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Published: 21 Jun 2011
Motherhood is every woman's right and the natural outcome of a happy marriage. What then is the answer when a normal and beautiful young woman is forced to recognise, after two years as the wife of a country parson in the north of England, that her own marriage is a sham and will never bring her the fulfilment she desperately needs?
Grace Rouse is faced by this situation and like many other women before her, she seeks to escape a mounting sense of frustration and despair by turning from the husband she has tried in vain to love to the comfort and release offered by another man.
The final outcome, however, does not conform to pattern, and Grace is forced to wage a war between a man who can give her children and a man who passionately desires children but can only give them his name.
In Battenbun, Northumberland, there live four Puddleton men - Grandpop, Old Pop, Pop and Peter. Three of them have two things in common: a cast in one eye and in the other, a glint for the opposite sex. Peter, his mother's only joy, has no cast and no eye for women either - until one day a customer calls at his garage on the edge of the village.
The village hadn't seen anything like her before, and wasn't certain it wanted to, and from the moment of her arrival, things began to happen. An eel is found in a pond where never an eel has been known to visit. Men creep through the woods to find this Slinky Jane but which one, the eel or the strange girl?
Published: 1 Sep 1999
Published: 31 Dec 2011
We read him for his exuberant salmagundi of old jokes, myths, urban and otherwise, catchphrases, liberatingly crazy ideas, running gags, recurring characters and locations, unreliable authobiographical anecdotes, and not forgetting the now legendary 'load of old toot'. He becomes funnier the more you read him' Mat Coward, Independent on The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag
Society's plug is about to be pulled, big time. At the stroke of midnight on 31 December 1999, computer systems all over the world will crash and plunge us into chaos. But so what if it's the downfall of civilization? These things happen. We'll just have to take it on the chin. Or at least up the nose. Because rejoice and give thanks, snuff is making a comeback. And who do we thank for this? Who is the man who brings joy to the nostrils of the nation? The tender blender with the blinder grinder? The master blaster with the louder powder? The geezer with the sneezer that's a real crowd pleaser? Mr Doveston, that's who, and this is his story. So forget about impending doom and enter the glamorous world of snuff-snorting. Oh, and don't forget to bring a hanky. Things could get a little messy later.
Robert Rankin's novel gleefully chronicles the collapse of civilisation, as the world slides into chaos with a smile on its face and a finger up its nose. Prophetic vision of an imminent dystopia? Or just the rabid ranting of a snuff-crazed technophobe?
Published: 2 Nov 2009
'To call Rankin irreverent doesn't begin to describe just how good he is at playing with the rules' MIRROR
Gary Cheese is twenty-two years of age and works for British Telecom as an operator. Gary's hobbies include watching TV, walking his dog Princey, going down the pub with his mates, and attempting to re-animate the dead. He hasn't been having too much success with the latter so far. But Gary's heard a rumour. According to this bloke he met down the pub, there exists certain telecommunications technology that can actually let you speak to the dead. Apparently it's been in operation for years. FLATLINE, it's called, a chatline to the dead. They ran all these ads on the TV a few years ago to prepare the public for it. Those ones about having a one-to-one with famous dead people. But it seems something went very wrong: the dead had certain things to say to the living that the powers that be couldn't allow to be heard. Or something. Apparently. Gary's determined to find out the truth. Gary's a bit of a fan boy and Gary really wants to speak to all of his dead heroes. And Gary will have the time of his life when he talks to the dead.
Published: 1 Apr 2002
Lovely, spirited Rowena Belleme knew that she must produce an heir to pacify her ruthless stepbrother, Gilbert d'Ambray. When the elderly husband Gilbert had found for her dropped dead on their wedding night, there seemed only one solution - to capture a virile man and force him to submit to her amorous advances.But Rowena found that her captive, the magnificent knight Warrick de Chaville, was a little more than she had bargained for.
Vowing to resist but betrayed by his own desires, Warrick was intoxicated by Rowena's sapphire eyes and voluptuous beauty.Yet all the while he was planning a fitting revenge, eagerly awaiting the time when his captor would become his helpless captive...and made to suffer the same rapturous torment and exquisite ecstasy that he himself had endured.
Published: 1 Mar 1993
Danny has grown up on the streets of London as a pickpocket, remembering nothing of her past. One night, she is apprehended by the handsome young aristocrat she is attempting to rob. Jeremy Malory is strangely drawn towards this waif and persuades her to help him steal back some jewels his friend lost in a card game. Danny demands that Jeremy takes her in, and he hires her as his maidservant - although he wants her as his mistress.
Danny blossoms into a lady under Jeremy's guidance, but she refuses his amorous attentions because she knows he will never marry her. But as the attraction between the two of them intensifies, they embark upon a passionate battle of wills, and in a Cinderella-like transformation,
Danny becomes a charming beauty, appearing at a society ball where her appearance raises question about her true identity - questions which threaten not only her chances of capturing Jeremy's heart, but her very life...
Published: 5 Oct 2015
The Marigold Field is the story of poor, proud, high-spirited people...people whose roots were in the farming country of southern England...in the bawdy and exuberant streets of the East End.
Jonathan Whitman, his cousin Myra, Anne-Louise Pritchard and the enormous Pritchard clan to which she belonged, saw the changing era and incredible events of a passing age - an age of great poverty and great wealth, of straw boaters, feather boas, and the Music Hall...
And above all The Marigold Field is a story of one woman's consuming love...of a jealous obsession that threatened to destroy the very man she adored...
Published: 31 Aug 2012
All her life, she had feared death by water. All her life, she had imagined the death would be her own.
Every year, the Connelly family spends its summers at Carter's House in Sweetharbour, New England. It's a peaceful place, full of happy memories, the scent of pinewoods and a spectacular view of the coastline. And every summer Ruth's teenage children, Will and Josie, try to persuade their mother to give up her prestigious job at a Boston law firm and move there permanently. But Ruth has worked too hard, too long, to want to start again at the bottom.
This summer seems far removed from those idyllic days. Ruth and her husband Paul are growing apart, and her relationship with Josie, an impetuous, artistic young woman, has reached breaking point. Ruth tries to tell herself that Josie is just a mass of bewildered hormones, but it pains her to see the hatred in her daughter's eyes.
One fateful afternoon they go on a boating trip together and are caught in a terrible storm during which Josie is swept overboard. Her body is never recovered and the family is tormented by grief and guilt. Ruth buries herself in her work and refuses to discuss the tragic events, and Paul cannot bear it when his wife pushes him away all the time. Will strives valiantly to cope with his own loss and keep the family together, but it is a huge responsibility for a fourteen-year-old boy.
Published: 4 Feb 2013
Leon Uris's world-bestselling novel Exodus became a profound influence on thoughts and feelings about the state of Israel.In The Haj, the author once again portrays a tormented nation through its living people.
Haj Ibrahim - known as the Haj - is leader of the small but strategically placed village of Tabah.Sworn enemy - and secret friend - of Gideon Asch, Israeli settler, pioneer, fighter, the Haj and his men are seen first in all their false courage and manic ambition.Theirs is a world of oaths, blood, death and vengeance.But then his association with Asch takes him elsewhere - into diplomacy, and towards leadership of another kind...
In Exodus, Leon Uris told of the birth of a new nation.In The Haj, he foretells the death of a race, of a faith, of peoples who have no greater enemies than themselves, in a novel that is as violent and turbulent as the times in which we live...
Published: 21 Jun 2011
Dr Rodney Prince had never seen a girl who looked more out o place in the grime and squalor of the Fifteen Streets than did Kate Hannigan. He knew she had suffered at the hands of men: Tim Hannigan, her 'father' was a vicious bully; John Herrington, a smooth-talking seducer, had left her with his child.
But Rodney Prince's desire for a family had been frozen out by a wife who'd wanted Harley Street, not a Tyneside slum. By contrast, Kate glowed with a warmth that far outshone the hard, brittle beauty of Stella, and exposed the emptiness in his heart.
And so, between Rodney Prince, a wealthy man locked in an unhappy marriage, and Kate Hannigan, a bastard child of the slums, grew a love that opposed all the concepts of an Edwardian society...
THE LONG CORRIDOR
To outsiders, Dr Paul Higgin's life appeared to be happy and contented. Everyone had a good word for him, and his home life appeared to be ideal. At thirty-six, Bett Higgins could still pass for a much younger woman, not just in looks but in the way she loved the company of people half her age. A grand couple, some might say...
But once the surgery was closed and the curtains drawn, the façade that Paul and Bett Higgins presented to the world concealed a welter of hate that had grown worse with the passing years. Between them stood the barrier of the past - of secrets that, were they known, could affect everyone around them. Unable to forgive each other, they led their separate lives - until Bett decided to allow her spite and resentment to culminate in revenge on the husband she did not love...
Published: 1 Apr 1999
Mary Walton is the apple of her father's eye; his only comfort during the dark years of the Depression when he is faced with both unemployment and a nagging, ambitious wife.
His only hope is that Mary will one day find a way to escape the grinding poverty of the Tyneside slums. But when a secret is revealed these dreams are shattered and the lives of the Walton family change forever. . .
Spanning Mary's life from the 1930's to the 1970's, Pure as the Lily is a spellbinding, unforgettable tale from one of Britain's most cherished novelists.
Published: 5 May 2008
Even the approach to Christmas fails to excite restless Agnes Conway, the twenty-two-year-old manager of the sweet and tobacconist shops owned by her feckless father. There are dark secrets in Arthur Conway's past, and these come tragically to light when Agnes's younger sister falls pregnant by one of the notorious Felton brothers. And Agnes herself has a secret, which she knows she must keep from her father: her relationship with Charles Farrier, son of a local landowner, who outrages his own wealthy, pious family by proposing marriage.
However Charles is not the only man who could shape Agnes's furture, as his brother Reginald makes no secret of his admiration for her. But she could not have foreseen how significant a part he is to play in her destiny...
The Wingless Bird is an absorbing story of love and the harsh realities of Britain's class system.
Published: 1 Feb 1991
Kelsey Langton has been left penniless by her parents' death, and as the sole provider for her younger sister, Jean, she needs to find them both a home and a future. There seems to be only one way to ensure Jean's well-being, and that is by sacrificing her own - Kelsey decides that she must sell herself to the highest bidder. With fear and trepidation she enters the House of Eros, resigned to become the plaything of some well-heeled gentleman. The man to win her is Lord Derek Malory, a dashing rakehell from a family of harming London rakes. Enchanted by the stunning, dark-haired girl with flashing bright eyes, he purchases her for his mistress, sweeping Kelsey into a world of astonishing family secrets, perilous rivalries and unconventional loyalties.
But Lord Derek is unaware of the true worth of the prize he has so frivolously acquired - never dreaming that his proud, spirited mistress is a highborn lady blessed with grace, wit and intelligence as well as beauty. And he certainly never expected that he would fall in love with her.
Published: 1 Dec 1997
Even in the heat of battle, Geoff Fulton, a professional soldier, would always carry with him the memory of the night he was on leave, when his timely intervention rescued fourteen-year-old Lizzie from the oldest of perils for a young girl, and thereby began to change her life. Lizzie came from a desperately poor home, ruled by a slatternly stepmother only too ready to profit from setting the girl along the same sordid road as her elder sister had been made to take.
The year was 1937 and the place a rural enclave of County Durham, where Geoff had been born and raised in the old farmhouse that remained the home of his parents, even though most of its land had been sold off to neighbouring Low Tarn Hall. There his father still worked as estate manager for the demanding Ernest Bradford-Brown, self-made owner of this and many another property. Anxious about his increasingly handicapped mother and seeing in Lizzie a girl of spirit, Geoff concluded that she might, with care and training, solve his problem and benefit herself. So, after a quick visit to outface the protesting Mrs Gillespie, he was soon back home with his willing protegée.
Then, in 1943, when Geoff returned wounded from the desert war, it was to find a Lizzie he hardly recognised - mature and highly attractive. For her part, she soon came to realise that he too had changed. Embittered by his experiences at war and rejected by Ernest Bradford-Brown's daughter Janis after a lengthy relationship long opposed by her irascible father, to Lizzie he now showed a ruthless streak that was at considerable odds with the caring man who had, all those years ago, rescued her from poverty and deprivation.
Published: 1 Mar 1996
Some wonen are destined to arouse in men either fierce hatred or insatiable desire. Such a woman was Katie Mulholland.
At fifteen, a scullery maid in the house of the Rosires, she had been raped by the master. Now, many years later, she had enough money to maintain three carriages if she wanted to and she was on her way to see Bernard Rosier under very different circumstances.
There was no pride in Katie Mulholland's heart, however, only fear, for half of Tyneside still talked about the way she had flouted convention, and sniggered about the way she had made her money. So she had decided that her only hope was to climb above them, and that she would conquer her fear with power . . .
Published: 1 Jul 1993
John Tanner is the wheelman, an undercover cop with an awesome driving ability. He earned his stripes racing stock cars through city streets and now he's the best in the business. But his legendary skills are about to be put to the ultimate test....
Tanner must infiltrate the criminal underworld of The Indian, the most feared gang leader in New Orleans - a man so terrifying that people claim he has voodoo powers. But when a figure from his past appears, Tanner must face an even more deadly enemy....
Jericho is an ice cold hitman with a longstanding grudge against Tanner, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Tanner is going to have to drive for his life to survive, complete his mission and stop the city being brought to its knees.
Published: 18 Aug 2011
Even in the worst days of the recession, the McQueen family remain upbeat. They watch as their neighbours depart for the workhouse, their last pieces of furniture carted off by the bailiffs. But even though there might not be much on the table, the McQueen house constantly echoes with laughter. This is what keeps them strong - when all else fails, you can always laugh.
Like many of the residents of the Fifteen Streets, the McQueens are as blunt as they are big-hearted. They are opinionated, and speak with no holds barred if anyone dare go against social convention. So imagine their shock when Bridget McQueen brings home her African husband...
Colour Blind is an absorbing story of prejudice, racial tension and family feuding in the 1920s, from one of Britain's most skilled storytellers.
Published: 10 Aug 1973
Fanny McBride was a large, cheerful, indomitable Tyneside widow with a large, cheerful family. When she reached her fifties, she began to feel, for the first time in her life, a little lonely. All but one of her sons and daughters had married and left home, leaving her with spare time on her hands.
Being a woman of resource, Fanny took on a job at the local 'Ladies', which was to prove a surprisingly stimulating experience.
Another new interest was the arrival of some rather odd neighbours at Malhattan's Hall, the tenement block which was Fanny's home. Then there was her long-standing feud with Mrs Flannagan, the problem of the favourite child's unsuitable marriage, and the puzzle of Fanny's one unmarried son, who was far from being a typical McBride . . .
Published: 1 Oct 1993