Book Club Reads March 2019

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February has kicked me and my productivity to the curb. All my great aspirations have been left by the wayside and now it’s almost March. My to review pile is growing as I find snatches of time to read but not review.

What I have managed to find time for is acquiring some amazing titles for our members to read and review in March, and because the clock is ticking here they are…


After the Party – Cassie Hamer
HQ Fiction – Contemporary Fiction

Be careful what you wish for…

Lisa Wheeldon has a lovely life. Wife to a gorgeous husband, Scott, and a devoted mother to two small daughters, the former accountant has everything she wants – except a third child. But the universe has a strange way of providing.

On the surface, Ava’s fifth birthday party seems the ideal opportunity for Lisa to meet her daughter’s new kindergarten friends – all 32 of them! But from beginning to end, the day is a complete nightmare, capped off by the discovery of a little girl hiding in the Wheeldon’s backyard. At first, Lisa reasons that Ellie’s mum is running late. But when they open a gift from the mysterious little girl, it becomes clear her mother has no intention of returning at all…

What sort of mother abandons her child? And why has she chosen the Wheeldons?

Together, Lisa and her sister Jamie launch their own efforts to find the missing mum, a journey that will force Lisa to face her past, Jamie to confront her future and see both embroiled with angry exes, pragmatic fortune-tellers, Russian mobsters and a hyena pack of yummy mummies.

A journey that will force Lisa to rethink all she knows about being a good mother.

Home Fires – Fiona Lowe
HQ Fiction – Contemporary Fiction

When a lethal bushfire tore through Myrtle, nestled in Victoria’s breathtaking Otway Ranges, the town’s buildings – and the lives of its residents – were left as smouldering ash. For three women in particular, the fire fractured their lives and their relationships.

Eighteen months later, with the flurry of national attention long past, Myrtle stands restored, shiny and new. But is the outside polish just a veneer? Community stalwart Julie thinks tourism could bring back some financial stability to their little corner of the world and soon prods Claire, Bec and Sophie into joining her group. But the scar tissue of trauma runs deep, and as each woman exposes her secrets and faces the damage that day wrought, a shocking truth will emerge that will shake the town to its newly rebuilt foundations…

I Thought I Knew You – Penny Hancock
Pan Macmillan – Contemporary Fiction

Jules and Holly have been best friends since university. They tell each other everything – trading revelations and confessions, and sharing both the big moments and the small details of their lives: Holly is the only person who knows about Jules’ affair; Jules was there for Holly when her husband died. And their two children – just four years apart – have grown up together.

So when Jules’ daughter Saffie accuses Holly’s son of a terrible crime, neither woman can possibly be prepared for what this means – for their families or their friendship.
Especially as Holly refuses to believe her son is guilty.

For fans of He Said, She Said and Anatomy of a Scandal, Penny Hancock’s I Thought I Knew You is about secrets and lies – and whose side you take when it really matters.

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife – Karen Brooks
HQ Fiction – Historical Fiction

Damnation has never been so sweet…

When Rosamund Tomkins enters the world she is so different, with her darkling eyes and strange laughter, that the midwives are afraid, believing her a changeling. But Rosamund’s life is set to be anything but enchanted…

Born into poverty, brutalised and ignored by her family, it is only when she is married off to a nobleman that her life undergoes a wondrous transformation, as he recognises that Rosamund infuses magic she does not know she possesses into everything she touches.

Clever, quick and irrepressible, Rosamund soon becomes the darling of the haute ton, and presides over her luxurious chocolate house where the rich go to be seen and indulge in their favourite pastime, drinking the sweet and heady drink to which they’ve become oddly addicted.

But Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve and will be forced to make a choice: walk away from all she knows and has grown to love with her soul intact, or make a deal with the devil?

The Dysasters – P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Pan Macmillan – Young Adult Fantasy

Adoptive daughter of a gifted scientist, Foster Stewart doesn’t live a ‘normal’ life, (not that she’d want to). But controlling cloud formations and seeing airwaves aren’t things most eighteen-year-olds can do.

Small town star quarterback and quintessential dreamy boy next door, Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor has never thought about his “extra” abilities. Sure, his night vision comes in handy during games, but who wouldn’t want that extra edge?

From the moment Foster and Tate collide, their worlds spiral and a deadly tornado forces them to work together, fully awakening their not-so-natural ability – the power to control air.

As they each deal with the tragic loss of loved ones, they’re caught by another devastating discovery – they are the first in a group of teens genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements, and worse… they’re being hunted.

Now, Foster and Tate must fight to control their abilities as they learn of their past, how they came to be, who’s following them, and what tomorrow will bring…

The Lost Night – Andrea Bartz
Simon & Schuster – Thriller

The feeling of dread when you can’t remember what you did last night is taken a terrifying step further

Edie was once the shining star in her 20-something circle in New York’s coolest neighbourhood. Like Andy Warhol’s muse, the seductive, beguiling and mercurial party girl had the social world in her thrall. Every girl wanted to be Edie, every boy wanted her, and she and her clique treated their slice of the city like a playground.

When Edie committed suicide at the end of a long, drunken night, no one could quite believe it. An overwhelming mix of grief, shock and resentment drove each of her ‘devoted’ friends into their own corner and, for years, that’s where they stayed.

Ten years later a chilling chance reunion forces Edie’s best friend to wonder if there was more to her death
. When a deeply unsettling video from that wild and terrible, hazy night emerges she starts to wonder if Edie was actually murdered – and, worse, if she herself was involved.

As Lindsay turns detective on her own life, revisiting events everyone would rather forget and interrogating her own fractured memory, she is forced to confront the demons of her past. In a shocking twist, the truth emerges of what really happened that night …

The Runaway Daughter – Joanna Rees
Pan Macmillan -Historical Fiction

It’s 1926 and Anna Darton is on the run from a terrible crime she was forced into committing. Alone and scared in London, salvation comes in the form of Nancy, a sassy American dancer at the notorious nightclub, The Zip. Re-inventing herself as Vita Casey, Anna becomes part of the line-up and is thrown into a hedonistic world of dancing, parties, flapper girls and fashion.

When she meets the dashing Archie Fenwick, Vita buries her guilty conscience and she believes him when he says he will love her no matter what. But unbeknown to Vita, her secret past is fast catching up on her, and when the people closest to her start getting hurt, she is forced to confront her past or risk losing everything she holds dear.

The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees is the first novel in a sweeping historical trilogy.

The Woman from Saint Germain – J.R. Lonie
Simon & Schuster – Historical Fiction

She is a celebrated writer stranded in Paris after her French lover is killed fighting the German invasion. He is an enigmatic foreigner with a dangerous secret, fleeing Nazi-controlled Austria. Only the war could bring them together.

Armed with a precious first edition of Finnegans Wake and an even more precious stash of Chesterfield cigarettes to barter with, Eleanor Gorton Clarke joins the sea of refugees escaping the city for the Spanish frontier. But when a stranger kills two German soldiers to save her life, Eleanor is forced on the run with her mysterious rescuer, pursued by a vengeful detective from the Wehrmacht.

Two strangers from vastly different worlds, the unlikely pair despise each other at first. But as the ruthless hunt for the two fugitives escalates and they are forced to become allies to survive, a powerful attraction erupts between them.

As their relentless German pursuer begins to close the net, a heartbreaking discovery forces the great romantic novelist to experience something she was supposed to know all about – the true nature of love.

A huge thanks goes out to the publishers without whom we could not offer such great reads. Harlequin, Harper Collins, 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.

If you like the look of these books and want to purchase your own copies they are available at Angus & Robertson, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

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