Mary Miller had always been an outcast. As a child, fell into the hot burn – a torrent of warm chemical run-off from the local coal mine – and her hair turned white. Initially she was treated with sympathy, but all that changed a few days later when the young man who pushed her in died in an accident.
Now, many years later, Mary is a single mother caught up in a faltering affair. Her son, Sandy, has fallen in love with a strange homeless girl – and both mother and son are forced to come to terms with a dark secret from Mary’s past.
Jane Gardam - Old Filth
FILTH, in his heyday, was an international lawyer with a practice in the Far East. Now, only the oldest QCs and Silks can remember that his nickname stood for Failed In London Try Hong Kong. Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'Home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's new novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age. Brilliantly constructed - going backwards and forwards in time, yet constantly working towards the secret at its core - OLD FILTH is funny and heart-breaking, witty and peopled with characters who astonish, dismay and delight the reader. Jane Gardam is as sensitive to the 'jungle' within children as she is to the eccentricities of the old. A touch of magic combines with compassion, humour and delicacy to make OLD FILTH a genuine masterpiece.
Jenny Colgan - Meet Me at the Cupcake Café
Ever dreamed of starting over Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she's made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own caf. It should be a piece of cake, right Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception.
Sebastian Faulks - The Girl at the Lion d'Or
On a rainy night in the 1930s, Anne Louvet appears at the run-down Hotel du Lion d'Or in the village of Janvilliers. She is seeking a job and a new life, one far removed from the awful injustices of her past. As Anne embarks on a torrential love affair with a married veteran of the Great War, The Girl at the Lion d'Or fashions an unbreakable spell of narrative and atmosphere that evokes French masters from Flaubert to Renoir.
C. S. Forester - A Ship of the Line
May, 1810 - and thirty-nine-year-old Captain Horatio Hornblower has been handed his first ship of the line . . . Though the seventy-four-gun HMS Sutherland is 'the ugliest and least desirable two-decker in the Navy' and a crew shortage means he must recruit two hundred and fifty landlubbers, Hornblower knows that by the time Sutherland and her squadron reach the blockaded Catalonian coast every seaman will do his duty. But with daring raids against the French army and navy to be made, it will take all Hornblower's seamanship - and stewardship - to steer a steady course to victory and home . . . This is the sixth of eleven books chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.
Gerald Durrell - Birds, Beasts and Relatives
Part coming-of-age autobiography and part nature guide, Gerald Durrell’s dazzling sequel to My Family and Other Animals is based on his boyhood on Corfu, from 1933 to 1939. Originally published in 1969 but long out of print, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives is filled with charming observations, amusing anecdotes, boyhood memories, and childlike wonder.
Michael Palin - Hemingway's Chair
Martin Sproale is an assistant postmaster obsessed with Ernest Hemingway. Martin lives in a small English village, where he studies his hero and putters about harmlessly--until an ambitious outsider, Nick Marshall, is appointed postmaster instead of Martin. Slick and self-assured, Nick steals Martin's girlfriend and decides to modernize the friendly local office by firing dedicated but elderly employees and privatizing the business. Suddenly, gentle Martin is faced with a choice: meedly accept defeat as he always has, or fight for what he believes in, as his hero, Hemingway, would. Filled with Michael Palin's trademark wit and good humor, this novel is for anyone who has ever dreamed of triumphing over the technocrats and backstabbers of the world. Hilarious, touching, and ultimately inspirational, _Hemingway's Chair_ will make readers stand up and cheer.
D. E. Stevenson - Miss Buncle's Book
Who Knew One Book Could Cause So Much Chaos? Barbara Buncle is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara's bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel ... if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out. To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It's a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Buncle's world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art? A beloved author who has sold more than seven million books, D. E. Stevenson is at her best with _Miss Buncle's Book_, crafting a highly original and charming tale about what happens when people see themselves through someone else's eyes. "Love it, love it, love it" "There are no vampires, no faeries, no weird creatures, just a sweet story about real people living in a world I've always dreamed of."--Reader Review
Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal
The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world's most heavily guarded man. One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.
C. S. Forester - Hornblower and the Atropos
1805, and Hornblower is both humbled and honoured in quick succession . . . After near disaster on board a canal barge, Horatio Hornblower is given his first assignment as Captain, taking charge of the Atropos, a 22-gun sloop that will act as flagship for the funeral procession of Lord Nelson. Soon the Atropos is part of the Mediterranean fleet's assault upon Napoleon, and Captain Hornblower must execute a bold and daring salvage operation for buried treasure lying deep in Turk waters. Under the guns of a suspicious port captain and the threat of a Spanish frigate more than double Atropos's size, Hornblower must steer his ship unscathed and triumphant . . . This is the fourth of eleven books chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.
C. S. Forester - The Gun
Abandoned by the retreating Spanish army during the Peninsular War, the gun is an eighteen pounder bronze cannon, thirteen feet long, weighing three tons. When a group of Spanish partisans come across it two years later they see in it a chance for victory against the French - but first they must haul it across the mountains with nothing but a handful of donkeys and half-starved oxen. On its epic journey the cannon begins to gain almost mystical significance. For, with the gun, they are no longer a band of Spanish irregulars, they are an army able to take on the cream of Napoleon's troops...
C. S. Forester - Mr Midshipman Hornblower
1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Midshipman Horatio Hornblower receives his first command...As a seventeen-year-old with a touch of sea sickness, young Horatio Hornblower hardly cuts a dash in His Majesty's navy. Yet, from the moment he is ordered to board a French merchant ship in the Bay of Biscay and take command of crew and cargo, he proves his seafaring mettle on the waves. With a character-forming duel, several chases and some strange tavern encounters, the young Hornblower is soon forged into a formidable man of the sea. This is the first of eleven books chronicling the nautical adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable hero, Horatio Hornblower.
Charles Elton - Mr Toppit
When the author of The Hayseed Chronicles, Arthur Hayman, is mown down by a concrete truck in Soho, his legacy passes to his widow, Martha, and her children - the fragile Rachel, and Luke, reluctantly immortalised as Luke Hayseed, the central character of his father's books. But others want their share, particularly Laurie, who has a mysterious agenda of her own that changes all their lives. For buried deep in the books lie secrets which threaten to be revealed as the family begins to crumble under the heavy burden of their inheritance. Spanning several decades, from the heyday of the British film industry after the war to the cut-throat world of show business in Los Angeles, Mr Toppit is a riveting tale of the unexpected effects of sudden fame and fortune. Not since Jonathan Coe's What a Carve Up! has a novel managed to capture a family and a society to such wonderfully funny and painful effect.
Georgia Byng - Molly Moon's Hypnotic Time Travel Adventure
Molly Moon returns . . . and bumps into earlierversions of herself -- four of them, to be exact -- all kidnaped and transported back in time to nineteenth-century India by Molly's most fearsome nemesis yet, an insane maharaja. Molly foiled his plans once already, by stopping Primo Cell from becoming president of the United States. This time around, the maharaja is determined to alter the course of history. The only thing standing in his way is Molly and her brave pug, Petula. . . .
C. S. Forester - The Young Hornblower Omnibus
The Young Hornblower - a truly formidable force in His Majesty's Service. The seventeen-year-old Hornblower became notorious as soon as he stepped on board ship - as the midshipman who was seasick in Spithead. But he was soon to gain his sea legs. Amid battle, action and adventure he proves himself time and time again - courageous in danger, resourceful in moments of difficulty and decisive in times of trouble. The reader stands right beside him as he prepares to fight his first duel, feels the heat as he battles to control a blazing ship and shares his horror as he experiences for the first time the panic of the Plague. This omnibus edition contains: "Mr Midshipman Hornblower", "Lieutenant Hornblower", and "Hornblower and the Hotspur".
David Walliams - Gangsta Granny
Another hilarious and moving novel from bestselling, critically acclaimed author David Walliams, the natural successor to Roald Dahl. A story of prejudice and acceptance, funny lists and silly words, this new book has all the hallmarks of David's previous bestsellers. Our hero Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma's house. She's the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn't know about his grandma. 1) She was once an international jewel thief. 2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels, and now she needs Ben's help!
C. S. Forester - Hornblower and the Crisis
The final Horatio Hornblower story tells of Napoleon's plans to invade England . . . Set in 1805, Hornblower and the Crisis finds Horatio Hornblower in possession of confidential dispatches from Bonaparte after a vicious hand-to-hand encounter with a French brig. The admiralty rewards Hornblower by sending him on a dangerous espionage mission that will light the powder trail leading to the battle of Trafalgar . . . Hornblower and the Crisis was unfinished at the time of Forester's death, but the author left notes - included here - telling us how the tale would end. Also included are two further stories - Hornblower and the Widow McCool and The Last Encounter - that tell of Hornblower as a very young and very old man, respectively. This is the final book chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.
C. S. Forester - Hornblower and the Hotspur
April 1803, and the Peace of Amiens is failing as Horatio Hornblower takes a three-master on a vital reconnaissance mission … On the day of his marriage to Maria, Hornblower is ordered to take the Hotspur and head for Brest – war is coming and Napoleon will not catch His Majesty’s navy with its britches round its ankles. With thoughts of his new life as a husband intruding on his duties, Hornblower must prove himself to be not only the most capable commander in the fleet, but also its most daring if he is to stop the French gaining the upper hand. This is the third of eleven books chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester’s inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.
Emylia Hall - A Heart Bent Out of Shape
For Hadley Dunn, life so far has been uneventful - no great loves, no searing losses. But that's before she decides to spend a year studying in the glittering Swiss city of Lausanne, a place that feels alive with promise. Here Hadley meets Kristina, a beautiful but elusive Danish girl, and the two quickly form the strongest of bonds. Yet one November night, as the first snows of winter arrive, tragedy strikes. Hadley, left reeling and guilt-stricken, beings to lean on the only other person to whom she feels close, her American Literature professor Joel Wilson. But as the pair try to uncover the truth of what happened that night, their tentative friendship heads into forbidden territory. And before long a line is irrevocably crossed, everything changes, and two already complicated lives take an even more dangerous course... A Heart Bent Out of Shape is the story of a first love, a terrible tragedy, a snow-filled paradise; a year that will never be forgotten.
P. G. Wodehouse - Joy in the Morning
This book is a Jeeves and Wooster novel. Trapped in rural Steeple Bumpleigh, a man less stalwart than Bertie Wooster would probably give way at the knees. For among those present were Florence Craye, to whom Bertie had once been engaged and her new fiance 'Stilton' Cheesewright, who sees Bertie as a snake in the grass. And that biggest blot on the landscape, Edwin the Boy Scout, who is busy doing acts of kindness out of sheer malevolence. All Bertie's forebodings are fully justified. For in his efforts to oil the wheels of commerce, promote the course of true love and avoid the consequences of a vendetta, he becomes the prey of all and sundry. In fact only Jeeves can save him.
Sally Spencer - South of the River
A tale of courage, warmth and grit, continuing the saga begun in old Father Thames. In turn of the century Southwark, times are changing. Traffic on the river is waning, replaced by the railways, and the mass of new inventions - the telephone, moving pictures, motor cars - is beginning to transform every day life. It's all change for the members of the closeknit community too, and some find it easier to adapt than others. Belinda is forgiving her way as an independent woman; Mary tries to find the courage to stand up to her mother; Fred faces the ultimate challenge when the docks go up in fire; Maggie is driven by the loss of her baby, and Tom cannot escape his chequered past.