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A Whisper To The Living

Ruth Hamilton (Author)

Annie Byrne was born during one of the worst winters Lancashire ever remembered. When the doctor finally got through the nine-foot drifts of snow, mother and daughter were in a pretty bad way, but both the new-born Annie and her exhausted mother - a spinner in the cotton mill - were fighters, tough and determined not to let the world knock them down.

They needed to be tough, for when Annie's father was killed in the war, Nancy married again. And Eddie Higson - once he'd courted and won Nancy Byrne - turned into a nightmare of a man, terrorizing the young girl with one secret evil after another.

She had two friends who helped her through these bad years. Martin Cullen, rough, uneducated, loyal, who knew he wasn't good enough for her, and David Pritchard, the doctor who had supported her through the worst times and who had bad problems of his own.

Together they watched her grow into a beautiful young woman, desperately fighting the legacy of her childhood.

The Other Side Of Paradise

Margaret Mayhew (Author)

She lived only for pleasure...until war forced her to find courage she did not know she had, and love where she least expected it.

It is 1941, and while Britain is in the grip of war, life in the Far East is one of wealth and privilege. In Singapore Susan Roper, secure in the supremacy of the British Empire, enjoys dancing,clothes and fast cars, tennis and light flirtations with visiting naval officers- her life is devoted solely to pleasure. When she meets an Australian doctor who warns her of the danger that they all face she dismisses him as an ignorant colonial.

Singapore goes on partying, oblivious to the threat of invasion. The British flag will, they believe, protect them from all enemies. But when Japan invades, Susan finds herself in grave danger. She become an ambulance driver and is taken prisoner by the Japanese. Gradually and reluctantly she realises that she has fallen in love with the tough, arrogant and totally unsuitable doctor, but she has to face many hardships and witness terrible events before she can acknowledge the truth.

Doctor Rose

Elvi Rhodes (Author)

To be a woman doctor in the 1920's was tough, especially if you worked in the Welfare Centre of an industrial Yorkshire town. Rose - who had the added disadvantage of being young and pretty - found she had to cope with elderly male prejudice from those above her, and apathetic ignorance and poverty from those she was trying to help.

Hen's Teeth

Manda Scott (Author)

Midnight in Glasgow is not the best time to be faced with a dead body. Particularly if the body in question is your ex-lover and the woman grieving at her bedside used to be your friend. Add a corpse packed with Temazepam, a genetic engineer with an unstable past and a killer on the loose with a knife and you have all the reason you need to walk away and never come back. Glasgow therapist Dr Kellen Stewart has put the past behind her: medical career, relationship, life on the farm in the country. Thenthe phone rings and Bridget is dead – the only lover who ever counted.The local doctor says it's a heart attack, the police think it's suicide. Kellen knows that it's neither but is she willing to rake up the past to prove it? Dragged into a world of rogue doctors, bent genetic engineers and killers who gut their victims as a warning, Kellen must face her own past as much as the very real terrors of the present to stop the killing – or she'll be next.

Odd One Out

Lissa Evans (Author)

Some are born odd, some achieve oddness, and some are just in the wrong place at the wrong time ... The Devon family's a good example: there's thirty-nine-year-old Glenn, whose main interest in life is rubbish collection; his mother, Bel, who teaches tap steps to eight-year-olds but acts as if she's running the Kirov; and his sister, Netta, who spent her early life simply being considered mad by association. Which is why she's dreading six weeks back in their company, helping them move house. Also struggling to conform are Paul Gooding, a newly qualified doctor with a highly embarrassing past; his flatmate, Armand, who's obsessed with foot hygiene; and his colleague, Carrie, who (inadvertently) keeps killing people. Odd One Out. When enough people are out of step, they can form an army of their own ...

A Wing And A Prayer

Mary Selby (Author)

In the quiet village of Great Barking, strange doings are afoot.Up at the Hall the squire, Sir George, seems to have exhausted his wife Angela - leaving her quite unable to contemplate the rigours of hosting the annual village fête in the Hall grounds.Caroline, the doctor's wife, has her time taken up with her three tiny children, but feels that as a newcomer to the village she should offer her own rather more modest garden as the venue for this important local affair. But who is to open it?Will Sir George's elderly mother, now somewhat unpredictable, be asked, as tradition dictates?Or should Sarah Struther, the voluptuous lady potter who prefers to work unencumbered by clothing and who has just been featured in a smart Sunday newspaper, be invited?

The village fête committee decides that a commission to Sarah to fashion a special pot for the fête, to be entitled The Organ (suggesting the need for funds to combat dry rot in the organ loft) may be a better idea, little suspecting that the title may be open to misconstruction.And in the churchyard the tall privet bush has been lovingly fashioned by old Jacob Bean into a shape so curious that coachloads of sightseers start arriving to view it...

Outside The Rules

Dylan Jones (Author)

Natalie Vine, one of Britain's top forensic psychiatrists, spends every day trying to get inside the heads of some of the most violent criminals imaginable. It's lonely, harrowing work, but perhaps it helps her deal with the demons of her past.

Locked in the mind of Thomas Meredith are terrible visions of how a serial killer tortured and murdered his girlfriend, in front of his very eyes, a year earlier. Once a doctor, Meredith has become a recluse who only emerges from his isolated home to work the graveyard shift in a local motorway cafe. Natalie Vine is the one person with the ability and empathy to make Meredith open up, to bring to the surface the horror that he has buried so deeply. And she must succeed, no matter how much pain it causes.

For Meredith is the only living witness to this murderer's actions, and he has started killing again...

Frieda And Min

Pamela Jooste (Author)

When Frieda first met Min, with her golden hair and ivory bones, what struck her most was that Min was wearing a pair of African sandals, the sort made out of old car tyres. She was a silent, unhappy girl, dumped on Frieda's exuberant family in Johannesburg for the summer of 1964 so that her mother could go off with her new husband. In a way, Min and Frieda were both outsiders - Min, raised in the bush by her idealistic doctor father, and Frieda, daughter of a poor Jewish saxophone player who lived almost on top of a native neighborhood. The two girls, thrown together - the 'white kaffir' and the poor Jewish girl - formed a strange but loyal friendship, a friendship that was to last even through the terrible years of oppression and betrayal during the time of South Africa under Apartheid.

A Blessing In Disguise

Elvi Rhodes (Author)

Young, attractive, a widow with a ten-year-old daughter - Venus Stanton was certainly not the vicar that the traditional parish of Thurston had been expecting. The village was agog, the congregation surprised and in some cases not at all pleased.

Venus - a name wished on her by her otherwise conventional parents, and which she felt wholly inappropriate for a woman priest - had to endure curiosity, misunderstandings and even downright hostility. But she also found warmth, friendship and kindness - sometimes from the most unexpected quarters.

Still mourning the death of her husband, and having to cope with the problems of single parenthood, Venus began to think that she would never manage the task she had set herself. Perhaps the doubters were right - she was not suited to be a vicar, to care for the souls of the parish. But the handsome local doctor thought otherwise, and so did many others who came to regard her not only as their priest but also their friend.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons

Lorna Landvik (Author)

Sometimes life is like a bad waiter - it serves you exactly what you don't want. The women of Freesia Court have come together at life's table, fully convinced that there is nothing that good coffee, delectable desserts and a strong shoulder can't fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together - the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons) - an unofficial club that becomes a lifeline.

The five women each have a story to tell. There's Faith, the newcomer, a housewife and mother who harbours a terrible secret; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor's wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows that the greatest gifts appear after life's fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, activist and adventurer, a tiny spitfire who looks trouble straight in the eye and challenges it to arm wrestle.

Holding on through forty eventful years - through the swinging Sixties, the turbulent Seventies, the anything-goes Eighties, the nothing's-impossible Nineties, to the present day - they take the plunge into the chaos that inevitably comes to those with the temerity to stay alive and kicking.

Let There Be Lite

Rupert Morgan (Author)

On a planet remarkably similar to our own, in the voraciously capitalist United States of Atlantis, the most powerful (i.e. richest) man in the world is media and IT tycoon John Lockes who made his fortune by copyrighting the Return Key on computer keyboards. An elusive figure and man of many secrets, Lockes is also a philanthropist and has, through his company Infologix, invented a system that will effectively end all crime - a satellite trackeding device known as 'Rectag'.
Lockes is the man of the moment, and the time is right for a wart 'n' all biography and the man to write it is Macauley Connor, an embittered investigative journalist-turned-tabloid hack who knows he's reached rock bottom when he's sent to investigate a farmer who claims his chickens have been abducted by aliens. Meanwhile, a beautiful astronaut and an Infologix employee fall in love in orbit, a presidential candidate discovers he will stop at nothing to get elected and a bank heist goes horribly wrong when two rival gangs hit the same place at the same time.
Anarchic, outrageous and ebullient, Let There Be Lite takes some laceratingly funny swipes at American politics, presidential elections, spin doctors, tabloid journalism, software billionaires, the fashion industry, fast food and food fads, chat shows (here hosted by the asinine Lola Colaco) and the very nature of celebrity itself.

'Rupert Morgan's satire of modern life is brilliant. He is like Ben Elton at his wittiest...his writing is fast and his characterization superb...Definitely one to watch' Express

'Takes you up to the edge of libellous - and gets away with it...As a story it rattles along with the pace of a thriller. As an inventive swipe at the Establishment, it will make you laugh while you wince' Daily Mail

'The match of the madder moments of John Irving or Tom Sharpe...this is a promisingly entertaining "lite" read' The Times

What's Up Doc?

Hilary Jones (Author)

For Dr Hilary Jones, the question 'What's up doc?' has been asked of him ever since he qualified as a doctor at the Royal Free hospital in London over thirty years ago.

As a junior medic patients used to ask him 'What's up?' when he prodded their bellies for signs of appendicitis. On the GMTV sofa presenters ask him 'What's up?' with the latest actress who has developed the typical tell-tale signs of anorexia nervosa. In the tabloid newspapers he's asked to comment on what's up with the premier league footballer who purports to suffer from sex addiction.On the radio he's asked 'What's up?' with the health of society in general, suffering as it does from epidemics of obesity and binge drinking.

On a more everyday basis, in the GP surgery people ask him about unexplained lumps in their neck, or whether a pigmented mole is suspicious. Colleagues at work stop him in the corridor and say 'Can I just ask you about my child's leukaemia' or 'My mum's dementia?' At dinner parties people ask him about their haemorrhoids, or in pubs on the various merits of vasectomy. He's even been approached by complete strangers in dimly lit streets eager to hear his take on methadone and whether or not the NHS should freely supply it.

And they ask him what Lorraine Kelly is really like, of course...

A Child Against All Odds

Lord Robert Winston (Author)

Compared to the famously fecund rabbit, for whom a single act of coitus has a 90% chance of creating a litter of up to 12 rabbits, humans are very infertile animals. Here in the UK, the average chance of conception is about 18% per month. And in 98% of cases, successful conception leads only to the birth of a single infant. It is unsurprising then that huge efforts have been made to increase our fertility.

In vitro fertilisation, first attempted one hundred years ago, has now become big business. Market forces, combined with the desperation of many couples to fulfil their biological imperative, have pushed doctors and scientists closer to the boundaries of what is desirable or ethical. And as we are increasingly able to access and control the embryo, the opportunities of altering human genetics to eradicate disease, but also to change human characteristics, becomes a real, and to some, frightening possibility.

A Child Against All Odds is a ground-breaking book for Robert Winston as it falls squarely in his area of expertise. It combines his work at Hammersmith Hospital as one of the country's leading fertility specialists, with a hard-hitting, sometimes humorous, often controversial look at the scientific, social and ethical background of man's struggle to discover and control the secrets of reproduction. Drawing on personal and professional experience, it is the definitive account of modern reproductive technology from a practitioner who has spent his professional life at the forefront of this most fascinating and emotive area of science.

Summer Promise/A Gull Named Helen/Children on the Shore (Storycuts)

Elvi Rhodes (Author)

In 'Summer Promise', Linda, recently divorced and in need of a break, decides to take her two children on a fortnight's holiday in France, renting a house from a friend of a friend. However when she arrives at the house, she finds a man already there, claiming to be the owner. It emerges that this man, Graham, is the ex-husband of the woman who suggested the idea to Linda, and that she had forgotten to inform her that the situation had changed and that Graham now owns the house outright. He makes it clear to Linda that they can't possibly stay there as he is busy with work and it would be an inconvenience. But as Linda frantically tries to find a hotel, her youngest child James falls ill with chicken pox. Graham relents, and agrees to let them stay in the house, packing his bags to move out for two weeks. But as he is leaving, they both realise that perhaps this situation could work out for both of them after all...

In 'A Gull Named Helen', when little Daniel clams up following the death of his grandmother, everyone thinks a school trip to the seaside will be just what he needs. In the lighthouse where they are staying, Daniel is offered the little room right at the very top of the tower, while the other children must sleep in the basement. Watching from his bedroom window, Daniel becomes mesmerised by the seagulls circling overhead. As he spends the next few days feeding them scraps of bread, he forms a bond with one bird in particular, who he decides is called Helen - the same name as his grandmother. But little does he know that what he learns from these birds could help him for years to come.

In 'Children on the Shore', Claire Foster has been used to living her own life, her own way. Her daughter lives abroad with her own family. Claire was widowed years ago. So when she takes a temporary job as a secretary at a hospital, she is startled to find herself beginning a relationship with one of the doctors. Meanwhile, her daughter begins writing to her frequently, begging her to move closer to them so that she can be a part of her grandchildren's lives. And then she is offered a new job, working for an author, which would reduce her free time dramatically. Which path - if any - should she choose?

Part of the Storycuts series, these three short stories were previously published in the collection 'Summer Promise and Other Stories'.

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