Is it a miracle?
Is it magic?
And who does the little girl belong to?
An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
Machines Like Me by: Ian McEwan £18.99
Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.
Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality.
This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.
Their Finest by: Lissa Evans £7.99
It’s 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The country is in peril. What’s needed (obviously) is a morale-boosting, heart-warming war film, preferably one that will appeal to the American market.
As bombs start to fall on London, work begins on ‘Just an Ordinary Wednesday’, an almost-true tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. And since call-up has stripped the film industry of the brightest and best, it’s the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who are making up the numbers.
There’s Catrin Cole, junior copy-writer turned romantic dialogue specialist; Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film star of 1924, currently available for all leading roles; Edith Beadmore, ex-seamstress at Madame Tussaud’s and ex-Londoner, having been bombed twice in two months; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager hasn’t prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.
And in a serious world, in a nation under siege, in a city visited nightly by destruction, they must work together to produce a slice of the purest entertainment.
Dead If You Don’t by: Peter James £7.99
A parent’s worst nightmare is Grace’s deadliest case . . .
Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most complex case yet in Dead If You Don’t.
Kipp Brown, successful businessman and compulsive gambler, is having the worst run of luck of his life. He’s beginning to lose big style. However, taking his teenage son, Mungo, to their club’s big Saturday afternoon football match should have given him a welcome respite, if only for a few hours. But it’s at the stadium where his nightmare begins.
Within minutes of arriving at the game, Kipp bumps into a client. He takes his eye of Mungo for a few moments, and in that time, the boy is gone. Then he gets the terrifying message that someone has his child, and to get him back alive, Kipp will have to pay.
Defying instruction not to contact the police, Kipp reluctantly does just that, and Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is brought into investigate. At first it seems a straightforward case of kidnap. But rapidly Grace finds himself entering a dark, criminal underbelly of the city, where the rules are different and nothing is what it seems . . .
Revolution Sunday by: Wendy Guerra £14.99
A novel about glamour, surveillance, and corruption in contemporary Cuba, from an internationally bestselling author — who has never before been translated into English
Cleo, scion of a once-prominent Cuban family and a promising young writer in her own right, travels to Spain to collect a prestigious award. There, Cuban expats view her with suspicion — assuming she’s an informant for the Castro regime. To Cleo’s surprise, that suspicion follows her home to Cuba, where she finds herself under constant surveillance by the government. When she meets and falls in love with a Hollywood filmmaker, she discovers her family is not who she thought they were… and neither is the filmmaker.
The Librarian by: Sally Vickers £8.99
A charmingly subversive novel about a library in 1950s England, by the acclaimed author of The Cleaner of Chartres.
Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her twenties, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children’s librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems.
Sylvia falls in love with an older man, but it is her connection to his precocious young daughter and her neighbours’ son which will change her life, putting them, her job and the library itself under threat.
How does the library alter the young children’s lives and how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
A work of fiction that also reflects Salley Vicker’s own lifelong love of literature, The Librarian brims with references to favourite novels from childhood onwards (readers will appreciate the accompanying list of all the fiction mentioned in the book).
Carrying echoes of Penelope Fitzgerland’s The Bookshop and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, it’s a book about love, education and the relationship between an individual and a community. Most of all, however, it is a book about the ways in which reading can shape and foster a life.