editor’s choice

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    When you read a Jill Mansell novel you know you’re in a pair of safe hands. Overflowing with charming characters, interesting plot threads and great locations, with more than a sprinkle of romance, wit and comic relief, Mansell’s books are tightly written and wonderfully realised. Her latest work, It Started with a Secret, thankfully, … Continue readings

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    If much-loved literary characters were to come to life, that really would be a dream come true for most book lovers. Not so much so for Charley Sutherland, the protagonist of New Zealander HG Parry’s fictional debut, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep. Since childhood, Charley has had a special power, one that … Continue readings

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  We periodically wax lyrical about independent presses and their lists and Karen Sullivan’s Orenda Books has had several such shout outs. She’s a canny publisher with a great eye, and the range and quality of her authors support that. So, no surprise then that wonderful Doug Johnstone’s latest novel, A Dark Matter, is published … Continue readings

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  There are some cracking crime-fiction novels being published this year and Russ Thomas’ debut Firewatching sits snugly among them. A smartly plotted, tightly written book set over seven days, it introduces DS Adam Tyler to audiences. Working for South Yorkshire’s Cold Case Review Unit (or Sea-Crew as it’s also known), Tyler is a late … Continue readings

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  Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women is a beautifully produced book, showcasing Sharon Blackie’s rather terrific tales. Drawing on global female folklore and mythology – from the familiar Snow Queen, immortalised by Hans Christian Andersen, to Croatia’s ‘she wolf’, with its similarities to the Celtic selkies, Slavic Baba Yaga, the creator-goddess turned … Continue readings

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  We love Tom Cox. He’s rapidly become a favourite author, his writing poignant, funny, entertaining. Like many, we first encountered him via his musings on the much missed The Bear and his other fabulous felines. His subject matter is wide-ranging, from music to witches, toads to his shouty dad. His latest book, Ring the … Continue readings

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    Icon n. – person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.”     ‘ICON’ IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST OVER-USED WORDS in the English language. We apply it with little thought or reason. Yet there are a handful of truly iconic figures – the legend that is … Continue readings

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  On 23 June 1919, seven exceptional women gathered at 46 Dover Street in London’s Mayfair to do something that had never been done before – to create a professional organisation dedicated to campaigning for women’s rights. It was the official birth of the Women’s Engineering Society, the fruit of an idea conceived  several months … Continue readings

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  We’ve already waxed lyrical about the IWM’s republishing of four Second World War literary classics this month. By doing so, it’s giving voice to men and women who wrote so beautifully and poignantly about a great, brutal war. David Piper’s extraordinary Trial By Battle is the second book we’re reviewing and it is quite … Continue readings

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  Gosh, hats off to the Imperial War Museum for great publishing with the wartime classics series. We’ve already reviewed two of the four novels being republished by the IWM this month. Now, with great pleasure, we’ve become acquainted with Anthony Quayle’s very fine and highly entertaining adventure Eight Hours to England. Based on Quayle’s … Continue readings

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  There’s a lovely moment In the Absence of Miracles, when Michael J. Malone’s protagonist is catching up with a childhood friend whom he hasn’t seen in an age, and the residual awkwardness that one quite often feels in such circumstances just falls away. ‘There we sat, with legs kicking the side. The years fell … Continue readings

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  When I was reading Laura Thompson’s beautifully penned The Last Landlady, I was trying to think about why I love memoir and biography so much. What it is about these genres that so enthralls. And when they’re done well, they are enthralling, the writers weaving us into the subjects’ worlds so tightly that we’re … Continue readings

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  We learn about war from an early age. We’re taught about it in our classrooms, read about it in the beautiful, haunting poetry of the war poets – Sassoon, Owen, Jarrell. Yet now social media and our global village world mean our access to war is pretty much immediate and, we are, in many … Continue readings

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  ‘There are people who think they understand a book just because they know how to read. I already told you that books are like mirrors: every person finds in them what they have in their own head. The problem is that you only discover what you have inside you when you read the right … Continue readings

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  Have you heard of kintsugi? Sydney says. Ila shakes her head. It’s the old Japanese art of repairing broken or chipped pottery. They use layers of lacquer, often with powdered gold. Instead of hiding the damage, it’s embraced. It’s treated as part of an object’s ongoing beauty. I love that, Ila says.”   Rachel … Continue readings

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