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The Woman In The Fifth

Douglas Kennedy (Author)

Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything.

A romantic mistake at the small American college where he used to teach has cost him his job and his marriage. And when the ensuing scandal threatens to completely destroy him, he flees to Paris.

He arrives in the French captial in the bleak midwinter, and ends up having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. Then Margit, a beautiful, mysterious stranger, walks into his life. But their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events, and soon Harry finds himself in a nightmare from which there is no easy escape.

Staying On

Paul Scott (Author)

Tusker and Lily Smalley stayed on in India. Given the chance to return 'home' when Tusker, once a Colonel in the British Army, retired, they chose instead to remain in the small hill town of Pangkot, with its eccentric inhabitants and archaic rituals left over from the days of the Empire. Only the tyranny of their landlady, the imposing Mrs Bhoolabhoy, threatens to upset the quiet rhythm of their days.

Both funny and deeply moving, Staying On is a unique, engrossing portrait of the end of an empire and of a forty-year love affair.

Under a Sapphire Sky

Susannah Bates (Author)

Talented Marianne and gregarious Gabby have been friends since college. It feels natural to go into business together, selling Marianne's unique jewelry designs, and their family ties become closer when Marianne falls in love with charismatic stone-dealer, Jay, Gaby's half-brother. But as their company takes off, Gabby's contribution becomes more questionable, and while she remains single, troubled and fragile, Marianne is blossoming at work and in her private life and she is expecting Jay's baby.

Then her ex-boyfriend Paul walks back into her life in search of an engagement ring for his homely new fiancée and sets off a train of events none of them could have imagined. Marianne discovers to her cost that, like the beautiful stones she works with, relationships too can hold fatal hidden flaws and there are unexpected fault-lines in her world. In the tropical heat of southern Sri Lanka, she begins to see that the finest quality often lies buried in unlikely places, and to realize that someone she once easily dismissed might be the only person who can save her...

Hide-And-Seek With Angels

Lisa Chaney (Author)

When James Matthew Barrie died, in 1937, his funeral was an occasion for national mourning. Crowds gathered; reporters and newsreel men came to record the day, and many well-known figures followed the coffin to its resting place in the little churchyard up on the hill. In London, a month later at St Paul's Cathedral a memorial service was held for the Scottish weaver's son who died Britain's playwright extraordinaire.

A succession of novels and long-running plays had brought Barrie enormous wealth, critical acclaim, an hereditary Baronetcy and the Order of Merit. His public following extended to Hollywood where his work was performed by the stars of the silver screen. Unhappily such achievements did little to ameliorate the strains in Barrie's private life. Hampered by a stigmatising divorce, he was also struck by a series of tragic bereavements from which he never fully recovered. At the same time as savouring his public image, Barrie gave no more than a handful of interviews. During his lifetime this inscrutable, enigmatic man succeeded in his desire to remain only partially known.

Barrie was already famous for sophisticated political satires and social comedies when, with the creation of Peter Pan, his immense artistic gift was displayed at its extraordinary best. In the play, where 'All children except one grow up', Barrie had touched on a universal nerve, the problem of growing up. With Peter Pan he created one of the greatest twentieth-century myths and a work of art quite unlike anything that had gone before. It became a part of the common culture of the Western world, and is as relevant today as on that first performance one hundred years ago.

The Moment

Douglas Kennedy (Author)

Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer living a very private life in Maine. Until, one wintry morning, his solitude is disrupted by the arrival of a package postmarked Berlin.

But what is more unsettling is the name accompanying the return address on the package: Petra Dussmann. For she is the woman with whom Thomas had an intense love affair twenty-five years before in a divided Berlin, where people lived fearfully under the shadows of the Cold War.

And so Thomas is forced to grapple with a past he has always kept hidden. For Petra Dussman was a refugee from the police state of East Germany. And her tragic secrets were to re-write both their destinies.

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