It's 1939, and Will and Alice are evacuated to a granite farm in North Cornwall, perched on a windswept cliff. There they meet the farmer's daughter, Maggie, and, against fields of shimmering barley and a sky that stretches forever, enjoy a childhood largely protected from the ravages of war. But in the sweltering summer of 1943, something happens that will have tragic consequences. A small lie escalates. Over 70 years on, Alice is determined to atone for her behaviour - but has she left it too late?
Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village. Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic: Who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave?
"Ridiculous but compelling"
The Spanish House is a mixture of designs, Georgian, Gothic and Moorish, as if whoever started it had simply got bored. It has long been known as an architectural folly to locals, and is now nearly derelict to boot. When its reclusive owner dies intestate, the Spanish House is left to his city-dwelling niece. For Isabel, recently widowed, the house is a potential lifeline - the only hope she has of providing for her two children without having to sell her most treasured possession.
Single mother Callie has come to rely heavily on her best friend Suzy. But Callie suspects Suzy's life isn't as simple as it seems. It's time she pulled away - going back to work is just the first step towards rediscovering her old confidence. So why does she keep putting off telling Suzy about her new job? And who will care for her rather frail daughter, Rae, while she is gone?
"An unexpected joy"
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. Although Quick takes Odelle into her confidence and unlocks a potential she didn't know she had, she remains a mystery - no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
"Left me emotionally confused... But I loved it!"
Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity - now it suggests a much more sinister purpose. Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she's gone 'underground'.
At home alone for the holidays, Agatha Raisin decides to host a dinner party for the elder residents in her Cotswold village of Winter Parva. Agatha's never been much of a homemaker, but she's dead set on making this the perfect holiday for the 'crumblies', as she affectionately calls them. She's decorated a tree while fending off her cats, Hodge and Boswell, and even made a (lumpy) Christmas pudding in between swigs of rum.
"Funny and enjoyable."
The Winter Children is a haunting mystery from Lulu Taylor, author of The Snow Angel. Olivia and Dan Felbeck are blissfully happy when their longed-for twins arrive after years of IVF. At the same time, they make the move to Renniston Hall, a huge, Elizabethan house that belongs to absent friends. Living rent-free in a small part of the unmodernised house, once a boarding school, they can begin to enjoy the family life they've always wanted. But there is a secret at the heart of their family, one that Olivia does not yet know.
Like a smaller and much scruffier Greta Garbo - finally - Markham speaks! It's Christmas and time for the first (and almost certainly last) St Mary's Annual Children's Christmas Party - attendance compulsory, by order of Dr Bairstow. Discovered practising his illegal reindeer dance and poo-dropping routine, our hero, along with fellow disaster magnets Peterson and Maxwell, is dispatched to Anglo-Saxon England to discover the truth about Alfred and the cakes.
"Christmas isn't Christmas without St Mary's"
Carol married young - to philandering Phil - and became a mother young to highly-strung Jaz. Carol put up with Phil's infidelities: suffer in silence and keep the family together was her mantra.Not so Jaz. The moment she discovers her own husband's errant ways - with a woman he barely knew - she throws him out of the house, changes the locks and bans him from seeing their toddler son Matty...
"Good stories but it is stop start and not edited very well if at all! "
Ben Jewell has hit a breaking point. His 10-year-old son, Jonah, has severe autism, and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope. When Ben and Emma fake a separation - a strategic decision to further Jonah's case in an upcoming tribunal - Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben's elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men - one who can't talk, two who won't - are thrown together.
Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford's once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man.
"Great story and excellent narration"
In this long-awaited audiobook, Davina McCall shares the tips and wisdoms learned on her 'work-in-progress' journey through life. Warm, engaging, honest and generous, this audiobook will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. Lessons I've Learned is the closest thing to a Davina hug and we all need one of those....
"I was not expecting this book to be so fantastic!"
Julia and Livy have always told each other everything, turning to each other when life gets difficult. So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot accept the verdict of suicide. Livy sets out to prove that Julia was murdered, but digging into Julia's private life will cause her to question everything. The truths that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart.
How many times, when things go wrong, have you said to yourself 'Why me?' Some people seem to have more than their fair share of bad luck, and Kate Parker is one of them. So when Kate and her ten-year-old son Jack move to Oxford to start a new life, Kate is determined that events of the past will not come back to haunt them. Despite the suffocating support she receives from her overbearing in-laws, she starts to feel threatened. Somehow her comfortable family home doesn't feel quite safe - it's almost as though someone is watching them.
"Chick-lit meets Stephen King"
A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa.
"Festive tale, with a twist!"
The only place Suzanna Peacock finds comfort is her shop, which provides a haven for the misfits in town. But she is forced to confront events of the past and her family that have been haunting her for so long. And she discovers that the key to her happiness may have been in front of her all along....
"The Peacock Emporium"
Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters - but none like the one she's just received: 'Dear Amy, I don't know where I am. I've been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I'm afraid he'll kill me. Please help me soon, Bethan Avery.' Bethan Avery has been missing for nearly two decades. This is surely some cruel hoax. But as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public.
England,1976. Mrs Creasy is missing, and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined.
"1976 - long, hot and a wonderful experience"
France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre is ordered to serve the German officers who socialise in her hotel. When the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by her husband Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born. Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth - and its troubled history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down...
"Spellbinding - I loved it"
Prepare to be chilled, electrified and entertained - a gem of a novel from 'one of the most brilliantly inventive writers of this, or any country' (Independent). Walk down narrow, clammy Slade Alley. Open the black iron door in the right-hand wall. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't exactly make sense. A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Too late, you find you can't....
The hilarious, heartbreaking novel by the author of the international best seller A Man Called Ove. Granny has been telling fairy tales for as long as Elsa can remember. In the beginning they were only to make Elsa go to sleep, to get her to practise Granny's secret language, and a little because Granny is just about as nutty as a granny should be. But lately the stories have another dimension as well. Something Elsa can't quite put her finger on....
"wonderfully engaging, great story well read."
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children, and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end, which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.
"The rest of the world has gone."
You are about to listen to the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this audiobook is full of impossible things. Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin....
"A lovely Christmas story"
©2006 Kate Long
"An enjoyable listen."
Not quite as good as The Bad Mothers Handbook, but still well worth listening to.
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