It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model soldier's wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover.
"Foggy, Ungrounded and Vague"
Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline, is persecuted by her wicked stepmother, the Queen, and by Cloten, the Queen's doltish son. Disguised as a boy, she sets out to find her husband, the banished Posthumus. On her journey, she unwittingly meets her two brothers, stolen from the court as infants. Posthumus, meanwhile, has been convinced by the villainous Iachimo that Imogen is unchaste and agrees to a test of her faithfulness.
"A fine performance"
Lady Alice approached the fearsome Warrior who had swept into Lingwood Manor like a storm. Dark and forbidding, with hair as black as midnight and eyes of molten amber, Hugh the Relentless seemed aptly named. Yet to Alice, adept at driving off suitors and handling her insufferable relatives, Sir Hugh was not someone to dread, but the answer to her dreams. He had come for the mysterious green crystal, and would be greatly displeased to learn that it was no longer in her possession. But Alice was certain Sir Hugh could be coaxed into a deal that would benefit them both. In return for a dowry large enough to free Alice and her brother from the grasp of their conniving uncle, she would lend her powers of detection to Sir Hugh's knightly skills and together they would recover his treasured stone.With a tongue as sharp as a dagger, the flame-haired Alice filled Hugh with fury...and a growing fascination. He accepted her terms, with one alteration: Alice must agree to a temporary betrothal and spend the winter in Hugh's great stone fortress, Scarcliffe Keep.The bargain is struck and the adventure begins. But Sir Hugh's lifelong enemy is plotting against them, stirring up a whirlwind of treachery that threatens their fragile alliance.
Edna O'Brien's masterly novel, Wild Decembers, charts the quick and critical demise of relations between Joseph Brennan and Mick Bugler, "the warring sons of warring sons", in the countryside of western Ireland. With her inimitable gift for describing the occasions of heartbreak, O'Brien brings Joseph's love for his land to the level of his sister Breege's love for both him and his rival, Bugler.
In the year 1605, a young, pregnant widow seeks sanctuary at the Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-mer. After the birth of her daughter, she takes up the veil, and a new name, Soeur Auguste. But the peace she has found is shattered five years later by the events that follow the death of her kind benefactress, the Reverend Mother.
"Dark but compelling"
With her inimitable gift for describing the workings of the heart and mind, Edna O’Brien introduces us to a vivid new cast of restless, searching people who – whether in the Irish countryside or London or New York – remind us of our own humanity. A librarian waits in the lobby of a posh Dublin hotel – expecting to meet a celebrated poet while reflecting on the great love who disappointed her. Irish workers dream of becoming millionaires in London, but long for their quickly changing homeland – exiles in both places.
"Bleak but Beautiful"