Sneak-peek of the hottest releases we’re looking forward to reading this summer

Sneak-peek of the hottest releases we’re looking forward to reading this summer

With May now upon us, Team Bookends are looking forward to the summer months and most importantly, the summer reading! Here is a round-up of the top three books that we are most excited about this summer.

Those Who Are Loved – Victoria Hislop

Pre-order here

Read an exclusive extract here

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade. 
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

The Lemon Tree Hotel – Rosanna Ley

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Read an exclusive extract here

A story about love, family secrets, and a little piece of heaven . . .

In the beautiful village of Vernazza, the Mazzone family have transformed an old convent overlooking the glamorous Italian Riviera into the elegant Lemon Tree Hotel. For Chiara, her daughter Elene and her granddaughter Isabella, the running of their hotel is the driving force in their lives.

One day, two unexpected guests check in. The first, Dante, is a face from Chiara’s past, but what exactly happened between them all those years ago, Elene wonders. Meanwhile, Isabella is preoccupied with the second guest, a mysterious young man who seems to know a lot about the history of the old convent and the people who live there. Isabella is determined to find out his true intentions and discover the secret past of the Lemon Tree Hotel.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

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Read an exclusive extract here

One life-changing summer, sixteen-year-old Charlie meets Fran…

Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.

But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.

The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.

Poignant, funny, enchanting, devastating, Sweet Sorrow is a tragicomedy about the rocky path to adulthood and the confusion of family life, a celebration of the reviving power of friendship and that brief, searing explosion of first love that can only be looked at directly after it has burned out.

‘Such a beautiful book. Captures perfectly a moment in time we’ve all experienced.’ Graham Norton

My New Year’s resolutions – Olivia Beirne

My New Year’s resolutions – Olivia Beirne

If, like me, you’ve been wearing the same trousers (and by trousers, I mean pyjama bottoms) since Christmas Eve and you’re trying to peel yourself off the sofa from the mounds of Quality Street wrappers that have you welded to the cushions like a left-over Toffee Finger, you’ve probably done Christmas pretty bloody well. And is it still okay to eat a turkey sandwich days after Christmas Day, or should have I have bowl of cereal – even though I really want a hunk of yule log? Or should I just eat all three? (Yes). Until suddenly, with very little warning, it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re expected to get out of your pyjamas and squash into something with maximum sex appeal to prove that you are ready for the New Year.

I used to hate New Year. I hated the entire idea of forcing my post-Christmas body into a dress I ordered online (which, obviously, looks nothing like the model), pulling my feet from my slippers and into a pair of explicable high heels, and taming my hair down from its ‘messy bun’ (that term is used loosely) that I’ve been rocking since my hangover from the work Christmas party. I also hated the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It made me feel like the version of me I’d been parading for the past year wasn’t good enough, and that in order for me to enter this new, glittering year, I had to be richer, thinner, fitter and basically more successful in every way. Why can’t the current me stay as I am? Why do I have to improve myself every year? Also, what on earth is going to happen to me when I’m 80? Will I expect myself to be running Google out of the west wing of my castle, rocking a designer dress wrapped around my miraculously toned body *despite* the Camembert?

So, with that in mind and biscuit tin in hand, I changed my mind set for New Year. I don’t write a list of New Year’s resolutions anymore. I write myself a ‘to-do’ list of things that I want to experience this year.  As you may have guessed, I have spent the last year writing lists, but here are my top five:

1. Go to Disneyland (I know, I’m a child) 

2. Run 10k for The MS Society (if you know, you know) 

3. Learn how to cook (this one is quite important as I feel that the age of dinner parties is looming, and I don’t think I can serve Chicago Town pizza as a starter, main and dessert)

4. Go to Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

5. Read 1 book a month 

From now on, I will only put things on my ‘to-do’ list that I will enjoy doing, and bar the training for the 10k (lord help me), I think my five goals for 2019 sound quite fun. 

Happy New Year!

The List That Changed My Life

You can pre-order the paperback edition of my debut book, The List That Changed My Life, here!