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Christmas Pudding

Nancy Mitford (Author)

A fun and festive tale by the author of The Pursuit of Love

The formidable fox-hunting obsessed Lady Bobbin has put together a Christmas house party at Compton Bobbin, including her rebellious daughter Philadelphia, the girl's pompous suitor, a couple of children obsessed with newspaper death notices, and an aspiring writer whose deadly (in more ways than one) serious first novel has been acclaimed as the funniest book of the year, to his utter dismay. And then there is beautiful ex courtesan Amabelle Fortescue and her group of guests staying in a nearby cottage ... As the house parties starts to unravel, so the jokes increase: this is Nancy Mitford's second novel and one of her earliest forays into the world of the Bright Young Things.

Succession

Livi Michael (Author)

'Clever...the narrative has the colour and power of the best of the chronicles she uses.' - Sunday Times

Margaret of Anjou is young, beautiful, French and wildly unpopular when she marries England's ill-fated Henry VI. After the English are banished from France, civil war erupts. Margaret becomes a warrior queen, fighting for her husband's right to be king and her son's position as his rightful heir.

Meanwhile, heiress Margaret Beaufort is born into a troubled inheritance. Fiercely sought after by courtiers, by the age of thirteen she has married twice and given birth to her only son, who will be the future king of England. But then he is taken from her. . .

If I Could Tell You

Elizabeth Wilhide (Author)

'Heart-wrenching . . . intoxicating . . . a very English Anna Karenina' The Times

'Vivid, candid, engaging. So honest' Helen Dunmore

Suffolk, 1939: Julia Compton has a beautifully well-ordered life. Once a promising musician, she now has a handsome husband who pays the bills, a young son she adores and a housekeeper who takes care of her comfortable home. Then on the eve of war something unexpected happens. She falls in love.

The consequences are devastating. Cut off from family and friends, Julia loses everything. Penniless, denied access to her son, completely unequipped to fend for herself, she is cast adrift in wartime London with her bohemian filmmaker lover Dougie. As invasion looms and the bombs rain down her struggle is only beginning.

While Dougie seeks truth wherever he can find it, Julia finds herself lost. Before long, ruined and broken, she faces a choice - succumb to her fate, or fight to forge a new identity in the heat of war.

Music Love Drugs War

Geraldine Quigley (Author)

A tender, devastating coming-of-age debut novel about friendship, innocence and war

The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they're going to do with the rest of their lives. But it's hard to focus when there's the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy 'Cave', where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. Through a fog of marijuana, beer and budding romance, the future is distant and unreal.

But this is Derry in 1981, and they can't ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.

With humour and compassion, Geraldine Quigley reveals the sometimes slippery reasons behind the decisions we make, and the unexpected and intractable ways they shape our lives.

The Secret of Magic

Deborah Johnson (Author)

'[An] addictive tale of intrigue' - the Independent

In 1946 Regina Robichard is a rarity. A young New York civil rights lawyer, working for Thurgood Marshall, Reggie stumbles across a letter asking her boss to investigate the case of a young black soldier whose body has been found floating in the river in Mississippi. It fires her zeal.

For Reggie, justice is not the only draw to this case. The letter is signed by the reclusive M. P. Calhoun, author of one of the most banned books in the country, a book Reggie loved as a child, about the friendship between three children, black and white, a magical forest - and a murder.

Reggie has just three weeks in the South to investigate. But once down in Mississippi, amid the intoxicating landscape of cotton fields and lush plantations, Reggie not only finds herself further away from New York than she had ever imagined, but walking directly into M. P. Calhoun's book, a place where more than one type of justice exists.

Everything You Know

Zoë Heller (Author)

Everything You Know is the first novel from the bestselling author of Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller.

The women in Willy Muller's life are trouble.

His mother insists he eat tofu. His dopey girlfriend, Penny, wants him to overcome his personal space issues - while Karen, his other, even dopier, girlfriend, just wants more sex. Meanwhile, his oldest daughter, Sophie, wants him to finance her husband's drug habit.

But it's his youngest daughter, Sadie, who's giving him the biggest headache. Just before committing suicide three months ago, she sent Willy her diaries. Poring over the record of her empty life, he feels pangs of something unexpected . . . remorse. But isn't it a bit late for such sentimental guff?

Set in London, Hollywood and Mexico, Everything You Know is a supremely witty take on love, death and the age-old battle of the sexes.

'Instantly ranks her among the most interesting and exciting of British writers' Will Self

'Sharp and feisty, a riotous read' Tatler

'Fast paced and finely timed, veering from tragedy to farce to back again . . . full of brilliant observations' Harpers and Queen

'Seamlessly blends the sarcastic and the sincere, the comic and the tragic . . . stylish and spirited' New York Times

Zoë Heller is the author of three novels, Everything You Know, Notes on a Scandal, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003 and The Believers. The 2006 film adaptation of Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench, received four Oscar nominations. She lives in New York.

The Infidel Stain

M. J. Carter (Author)

It's 1841, and three years after we left them at the close of The Strangler Vine, Blake and Avery are reunited in very different circumstances in London. There has been a series of dreadful murders in the slums of the printing district, which the police mysteriously refuse to investigate, and Blake and Avery must find the culprit before he kills again.

Bitter Orange

Claire Fuller (Author)

'A twisty, thorny, darkly atmospheric page turner about loneliness and belonging' Gabriel Tallent, author of My Absolute Darling

'Incredibly atmospheric, vivid and intriguing. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't reading a forgotten classic' Emma Healey

From the author of the prize-winning Our Endless Numbered Days comes a suspenseful story about deception, sexual obsession and atonement

From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them - Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden for the absent American owner. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours' private lives.

To Frances' surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to spend time with her. It is the first occasion that she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes till the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.

But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don't quite add up - and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur.

Amid the decadence of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.

Our Endless Numbered Days

Claire Fuller (Author)

WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE 2015

'Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairytale, full of clues, questions and intrigue.' - The Times

'Extraordinary...From the opening sentence it is gripping' - Sunday Times

1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.

Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.

Our Homesick Songs

Emma Hooper (Author)

A haunting, lyrical tale about a fading town and a boy who would do anything to save his family

There was nothing to do but tell stories. Tell this story.
And then? Asked Cora.
And then everything, said Finn.

Newfoundland, Canada, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters, and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it's not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, 10-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There's no school, no friends and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn's parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive.

But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost.

Praise for Etta and Otto and Russell and James

'Magical . . . it's been a very long time since a book has taken me by the hand - and the heart - as this one has' Sarah Winman

'Charming, fresh, touching . . . cuts through to the heart' Sunday Times

'Wonderful! Incredibly moving, beautifully written and luminous with wisdom. A book that restores one's faith in life even as it deepens its mystery' Chris Cleave

Things Bright and Beautiful

Anbara Salam (Author)

When Bea Hanlon follows her preacher husband Max to a remote island in the Pacific, she soon sees that their mission will bring anything but salvation...

Advent Island is a place beyond the reaches of Bea's most fitful imaginings. It's not just the rats and the hordes of mosquitos and the weevils in the powdered milk. Past the confines of their stuffy little house, amidst the damp and the dust and the sweltering heat, rumours are spreading of devil chasers who roam the island on the hunt for evil spirits. And then there are the noises from the church at night.

Yet, to the amusement of the locals and the bafflement of her husband, Bea gradually adapts to life on the island. But with the dreadful events heralded by the arrival of an unexpected, wildly irritating and always-humming house guest, Advent Island becomes a hostile place once again. And before long, trapped in the jungle and in the growing fever of her husband's insanity, Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and for her life.

'I was sucked into its dark beating heart and wasn't spat out until I'd turned the final page' Claire Fuller'

'Dark, mysterious, beguiling, and beautifully written. It transported me to a different world' Dolly Alderton

'An excellent, blackly funny debut ... a novel whose growing environmental and psychological horrors you can feel crawling across your skin' Daily Mail

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