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    We are, as we’ve said before, partial to a good piece of historical fiction and Ellen Alpsten’s debut novel, Tsarina, is a veritable beast of a book. Told in the first person, it charts the rise of Catherine I, second wife of Peter the Great, from her humble beginnings as peasant girl Marta … Continue readings

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    Caroline Hulse’s latest book, Like A House on Fire, is an incisive, incredibly funny study of how families behave in crisis. Told from multiple perspectives, the book revolves around a family party, a wedding anniversary with a murder–mystery theme, where pretty much every person has a secret which he or she is guarding, … Continue readings

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  We’re huge Nora Roberts’ fans and are slightly ashamed to admit we came late to the table to her alter ego JD Robb and the fabulous Eve Dallas–Roarke futuristic crime series. Once we discovered them, we rushed through them as we’re also great crime-fiction lovers. Golden in Death, the latest – and fiftieth, fiftieth … Continue readings

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  Every year I get myself a present from my late mama. Something that’s meaningful, occasionally life changing, like the flat I bought and moved into on my birthday four years ago. Mostly though it’s a set of charcoals or a plant. This year it’s Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the … Continue readings

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Jamie Fewery’s new book The Way Back, published by Orion, explores the rather complex subject of family. The Cadogans, his protagonists, open the novel as estranged siblings brought together by the demise of their father. Gerry Cadogan, directing his children even from beyond the grave, forces Patrick, Kirsty and Jessica on a road trip to … Continue readings

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    Melanie Blake’s The Thunder Girls is a good old-fashioned blockbuster in the vein of the late greats, Jacqueline Susann, Jackie Collins, Shirley Conran, Jilly Cooper. So, what’s not to love, really? Centering around the proposed reunion of four members of an 80s’ girl band, Chrissie, Roxanne, Anita and Carly, thirty years after they … Continue readings

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    Journalist Liz Jones ran a campaign to ban skinny models in her former incarnation as editor-in-chief of influential Marie Claire, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the premise of her rather entertaining debut novel, 8 ½ Stone, centres around weight and the quest for happiness. Jones creates a familiar beast in protagonist Pam, … Continue readings

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  I was looking at the book jacket of Damian Barr’s You Will Be Safe Here a few days back, when I reread it, and was struck by how many adjectives have been applied to it by so many great writers, so you’ll forgive me if I repeat some of them in the course of … Continue readings

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  JP Henderson’s Daisy came as a surprise for two reasons. It seemed an unlikely book for No Exit to publish, as it’s not the crime-fiction for which the publisher is most known – and I wasn’t expecting, when I read the précis, for it to be such an enjoyable, funny, bitter–sweet read. And it … Continue readings

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  She saw into cubicles, sounds of birth and tears and life. She saw shells of people, so empty she knew they would not recover. Cops led bad men with tattooed arms and bloodied faces. She smelled the drunks, the bleach, the vomit and shit.”   We love Chris Whitaker. We love his writing. So, … Continue readings

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    There have been some very fine books, in the last few years, set in the Australian outback. Alison Booth’s historical novel, The Philosopher’s Daughters, joins this canon. Set in the late nineteenth century, it moves between London and remote Australia, and focuses on sisters Harriet and Sarah, daughters of radical James Cameron. While … Continue readings

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  Set in a remote part of the Lake District, Sarah Stovell’s remarkable The Home is a stark, beautiful and emotive novel that takes no prisoners. Focusing on three troubled young women in care, Annie, Hope and Lara all have traumatic pasts. While they have been let down by those meant to protect them, at … Continue readings

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    Lynda La Plante is one of those names that people know. A former actress turned-screenwriter and novelist, La Plante is behind some of the most successful TV series globally, including Widows and Prime Suspect, which made her name internationally. Buried, the author’s latest venture, published tomorrow in the UK, is a nod to … Continue readings

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  I do like a good historical saga, especially one that’s well penned and tightly plotted. Donna Douglas’s A Mother’s Journey, set in wartime England, is all that and more. It opens in 1940, with young Edie Copeland, fresh from York, taking up residence in Jubilee Row in Hull. She’s alone and knows no one. … Continue readings

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    There’s a beauty to Christy Lefteri’s prose that binds us to The Beekeeper of Aleppo from the very first page. Beautifully rendered, it’s a tale of our time, the refugee’s story, of the struggle to triumph over the greatest of adversities, of the search for light in the darkest of places. Lefteri, herself … Continue readings

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