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French Braid, by Anne Tyler
When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone determines not to notice. Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won't allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond. Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts' family life over the decades, from giving a child a ride to a painstaking Easter lunch, a fateful train journey to an unexpected homecoming. And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It's the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.
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The Bullet That Missed, by Richard Osman
It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A local news legend is on the hunt for a sensational headline, and soon the gang are hot on the trail of two murders, ten years apart. To make matters worse, a new nemesis pays Elizabeth a visit, presenting her with a deadly mission: kill or be killed. While Elizabeth grapples with her conscience (and a gun), the gang and their unlikely new friends (including TV stars, money launderers and ex-KGB colonels) unravel a new mystery. But can they catch the culprit and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?
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The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, by Shehan Karunatilaka
Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.
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On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons, by Laura Cumming
In the autumn of 1929, a small child was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach. Five agonising days went by before she was found in a nearby village. The child remembered nothing of these events and nobody ever spoke of them. It was another 50 years before she even learned of the kidnap. The girl became an artist and had a daughter, art writer Laura Cumming. Cumming grew up enthralled by her mother's strange tales of life in a seaside hamlet of the 1930s, and of the secrets and lies perpetuated by a whole community. Cumming began investigating with a few criss-crossing lives in this fraction of English coast - the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker - but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach - including her own. 'On Chapel Sands' is a book of mystery and memoir.
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Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu: August, 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over - especially as the offspring of the legendary singer, Mick Riva. The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the centre of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud - because it is long past time to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.
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Love Marriage, by Monica Ali
Yasmin Ghorami has a lot to be grateful for: a loving family, a fledgling career in medicine, and a charming, handsome fiancé, fellow doctor Joe Sangster. But as the wedding day draws closer and Yasmin's parents get to know Joe's firebrand feminist mother, both families must confront the unravelling of long-held secrets, lies and betrayals. As Yasmin dismantles her own assumptions about the people she holds most dear, she's also forced to ask herself what she really wants in a relationship and what a 'love marriage' actually means.
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The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak
1974, on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret, hidden beneath the blackened beams from which hang garlands of garlic, chilli peppers and wild herbs. This is where one can find the best food in town, the best music, the best wine. But there is something else to the place: it makes one forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its immoderate sorrows. In 'The Island of Missing Trees', prizewinning author Elif Shafak brings us a rich, magical tale of belonging and identity, love and trauma, memory and amnesia, human-induced destruction of nature, and, finally, renewal.
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The Lamplighters, by Emma Stonex
A heart-stopping novel inspired by true events, 'The Lamplighters' is the story of three men who vanish from a remote lighthouse. The entrance door is locked from the inside, the clocks have all stopped and the table is set for dinner. Twenty years later, the mystery of their disappearance still haunts the heartbroken women left behind. The sea has kept its secrets, until now.
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Little Wing, by Freya North
UK, 1969. Florence Lawson, a 16-year-old girl who dreams of being an artist, finds herself pregnant and banished to one of the most remote parts of the UK. 1986. Dougie Munro, searching for adventure, leaves the Isle of Harris - the island of his birth - for art college and a career in London as a photographer. 2004. Nell Hartley, content with her life in Colchester managing a care-in-the-community cafe, discovers a shocking truth about her family. Between the sprawl of London, suburban Essex, and the wild, unpredictable Outer Hebrides, three lives collide and interweave as questions are asked and secrets surface. What happened to Florence? Why is Dougie now so reluctant to return home? How can Nell make peace with the lies she's been told? A novel about resilience, forgiveness and the true meaning of family, about finding one's place in the world and discovering how we all belong somewhere and to someone.
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A Terrible Kindness, by Jo Browning-Wroe
Tonight nineteen-year-old William Lavery is dressed for success, his first black-tie do. It's the Midlands Chapter of the Institute of Embalmers Ladies' Night Dinner Dance, and William is taking Gloria in her sequined evening gown. He can barely believe his luck. But as the guests sip their drinks and smoke their post-dinner cigarettes a telegram delivers news of a tragedy. An event so terrible it will shake the nation. It is October 1966 and a landslide has buried an entire school: Aberfan. William decides he must act, so he volunteers to attend. It will be a choice that threatens his own happiness and forces him to think about the little boy he was and the losses he has worked so hard to bury.
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Between the Stops: The View of My Life From the Top of the No. 12 Bus, by Sandi Toksvig
This is Sandi Toksvig's autobiography - part memoir, part diary, part travelogue and history all from the top of a double-decker.
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Last Girl Ghosted, by Lisa Unger
When Wren Greenwood meets a good-looking stranger from a dating app, she expects a casual fling - but they connect immediately. Adam Harper is her perfect match. She falls for him. She confides in him. And then he disappears - his profiles deleted, his phone disconnected, his Manhattan apartment emptied. First, Wren blames herself. Then she hears about the other girls - girls who fell in love with Adam, and are now missing. Wren needs answers, but as she follows the breadcrumb trail Adam left behind, it leads back to her own dark past. Suddenly, she's no longer sure if she's predator or prey. She only knows one thing: whatever it takes, she'll be the last girl he ever ghosts.
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A Tidy Ending, by Joanna Cannon
Linda has lived around here ever since she fled the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is - pushing the Hoover round and cooking fish fingers for tea is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy catalogues coming through the door for the house's previous occupant. Terry isn't perfect - he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard - until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women start to go missing in the neighbourhood. If Linda could just track down Rebecca, who lived in the house before them, maybe some of that perfection would rub off on her. But the grass isn't always greener: you can't change who you really are, and there's something nasty lurking behind the net curtains on Cavendish Avenue.
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A Fatal Inheritance, by Rachel Rhys
1948: An English housewife trapped in a dull marriage escapes to the south of France to claim a mystery inheritance. But rivals to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge and now they want her out of the way.
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