To the outside world, Sarah and Oliver Watson had the perfect marriage. Happy and successful, with three beautiful children, they seemed to have it all. But under the surface, Sarah felt lost, empty and inadequate. And one Christmas, after eighteen years of marriage, she walked out.
Left alone, Oliver struggles to cope with raising his three children. Seventeen-year-old Benjamin rebels with disastrous consequences, while fifteen-year-old Melissa angrily turns against her father, and nine-year-old Sam, the 'baby', is too shaken to deal with his mother's abandonment.
And then tragedy strikes once more when Oliver's mother dies in an untimely accident and three generations of the Watson family find that they must pull together to cope, and maybe one day move on and love again . . .
They were the best of friends and the most daunting of bachelors . . . . Charlie Harrington, a charming, handsome philanthropist, has such high expectations for his perfect bride that no mortal need apply . . . Adam Weiss, a forty-something celebrity lawyer, prefers his women very young, very voluptuous, and very short term . . . And for Gray Hawk, a gifted artist with a knack for attracting troubled relationships, women are fine; it's just the idea of family he can't imagine (particularly the family of the woman he's dating).
Now, the three friends, spending their annual summer vacation cruising the Mediterranean aboard Charlie's majestic yacht, are about to have their bachelorhoods rocked. By autumn, all three will fall precipitously into relationships they never saw coming. Charlie begins dating a crusading social worker who couldn't be further from his ideal - until he makes a stunning discovery about her. Adam gets involved with his usual twenty-something bombshell - only this one has a remarkable mind of her own. And Gray, who has avoided both business and family like the plague, has managed to fall head over heels for a successful career woman - who just happens to be a mother as well.
As another holiday on the yacht approaches, and with it, a turning point in each man's life, the three bachelors are forced to face the things that scare them most: their phobias about relationships, the wounds of the past - and the kind of women who callenge their deepest terrors. What happens next will spark big changes for Charlie, Adam, and Gray - and might just put an end to their carousing days forever. For as the once-carefree trio is about to discover, love is the most unpredictable adventure of all.
Filled with all the joy, complexity and unexpected surprises of life, Toxic Bachelors is Danielle Steel at her poignant and penetrating best.
1936: London is abuzz with gossip about the affair between Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson. But the king is not the only member of the aristocracy with a hard decision to make. Owen Montignac, the handsome and charismatic descendent of a wealthy land-owning family, is anxiously awaiting the reading of his late uncle's will. For Owen has run up huge gambling debts and casino boss Nicholas Delfy has given him a choice: find Â£50,000 by Christmas - or find yourself six feet under.
So when Owen discovers that he has been cut out of the will in favour of his beautiful cousin Stella, it is time to prove just how cunning he can be... And Owen is nothing if not inventive - even a royal crisis can provide the means for profit. And for murder...
The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and its amazing 'White City' was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was an architect, the other a serial killer.
The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens. The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair - and his own devilish charms - to lure scores of young women to their deaths. While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago's infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earther, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World's Fair Hotel. In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium.
These two disparate but driven men toegther with a remarkable supporting cast of colourful characters, including as Buffalo Bill, George Ferris, Thomas Edison and some of the 27 million others who converged on the dazzling spectacle of the White City, are brought to life in this mesmerizing, murderous tale of the legendary Fair that transformed America and set it on course for the twentieth century.
Following the death of her seventeen-year-old mother in childbirth, Leonie Lynch is brought up in London's Eastgate Street by foster parents through the auspices of her godmother, the redoubtable Mrs Dodd, her living expenses provided for by her young mother's friend, Lady Angela Bentick.
Mrs Dodd turns to Lady Angela when her godchild is nearing her eighteenth birthday. Lady Angela runs a fashionable nursing home and can provide Leonie with a profession, whilst Mrs Dodd offers her accommodation. Upon joining Lady Angela's staff as a nurse, Leonie meets our two other heroines - Mercy Cordel and Dorinda Montgomery.
Mercy grew up at the family home, Cordel Court in Somerset, and shortly after her seventeenth birthday, was brought up to London by her stepmother for the London Season. Dorinda Montgomery, on the other hand, has hardly ridden up and down Rotten Row more than a half a dozen times before she has captured the heart of every masher around town, and earns the sobriquet 'Dorinda Blue.' Within days she is a famous member of the demi-monde, with her own house and carriage in St John's Wood. Meanwhile, Mercy Cordel is hard put to find a dancing partner. That she eventually finds a husband in the hard-bitten, hard-riding John Brancaster is a source of happy amazement to her.
Three such very different young women, and yet Society seems to reward Dorinda Montgomery more than it does the virtuous girl pushed into marriage with a suitably older husband Certainly this is how it seems to Leonie Lynch, the only one of the three who has quite made up her mind to dedicate herself to something other than marriage...
Widowed Martha Moreton was a devoted mother to her only child, Lucy. When Lucy married Len on a golden July day, Martha tried hard to make the best of things. Len was a good man who would make Lucy happy. They wouldn't be living far away. And the arrival of grandchildren was something she anticipated eagerly.
Unexpectedly, Len's job took the newly married couple overseas, where their first child was born. But sorrow, not joy, came with Dominic's birth. On their return, Lucy's best friend, Jennifer, as flighty as Lucy was conventional, was anxious to provide her own kind of consolation...
Martha, who was experiencing unlooked-for and at first unwelcome changes in her own life, clung fast to the maternal bond that meant so much to herself and Lucy. Everything she had come to depend on was overturned, however, before Martha was able to find her own kind of happiness in a very different existence.
One of Susan Sallis's most poignant and involving novels, The Keys to the Garden explores the mother-daughter relationship with a rare insight.
Nimisha Boynton-Rondymense was the body-heir of Lady Rezalla and, as such, was the heiress of one of the First Families on Vega III. But even as a child she eschewed the formalities of her aristocratic background and was happiest in her father's shipyard. By the time she was in her twenties she was the designer of the most advanced space yacht in the galaxy, and was owner of the Rondymense shipyards.
It was on a test of her Mark 5 prototype that things went wrong. In an empty space field, suitable for test runs, she was suddenly confronted with the boiling white pout of a wormhole, was sucked in, only to be thrown out into an unknown dimension of space. She was not the first. As she explored this new, unfamiliar section of the universe she found traces of ships that had been marooned over many centuries.
Not knowing if she would ever return to the world she knew, Nimisha chose to land on 'Erewhon' - fascinating, terrifying, beautiful and frightening - and inhabited not only by three survivors of a previous Vegan ship but by something else...
Eleven-year-old Djata makes sure he is always home on Sundays. It is the day the State Security came to take his father away, and he believes it will be a Sunday when his father is finally sent home again.
In the mean time, Djata lives out a life of adventure. He plays wargames in flaming wheat fields; hunts for gold in abandoned claymines; watches porn in a backroom at the cinema, and plays chess with an automaton. But lurking beneath his rebel boyhood, pulling at his heartstrings, is the continued absence of his father. When he finally uncovers the real truth, he risks losing his childhood for ever.
With THE WHITE KING, György Dragomán won the prestigious Sándor Márai prize. An urgent, humorous and melancholy picture of a childhood behind the Iron Curtain it introduces a stunning new voice in contemporary fiction.
Something inside me remembers and will not forget...
When Alice Farrell is drawn to Grantchester churchyard and reads the strange inscription on Rosemary Virginia Ashley's gravestone, she feels oddly disturbed.
And when former boyfriend Joe returns to Cambridge with his new girlfriend Ginny, Alice is repelled by the ethereal, lavender-eyed beauty - and is certain of her evil.
Then Alice finds an old diary in Ginny's room and reads the story of Daniel Holmes, who lived in Cambridge forty years earlier, and fell under the fatal spell of Rosemary Ashley. As the two stories intertwine, Alice's suspicions about Ginny increase - until the past meets present in a terrifying climax..
The medical hierarchy of "The House of God" is like a pyramid a lot at the bottom and one at the top. Roy Basch, a Rhodes scholar, thinks differently, until he meets Hyper Hooper, out to win the most postmortems of the year award, or Molly, the nurse with the crash helmet.
Continuing the story of Confessions of a Shopaholic, out now on DVD.
For Rebecca Bloomwood, life is peachy. She has a job on morning TV, telling people how to manage their money - a subject on which she is an expert. Her bank manager is actually being nice to her, despite being just a tad overdrawn. And the icing on the brioche is that her boyfriend is moving to New York Â...and has asked her to go with him.
New York! The Museum of Modern Art! The Guggenheim! The Metropolitan Opera House! And Becky does mean to go to all these. Honestly. It's just that it seems silly not to check out a few other places first. Like Bloomingdales. And Saks. And that amusing little place she's been told about where you can sometimes get a Prada dress for $10. Or was it $100? Anyway, it's full of fantastic bargains.
Shopaholic Abroad - because there just aren't enough shops in Britain
Rebecca Bloomwood has the dream job. She's a personal shopper, so is able to spend other people's money all day instead of her own. And she gets paid for doing it. The perfect job, the perfect man - gorgeous Luke Brandon - and now Â... the perfect wedding.
Yes, Luke has proposed and wedding bells are in sight. No excuses are needed to start the shopping trip of all time. And Becky's parents are just assuming that the wedding will be at home - a marquee in the garden and Becky in her mum's wedding dress, which she's been saving specially for the occasion. But Luke's mother has very different ideas - a huge affair in New York in a forest glade setting - or perhaps a Venetian Ball, or a fin de siecle extravagance?
Now Becky's getting confused. She doesn't want to say 'no' to anyone. The plans are going ahead, and soon it will be too late to turn back - from either weddingÂ…
Henry Chester, a domineering and puritanical Victorian artist, is in search of the perfect model. In nine-year-old Effie he finds her.
Ten years later, lovely, childlike and sedated, Effie seems the ideal wife. But something inside her is about to awaken.
Drawn by her lover, Mose, into a dangerous underworld of intrigue and blackmail, she meets Fanny Miller, the brothel-keeper, and her shadowy daughter, Marta - murdered ten years ago on the day of Henry's weekly visit...
And as friendship becomes possession and Henry's secret past is revealed, Effie and Marta plan their revenge together
The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006. Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types.
His argument could hardly be more topical. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between 'intelligent design' and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries religious dogma from medieval times still serves to abuse basic human rights such as women's and gay rights. And all from a belief in a God whose existence lacks evidence of any kind.
Dawkins attacks God in all his forms. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry and abuses children.
The God Delusion is a brilliantly argued, fascinating polemic that will be required reading for anyone interested in this most emotional and important subject.
The longest continuous footpath in the world, the Appalachian Trail stretches along the East Coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine, through some of the most arresting and celebrated landscapes in America.
At the age of forty-four, in the company of his friend Stephen Katz (last seen in the bestselling Neither Here nor There), Bill Bryson set off to hike through the vast tangled woods which have been frightening sensible people for three hundred years. Ahead lay almost 2,200 miles of remote mountain wilderness filled with bears, moose, bobcats, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, disease-bearing tics, the occasional chuckling murderer and - perhaps most alarming of all - people whose favourite pastime is discussing the relative merits of the external-frame backpack.
Facing savage weather, merciless insects, unreliable maps and a fickle companion whose profoundest wish was to go to a motel and watch The X-Files, Bryson gamely struggled through the wilderness to achieve a lifetime's ambition - not to die outdoors.
'It was as if I had privately discovered life on another planet, or a parallel universe where life was at once recognizably similar but entirely different. I can't tell you how exciting it was. Insofar as I had accumulated my expectations of Australia at all in the intervening years, I had thought of it as a kind of alternative southern California, a place of constant sunshine and the cheerful vapidity of a beach lifestyle, but with a slightly British bent - a sort of Baywatch with cricket...' Of course, what greeted Bill Bryson was something rather different. Australia is a country that exists on a vast scale. It is the world's sixth largest country and its largest island. It is the only island that is also a continent and the only continent that is also a country. It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most desiccated, infertile and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents and still it teems with life - a large proportion of it quite deadly.
In fact, Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistable currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the bking outback.
Ignoring such dangers - yet curiously obsessed by them - Bill Bryson journeyed to Australia and promptly fell in love with the country. And who can blame him? The people are cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted and unfailingly obliging; their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water; the food is excellent; the beer is cold and the sun nearly always shines. Life doesn't get much better than this.
'I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to' And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn't hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. Travelling around thirty-eight of the lower states - united only in their mind-numbingly dreary uniformity - he discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.
The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature - hilariously, stomach-achingly funny, yet tinged with heartache - and the book that first staked Bill Bryson's claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.
Bill Bryson's first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither here Nor there he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hamemrfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.
Whether braving the homicidal motorists of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and eyeballs in a German restaurant, window-shopping in the sex shops of the Reeperbahn or disputing his hotel bill in Copenhagen, Bryson takes in the sights, dissects the culture and illuminates each place and person with his hilariously caustic observations. He even goes to Liechtenstein.
'Who died?' I said. 'Or is it a secret?' 'My mother, Vianne Rocher.' Seeking refuge and anonymity in the cobbled streets of Montmartre, Yanne and her two daughters live peacefully, if not happily, above their little chocolate shop. Nothing unusual marks them out; no red sachets hang by the door.The wind has stopped - at least for a while. Then into their lives blows Zozie de l'Alba, the lady with the lollipop shoes,ruthless, devious and seductive.
With everything she loves at stake, Yanne must face a difficult choice; to flee, as she has done so many times before, or to confront her most dangerous enemy...
Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn't married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patrica aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby...
Ruby tells the story of The Family, from the day at the end of the nineteenth century when a travelling French photographer catches frail beautiful Alice and her children, like flowers in amber, to the startling, witty, and memorable events of Ruby's own life.
The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit - and recipes.
A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her. For the next twenty-two years Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.
THE ISLAND IS DIVIDED, BUT ONE MAN'S LOVE WILL NEVER BE COMPROMISED...
Cyprus, 1955 - a guerrilla war is raging and four Greek brothers are growing up to the familiar sounds of exploding bombs and sniper fire.
Determined to avenge the death of his elder brother and to win the heart of his beloved Praxi, young Loukis joins a cell of schoolboy terrorists operating in the mountains. But when his cohorts blow themselves up in a freak accident, he returns home in shock, yearning for the warm embrace of his family - and of his sweetheart.
But his adored Praxi is now married to someone else, and playing at her feet is a young toddler...
A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase. That one moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.
Witnesses to Tracy's outrageous exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else's roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.
Kate Atkinson dovetails and counterpoints her plots with Dickensian brilliance in a tale peopled with unlikely heroes and villains . Started Early, Took My Dog is freighted with wit, wisdom and a fierce moral intelligence. It confirms Kate Atkinson's position as one of the great writers of our time.
After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a few years, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him.
But before leaving his muchloved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey and Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and Gardeners' Question Time.