Book Club Reads for April 2018

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March is nearly over, and the routines I was hoping for… they never happened. Easter is just around the corner and that snuck up on me too. I think my mind has gone into hiding in my hibernation reading nook, unfortunately it just didn’t get to take the rest of me with it.

April has an even longer book club list than March did so I’m not going to waffle, I’m going to get straight into the info for you. I think it’s going to be tough to rate this lot. There aren’t as many different genres represented as there has been recently but I hope there is still enough to get everyone excited.

Take a look at these beauties…

A Place With Heart – Jennie Jones
Harlequin Mira – Romance

Can three misfits build a family in this remote Australian town?

Jaxine Brown has made a good life for herself with her café and her animal rescue shelter in Western Australian outback town, Mt Maria. But the homecoming of her secret teenage daughter, Frances, changes everything. At only seventeen, Jax was coerced to give up the baby to Frances’s father and his wife. Finally, she has a chance to make it right for her resentful and awkward teenager, and hasn’t got time to think about the recently returned handsome former detective, who inexplicably disappeared in the middle of their only date last year.

Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Maxwell arrives in Mt Maria, seemingly back in uniform as Officer In Charge, while his mate Senior Sergeant Luke Weston is on leave. But Jack’s real purpose is investigating suspicion of drug trafficking and the man they’re watching works in the closest mine to the town. He expects to have this case wrapped up in four weeks, and feels he can take his time, not only with the case but also with Jaxine Brown, the woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his mind.

When graffiti and vandalism escalate in an issue involving stolen animals, Jax and Frances are unwittingly drawn into a mystery that suggests a connection to the same mine Jack has under surveillance. Can Jack get to the bottom of the furtive goings-on, and do whatever it takes to protect the would-be family that’s wound its way into his heart?

A new outback romance from the bestselling author of The Swallow’s Fall series.

Every Note Played – Lisa Genova
Simon & Schuster – General Fiction

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard’s inspired performances received standing ovations from audiences all over the world. Every one of his fingers was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralysed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce – his divorce.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralysed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

As poignant and powerful as Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

Fool’s Gold – Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin – General Fiction

To Dave, the posting to Barrabine was exactly what he’d wanted – it was a town on the edge, the wild west. There would be excitement, mystery and intrigue here. Everything a detective looked for.’

Detective Dave Burrows’ first posting to the far west goldfields town of Barrabine in 1997 holds everything he’s looking for, but Melinda, his wife of two weeks, is devastated at leaving behind her family, friends and career. More comfortable in heels than RM Williams, Melinda walked away from her much-loved job in the city as a paediatric nurse to follow Dave into the bush.

Dave settles in easily to the plain-speaking toughness of his new town, determined to do well, knowing that Barrabine could be his stepping stone into the elite stock squad. But will his marriage last the distance? As Dave investigates reports of mysterious late-night trespassing, a missing person, and guns being drawn on strangers, a local prospector phones in with horrific news that could hold the key to everything.

Fleur McDonald’s bestselling rural storytelling takes her popular detective, Dave Burrows, back to his compelling and exciting beginnings.

I Have Lost My Way – Gayle Forman
Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster Children’s UK – Young Adult

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington state. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven’t been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they’re supposed to be.

Told over the course of a single day from three different perspectives, this is a story about the power of friendship and being true to who you are.

Ill Will – Michael Stewart
Harper Collins – HQ Fiction – Historical Fiction

Heathcliff has left Wuthering Heights, and is travelling across the moors to Liverpool in search of his past.

Along the way, he saves Emily, the foul-mouthed daughter of a Highwayman, from a whipping, and the pair journey on together.

Roaming from graveyard to graveyard, making a living from Emily’s apparent ability to commune with the dead, the pair lie, cheat and scheme their way across the North of England.

And towards the terrible misdeeds – and untold riches – that will one day send Heathcliff home to Wuthering Heights.

Last of the Bonegilla Girls – Victoria Purman
Harlequin – HQ Fiction – Fiction

The war is over, but her fight for a new life in Australia is about to begin…

1954: When sixteen-year-old Hungarian Elizabeta arrives in Australia with her family, she is hoping to escape the hopelessness of life as a refugee in post-war Germany, a life where every day was lived in fear.

Her first stop is the Bonegilla Migrant Camp on the banks of the Murray in rural Victoria, a temporary home for thousands of new arrivals, all looking for work and a better life. There, Elizabeta becomes firm friends with the feisty Greek Vasiliki; quiet Italian Iliana; and the adventurous Frances, the daughter of the camp’s director.

In this vibrant and growing country, the Bonegilla girls rush together towards a life that seems full of promise, even as they cope with the legacy of war, the oppressive nature of family tradition and ever-present sorrow. So when a ghost from the past reaches out for Elizabeta and threatens to pull her back into the shadows, there is nothing that her friends wouldn’t do to keep her safe: no action too extreme, no confidence too dark.

But secrets have a way of making themselves known and lies have a way of changing everything they touch. Can the Bonegilla girls defeat their past? Or has it finally come to claim them?

Making Peace – Fiona McCallum
Harlequin – HQ Fiction – Fiction

Does one simple act of kindness have the power to completely turn someone’s life around?

It’s been a year since Hannah Ainsley lost her husband and parents – her whole family – in a car crash on Christmas morning. Despite her overwhelming loss, she’s worked hard to pull the pieces of her life together with the help of a group of dear, loyal friends. But while Hannah is beginning to become excited about the future again, she’s concerned that her best friend and talented artist Sam is facing a crisis of her own. It’s now Hannah’s turn to be Sam’s rock – can she save Sam’s dreams from unravelling?

When Hannah returns to work after her holidays, she can’t settle. She’s loved her job for a decade, and it’s been her lifeline during her grief. But something’s changed. She’s changed. And for all this time she’s avoided knowing the details of the accident or investigation – what would be the point, she’d thought, when nothing will bring her loved ones back? But after a chance meeting, it’s all there in front of her – and, like ripples in a pond, it extends beyond her own experiences. Could knowing be the key to her recovery? Could her involvement be the key to someone else’s?

From Australia’s master storyteller comes an uplifting story of new and old friendships, letting go of the past and looking to the future…

The Implausible Story of Olive Far Away – Tonya Alexandra
Harlequin – HQ Young Adult – Young Adult

Forget gypsy curses and invisibility. Forget stupid boys who are supposed to be my true love and then dump me. I’ve got one mission now – fun.’

Olive has been dumped by Tom, the one person who could see her. But she’s determined to have fun regardless of the gypsy curse rendering her invisible to all but her true love. After six months of hijinks on the road with her childhood friend Jordan travelling through Africa and Asia, Olive makes the startling discovery that another boy can see her. Dillon is dark Irish trouble and irritatingly inclined to disappear on (possibly shady) adventures of his own.

Resolved to discover how Dillon can see her, Olive’s mission is thwarted when Jordan meets a boy with over-sized kneecaps and her best friend Felix falls for a girl who is inexcusably English. Olive must juggle her friends and untangle her feelings for Dillon and Tom, while her hunt for the truth lures her from the peaks of the Himalayas to the purr of New York City, climaxing on the stark Irish shore, where Olive, implausibly, intends to break the curse for once and for all.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland
Harper Collins – 4th Estate AU – Contemporary Fiction

After her family suffers a tragedy, nine-year-old Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak.

Under the watchful eye of June and the women who run the farm, Alice settles, but grows up increasingly frustrated by how little she knows of her family’s story. In her early twenties, Alice’s life is thrown into upheaval again when she suffers devastating betrayal and loss. Desperate to outrun grief, Alice flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. In this otherworldly landscape Alice thinks she has found solace, until she meets a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.

Spanning two decades, set between sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart follows Alice’s unforgettable journey, as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

The Paris Seamstress – Natasha Lester
Hachette – Hachette Australia – Historical Fiction

1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.

Crossing generations, society’s boundaries and international turmoil, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.

The Secrets We Keep – Shirley Patton
Harlequin – HQ Fiction – Fiction

A mother’s secret, a father’s betrayal, a town on the edge…

When social worker Aimee arrives in the mining town of Kalgoorlie, she is ready for a fresh start. Her colleagues Lori and Paddy seem friendly, and she is also drawn to one of her cases: the Steele family, whose future looks particularly bleak. But Aimee has a dark secret and as the past reaches out towards her once more, she realises that somehow her secret is connected to this unfamiliar but harshly beautiful town and its inhabitants.

As she strengthens her ties with the  local community — especially with the vibrant Lori, stoical Kerry and wise Agnes — she finds herself questioning earlier decisions. Can she reveal her secret, even if it is not hers alone to share?

A compelling novel of the transcendental love of children and the truth’s unwillingness to stay hidden.

Those Other Women – Nicola Moriarty
Harper Collins – Harper Collins AU – Contemporary Fiction

An online rivalry between mums and non-mums spills dangerously into the real world

Poppy’s world has tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend.

At least Annalise is on her side. Poppy’s new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent just a little about smug mums’ privileges at work.

Meanwhile Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings – she’s not had one in years – and she’s sick of being judged by women at the office and stay-at-home mums.

Then Poppy and Annalise’s group takes off and frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafes become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones and offices have never been so divided.

A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control. Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she has an agenda of her own . . .

You Wish – Lia Weston
Pan Macmillan – Macmillan Australia – Contemporary Fiction

Sometimes imagination is not enough.

Thomas Lash grants secret wishes . . . on-screen, that is.

White wedding gone horribly wrong and need to swap the groom? Never went to university but must have a graduation photo? Need to create a fake family for that job interview? Problem solved with expert Photoshopping and Tom’s peculiar ability to know exactly what you desire. Tom never says no, even when giving grieving parents the chance to see what the lives of their lost children may have looked like.

But where do you draw the line . . . and what happens when the fantasy Tom sees on-screen starts to bleed into his real life?

 

A huge thanks goes out to the publishers without whom we could not offer such great reads. Allen and Unwin, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Simon and 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.

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4 thoughts on “Book Club Reads for April 2018

  1. WOW – incredible thinking with a few jumping out saying YES PLEASE!! I’m glad I don’t need to make any selections for the super lucky Book Club members!

    I haven’t got used to it being 2018 yet, let alone nearly April.

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