Children - calling adults by first name?
Grandson - counting my blessings
Rabbits - how can I deter them?
Great new books...surely one of the best things about summer (ice cream anyone?) Whether they're for enjoying in the garden, the park, on the beach, on a plane (or hiding from the rain on the sofa - oh the joys of a British summer) we reckon you can't beat a cracking summer read...and here are some of the best, picked out by the people who publish them.
And...you can win the lot - yes, every single book featured on this page. That's around £400 worth of fantastic new reads. Details of how to enter below.
Greatest Hits - Laura Barnett. Alone in her studio, Cass Wheeler is taking a journey back into her past. Daughter. Mother. Singer. Lover. What are the memories that mean the most? The hotly anticipated new novel from the author of bestseller, The Versions of Us.
Tin Man - Sarah Winman. It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things. The unforgettable and achingly tender new novel from Sarah Winman, author of bestsellers When God Was A Rabbit and A Year of Marvellous Ways.
The Child - Fiona Barton. When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore. The bestselling author of 2016’s breakout debut, The Widow, returns with her new dark, unputdownable thriller.
One Little Mistake - Emma Curtis. When Vicky Seagrave makes a split-second decision that risks everything she holds dear, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to. But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . .
The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde - Eve Chase. A girl has vanished and a house remains filled with secrets. The bonds of sisterhood will be tested and an unthinkable choice will leave a long legacy... Step back in time for a richly evocative mystery, where the beauty of a Cotswolds summer is vividly contrasted with the violence which shatters it.
Mama Tandoori - Ernest van der Kwast. Veena van der Kwast is a woman with an iron will and a talent for haggling. When she is armed with her trusty rolling pin, every man she meets is eventually beaten to submission ― especially her husband and three sons. Intriguing, surprising, and moving in equal measure, this novel inspired by a very unusual family will make you smile from beginning to end.
The Durrells of Corfu - Michael Haag. The Durrell family are immortalised in Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals and its ITV adaptation, The Durrells. But what of the real life Durrells? Why did they go to Corfu in the first place - and what happened to them after they left? The real story of the Durrells is as surprising and fascinating as anything in Gerry's books.
Little Sister - Isabel Ashdown. After sixteen years apart sisters Jessica and Emily are reunited. With the past now behind them, the warmth they once shared quickly returns. But when baby Daisy disappears while in Jess's care, the perfect life Emily has so carefully built starts to fall apart. Was Emily right to trust her sister after everything that happened before?
Together - Julie Cohen. On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.
House of Names - Colm Toibin. On the day of his daughter's wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice. His murderous action sets the entire family on a path of intimate violence. House of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal, from the man described as one of our finest living writers.
Sound: Stories of Hearing Lost and Found - Bella Bathurst. In 1997, Bella Bathurst began to go deaf. Within a few months, she had lost half her hearing, and the rest was slipping away. For the next twelve years deafness shaped her life, until, in 2009, everything changed again. Sound draws on this extraordinary experience, exploring what it is like to lose your hearing and - as Bella eventually did - to get it back, and what that teaches you about listening and silence, music and noise.
A Life In The Day - Hunter Davies. Hunter Davies’ childhood lived amongst the post-war dirt and grime of Carlisle was immediately hailed as a classic memoir. In this much-anticipated sequel, he now reflects on his colourful memories of the living in London during the height of the Swinging Sixties, and his years spent with the love of his life – the bestselling writer Margaret Forster.
Did You See Melody? - Sophie Hannah. Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can't afford. She is shocked to find her hotel room already occupied - by a man with a teenage girl who is the most famous murder victim in the country. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
The Lemon Tree Cafe - Cathy Bramley. When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe feels like the perfect way to keep busy. But Rosie is haunted by a terrible secret and discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. When disaster looms can she find a way to save the Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?
Cousins - Salley Vickers. Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, Cousins takes us from the outbreak of World War Two to the present day, exploring the recurrence of tragedy, the nature of transgression, and the limits of morality and love.
The Music Shop - Rachel Joyce. From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all...
The Thousand Lights Hotel - Emylia Hall. When Kit loses her mother in tragic circumstances, she feels drawn to finally connect with the father she has never met. That search brings her to the Thousand Lights Hotel on the island of Elba. Within this idyllic setting a devastating truth is brought to light: shaking the foundations upon which the hotel is built, and shattering the lives of the people within it.
Can You Hear Me? - Elena Varvello. 1978. A small community in Northern Italy. An unbearably hot summer. Elia Furenti is sixteen, living an unremarkable life in a secluded house with his parents. That is until the day the beautiful, damaged Anna returns to town and firmly propels Elia to the edge of adulthood. Then everything starts to unravel.
Miss You - Katie Eberlen. Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven't met properly yet. But one day the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross and over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there's no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly...or is there?
Colour - Marion Deuchars. What makes a colour work? What do colours mean to artists or cultures? Award-winning illustrator Marion Deuchars takes us on a journey through colour, showing how its language is at the centre of how we think and feel about the world. Colour is everywhere. Through this book, we can see it afresh.
Escape to Willow Cottage - Bella Osborne. Beth is running away. Willow Cottage is the lifeline she so desperately needs. Over the course of four seasons, Beth realises that broken hearts can be mended, and sometimes love can be right under your nose…
The Girl Before - JP Delaney. Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime. But after moving in she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there - and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. Emma's past and Jane's present become inexorably entwined in this tense portrayal of psychological obsession.
Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign - Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes. It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the riveting story of a sure thing gone off the rails. Through deep access to insiders, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have reconstructed the key decisions and unseized opportunities, the well-intentioned misfires and the hidden thorns that turned a winnable contest into a devastating loss.
The Girls - Emma Cline. Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s the summer of 1969 and restless, empty days stretch ahead of her. Until she sees them. The girls. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live. Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?
Persons Unknown - Susie Steiner. As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, bleeding from a stab wound. He dies where he falls. DI Manon Bradshaw is horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable. How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?
The Baltimore Boys - Joel Dicker. The day of the tragedy. The end of a brotherhood. The Baltimore Boys. The Goldman Gang. That was what they called Marcus Goldman and his cousins, three brilliant young men with dazzling futures ahead of them, before their kingdom crumbled beneath the weight of lies, jealousy and betrayal. For years, Marcus has struggled with the burdens of his past, but now he must attempt to banish his demons and tell the true and astonishing story of the Baltimore Boys.
Diana: Her True Story In Her Own Words (25th anniversary edition) - Andrew Morton. A reissue of this classic title brought up to date with never-before-published material from the original taped interviews and a new introduction by Andrew Morton.
The Haunting of Henry Twist - Rebecca F. John. London, 1926: Henry Twist's heavily pregnant wife leaves home to meet a friend. On the way, she is hit by a bus and killed, though miraculously the baby survives. Set in a London recovering from the First World War, The Haunting of Henry Twist is a novel about the limits and potential of love and of grief. It is about the lengths we will go to to hold on to what is precious to us, what we will forgive of those we love, and what we will sacrifice for the sake of our own happiness.
Conflicts of Interest - Terry Stiastny. Lawrence Leith has retreated from his once-successful career in TV to mourn the end of his marriage and the loss of his job. Old colleague Martin Elliott is convinced that Lawrence should get back in the game, even if that involves returning to Africa, where it once nearly ended for both of them. A novel about personal betrayal and political double-dealing, about the realities of being in the public eye and how the truth, no matter how hidden, will always out.
Larchfield - Polly Clark. It's early summer when a young poet, Dora Fielding, moves to Helensburgh on the west coast of Scotland and her hopes are first challenged. As the battle begins for her very sense of self, Dora comes to find the realities of small town life suffocating, and, eventually, terrifying; until she finds a way to escape reality altogether.
Nevernight - Jay Kristoff. From New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes a dangerous new fantasy world and a heroine edged in darkness.
The Postcard - Fern Britton. Secrets. Sisters. The summer that changed everything... The new witty and warm novel from the Sunday Times best-selling author and TV presenter, Fern Britton.
Think Less, Learn More - Dr Srini Pillay. Most of us worry about the fact we zone out, daydream and procrastinate - and then chastise ourselves for wasting time. But what if most of that "wasted time" was actually time well spent? As neuroscientist Dr. Srini Pillay reveals, being too focused can be detrimental, and there are many ways to harness and exploit the power of unfocus.
The Dark Flood Rises - Margaret Drabble. Fran may be old but she's not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives restlessly around the country and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. By turns joyous and profound, darkly sardonic and moving, The Dark Flood Rises questions what makes a good life, and a good death.
Simply head to this thread and tell us all about your best summer. All eligible entries will be placed in a large (straw) hat and a winner drawn at random. Normal Gransnet competition terms and conditions apply. Because of the size and weight of the prize box we are only able to deliver it to a mainland UK address. Competition closes at midday on Wednesday 19 June.
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