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  Rough Magic is the kind of book I devoured as a child, a rip-roaring, triumph-against-adversity adventure, set in a faraway, exotic locale, told by the real-life hero, who usually, 99 per cent of the time, was male. In this case, the hero of the story is actually a heroine … and, God, ain’t that … Continue readings

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  We read Felicity McLean’s very filmic debut novel, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone, with Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads playing in the background. It somehow seemed fitting, as did Portishead’s Dummy, which followed. Set in a fictional rural location near Sydney, the novel centres on the disappearance of three sisters, Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth … Continue readings

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  I recently reread Elizabeth Smart’s classic By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which I first devoured as an eager teen and have come back to many times since. It resonated then, the language so beautiful, the emotion so raw. It still rates as one of my top books about love – … Continue readings

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  The wonderful thing about historical memoir is that quite often key events are brought to our attention which make us realise how far we’ve come and yet how far we still have to go. Elaine M. Chamber’s This Queer Angel, detailing her very personal fight for sexual equality in the armed forces, is one … Continue readings

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  Jodie Jackson’s You Are What You Read: Why Changing Your Media Diet Can Change the World is what all good non-fiction should be – exciting, challenging and perceptive. That said, we are Jackson’s readership. The people who’ve stopped reading newspapers, watching the news, even watching terrestrial television because we’re irritated with the way in … Continue readings

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  We do love a good storyteller and international bestselling writer Victoria Hislop is certainly that. From the days of highly acclaimed The Island, Hislop has captivated with her well-researched, historically based tomes. Those Who Are Loved, her latest offering which is published today, continues this trend. The frame for the book is an elderly … Continue readings

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  ‘Let him be an example. My Frank. Of how to live best, and to stop all this death. Let them put down their knives, stop being ruled by fear. They are all so fearful, that’s why my boy died. Not because another kid was showing off, as the papers said, not muscles being flexed. … Continue readings

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  A beautifully nuanced novel, Permission by Saskia Vogel is a sometimes challenging and often lyrical exploration of longing, loneliness and loss. Following her father’s tragic death, LA actress Echo struggles to deal with her bereavement – ‘the gape of loss’. Cast adrift, she embarks on a series of meaningless encounters with men, before meeting … Continue readings

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  ‘Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave? Wonder no longer. It takes an age …”   There’s nothing better than a good opener and, in this, debut novelist Catherine Steadman doesn’t disappoint, drawing us in from the very first line of the highly acclaimed Something in the Water. (Who … Continue readings

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  Ah, ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ – even if you don’t recognise the title, you’ll know the track. Or if you don’t know the track, you’ll recognise the slogan. Played on the radio, on film soundtracks, at clubs, festivals, on music compilations and even in Tahrir Square during an attempt to overthrow Egyptian … Continue readings

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  ‘All of this started the night Will told us he was going to be a serial killer. He said, ‘Okay, I’ve decided what I want to do when I’m older…’ So begins SR Masters’ psychological thriller, The Killer You Know. It’s a great opening – suitably creepy and attention grabbing. And it’s a clever … Continue readings

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  We’ve already waxed lyrical about how much we love poetry and so Katya Boirand’s collection, Take Me to the Edge, published by Unbound, simply had to be read. It’s an interesting premise, to ask a selection of people, from different walks of life, for five words and then to weave them together into a … Continue readings

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  Sue Lawrence’s Down to the Sea joins the number of novels, at the moment being published, set in dual timelines. Moving between the early 1980s, when the book opens, and the late 1890s, it’s set in the Newhaven area of Edinburgh, by the sea. From the first words, we’re plunged into Rona and Craig’s … Continue readings

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  Today, we’re delighted to welcome Canadian author Paul E. Hardisty to The Literary Lounge. Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasy Dagger award, Paul’s Claymore Straker series is critically acclaimed and has garnered fans such as Lee Child. Turbulent Wake, Paul’s latest book, is a beautifully penned standalone, examining love and loss. It is published … Continue readings

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  Set in Edinburgh in the 1840s, Ambrose Parry’s excellent The Way of All Flesh is an utter joy. From the very first line, we are immersed in the Victorian world of Will Raven, a struggling medical student, newly apprenticed to the eminent Scottish obstetrician Dr James Young Simpson. As the city is beset by … Continue readings