A sweeping new novel from the number one Sunday Times bestselling author of The Tea Planter’s Wife, available for pre-order now
In 1940s Tuscany, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful home in a medieval villa among the olive groves has been upturned by the arrival of German soldiers. She is desperate to help her friends in the village fight back in any way she can, all while keeping her efforts secret from her husband Lorenzo, who fears for their safety. When Maxine, a no-nonsense Italian-American, arrives in Tuscany to help the resistance, the two women forge an uneasy alliance. Before long they find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis, each trying to save the ones they love…
‘Dinah Jefferies has a remarkable gift for conjuring up another time and place with lush descriptions, full of power and intensity’ Kate Furnivall.
Anita Abriel - The Light After the War
It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight. But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.
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.
Anthony Capella - The Wedding Officer
Twenty-two-year-old James Gould arrives in Occupied Naples in 1943, where his duties include dissuading Allied soldiers from marrying their beautiful Italian girlfriends, and his diet includes little more than spam fritters and warmed-up rations. The girls of Naples, however, soon arrange for a beautiful young country girl to join his staff as a cook. Under the twin influences of Italian food and Italian passion, James has only just realised that his heart is more important than his orders, when an eruption of Vesuvius sets in motion a series of epic events that will change their lives for ever.
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.
Ken Follett - Jackdaws
"Europe, 1944: In France the Resistance pave the way for the Allied invasion by sabotaging the Nazi infrastructure. When a Resistance raid on a vital telephone exchange goes disastrously wrong, S.O.E. agent Felicity "Flick" Clairet returns to England determined to mount a second mission to destroy the exchange. With only a few days to go before the invasion, and most intelligence agents already dead or missing in action, Flick assembles an assortment of misfits and malcontents - previously rejected as unfit for intelligence work - to complete her mission. What Flick does not know is that the suave but ruthless intelligence officer Colonel Dieter Franck is already on her trail."
D. M. Thomas - The White Hotel
It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of our century, and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case of history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, The White Hotel is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.
Mary Renault - The Charioteer
After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veterans` hospital in England to convalesce. There he befriends the young, bright Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly. As they find solace and companionship together in the idyllic surroundings of the hospital, their friendship blooms into a discreet, chaste romance. Then one day, Ralph Lanyon, a mentor from Lauries`s schoolboy days, suddenly reappears in Laurie`s life, and draws him into a tight-knit social circle of world-weary gay men, forcing him to choose between the sweet ideals of innocence and the distinct pleasures of experience.
Ruta Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
Terry Deary - The Woeful Second World War
The Woeful Second World War presents the dire details of a war that affected almost everyone - from old men joining the Dad's Army to the 12 year olds defending Berlin to the bitter end. Find out who made a meal of maggots, or which soldiers were so smelly their enemies could sniff them out.
Natasha Solomons - The House at Tyneford
Fans of Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden and Sarah Jio's The Violets of March will love this New York Times bestselling sweeping historical novel of love and loss. It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford—and Elise—forever
Isabel Wolff - Ghostwritten
A childhood mistake. A lifetime of regrets. Jenni is a ‘ghost’: she writes the lives of other people. It’s a job that suits her well: still haunted by a childhood tragedy, she finds it easier to take refuge in the memories of others rather than dwell on her own. Jenni has an exciting new commission, and is delighted to start working on the memoirs of a Dutchwoman, Klara. As a child in the Second World War, Klara was interned in a camp on Java during the Japanese occupation – she has an extraordinary story of survival to tell. But as Jenni and Klara begin to get to know each other, Jenni begins to do much more than shed light on a neglected part of history. She is being forced to examine her own devastating memories, too. But with Klara’s help, perhaps this is finally the moment where she will be able to lay the ghosts of her own past to rest?
William Boyd - Restless
I am Eva Delectorskaya,” Sally Gilmartin announces, and so on a warm summer afternoon in 1976 her daughter, Ruth, learns that everything she ever knew about her mother was a carefully constructed lie. Sally Gilmartin is a respectable English widow living in picturesque Cotswold village; Eva Delectorskaya was a rigorously trained World War II spy, a woman who carried fake passports and retreated to secret safe houses, a woman taught to lie and deceive, and above all, to never trust anyone. Three decades later the secrets of Sally's past still haunt her. Someone is trying to kill her and at last she has decided to trust Ruth with her story. Ruth, meanwhile, is struggling to make sense of her own life as a young single mother with an unfinished graduate degree and escalating dependence on alcohol. She is drawn deeper and deeper into the astonishing events of her mother's past—the mysterious death of Eva's beloved brother, her work in New York City manipulating the press in order to shift public sentiment toward American involvement in the war, her dangerous romantic entanglement. Now Sally wants to find the man who recruited her for the secret service, and she needs Ruth's help. RESTLESS is a brilliant espionage audiobook and a vivid portrait of the life of a female spy. Full of tension and drama, and based on a remarkable chapter of Anglo-American history, this is listening at its finest.
David Irving - The Secret Diaries of Hitler's Doctor (Theodor Morell)
David Irving's book, ""The Secret Dairies of Hitler's Doctor" was written in 1983 by David Irving. This is the story of a fat, balding and sloppy doctor named Theodor Morell, Adolf Hitler's personal physician. No doubt a megalomaniac, Morell catered to all of Hitler's medical needs and jealously guarded this title against all rival doctors vying to be Hitler's number one personal physician, particularly Karl Brandt and Felix Kersten. The Medical Casebook of Adolf Hitler: His Illnesses, Doctors, and Drugs With a tremendous ego, Morell actually designed his own dashing uniform with a gold buckle sewn in by his wife so that he could feel part of the Fuhrer's jealous coterie. Nevertheless, Brandt and Kersten mocked him and intrigued against him. Morell was accused of munching "like a pig at a trough" and having no friends was the price of being Hitler's favorite doctor. This book tells the story from Morell's start, whereupon as a licensed medical practitioner with only a dabbler's knowledge in other disciplines, that was enough to satisfy Hitler to take him on.
Jack Higgins - The Eagle Has Landed
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED is probably the greatest World War II story ever written. Operation Eagle was to be the most daring enemy mission of the entire war. Himmler planned to kidnap Churchill on British soil in November 1943. But in that remote corner of Norfolk, an elite unit is also put together to begin the countdown to the invasion. A brilliant adventure in which the reader' sympathies are enlisted as much for the German heroes as for the English defenders.
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?
Noel Streatfeild - When the Siren Wailed
It is 1939, and the Clark family (Nobby and Rosie, and the children Laura, Andy and Tim) lives in South London. Although they are poor - and often hungry - they have a happy home. There is talk that there may be a war with the Germans, and one Saturday morning the children are taken to the Town Hall to be given gas masks, which they must carry with them at all times. Then evacuation rehearsals begin: the war is probably going to happen, and when it does, all children in danger areas like London are to be sent to the country. All the children practice going to school with a suitcase, pillowcase or carrier bag, plus their gas mask and a piece of paper (pinned on with a safety pin) with their name, address and the name of their school on it. The evacuation takes place on September 1st, 1939. Laura, Andy and Tim are taken to a village called Charnbury in Dorset. They are billeted with Colonel Launcelot Stranger Stranger and his servants, Mr and Mrs Elk. A new life begins for the Clark children - one in which they must take a bath every day, help the Elks, and go to bed early. They also get new clothes, and regular meals. The war is also changing the village - signs are taken down, the Colonel joins the Home Guard, and food rationing is introduced. In letters from their mother, they learn that Nobby has joined the Navy, and Rosie is working at a munitions factory in London.
Sarah Waters - The Night Watch
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).
Deborah Lawrenson - The Sea Garden
Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas - rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere - from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern. The Sea Garden On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden's owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian … The Llavender Field Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected. A Shadow Life Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be? Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war - and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.
Stephen Fry - Making History
Michael Young is convinced his brilliant history thesis will win him a doctorate, a pleasant academic post, a venerable academic publisher and his beloved girlfriend Jane. A historian should know better than to imagine that he can predict the future. Leo Zuckerman is an ageing physicist obsessed with the darkest period in human history, utterly driven by his fanatical hatred of one man. A lover's childish revenge and the breaking of a rotten clasp cause the two men to meet in a blizzard of swirling pages. Pages of history. When they come together nothing - past, present or future - will ever be the same again.
Kristin Hannah - The Nightingale
In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are. FRANCE, 1939 In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real--and deadly--consequences. With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.