April Reads

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The little red chairs/ Edna O'Brien
When a wanted war criminal, masquerading as a healer, settles in a small west coast Irish village, the community are in thrall. One woman, Fidelma McBride, falls under his spell and in this searing novel, Edna O'Brien charts the consequence of that fatal attraction. This is a story about love, the artifice of evil and the terrible necessity of accountability in our shattered, damaged world.



The nest/ Cynthia D'aprix Sweeney
Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.

The girl in the ice/Lotte and Søren Hammer ; translated from the Danish by Paul Norlen
Under the heartless vault of the Greenland's artic sky the body of a girl is discovered. Half-naked and tied up, buried hundreds of miles from any signs of life, she has lain alone, hidden in the ice cap, for twenty-five years. Now an ice melt has revealed her. When Detective Chief Superintendent Konrad Simonsen is flown in to investigate this horrific murder and he sees how she was attacked, it triggers a dark memory and he realises this was not the killer's only victim. As Simonsen's team work to discover evidence that has long since been buried, they unearth truths that certain people would rather stayed forgotten, disturbing details about the moral standing of some of Denmark's political figures are revealed and powerful individuals are suddenly working against them. But the pressure is on as it becomes clear that the killer chooses victims who all look unsettlingly similar, a similarity that may be used to the investigators' advantage, just so long as they can keep the suspect in their sights...

At the edge of the orchard/Tracy Chevalier
1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck - in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life. 1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert's past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Lust & wonder: a memoir / Augusten Burroughs
In chronicling the development and demise of the different relationships he's had while living in New York, Augusten Burroughs examines what it means to be in love, what it means to be in lust, and what it means to be figuring it all out. With Augusten's unique and singular observations and his own unabashed way of detailing both the horrific and the humorous, Lust & Wonder is an intimate and honest memoir that his legions of fans have been waiting for.

The secret recipe for second chances/ J.D Barrett
Lucy Muir is leaving her husband. It's complicated. They're joint owners and chefs at one of the best restaurants in town, so making a clean break is tough. But, let's face it, a woman can only take so much cheating, recipe stealing and lack of good grace.
Despondently driving around the back streets of Woolloomooloo one night, Lucy happens upon an old, empty terrace that was once the city's hottest restaurant: Fortune. One minute she's peering through grimy windows into an abandoned space, the next she's planning a pop-up bistro.
When Lucy fires up Fortune's old kitchen she discovers a little red recipe book that belonged to the former chef, the infamous Frankie Summers. As she cries over the ingredients for Frankie's French Onion Soup, she imagines what Fortune was like in its heyday. It's strange, Lucy can sense Frankie beside her, almost see him there ...
This fiery chef, who lived with a passion for food and women in almost equal measure, just might help Lucy cook herself up a better life. But is she brave enough to believe?

 The one who got away /Caroline Overington
We all keep secrets. Some are deadly.

Loren Wynne-Estes appears to have it all: she's the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who's landed a handsome husband, a stunning home, a fleet of shiny cars and two beautiful daughters ...
Then one day a fellow parent taps Loren on the shoulder outside the grand school gate, hands her a note ... and suddenly everything's at stake.
Loren's Facebook-perfect marriage is spectacularly exposed - revealing an underbelly of lies and betrayal. What is uncovered will scandalise a small town, destroy lives and leave a family divided. But who is to be believed and who is to blame? Will the right person be brought to justice or is there one who got away?

The clasp/ Sloane Crosley
Reunited for the extravagant wedding of a college friend: Kezia, the second-in-command to an eccentric jewellery designer; Nathaniel, the former literary cool kid now selling his wares in Hollywood; and Victor, who has just been fired from a middling search engine. They soon slip back into old roles: Victor loves Kezia. Kezia loves Nathaniel. Nathaniel loves Nathaniel. In the midst of all this semi-merriment, Victor passes out in the mother of the groom's bedroom. He wakes to her jovially slapping him across the face. Instead of a scolding, she offers Victor a story she's never even told her son, about a valuable necklace that disappeared during the Nazi occupation of France. And so a madcap adventure is set into motion, one that leads Victor, Kezia, and Nathaniel from Miami to New York and L.A. to Paris and across France, until they converge at the estate of Guy de Maupassant, author of the classic short story The Necklace.

Ghost Girls/Cath Ferla
Winter in Sydney and the city is brimming with foreign students. International students from China, Japan and Korea flood the streets from Sussex south to Haymarket, spilling out from the many private language schools in pursuit of the ultimate goal - learning English. But when one of them, a young Chinese woman known as Wendy, leaps to her death from the tenth floor window of her language school it becomes clear that lurking within the psyche of this particular community is a deep sense of despair and alienation. Things take a turn for the mysterious when it is revealed that the dead woman on the pavement was not Wendy at all, but an impostor who had stolen another student's identity. The question is why and what has happened to the real Wendy Chan? Sophie Sandilands knows a thing or two about alienation. She spent five years living the outsider life in China, the place she ran to following her father's death and upon learning some home truths about his past. She returned alone to Australia and set up a new home in Sydney, determined to lock the bad memories away and start afresh. But Sophie is Wendy's teacher and her student's unexpected death, along with the revelation that she had been hiding a dark secret, brings the past into the present for Sophie. Will Sophie solve the mystery, bring down the criminal gang and find the missing students? Or will the gang catch up with her first so that she too becomes one of the disappeared?

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