Her Last Promise, the new book from Kathryn Hughes it out now!

Her Last Promise, the new book from Kathryn Hughes it out now!

Get your kindles ready, as Kathryn Hughes is back with an uplifting, gripping and heart wrenching story of how hope can blossom in the ruins of tragedy and of the redeeming power of love.

A mysterious letter from Spain. A surprising new beginning…

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

What real readers are saying about Her Last Promise

‘Hope rises from despair and new beginnings are forged in the most extraordinary and unexpected way. Kathryn Hughes delves deeply into the heart and soul of her characters, making them totally relatable…like friends you really care for. My addiction to this novel was total and uncompromising *****’

‘Wonderful! First book I have read by Kathryn Hughes and will now read her previous stories. I loved it *****’

‘Another great story from Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘As always, a lovely story by Kathryn Hughes *****’

‘I really enjoyed this book, especially the nostalgic 1970’s descriptions ****’

And for a limited time only, you can get Kathryn’s new book for just 99p on Kindle! Get your copy of Her Last Promise here.

The best ebook deals this month!

The best ebook deals this month!

November is proving to be a fabulous month for eBook deals!

Bookends HQ is here to help you fill your eReader ahead of the festive season.

Winter Without You

Winter Without You by Beth Good

THE heartwarming and emotional read for Christmas 2018

What do you do when you lose everything?

After the tragic death of her boyfriend, Hannah Clitheroe is hiding away from the world. But when she discovers she’s inherited a house in Cornwall, she knows it’s time to face reality.

Her estranged grandmother lived in Kernow House for years, but Hannah soon realises someone else thinks it’s rightfully theirs: Raphael Tregar, a difficult man who quickly gets under her skin.

But as winter sets in, there’s one more thing that keeps her up at night, and the rising fear that she may not find her true home in Cornwall after all…

Deliver Me

Deliver Me by Karen Cole

The night she doesn’t remember will be the one she can’t forget

When Abby’s doctor tells her she’s two months pregnant she doesn’t believe him. She can’t be – she hasn’t had sex for over a year. But to her astonishment and dismay, multiple tests confirm it’s true.

Desperately searching for an explanation, Abby recalls New Year’s Day – the terrible hangover, the hole in her memory where the night before should have been and the inexplicable sense of unease – and realises that this baby must have been conceived at her best friend Danny’s NYE party.

Horrified that someone would have taken advantage of her intoxicated state, Abby enlists the help of Danny to find out which of the party guests assaulted her. But, when she starts to receive anonymous messages, it seems that while she has been looking into the father of her baby, someone has been watching her…

A gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Louise Jensen and C.L. Taylor.

The burning air

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.

The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.

The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on – but when they leave her looking after Sophie’s baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest . . .

murder at the grand raj palace

Murder at the Grand Raj Palace by Vaseem Khan

In the enchanting new Baby Ganesh Agency novel, Inspector Chopra and his elephant sidekick  investigate a murder at Mumbai’s grandest hotel.

For a century the iconic Grand Raj Palace Hotel has welcomed the world’s elite. From film stars to foreign dignitaries, anyone who is anyone stays at the Grand Raj.

The last thing the venerable old hotel needs is a murder…

When American billionaire Hollis Burbank is found dead – the day after buying India’s most expensive painting – the authorities are keen to label it a suicide. But the man in charge of the investigation is not so sure. Chopra is called in – and discovers a hotel full of people with a reason to want Burbank dead.

Accompanied by his sidekick, baby elephant Ganesha, Chopra navigates his way through the palatial building, a journey that leads him steadily to a killer, and into the heart of darkness . . .

My mother kept

Secrets My Mother Kept by Kath Hardy

Inspirational and moving, this is the true story of a women brave enough to confront her past, and strong enough to let love not bitterness define her.

Kath grew up on a vast council estate in the 1950s, the second youngest of ten children. The two most important people in young Kath’s life were her charismatic but manipulative mother Flo, and her mother’s sister Aunty. But Flo and Aunty were keeping secrets, a tapestry of lies that cast a harrowing shadow over the children’s lives.

Many years later Kath’s mother died and while sorting through Flo’s things, Kath discovered a bundle of secret letters that sent her on a journey to finally unravel the truth…

The F Word

The F Word by Lily Pebbles

If there’s one piece of invaluable advice for women and girls of all ages, it is that there is nothing more important than creating and maintaining strong, positive and happy friendships with other women.

In a culture that largely pits women against each other, Lily Pebbles wants to celebrate female friendships… all strings attached!

If Lily’s 1998 diary is anything to go by, female friendships are incredibly complex and emotional: but they’re the mini love stories that make us who we are. For many women, friends are our partners in crime through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses. In The F Word, Lily sets out to explore and celebrate the essence of female friendship at different life stages, and in its many wild and wonderful forms.

the key

The Key by Kathryn Hughes

1956 
It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate Hospital. When she meets a young woman admitted by her father, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change both their lives for ever…

2006
Sarah is drawn to the now abandoned Ambergate. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who entered Ambergate fifty years earlier. The shocking contents, untouched for half a century, will lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy and lost love, and the chance to make an old wrong right . . .

Friend of the Family

Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry

She thinks your life is perfect. She thinks you don’t deserve it.

Your job
Amy is more than happy to offer the daughter of an old friend work experience at her London magazine. Josie is young and ambitious. She just needs a foot in the door.

Your home
When Josie arrives, she swiftly makes herself indispensable at work and at home. And when childcare falls through before a long-awaited university reunion in Provence, it begins to look as if Josie may be staying longer than Amy had bargained for.

Your husband
In the heat of Provence, Josie’s presence starts to unsettle Amy, especially around her husband. As cracks begin to appear in Amy’s perfect life, she cannot shake the feeling that the family friend may not be a friend at all…

closer than you think

Closer Thank You Think by Karen Rose

Deacon Novak has returned home. The experienced FBI Agent knows that his move to Cincinnati’s Major Crime Enforcement Squad will be challenging, but the greater challenge will be saving his younger brother before he becomes the kind of criminal Deacon is chasing.

Faith Corcoran has escaped her identity. Being a therapist to victims of sex crimes was rewarding, but her work with their offenders has jeopardized her life. Her move represents a chance to build a new life in the empty old house her grandmother has left her.

What Faith doesn’t know is that a killer has made the house his playground, taking girls into the basement and murdering them. And now Faith is about disturb his fun.

With a murderer focused on her, Faith is going to have to put her trust in Deacon if she’s going to survive. Because this killer is always closer than she thinks….

Ebooks That Cost Less Than a Cup of Coffee

Ebooks That Cost Less Than a Cup of Coffee

Treat yourself to a new read (or two!) this weekend – for less money than you’d spend on a flat white!

 

The Honey Farm on the Hill by Jo Thomas (99p)

Sometimes you have to go back before you can move forwards…

One magical summer Nell fell in love in the mountains of Crete and her life changed for ever.

Eighteen years later, Nell is ready for a new beginning. When she sees a honey farm in the same hilltop town has lost its bees, the opportunity is impossible to resist. Welcomed back to Greece by the warm sun and aroma of wild thyme, Nell finds memories of her past at every turn. But much has changed since she’s been away.

As Nell throws herself into restoring the honey farm, she starts to unlock the truth of what happened all those years ago. She soon learns that the course of true love – just like Cretan honey – can be wild and sweet. And well worth the wait…

One Quiet Woman by Anna Jacobs (99p)

From the beloved and bestselling Anna Jacobs’ comes a new Lancashire-based saga.

1930, Lancashire: Leah Turner’s father has been killed in an accident at the laundry, and falls to her to become sole provider for her little sister. But women’s wages are half those of men and pawning the few belongings she has left will only keep their vicious rent collector at bay for a few weeks – so even if she finds a job, they’ll lose their home.

Out of the blue Charlie Willcox, the local pawnbroker, offers her a deal. His brother Jonah, an invalid since being gassed in the Great War, needs a wife. Charlie thinks Leah would be perfect for the job.
The idea of a marriage of convenience doesn’t please Leah, but she finds Jonah agreeable enough and moving with him to the pretty hamlet of Ellindale may be the only chance of a better life for her sister.

But other people have plans for the remote Pennine valley, and the two sisters find themselves facing danger in their new life with Jonah. Can the three of them ever look to a brighter future?

Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri (£1.99)

Another year of adventures in bed!

Phoebe and Oliver are stuck in a rut.

With a five year old daughter and demanding jobs, it’s not hard to see why the spark has gone.

Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it.

But with distractions aplenty – such as, why do all her past lovers think now is a good time to make a reappearance? And, she may be wrong, but is Oli keeping something from her? – will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?

From mix tapes to ‘sex jars’, this is the naughtiest rom com you will ever read. From the bestselling author of THE LIST comes the longed-for follow-up to Phoebe and Oliver’s story.

A Winter Retreat at the Paris Cheese Shop
by Victoria Brownlee (99p)

Who needs love when you can eat cheese?

Heartbroken and on the cusp of turning 30, Ella decides to pack her bags and move to Paris, somewhere she had visited when she was a different, more adventurous person.

It’s on the streets of beautiful, romantic City of Light that she finds her heart’s true desire: cheese. For Ella, her local fromagerie becomes a safe haven and she finds herself being drawn back there day after day.

But in a strange city, being friendless and not able to speak the language, has she bitten off more than she can chew?

A heart-warming and joyful romance, for fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Sophie Kinsella.

Springtime at Wildacre by Lucy Daniels (99p)

In the little village of Welford, flowers are blooming, the lambing season is underway… and love is in the air.

Mandy Hope is on cloud nine. Hope Meadows, the animal rescue and rehabilitation centre she founded, is going really well. And she’s growing ever closer to handsome villager Jimmy Marsh. What’s more, James Hunter, her best friend, is slowly learning to re-embrace life after facing tragedy.

But when an unexpected crisis causes Mandy to lose confidence in her veterinary skills, it’s a huge blow. If she can’t learn to forgive herself, then her relationship with Jimmy, and the future of Hope Meadows, may be in danger. It’ll take friendship, love, community spirit – and one elephant with very bad teeth – to remind Mandy and her fellow villagers that springtime in Yorkshire really is the most glorious time of the year.

My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott (99p)

Addie thinks she knows everything about her mother. But when a stranger appears claiming to be her sister, she realises that her life so far has been a lie. But why?

  1. Sent to beautiful Hartland to be sheltered from her mother’s illness, Liz spends the summer with the wealthy Shaw family. They treat Liz as one of their own, but their influence could be dangerous…

Now. Addie believes she knows everything about her mother Elizabeth and their difficult relationship until her recent death. When a stranger appears claiming to be Addie’s sister, she is stunned. Is everything she’s been told about her early life a lie?

How can you find the truth about the past if the one person who could tell you is gone? Addie must go back to that golden summer her mother never spoke of…and the one night that changed a young girl’s life for ever.

The Key by Kathryn Hughes (£1.99)

Turn The Key and unlock the past…

1956:
It’s Ellen Crosby’s first day as a student nurse at Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum. When she meets a young woman committed by her father, and a pioneering physician keen to try out the various ‘cures’ for mental illness, little does Ellen know that a choice she will make is to change all their lives for ever…

2006:
Sarah is drawn to the abandoned Ambergate Asylum. Whilst exploring the old corridors she discovers a suitcase belonging to a female patient who was admitted fifty years earlier. The shocking contents lead Sarah to unravel a forgotten story of tragedy, lost love and an old wrong that only she may have the power to put right…

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (£1.99)

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting global bestseller.

‘It is impossible not to get swept up in this near-perfect novel’ Huffington Post

‘A tale of enduring power’ Paula McLain

The top three ebooks you should read this month

The top three ebooks you should read this month

And they’re also on offer!

 

What Goes Around by Julie Corbin
Available: 12th March – 24th April
Two women, two secrets, one murder…
If someone took away your perfect life, how far would you go to get it back?
Ellen’s family is her world. So when her husband leaves her for another woman, she is almost destroyed. But not quite, because Ellen has a plan, a way to make those who have hurt her suffer.
Leila is the other woman. She finally has everything she ever wanted. But Leila’s brother has come back into her life, raking up a past that needs to stay buried.
One of them will pay for their actions with their life, but which one?
Download now
 

The Key by Kathryn Hughes
Available: now
The discovery of an old suitcase in an abandoned lunatic asylum unlocks a forgotten story of tragedy, lost love and a devastating wrong waiting to be put right, from the #1 bestselling author of The Letter and The Secret.
Download now

Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri 
Available: 1 -31 March
Another year of adventures in bed!
Phoebe and Oliver are stuck in a rut.
With a five year old daughter and demanding jobs, it’s not hard to see why the spark has gone.
Not one for giving up, Phoebe creates a sexy wishlist: a jar where they can ask the other for anything they’ve ever wanted in bed – or out of it.
But with distractions aplenty – such as, why do all her past lovers think now is a good time to make a reappearance? And, she may be wrong, but is Oli keeping something from her? – will they be able to relight the fire in the bedroom?
From mix tapes to ‘sex jars’, this is the naughtiest rom com you will ever read. From the bestselling author of The List.
Download now

Fall in love with a new book this February

Fall in love with a new book this February

Ebook bargains from only 99p!

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes

Available: 5th – 18th February

The #1 EBook Bestseller. Every so often a love story comes along to remind us that sometimes, in our darkest hour, hope shines a candle to light our way. Discover THE LETTER by Kathryn Hughes, the Number One bestseller that has captured thousands of hearts worldwide. Perfect for fans of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. ‘A wonderful, uplifting story’ Lesley Pearse

Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it – a decision that will alter the course of her life for ever…

Billy Stirling knows he has been a fool, but hopes he can put things right. On 4th September 1939 he sits down to write the letter he hopes will change his future. It does – in more ways than he can ever imagine…

The Letter tells the story of two women, born decades apart, whose paths are destined to cross and how one woman’s devastation leads to the other’s salvation.

Download now

 

Baby Boom! by Helen Wallen

Available: from now at £2.99

Frank and hilarious fiction from award-winning, potty-mouthed blogger, toddler-survivor and baby-producer, ‘Just a Normal Mummy’

No one said the journey to motherhood was easy . . .

Increased face-girth, back acne and gagging every time she’s in the presence of vegetables isn’t quite the beautiful start Emily had planned for her unborn baby . . .

Molly’s unexpected pregnancy somehow turns her boyfriend into the poncy-vegan-nut-milk-enforcer, but she breezes it, as she breezes everything. (Including still being able to eat avocados much to Emily’s annoyance.)

Liz quickly realises if she’s to move her life on, she needs to get rid of the married man she’s in love with – especially now she’s realised he’s been hiding more than his wedding ring . . .

It’s a story about becoming parents, but most of all it’s a story about love, laughter and chatting to your best friends about your fanny on WhatsApp.

Download now

The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall

Available: 1st to 28th February

NOW MAJOR FILM ‘THE MERCY’ STARRING COLIN FIRTH AND RACHEL WEISZ

In 1968, Donald Crowhurst was trying to market a nautical navigation device he had developed, and saw the Sunday Times Golden Globe round the world sailing race as the perfect opportunity to showcase his product.
Few people knew that he wasn’t an experienced deep-water sailor. His progress was so slow that he decided to short-cut the journey, while falsifying his location through radio messages from his supposed course.

Everyone following the race thought that he was winning, and a hero’s welcome awaited him at home in Britain. But on 10 July 1968, eight months after he set off, his wife was told that his boat had been discovered drifting in mid-Atlantic. Crowhurst was missing, assumed drowned, and there was much speculation that this was one of the great mysteries of the sea.

In this masterpiece of investigative journalism, Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall reconstruct one of the greatest hoaxes of our time. From in-depth interviews with Crowhurst’s family and friends and telling excerpts from his logbooks, Tomalin and Hall develop a tale of tragic self-delusion and public deception, a haunting portrait of a complex, deeply troubled man and his journey into the heart of darkness.

Download now

 

A Perfect Husband

A Perfect Husband by Hilary Boyd

Available: 1st – 28th February

What would it take for you to give up on the perfect husband?

Thought-provoking, emotional women’s fiction from the author of #1 EBOOK BESTSELLER, THURSDAYS IN THE PARK.

Lily and Freddy have a wonderful relationship: passionate and fun. Freddy taught her to love again after the death of her father. But then Freddy becomes tense, snappy and distracted. Is he having an affair? The truth turns out to be much worse…

Freddy is addicted to gambling. He owes hundreds of thousands of pounds to loan companies; he’s been helping himself to money from his own company, which has now gone bust; and worst of all, his wife’s money – given to him to invest – is gone. Devastated, Lily leaves him, and moves to stay with her sister in Oxford. There, among the dreaming spires, she will clear her head of Freddy and try to figure out how to move on.

But being away from Freddy is far harder than she’d thought. He promises to get help, but can he really ever be cured of his addiction? How can Lily trust him again – surely, after the heartache he’s caused her, she would be far better off walking away and starting again? The truth is, she is as addicted to Freddy as he is to gambling – and she’s not sure she even wants to be free.

‘A real page-turner, with a fast, credible plot and interesting characters’ 5* reader review.

Download now

New Year, New Look Ereader – bargain reads for 99p

New Year, New Look Ereader – bargain reads for 99p

Start 2018 off right with some brilliant bargains.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

Available: 1st – 31st January

Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in her pretty Hampshire village. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells – particularly Oscar – to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence. But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida’s tranquillity: Oscar’s wife and daughter are killed in a terrible car crash and he finds himself homeless when his stepchildren claim their dead mother’s inheritance.

Oscar and Elfrida take refuge in a rambling house in Scotland which becomes a magnet for various waifs and strays who converge upon it, including an unhappy teenage girl. It could be a recipe for disaster. But somehow the Christmas season weaves its magical spell and for Elfrida and Oscar, in the evening of their lives, the winter solstice brings love and solace.

Download now

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell 

Available: 1st – 31st January

From the Costa Award winning, bestselling author of THIS MUST BE THE PLACE and I AM, I AM, I AM, comes an intense, breathtakingly accomplished story of a woman’s life stolen, and reclaimed.

‘Unputdownable’ Ali Smith

Edinburgh in the 1930s. The Lennox family is having trouble with its youngest daughter. Esme is outspoken, unconventional, and repeatedly embarrasses them in polite society. Something will have to be done.

Years later, a young woman named Iris Lockhart receives a letter informing her that she has a great-aunt in a psychiatric unit who is about to be released.

Iris has never heard of Esme Lennox and the one person who should know more, her grandmother Kitty, seems unable to answer Iris’s questions. What could Esme have done to warrant a lifetime in an institution? And how is it possible for a person to be so completely erased from a family’s history?

Download now

The Year of Saying Yes

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle 

Available: 1st – 31st January

‘Dear Readers

It’s drizzling outside, which totally matches my #currentmood. Pigs in blankets, all the mince pies and a festive Baileys or five are distant memories. You know the drill – it’s January. Everyone’s banning booze (terrible idea) or cutting carbs (impossible). To add to the misery pile, my plans to seduce the man of my dreams at the stroke of midnight flopped spectacularly.

I’m Izzy. I don’t just need a New Year resolution, I need a whole new life. And I need YOU. My dreary life is about to get a total makeover – it’s my ‘Year of Saying Yes’. And this is where you come in. It’s up to you to #DareIzzy. I’m saying yes to your challenges, no matter how nuts, adventurous or wild they are. The sky’s the limit – I’m at your mercy, readers!

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.

Love

Izzy x’

Download now

The More You Ignore Me

The More You Ignore Me by Jo Brand 

Available: 18th January – 19th February

THE MORE YOU IGNORE ME IS NOW A MAJOR NEW FILM STARRING SHERIDAN SMITH, SHEILA HANCOCK, RICKY TOMLINSON AND ELLA HUNT.

Jo Brand’s life-affirming novel The More You Ignore Me addresses mental health issues and their impact on a family in an honest, hilarious and heartwarming way.

For Alice, the big bad monster wasn’t green and hiding under the bed, it sat in the kitchen saying ‘bollocks’ a lot. Prone to psychotic episodes, or ‘on the road to bonkersville’ as Alice’s dad would say, Alice’s mum Gina isn’t easy to live with. Her unpredictable outbursts make life in their Hereford cottage eventful. As ‘family’ means a mentally ill mother, a hippy father and grandparents who enjoy a drink or five, Alice needs someone to help her through. Unfortunately, Alice’s special someone is Morrissey of The Smiths, and the closest she’s got to him so far is watching him on Top of the Pops. But that could all be about to change . . .

Download now

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

Available: 1st – 31st January

How to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do.

The bestselling book everyone is talking about, revealing the surprising art of caring less and getting more.

Are you stressed out, overbooked and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? Then it’s time to stop giving a f**k.

This irreverent and practical book explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt – and give your f**ks instead to people and things that make you happy.

With a bonus section on how to save your sanity over the holiday season, the simple ‘NotSorry Method’ for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f**k and will free you to spend your time, energy and money on the things that really matter.

Download now

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 

Available: until 12th January

THE RUNAWAY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER & WINNER OF GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS 2017 BEST HISTORICAL FICTION AWARD

‘If I could give this book 50 stars I would. I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t get it out of my mind’ Amazon Reviewer

Memphis, Tennessee, 1939

Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge, until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents. But they quickly realize the dark truth…

Aiken, South Carolina, present day

Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale.

‘Lisa Wingate takes an almost unthinkable chapter in our nation’s history and weaves a tale of enduring power’ Paula McLain

Download now

Festive reads for 99p!

Festive reads for 99p!

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit is there than to read a whole host of festive books?

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Darcy Fitzwilliam simply doesn’t have time to fall in love. But this Christmas, a kiss under the mistletoe will change everything…

As partner at a major New York hedge fund, Darcy’s only serious relationship is with her work cellphone. The truth is, she’s too busy being successful and making money to have time for Christmas… let alone to allow romance into her life.

But this year Darcy is coming home to Pemberley, Ohio, for the holidays. There, she runs into her old neighbour and high-school foe Luke Bennet – the oldest of five wayward brothers. When Darcy’s enmity with Luke is re-opened, along with a hefty dollop of sexual chemistry… well, sparks are sure to fly. Can Darcy fall in love – or will her pride, and Luke’s prejudice against big-city girls, stand in their way?

Download now

A Fairy Tale for Christmas by Chrissie Manby

What could be more magical at Christmas than a fairy tale come true?

It’s the festive season and the members of the Newbay Theatre Society, more commonly known as the NEWTS, are preparing to put on a show. Being cast as Cinderella is the realization of a dream for newcomer Kirsty, not least because she hopes starring in a panto under the direction of her boyfriend Jon will bring them closer together.

But Kirsty soon learns that it’s not all glitter and good cheer behind the scenes at the amateur theatre as bitter rivalries nurtured through decades, wardrobe mishaps and suspicious near-fatal accidents threaten to derail the production. And then there’s Prince Charming himself. Will working together with Jon bring Kirsty her happy ever after… or reveal their love to be nothing but a ‘showmance’?

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s going to take more than a Fairy Godmother to get Kirsty and her cast-mates to the ball.

Download now

 

Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage

Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage by Lucy Daniels

Christmas has arrived in the little village of Welford. The scent of hot roasted chestnuts is in the air, and a layer of frost sparkles on the ground.

This year, vet Mandy Hope is looking forward to the holidays. Her animal rescue centre, Hope Meadows, is up and running – and she’s finally going on a date with Jimmy Marsh, owner of the local outward bound centre.

The advent of winter sees all sorts of animals cross Mandy’s path, from goats named Rudolph to baby donkeys – and even a pair of reindeer! But when a mysterious local starts causing trouble, Mandy’s plans for the centre come under threat. She must call on Jimmy and her fellow villagers to put a stop to the stranger’s antics and ensure that Hope Meadows’ first Christmas is one to remember.

One thing’s for certain: this Christmas, there’ll be animal escapades, kisses under the mistletoe…and plenty of festive cheer for all.

Download now

Christmas With You by Sheila O’Flanagan

The Sugar Loaf Lodge welcomes you in to warm yourself by the fire as the snow falls softly down. You’ll find yourself immediately at home, bathed in the magic of this romantic hotel as it reveals the secrets and dreams of its guests.

Sheila O’Flanagan’s Christmas With You is ideal festive reading for fans of Veronica Henry, Carole Matthews and Marian Keyes. These enchanting linked stories from the No. 1 bestselling author bring to life one unforgettable Christmas full of surprise twists, life-changing moments… and love.

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The Winter Collection by Emma Hannigan

Indulge in a festive treat this Christmas with this heart warming collection of Emma Hannigan’s bestselling novels featuring the beloved Craig family. Includes bonus short story The Wedding Weekend.

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The Reading Group: December by Della Parker

A scrumptious FREE first taste of a fabulous, feel-good new series! Perfect for fans of The Lemon Tree Cafe and The Vets at Hope Green.

Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year. No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree . . . how on earth is she going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively cancelled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace’s life might have turned upside down but there’s no problem they can’t solve.

Meet the Reading Group: No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri

It’s time to meet the parents!

Emily is so glad that she lives far away from her judgemental, interfering family – 411 miles away to be exact! But with plans afoot for them to meet her boyfriend, Robert, she has to psyche herself up for meeting to take place. So when the relationship suddenly falls apart, Emily is frustrated, especially as she’s talked up her handsome, loving boyfriend. Enter Evan: her twenty-something neighbour, with his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex. She can make this work. Or can she??

‘Bloody hilarious’ Isabelle Broom.

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Marian Keyes’ THE BREAK and Carole Matthews.

Download now 

 

The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell

Available: 1st – 30th November

Meet Teddy: the homeless puppy with a huge heart who healed a family.

When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he is confronted by a cold, scary and oh, so big world. Then he finds the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Teddy forms  a special bond with Claire and Ben, but it’s in little Emily that he finds the best friend he needs. But Emily is ill, and raising a puppy is hardly a priority for her stressed parents. If only he can prove to them how much happier he can make them all, Teddy might just find his forever home this Christmas…

‘A heart-melting Christmas story about the sweetest little dog bringing happiness to a family’ Amazon reviewer.

Download now

 

Snow Angels by Elizabeth Gill

Available: 1st – 30th November

A moving saga about love and forgiveness from a bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Sheila Newberry and Rosie Goodwin.

From the homelands of Durham to the streets of London, can she go from rags to riches?

Grieving after the loss of her mother, Abby Reed, finds an unexpected source of comfort exploring the rugged, snowy countryside, where she meets the brooding Gillan Collingwood. But then Abby learns that Gill is already interested in another woman. Heartbroken, she impulsively flees frosty wilds of her homeland to London’s glittering social scene . . . but can she ever forget the boy she left behind?

Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Sheila Newberry and Rosie Goodwin. A sparkling winter wonderland of a novel – the perfect fireside read!

Download now 

A bumper November batch of ebook deals

A bumper November batch of ebook deals

It’s a HUGE month of ebook deals and we’re here to help you stock up your ereader!

 

Did You See Melody?

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

Available: 18th – 19th November

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody?

And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

Download now

Summer In The Vineyards

Summer in the Vineyards by Natalie Meg Evans

Available: iBooks FREE BOOK OF THE WEEK until 7th November

A gorgeous novel set in the French countryside. Perfect for fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Hourglass.

Shauna Vincent has just learned that the job she set her heart on has gone to a well-connected rival. Devastated, she accepts an offer from an old family friend, and soon Shauna is deep in the French countryside with endless hours to explore the magical landscape around her. But can the charming Laurent de Chemignac, owner of the local chateau, help her untangle the secret that this little French castle amongst the vines might be hiding…

‘Natalie’s books are a treasure trove of vibrant, vivid stories, memorable characters and pacy writing!’ Tracy Rees, bestselling author of Amy Snow and The Hourglass

Download now

Under A Pole Star

Under A Pole Star by Stef Penny

Available: 1st – 12th November

RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB 2017 – ‘ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I HAVE READ FOR A VERY LONG TIME’ RICHARD MADELEY

A panoramic historical epic and an unforgettable love story from the author of the Costa-winning The Tenderness of Wolves, for fans of Sarah Perry, Jessie Burton and Donna Tartt

‘A dazzling tale of romance and survival’ (Guardian)

Download now

The Image of You by Adele Parks 

Available: 1st – 12th November

The Image of You is the utterly gripping new novel from Adele Parks, author of the No. 1 bestselling ebook, The Stranger In My Home. This compelling story of families, love, deception and secrets is perfect for fans of TV’s Doctor FosterLiarThe Replacement, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and Shari Lapena.

When all you can see is what they want you to see… Can you ever trust someone you meet online?

Download now

The Pool House

The Pool House by Tasmina Perry 

Available: 1st – 12th November

‘This relentlessly brilliant novel will keep you enthralled from start to end *****’ Heat

A Summer To Die For
To Jem Chapman, it’s the chance of a lifetime. An invitation to join a group in an exclusive Hamptons house-share, who could say no? But when she discovers what happened last summer, Jem can’t help but feel a chill. A young woman was found drowned in the house’s pool. The housemates said Alice was troubled. She’d been drinking. She couldn’t swim…

A Secret To Kill For
As Jem gets to know her glamorous new housemates, she realises each has something to hide. What really happened last summer? And who would go to any lengths to keep a person quiet?

Download now

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell 

Available: 1st – 12th November

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD – A RICHARD AND JUDY PICK 2017

A top-ten bestseller, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE by Maggie O’Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. ‘A complex, riveting novel of love and hope that grips at the heart’ The Sunday Times

Download now

 

The Winter Collection by Emma Hannigan 

Available: 1st – 30th November

Indulge in a festive treat this Christmas with this heartwarming collection of Emma Hannigan’s bestselling novels featuring the beloved Craig family. Includes bonus short story The Wedding Weekend.

Download now

Christmas With You by Sheila O’Flanagan 

Available: 1st – 30th November

Sheila O’Flanagan’s romantic and heart-warming Christmas With You is perfect festive reading for fans of Veronica Henry, Carole Matthews and Marian Keyes. These enchanting linked short stories from the No. 1 bestselling author bring to life one unforgettable Christmas full of surprise twists, life-changing moments…and love.

Christmas With You was previously published as A Season to Remember. Now with two poignant new stories added.

Download now

 

Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti 

Available: 1st – 30th November

Discover the million-copy-selling Daniela Sacerdoti. Lose your heart. Find your home…

When Anna’s partner walks away from their relationship, she is shattered. But it is her little girl Ava who takes it hardest of all, falling silent for three days. When she does finally speak, Ava talks about a new place – a small island of beauty, salt and sea in the Western Scottish Isles. In search of a new start, Anna and Ava embark on a journey to the remote and gorgeous Island of Seal. Falling in love with the locals and the landscape, could Seal offer the second chance they both need?

Download now

Parenting The Sh*t Out Of Life by Mother and Papa Pukka

Available: 5th – 6th November

From Mother Pukka and Papa Pukka, the minds behind highly popular parenting blog MotherPukka.co.uk, comes Parenting the Sh*t Out of Life, the Sunday Times bestselling account of parenting told from both perspectives and a handy guide (kind of) on how to raise a small human. It’s the must-read for all parents and parents-to-be – and possibly the best (or worst) baby shower gift you could ever give a prospective mum or dad …

Download now

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri

Available: 1st – 30th November on Kindle, 13th – 20th November on iBooks

It’s time to meet the parents!

Emily is so glad that she lives far away from her judgemental, interfering family – 411 miles away to be exact! But with plans afoot for them to meet her boyfriend, Robert, she has to psyche herself up for meeting to take place. So when the relationship suddenly falls apart, Emily is frustrated, especially as she’s talked up her handsome, loving boyfriend. Enter Evan: her twenty-something neighbour, with his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex. She can make this work. Or can she??

‘Bloody hilarious’ Isabelle Broom.

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Marian Keyes’ THE BREAK and Carole Matthews.

Download now for Kindle or iBooks

The Best Kind of People

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Available: 1st – 30th November

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable? THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE is a page-turning Canadian bestseller about a family on the brink of collapse. It gives no easy answers, but once you stay up all night reading it, you’ll want to talk about it with everyone you know.

Download now

 

 

Peggy and Me by Miranda Hart

Available: 1st – 30th November

Hello dear book browser and welcome to Peggy & Me, the story of my life since getting a beautiful Shih-Tzu Bichon Frise cross puppy (I call the breed a Shitty Frise – fun) in the form of Peggy.

Some of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally brilliant, I need hear no more, I’m sold.” In which case we should be best friends and go out to tea together, every day.

Others of you may be thinking: “a book about a dog, how totally mad, she must have officially lost it.” In which case I completely understand. For I once viewed dog owners with much suspicion. The way they obsessively talk about their dogs often using voices for them to reply; the way they have a light covering of dog hair all over their clothes and sofas; and worse, an alarming comfort and ease around excrement.

But I now get why people become so mad about their hounds. It wasn’t instant love I have to admit. Getting a puppy when I was at a low ebb in my life wasn’t easy – there was a lot of challenging, what I call, dog administration (dog-min), and the humiliating first trip to the vet still haunts me. It’s been a bumpy old road, but Peggy has been lovingly by my side through some life-changing moments and I wouldn’t have coped without her. Most surprisingly she has taught me a huge amount – not how to get an old pie packet out of a bin and lick it (I could already do that), but real lessons about life and love and trust and friendship.

Put aside any doggy reservations and come walkies with Peggy and me …

Download now

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans

Available: 1st – 30th November

From the award-winning author of The Dress Thief comes a love story set in the glittering world of London theatre. Perfect for fans of Gill Paul and Lucinda Riley.

Download now

The Girl Who Dreamed of Paris by Natalie Meg Evans

Available: 1st – 30th November

‘A captivating story from beginning to end. Full of secrets and intrigue!’ Amazon reviewer. Perfect for fans of The Hourglass and Island of Secrets.

Plucky English girl Cora Mason has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac – confident French beauty with aristocratic connections. Catapulted into the sensuous world of Parisian society, Cora becomes a lady’s hat maker, but living beyond one’s means isn’t easy. When Paris is threatened, the influence of a high-ranking lover protects her secret past . . . but the cruel demands of war – and of love – cannot be kept at bay forever. Soon Coralie must find the courage to do what’s necessary to protect her friends, her freedom and everything she believes in.

Download now

The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell

Available: 1st – 30th November

Meet Teddy: the homeless puppy with a huge heart who healed a family.

When Teddy runs away from home a week before Christmas, he is confronted by a cold, scary and oh, so big world. Then he finds the Woods family. With their kind hearts and cosy cottage, Teddy forms  a special bond with Claire and Ben, but it’s in little Emily that he finds the best friend he needs. But Emily is ill, and raising a puppy is hardly a priority for her stressed parents. If only he can prove to them how much happier he can make them all, Teddy might just find his forever home this Christmas…

‘A heart-melting Christmas story about the sweetest little dog bringing happiness to a family’ Amazon reviewer.

Download now

 

Snow Angels by Elizabeth Gill

Available: 1st – 30th November

A moving saga about love and forgiveness from a bestselling author. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Sheila Newberry and Rosie Goodwin.

From the homelands of Durham to the streets of London, can she go from rags to riches?

Grieving after the loss of her mother, Abby Reed, finds an unexpected source of comfort exploring the rugged, snowy countryside, where she meets the brooding Gillan Collingwood. But then Abby learns that Gill is already interested in another woman. Heartbroken, she impulsively flees frosty wilds of her homeland to London’s glittering social scene . . . but can she ever forget the boy she left behind?

Perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Sheila Newberry and Rosie Goodwin. A sparkling winter wonderland of a novel – the perfect fireside read!

Download now 

 

The Reading Group by Della Parker

Available: 1st – 30th November

A laugh-out-loud tale of friendship, loyalty and love! Perfect for fans of Jo Thomas and Lucy Diamond.

Grace, Anne-Marie, Kate, Jojo and Serena are as different as can be but each month they meet in Serena’s beautiful cliff-top cottage to discuss a good book – and their lives, which are sometimes stranger than fiction! Between new loves and old flames, cheating husbands and wayward children, there’s always a surprise around the corner…

‘Brims with laughs, love, family and friendship. You will love this heartwarming read!’ Trisha Ashley, Sunday Times bestselling author.

 And if you enjoy that, Della’s short story The Reading Group: December is free on Kindle too!

Download now

Read an extract of Chrissie Manby's Falling Leaves and Fireworks

Read an extract of Chrissie Manby's Falling Leaves and Fireworks

Your perfect Firework Night read starts here!

Falling Leaves and Fireworks

Chapter One

Ronnie Benson, Mark Edwards and their toddler daughter, Sophie, had not long moved into their new house on Three Spires Close when the little black cat first came calling. It was a scraggy wisp of a thing. Thin and mangy with very visible fleas. Whenever Ronnie saw it, especially when she was out with Sophie in the pushchair, she would do her best not to make contact with its big yellow-green eyes. She didn’t want to encourage the poor creature. The last thing she wanted was for her daughter to pick up cat germs. Though she was an animal lover at heart, Ronnie’s determination to keep her daughter safe trumped everything.

‘It must belong to someone,’ she told Mark when he mentioned it was hanging around again. They’d seen it almost every day for a fortnight by this point. Every time someone came to the door it would run up the garden path full of heart-breaking hope that this might be its chance. Someone would let it in. ‘It looks well cared for,’ Ronnie insisted.

Both of them knew that wasn’t true.

‘If it’s still here on Saturday, I’ll call the cat shelter,’ said Mark. ‘They’ll have a space for it. Maybe its owner is looking for it right now.’

Ronnie nodded. It was all they could do. Call the shelter. They couldn’t take it in themselves. Sophie was still so small. The cat might scratch her. Add to that the fact they were skint. Mark had been working all the hours he could at the joinery firm so they could move out of Ronnie’s parents’ place and rent their little house. Ronnie had to feed the three of them on a painfully small budget. They were stretched to the absolute limit. There was no money for anything but the necessities. Cat food and vets’ bills were out of the question. Still, Ronnie felt guilty as the cat attempted to endear itself to her. Every time she stepped out of the house, it would be there, mewing and sidling up and trying to wrap itself around her legs.

‘You’ve come to the wrong place,’ Ronnie said firmly. ‘There’s nothing for you here. Shoo! Find someone else to bother.’

But Sophie had other ideas.

Earlier that week, Ronnie had taken her twenty-month-old daughter for a check-up. She was worried that Sophie wasn’t hitting all the developmental milestones she should be. She was growing. She was actually quite tall for her age. She was steady on her feet. But she still wasn’t saying much. No matter how much time Ronnie spent chatting to her little girl, Sophie remained resolutely silent. Until . . .

‘Cat!’

Ronnie was so surprised by her daughter’s sudden utterance that she assumed it must have come from someone else. But no, they were alone on the street. No one was hiding in the bushes. Ronnie crouched to fasten Sophie into her pushchair and she said it again.

‘Cat!’ This time she pointed for emphasis.

‘Cat! Cat! Cat!’

Now she had started, there was no stopping her.

The little black cat ventured closer, sensing its chance. Sophie beamed. ‘Cat!’ she said again. ‘Cat!’

Ronnie was ready to cry with tears of utter relief. Sophie ‘cat, cat, catted’ all the way to the shops. Where Ronnie bought a tin of cat food. By the time they got home again – to find the cat sitting right on the doorstep with an air of expectation – Ronnie knew what would happen next. Mark came in from work to discover that his little family had expanded from three to four. The tiny black cat had given Sophie something she felt worth talking about, how could they possibly refuse her a home?

 

Chapter Two

Ronnie decided she would forego her long-anticipated and much-needed birthday present of a new pair of jeans to pay for the cat to be treated for fleas and mange. A local animal charity helped them to get the cat spayed. Now that she was eating properly, the cat soon started to put on weight and her scruffy-looking coat became glossy. Meanwhile, Sophie’s vocabulary came on apace, as though she had been saving her words up for the cunning feline’s arrival. It seemed impossible that Sophie had been pretty much silent for so long as she launched straight into short sentences and soon left her peers open-mouthed with astonishment behind her. Most of those early sentences had ‘cat’ in them.

It was Sophie who chose the cat’s name.

‘Fishy!’ she complained, when puss came in for a cuddle, smelling of supermarket own-brand cat food. It seemed appropriate and it stuck. Fishy Benson-Edwards had found her place in the world at last.

***

Sixteen years on, it was hard to believe that Sophie, who now had an answer for everything, had ever been worryingly quiet. It was equally hard to remember a time before Fishy had been in the house. In the years since Fishy wheedled her way into number six Three Spires Close, Mark, Ronnie and Sophie had moved down the street to a bigger house at number twelve and another child – Jack– had swelled the Benson-Edwards family to five. Ronnie remembered fondly how instinctively careful Fishy had been around Jack the newborn.

Now Jack was eight and he and Fishy were the best of friends. Jack included Fishy in as many of his games as she would let him. She had remarkable patience until he got dangerously boisterous. She’d even allowed herself to be dressed up as, variously, a princess (to be rescued), an Ewok (to be an ally) and a lion (to be run away from, while she sat licking her paws). And when no one else would listen, Jack could always tell Fishy the plot of the latest episode of Doctor Who. Fishy would feign interest in just about anything in exchange for a couple of cat treats. Even the new updates to Minecraft.

Fishy was quite simply part of the family. Ronnie might grumble when Fishy climbed up on the sofa to sit with her, leaving a trail of hairs in her wake, but she was always secretly pleased when the cat chose her over her husband. Meanwhile, Mark sometimes carried Fishy around like a baby, flipping her onto her back, tickling her under her delicate greying cat chin and cooing as he cradled her. Even Sophie, who, like most teenagers, was bored of pretty much everything most of the time, always had a moment to give the old mog an affectionate scratch between the ears. There was always a gift for Fishy beneath the Benson-Edwards’ family Christmas tree.

Fishy’s birthday was celebrated on the anniversary of Sophie’s first proper word, but the truth was that no one really knew how old Fishy was. Though she was small, she was already fully grown when she chose the Benson-Edwards gang as her family. In fact, Jacqui, Ronnie’s mother, suspected that Fishy was at least five when she turned up. The vet thought she might have had kittens at some point. She had good manners around food and was easily persuaded to use a litter tray. Perhaps she’d been the pet of someone who died without making provision for her, leaving her to fend for herself.

Whatever, there was no doubt that nearly sixteen years after she first arrived in Three Spires Close, Fishy was getting old. Rather than head out into the garden to give the birds a quick scare, she was now content just to watch them through the patio doors. Likewise, when the local squirrels, whose antics had once driven Fishy wild, came to tease her, she barely batted a paw. She was spending more and more time asleep. The vet warned she might have to have some teeth out – an operation that would likely be dangerous for such an elderly feline. Her fur was more and more grey. Yet, sometimes, the old kitten was still there. Sometimes she would perk up and want to play for a while.

Ronnie refused to engage in the conversation when Mark reminded her that the true price one pays for having a beloved pet is that, more likely than not, you’ll be the one who has to make the decision to help them on their way to that so-called better place.

***

As it happened, in the end Fishy spared Ronnie that terrible dilemma. One night in mid-October Fishy died in her sleep, tucked up in her basket, while eight-year-old Jack, thankfully, was having a sleepover at his grandparents’ house. She looked very peaceful, thought Ronnie as she knelt beside the basket and ruffled Fishy’s grey-flecked fur one last time. There was almost a smile upon the cat’s face. Ronnie half expected her to purr.

‘Thank you for being our cat,’ Ronnie told her. Then she burst into big noisy tears that brought Mark running down the stairs. When he saw what had happened, Mark pulled Ronnie into his arms and he cried too because Fishy Benson-Edwards was the best cat in the world.

 

Chapter Three

‘We’ve got to sort this out before Jack comes home,’ Ronnie told Mark as they sat at the breakfast table, unable to eat for their grief. Mark agreed. Abandoning the breakfast they couldn’t eat, they carefully lifted Fishy out of her basket, wrapped her in an old tea towel – printed with pictures of herring – and took her out into the garden. They buried her in the shade of her favourite tree. Mark dug the hole and Ronnie said a prayer as he filled it back in. Though neither of them was particularly religious, they wanted to know that Fishy was going ‘upstairs’.

‘What are we going to tell Jack?’ asked Sophie as her parents shared the news with her when she finally came downstairs at eleven. ‘We can’t pretend Fishy’s just wandered off. It’s going to be obvious something’s happened.’

It was true. They were all red-eyed from crying. Especially Mark. And Jack generally took his cue from his father when deciding whether to freak out. Seeing Mark with tears in his eyes would definitely be a ‘freak-out’ signal.

‘We’ve got to tell him the truth,’ said Ronnie firmly. ‘He’ll understand.’

Indeed, poor little Jack had had a crash course in mortality that year. His great-grandfather, known to the family as Granddad Bill, had passed away on New Year’s Day. Jack had taken Bill’s passing surprisingly well. He seemed to understand that his great-grandfather was very old and ill with dementia and that his last few months had sometimes been frightening and painful. Ronnie and Mark hoped he would be equally sanguine about Fishy.

But Jack was not at all sanguine about the loss of the cat he called his own. Not in the least.

 ***

Jack called Fishy’s name as soon as he burst through the door when his grandparents Dave and Jacqui brought him home that afternoon. He was carrying a bag of sardine-flavoured treats that he’d begged Jacqui to buy as they browsed the aisles at Aldi. Jack was so excited at having bagged such a good gift for his furry friend. There could not have been a worse moment for him to discover that she was gone for ever.

Afterwards, Jacqui cursed herself for not having taken her phone to the supermarket. Had she got any one of Ronnie’s increasingly frantic texts, Jacqui could have prepared Jack for the awful news to come. She could have made a plan. Ronnie’s heart broke again when Jack heard the worst and threw himself at his grandmother’s waist and sobbed into the folds of her coat.

‘Oh, Jack,’ said Jacqui, as she stroked Jack’s head. ‘Fishy wouldn’t want you to cry. You know how much she loved you.’

‘You were her best friend,’ said Dave.

That only made him cry harder.

Of course Jack wanted to know where Fishy was buried. The whole family gathered beneath the tree in the garden and they did the prayers all over again. After that, Jack ran inside and refused to come out of his bedroom while the adults sat downstairs and worried.

‘He just needs a bit of time,’ said Jacqui. ‘He’s shocked. He’s lost a friend. He’ll be better once he’s at school tomorrow and he’s got lots to do to take his mind of it.’

‘I hope so,’ said Ronnie.

She knew she herself would take some time to get used to Fishy’s absence. It was very strange to stand at the kitchen counter, waiting for the kettle to boil, and not have Fishy brushing herself against the back of her legs in the hope that Ronnie was going to open a tin of cat food while she was there.

***

At teatime that horrible day, the Benson-Edwards family had a visitor. Their immediate neighbour, Cathy Wigmore, known to everyone at number twelve as Cathy-Next-Door, had seen Ronnie and Mark burying the cat when she looked out of her bedroom window that morning. She came round at five to offer her condolences. She brought with her a box of chocolates from Thorntons. It was nearly new. Only two of the champagne truffles had been eaten.

‘Couldn’t get to the shops today,’ she explained. ‘I was sanding some chairs in the garage.’ She was still wearing the protective mask around her neck. ‘I got these for my birthday. I’ve hardly touched them.’

Ronnie accepted the gift in the spirit in which it was given. It was only later that she realised it was actually the box of chocolates she herself had given Cathy as a gift two weeks earlier.

‘Thanks, Cathy.’

‘I’m sorry about Fishy. She was a good cat,’ said Cathy. ‘And I know you’re all going to miss her but you can rest assured she’s safely with Satan now.’

‘Cathy! Don’t say that! She was lovely!’

For just a second Ronnie was horrified. Then she remembered that Satan was the name of Cathy’s old dog, a bad-tempered and toothless Yorkshire terrier, who had died before Jack was even born. Satan had been Fishy’s nemesis for a while. One of Fishy’s favourite things had been to stretch out along the fence between numbers 12 and 14, keeping just out of reach while the Yorkie bounced up and down like a yo-yo, driven wild with doggy frustration. Cathy hadn’t owned a pet since Satan met his fate under the wheels of a surprisingly fast mobility scooter in Coventry city centre. She said she couldn’t bear the inevitable pain of parting.

‘You never get over it,’ she said now. ‘It’s just like having a human die. Worse, in fact, because when they’re alive, animals don’t piss you off nearly half so much as people do.’

Ronnie didn’t entirely disagree with that but she mimed a throat-slitting motion in an attempt to get Cathy to change the subject before Jack came into the room. Jack entered listlessly, carrying a Doctor Who book.

‘Evening, soldier,’ said Cathy, giving him a salute.

‘Fishy’s dead,’ Jack sighed.

‘I know. That’s why I brought you these.’

She indicated the chocolates. ‘There’s a couple missing but we saved your favourites.’

Jack said he didn’t want them.

Cathy and Ronnie shared a look. Jack off chocolate was a very bad sign indeed.

***

The next morning, Jack went to school. Ronnie was nervous as she walked him there. He barely said a word, when he was usually so hard to shut up. Perhaps she should have let him stay home? Just for one day. But Ronnie herself had to go straight to work after she dropped him off. She worked at a funeral parlour of all places. She wished she were going to a job where she could be guaranteed a laugh.

Ronnie waved Jack off at the school gates and watched until he walked into the building. His little shoulders were slumped. She didn’t think she’d ever seen him quite so sad and it made her heart squeeze in her chest. When she finally got to the funeral parlour, she had to walk around the block before she went in, to make sure she didn’t bring a cloud of unhappiness into the place. It wasn’t fair on the customers. They had enough worries of their own.

All the same, Ronnie’s boss, Mr Furniss, noticed she wasn’t her usual self.

‘Our cat died,’ she admitted.

‘Oh, Ronnie,’ Mr Furniss frowned. ‘That is horrible news. I’ll never forget the day we lost our Siamese, Shere Kahn.’ As he told Ronnie that story, he had to dab away a tear. ‘I didn’t even like cats before my wife brought that kitten home. Five years since he passed and the thought of it can still make me cry. Bloody pets,’ Mr Furniss concluded. ‘They get right under your skin.’

‘They do,’ Ronnie agreed.

Later that day, when he came back from his lunch-break, Mr Furniss brought Ronnie a red Bounty. He placed it on her desk with a respectful nod.

Falling Leaves and Fireworks is available as ebook only for the bargain price of only 99p. So what are you waiting for?!

The best of October's ebook deals

The best of October's ebook deals

Get that ereader loaded up with the latest reads!

 

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

Available: 6th – 12th October

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

‘This is my kind of history: carefully researched but so vivid that you are convinced Lucy Worsley was actually there at the party – or the parsonage.’ Antonia Fraser

‘A refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity.’ Amanda Foreman

‘Brilliant and very moving, this book is a fascinating and original exploration of Jane Austen with lots of new material – Worsley brings Austen to life superbly, through her pages she is a flesh and blood woman, intelligent, powerful, contradictory, loving, loved. A magnificent book.’ Kate Williams

On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.

This new telling of the story of Jane’s life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn’t all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a ‘life without incident’, but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.

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The Year of Saying Yes

The Year of Saying Yes by Hannah Doyle 

Available: 1st – 31st October

Dear Readers,

I hold my hands up: I’m stuck in a rut. For three years and counting I’ve been hopelessly in love with the same guy – and the closest we’ve ever got is a drunken arse grab (NB: this doesn’t count). My favourite hobby is googling cats for spinsters and I’m sick of my shoestring salary that barely pays for my shoebox flat.

I need a head-to-toe life makeover. Enter my ‘Year of Saying Yes’, which is where you come in. To help me sort out my sorry life, I need you to #DareIzzy. For the next 12 months I’ll be saying ‘yes’ to your challenges, no matter how wild, adventurous or plain nuts they are. ‘No’ is not an option!

Here goes… Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Love,

Izzy x

Hannah Doyle’s THE YEAR OF SAYING YES will make you dirty-laugh, feel warm and fuzzy, and rediscover life’s magic – all thanks to one little word: ‘yes’. Fans of Lucy’s Vine’s HOT MESS, Cathy Hopkins’s THE KICKING THE BUCKET LIST, Sophie Kinsella’s MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE, Suzy K Quinn’s THE BAD MOTHER’S DIARY and Fiona Gibson’s THE WOMAN WHO MET HER MATCH, this one’s for you!

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The Hourglass

The Hourglass by Tracy Rees

Available: 1st – 31st October

The powerful third novel from the author of the Richard and Judy bestseller Amy Snow. Perfect for fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Villa in Italy.

It’s 2014. Nora has always taken success for granted, until suddenly her life begins to fall apart. Troubled by anxiety and nightmares, she finds herself drawn to the sweeping beaches of Tenby, a place she’s only been once before. Together with a local girl she rents a beautiful townhouse and slowly begins to settle in to her new life. But Tenby hides a secret, and Nora will soon discover that this little town by the sea has the power to heal even the most painful memories.

It’s 1950. Chloe visits Tenby every summer. She stays with relatives, and spends the long, idyllic days on the beach. Every year is the same, until she meets a glamorous older boy and is instantly smitten. But on the night of their first date, Chloe comes to a realisation, the aftermath of which could haunt her forever.

The Hourglass is a moving novel about finding love even after it seems too late and the healing power of a magical place by the sea.

‘Tracy Rees writes from the heart’ Kathryn Hughes, author of The Letter

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Under A Pole Star

Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney

Available: 1st October – 12th November

*THE RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK* – ‘ONE OF THE BEST NOVELS I HAVE READ FOR A VERY LONG TIME’ RICHARD MADELEY

 A panoramic historical epic and an unforgettable love story from the author of the Costa-winning The Tenderness of Wolves, for fans of Sarah Perry, Jessie Burton and Donna Tartt.

Follow the path to the freezing north. Follow your ambition. Follow your heart

Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father’s whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as head of her own expedition of exploration.

Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet there is an instant connection that slowly builds to become an all-consuming love. The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups. Then, after one last glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.

The stark beauty of the Arctic, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Stef Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.

‘A dazzling tale of romance and survival’ (Guardian)

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Victoria by Daisy Goodwin 

Available: 1st – 31st October

From the creator of the ITV Sunday night drama, VICTORIA, now in its second year, comes the novel by Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling MY LAST DUCHESS and THE FORTUNE HUNTER.

In June 1837, the eighteen-year-old Victoria wakes up to find that she is Queen of the most powerful nation in the world. Can this tiny girl prevail against the men who believe that women are too hysterical to rule? And what are the secrets behind her famously passionate relationship with her husband, Albert?

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The Image of You by Adele Parks 

Available: Until 12th November

The Image of You is the utterly gripping new novel from Adele Parks, author of the No. 1 bestselling ebook, The Stranger In My Home. This compelling story of families, love, deception and secrets is perfect for fans of TV’s Doctor FosterLiarThe Replacement, Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and Shari Lapena.

When all you can see is what they want you to see… Can you ever trust someone you meet online?

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A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

Available: 1st – 31st October

*A Richard & Judy Bookclub Pick Spring 2016*

A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS is the unforgettable and completely captivating new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT and a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

A Year of Marvellous Ways is a glorious, life-affirming story about the magic in everyday life and the pull of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, love and death and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

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All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Available: 5th October – 12th November 2017

From the bestselling author of A Hundred Pieces of Me and One Small Act of Kindness comes a heartwarming, bittersweet and uplifting story of missed chances and unexpected opportunities.

‘Lucy Dillon’s books make the world a better place’ – Heat

Caitlin’s life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy’s Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages – and about what they both really want . . .

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The Pool House

The Pool House by Tasmina Perry

Available until 12th November 2017

The Sunday Times bestselling author is back with a gripping, twisting tale about a suspicious death in the glamorous Hamptons.

A Summer To Die For
To Jem Chapman, it’s the chance of a lifetime. An invitation to join a group in an exclusive Hamptons house-share, who could say no? But when she discovers what happened last summer, Jem can’t help but feel a chill.

A young woman was found drowned in the house’s pool. The housemates said Alice was troubled. She’d been drinking. She couldn’t swim…

A Secret To Kill For
As Jem gets to know her glamorous new housemates, she realises each has something to hide. What really happened last summer? And who would go to any lengths to keep a person quiet?

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