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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.

Christmas Pudding

Nancy Mitford (Author)

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.

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.

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. . .

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.

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.

Swimming Lessons

Claire Fuller (Author)

The second novel from the author of Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize and was a 2016 Richard and Judy Book Club Pick.

'Thrilling, transporting, delicately realised and held together by a sophisticated sense of suspense...more than matches the power of Fuller's debut... Powerful , pleasing and pleasurable.' Sunday Times


'Gil Coleman looked down from the window and saw his dead wife standing on the pavement below.'

Gil's wife, Ingrid has been missing, presumed drowned, for twelve years.

A possible sighting brings their children, Nan and Flora, home. Together they begin to confront the mystery of their mother. Is Ingrid dead? Or did she leave? And do the letters hidden within Gil's books hold the answer to the truth behind his marriage, a truth hidden from everyone including his own children?

Things Bright and Beautiful

Anbara Salam (Author)

A lyrical and suspenseful debut novel from an exciting and darkly comic new voice in literary fiction

Mission House was not built for three people. Especially when one of them won't stop humming.

1954, the South Pacific islands. When Beatriz Hanlon agreed to accompany her missionary husband Max to a remote island, she knew there would be challenges. But it isn't just the heat and the damp and the dirt. There are more insects than she could ever have imagined, and the islanders are strangely hostile. And then there are the awful noises coming from the church at night.

Yet as the months go by, Bea slowly grows accustomed to life on the island. That is until an unexpected and interminably humming guest arrives, and the couple's claustrophobic existence is stretched to breaking point.

Events draw to a terrible climax, and Bea watches helplessly as her husband's guilt drives him into madness. It's not long before Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom, and her life.

Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves

Rachel Malik (Author)

An enthralling debut telling a story of the land, friendship and of secret lives.

When Rene Hargreaves is billeted to Starlight Farm as a Land Girl, far from the city where she grew up, she finds farmer Elsie Boston and her country ways strange at first. Yet over the days and months Rene and Elsie come to understand and depend on each other. Soon they can no longer imagine a life apart.

But a visitor from Rene's past threatens the life they have built together, a life that has always kept others at a careful distance. Soon they are involved in a war of their own that endangers everything and will finally expose them to the nation's press and the full force of the law.

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