Annie McDee, alone after the disintegration of her long-term relationship and trapped in a dead-end job, is searching for a present for her unsuitable lover in a neglected secondhand shop. Within the jumble of junk and tack, a grimy painting catches her eye. Leaving the store with the picture after spending her meagre savings, she prepares an elaborate dinner for two - only to be stood up, the gift gathering dust on her mantelpiece.
"A good read but a terrible female narrator"
For Lucy Riddick, Venice has always been the dream destination, the ideal place to lose herself. And now she needs to do just that. The secret she's been keeping has finally caught up with her and Lucy needs to disappear - fast. But what if, when she sets foot in Venice, Lucy finds the one thing she has been running from?
"Fun and Absorbing"
Successful lady novelist Laura Morland and her boisterous young son, Tony, set off to spend Christmas at her country home in the sleepy surrounds of High Rising. But Laura's wealthy friend and neighbor, George Knox, has taken on a scheming secretary whose designs on marriage to her employer threaten the delicate social fabric of the village.
"Beginning of a journey"
When young and beautiful governess Kate Malvern finds herself unemployed, she is taken in by Minerva Broome, the aunt she has never met, and whisked away to the majestic country home of Staplewood. However, things are not as they seem: strange things start to happen in the manor and Staplewood soon turns from an inviting stately house to a cold and gloomy mansion with a dreadful secret!
"Classic Heyer, narrator falls short"
Trapped in a London flat, Beth remembers a transgressive love affair in 1960s Paris. The most famous writer in Russia takes his last breath in a stationmaster’s cottage, miles from Moscow. A father, finally free of his daughter’s demands, embarks on a long swim from his Canadian lakeside retreat. And in the grandest house of all, Danni the Polish housekeeper catches the eye of an enigmatic visitor.Rose Tremain awakens the senses in this diverse collection of short stories.
"Mixed Bag (but the good stories are really good)"
1421: Henry V and his young bride, Catherine de Valois, are blessed with the birth of a son - but their happiness is short-lived. Catherine is widowed and when her father, the French king, also dies, her son inherits the crowns of France and England. Just 10 months old, Henry VI will need his mother's watchful care to protect him from political intrigue, but Catherine is a foreigner at the English Court. Lonely and vulnerable, she is held in suspicion by those with their own claims to the throne.
"Amazing Performance & Equally Amazing Story"
Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an 18th-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham, and Jude feels close to the old woman at once. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land, and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. Jude's arrival brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived.
"Great Story..Great Narration"
In The Duck in the Park, Lulu finds a duck egg that has rolled out of its nest and takes it to class to keep it safe. Pets aren’t allowed at school, but surely this doesn’t count? After all, it’s just an egg.... In The Dog from the Sea, she goes on holiday and finds a dog living on the beach. Everyone in town thinks the dog is trouble. But Lulu is sure he just needs a friend... In The Cat in the Bag, a mysterious bag is left on Lulu’s doorstep. The last thing her nan expects to be in it is a huge, marigold-coloured cat. But Lulu knows that this cat needs a lovely new home.
Lavinia Brandon is quite the loveliest widow in Barsetshire, blessed with beauty and grace as well as two handsome grown-up children, Delia and Francis. So thinks their cousin, Hilary Grant, when he comes to stay and - like many before him - promptly falls for his fragrant hostess.
"What a joy!"
Emma Blair once again richly evokes the setting and characters of Scotland during the 30s. Continuing the story she began in Flower of Scotland, Emma invites the listener back into the lives of the Drummond family, who are still dealing with the aftermath of the First World War but now must also face up to the horrors of the Second. Andrew and Rose are running the distillery and have given a job to Jack's son, Tommy.
When William X dies, the duchy of Aquitaine is left to his 15-year-old daughter, Eleanor. But such a position for an unmarried woman puts the whole kingdom at risk. So on his deathbed William made a will that would ensure his daughter’s protection: he promised her hand in marriage to the future King of France. Eleanor grows into a romantic and beautiful queen, but she has inherited the will of a king, determined to rule Aquitaine using her husband’s power as King of France. Her
A best-selling author on both sides of the Atlantic, Sharon Kendrick pens romances that stir listeners’ souls. In His Majesty’s Child, King Casimiro rules all of Zaffirinthos, with only one problem - an accident has left him with amnesia. Casimiro has no earthly idea why he’s taken Melissa Maguire, a delicate Englishwoman, as his queen. As Casimiro gets reacquainted with his lady wife, she begins to stir passions he never thought possible, but Melissa also harbors a secret that will rock the kingdom
It's 1782. The 13-year-old daughter of a Venetian merchant family is lured naked from her bath by a stray cat and finds herself in the arms of Casanova - the legendary seducer of women. Twenty-five years later Cecilia is in Albania, now a portrait painter of some renown. Enter a young man from England, a troubled poet, looking for adventure at any price - a man who begins his affair with Cecilia.
Ever have that nagging feeling that you are better than the sum of your current achievements? Do you have a secret desire to be achieving much more, to change the world, or to reach the top of your game? Then it is time to use your ambition to your advantage. It has been proven that ambitious people achieve greater levels of success, whether that be a higher level of education, a more prestigious job, a higher income, or more satisfaction in life.
When Henry VI becomes king, it is soon clear that he would be more suited to a quiet life. Richard, Duke of York, is convinced that he would make a better king and has more right to the crown. But Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s new French wife, is a formidable woman who is just as determined to keep Henry on the throne. Most powerful of all is the Earl of Warwick, and with his support of Richard of York the War of the Roses begins.
In the nursery, only the toys that are old and wise truly understand what it means to be Real. The Velveteen Rabbit, a newcomer to the nursery, asks one of the most knowledgeable toys, the Skin Horse, what being real means. "Real isn't how you’re made," says the Skin Horse. "It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real. It doesn't happen all at once."
Thailand 1996. The Year of The Rat. Pete, a young travel writer, wanders into a Bangkok go-go bar and meets the love of his life. Joy is the girl of his dreams, young, stunningly pretty, and one of the Zombie Bar's top-earning pole dancers. What follows is a roller-coaster ride of sex, drugs, and deception, as Pete discovers that his very own private dancer is not all that she claims to be. And that far from being the girl of his dreams, Joy is his own personal nightmare.
"right on the money "
Scotland has been torn apart by civil war, and the young and passionate Catholic Mary Queen of Scots is in the hands of her enemies. Under duress, Mary abdicates in favour of her son, James VI, and flees to England for safety, boldly seeking refuge with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. But Elizabeth has never trusted the ambitious Catholic queen and has Mary imprisoned.
"And Her Soul Yearned to be Free"
Anton Pallis is livid! As the adopted son of the Kanellis patriarch, he's set to inherit the vast family fortune. Until it's revealed there's a true heir - in the rather appealing shape of Zoe Ellis. Zoe's Greek heritage means nothing to her - and to be involved with the Kanellis dynasty is to be cursed with scandal! Except now, it's pounding on her front door - or rather, Anton is, in all his dark, chiseled glory. And she has no idea what he's going to do next....
The young Princess Victoria, strictly confined within the boundaries of Kensington Palace, is being moulded for her awesome future as Queen of England. Surrounded by her dolls and closely guarded by her domineering mother and faithful governess, she slowly becomes aware of the bitter conflicts that surround her. The jealous and scheming Duke of Cumberland is a constant threat to her rightful accession …her mother’s sinister friend, Sir John Conroy, makes her uneasy … and the bickering between her mother and the king seems never-ending.