The Princesse de Clèves (riverrun editions)
By Madame de Lafayette
'Always be civil to the girls. You never know whom they might marry.' Nancy Mitford, from her introduction to The Princess de Clèves When the young, beautiful Mademoiselle de Chartres comes to court, her primary objective is to find herself a husband. Upon her mother's recommendation, she accepts the advances of the Prince de Clèves, a rather average sort of a man. Unfortunately, soon after the wedding she finds herself to be in love with the dashing Duc de Nemours . . . Against a backdrop of labyrinthine court politics, the naïve Madame de Clèves' pursuit of true love is a riveting and timelessly tragic read.
The President's Gardens
By Muhsin Al-Ramli
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. "A contemporary tragedy of epic proportions. No author is better placed than Muhsin Al-Ramli, already a star in the Arabic literary scene, to tell this story. I read it in one sitting". Hassan Blasim, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ. On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop.One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated.How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?The answer lies in his lifelong friendship with Abdullah Kafka and Tariq the Befuddled, who each have their own remarkable stories to tell.It lies on the scarred, irradiated battlefields of the Gulf War and in the ashes of a revolution strangled in its cradle.It lies in the steadfast love of his wife and the festering scorn of his daughter.And, above all, it lies behind the locked gates of The President's Gardens, buried alongside the countless victims of a pitiless reign of terror.Translated from the Arabic by Luke Leafgren
A People without a Past
By Jaan Kross
The second part in an epic historical trilogy - The Estonian answer to Wolf Hall - by the nation's greatest modern writer The year is 1563, and by any account Balthasar Russow can be said to have risen in the world. Fresh from his studies in the German town of Stetten, he has assumed the role as pastor of Tallinn's Holy Ghost Church. Moreover, he is betrothed to a maiden of the town - much to the chagrin of her father, who has no wish to welcome peasant stock to the family when there is no shortage of upstanding young German men - and is poised to begin the chronicle that will ensure his everlasting fame.But tribulations still await the now not-quite-young Pastor - Livonia is still plagued by foreign powers, with Tallinn braced to withstand a prolonged Muscovite siege. And he will discover that marriage is a often a battlefield in itself.Translated from the Estonian by Merike Beecher
A Perfect Husband
By Hilary Boyd
'Tackles a difficult subject with a light touch to keep you turning the pages' VERONICA HENRYA perfect husbandTo their friends, Lily and Freddy have a great marriage. He taught her to love again after the death of her first husband. But when Freddy becomes tense and distracted, a life-changing truth is revealed.A terrible shockFreddy has built up massive gambling debts that threaten to destroy not only his life but Lily's as well.Should she go forward - or back?Her friends and family urge her to forget him and move on - easier said than done. Is her willingness to give him a second chance just down to loyalty? Or is the truth something altogether darker? 'Boyd is terrific at cutting to the quick of modern relationships' WOMAN & HOME
The Parable Book
By Per Olov Enquist
"The love that dare not speak its name . . ." Sweden, 1949. A boy of 15, cutting across a garden, chances upon a woman of 51. What ensues is cataclysmic, life-altering. All the more because it cannot be spoken of. Can it never be spoken of?Looking back in late old age at an encounter that transformed him suddenly yet utterly, P.O. Enquist, a titan of Swedish letters, has decided to "come out" - but in ways entirely novel and unexpected. He has written the book that smoldered unwritten within him his entire life. The book he had always seen as the one he could not write.This poignant memoir of love as a religious experience - as a modern form of the Resurrection - is also a deeply felt reflection on the transitoriness of friendship, the fraught nature of family relationships, and the importance of giving voice to what cannot be forgotten. A parable as hauntingly intense as any Bergman film.
The Prodigal Daughter
By Prue Leith
It is 1968. Angelica Angelotti has grown up in the Italian food business started by her English mother and Italian father. Now she is using her cooking talent to strike out on her own, moving to Paris to go to culinary school. There, among the excitement and wild emotion of the student barricades, she falls in love with her charismatic but unreliable cousin Mario - a manic depressive ten years older than her whom her mother had sacked from their restaurant.Navigating a blossoming career, from the Savoy hotel pastry kitchen to the world of food writing and presenting, alongside an increasingly toxic relationship, eventually proves impossible. Angelica has to leave Mario, and makes the decision to move back to the family home in Gloucestershire to help her other cousin Silvano with a new branch of the family business - reopening the local pub, the Frampton Arms, as a restaurant. As they get to know each other better, Angelica realises her mistake: she chose the wrong brother.But when Mario reappears, determined to win her back, and as other jealous relatives plot the downfall of the Frampton Arms, will Angelica be able to hold on to her business and the man she's come to love?
The People We Were Before
By Annabelle Thorpe
By Patrick Modiano
"It's a book less on what I did than on what others, mainly my parents, did to me"Taking in a vast gallery of extraordinary characters from Paris' post-war years, Pedigree is an autobiographical portrait of Post-War Paris and a tumultuous childhood - a childhood replete with insecurity and sorrow that informed the oeuvre of France's Nobel Laureate.With his sometime-actress mother and shady businessman father barely functioning in any parental role, the young Modiano spent his childhood being packed off to the care of others, or held at a safe distance in a grimy boarding school - which he ran away from several times. His impecunious mother had "a heart of stone"; his womanising father once called the police when his son asked him for money, and later ceased all contact with him.But for all his parents' indifference, it is the death of his younger brother when Modiano is eleven that cuts deepest, leaving a wound that can never be healed.
By Peter Terrin
Emiel Steegman, an unknown writer with a handful of novels to his name, is seeking a way to escape a dinner with Estonian colleagues. Although things are plodding along quite happily, he cancels at the last moment "due to a rather difficult time for the family".A nasty feeling immediately comes over him: is he inviting trouble for his family in doing so? And what if a biographer stumbled on this? Would he not then suspect that something significant had happened in his life? The thought gives him a great idea for a new novel about a successful author, T, who becomes famous with an existential crime novel and increasingly worries about what his future biographer will write about him, so he withdraws entirely from public life.But Steegman's initial misgivings prove well founded. Because fate does strike. One afternoon, his daughter Renée falls asleep and it is impossible to wake her . . .
By Anders Roslund, Börge Hellström
THE FIRST IN THE MILLION-SELLING DCI EWERT GRENS SERIES, WINNER OF THE GLASS KEY 2005 FOR BEST SCANDINAVIAN CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR, AND AS HARD-HITTING A CRIME NOVEL AS YOU WILL EVER READ.'A must read' ObserverBernt Lund harbours a sickness. He is a monster: in the mind of society, in the mind of his nine-year-old victims' parents, and in the mind of his fellow inmates.Lennart Oscarsson has a situation. The worst scenario imaginable for Aspsås prison's Department for Sexual Crimes.These two men's actions are about to hand DCI Ewert Grens the most profoundly sickening and impossibly sensitive case of his career, and in Stockholm's history.Pen 33 is both an unforgiving collision between a time-hardened policeman and a truly heinous crime, and an unflinching exploration of what people - whether criminals or victims - are capable of when they choose to relinquish self-control.Loved Pen 33 and hungry for another DCI Ewert Grens thriller? If so, choose the next novel in the series, Box 21 . . .
Portrait Of A Man
By Georges Perec
Gaspard Winckler, master forger, is trapped in a basement studio on the outskirts of Paris, with his paymaster's blood on his hands. The motive for this murder? A perversion of artistic ambition. After a lifetime lived in the shadows, he has strayed too close to the sun. Fittingly for such an enigmatic writer, Portrait of a Man is both Perec's first novel and his last. Frustrated in his efforts to find a publisher, he put it aside, telling a friend: "I'll go back to it in ten years when it'll turn into a masterpiece, or else I'll wait in my grave until one of my faithful exegetes comes across it in an old trunk." An apt coda to one of the brightest literary careers of the twentieth century, it is - in the words of David Bellos, the "faithful exegete" who brought it to light - "connected by a hundred threads to every part of the literary universe that Perec went on to create - but it's not like anything else that he wrote".
By Julia Kelly
Eve is starting again. Newly single, unemployed and with a baby daughter, she joins the local mums trying to make their nearby playground the heart of the community. But not all games are innocent - and not all friends are true. When the rules change, Eve must forge her own independence - and realise that the playground is no place to hide from adulthood.
Pushing the Limits
By CC Gibbs
Languishing on Rafe's luxury yacht in the Mediterranean, there's nowhere for Nicole to go - except deeper into her darkest fantasies. Playboy heir Rafe Contini knows he wants raven-haired beauty Nicole Parrish the moment he sets eyes on her. But headstrong Nicole - visiting for the summer before returning to university - is new to Rafe's glamorous world, a place where anything is obtainable... at a price. And while Nicole is intoxicated by the extreme pleasure Rafe is offering, is it wise to surrender her treasured freedom?Pushing the Limits is the first in a sumptuous series starring Rafe Contini and the object of his desire: Nicole Parrish, niece of Dominic Knight, the infamous hero of CC Gibbs' bestselling Knight trilogy.
Playing with Matches
By Carolyn Wall
The Perfect Affair
By Claire Dyer
By Joseph Connolly
The Pit Girl
By Elizabeth Gill
To make a home, she must break the rules. Can she triumph over tragedy?After her father's death, Kate Ferrar is expected to move from London to a mining village in County Durham to live with an uncle she barely knows. Restricted by the confines of polite society and hungry for education and honest company, she breaks all social rules by taking a job in her uncle's office. But a sudden and shocking pit disaster almost destroys everything and Kate must draw on all her courage to survive...An emotional read about love in the face of hardship. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Maggie Hope and Nadine Dorries.Note: this book was previously published under the title The Singing Winds.
Promise Laid Bare
By CC Gibbs
Isolde Perceval, Countess of Wraxall, has no intention of marrying. Not least the odious suitor who is out for her body and her money . . .The luck of Osmond, Baron Lennox, seems to have run out. When a dalliance with his mistress goes awry and the wrong woman is found in his bed, he is trapped at the centre of Isolde's scheme to escape her situation. Marriage now seems his only option but his last desire - something they have in common. But shared passion will draw them closer together than they could have ever imagined . . .
The Promise of Rain
By Donna Milner
Howard Coulter was one of hundreds of Canadian soldiers sent to the Far East following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Surviving the fierce battle for Hong Kong, he became a POW, and is haunted by the memories that he carries with him. His daughter Ethie was born after he returned from the war. She never knew him as he was before, an open, loving man and a devoted husband. Why, Ethie wonders, is he so silent and withdrawn? Howard carries more than the physical and mental scars inflicted by his captors. Something happened in Hong Kong, a secret that he has carried for two decades and one which threatens to destroy his family should it ever come to light.
By Laurie Graham
It shouldn't have been like this. Being on television was meant to lead to fame and a glamorous social life. But for Lizzie Partridge, forty-something, divorced and TV cook on Midlands This Morning, it meant dinners for one, coping alone with an air-head adolescent daughter and following middle-aged men into corner shops pretending she needed a bottle of Lea & Perrins. Her good friend Louie - if only he wasn't gay - thought he knew what the trouble was: Lizzie was always on the wrong side of the glass, looking in at other people's lives. True or not, things for Lizzie were going to get a lot worse before they got better...