reviews

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    There have been some very fine books, in the last few years, set in the Australian outback. Alison Booth’s very fine 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 … 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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    Dancer–entertainer Anton Du Beke’s historical extravaganza, Moonlight Over Mayfair, is everything one would expect from this Strictly star turned novelist. It’s a rollicking great read mired in the world of late 1930s’ London. The sequel to his best-selling One Enchanted Evening, its setting is the Buckingham, a luxurious hotel where the elite rub … Continue readings

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    A smart, well-plotted novel, Never Look Back, AL Gaylin’s fast-paced thriller, holds our attention from beginning to end. At its heart are the Inland Empire Killers, Gabriel Allen LeRoy and Alice Cooper, who go on a killing spree in the summer of 1976. In the present day, Quentin, the host of a rather … Continue readings

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      ‘The package is vital – it’s a mission that could have a profound bearing on the course of the war.’” – Cashbone to Tom Wilde   We seem to be reading a lot of interesting historical fiction, but Rory Clements’ Hitler’s Secret is our first foray this year into the National Socialist … Continue readings

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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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    A well-conceived historical novel is a fine thing indeed. Throw in some she-spies, shed loads of intrigue and the gritty, dark and turbulent world of mid-seventeenth-century Civil War England and surely you’re onto a winner? Well, Pete Langman’s enjoyable Killing Beauties has all those things, and more. Langman’s well-researched novel focuses on Susan … Continue readings

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    There’s an underlying claustrophobia to Francine Toon’s debut novel, Pine. Something I felt strongly even though I was reading it under blue, blue open skies, in tropical heat, in a landscape about as far removed as one could get from the book’s remote woody, Highland setting. Toon’s child protagonist, Lauren, lives with her … 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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  We like PI Bev Saunders. She’s feisty, funny and she has heart, so we’re delighted to meet her again in Backlash, author Marnie Riches’ latest entertaining offering. This time Bev’s tasked with going undercover to deal with a rowdy neighbour who’s driving her client insane. But as in all good crime-fiction, nothing is quite … 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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