Books We Loved in February

Books We Loved in February

All Behind You, Winston – Roger Hermiston

On 14 May 1940, the Evening Standard published a cartoon with the caption “All Behind You, Winston”. Roger Hermiston celebrates the men and women who rose above party to make this unity possible and to steer Britain through its darkest hour.

In 1940 a cartoon was printed with the caption “All Behind You, Winston”. Hermiston honours the figures who rose above party to make this unity possible when it was needed most.

The Girl Before – JP Delaney

Described as the latest Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, this enthralling new psychological thriller is a must-have for this year’s reading list.

The story unfolds the lives of Emma, the girl who lived in One Folgate Street before, and Jane the current tenant of the property. Both women thought the property was the rental opportunity of a lifetime, living amongst the beauty and minimalist style of an enigmatic architect, however after moving in, Jane discovers that the previous tenant died a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before.

Silk Roads – Peter Frankopan

The Silk Roads are rising again. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads is a vital account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east.

The Silk Roads are rising again. This is a vital account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east.

Men Like Air – Tom Connolly

Tom Connolly’s dazzling second novel is a funny, turbulent, and heartfelt study of male relationships, and a glorious love letter to the city of New York.It is April in Manhattan and the destinies of four very different men are about to collide. Nineteen-year-old Finn has just arrived in the city with his irrepressible and volatile girlfriend, Dilly, determined to even the score with his older brother Jack for abandoning him in the UK in the aftermath of their parents’ deaths. Across town, successful gallery owner Leo Emerson is haunted by loneliness, unsettled by the contrast between his life and that of his brother-in-law and oldest friend William, who is enviably contented in his faith and his marriage.When Finn wanders into Leo’s gallery, a series of unexpected and interconnected events unfold, changing the lives of all four men, for better or worse. Leo and William’s settled existences are overturned by events outside of their control, while Jack and Finn’s complex relationship reaches its long overdue showdown.Beautifully orchestrated and richly comic, Men Like Air explores the romance and solitude of cosmopolitan life, the transformative power of art, and the impact we have on one another’s lives – and what happens when the ties that bind us are tested or broken. It is an intense and uplifting story of growth and renewal, mapping the complex workings of the human heart across the streets of New York City.

Gatherings – Flora Shedden

A gathering is an easy way of cooking and hosting. It means no pressure, no code of conduct, and everyone – cook included – can actually enjoy themselves. This collection is a mixture of modern dishes, staple snacks, salads and sides, interesting bakes, and puddings perfect to end a feast with. Nothing overly fussy or complicated, just tasty, pretty plates of food. Choose from the chapters led by occasion or pick and choose from dishes such as Sloe Gin Braised Venison, Cocoa Nib Brownies and Redcurrant Pavlovas to put on a spread. There are menu ideas to show you how.

The Black Sheep – Sophie McKenzie

Francesca was widowed a year ago. Since then she has focused on her children, trying to soothe their grief as well as her own. Her husband and father never quite saw eye to eye but no one could have cared more for her in the past year than her close-knit family. Finally, she feels she might be ready to move on with life. Until she is contacted out of the blue by someone who says he must get information to her. That her husband’s death wasn’t what it seemed. And that her family know more than they say …Who can Francesca trust? And what will happen to her if she puts her faith in the wrong person?

The Life Assistance Agency – Thomas Hocknell

Do you want to live forever? Ben Ferguson-Cripps is a struggling writer with a surname that gets more comments than his waning blog. In desperation Ben sets aside his literary ambitions to join the newly established and enigmatic Life Assistance Agency. The agency’s first case is to trace a missing person with links to the Elizabethan angel-caller Dr John Dee. Pursued by a shadowy organisation – and the ghosts of Ben’s past – the trail leads them on a white-knuckle ride through Europe into the historic streets of Prague. As forces meet in a deadly climax, the long-buried secrets of Dr Dee’s achievements are finally revealed…and Ben will discover there is always more to life.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher

A positive and uplifting book about what it is to be a mother and all things mum and baby by Celebrity Mum of the Year and phenomenally popular vlogger, author, TV presenter and actress Giovanna Fletcher. Since Giovanna and her husband Tom Fletcher have had their sons Buzz and Buddy, they have been sharing glimpses of their family life. With an infectiously positive outlook and happy take on all things mum-related, Giovanna has developed a following of fellow parents and mums-to-be. This is not a book about how to have the perfect family experience – Gi would be the first to admit she is winging it just as much as the rest of us – instead it is an honest, upbeat and incredibly personal account of her own experience of having a family. In Happy Mum, Happy Baby Giovanna shares her own journey through parenthood and in doing so, she looks at what it is to be a mother today, encourages you to be confident in yourself as a parent and celebrates how putting a focus on being a happy and confident mum can really make for a happy baby.

Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

A lush, thrilling debut about a year in the life of a uniquely beguiling young woman, set in the wild, alluring world of a famous downtown New York restaurant. “Let’s say I was born when I came over the George Washington Bridge…” This is how we meet unforgettable Tess, the 22-year-old at the heart of this stunning debut. Shot like a bullet from a mundane past, she’s come to New York to escape the provincial, to take on her destiny. After she stumbles into a coveted job at a renowned Union Square restaurant, we spend the year with her as she learns the chaotic, punishing, privileged life of a “backwaiter,” on and off duty. Her appetites are awakened, for food, wine, knowledge and experience; and she’s pulled into the thrall of two other servers–a handsome bartender she falls hard for, and an older woman whose connection to both young lovers is murky, sensual, and overpowering. These two will prove to be Tess’s hardest lesson of all. Sweetbitter is a story about discovery, enchantment, and the power of what remains after disillusionment.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon

England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers.

As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

Arthur – Mikael Lindnord

An incredible, true story of Arthur, a stray dog who tagged along with a Swedish adventure racing team after the author of the book Mikael Lindnord (now Arthur’s owner) took pity on the scruffy mutt and fed him a meatball!

Following the team across their perilous trek through the jungles and mountains of South America, this courageous dog crossed the finish line with the team and is now a beloved member of the Lindnord family. A heart-warming, moving and uplifting read that will stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 – Simon Sebag Montefiore

Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, THE ROMANOVS is at once an enthralling chronicle of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power, and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.

Written with dazzling literary flair The Romanovs is an enthralling chronicle of triumph and tragedy and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.

Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon has OCD. It’s the snake in her brain that has told her ever since she was a teenager that her world is about to come crashing down: that her family might die if she doesn’t repeat a phrase 5 times, or that she might have murdered someone and forgotten about it. It’s caused alopecia, bulimia, and drug dependency. And Bryony is sick of it. Keeping silent about her illness has given it a cachet it simply does not deserve. Now it’s time for her to speak out.

Writing with her characteristic warmth and dark humour, Bryony explores her relationship with her OCD and depression as only she can. A hugely successful columnist for the Telegraph, a bestselling author, and a happily married mother of an adorable daughter, Bryony has managed to laugh and live well while simultaneously grappling with her illness. Mad Girl is a shocking, funny, unpredictable, heart-wrenching, raw and jaw-droppingly truthful celebration of life with mental illness.

A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess – Amanda Owen

From bestselling author Amanda Owen come more tales of life at Ravenseat, the Yorkshire farm she shares with husband, 8 children and 1,000 sheep.

Funny, poignant and charming, A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess is a must for anyone interested in the countryside and those who farm it.

City of Friends – Joanna Trollope

City of Friends is the twentieth novel from the highly acclaimed number one bestselling author, Joanna Trollope. She glanced at her phone again. There were appeals from the girls, from her colleagues, a text from Steve reading with uncharacteristic imperiousness, ‘Call me.’ She couldn’t. She couldn’t call anyone …She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the bench, and stared at the ground. God, she thought, am I losing my mind? Is this what happens when you lose your job? The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she’d ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new – one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home – she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between. But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits…

James Martin’s French Adventure – James Martin

James Martin’s French Adventure sees the superstar chef journey the length and breadth of the country, sampling the very best food France has to offer. Along the way he cooks seafood in Marseille, shops at colourful Provencal markets, cooks with legendary chefs including Michel Roux and Pierre Gagnaire and explores the vineyards of Burgundy. With 80 recipes for fabulous French classics, as well as James’s own takes on the delicious dishes he tastes on the road, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Enjoy a warming bowl of vibrant pistou soup on a chilly evening, or take duck rillettes with fig and peach chutney on your next picnic. For a treat, try scallops Saint Jacques with champagne sauce or a classic boeuf bourguignon. And what better end to a meal than a pear and rosemary tarte tatin or a refreshing iced blackberry souffle? Overflowing with stunning photography, James Martin’s French Adventure is a must-have for anyone who loves the good life and great, simple food.

The Caller – Chris Carter

The terrifying new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of I AM DEATH. After a tough week, Tanya Kaitlin is looking forward to a relaxing night in, but as she steps out of her shower, she hears her phone ring. The video call request comes from her best friend, Karen Ward. Tanya takes the call and the nightmare begins. Karen is gagged and bound to a chair in her own living room. If Tanya disconnects from the call, if she looks away from the camera, he will come after her next, the deep, raspy, demonic voice at the other end of the line promises her. As Hunter and Garcia investigate the threats, they are thrown into a rollercoaster of evil, chasing a predator who scouts the streets and social media networks for victims, taunting them with secret messages and feeding on their fear.

Ragdoll – Daniel Cole

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the ‘Ragdoll’. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter. The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Radio Boy – Christian O’Connell

We love discovering great books from new authors so we’re really happy when Radio Boy turned out to be one of the funniest books we’d read in ages.

It’s the story of Spike, an ordinary boy who fights for his dream, and with an idea from his Dad and the support of his two best friends, sets up a radio station and under the alias “Radio Boy” he broadcasts live from his garden shed. It looks like he’s a star in the making, but will his popularity go to his head and will he get found out? With rave reviews coming in every day this is a hilarious debut, and we hope the first of many brilliant books from Christian O’Connell.