The sea is slowly eating into the land and the hill with the old watchtower has completely disappeared. The nearest house has crumbled and fallen into the sea. It is Ireland in the late twentieth century. Eamon Redmond is a judge in the Irish High Court. Obsessed all his life by the letter and spirit of the law, he is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Toibin reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships – with his father, his first “girl, ” his wife, and the children who barely know him. He gives us a family as minutely realized as any of John McGahern’s, and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the landscape of his childhood on the east coast of Ireland with such skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose. In The Heather Blazing, Colm Toibin displays once again the gifts that illuminated The South, a book described by Don DeLillo as “a grand achievement, ” and by John Banville as “a daring imaginative feat…a splendid first novel.”
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .
The Irish Readathon is a readathon (or reading challenge) running for the whole month of March. The main goal is to read at least one form of Irish literature but we have some challenges that you can do as well if you want.
What happens when a psychic tells Lucy that she’ll be getting married within the year? Her roommates panic! What is going to happen to their blissful existence of eating take-out, drinking too much wine, bringing men home, and never vacuuming?
Lucy reassures her friends that she’s far too busy arguing with her mother and taking care of her irresponsible father to get married. And then there’s the small matter of not even having a boyfriend.
But then Lucy meets gorgeous, unreliable Gus. Could he be the future Mr. Lucy Sullivan? Or could it be handsome Chuck? Or Daniel, the world’s biggest flirt? Or even cute Jed, the new guy at work?
Maybe her friends have something to worry about after all….
From the bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Burial Rites
County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.
The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie’s voice. A whisper in the dark.
“Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.”
Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.
Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.
Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…
☘ Challenge 2: Read a Book by a Female Irish Author
It’s a real shame that the male authors (Joyce, Wilde, Yeats, etc.) are usually the ones people think of when they think of Irish literature. We have some amazing contemporary female authors but classics can be very hard to find.
If the bus hadn’t broken down that August afternoon on the road between Dublin and Cork, Elizabeth Sullivan would never have met George Gallaher, a travelling actor of infinite charm and fatal weakness. She would not have been forced to marry, nor found herself trapped in an alien landscape.
(If you can find it 2nd hand I highly recommend this book. It’s out of print and there isn’t an ebook)
New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.
August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.
But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…
Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?
Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…
☘ Challenge 3: Read a Book by One of the Hosts Favourite Irish Authors
Louise O’Neill, Marian Keyes and Sarah Rees BrennanI chose Marian Keyes for my favourite author because she’s the first author whose books I automatically bought and got really excited about reading. I was a teenager at the time though and I haven’t read much of her recent work but I still love her. She posts regular chatty vlogs on YouTube and her pure Irishness is just fantastic.
It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met… a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’ ‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’
Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her.
He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.
Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .
However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge.
For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?
Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?
The Break isn’t a story about falling in love but about staying in love. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.
☘ Challenge 4: Read a Book that isn’t a Novel
So this could be a play, poetry or non-fiction.Just something that isn’t a novel.
Writers, killers, nuns, patriots, artists, healers, pirates, politicians, entertainers, saints, courtesans, leaders, revolutionaries, lovers, warriors, witches, record-breakers, and eccentrics are among the eclectic roster of Irishwomen resurrected from the dustbins of history by this “rollicking read” (according to Books Ireland). In times when women were expected to marry and have children, they traveled the world and sought out adventures. In times when women were expected to be seen and not heard, they spoke out against oppression and used every creative means available to express their ideas and beliefs. Editor and writer Marian Broderick provides us with a series of lively portraits of seventy-five unorthodox Irishwomen. In these pages you will meet women you will never forget: Maria Edworth, Lady Jane Wilde, Lady Augusta Gregory, Peig Sayers, Nora Barnacle, Kitty Kiernan, Anne Bonny, Anne Devlin, Mother Jones, Countess Constance Markievicz, Hanna Sheey Skeffington, Fanny and Anna Parnell, Maud Gonne, St. Brighid, Margaret Leeson, Lady Betty, Queen Maeve of Connacht, Molly Brown, Kathleen Behan, Lola Monez, Daisy Bates, Greer Garson, Lilly and Lolly Yeats, and many more.
In a land like ours, the old beliefs bring pleasure and wisdom…
Exploring the legends, special places and treasured practices of old, Jo Kerrigan reveals a rich world beneath Ireland’s modern layers.
So many of today’s Irish traditions reach back to our ancient past, to the natural world: climbing to the summit of a mountain at harvest time; circling a revered site three, seven or nine times in a sun-wise direction; hanging offerings on a thorn tree; bringing the ailing and infirm to a sacred well.
Old Ways, Old Secrets shows us how to uncover the wisdom of the past, as fresh as it is ancient.
☘ Challenge 5: Read a Book Older than You are
This one basically means read a classic. I think when people think of Irish literature the classics are probably what comes to mind first. Yeats or Wilde would be perfect for this one and you could double up and use them for this and challenge 4.
— Nobel Prize winning writer and poet W.B. Yeats included almost every sort of Irish folk in this marvelous compendium of fairy tales and songs that he collected and edited for publication in 1892. — Yeats was fascinated by Irish myths and folklore, and joined forces with the writers of the Irish Literary Revival. He studied Irish folk tales and chose to reintroduce the glory and significance of Ireland’s past through this unique literature.
Oscar Wilde’s brilliant play makes fun of the English upper classes with light-hearted satire and dazzling humour. It is 1890’s England and two young gentlemen are being somewhat limited with the truth. To inject some excitement into their lives, Mr Worthing invents a brother, Earnest, as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind him to pursue the object of his desire, the ravishing Gwendolyn. While across town Algernon Montecrieff decides to take the name Earnest, when visiting Worthing’s young ward Cecily. The real fun and confusion begins when the two end up together and their deceptions are in danger of being revealed.
So those are just some of the books you could read for The Irish Readathon. Most of these I have already read but some are books that I might read for the readathon. I had never heard of Sarah Rees Brennan before this and her series seems to be quite popular so I will have to check out her books.
You could also read something by Nora Roberts. She’s American but bases a lot of her books in Ireland or with Irish characters.
What books by Irish authors or set in Ireland have you read?
I mentioned in my November TBR that I wanted to read more fantasy this month and I definitely managed it. I barely read anything else! I read Poison Princess for the group read in My Vampire Book Obsession and got totally sucked into the world and devoured the next two books as well. I’m trying to pace myself now and wait till closer to the release of the final book in the series next year.
Nonfiction November was happening this month too but I didn’t manage to read anything for it. I very much enjoyed my little fantasy binge though.
Very enjoyable historical romance with a mystery thrown in for good measure. The story follows Charlotte (who has crossed over from Dare’s Spindle Cove series to Castles Ever After) who attempts to warn Piers (who has crossed over from Dare’s Castles Ever After series to Spindle Cove) of her mother’s scheming ways but instead they end up entangled in a scandal and a mystery.
This is the first book in Dare’s Spindle Cove series and it’s a bit lacking. It’s not as well written as her later books but works fine as an intro. The story follows Susanna who essentially runs a safe haven for women who are sick of society or don’t blend well into it and Victor who finds himself saddled with a position in the area.
I had super high expectations for this one that it didn’t quite meet but it was still a very good book. It’s a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin tale but with a lot more going on. My main issue with this was the number of points of view. There were a few occasions where I wasn’t sure who was speaking and it took me out of the story for a bit while I figured it out. The story closely follows Miryem who is a money lenders daughter that gains a reputation of being able to turn silver into gold which attracts the attention of this fairy being and Irina who’s father is scheming to marry her off to a tsar who isn’t quite what he seems.
This is the 7th book in McGuire’s October Daye series and it was fantastic! This book follows Toby trying to deal with the goblin fruit problem when she receives a serious amount of backlash from the Queen of the Mists. One of my favourite things in this book is the mystical library they visit to do research. Magical libraries are the best!
I actually only read the first story The Gift by Lynsay Sands from this because the story from Jeaniene Frost that’s included is ahead of where I am in the Night Huntress series. The Gift is a sweet fluffy kind of story following vampire Katricia and chief of police Teddy. They both get snowed in over Christmas while staying in a mountain cabin.
This was fabulous. It’s an epistolary novel consisting of letters and telegrams between friends and lovers during World War 1. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and made me shed a few tears at the end. I just loved it. The story focuses mainly on the romance between Evie and Thomas. Thomas has gone off to fight while Evie stays home and writes a column about the war from a woman’s perspective.
This is another fun fluffy read for Christmas. Adam Rutledge is travelling with Grandmother to the country for Christmas when their carriage breaks down and they are stranded in the snow. They take refuge in Sarah St. John’s home while they have several guests visiting for the holidays.
I received a copy of this collection in exchange for a review. Each one centres on a different couple in the world of rally racing. The stories were good but the writing was lacking especially in the first book.
I LOVE Kresley Cole but I had been putting off reading her YA series cause I just couldn’t see her writing YA. Her books are very mature normally but she really makes it work here. We do get her usual alpha male stuff but I’m totally fine that 🙂 Poison Princess is the first book in The Arcana Chronicles which is about a group of teenagers that each represents a card from the major arcana in tarot in a battle to the death after an apocalyptic event. With this book, we follow mainly Evie and Jack in the days before the flash and 6 months later when the world is completely different and Evie discoveries she has strange powers.
Book 2 in Cole’s Arcana Chronicles picks up immediately after Poison Princess and we get a lot of world expansion in this one especially with the other Arcana characters. We learn a lot about Death in particular. There’s a definite love triangle in the series from this point but it isn’t annoying.
Book 3 in the Arcana Chronicles and the love triangle gets annoying but I still loved this book. I really got invested in the characters and oh my god the cliffhanger at the end of this!!! I’m trying to pace myself with the books from here though or I will go insane waiting for the final book to be published.
Red Queen is the first book in Aveyard’s Red Queen series. It’s YA dystopia about a future earth where certain humans have developed silver blood and powerful abilities. Regular red-blooded humans still exist but they are subservient to the silvers. We follow Mare, a red, who discovers she has an ability and is taken by the silver king to conceal her true identity from the people. She finds herself caught up in a world of political intrigue on the cusp of a red rebellion.
I enjoyed this way more than I expected to as well. This always happens me with YA I have got to stop saying I’m not a fan of it cause I almost always end of enjoying the books!
This book picks up directly after Red Queen. I was a bit disappointed with this one. I found it be even more predictable than the previous book and it felt like mostly filler. In this one Mare discovers how far reaching the Red Guard actually is and she looks for more people like her to join the fight.
What did you read this month? Did you take part in Nonfiction November?
This is probably my biggest book haul. In October I took part in an event called Secret Vampire in My Vampire Book Obsession which is basically Secret Santa but we play at Halloween and call ourselves vampires. My Secret Vampire lived in the US so it took a while for the books to arrive and they missed my October Haul but do not fear I will show you all of the awesome books she sent me now. I also received an ARC from Harper Collins Ireland and I visited a few more second-hand shops.
Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.
They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.
The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. Admired by her contemporary, Jane Austen, and later by Thackeray and Turgenev, Edgeworth tackles issues of gender and race in a manner at once comic and thought-provoking. The 1802 text used in this edition also confronts the difficult and fascinating issues of racism and mixed marriage, which Edgeworth toned down in later editions.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
I’m no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.
So now I’m a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I’m bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he’s one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn’t get much worse–except I’m attracted to them both.
Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn’t exactly how I’d imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that’s what I’ll do. Fangs bared.
Grimm Fairy Tales: Vampires & Werewolves by Pat Shand and Mark L. Miller
Collect the Unleashed tie-in stories that feature Roman putting down the werewolf packs, and Liesel Van Helsing taking the fight to the vampires on their path to send these monsters back to the Shadowlands! Collects Grimm Fairy Tales: Vampires #1-3 and Grimm Fairy Tales: Werewolves #1-3.
Vivienne Shager has it all. A highflying job. A beautiful apartment. Friends whose lives are as perfect as her own. But on the afternoon of her 27th birthday, Vivi has a heart attack.
Now Vivi’s life shrinks back to how it begun, as she moves back to the small seaside town she grew up in. With her time running out, there is one thing she wants to know the truth about.
Some secrets are best left in the past…
Thirty years earlier, Shelley’s family home, Deerwood farm, bursts full of love and happiness. But one family member has hidden a secret for all these years. Until Vivi comes home demanding answers, and it takes just a moment to unravel the lie at their heart of their lives…
The sequel to Frank McCourt’s memoir of his Irish Catholic boyhood, Angela’s Ashes, picks up the story in October 1949, upon his arrival in America. Though he was born in New York, the family had returned to Ireland due to poor prospects in the United States. Now back on American soil, this awkward 19-year-old, with his “pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teeth,” has little in common with the healthy, self-assured college students he sees on the subway and dreams of joining in the classroom. Initially, his American experience is as harrowing as his impoverished youth in Ireland, including two of the grimmest Christmases ever described in literature. McCourt views the U.S. through the same sharp eye and with the same dark humor that distinguished his first memoir: race prejudice, casual cruelty, and dead-end jobs weigh on his spirits as he searches for a way out. A glimpse of hope comes from the army, where he acquires some white-collar skills, and from New York University, which admits him without a high school diploma. But the journey toward his position teaching creative writing at Stuyvesant High School is neither quick nor easy. Fortunately, McCourt’s openness to every variety of human emotion and longing remains exceptional; even the most damaged, difficult people he encounters are richly rendered individuals with whom the reader can’t help but feel uncomfortable kinship. The magical prose, with its singing Irish cadences, brings grandeur and beauty to the most sorrowful events, including the final scene, set in a Limerick graveyard. –Wendy Smith
From the Man Booker short-listed author of The Secret Scripture comes a magnificent new novel that is the story of twentieth-century America.
Sebastian Barry returns with the extraordinary story of Lilly Bere, the youngest daughter of the Dunne family. Forced to flee Ireland with her fiancé as a teenager under threat of death from the IRA, Lilly discovers herself in America. Her rich and tragic life takes her from Chicago, where her fiancé is brutally murdered, to Cleveland where she marries and finds happiness even as she survives the Great Depression and World War II. Joyfully pregnant at forty-three, Lilly moves to Washington, D.C., her husband mysteriously disappears, and she finds work as a cook for one of the most prominent families in the country. Lilly follows the family to Bridgehampton, New York, and there she brings up her son, Ed, who at eighteen is called up to Vietnam and vanishes on his return to America. Mr. Nolan, a close friend, is dispatched to find him and returns from the Smoky Mountain wilderness not with Ed but with Ed’s young son, Bill, whom Lilly will raise and adore until tragedy strikes.
Told in the first person as a narrative of her life over seventeen days, On Canaan’s Side is the heartbreaking story of a woman whose capacity to love is enormous and whose compassion, even for those who have wronged her, is extraordinary.
The dazzling second novel in Ali Smith’s essential Seasonal Quartet — from the Baileys Prize-winning, Man Booker-shortlisted author of Autumn and How to be both.
Winter? Bleak. Frosty wind, earth as iron, water as stone, so the old song goes. The shortest days, the longest nights. The trees are bare and shivering. The summer’s leaves? Dead litter.
The world shrinks; the sap sinks.
But winter makes things visible. And if there’s ice, there’ll be fire.
In Ali Smith’s Winter, lifeforce matches up to the toughest of the seasons. In this second novel in her acclaimed Seasonal cycle, the follow-up to her sensational Autumn, Smith’s shape-shifting quartet of novels casts a merry eye over a bleak post-truth era with a story rooted in history, memory and warmth, its taproot deep in the evergreens: art, love, laughter.
It’s the season that teaches us survival.
Here comes Winter.
Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That’s what it felt like for Keats in 1819. How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.
Ali Smith’s new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. It is the first installment of her Seasonal quartet–four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are)–and it casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history making.
Here’s where we’re living. Here’s time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic.
From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves.
This version of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . . And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
When the exotic stranger Vianne Rocher arrives in the old French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique called “La Celeste Praline” directly across the square from the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock. It is the beginning of Lent: the traditional season of self-denial. The priest says she’ll be out of business by Easter.
To make matters worse, Vianne does not go to church and has a penchant for superstition. Like her mother, she can read Tarot cards. But she begins to win over customers with her smiles, her intuition for everyone’s favourites, and her delightful confections. Her shop provides a place, too, for secrets to be whispered, grievances aired. She begins to shake up the rigid morality of the community. Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?
For the first time, here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as an agent of transformation. Rich, clever, and mischievous, reminiscent of a folk tale or fable, this is a triumphant read with a memorable character at its heart.
Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie, her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates …
Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has the house been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret’s own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfield’s spell?