July Reads...

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My grandmother sends her regards and apologises / Fredrik Backman ; translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch
Everyone remembers the stories their grandmother told them.

But does everyone remember their grandmother flirting with policemen? Driving illegally?

Breaking into a zoo in the middle of the night? Firing a paintball gun from a balcony in her dressing gown?

Seven-year-old Elsa does.

Some might call Elsa's granny 'eccentric', or even 'crazy'. Elsa calls her a superhero. And granny's stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don't always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway.

As Christmas draws near, even the best superhero grandmothers may have one or two things they'd like to apologise for. And, in the process, Elsa can have some breath-taking adventures of her own . . .


Circling the sun by Paula McLain
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Spirits of the Ghan by Judy Nunn
It is 2001 and as the world charges into the new Millennium, a century-old dream is about to be realised in the Red Centre of Australia: the completion of the mighty Ghan railway, a long-lived vision to create the 'backbone of the continent', a line that will finally link Adelaide with the Top End.

But construction of the final leg between Alice Springs and Darwin will not be without its complications, for much of the desert it will cross is Aboriginal land.

Hired as a negotiator, Jessica Manning must walk a delicate line to reassure the Elders their sacred sites will be protected. Will her innate understanding of the spiritual landscape, rooted in her own Arunta Heritage, win their trust? It's not easy to keep the peace when Matthew Witherton and his survey team are quite literally blasting a rail corridor through the timeless land of the Never-Never.

When the paths of Jessica and Matthew finally cross, their respective cultures collide to reveal a mystery that demands attention. As they struggle against time to solve the puzzle, an ancient wrong is awakened and calls hauntingly across the vastness of the outback . . .


Those girls by Chevy Stevens
They wanted him gone . . . Then it was their turn to disappear.

The three Campbell sisters, Dani, Courtney and Jess, had always dreamed of a day when their dead-beat alcoholic father would disappear . . . But when their dream becomes a reality, the consequences are more frightening than they ever imagined. Assuming new identities, they have to permanently forget the past.

Eighteen years later, Jess, who now goes by the name Jamie, is faced with a serious problem. Her own teenage daughter is asking too many questions; to answer them will involve her unveiling long-buried secrets about her youth, truths she has spent so long trying to forget. Because why did they all run away that night? And what really happened to their father?

Will those girls ever be able to leave the past behind or is it doomed to haunt them for ever?


All the little pieces by Jilliane Hoffman
She could have stopped an awful crime. She could have saved a life. She tried to forget about it. But now, the truth is out.

Faith Saunders is the perfect wife, mother and sister – loved and admired by all who know her. One night will change everything.As she drives home in the pouring rain, a dishevelled young woman appears out of nowhere, pleading for help. The isolated stretch of road is dark, and with her four-year-old daughter Maggie asleep in the backseat, Faith refuses to let the stranger in. What she sees next will haunt her forever.When the missing-person posters go up, Faith's guilt consumes her. Then the girl's body turns up, and her perfect life begins to unravel. Because it turns out Maggie wasn't asleep that night and – unlike her mother – she's not afraid to speak up.Maggie's testimony leads to an arrest, but Faith is the only one who can identify a second man who was at the scene of the crime. She has one chance to convince a jury of what happened. If she fails, two murderers will go free – two men who have killed before and who will undoubtedly kill again.And they know exactly where to find Faith and her family…

 I saw a man by Owen Sheers
An utterly stunning novel of love, loss, the insidious nature of secrets, and the transformative power of words. I Saw a Man fulfills the promise of Owen Sheers’s acclaimed novel, Resistance.

When journalist Caroline Marshall dies while on assignment in Pakistan, her grief-stricken husband, Michael, leaves their cottage in Wales and returns to London. He quickly develops a friendship with his neighbors, Josh and Samantha Nelson, and their two young daughters. Michael’s becoming close with the family marks the beginning of a long healing process.

But Michael’s period of recovery comes to an abrupt end when a terrible accident brings the burden of a shattering secret into his life. How will Michael bear the agonizing weight of guilt as he navigates persistent doubts on the path to attempted redemption? The answer, revealed poignantly in Sheers’ masterly prose, is eloquent, resonant, and completely unforgettable.

The turning point by Freya North
The unputdownable, tear-jerking new novel from Freya North.

Over one short weekend, when Canadian musician Scott Emerson and British children's author Frankie Shaw meet by chance, a profound connection is made. Their homes are thousands of miles apart: Frankie and her children live by the coast of North Norfolk while Scott's roots lie deep in the mountains of British Columbia. Against all advice, they decide to see where this might go. Over oceans and time zones, they make sacrifices and take risks, discovering along the way new truths about love and family. For the first time in a long while, it seems life could be very good. But fate has a tragic twist in store, one that could destroy all that was hoped for. Poignant, engrossing and moving, The Turning Point is a novel about the importance of seizing happiness and trusting that love will always find a way.


The truth according to us by Annie Barrows
Quirky, loveable, and above all human, this novel of small-town life in the 1930s is an immersive experience that will leave readers reeling and wanting more.

In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck is forced out of the lap of luxury and sent by her Senator father to work on the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal jobs program. Assigned to cover the history of the little mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, Layla envisions a summer of tedium.
However, once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is completely drawn into their complex world.
At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to acquire her favourite virtues of ferocity and devotion, but her search leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried.
Layla's arrival strikes a match to the family's veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns and their deep entanglement in Macedonia's history. As Willa peels back the layers of her family's past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed – and their personal histories completely rewritten.

Orient  by Christopher Bollen
Suspenseful and haunting, Bollen's thrilling novel Orient is a provocative take on the troubled American dream, in the vein of Lionel Shriver or AM Homes.

At the eastern edge of Long Island, far from the hustle of New York City, stands Orient, a village that has been home to a few families for hundreds of years and is now - reluctantly - opening up to wealthy weekenders and artists from the city.
On the last day of summer, a young man with a hazy past appears, and not long after comes a series of events that shatters the peace in this isolated community. A strange, twisted creature washes ashore on the Sound and then a human corpse is found floating in the water. A woman dies in bizarre circumstances and a house fire erupts out of nowhere. Fear and suspicion mount until everyone's secrets threaten to be exposed. But who is Mills Chevern? What is his real name and why is he here? As all eyes shift towards the orphan drifter, Mills elicits the support of Beth Shepherd, an Orient native who is hiding a secret of her own.

The Beast's garden by Kate Forsyth
A retelling of the Grimms' Beauty and The Beast, set in Nazi Germany.

It's August 1939 in Germany, and Ava's world is in turmoil. To save her father, she must marry a young Nazi officer, Leo von Löwenstein, who works for Hitler's spy chief in Berlin. However, she hates and fears the brutal Nazi regime, and finds herself compelled to stand against it.
Ava joins an underground resistance movement that seeks to help victims survive the horrors of the German war machine. But she must live a double life, hiding her true feelings from her husband, even as she falls in love with him.
Gradually she comes to realise that Leo is part of a dangerous conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. As Berlin is bombed into ruins, the Gestapo ruthlessly hunt down all resistance and Ava finds herself living hand-to-mouth in the rubble of the shell-shocked city. Both her life and Leo's hang in the balance.

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