Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2010-03-01
Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love? Funny, comforting and heart-warming, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand proves that sometimes, against all odds, life does give you a second chance.
Author: Helen Simonson
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2016-03-22
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A novel to cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal . . . a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community.”—The Washington Post The bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand returns with a breathtaking novel of love on the eve of World War I that reaches far beyond the small English town in which it is set. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND NPR East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master. When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war. Praise for The Summer Before the War “What begins as a study of a small-town society becomes a compelling account of war and its aftermath.”—Woman’s Day “This witty character study of how a small English town reacts to the 1914 arrival of its first female teacher offers gentle humor wrapped in a hauntingly detailed story.”—Good Housekeeping “Perfect for readers in a post–Downton Abbey slump . . . The gently teasing banter between two kindred spirits edging slowly into love is as delicately crafted as a bone-china teacup. . . . More than a high-toned romantic reverie for Anglophiles—though it serves the latter purpose, too.”—The Seattle Times “[Helen Simonson’s] characters are so vivid, it’s as if a PBS series has come to life. There’s scandal, star-crossed love and fear, but at its heart, The Summer Before the War is about loyalty, love and family.”—AARP: The Magazine “This luminous story of a family, a town, and a world in their final moments of innocence is as lingering and lovely as a long summer sunset.”—Annie Barrows, author of The Truth According to Us and co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society “Simonson is like a Jane Austen for our day and age—she is that good—and The Summer Before the War is nothing short of a treasure.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun
"Delightful... elegant prose and discussions that span the history of 2,000 years of literature."—Publisher's Weekly A novel is a story transmitted from the novelist to the reader. It offers distraction, entertainment, and an opportunity to unwind or focus. But it can also be something more powerful—a way to learn about how to live. Read at the right moment in your life, a novel can—quite literally—change it. The Novel Cure is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or heart). Aware that you’ve been cowardly? Pick up To Kill a Mockingbird for an injection of courage. Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read One Hundred Years of Solitude for some perspective on the larger cycle of life. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith’s There but for The will convince you that yours could never go that wrong. Whatever your condition, the prescription is simple: a novel (or two), to be read at regular intervals and in nice long chunks until you finish. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will offer solace, showing that you’re not the first to experience these emotions. The Novel Cure is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you’re stuck in traffic or can’t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more. Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, The Novel Cure belongs on everyone’s bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he’s never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature’s ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it. "This appealing and helpful read is guaranteed to double the length of a to-read list and become a go-to reference for those unsure of their reading identities or who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of books in the world."—Library Journal
BONUS: This edition contains a Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet discussion guide and an excerpt from Jamie Ford's Songs of Willow Frost. "Sentimental, heartfelt….the exploration of Henry’s changing relationship with his family and with Keiko will keep most readers turning pages...A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices."-- Kirkus Reviews “A tender and satisfying novel set in a time and a place lost forever, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives us a glimpse of the damage that is caused by war--not the sweeping damage of the battlefield, but the cold, cruel damage to the hearts and humanity of individual people. Especially relevant in today's world, this is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more importantly, it will make you feel." -- Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain “Jamie Ford's first novel explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.” -- Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol. This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.
Author: Victor Lodato
Publisher: Head of Zeus Ltd
Release Date: 2018-02-08
Eight-year-old Edgar Allan Fini is haunted – by his father's absence, his mother's secrets, and the ghosts of his grandmother's past. But he recalls nothing of the accident about which people still whisper. When Edgar meets a man with his own tragic story, he is drawn deep into a damaged, grief-stricken world. Lucy must confront the demons that plague her, to save her son and herself. Tinged with wonder and a dark fairytale heart, Edgar and Lucy is a gripping coming-of-age story about the painful and loving ties that bind us. Praise for Edgar and Lucy: 'Gorgeous. There is poetry on every page ... with delicate, precise observations and unexpected imagery' Sunday Times. 'On every page Lodato's prose sings with a robust, openhearted wit, making Edgar & Lucy a delight to read ... A riveting and exuberant ride' New York Times Book Review. 'I love this book. Profoundly spiritual and hilariously specific ... An unusual and intimate epic that manages to capture the wonder and terror of both child and parenthood with an uncanny clarity' Lena Dunham, bestselling author of Not That Kind of Girl. 'Wonder-filled and magisterial ... The book pushes the boundaries of beauty' Chicago Tribune. 'A quirky coming-of-age novel that deepens into something dark and strange without losing its heart or its sense of wonder' Tom Perrotta, bestselling author of The Leftovers. 'I tore through the luminous pages of Edgar & Lucy as if possessed ... What this book has to say about love and truth will stay with me for a very, very long time' Sophie McManus, bestselling author of The Unfortunates. 'This tale exerts a fiendish grip on the reader' Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. 'Brings to mind J.D. Salinger, Lorrie Moore, Karen Russell, even James Joyce. Edgar & Lucy will make you feel things you haven't felt in ages' Daniel Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West. 'This otherworldly tale will haunt you' People.
Author: Elyse Sommer
Publisher: Visible Ink Press
Release Date: 2013-05-01
Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
Whether it invokes hard work or merely a hen-house, a good simile is like a good picture—it's worth a thousand words. Packed with more than 16,000 imaginative, colorful phrases—from “abandoned as a used Kleenex” to “quiet as an eel swimming in oil”—the Similes Dictionary will help any politician, writer, or lover of language find just the right saying, be it original or banal, verbose or succinct. Your thoughts will never be "as tedious as a twice-told tale" or "dry as the Congressional Record." Choose from elegant turns of phrases “as useful as a Swiss army knife” and “varied as expressions of the human face”. Citing more than 2,000 sources—from the Bible, Socrates, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, and H. L. Mencken to popular movies, music, and television shows—the Similes Dictionary covers hundreds of subjects broken into thematic categories that include topics such as virtue, anger, age, ambition, importance, and youth, helping you find the fitting phrase quickly and easily. Perfect for setting the atmosphere, making a point, or helping spin a tale with economy, intelligence, and ingenuity, the vivid comparisons found in this collection will inspire anyone.
Author: Miranda Emmerson
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Release Date: 2017-01-12
How do you find a missing actress in a city where everyone’s playing a role? A mystery, a love-story and a darkly beguiling tale of secrets and reinvention set in 1960s London. ‘FABULOUS!’ Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand A STYLIST MOST EXCITING NEW READ OF JANUARY 2017
Author: Ursula Werner
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-02-21
Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel that “powerfully portrays the inner struggles of ordinary people moved to do extraordinary things” (Booklist) takes place over three days during World War II when members of a German family must make “the sometimes impossible choice between family and morality” (Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand). When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin to the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of the Fuhrer’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the village. But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts. “With jaw-clenching suspense and unexpected tenderness” (Jacquelyn Mitchard), The Good at Heart is an “engaging…rich…evocative” (Library Journal) portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right, especially for those they love.
Three Orthodox Jewish women search for truth amid a lifetime of secrets in this “heartfelt story of loss, hope, and reconciliation” (Booklist). Barbara Blumfield, a big-hearted suburban Milwaukee mom and preschool teacher, was seventeen years old when her mother’s affair ripped her family from their Orthodox Jewish community. When the rabbi’s wife summons Barbara to perform the ritual burial washing of her beloved teacher, she walks back into the spiritual and emotional home her mother burned down. Exhuming generations of secrets is the only way Barbara can forgive her estranged mother and in turn spare her daughter their crippling family legacy. Michelle Brafman’s “fast-paced and compelling” debut novel examines the experience of religious community, the perilous emotional path to adulthood, and the power of sacred rituals to repair damaged bonds between mothers and daughters (Library Journal). “Intimate, big-hearted, compassionate and clear-eyed, Brafman’s novel turns secrets into truths and the truth into the heart of fiction.” —Amy Bloom, author of Lucky Us and Away “From roots in one religious tradition, comes a tale of emotional redemption for all of us. Michelle Brafman’s astonishing compassion for all human frailty infuses this story about the need for truth and the promise of forgiveness.” —Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From Jamie Ford, author of the beloved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, Songs of Willow Frost is a powerful tale of two souls—a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past—both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song. Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen. Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home. Praise for Songs of Willow Frost “If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying.”—Lisa Genova “[A] poignant tale of lost and found love.”—Tampa Bay Times “Arresting . . . [with] the kind of ending readers always hope for, but seldom get.”—The Dallas Morning News “[An] achingly tender story . . . a tale of nuance and emotion.”—The Providence Journal “Ford crafts [a] beautiful, tender tale of love transcending the sins people perpetrate on one another and shows how the strength of our primal relationships is the best part of our human nature.”—Great Falls Tribune “Remarkable . . . likely to appeal to readers who enjoy the multi-generational novels of Amy Tan.”—Bookreporter “Jamie Ford is a first-rate novelist, and with Songs of Willow Frost he takes a great leap forward and demonstrates the uncanny ability to move me to tears.”—Pat Conroy “With vivid detail, Jamie Ford brings to life Seattle’s Chinatown during the Depression and chronicles the high price those desperate times exacted from an orphaned boy and the woman he believes is his mother. Songs of Willow Frost is about innocence and the loss of it, about longing, about the power of remembered love.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank “Ford’s boundless compassion for the human spirit, in all its strengths and weaknesses, makes him one of our most unique and compelling storytellers.”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame—as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash—in a heart-wrenching and life-affirming novel for readers of Small Great Things, Little Fires Everywhere, and The Immortalists. What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them are a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Edward's story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery—one that will lead him to the answers of some of life’s most profound questions: When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again. Advance praise for Dear Edward “Eddie is an ordinary twelve-year-old, until a horrific plane crash turns him into the real-life Boy Who Lived. Ann Napolitano brings clear-eyed compassion to every character in Dear Edward, from Edward himself, caught between living and merely surviving, to his fellow passengers, who don't have that choice. The result is a rich, big-hearted tapestry that leaves no one behind. Fans of Room and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will be spellbound by Dear Edward, which explores trauma with the same honesty and tenderness as it does the crooked path to healing.”—Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists “Weaving past and present into a profoundly beautiful, page-turning story of mystery, loss, and wonder, Dear Edward is a meditation on survival, but more important, it is about carving a life worth living. It is about love and hope and caring for others, and all the transitory moments that bind us together.”—Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and The Good Thief
For Constance Harding - village bell-ringer, devoted mother to perplexingly unmarried Rupert and Lycra-clad gap-year strumpet Sophie - life in the Home Counties is heavenly. But when Constance dips her toe in the murky waters of the blogosphere, she gets out of her depth. Unbeknown to her, Constance's home conceals scandal that would make the vicar blush. As her family comes undone, she embarks on an extraordinary journey: from tripping in Ibiza to riding bareback with an Argentinean gaucho - his only English words 'Britney' and 'Spears'... She's about to discover a wider world she thought it was too late to find...