‘A Place called Winter’ by Patrick Gale is on Radio 2’s Drivetime Book Club March 23rd

A place called WinterThe next author on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 Drivetime Book Club is Patrick Gale with ‘A Place Called Winter’ on Monday 23rd March.

The novel is about a privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence – until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything.

Forced to abandon his wife and child,  Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian priaries. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before.


Patrick Gale was born on the Isle Of Wight. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester before going to Oxford University. He now lives on a farm near Land’s End. One of the country’s best-loved novelists, his most recent works are A Perfectly Good Man, The Whole Day Through and Notes From An Exhibition.

Celia Imrie is on Radio 2 ‘s Drivetime Book Club on 9th March

Not quite nice

Not Quite Nice by actress Celia Imrie is Simon Mayo’s next Radio 2 Drivetime Book Club book and will be featured on the 9th March.

Celia Imrie’s book is a charming, warm and light-hearted romp which centres around Theresa. She is desperate for a change in her life – so when she is “let go” from her job, she decides to go to the French Riveria for a break. Whilst there, she impulsively buys a little apartment, and the direction of her life changes.

In the town of Bellevue-Sur-Mer she becomes friends with a close-knit group of ex-pats who all have their troubles – and as their dirty laundry is aired in public, Theresa realises that it’s not all sunshine and cocktails in Nice. Download a sample

Celia Imrie is an Olivier Award-winning actress who is a star of the stage and screen. Not Quite Nice is her debut novel. She says ..

When I write, I like to……make sure I am in France, where I can smell the scent of the sea, and taste the scrumptiousness of the cuisine.

One thing that people don’t know about me is……I am a Nicoise Football supporter.

The book that inspired me to write is……not really a book, it was the magical days and nights of living on The French Riviera.

My speciality dish in the kitchen is……Tomato Tarte Tatin

If I could play anyone on screen, it would be……an unexpected part that hasn’t been written yet, but will surprise everyone.

The thing I love most about words is……when you say them, they sound exactly like their meaning.

Gavin Extence is on Radio 2’s Drivetime Book Club Feb 23rd

Jacket ImageWe love Gavin Extence and his new book ‘The Mirror World Of Melody Black’ (it’s on order) is the next featured book on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Book Club on Monday February 23rd.  

Abby is an aspiring journalist, an indifferent daughter, a cohabiting girlfriend; a ‘normal’ woman in her mid-twenties. But something sets her apart from everyone else. It allows her to achieve complete truth and clarity. Something that no one else could ever understand. But the very thing that sets Abby apart could destroy her. And then she meets Melody Black.

Gavin Extence draws upon his own experiences to depict an unsettling, at times hilarious, but most of all truthful account of what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder. He brings to the fore questions like where is the line between sanity and insanity? At what point has someone gone off the rails? And what is the difference between passion and mania?

Gavin was born in 1982 and grew up in Lincolnshire. He was a keen chess player as a boy, winning several national titles. He began writing his first novel after he had completed his PhD in Film Studies and was unemployed. His debut novel, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, was a Radio 2 Book Club choice in 2012.

Gavin says: When I write, I like to work with the cat on my knee. It started with my debut. When I was writing it, I couldn’t afford to run the heating, so she’d sit on my knee all day and we’d keep each other warm. Since then, I think we’ve probably clocked up several thousand hours working together. It’s an arrangement that suits both of us.

If I hadn’t become a writer, I would have wanted to be…a librarian. I love being surrounded by books. It makes me feel very grounded. I also love being able to recommend a great book; if I really enjoy something, I immediately want to share it.

 One thing that people don’t know about me is I crashed the car on my first ever driving lesson, about two minutes after starting the engine. I pranged another car – a parked car – at about 5mph. I’ve never told anyone that because it felt too embarrassing. But this seemed like a good place to unburden myself. The book that inspired me to write is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. (Or that’s one of them. There are about a dozen!)

 If I could be any cartoon character, I would be… …Wile E. Coyote. I admire his persistence. You need a lot of that to write.


The thing I love most about words is they can create an entire world out of thin air.

Radio 2 Book Club – Emma Hooper

Etta and Otto and Russell and JamesIt must be great minds think alike, because we posted  a review about Emma Hooper’s debut novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James this week and it’s Simon Mayo’s next Radio 2 Drive Time Book Club choice on Monday 9th on at the February usual time.

You can download a sample of the book from the BBC website



Radio 2 Book Club – Paula Hawkins

The girl on the trainSimon Mayo’s Drivetime Book Club book on Monday 26th January is The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

About the Book

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every evening. Each day she passes the same Victorian terraced houses, stops at the same signal, and sees the same couple breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess seem so happy together.

If only Rachel could be happy…Then one day, staring from her train into other people’s lives, Rachel is shocked to see something she shouldn’t have seen. And when the woman she has seen goes missing, all eyes turn on Rachel.

Now she can’t trust anyone. Not even herself…

This is a gripping and enthralling thriller which will keep you turning the pages.

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She was born and brought up in Zimbabwe, but moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl On The Train is her first thriller.

Radio 2 Book Club – Anna McPartlin

The last days of Rabbit HayesTune in to Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Book Club on Radio 2 to hear about The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin, which is the Book Club choice for Monday January 12th

The book is about Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes who is a fighter, and the heart of her adoring, chaotic family. The cancer that’s slowly taken over her body may be resolute, but Rabbit is stubborn too – she will not acknowledge that her diagnosis has just rapidly plummeted, or share this news with her 12-year-old daughter, Juliet. It would mean the beginning of saying goodbye, and neither is ready for that just yet. As Rabbit’s family rally round her, armed with black humour and relentless optimism, they can see she’s fading away. Soon the truth is clutching at them all: that against every fierce hope and heartfelt instinct, they will have to let her go

About the Author

Anna McPartlin is a novelist and scriptwriter. The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes is her sixth novel. Her previous incarnations as a stand-up comedian left an indelible mark. Anna lives in Wicklow with her husband and animals.

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Take me out! 3 titles to be featured @R2BookClub

Leaving timeRadio 2 Book Club has announced its remaining featured titles for 2014

Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz – 3rd November

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – 17th November

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault -1st December (read our review

Better Off Dead by Tom Wood – 15th December.

All the titles featured on the Book Club have a sales spike (don’t  buy , borrow  from us!) Emma Healey’s début Elizabeth is Missing – featured in June -sold an extra 1,865 copies, a 52% weekly sales spike and has gone on to sell 13,057 copies to date.

The Book Club with Simon Mayo has featured 20 books, which have sold a combined 230,118 copies in print – value £2.3 million.