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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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  There’s a reason why the phrase ‘stranger than fiction’ exists: that reality is often far more baffling than anything any writer could dream up. The premise for Lara Prescott’s much-lauded debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, underlines this, detailing real events involving the CIA, Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago and a plot to undermine the … 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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  Bestselling author Kathryn Hughes’ latest offering, Her Latest Promise, follows one woman’s quest to discover what happened to the mother who disappeared 40 years ago. Moving between England and Spain, it is set in dual timelines, a very popular literary device at the moment, and is told from multiple viewpoints. In the late 1970s, … Continue readings

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  THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A ROLLICKING GREAT ADVENTURE, particularly one with rich historical and global context. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan, veteran author Cynthia Jefferies’ first foray into adult fiction, is one such tale. Set just after the end of the English Civil War, the story opens with Christopher Morgan returning from exile in … 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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  Perhaps Richard was right. Perhaps this was a mistake. Not a starting over, nor a moving on, after all. He had called it a pilgrimage. More a hopeless, poisonous return, than a soul-saving reclamation. Like that elephant revisiting my loss until it overwhelms me, saps the life and energy from me.… The elephant returns … 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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  A fast-paced psychological thriller, Gone marks Leona Deakin’s thriller debut and introduces Dr Augusta Bloom and Marcus Jameson to audiences.   People are disappearing and, in each case, a birthday card is left behind stating: ‘YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME. CARE TO PLAY’ – posing the question are the victims really victims or have … Continue readings

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    ‘Very ancient buildings have a way of talking to you … So many secrets waiting to be uncovered.’ ‘I’ve always thought that, too,’ I say. ‘Actually, I’ve always talked to Ponden since I was little; it seems impolite not to.’ ” – Tru Heaton Jones discussing Ponden Hall with Marcus Ellis   Rowan … Continue readings

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  Erin Kinsley’s Found centres on every parent’s nightmare, the abduction of an eleven-year-old boy from a bus stop on his way back home from school. The book details the devastating impact on Evan’s immediate family and the best friend who had just been with him and the reality of an over-subscribed police force, crying … Continue readings

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  We’re great lovers of reading books with strong locations. London has particular resonance for us as it’s our home, and so we probably would have liked Phoebe Locke’s The July Girls for its setting alone. The city informs the book, the locations – Brixton, north London or elsewhere – used to frame the plot. … Continue readings

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  Performance room, featuring Marcelle van Caillie’s work © Morokoth Fournier de Carots   The arts are littered with beautiful works based on lost love letters. The House of Marcelle, Explore the Arch’s latest offering, joins them, drawing on the missives of Marcelle van Caillie and lover-later-husband Henry Sanford. A multi-sensory work, it brings the … Continue readings

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    We’re utterly delighted to welcome wonderful Welsh–Canadian romantic-historical fiction writer Mary Balogh to The Literary Lounge. Described as the ‘superstar heir’ to the legacy of late, great Georgette Heyer, Mary is the recipient of numerous awards and has graced the New York Times bestseller list thirty-six times in her career thus far. Her … Continue readings

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  There’s a point early on in Paul Burston’s The Closer I Get when protagonist Tom goes to the police to report that he’s being harassed. The female detective who interviews him is astonished to hear that he’s been stalked for about a year and not reported it. Why?, she asks. I was embarrassed, he … Continue readings