Recommended reads this week

Top PickCat out of Hells

James, Erica  Summer at the lake A wedding invitation changed everything for Floriana. If she hadn’t been so distracted at the thought of having to witness the one true love of her life get married, she would have seen the car coming and there would have been no need for elderly spinster Esme Silcox and local property developer Adam Strong to rush to her aid. If she hadn’t met them she would never have had the courage to agree to attend Seb’s wedding in Lake Como. For Esme, Lake Como awakens memories of when she stayed at the lake as a 19-year-old and fell in love . She’s often wondered what happened to the man who stole her heart ..

Susan Lewis’s domestic tale Never say goodbye   gets a 5 * How would you cope with the threat of losing someone you love? Josie Clarke is a loving wife and mother. She and her husband Jeff don’t have much and it’s often difficult to make ends meet. But Josie will do anything to protect her family and keep them safe. Bel Monkton is a successful property developer, living in a beautiful house by the sea. She seems to have everything going for her, but she’s lonely. And she’s let the shadows from her past cloud her future. Josie’s life couldn’t be more different to Bel’s. But three years ago, tragedy tore Bel’s life in two. Now it’s happening to Josie. And faced with uncertainty and heartbreak, they come to treasure their growing friendship Road ends

Mary Lawson’s  Road ends In this masterful, enthralling, and tender novel, which takes us from the silver rush in Northern Ontario in the early 1900s to London in the 60s, Mary Lawson gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy and, in time, hope to start again Domestic fiction

If you like Barbara Vine try this – Nugent Unravelling Oliver  psychological suspense,  a complex and elegant study of the making of a sociopath. Oliver Ryan is a handsome and charismatic success story. He lives in the leafy suburbs with his wife, Alice, who illustrates his award-winning children’s books and gives him her unstinting devotion. Their life is one of enviable privilege and ease – until, one evening after supper, Oliver attacks Alice and puts her into a coma. In the aftermath, as everyone tries to make sense of his astonishing act of savagery, Oliver tells his story. Psychological fiction

Books by Lynne Truss of ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ and former agony aunt Virginia Ironside worth a look.

Bradford  Being Elizabeth Elizabeth Turner, aged just 25, stands in the position she has dreamed of – inheriting the family business, Deravenels. Over 800 years old, the company is a bastion of male chauvinism and the challenge that lies ahead of Elizabeth is immense. Domestic fiction

Clement  Prayers for the stolen    The Narcos only had to hear there was a pretty girl around and they’d sweep onto our lands in black SUVs and carry the girl off. Not one of the stolen girls had ever come back, except for Paula. She came back a year after she’d been kidnapped. She held a baby bottle in one hand. She wore seven earrings that climbed the cupped edge of her left ear in a line of blue, yellow, and green studs and a tattoo that snaked around her wrist.

Davies  Family likeness A young woman climbs the steps of a smart London address on her first day as a live-in nanny. In Kent in the 1950s a little girl called Muriel is growing up bewildered and lonely. Despite her best efforts to please everyone, nobody wants anything to do with her. A figure in a 19th century painting inspires intrigue and a sense of connection across the years.

Deville  Plague and cholera Paris, May 1940. Nazi troops storm the city and at Le Bourget airport, on the last flight out, sits Dr Alexandre Yersin, his gaze politely turned away from his fellow passengers with their jewels sewn into their luggage. He is too old for the combat ahead, and besides he has already saved millions of lives. When he was the brilliant young protégé of Louis Pasteur, he focused his exceptional mind on a great medical conundrum: in 1894, on a Hong Kong hospital forecourt, he identified and vaccinated against bubonic plague, later named in his honour Yersinia pestis. Swiss by birth and trained in Germany and France, he is the son of a European tradition of endeavour; but he has a romantic hunger for adventure, fuelled by tales of Livingstone and Conrad, and sets sail for South-East Asia Translated from French, Biographical fiction

Dillon  A hundred pieces of me First she got her health back, then jettisoned the cheating husband, and now Gina wants a fresh start. She decides to simplify her life by giving away everything she owns, bar one hundred items. But in moving to Longhampton – complete with friendly neighbours and a handsome love interest – Gina finds that as fast as she gives her possessions away, she gains things too. Over the course of a year Gina will find a sense of happiness she’s never felt before, and what it means to finally live life to the full. And it could all be just in time

Franco  Actors anonymous Inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, ‘Actors Anonymous’ is a dark, genre-bending work that mixes memoir and pure invention in an audacious examination of celebrity, acting and the making of fiction

Glazebrook  Never mind Miss Fox Clive and Martha have been together since they met at university; they have a young daughter, Eliza. Their marriage appears serene and content but when Eliza’s adored new piano teacher turns out to be a woman from their past, the enigmatic Eliot Fox, Clive becomes desperate to keep Eliot – and what she knows – away from his family

Hamilton  Every single minute ‘Every Single Minute’ is based on a journey to Berlin which the author Hugo Hamilton undertook in May 2008 with his fellow Irish writer, Nuala O Faolain. She was dying of cancer and had only ten days to live. In a moving fictional reconstruction, the novel traces two days they spent fulfilling her final wish and the intensity of those final hours in Berlin before she returned to Dublin

Hutchins  A working theory of love  Since his ‘starter’ marriage dissolved a couple of years ago, 36-year-old Neill Bassett has been learning how to be single again. Now he’s learning the skills and routines that long-term bachelorhood requires – how to be less spontaneous, how not to feel too much, how to eat standing up

Ironside  No! I don’t need reading glasses Marie may be ‘getting on a bit’ but it’s certainly not getting her down. She’s working part time so there are more hours each day to enjoy life. She has her friends. She has Pouncer, the cat, as well as a darling grandson. And she has Archie to share her bed. All this, plus the Daily Rant’s screaming headlines to wake her up in the morning. Life’s good. But nothing stays the same for long. A roller-coaster of a year beckons – a year that contains love and death, laughter and tears and the bizarre decision to take up temporary residence in a tree. Diary fiction

Korelitz  You should have known Grace Sachs, a happily married therapist with a young son, thinks she knows everything about women, men, and marriage. She is about to publish a book called ‘You Should Have Known’, based on her pet theory: women don’t value their intuition about what men are really like, leading to serious trouble later on. But how well does Grace know her own husband? She is about to find out, and in the place of what she thought she knew, there will be a violent death, a missing husband, and a chain of terrible revelations. Psychological fiction

McFarlane  The night guest  Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. She claims to be a care-worker and Ruth lets her in. But who exactly is she letting in? Australian fiction

McKeon  All that is solid melts into air  In a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a nine-year-old piano prodigy practices silently for fear of disturbing the neighbours. In a factory on the outskirts of the city, his aunt makes car parts, trying to hide her dissident past. In the hospital, a surgeon immerses himself in his work to avoid facing his failed marriage. And in a rural village in Belarus, a teenage boy wakes up to a sky of the deepest crimson. Outside, the ears of his neighbour’s cattle are dripping blood. Ten miles away, at the Chernobyl Power Plant, something unimaginable has happened. Now their lives will change forever

Minot  Thirty girls  Esther is a Ugandan teenager abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to witness and commit unspeakable atrocities, who is struggling to survive, to escape, and to find a way to live with what she has seen and done. Jane is an American journalist who has travelled to Africa, hoping to give a voice to children like Esther and to find her centre after a series of failed relationships. In unflinching prose, Minot interweaves their stories, giving us razor-sharp portraits of two extraordinary young women confronting displacement, heartbreak, and the struggle to wrest meaning from events that test them both in unimaginable ways

Monroe  Warrior’s moon Chrechte wolf shifter Caelis turned his back on his human lover Shona so that he could remain loyal to his pack. Six years later, he thinks she’s dead. He’s wrong. After being rejected by Caelis, Shona was forced to marry an English baron. Now she’s on the run from the deceased baron’s heir. Determined to protect her children, she heads north to Balmoral Island, the only family she has left. And runs into the one man she never wants to see again – and the only one who might be able to save her Paranormal romance

Montefiore  The butterfly box  When her parents marriage falls apart, Federica is forced to set up home in Cornwall with her mother. Embraced by the eccentric Appleby family, she loses her heart to their son Sam, who barely notices the little girl until it is too late Love story

Moore  Bark  This title presents eight masterful stories, in which Lorrie Moore explores the passage of time, and summons up its inevitable sorrows and comic pitfalls

Moyes  The one plus one The independent says this is ‘majectic and utterley compelling’ Suppose your life sucks. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your stepson is being bullied and your daughter has a once in a lifetime opportunity – that you can’t afford to pay for. So imagine you found and kept some money that didn’t belong to you, knowing it would pay for your daughter’s happiness. But how do you cope with the shame? Especially when the man you’ve lied to decides to help you out in your hour of need. Jo is in hell – Ed has saved her family – but is their happiness worth a lifetime’s soul-searching?

Nevo  Neuland  Dori’s father has gone travelling in South America and, suffering from some kind of breakdown, following the death of his wife, he goes missing. Dori sets out to find him, leaving his wife and young son at home in Israel. Inbar is escaping from her life – from the grief that she can’t shake after her brother’s death, from the boyfriend she doesn’t love – and impulsively sets out for South America. While she’s there she meets a man who is searching for his father Translated from Hebrew

Nichols  A different world  1939. Warsaw, Poland. Pilot Jan Grabowski receives orders that take him to the heart of the escalating conflict. He leaves behind his wife, Rulka, who sees Poland overcome by the Nazis. In constant danger and amid cruel reprisals, she joins the Resistance. Norfolk. Louise Fairhurst’s war is very different. Evacuated with her class of ten-year-olds from London she finds herself acting mother as well as teacher to the children. She has much to do settling city children down in the countryside, and she wonders whether she should have stayed in London until a chance meeting with Jan alters her path Love story

Shearer  This is the life  ‘Life just seems like a big party sometimes, at which we all gradually get edged to the door, and then we are out in the cold. But the party continues without us.’ This is the story of Louis, who never quite fitted in, and of his younger brother who always tagged along. Two brothers on one final journey together, wading through the stuff that is thicker than water

Truss,L  Cat out of Hell The mesmerising tale of a cat with nine lives, and a relationship as ancient as time itself and just as powerful. The scene: a cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Inside, a room with curtains drawn. Tea has just been made. A kettle still steams. Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat. The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting. The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant. ‘Shall we begin?’ says the cat. Magic realism/fantasy

Walsh  The lemon grove Jenn and her husband Greg holiday each year in Deia, enjoying languorous afternoons by the pool. But this year the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of Emma, Jenn’s stepdaughter, and her boyfriend Nathan. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by the notion of Nathan’s youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly-charged liaison that put lives and relationships in jeopardy

Wiggs  The summer hideaway Never get attached – private nurse and protected witness Claire Turner lives by this motto. Fleeing a treacherous past, she knows no other way. In the twilight of his life, George Bellamy makes it his final wish to reconcile with an estranged brother. He and Claire journey to Willow Lake – where it all went wrong for him fifty years ago. George’s grandson Ross is ruled by a fierce devotion to family and a deep mistrust of the mysterious Claire.  Love story

Williams  The shadow reader  Houston student McKenzie Lewis can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret: she’s in love with Kyol – but human and fae relationships are forbidden.Paranormal romance

Vintage reads

Doyle, Roddy  The van    From the author of The Commitments and The Snapper comes this, the final novel in the trilogy about the Rabbitte family of north Dublin

Winterson  The passion Winner of the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, this novel explores the many faces of passion. Set in Napoleon’s Europe, it is an evocative exploration of love, war and chance