Bookends Halloween – Jenny Blackhurst

Bookends Halloween – Jenny Blackhurst

To celebrate Halloween 2019, we will be asking some of our authors some spooky questions! First up is Jenny Blackhurst, author of The Night She Died and Someone is Lying

What are your favourite spooky reads? 

Am I allowed to say The Foster Child? No? Okay, in that case when I was younger I was a big Masterton fan, Walkers, in particular was horrifying as a teen. The Withered Arm by Thomas Hardy freaked me out.

What book-to-film adaptations do you watch to get yourself in the Halloween mood?

You can’t go wrong with Stephen King, and with the second part of IT out in time for Halloween I’ve recently watched the first part to get myself ready. Silence of the Lambs is another favourite. I love horror, Halloween is my favourite time of year and I’ve started watching scary movies already. I don’t even care that it’s not a book-to-film adaptation I’m going to say it. Hocus Pocus is the best.

Of the characters in your book, who would you choose to trick, and who deserves a treat?

I feel like Susan Webster from How I Lost You deserves a treat, I really put that poor woman through an emotional wringer. As for a trick, that’s harder to choose because I actually like the majority of my characters! I rarely have a true bad guy so I guess it would have to be Jack, also from How I Lost You because he was a genuinely bad person for no apparent reason.

What would the main character in your book dress up as for Halloween?

There is actually a Halloween party in Someone is Lying! Karla and Marcus are ring masters, Miranda is a witch, Peter and Mary-Beth King go as Beetlejuice and the Grim Reaper and Felicity is Harley Quinn. Alex is completely inappropriate, as always, and doesn’t deserve a mention.

What will you be reading on 31st October?

This Halloween I’ll be reading The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor because it sounds deliciously creepy.

Someone is Lying is out now in ebook and will be out in paperback on 14th November. Get your copy here.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

If you were moved by The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris or The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe, this book is for you. A searing page-turner of hope, family secrets and a love to defy all odds from bestselling Kelly Rimmer, inspired by the author’s family history.

‘Fans of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls will adore The Things We Cannot Say‘ Pam Jenoff

‘Simply amazing book, so moving I couldn’t put it down. A book that will remain in my heart for many years to come *****’ A reader

‘Captivating. I am in awe of this story *****’ A reader

‘I have never ever been so deeply moved by a book…the most amazing love story of hope and survival during the Nazi occupation of Poland… i just didn’t want it to end *****’ A reader

It begins with the discovery of a tattered photo, a letter and a tiny leather shoe…

World War Two, Poland. Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

2019. Life changed beyond recognition for Alice when her son, Eddie, was born with autism spectrum disorder. She must do everything to support him, but at what cost to her family? When her cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest. In Poland, separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain

Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain

‘A national treasure’ Independent

‘She’s baked her way into our hearts and hasn’t stopped since’ Prima

‘One of our favourite ever Bake Off winners’ Sunday Mirror

FUNNY, HEART-WRENCHING, GENEROUS AND TRUE, IN FINDING MY VOICE NADIYA HUSSAIN SHARES THE UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES AND EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE MADE HER THE WOMAN SHE IS TODAY.

‘I am writing this for everyone who was told no. ‘No, you are not rich enough. No, that is not credible. No, you can’t. No, you won’t. No, you are not allowed. No, that is not appropriate.

I was told, “No, you do not belong.”

Finally, I am saying, “Yes, I do.”‘

From the moment Nadiya Hussain was born, she has been questioning her role in life. But the irony is, she never wanted to be a trailblazer. She just wanted to follow a ‘normal’ path. But life kept telling her ‘you can’t’.

And so she found her own way, beyond anything she dared to dream . . .

In this wise, witty, open-hearted book, Nadiya lets us into her life and, for the first time, shares the memories and experiences that have shaped her into the woman and role-model that she is today, alongside her personal recipes and the stories they tell.

Muna Shehadi reveals her favourite…

Muna Shehadi reveals her favourite…

Muna Shehadi, author of Private Lies reveals her favourite…

Book: Because I could never choose a grown-up book, I’m going with Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.  I think this little story is perfect. It reads like poetry.

Film: The Sound of Music.

Food: Either a combination of flavours I’ve never encountered, or a perfect specimen of something very simple.

Drink: Champagne.

Place: The porch on my house in Maine, or down on the rocky shore.

Season: Fall.

TV Programme: I’m always too busy reading.

Song: Anything that makes me feel too much to describe.

Possession: My family-inherited Oriental rugs.

Item of Clothing: Black pants.

Colour: Hot Pink.

Flower: Alstroemeria.

Perfume: 4711.

Way to spend the day: Cooking an over-the-top-meal or exploring a new city.

Private Lies is out in ebook on 3rd October, and in paperback on 12th December. Get your copy here!

Olivia Beirne on FOMO

Olivia Beirne on FOMO

Even as I type that I want to laugh. First there was ‘YOLO’, then ‘FOMO’ now ‘JOMO’. When will this odd obsession with abbreviation end? Is this the direction in which the world is heading? Maybe when I’m 80, my grandchildren will only communicate via a sequence of letters and I’ll be expected to crack the code like a wrinkled enigma machine.

Anyway, FOMO. The Fear Of Missing Out. Something which, if you have a smart phone and/or the internet, you can’t really get away from nowadays. Funny, you spend all of your time at work, fantasising about your celebratory glass of wine and binge session of Midsummer Murders (oh, The Great British Bake Off is on tonight, and Strictly has just started, so mustn’t miss that), and then it hits you.: a glamorous, effortless photo of someone you went to school with (and haven’t seen or spoken to in ten years) strewn across a white beach like a sexy piece of seaweed.

And there it is, a sudden hit of fiery resentment. It’s the FOMO. The sudden realisation, as you look down at your lukewarm cup of tea and your half written email to Janet from accounts, that you aren’t sat on a beach. You haven’t got a fabulous holiday booked. You couldn’t even afford it. You’re not going to that wild party on Saturday night (were you even invited?) and no matter how hard you try, your bottom will never resemble a freshly plucked peach.

In short, you’re not doing very well at all. Or at least, that what it feels like. But, you’re fine, right?

It almost feels ironic to write a book about loneliness when everybody is constantly connected. But are we filling our minds with negativity? Is FOMO clouding our motives? Is inadequacy feeding our anxiety? Is the addiction to social media making us feel more alone?

I wanted to write a story about a group of people, all blinded by the urgency to be ‘fine’. The Accidental Love Letter follows a group of characters with fake smiles; the only issue is, nobody talks to each other. Even though Bea is surrounded by people who ask her every day how she is, the only person she can be honest with is a stranger who she has no intention of meeting.

Social Media has its good and bad points. But something I have loved watching is the community it has created – people opening up about mental health, with the reassurance that they are not alone. Others feel the same. They aren’t tapping a reply calling them a freak or a lost cause, they’re sending hope and comfort. I know how you feel. I’ve been there before. You will get through this. I feel the same.

And then the loudest of them all.

Talk about it. Talk to someone. You’re not alone.

By Olivia Beirne, author of The Accidental Love Letter

Get your copy of Olivia’s new book, The Accidental Love Letter, now!

Cosy up with our top book picks this Autumn

Cosy up with our top book picks this Autumn

The days are getting darker, the weather is getting cooler, everyone is digging out their jumpers from the back of their wardrobes, but for us at Bookends that means the arrival of our favourite season – autumn! We love snuggling up with a good book, hot drink in hand, and a warm pair of woolly socks on our feet. To celebrate the arrival of crispy leaves and all-things-hygge, we’ve picked our top autumnal reads, perfect for curling up with at this time of year.

Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate

The heartbreaking true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal – some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s No.1 bestselling novel Before We Were Yours.

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a corrupt baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents – hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who document the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed, and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace brothers, sisters, and cousins.

Get your copy of BEFORE AND AFTER here

Craftfulness by Rosemary Davidson & Arzu Tahsin

What is that unique feeling that goes hand-in-hand with making something from scratch?   Do you ever wonder where the time goes when you’re lost in drawing or working with clay? Are you happiest when you’re sewing or knitting?

Craft enthusiasts are no doubt already aware of the joys of making and the frustration when you must put aside your project and go back to your day job or to less enticing tasks around the house. But there is more to crafting than the simple enjoyment of a creative hobby.

Drawing on the first-hand accounts from everyday crafters, Craftfulness considers the vital well-being effects to be gained from the simple expression of your creativity, and investigates the soul-cleansing and stress-relieving benefits of making things by hand.

An all-you-need-to-know friendly guide to inspire you to give making a go, Craftfulness:

explores the science of creativity and the authors’ down-to-earth craft ethos, as well as why everyone should develop a craft habit;

suggestsways to make time in a hectic life for everyday creative work

considers how we can try to overcome self-criticism and lack of confidence

features simple but immensely satisfying craft projects to still the mind and soothe the soul, complete with beautifully illustrated step-by-step instructions

To read Craftfulness is the first step on the path to leading a happier, healthier, more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Get your copy of CRAFTFULNESS here

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Yorkshire, 1845.

A young woman has gone missing from her home, Chester Grange, leaving no trace, save a large pool of blood in her bedroom and a slew of dark rumours about her marriage. A few miles away across the moors, the daughters of a humble parson, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified, yet intrigued.

Desperate to find out more, the sisters visit Chester Grange, where they notice several unsettling details about the crime scene: not least the absence of an investigation. Together, the young women realise that their resourcefulness, energy and boundless imaginations could help solve the mystery – and that if they don’t attempt to find out what happened to Elizabeth Chester, no one else will.

The path to the truth is not an easy one, especially in a society which believes a woman’s place to be in the home, not wandering the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Get your copy of THE VANISHED BRIDE here

The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker by Joanna Nell

As the wife of retired ship’s doctor Dr Henry Parker, Evelyn is living out her twilight years aboard the Golden Sunset. Every night she dresses for dinner – gown, tiara, runners – and regales her fellow passengers with stories of a glamorous life travelling the world in luxury, as well as showing off her superior knowledge of everything from ships’ customs to biographical details of her heroine, Florence Nightingale. The crew treat her with deference. And forbearance.

But when Henry goes missing, Evelyn sets off to search every part of the grand ocean liner to find him, casino, nightclub and off-limits areas included.

Misadventures are had, new friends are made, scandalous behaviour noted – all news to Evelyn. If only she could remember the events of the night before as clearly as she can recall the first time she met Henry on a passage from England to Australia in 1953 and fell in love, abandoning her dreams to become a midwife to be a wife instead – and the long-ago painful events that left Evelyn all at sea.

Why is it so hard to forget some things and so hard to remember others? And where is Henry?

Get your copy of THE LAST VOYAGE OF MRS HENRY PARKER here

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

What would you do if you received a love letter that wasn’t meant for you?

Bea used to feel confident, outgoing and fun, but she’s not sure where that person went.

Over the last few months, she’s found herself becoming reclusive and withdrawn. And despite living with her two best friends, she’s never felt lonelier. To make things worse, she’s become so dependent on her daily routine, she’s started to slip out of everyone else’s.

But when a mysterious battered envelope covered in stars lands on her doormat, Bea wonders if she could find the courage to open it.

It isn’t addressed to her, but it could be… if you squinted…

Get your copy of THE ACCIDENTAL LOVE LETTER here

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

Some novels hold you in their spell and never let you go…

1960. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca lives in fear of her father’s temper. As a storm batters Seaview Cottage one night, she hears a visitor at the door and a violent argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, Rebecca’s parents are dead and the visitor has fled. No one believes Rebecca heard a stranger downstairs…

2014. Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby. But fatefully the trail leads to the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca…Seaview Cottage.

As Iris races to unravel what happened the night Rebecca’s parents were killed, it’s time for Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets.

Get your copy of THE LOST CHILD here

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis

Unravel the mystery of The Lost Child. Read the heartwrenching new novel from the author of the international bestseller The Girl in the Letter, Emily Gunnis.

A tragic death. A missing baby. A long-kept secret…

1960. Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her mother live in fear of Rebecca’s father’s violent temper. As a storm batters Seaview Cottage one night, Rebecca hears a visitor at the door and an argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, the visitor has fled and both Rebecca’s parents are dead. No one believes Rebecca’s story that she heard a stranger downstairs…

2014. Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby, as the police race against time to find them. When the trail leads back to Seaview Cottage, the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca, Iris must unravel the events of the night Rebecca is desperate to forget for Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets.

Readers adore the novels of Emily Gunnis…

‘Compelling, twisty, heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. A novel that stays with you’ Sophie Kinsella

‘Truly hard to put down. Fast paced, brilliantly plotted and desperately sad at times – all hallmarks of a bestseller’ Lesley Pearse

‘A pacy, heartrending read’ magazine, Sunday Express

‘As moving as it is disturbing. A real triumph’ Woman & Home

The Lost Child is out now in ebook and audio book. Get your copy here.

The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

The Garden of Lost and Found by Harriet Evans

‘Spellbinding’ Independent
‘My top book of 2019’ DINAH JEFFRIES
‘Her best yet’ i newspaper
‘Gripping’ Irish Times
‘Gorgeous’ VERONICA HENRY
‘A poignant story of love and loss’ Daily Mail MUST READS 
‘I can’t remember the last time I was so enthralled’ Red
‘Epic, absorbing … full of intrigue and emotion’ Fabulous
‘A sweeping novel you won’t put down’ KATIE FFORDE

Who would choose to destroy what they love the most? 

Nightingale House, 1919.

Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death.

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

Lose yourself in this unputdownable tale of the enduring power of family love, told by three generations of extraordinary women. . . 

The Garden of Lost and Found is out in paperback now. Get your copy here.

Bookends Beach Party 2019 | Where in the world is top of your bucket list to visit?

Bookends Beach Party 2019 | Where in the world is top of your bucket list to visit?

As our Bookends Beach Party series draws to a close for another year, we ask our authors one final question: Where in the world is top of your bucket list to visit?

Beth O’Leary, author of The Flatshare

I would really love to visit the southern United States and spend a couple of months out there, exploring. I’ve never done a big travelling trip – I’m a home bird, really, and a bit scared by the idea of setting off on an adventure like that – but maybe one day I’ll muster the courage…

Ruth Hogan, author of Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel

Venice in winter, travelling on The Orient Express, dressed in full costume and pretending that I’m in an episode of Poirot or an Agatha Christie film.

Deborah Moggach, author of The Carer

Snorkelling. It’s the purest joy. I’d like to try the Great Barrier Reef or, a bit nearer, the Red Sea.