'A beautiful portrayal of female friendship in all its frailties, contradictions and strengths' RAYNOR WINN 'Funny, perceptive and life-enhancing. I urge you to read it' SARAH WINMAN 'The perfect escape novel for our troubled times' PATRICK GALE ____________________ It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist. Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves. This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.
When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.
Summer, 1972: In the claustrophobic heat, eleven-year-old Byron and his friend begin 'Operation Perfect', a hapless mission to rescue Byron's mother from impending crisis.
Winter, present day: As frost creeps across the moor, Jim cleans tables in the local café, a solitary figure struggling with OCD. His job is a relief from the rituals that govern his nights.
Little would seem to connect them except that two seconds can change everything.
And if your world can be shattered in an instant, can time also put it right?
As read on Radio 4, seven linked stories set in the Christmas holidays - all as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be:
A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit.
The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son's Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage.
Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth...
The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing?
A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it.
I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas.
Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground ... Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.
From the author of the 2 million+ copy, worldwide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a n exquisite, funny and heartrending parallel story. When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ''Even though you''ve done your travelling, you''re starting a new journey too.'' Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning. Told in simple, emotionally-honest prose, with a mischievous bite, this is a novel about the journey we all must take to learn who we are; it is about loving and letting go. And most of all it is about finding joy in unexpected places and at times we least expect.