverting fairytales and myths, to present a coherent whole, within which her stories can stand independently. Imaginative and mischievous, she is a born storyteller, teasing and taunting the reader to reconsider their worldview. –Nicola Perry
Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Girl
Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she is a girl of just fourteen. But her joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in her family's plots. When the capricious king's interest warnes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary must resign herself to being the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away - before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls... (Harper, 2011)