Our February Book of the Month - The Mouseproof Kitchen, the first novel from acclaimed war reporter and documentary maker Saira Shah.
"A touchingly funny, bittersweet first novel", according to Red magazine, it follows the story of chef Anna, who knows that if you want something really badly, you have to plan it.
Anna knows that to make a béchamel sauce, you need the right ingredients in the right quantities, at the right time. So when she gets pregnant, she plans a perfect new life in Provence for her perfect new baby.
But Anna and her husband Tobias are plunged into every new parent’s nightmare, as they learn that their daughter Freya has been born with profound mental and physical disabilities.
Tobias, who loves all humankind, says he can’t love this child. Anna too has grave doubts, but she’s physically unable to let go of her baby.
So she manages to persuade him to carry on with their move to France and take Freya along, just until she can bear to give her up.
Saira Shah's previous work includes the films 'Beneath the Veil' and 'Death in Gaza'. Her daughter, Ailsa, has severe cerebral palsy.
"Anarchically life-affirming... Shah writes with sensuous passion" New York Times
"Heartfelt and funny and beautiful. A great meditation on motherhood and marriage that leaves you thinking about all the issues involved for a long time afterwards" Viv Groskop, Red
"A funny and poignant read" Sunday Mirror