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warden Joe Pickett has an enthusiastic following among Ashburton readers. Joe is alarmed at the reappearance of Dallas
Cates, the rodeo star favourite son of local psychopath Brenda Cates, whose war
on the Pickett family resulted in the deaths of most of her clan and her own
imprisonment. Wherever Dallas goes,
murder and mayhem follows, but there seems to be no way of proving his
involvement. In the meantime, Joe’s
family is at risk of their lives once again, as they are hunted by an axe
wielding meth-head. The Pickett’s scary
friend Nate Romanowski comes to the rescue.
is that rare thing, a ripping good adventure yarn that is classy as well. Set in 1936, the year of the Berlin Olympics,
and the abdication of Edward the Seventh.
Nancy Hereward, the daughter of a British Fascist sympathiser is found
dead of an apparent heroin overdose after a trip to Berlin. Her friend Lydia lives next door to history professor
Tom Wilde, in Cambridge. Wilde comforts
Lydia, who is further distressed by the brutal murder of the parents of another
close friend. This couple, too, had been
Nazi sympathisers. At the heart of the
mystery is the fey figure of the abdicating King and his nemesis, the stolid Prime
Minister, Stanley Baldwin.
gripping story set in Bristol at the time of the French Revolution. Lizzie Fawkes comes from a family of Radical
writers; her mother and stepfather are excited by the promise of liberty and
equality from the events in France.
Lizzie’s husband, an over-extended property developer, fears the
political upheaval’s effect on house sales.
His possessiveness and jealousy of Lizzie’s family becomes pathological,
and she is forced into deciding where her deepest loyalty lies.
Fraser is the daughter of the author George MacDonald Fraser, creator of the
Flashman series that some readers will fondly remember. This is another novel set in the late 1930’s
and the war years. It follows the
fortunes of the young guests and family members at a country house weekend in
1936, as they form relationships and careers, which are disrupted by the rise
family life rivalled that of Henry Tudor for its violence and intrigue. Nero
had the excuse of coming from a long line of familial murderers. His mother Agrippina was a sister of the
bloody tyrant Caligula, and is generally thought to have smoothed Nero’s way to
the imperial throne by murdering the Emperor Claudius and his son,
Britannicus. Nero repaid this favour by
having Agrippina killed, probably because she was conspiring to kill him. Charming family. Not surprisingly, the author only partly
succeeds in making Nero a sympathetic character, a task she will continue in a
Goodwin is a natural successor to Catherine Cookson. In this novel, an abandoned workhouse baby,
called Sunday because that was the day she was found on the doorstep, grows up
into a feisty young woman. Always ready
to champion the underdog, when her fortunes change and she finds a good job,
Sunday rescues several of her friends from the orphanage too. But could her fortunes improve beyond her
crime novelists tend to bring a strong sense of place to their writing. With Elly Griffiths that place is
Norfolk. We gain an insider’s view of
the saltmarshes where her heroine, archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway lives, and
Norwich, where she lectures. But not all
is well in that lovely city. A hole
appears in the road, exposing an underground cavern and what Ruth finds is a
disturbingly recent skeleton. Then the
homeless start to disappear. As DCI
Nelson searches, he begins to hear rumours that they have “gone under”, but it
takes the efforts of all his team, and Ruth as well, to discover what this means.
1944 Holland, sixteen year old Noa has been cast out by her family. She has become pregnant by a German soldier,
and has to give up her new born baby to the Lebensborn programme. Working as a railway cleaner, she finds a
cattle truck containing tiny Jewish babies, dying in the cold. She takes one of the babies and sets off into
the snow. The pair are rescued by a German
travelling circus, and Noa trains on the high-wire under the tutelage of
Astrid, a Jewish performer who is hiding with the circus. This is the story of their rocky friendship,
the tragedies they encounter, and how in the end, love and loyalty
triumph. Very readable, but don’t expect
a completely happy ending.
will know the moving and evocative painting “Christina’s World” by the American
artist, Andrew Wyeth. It shows a
crippled girl gazing or crawling across a grassy expanse. In the distance is a weathered farmhouse and
outbuildings. This is the story of that
girl, Christina Olson, and her life in rural Maine after the onset of
paralysis, and the liberation she feels when Wyeth brings contact with the
book in the long-running Courtney series, about a white African family and
their adventures. We are now in the
middle of the 20th Century, and the heroine is Saffron, the spirited
daughter of Leon Courtney. While Leon’s
commercial and farming interests are a sub-plot, she remains centre stage. Saffron’s upbringing in Kenya and England,
her star-crossed affair with a young German pilot are followed by adventure on
the high seas. Saffron and her father
attempt to snatch the Greek gold reserves from under the noses of the invading
German army. All good high octane
rescue of an injured baby magpie by one of the three young Bloom boys followed
closely on the severe paralysis injury of their mother, Sam, in a fall during
an Asian holiday. In this book their
father Cameron uses touching, often funny, photographs of the bird, Penguin, to
mirror his wife’s painful adjustment to her injury and subsequent return to
family life. Not just the record of
Sam’s emotional journey, this book offers not only hope and but some
wrenchingly realistic advice for people suffering from spinal cord injuries,
and their families.
interesting study of the life and times of the famous English novelist and
travel writer, mainly known these days for his bestselling novel Brideshead
Revisited. An irascible character given
to bluster and the bottle, we have to take it on trust that Waugh possessed any
charm, but he had many loyal lifelong friends, not all of them with the
aristocratic backgrounds he seems to have preferred. He was certainly a clever
and funny man, although often cruel.
This book gives a glimpse into the British upper class way of life
between the wars and after (Waugh died in 1966), and the lives of many famous
people of the time.
2003 John Nixon was a CIA analyst with specialist knowledge about Saddam and
his regime. He was called in to identify
Saddam, and to question him. The main
official reason for this was to find out where any weapons of mass destruction were
held. We now know that this arsenal did
not exist. But the revelation of
Saddam’s motives, character, and beliefs makes fascinating reading. A ruthless tyrant, who killed hundreds of
thousands of his own people, Saddam had one great virtue; he believed that
religion should play no part in politics.
During his rule, Saddam was a strong and successful opponent of radical
Islamic extremism in Iraq. His removal
created a power vacuum in Iraq, assisting in the rise of a surely even greater
re-examination of the short life and tragic death of Henry VIII’s fifth queen, the
teenaged Catherine (or Katherine) Howard, beheaded for treason within a year of
their marriage. Catherine had a
clandestine affair during her adolescence.
During the later months of her marriage she developed a romance with
Thomas Culpepper, one of the King’s attendants. The author does not agree with
the usual analysis that the Howard family pushed an impressionable Catherine
forward as a queen replacement for her cousin, Anne Boleyn. He sees her as a
thoughtless, popular girl who liked intrigue and to be the centre of
attention. Unfortunately, she caught
Henry’s roving eye, but then could not survive the inevitable close scrutiny of
author does not much like President Trump, and such is his wit and withering
scorn, it is difficult to finish this book without a strong sense of unease
about the future. As the author
tellingly puts it, hopefully with much exaggeration “Twenty years from now,
when we’re all living live prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks,
we’ll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end”. Taibbi, a journalist, kept a journal on the
Trump campaign “bus”, so we can see the saga unfold across America. From disaffected town to town, we hear the voices
of voters who feel thrown on the rubbish heap by the political establishment,
and come to realise why this result should not have been hard to predict.
Back in the far off days when television hadn't been invented many children found an Annual in their Christmas stockings. They featured heroes such as Rupert the bear and other popular book and magazine characters. Kate De Goldi, Susan Paris and friends have put together an Annual following a similar format. Stories are mixed with poems, jokes, things to do and comic strips. The look may be retro but the content is definitely 2017. Annual is the perfect browsing book, with something for everyone.
Remember the three Billy Goats Gruff? Grandson Billy and his friend Cyril star in
this modern twist on the goats versus troll story. Billy picks up a phone that the farmer has lost. The friends have some laughs. But when do a few texts and the threat of an
internet posting cross the line from harmless fun to cyber bullying?
Our earliest stories were often written to illustrate
a moral. It’s interesting to see this
continued to cover 21st century themes.