Title: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

Author: Laura Imai Messina

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Books

The Blurb

We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel there from miles around.

Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

The Review

Nearly every book that I have read that has been translated from another language I have found to be enjoyable. The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is no exception. It is the story of Yui. She is a survivor of a tsunami yet she is trapped by a tsunami of guilt over the death of her mother and daughter. When she hears of a telephone box that somehow helps victims of grief she is drawn on a pilgrimage to the spot. When she gets there Yui can’t bring herself to enter the phone box and we see her cling on to her guilt.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a gorgeous story that is so hopeful about the future and discusses grief and promises that acceptance of loss does not mean that you are guilty but that life does move on. In allowing herself to move forward with her life she releases herself from survivors guilt.

Overall, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a story of loss and hope. The story is so beautifully told that you cannot help but feel uplifted by it.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Imai Messina (@LaImsiMessina) please visit www.lauraimaimessina.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Windsor Knot

Author: SJ Bennett

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Zaffre/Bonnier Books

The Blurb

The first book in a highly original and delightfully clever crime series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes while carrying out her royal duties – now available to pre-order in hardback, eBook and audiobook. 

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.

When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place. For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

The Windsor Knot is the first book in the ‘Her Majesty The Queen Investigates‘ mystery series by SJ Bennett – for fans of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, Agatha Christie and M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin.

The Review

You know what? Life is still a bit pants at the moment. We are still restricted to what we can do (it is June 2021 as I write this) and very little is making me feel good. Enter The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett. This cosy crime is a wonderful story which positions the Queen as a Sherlock Holmes-esque character solving crimes and then going to walk the corgis. It is truly a wonderful read.

SJ Bennett’s mystery takes place at Windsor Castle after a soiree thrown by the queen. One of the quests is found murdered and the police try to solve the crime and keep the salacious gossip out of the papers. Little do they know that the Queen is a dab hand at solving mysteries. The race is on to see who will get to the crux of the murder first.

I really, really enjoyed The Windsor Knot. It was comforting and I finished it hoping against hope that the Queen has enjoyed a spot of crime solving during her years on the thrown. I think it would be truly wonderful

The Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett is available now.

For more information regarding SJ Bennett (@sophiabennett) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Zaffre (@ZaffreBooks) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.

Title: Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life

Author: Caroline Day

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Bonnier Books

The Blurb

Completely unique concept and writing style – written in the voice of Hope who has FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome)

‘I don’t have any friends, only dog ones, because they don’t make you do bad things. I don’t want any human friends, actually. It’s for the best.’

Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.

But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.

It’s just . . . there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where Hope will not only learn the lessons of writing, but will also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.

But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come . . .

Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life is a heartwarming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope.

The Review

Hope Nicely’s story is powerful. That is the first thing I need to say. It isn’t powerful in that whole knock you over with drama kind of way. It is subtle and quiet but it has the lasting kind of power. Hope Nicely has a medical condition. She has FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), for those who don’t know a lot about this – I myself am someone who doesn’t know enough – this means that she has a developmental disorder which makes every day life a little bit harder for her. She sets out with a mission to write her autobiography with the belief that her birth mum will find it, read it and explain why she abandoned her.

The book follows a certain period of her life that challenges her in ways that people with developmental issues would find distressing but we watch how she Hope Nicely deals with these challenges. It is a wonderful coming of age story and gives the reader an insight into the world of someone with this condition. I have worked with students with this disorder and I feel having read this book I now feel I have a more lived in experience of what they may be going through or how they see the world. I feel that I have gained a lot more empathy for having read this story and for that I thank Caroline Day for writing it.

Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life by Caroline Day is available from 22nd July 2021.

For more information regarding Bonnier Books (@bonnierbooks_uk) please visit www.bonnierbooks.co.uk.