March has flown by and now we’re almost into April, Easter and another set of school holidays.
I may not be doing all the reading I want, I may not be reviewing what I am managing to read but I am managing to put together an impressive list of book club reads for our members to check out.
Here’s the list for April and we have a stellar collection of contemporary, romance, thriller and historical novels with some self help and a beautiful activity book for the little ones.
A Universe of Sufficient Size – Miriam Sved
Pan Macmillan – Historical Fiction
Budapest, 1938. In a city park, five young Jewish mathematicians gather to share ideas, trade proofs and whisper sedition.
Sydney, 2007. Illy has just buried her father, a violent, unpredictable man whose bitterness she never understood. And now Illy’s mother has gifted her a curious notebook, its pages a mix of personal story and mathematical discovery, recounted by a woman full of hopes and regrets.
Inspired by a true story, Miriam Sved’s beautifully crafted novel charts a course through both the light and dark of human relationships: a vivid recreation of 1930s Hungary, a decades-old mystery locked in the story of one enduring friendship, a tribute to the selfless power of the heart.
Gravity is the Thing – Jaclyn Moriarty
Pan Macmillan – Contemporary Fiction
Abigail Sorensen has spent her life trying to unwrap the events of 1990.
It was the year she started receiving random chapters from a self-help book called The Guidebook in the post.
It was also the year Robert, her brother, disappeared on the eve of her sixteenth birthday.
She believes the absurdity of The Guidebook and the mystery of her brother’s disappearance must be connected.
Now thirty-five, owner of The Happiness Café and mother of four-year-old Oscar, Abigail has been invited to learn the truth behind The Guidebook at an all-expenses-paid retreat.
What she finds will be unexpected, life-affirming, and heartbreaking.
A story with extraordinary heart, warmth and wisdom.
Home at Last – Meredith Appleyard
Harlequin Mira – Contemporary Romance
Flying solo can be harder than it looks … A warm-hearted rural romance about finding your way home.
Flying solo for the first time had been the greatest high of Anna Kelly’s life. So when the chance of a dream job as a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctor Service comes up she takes it, even though she has to leave her home in Adelaide and move to remote Broken Hill – a place she had hoped she would never see again.
The bad memories the town provokes remind Anna why she keeps men at arm’s length but as her work proves fulfilling, her housemate becomes a friend and a warm community grows around her, Anna is surprised to discover that Broken Hill is starting to feel like home.
But there is no such thing as plain sailing and with errant mothers, vengeful ex-patients and determined exes on the prowl, life is becoming increasingly complicated. More than that, the distractingly attractive Flight Nurse Nick Harrison seems keen to get to know her better, and he has a way of finding a path through her defences. But will he still want her if the truth comes out?
I Love My Mum Because – Petra James
Pan Macmillan – Junior Fiction/ Activity Book
This book is for you and your mum.
Draw, decorate, colour in, count, spot the mum, make a butterfly (or two) and then present the book to your mum for any special occasion: birthday, Xmas, Mother’s Day … or just because.
An interactive picture book to personalise for your mum.
In A Great Southern Land – Mary-Anne O’Connor
HQ Fiction – Historical Fiction
From the soft green hills of Ireland to the wild Shipwreck Coast of southern Victoria, the rich farm lands of New South Wales to the sudden battlefields of Ballarat, this is an epic story of the cost of freedom and the value of love in a far-flung corner of the world where a new nation struggles to be born.
1851: After the death of her father, young Eve Richards is destitute. Her struggle to survive sees her deported in chains to the colony of New South Wales, penniless and alone. But here in this strange new world fortune smiles on the spirited, clever Eve in the shape of a respectable job offer that will lead to a quiet, secure life. Then the fiery and charismatic Irishman Kieran Clancy crosses her path…
For Kieran Clancy, the kindest man on earth, and his brother Liam, the promise of free passage and land in this brave new world is a chance to leave the grief and starvation of County Clare behind. But while Liam works to farm their land, Kieran has the fire of gold-fever upon him and is drawn to the goldfields of Ballarat. As tensions grow on the goldfields, and with the blood of an Irish rebel still beating through his heart, Kieran finds himself caught up in the cataclysmic events at the Eureka Stockade and faces the decision of a lifetime: whether or not, when it comes to love, blood will remain thicker than water…
The Book of Dreams – Nina George
Simon & Schuster – Fiction
On his way to meet his son for the first time, hardened former war correspondent Henry Skinner is hit by a car after rescuing a child from drowning. He is rushed to hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.
His son, Sam, a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144, waits at his father’s bedside. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, another coma patient and the sole survivor of an accident that killed her family.
A heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story about what love means – the exquisite stirrings of first love, the love between fathers and sons, friendship and family, life and death – and making peace with the past in order to find a future.
The French Photographer – Natasha Lester
Hachette – Contemporary Fiction
Manhattan, Paris, 1942: When Jessica May’s successful modelling career is abruptly cut short, she is assigned to the war in Europe as a photojournalist for Vogue. But when she arrives the army men make her life as difficult as possible. Three friendships change that: journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules, paratrooper Dan Hallworth takes her to places to shoot pictures and write stories that matter, and a little girl, Victorine, who has grown up in a field hospital, shows her love. But success comes at a price.
France, 2005: Australian curator D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to manage a famous collection of photographs. What begins as just another job becomes far more disquieting as D’Arcy uncovers the true identity of the mysterious photographer – and realises that she is connected to D’Arcy’s own mother, Victorine.
Crossing a war-torn Europe from Italy to France, The French Photographer is a story of courage, family and forgiveness, by the bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress and A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald.
The Guilty Party – Mel McGrath
HQ Fiction – Thriller/Suspense
You did nothing. That doesn’t mean you’re innocent.
On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble. They decide to do nothing to help.
Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.
But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?
And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?
The Neighbour – Fiona Cummins
Pan Macmillan – Crime/Thriller/Suspense
FOR SALE: A lovely family home with good-sized garden and treehouse occupying a plot close to woodland. Quiet, leafy road, good schools, close to the sea and commutable to London. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog walkers . . .
And, it seems, the perfect hunting ground for a serial killer.
On a hot July day, Garrick and Olivia Lockwood and their two children move into 25 The Avenue looking for a fresh start. They arrive in the midst of a media frenzy: they’d heard about the local murders in the press, but Garrick was certain the killer would be caught and it would all be over in no time. Besides, they’d got the house at a steal and he was convinced he could flip it for a fortune.
The neighbours seemed to be the very picture of community spirit. But everyone has secrets, and the residents in The Avenue are no exception.
After six months on the case with no real leads, the most recent murder has turned DC Wildeve Stanton’s life upside down, and now she has her own motive for hunting down the killer – quickly.
The True Story of Maddie Bright – Mary-Rose MacColl
Allen & Unwin – General Fiction
In 1920, seventeen-year-old Maddie Bright gratefully accepts a job as a serving girl on the royal tour of Australia by Edward, Prince of Wales. Maddie’s talents soon earn her the respect of Helen Burns, the prince’s vivacious press secretary, and Rupert Waters, his most loyal man, and Maddie is in awe of Edward himself, the ‘people’s’ prince.
What starts as a desire to help her family, devastated by the recent war, becomes for Maddie a chance to work on something that matters. When the unthinkable happens, it is swift and life changing.
Decades later, Maddie Bright is living in a ramshackle house in Paddington, Brisbane. She has Ed, her drunken and devoted neighbour, to talk to, the television news to shout at, and door-knocker religions to join. But when London journalist Victoria Byrd gets the sniff of a story that might lead to the true identity of a famously reclusive writer, Maddie’s version of her own story may change.
1920, 1981 and 1997: the strands twist across the seas and over two continents to build a compelling story of love and fame, motherhood and friendship. Set at key moments in the lives of two of the most loved and hated figures of the twentieth century, in Maddie Bright, a reader will find a friend and, by novel’s close, that friend’s true and moving story.
The Universe Listens to the Brave – Rebecca Ray
Pan Macmillan – Personal Development
This book of wisdom has been written for you: the ones who seek to live with more courage.
Reach for it when you’re setting an intention, making a big decision, doing the work of healing, grieving, creating or learning to love yourself, and you need reminding to keep choosing brave.
This is your invitation to leap into your most expansive life.
Dr Rebecca Ray is a writer, speaker and clinical psychologist. She invites you to contemplate your true self, in its bravest form: the self that is still asking questions. The self that is seeking wisdom. And the self that’s determined to stay open to the possibilities of a life inspired.
Without A Doubt – Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin – Crime & Mystery
Detective Dave Burrows returns in the most compelling and exciting case of his early career.
In Barrabine, as Dave’s workload skyrockets, Melinda, Dave’s wife, is unhappy about being left alone so much to raise their eighteen-month-old daughter, Bec. It’s not how Dave wants it either, but complaints, leads and crimes all have to be investigated – it’s what he joined the force for.
Melinda’s interfering father isn’t helping. He’s never thought that Dave was right for his daughter and he’s not shy about telling Dave what he’s doing wrong. When things come to a head at home, Dave’s policing mate, Spencer, comes up with a plan.
In the most dangerous mission of his life, Dave knows what he’s risking. If he’s found out, he’ll never see Melinda or Bec again. Of that he’s sure.
A huge thanks goes out to the publishers without whom we could not offer such great reads. Allen & Unwin, Harlequin, Harper Collins, Hachette, Pan Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. We are so grateful for the support you show us, we couldn’t do it without you.
If you aren’t yet a member of the Beauty and Lace Club there is still time to join, head over to the signup page and take a look: yoursay.beautyandlace.net.
Happy Reading, have fun selecting preferences and we look forward to hearing what you think.