What Library Staff are Reading – JULY

Blue Mountains Library wishes you all happy reading, watching and listening in July.

It’s been a while since we had a What Library staff are reading – April.  As we entered the COVID-19 lockdown I found I was unable to read – not something I remember ever happening to me before.  I have read through all sorts of upheaval and trauma – university exams, infant children, bushfires and cancer.  COVID-19 hit just as I’d picked up the long-awaited last book in the Wolf Hall trilogy arrived in the bookshops.  Even Hilary Mantel’s fabulous writing couldn’t get me hooked and the book sat on my bedside chair for a long time.

What I did find comfort in was a series on SBS OnDemand which I fell over.  Called The Last Man on Earth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Man_on_Earth_(TV_series), it is about a man who is the last survivor of a virus that has swept the earth!!!  Bit close to the bone?  Yes.  And very very funny.  5 stars

The book that got me reading again was She said: breaking the sexual harassment story that helped ignite a movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.  This is the story of how the authors, reporters for the New York Times, exposed the sex crimes of Harvey Weinstein and kick-started teh #MeToo movement.  They detail the difficulties of getting the women involved – they have all been thoroughly intimidated by the Weinstein machine – the lawyers and companies that hid his behaviour.  It details the sacrifices and risks these women face.  4 stars

Shuggie Bain by Stuart Douglas – this is about a young boy, Hugh ‘Shuggie’ Bain.  Shuggie’s family is poor, his father has left them for another woman, his older sister has left home as soon as she could, his brother is mostly absent and young Shuggie is left trying to look after his alcoholic mother. The story is set mostly in a mining community in the 1980s after the mines have shut.  My father’s home village in Scotland is such a village so I could see exactly what it would look like in my mind’s eye; this might be more difficult for Australian readers.  It is a grim story but beautifully told and there is an absolutely hilarious few pages where Shuggie’s Mum, for once on the wagon and in a job, feeds a taxi driver a loaf of bread through the slot of a security screen slice by slice because he didn’t want his loaf squashed. 4.5 stars

Bury them deep by James Oswald.  This is the latest in the Inspector Tony McLean series set in Edinburgh. Gritty detective stories, always with a whiff of the occult, this was an easy, engaging read. 4 stars

The lost lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford.  The title caught my eye and I thought, ‘if it’s about St Kilda, Melbourne, it’s going back on the shelf, if it’s about St Kilda, Scotland, it’s coming home.  Place is one of my reading doorways and I have long been fascinated by the romantic story of St Kilda, the island in the Atlantic which was evacuated at the islanders request in 1930 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Kilda,_Scotland.  This book is a romance (not my usual thing). It’s a beautiful, lyrical read where St Kilda is as much a character as Chrissie and Archie the lovers.  I was transported to a wild, dangerous land and loved it.  4 stars

I followed The Lost lights with The life and death of St Kilda by Tom Steel, a book I have had on my shelf for many years and have read several times.  This is the true history of St Kilda, written by a great Scots historian. 4 stars

So did I get The mirror and the light by Hilary Mantel read?  Yes.  She’s done it again!  Fingers crossed for a third Booker Prize for Hilary.  The book starts with Thomas Cromwell turning away from the bloody, headless corpse of Anne Boleyn to go off to breakfast.  The cruelty of the age fills the pages, as does the danger of keeping your head in the face of an increasingly mercurial, tyrannical king.  Cromwell’s fall comes in a very few pages,  echoing perfectly how swift, sudden and shocking it was for the man himself.  5 stars

The world that we knew – by Alice Hoffman is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’ve also been very absorbed by the series Un village Francais. I watched series 1 on Beamafilm and LOVED it, so now I’m watching the rest on DVD. And Mythos by Stephen Fry was also highly entertaining on Borrowbox. I’m giving 5 stars to all three!

I’ve been reading my way through the series Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir.  So far I’ve read the first 4 and am on the waiting list for part 5.  They were a nice read during the initial stress of the COVID outbreak and subsequent restrictions.  I hope the author has been using her lockdown time in the UK to write the final book of the series!!!!  4/5

Sorry for the Dead (BorrowBox) by Nicola Upson is the 8th in her historical detective series starring the author Josephine Tey. I enjoy this series as it includes historical information about the period between the wars and also an imagined life of Josephine Tey based of course on her real life. I was inspired to read some of Josephine Tey’s work after reading these books so that was also a fun crossover. This book I found quite compelling and interesting though maybe some aspects were a little far-fetched, even so I was carried along with the storyline and trying to work out who most likely ‘done it’. 3/5

I read Fallen in to the Pit (BorrowBox)  by Ellis Peters because I enjoy her Cadfael medieval monk detective series. This one is the first of a series The Felse Investigations set in the English countryside soon after the Second World War. It has an interesting focus on the teenage son of the local police detective who fancies himself a bit of an investigator too. This took me a little while to get in to but once I allowed myself to be lulled in to the quite flowery language and detailed descriptions of people’s thoughts, motivations, actions and surroundings I was carried along all the way to the end. 3/5

Next on my BorrowBox reading list are a couple of more literary titles and then I might go back for Felse number two!”

I have just finished A Secret Life by Christobel Kent.  A psychological thriller that had me guessing to the end trying to work out who did what to whom and why.  Set in London so I like the backdrop. 3 stars

Mobitecture : architecture on the move by Rebecca Roke – I love tiny buildings, and these completely mobile shelters are fabulous. Some are real, some are conceptual, some are pure art. Stick a sleeping bag on the back of a bike, hoist an umbrella and voila! I think I may have been a snail in a previous life… 4/5

Handmade houseplants : remarkably realistic plants you can make with paper by Corrie Hogg – everyone needs a winter craft project, surely. Chop a tree down, turn it in to paper, and then shape it back into a plant! 3/5

Salvation By Peter Hamilton – I have just started this Sci-Fi novel. Warp gates? Check. Multiple timelines? Check. Aliens? Check. I am hoping  this will cure my reading drought. TBA

What do our scores mean?

1 star – I hated it / Don’t bother / It felt more like homework than reading for pleasure
2 stars – I didn’t like it / Not for me but worth trying / This book needed something different to make me like it
3 stars – I liked it / Recommended / This book was good. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad.
4 stars – I really liked it / One of the best books I’ve read this year / I’m glad I read it
5 stars – I loved it / One of the best books I’ve ever read / I will probably read it again

 

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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – July

Best Read: The Cry of the Firebird by T.M. Clark

Consultant with the World Health Organisation, South African born Doctor Lily Winters has been in the thick of some of the worst humanitarian disasters across the globe. But when she’s posted back to South Africa following the suspicious death of an ex-colleague, she faces the biggest medical mystery she’s ever seen. The resettled Platfontein San People population is exhibiting a higher than average HIV epidemic, and their people are dying. The cases Lily takes over are baffling and despite her best efforts, the medicine doesn’t seem to be helping. To save this unique community, Lily and a policeman from the Kalahari, Piet Kleinman, join forces to trace the origins of the epidemic and uncover the truth. Their search drags them into the dangerous world of a corrupt industry driven by profit while the authorities meant to protect their community turn a blind eye. In a race against time Lily and Piet will put not only their careers but their lives on the line..

Crime: Perfect Kill by Helen Fields

Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart knows that his chances of being found alive are slim. Drugged and kidnapped from his Edinburgh home, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container – but what Bart doesn’t know is that he’s now heading for France where is unspeakable fate is already sealed…

Australian Author: Sunshine by Kim Kelly

A tale of longing, loss and growing love under the bright Australian sun. It’s 1921 and the Great War has left in its wake untold tragedy, not only in lives lost, but in the guilt of survivors, the deep-set scars of old wounds and the sting of redoubled bigotries. In the tiny hamlet of Sunshine, on the far-flung desert’s edge, three very different ex-servicemen – Jack Bell, an Aboriginal horseman; Snow McGlynn, a laconic, curmudgeonly farmer; and Art Lovelee, an eccentric engineer – find themselves sharing a finger of farmland along the Darling River, and not much else. That is, until Art’s wife Grace, a battle-hardened nurse, gets to work on them all with her no-nonsense wisdom. Sunshine is a very Australian tale of home, hope and healing, of the power of growing life and love, and discovering that we are each other’s greatest gifts.

General: The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own… An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I. 1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search. Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother. And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

Thriller: The Lying Room by Nikki French

A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger. She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust? A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things. Could she be a murderer?

Thriller: Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great, isn’t it? After years together, the arrival of a longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three. And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again…

Saga/Romance: The Diamond Hunter by Fiona McIntosh

When six-year-old Clementine Knight loses her mother to malaria during the 1870s diamond rush in southern Africa, she is left to be raised by her destitute, alcoholic father, James. Much of Clementine’s care falls to their trusty Zulu companion, Joseph One-Shoe, and the unlikely pair form an unbreakable bond. When the two men uncover a large, flawless diamond, James believes he has finally secured their future, but the discovery of the priceless gem comes at a huge cost. A dark bargain is struck to do whatever it takes to return Clementine to a respectable life at the Grant family’s sprawling estate in northern England – while the diamond disappears.

Years on, Clementine overhears talk of a paragon diamond coming onto the market. Long-buried memories of her childhood in Africa and her beloved Joseph One-Shoe are triggered, as she questions who she can trust. To solve the mystery of what happened to her loved ones all those years ago, she must confront a painful history and finally bring justice to bear.

eAudio 

The Long Call by Ann Cleeves [BorrowBox]

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose. A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi [BorrowBox]

Escaping from an arranged and abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her 1950s rural village to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist—and confidante—most in demand to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

 

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor [RBdigital]

From the bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home and The Girl From The Savoy comes a novel inspired by the extraordinary story of a remarkable young woman. 1838: When a terrible storm blows up off the Northumberland coast, Grace Darling, the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, knows there is little chance of survival for the passengers on the small ship battling the waves. But her actions set in motion an incredible feat of bravery that echoes down the century… 1938: When nineteen-year-old Matilda Emmerson sails from across the Atlantic to New England, she faces an uncertain future. Sent away in disgrace, she must stay with her reclusive relative, Harriet Flaherty, a lighthouse keeper on Rhode Island. Once there, Matilda discovers a discarded portrait that opens a window on to a secret that will change her life forever.

eBooks

The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks [BorrowBox]

1703: The wild east coast of Scotland.
Returning to her home town of Pittenweem, fishwife and widow Sorcha McIntyre knows she faces both censure and mistrust. After all, this is a country where myth and legend are woven into the fabric of the everyday, a time when those who defy custom like Sorcha has are called to account.

It is dangerous to be a clever woman who ‘doesn’t know her place’ in Pittenweem – a town rife with superstition. So, when a young local falls victim to witchcraft, the Reverend Cowper and the townsfolk know who to blame. What follows for Sorcha and her friends is a terrifying battle, not only for their souls, but for their lives, as they are pitted against the villagers’ fear, a malevolent man and the might of the church.

Based on the shocking true story of the witch hunt of Pittenweem, this multi-layered novel is a beautifully written historical tale of the strength of women united against a common foe, by one of Australia’s finest writers.

The Gilded Cage by Camilla Lackberg [BorrowBox]

People would kill to have Faye Adelheim’s life. She lives in an ultra-swanky apartment in the most exclusive area of Stockholm, she has a gorgeous husband who gives her everything she’s ever wanted, and she has an adorable daughter who lights up her world. Faye’s life is perfect.

So how is it, then, that she now finds herself in a police station?

The truth is that Faye’s life is far from what it seems. The truth is that Faye isn’t even her real name. And now she’s been caught out. There’s no way she’s going to go down without a fight. The only question is – who will escape with their life?

 

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Miles Franklin Shortlist 2020

The Miles Franklin shortlist has been announced, and you can find all of these titles at Blue Mountains Library. Learn all about the awards here. The winner will be announced on 16 July 2020. Don’t forget to check BorrowBox for all of the eBooks and RBdigital for some of the eAudio titles.

  • THE WHITE GIRL by Tony Birch: This novel describes the journey of Odette and her 13-year-old granddaughter Sissy as they struggle to stay together when the authorities are determined to break them apart. The story is not given to sentimentality; instead it is a celebration of Aboriginal resilience and kinship in response to trauma. It demands that Australia addresses this savage past.
  • ISLANDS by Peggy Frew: This poetic novel maps the disintegration of a nuclear family, set against the backdrop of both Phillip Island and Melbourne suburbia. Frew takes great narrative risks to explore the generational repercussions of loss and trauma through a fractured, multi-perspectival account in which time becomes fluid, truths are radically subjective, and absence is always a wounding presence.
  • NO ONE by John Hughes: Part crime novel, part road movie, part love story, No One takes us to the heart of contemporary Australia’s festering relationship with its Indigenous past, and the long tail of the legacies of institutional care. What emerges is a portrait of being Australian that entails the necessity of listening to the relentless rumbles of traumatic histories.
  • THE RETURNS by Philip Salom: A celebration of the humble and unsung, this playful novel is grounded in a specific North Melbourne locale. Trevor and Elizabeth might be called, disparagingly, ordinary middle-aged people. Really, they are just in the middle of living, with all the everyday concerns that implies. The characters’ failings and small triumphs are observed with empathy and compassion.
  • EXPLODED VIEW by Carrie Tiffany: Set in Perth’s outer suburbs in the 1970s, this novel is narrated by an unnamed adolescent girl who has chosen not to speak. It charts the dissociative, watchful and knowing thoughts of someone traumatised by familial neglect and sexual abuse. Tiffany interrogates power and gender, gives voice to voicelessness and masterfully tells a tale that must never again be unheard.
  • THE YIELD by Tara June Winch: Through the voices of three narrators, this novel explores the gap between white and Indigenous cultures as well as the intersections between the contemporary and the colonial. It illustrates how Indigenous history carries forward pain and sorrow yet also allows compassion, resilience, dignity, humour and humanity to flourish.
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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – June

Best Read:  The Whisper Man by Alex North

If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken. Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past. 15 years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’. Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely. He says he hears a whispering at his window.

Crime: Someone We Know by Shari Larpena

It’s a quiet suburb in upstate New York, until anonymous letters start to arrive. “My son broke into your home recently while you were out.” Into their homes, and into their computers as well. Learning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too. When a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

Australian Author: White Sands of Summer by J.H.Fletcher

No-one thought barmaid Shannon Harcourt stood a chance with Hal Maitland, heir to the vast Maitland fortune. Yet their unlikely relationship flourishes until, one summer’s day on the white sands of Charles Green Island, they realise their true feelings for each other – feelings that must motivate them to survive the coming war. Forty years on, Shannon, a successful businesswoman and younger sister Jess, an accomplished chef, have left their days of poverty far behind. Shannon now has her sights set on purchasing the island where her young love began. But when reclusive businessman, Dermot Black, becomes acquainted with Jess and shows interest in Charles Green, Shannon is wary of his motives. What could Black possibly want with the island, and why is he so interested in the Harcourt sisters?

General: Wearing Paper Dresses by Anne Brinsden

You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things. But Elise wasn’t from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.Elise, a beautiful and artistic, if slightly brittle, city girl is rudely transplanted to the undulating, unforgiving plains of the Mallee when her husband is called home to save the family property. Poor Elise struggles with the rural life: Bill works all day in the back paddock and her father-in-law is openly hostile to his son’s unsatisfactory wife. She tries desperately to become part of the community but her meringues don’t satisfy the shearers, her spontaneous renditions of opera are thought frankly strange, and the drought kills everything in her garden, save the geraniums she despises. And as their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. And when their family’s fragile peace is finally shattered by Elise’s spiralling madness, Marjorie flees to the city leaving her family behind her. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can’t forget… This is a story of mothers and daughters, a saga of two generations of women on the land. It is enthralling, tragic, romantic.

Thriller: The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

For a while, it seemed like both Taylor sisters had found happiness. Chloe landed a coveted publishing job in New York City. Nicky got married to a promising young attorney named Adam McIntosh and became a mother to a baby boy named Ethan. But now, fourteen years later, it is Chloe who is married to Adam. When he is murdered at the couple’s beach house, she has no choice but to welcome her estranged sister – her teenage stepson’s biological mother – back into her life. When the police begin to treat Ethan as a suspect, the sisters are forced to confront the truth behind family secrets they both tried to leave behind in order to protect the boy they love, whatever the cost.

Thriller: Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has, than anyone ever will. You go into your son’s bedroom. It’s the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates, pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away. That’s when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn’t seem real. And you realize a horrifying truth… Your own son might be dangerous.

Saga/Romance: The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair

When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams – until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project – and her heart – at risk. Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

eAudio 

Half Moon Lake by Kristen Alexander [BorrowBox]

In 1913, on a summer’s day at Half Moon Lake, Louisiana, four-year-old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and never returns.

The boy’s mysterious disappearance from the family’s lake house makes front-page news in their home town of Opelousas. John Henry and Mary Davenport are wealthy and influential, and will do anything to find their son. For two years, the Davenports search across the South, offer increasingly large rewards and struggle not to give in to despair.

Then, at the moment when all hope seems lost, the boy is found in the company of a tramp.

But is he truly Sonny Davenport? The circumstances of his discovery raise more questions than answers. And when Grace Mill, an unwed farm worker, travels from Alabama to lay claim to the child, newspapers, townsfolk, even the Davenports’ own friends, take sides.

As the tramp’s kidnapping trial begins, and two desperate mothers fight for ownership of the boy, the people of Opelousas discover that truth is more complicated than they’d ever dreamed . . .

Room for a Stranger by Melanie Chung [RBDigital]

By the winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. Since her sister died, Meg has been on her own. She doesn’t mind, not really — not with Atticus, her African grey parrot, to keep her company — but after her house is broken into by a knife-wielding intruder, she decides it might be good to have some company after all. Andy’s father has lost his job, and his parents’ savings are barely enough to cover his tuition. If he wants to graduate, he’ll have to give up his student flat and find a homeshare. Living with an elderly Australian woman is harder than he’d expected, though, and soon he’s struggling with more than his studies.

eBooks

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman [BorrowBox]

In 1913, on a summer’s day at Half Moon Lake, Louisiana, four-year-old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and never returns.

The boy’s mysterious disappearance from the family’s lake house makes front-page news in their home town of Opelousas. John Henry and Mary Davenport are wealthy and influential, and will do anything to find their son. For two years, the Davenports search across the South, offer increasingly large rewards and struggle not to give in to despair.

Then, at the moment when all hope seems lost, the boy is found in the company of a tramp.

But is he truly Sonny Davenport? The circumstances of his discovery raise more questions than answers. And when Grace Mill, an unwed farm worker, travels from Alabama to lay claim to the child, newspapers, townsfolk, even the Davenports’ own friends, take sides.

As the tramp’s kidnapping trial begins, and two desperate mothers fight for ownership of the boy, the people of Opelousas discover that truth is more complicated than they’d ever dreamed . . .

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth [BorrowBox]

The bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives delivers her most powerful novel yet.

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a team of two all their lives. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, they’ve never needed anyone else – until Alice gets sick.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two near-strangers: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, her social worker. As the lives of the three women become inextricably tied, a chain of events is set into motion, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and secrets.

Imbued with heart and humour in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the strength of a mother’s love.

 

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Good Reading Magazine – JUNE 2020

The June issue of Good Reading magazine is ready for you to enjoy through Blue Mountains Library!

 

This Month

Jack McEvoy returns in Michael Connelly’s Fair Warning. This time Jack is facing a criminal mind unlike any he has faced before. After Jack’s one-night stand is brutally murdered he begins a risky investigation into the murder and the person behind it, connecting it to a series of deaths across the country. But Jack also has to clear his own name after being named as a suspect. In our article, Michael Connelly delves into the changing face of the world he called home before becoming one of the world’s greatest mystery novelists.

Nerve by Eva Holland tells the story of her journey into the world of phobias, answering the deep questions: Why do we feel fear? Is there a cure to fear? She meets with scientists working on a single pill to cure fears and individuals who don’t feel fear due to a rare disease. Holland also confronts her own fears on this journey, spurred by the unexpected loss of her mother.
‘Fear is your body telling you to stay alive … once you clear the depths of overreactions you can learn to trust the reactions that are true and rational.’

In The Cake Maker’s Wish single mum Olivia and son Darcy have just moved from Tasmania to the English Cotswolds for a new start. The Renaissance Project in their new town plans to bring the community back to life, bringing in migrants from around the world and sparking the economy. For Olivia, it means Darcy can finally meet his father. It might also be an opportunity for romance to spark for the first time in seven years. ‘Food gives me a focal point … the setting and food come before the characters or even the plot.’

You can borrow Good Reading from the library or access the digital subscription right here, right now, with your library card.

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Carolyn’s Books of the Month – May

 

The digital edition!

Here are some of Carolyn’s top picks for May.

eBooks on BorrowBox

The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning

In the summer of 1912, a workman’s pickaxe strikes through the basement floor of an old tenement house in Cheapside, London, uncovering a cache of unimaginably valuable treasure that quickly disappears again.

Present day. When respected jewellery historian, Kate Kirby, receives a call about the Cheapside jewels, she knows she’s on the brink of the experience of a lifetime.

As Kate peels back the layers of London’s stories of plague, fire and political turmoil, she is forced to explore long-buried family secrets. Secrets concerning Essie, her great-grandmother, and her life in Edwardian London. Soon, Kate’s past and present threaten to collide and the truths about her family lie waiting to be revealed.

Inspired by a true story, The Lost Jewels unfolds an incredible story of mystery, thievery, sacrifice and hope through the generations of one family.

Sheer Water by Leah Swann

Ava and her two young sons, Max and Teddy, are driving to their new home in Sheerwater, hopeful of making a fresh start in a new town, although Ava can’t but help keep looking over her shoulder. They’re almost at their destination when they witness a shocking accident – a light plane crashing in the field next to the road. Ava stops to help, but when she gets back to the car, she realises that somewhere, amongst the smoke, fire and confusion, her sons have gone missing.
For readers of Mark Brandi’s Wimmera, Stephanie Bishop’s The Other Side of the World and Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident, this is a beautifully written, propulsive, tense, gut-wrenching and unputdownable novel that grips the reader from its powerful opening chapter to its devastating, gasp-out-loud, nail-biting conclusion. This is an aching, powerful story from a substantial new Australian writing talent of the insidiousness of domestic abuse and the heroic acts we are capable of in the name of love.

Torched by Kimberley Starr

A small Yarra Valley town has been devastated by a bushfire, and Reefton Primary School principal Phoebe Warton can’t sleep. She’s the single mother of eighteen-year-old Caleb who is accused of starting the fire – on purpose. Twelve people are dead, students from her school among them; only a monster would cause such carnage. But where was her son that day? No one knows but Caleb, and he’s not talking.

Against mounting community rage, Phoebe sets out to clear her son. But every avenue leads back to Caleb. Why did he vanish from his Country Fire Authority shift? Who else was at the abandoned goldmine that day? Why is Caleb refusing to speak?

Phoebe will be forced to confront the nature of guilt and redemption, and decide what boundaries she is willing to cross to save the son she loves.

Torched is an explosive, haunting and compelling crime novel about mothers and sons and the ties that bind them.

eAudio on BorrowBox

 The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

Some lines should never be crossed.

Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter, Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie 

This is a memoir about a dysfunctional family, about a mother and her daughters. But make no mistake. This is like no mother-daughter relationship you know.

When Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s elderly mother is hospitalised unexpectedly, Vicki and her sister travel to their parents’ isolated ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help their father. Estranged from their parents for many years, Vicki and her sister are horrified by what they discover on their arrival. For years, Vicki’s mother has camouflaged her manic delusions and savage unpredictability, and over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world, systematically starving him and making him a virtual prisoner in his own home. Vicki and her sister have a lot to do, in very little time, to save their father. And at every step they have to contend with their mother, whose favourite phrase during their childhood was: ‘I’ll get you and you won’t even know I’m doing it.’

A ferocious, sharp, darkly funny and wholly compelling memoir of families, the pain they can inflict and the legacy they leave, The Erratics has the tightly coiled, compressed energy of an explosive device – it will take your breath away.

eAudio on RBDigital

The White Girl by Tony Birch

A searing new novel from leading Indigenous storyteller Tony Birch that explores the lengths we will go to in order to save the people we love. Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves. In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.

The Note through the Wire by Doug Gold

A WWII prisoner of war, a resistance heroine and their incredible true story. In the heart of Nazi-occupied Europe, two people meet fleetingly in a chance encounter. Josefine Lobnik is a Yugoslav underground resistance fighter; Bruce Murray a New Zealand soldier and prisoner of war. A crumpled note passes between these two strangers and sets them on a course that will change their lives forever. This is an extraordinary true account of two ordinary people living through the unimaginable hardship of Hitler’s barbaric regime. Woven through their tales of near-impossible coincidences, great bravery, daring escapes, betrayal, torture and retaliation is their remarkable love story that survived against all odds. “An unforgettable love story set in perilous circumstances. It is a reminder that even in the most horrific times love will find a way and ultimately conquer. I can’t recommend it enough.” HEATHER MORRIS, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

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