Enormously visceral, emotionally gripping, and imbued with the belief that justice is possible even after the most horrific of crimes, Alice Sebold’s compelling memoir of her rape at the age of eighteen is a story that takes hold of you and won’t let go.
Sebold fulfills a promise that she made to herself in the very tunnel where she was raped: someday she would write a book about her experience. With Lucky she delivers on that promise with mordant wit and an eye for life’s absurdities, as she describes what she was like both as a young girl before the rape and how that rape changed but did not sink the woman she later became.
It is Alice’s indomitable spirit that we come to know in these pages. The same young woman who sets her sights on becoming an Ethel Merman-style diva one day (despite her braces, bad complexion, and extra weight) encounters what is still thought of today as the crime from which no woman can ever really recover. In an account that is at once heartrending and hilarious, we see Alice’s spirit prevail as she struggles to have a normal college experience in the aftermath of this harrowing, life-changing event.
No less gripping is the almost unbelievable role that coincidence plays in the unfolding of Sebold’s narrative. Her case, placed in the inactive file, is miraculously opened again six months later when she sees her rapist on the street. This begins the long road to what dominates these pages: the struggle for triumph and understanding — in the courtroom and outside in the world.
Lucky is, quite simply, a real-life thriller. In its literary style and narrative tension we never lose sight of why this life story is worth reading. At the end we are left standing in the wake of devastating violence, and, like the writer, we have come to know what it means to survive.
Alice Sebold - The Almost Moon
Helen Knightly has spent a lifetime trying to win the love of a mother who had none to spare. And as this electrifying novel opens, she steps over a boundary she never dreamt she would even approach. But while her act is almost unconscious, it also seems like the fulfilment of a lifetime's buried desire. Over the next twenty-four hours, her life rushes in at her as she confronts the choices that have brought her to this crossroads.
Alexandra Potter - Me and Mr Darcy
He's every woman's fantasy! After a string of nightmare relationships, Emily Albright has decided she's had it with modern-day men. She'd rather pour herself a glass of wine, curl up with Pride and Prejudice and step into a time where men were dashing, devoted and honourable, strode across fields in breeches, their damp shirts clinging to their chests, and weren't into internet porn. So when her best friend invites her to Mexico for a week of margaritas and men, Emily decides to book a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. She quickly realises she won't find her dream man here. The coach tour is full of pensioners, apart from one Mr Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist sent to write a piece on why Mr Darcy's been voted the man most women would love to date! Until she walks into a room and finds herself face-to-face with Darcy himself. And every woman's fantasy suddenly becomes one woman's reality!
Sarah Addison Allen - The Peach Keeper
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be. It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots. But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town. Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living. Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.
M. C. Beaton - Emily Goes to Exeter
A dead employer's legacy of five thousand pounds allows spinster Hannah Pym to resign from housekeeping and find adventure travelling the English countryside by stagecoach. But adventure soon finds Miss Pym in the form of Miss Emily Freemantle, a spoilt violet-eyed beauty fleeing an arranged marriage to a rake she has never met. What the girl's darkly handsome betrothed boards their stage, Miss Pym is certain Emily was rash to bolt from this aristocratic catch! And so as soon as the travellers repair to an inn, Miss Pym begins her matchmaking...and although Lord Ranger Harley complains he'll not marry an ungrateful minx, Miss Pym suspects once she's marshalled the couple into sharing intimate household chores, all romantic knots will be untangled!
Jessica Adams - Maggie Alderson - Candace Bushnell - Joan Collins - Nick Earls - Imogen Edwards-Jones - Nick Hornby - Marian Keyes - Karen Moline - Patrick Neate - Big Night Out
Join the A-List for a Big Night Out to remember in the biggest read of the year! Over 30 fantastic new short stories from bestsellers like Marian Keyes, Candace Bushnel and Karen Moline, and award-winners like Patrick Neate, plus party tips from celebs who really know how to have a good time.... Start the night with Stella McCartney, then let Joan Collins and Kate Moss sort your look, Nick Hornby and Steve Coogan provide the music, Jamie Oliver whip up the hangover cures, and Bob Geldof take care of the morning after the night before. Sexy, serious, sad funny and brilliant by turns, Big Night Out is not only a great read, it also raises funds for War Child, the international charity for children affected by war. The best in modern writing - and a lot more. Don't go out without it!
Laurie Graham - Gone With the Windsors
Laurie Graham's brilliant novel is the fictional diary of Maybell Brumby, a wealthy American widow who arrives in London in 1932 and discovers that an old school friend is in town: Bessie Wallis Warfield, now Mrs Ernest Simpson. Maybell and Wally are made for one another. One has money and a foothold in high society, courtesy of a sister who married well. The other has ruthless ambition and enough energy to power the National Grid. Before the year is out, Wally has begun her seduction of the Prince of Wales, and as she clambers towards the throne she makes sure Maybell and her cheque book are always close at hand. So Maybell becomes an eye-witness to the Abdication Crisis. From her perch in Carlton Gardens, home of her influential brother-in-law Lord Melhuish, she has the perfect vantage point for observing the anxious, changing allegiances for and against Queen Wally, and the political contours of pre-war London. When the crisis comes and Wally flees to the south of France, she insists on Maybell going with her. 'Are you sure that's advisable, darling?' asks the King. 'Of course it is,' snaps Wally. 'She's the Paymaster General.' Maybell's diary records the marriage, the Windsors' exile, and the changing complexion of the Greatest Love Story. It takes the sound of German jackboots at the gate and personal tragedy to make her close its pages for the last time.
Rachel Gibson - True Love and Other Disasters
Disaster Number One: Men Hard knocks and hunger taught Faith Duffy not to believe in love. Still, when she married her very wealthy—and very old—husband, she became the perfect wife. And then he went to that big bank in the sky, leaving Faith with lonely nights, a pile of money, and a total mess of a pro hockey team. Heck, Faith doesn't even watch hockey! Disaster Number Two: Passion But most of America and half of Canada is watching Ty Savage. His lethal sex appeal and deadly right hook make him the favorite of fans. For most of Ty's life, he's dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. The last thing he needs is a bimbo messing up his plans. Disaster Number Three: Love Faith loathes Ty on sight, but she can't stop thinking about him all day . . . and night. Then a moment of temptation ends with Faith in Ty's bed, and she begins to see there's more to him than sex appeal. Ty discovers there's far more to Faith than beauty and billions. But a relationship with Faith is impossible, and falling in love—that would be a disaster.
Katie Fforde - Summer of Love
Sian Bishop has only ever experienced one moment of recklessness – a moment that resulted in her beloved son Rory. It’s not that she doesn’t love the outcome of that wild night, but since then she has always taken the safer route. So when dependable, devoted Richard suggests a move to the beautiful English countryside, she leaves the hustle and bustle of the city behind, and she throws herself into the picture-postcard cottage garden, her furniture restoration business, and a new life in the country. Her good intentions are torpedoed on a glorious summer’s evening with the arrival of Gus Berresford. One-time explorer and full-time heartbreaker, Gus is ridiculously exciting, wonderfully glamorous and a completely inappropriate love interest for a single mum. But Gus and Sian have met before… Sian has no use for a fling, she simply mustn’t fall in love with the most unlikely suitor ever to cross her path – even if he has now crossed her path twice. But who knows what can happen in a summer of love…
Kami Garcia - Margaret Stohl - Beautiful Darkness
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen. Sometimes life-ending. Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Katie Fforde - Love Letters
With the bookshop where she works about to close, Laura Horsley, in a moment of uncharacteristic recklessness, finds herself agreeing to help organize a literary festival deep in the heart of the English countryside. But her initial excitement is rapidly followed by a mounting sense of panic when reality sinks in and she realizes just how much work is involved - especially when an innocent mistake leads the festival committee to mistakenly believe that Laura is a personal friend of the author at the top of their wish-list. Laura might have been secretly infatuated with the infamous Dermot Flynn ever since she studied him at university, but traveling to Ireland to persuade the notorious recluse to come out of hiding is another matter. Determined to rise to the challenge she sets off to meet her literary hero. But all too soon she's confronted with more than she bargained for - Dermot the man is maddening, temperamental and up to his ears in a nasty case of writer's block. But he's also infuriatingly attractive - and, apparently, out to add Laura to his list of conquests...
Julie Bertagna - The opposite of chocolate
A second novel for Young Picador from Whitbread-shortlist star! It's a long, hot summer - and a climactic one. For 14-year-old Sapphire it brings the awesome, terrifying realisation that she is pregnant - a discovery that catapults her into the eye of a storm as her body, her future, her life, become a battleground for everyone's needs but her own. Meanwhile, out in the humid urban night, a mysterious firebug is running wild, working out his own anger and confusion with dramatic consequences. Somehow, from this cauldron of emotion and fear, Sapphire must find a way to take control of her life - and make the most agonising and lonely of choices.
Mario Puzo - The Godfather
The Godfather is an extraordinary novel which has become a modern day classic. Puzo pulls us inside the violent society of the Mafia and its gang wars. The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. His command post is a fortress on Long Island from which he presides over a vast underground empire that includes the rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation's mighty. Mario Puzo, a master storyteller, introduces us to unforgettable characters, and the elements of this world explode to life in this violent and impassioned chronicle.
M. C. Beaton - Belinda Goes to Bath
No sooner does Miss Pym board her next stagecoach than she finds herself embroiled in the plight of Miss Belinda Earle, a spirited heiress banished to Bath after swearing off the marriage market. When the coach founders near Baddell Castle, and the dashing Marquis of Frenton comes to the rescue, Miss Pym decides to give Fate a hand. Although the austere bachelor disdains romance, his furtive glances towards Belinda prove to Miss Pym that her expert matchmaking will soon turn this star-crossed couple into a heavenly match!
M. C. Beaton - Penelope Goes to Portsmouth
Kind-hearted Miss Hannah Pym is off to Portsmouth in the company of the beautiful but practical Miss Penelope Wilkins. Miss Pym quickly realises that Penelope needs someone to enliven her sheltered life, someone perhaps like their handsome travelling companion, Lord Augustus Railton. Penelope, however, thinks Lord Augustus is a ne'er-do-well...Hannah's hopes for adventure, on the other hand, are fulfilled when the coach happens upon a footman who faces hanging for a crime he didn't commit.
M. C. Beaton - Yvonne Goes to York
No coach journey is ever dull with Miss Pym aboard, and this one proves no exception: Hannah meets Yvonne Grenier, fleeing the Horror in France, and very soon determines to find a suitable match for this beautiful and charming Frenchwoman.
M. C. Beaton - Deborah Goes to Dover
Encouraged by an unruly twin brother, tomboyish Lady Deborah Western seems set on dressing and behaving in a most unladylike manner, much to the dismay of her handsome neighbour, the Earl of Ashton. Fortunately for the Earl, Miss Pym is on hand to make sure the gorgeous girl is introduced to some more feminine pursuits...
Jenny Colgan - Looking for Andrew McCarthy
The third novel by the Sunday times bestselling author of Amanda's Wedding 'I'm wearing a beautiful pink dress, and I'm in a big pink room with billowing curtains...and I'm dancing to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark...and my handsome partner leans over and whispers... 'Yes, 80s child Ellie really thought life was going to be like Pretty in Pink, St Elmo's Fire and all those other movies -- where everyone was astoundingly glamorous, popular, successful, had huge apartments and lived happily ever after. But now that she and her gang are thirty, she has to admit that things haven't quite turned out that way. When did horrible flats, difficult relationships and menaningless jobs take over?And, more importantly, what happened to the coolest, wisest, most inspirational Brat Packer of them all? Where is Andrew McCarthy now? Did life fulfil its promise for him? Is he happy on Channel 5? Surely he, of all people, can tell Ellie what to do about her thirty-angst?
Sarah Addison Allen - Garden Spells
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.… The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures. A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before. When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other. Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….
Madeleine Wickham - The Wedding Girl
At the age of eighteen, in that first golden Oxford summer, Milly was up for anything. Rupert and his American lover Allan were all part of her new, exciting life, and when Rupert suggested to her that she and Allan should get married, just so that Allan could stay in the country, Milly didn't hesitate, and to make it seem real she dressed up in cheap wedding finery and posed on the steps of the registry office for photographs. Ten years later, Milly is a very different person. Engaged to Simon - who is wealthy, serious, and believes her to be perfect - she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. Her mother has it planned to the finest detail, from the massive marquee to the sculpted ice swans filled with oysters. Her dreadful secret is locked away so securely she has almost persuaded herself that it doesn't exist - until, with only four days to go, her past catches up with her. Suddenly, her carefully constructed world is about to crash in ruins around her. How can she tell Simon she's already married? How can she tell her mother? But as the crisis develops, more secrets are revealed than Milly could possibly have realised...