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What We’re Reading

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Recommended by Max

£8.99

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.

Old Baggage

Recommended by Max

£8.99

Available in Paperback

Published February 2019

Published by Transworld Publishers Ltd

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

A poignant, sparklingly written comic novel about the legacy of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and one woman’s determination to create a meaningful present in the wake of her own thrilling and revolutionary past.

Fiery, indefatigable and wilful, Matilda Simkin has made a life of righteous defiance. Once a proudly militant suffragette, her colourful past is littered with acts of bravery and rebellion but, as Mattie enters middle age, the world has moved on. It is 1928 and the once allied movement that she fought with is now irrevocably splintered and factionalised.

Yet – for Mattie at least – the fight is far from over and she is not about to bow out quietly. When a chance encounter on Hayward’s Heath sparks an exciting idea, she embarks headlong on an ambitious new venture that pits her against a new enemy: the rising tide of pre-World War Two British fascism. However, what begins with hope and fervour is jeopardised by the very past Mattie is trying to re-ignite and, as she clings with blind obstinacy to her own ideals, she unwittingly threatens the friendships that hold up her world.

Sharply observed, keenly funny and peppered with the same sparkling, whip-crack dialogue that invested her recently adapted novel, Their Finest, Old Baggage is a gloriously refreshing read. Skewering – and not without relish – the tired motif of the gentle-eyed spinster, Evans delivers a story full of passion and flawed but courageous purpose. A vivid cast, moments of spectacular farce and a pointed reflection on aging and purpose combine for a real cracker of a novel for the New Year; we defy anyone to emerge from reading it without a renewed spring in their step.

The Skylarks’ War

Recommended by Max

£6.99

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.

Lost Connections

Recommended by Max

£8.99

Available in Paperback

Published January 2019

Published by Bloomsbury

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

From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream, a radically new way of thinking about depression and anxiety.

What really causes depression and anxiety – and how can we really solve them?

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking anti-depressants when he was a teenager. He was told that his problems were caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate whether this was true – and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong. Across the world, Hari found social scientists who were uncovering evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused by a chemical imbalance in our brains.

In fact, they are largely caused by key problems with the way we live today.

Hari’s journey took him from a mind-blowing series of experiments in Baltimore, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin.

Once he had uncovered nine real causes of depression and anxiety, they led him to scientists who are discovering seven very different solutions – ones that work. It is an epic journey that will change how we think about one of the biggest crises in our culture today.

His TED talk – ‘Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong’ – has been viewed more than 8 million times and revolutionized the global debate. This book will do the same.