Title: Ten Years

Author: Pernille Hughes

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Becca and Charlie have known each other since university.

Becca and Charlies have also hated each other since university.

Until now. Until Ally’s bucket list. The death of their loved one should mean they can go their separate ways and not look back. But completing the list is something neither of them can walk away from.

And sometimes, those who bring out the worst in you, also bring out the very best…

Over the course of ten years, Becca and Charlie’s paths collide as they deal with grief, love and life after Ally.

Not since Emma and Dex in One Day and Will and Lou in Me Before You will you root for a couple as much.

The Review

This year I made a decision not to read books if I’m not hooked by page 50. Well, I needn’t have worried with Ten Years because I was hooked within the first few minutes of reading.

It is the story of the thin line between love and hate and how those who straddle that line shouldn’t underestimate the power of both.

It is the story of Becca and Charlie – frenemies who have been brought together through tragedy and who have to weave in and out of each others lives whether they like it or not.

This is the perfect love to hate you story and I did not want it to end.

Ten Years by Pernille Hughes is available now.

For more information regarding Pernille Hughes (@pernillehuges) please visit her Twitter account.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter account.

Title: Trespasses

Author: Louise Kennedy

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

Cushla Lavery lives with her mother in a small town near Belfast. At twenty-four, she splits her time between her day job as a teacher to a class of seven-year-olds, and regular bartending shifts in the pub owned by her family. It’s here, on a day like any other – as the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploding, another man shot, killed, beaten or left for dead – that she meets Michael Agnew, an older (and married) barrister who draws her into his sophisticated group of friends.

When the father of a young boy in her class, becomes the victim of a savage attack, Cushla is compelled to help his family. But as her affair with Michael intensifies, political tensions in the town escalate, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

As tender as it is unflinching, Trespasses is a masterfully executed and intimate portrait of those caught between the warring realms of the personal and political, rooted in a turbulent and brutally imagined moment of history – where it’s not just what you do that matters, but what you are.

The Review

I have been looking for a book with the Troubles at the centre of the story. Not so that I can relate to it. The Troubles didn’t affect me, I’m not Irish but I have wanted to learn more since reading the Kevin and Sadie books as a teenager. I’ve read a few but none have been as impactful as Trespasses by Louise Kennedy.

The story of Cushla Lavery and her conflicted feelings about her heritage versus her heart is a powerful read. For me, what makes it so compelling is the ordinariness of shocking events. The violence is presented as commonplace. That’s not to say that the characters in the story weren’t sympathetic or angered but just that they were almost used to it. Desensitised.

Trespasses is compelling and Cushla Lavery is a character I won’t forget for a very long time.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy is available now.

For more information regarding Louise Kennedy (@KennedyLouLou) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@Bloomsbury Books) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: The Manhattan Girls

Author: Gill Paul

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books

The Blurb

NEW YORK CITY, 1921

An impossible dream.

The war is over, the twenties are roaring, but in the depths of the city that never sleeps, Dorothy Parker is struggling to make her mark in a man’s world.

A broken woman.

She’s penniless, she’s unemployed and her marriage is on the rocks when she starts a bridge group with three extraordinary women – but will they be able to save her from herself?

A fight for survival.

When tragedy strikes, and everything Dorothy holds dear is threatened, it’s up to Peggy, Winifred and Jane to help her confront the truth before it’s too late. Because the stakes may be life or death…

A new novel from the internationally bestselling author, Sex and the City meets the 1920s in this sweeping tale of love, loss and the everlasting bonds of friendship. Perfect for fans of Fiona Davis, Dinah Jefferies and Chanel Cleeton.

The Review

One of my all time favourite tropes in novels in when the writer takes a real life person or situation and moulds the story around them or it. Gill Paul is masterful at writing historical fiction. I loved her book The Paris Wife and I felt no less love for The Manhattan Girls.

The Manhattan Girls focuses on the lives of four women who had a modicum of fame in 1920s New York – a time of great social change but also a time where morals ruled the streets and those who flouted the rules visited the seedy underbelly. It was a time of prohibition – where bathtub gin was the norm. A time when women were able to find their feet and stand their ground…but this didn’t come easy.

I absolutely adored this tale of Dorothy Parker and her friends. I didn’t know a lot about them before going in to the novel but afterwards I felt like I had been present to a slice of history. Gill Paul is brilliant at transporting you to a time or place, you feel like you are a fly on the wall.

An absolutely stunning historical drama steeped in the power of friendship.

The Manhattan Girls by Gill Paul is available now.

For more information regarding Gill Paul (@GillPaulAUTHOR) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Avon Books (@AvonBooksUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Times Lives Less Ordinary

Author: Nigel Farndale and Times Books

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Collins Reference

The Blurb

Discover the lives of some of the most fascinating and unconventional characters of recent times, with 80 obituaries carefully curated from The Times archive. Be they dons, pop stars, vicars, MPs, rugby players or aristocrats, each has marched to the beat of their own drum and led a life far from ordinary.

The Times obituaries have given readers throughout the world an instant picture of a life for more than 150 years. Meet the mavericks, rogues and eccentrics from recent history, including:

  • Baroness Trumpington, the codebreaking, chainsmoking, two-finger-flicking grande dame of British politics
  • ‘Magic Alex’ Mardas, inventor who was the Beatles’ ‘scientific guru’
  • Zsa Zsa Gábor, Hungarian socialite and actress who made a success out of celebrity and was best known for having married nine times
  • John Lucas, influential philosopher who argued against determinism and had a reputation for being the most eccentric don in Oxford
  • Brigadier Jack Thomas, military police commander who survived a landmine, bullet, rhino and faulty parachute and liked to watch TV with an owl on his head
  • April Ashley, model, socialite and transgender rights campaigner whose reassignment surgery was part of a rollercoaster life of lovers and high drama
  • Jordan Mooney, punk muse known as ‘the original Sex Pistol’ who appeared on stage with them, guided their ‘look’ and then became a veterinary nurse

Authoritative, insightful and endlessly engaging, this book is a must for anyone with an interest in the eccentrics and unique characters of recent times.

The Review

What a delightful collection of obituaries celebrating the lives of some really fascinating people.

Now I know it probably seems macabre reading obituaries but the collection found in The Times Lives Less Ordinary are absolutely brilliant. They really do look at the achievements and the curiosities of some creative characters throughout recent history.

This is a chunkster of a book though and I would class it more as a palette cleanser. Read it sparingly and in between other reads but it is a jolly good book.

The Times Lives Less Ordinary by Nigel Farndale is available now.

For more information regarding Nigel Farndale (@nigelfarndale) please visit www.nigelfarndale.com.

Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

From the incomparable Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of How I Live Now, comes a heady and timeless, intimate and earth-shattering wonder.

One dreamy summer, in a holiday house by the sea, two families fill hot days with food and wine, swimming and games, plans for a wedding and plans for the future. 

Enter the Godden brothers – irresistible, languid Kit, and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in paradise – but which brother is it? And is it love he promises, or something very much darker?

Profound and memorable, crystallising the exact moment at which innocence is lost, The Great Godden is a summer classic-in-the-making that sits alongside Bonjour Tristesse, The Greengage Summer and I Capture the Castle as an essential coming-of-age read.

The Review

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is a quiet novel. Nothing outrageous happens in it but it is a mood. The novel seems very reflective and nostalgic even when events happen that cause sadness. It is almost as if the rose tinted glasses put a soft hue around bad events.

The events of the novel take place over a summer holiday in Ireland when things take an unexpected turn with the arrival of the Godden brothers. Kit Godden is charismatic and quickly captures everyone’s eye whilst brother Hugo lingers in the background. Their arrival changes the dynamic and causes discord amongst the family.

The Great Godden isn’t a fast paced novel but it does wrap its arms around you and carry you through it. You are engaged by the curiosity of this family and you are desperate to read on. Out of all the Rosoff books I have read, The Great Godden is my favourite.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is available now.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.