A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
OVE IS ALMOST certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks that he is surrounded by idiots – joggers, neighbours who can’t reverse a trailer properly, and shop assistants who speak in code. But isn’t it rare these days to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be and a life-long dedication to making it just so?
In the end you will see that there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible. I wasn’t sure about this book at first, but I persevered and ended up loving it. This is a Richard and Judy Book Club choice.
The Italian Matchmaker
by Santa Montefiore
GIAnLUCA HAS to admit that his life is empty. His marriage is over, and he barely knows his young daughters. In search of serenity he flees to Italy, to the magical Palazzo Montelimore – lovingly restored by his parents – to reconnect with himself.
But life on the sun-drenched Amalfi coast is not as peaceful as Luca hoped. The Palazzo is filled with his mother’s eccentric friends and haunted by the ghosts of its murderous past. Then he meets a woman whose dark eyes are heavy with sorrow, and a solemn little boy with an incredible secret. And as he begins to unravel a mystery that has its roots in a long-ago act of violence, Luca is forced to face his greatest fear in exchange for the greatest truth.
The Surgeon’s Mate
by Patrick O’Brian
JACK AUBREY and Stephen Maturin are ordered home by despatch vessel to bring the news of their latest victory to the government. But Maturin is a marked man for the havoc he has wrought in the French intelligence network in the New World and the attentions of two privateers soon becoming menacing.
The chase that follows through the fogs and shallows of the Grand Banks is thrilling, as tense and unexpected as anything that Patrick O’Brian has written. Then, among other things, there follows a shipwreck and particularly sinister internment in the Temple Prison in Paris. Once again the fascinating Diana Villiers redresses the balance in this man’s world of seamanship and war.
by James Patterson
ALEX CROSS left his hometown, and some awful family tragedies for a better life with Nana Mama in Washington DC. He hasn’t looked back. Now his cousin Stefan has been accused of a horrible, unthinkable murder, and Cross drives south with Bree, Nana Mama, Jannie and Ali to Starksville, North Carolina, for the first time in 35 years.
Back home he discovers a once proud community down on its luck, and local residents who don’t welcome him with open arms. As Cross steps into his family home, the horrors of his childhood flood back – and he learns that they are not really over. He brings all his skill to bear to find out the truth about his cousin’s case. But truth is hard to come by in a town where no one feels safe to speak.
by Peter S Holloway
FOR FORMER WARTIME evacuee Ted Harris being drafted into the Royal Navy represents a chance to escape from his dull and unaffectionate parents. But once he has experienced the free-flowing lifestyle of Kingston, Jamaica, while serving on HMS Wasp, the electrical mechanic finds the prospect of returning to a nine-to-five job that awaits him less than enticing. Encouraged by Chief Petty Officer ‘Rip’ Henderson, Ted seeks to better himself by undertaking extra studies whilst at sea.
This evocative, nostalgic and at times tragic novel, closely based on the real-life experiences of the author, recreates an era before mass tourism, a time when Caribbean islands were an unexpected paradise to young sailors sent there from the cold, grey mother country on the other side of the Atlantic.