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Hart's Books

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What We’re Reading

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published February 2019

Published by Vintage

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock finds one of his captains waiting eagerly on his doorstep. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society, where he meets Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course.

What will be the cost of their ambitions?

And will they be able to escape the legendary destructive power a mermaid is said to possess?

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018

The Salt Path

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published February 2019

Published by Penguin

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2018

Shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018

Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years is terminally ill, their home and livelihood is taken away.

With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

They have almost no money for food or shelter and must carry only the essentials for survival on their backs as they live wild in the ancient, weathered landscape of cliffs, sea and sky. Yet through every step, every encounter, and every test along the way, their walk becomes a remarkable journey.

The Salt Path is an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published October 2018

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

Described as Gosford Park meets Inception, by way of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, this is a novel unlike any other. One of the most highly-anticipated debuts of 2018, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle merges the glamour and intrigue of classic murder mystery tropes with an innovative, chinese box narrative that leaves the reader guessing until the very end. A brilliantly original high concept murder mystery from a fantastic new talent

Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once.

Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

‘Original’, ‘unique’, ‘fiendishly clever’ and ‘remarkable’: critics have been knocked for six by Stuart Turton’s mind-blowing take on the country house thriller. The setup – a murder, a set of assembled guests – seems familiar, but the execution is anything but. Simply unmissable.

The Skylarks’ War

Recommended by Max


Available in Paperback

Published January 2019

Published by Pan Macmillan

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

Already victorious as the Children’s Book Award Winner for the 2018 Costa Book Awards, Hilary Mckay puts her unmistakable stamp on an affecting and heart-filled tale of lives overshadowed by the First World War and saved by the enduring consolation of family and friendship.

Brought up in an austere and cold London house in the haphazard care of their largely absent father and a short-tempered housekeeper, Peter and Clarry long for each summer when they can escape to their grandparent’s house in Cornwall. Here they and their kind and charismatic cousin Rupert taste true freedom and a kindling of mutual kindness and understanding.

Yet beyond their Skylark summers, forces are pulling them apart, with Peter sent to boarding school and Clary left at home. When the Great War breaks out and Rupert enlists, it seems that their lives will be forever changed.

A seasoned storyteller – she won the Whitbread Award for her bestseller Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay knows how to craft an utterly engrossing tale and pull her readers into its embrace and, in The Skylarks’ War, her talents are given full rein. Vividly capturing the poignancy of golden summers, gradually stolen by history’s unforgiving march, McKay creates a story of lives shaped and sustained by memory and family. There is much poignancy to be found in the way she explores the alterations wrought upon her characters by the pain and anguish of war, but this is tempered by a deft understanding of what remains and sustains us when the world is at its darkest.