Nasrin and Sabrina are two sisters, who on the face of things live successful and enviable lives in London and New York. When their father, Shamsur suddenly dies, they rush to be with their mother at the family home and restaurant in Wales, and reluctantly step back into the stifling world of their childhood.
When Shamsur’s will is read, a devastating secret is revealed that challenges all that people thought and loved about him. It also profoundly changes the lives and identities of the sisters, and creates an irreparable family rift…
Moving between London, Wales, New York and Bangladesh, this is an epic family drama that spans over four decades. A story of mothers and daughters, of fathers and daughters, of sisterhood, it is a tale that explores belonging, family and what makes forgiveness and redemption possible.
Nilopar Uddin was born in Shropshire to Sylheti parents who, like the fictional family in The Halfways, owned and ran an Indian restaurant in Wales. Every summer her family would travel for their holidays to Bangladesh to visit extended family, and this affection for the country has continued into adulthood.
Nilopar has had a successful career as a financial services lawyer practising in both London and New York, a city that she fell in love with. She now lives in London with her husband and two daughters. She has an MA in Creative Writing from City University where she first started working on The Halfways.
She’s decided that finding Mr Right is a myth, and that finding Mr Right-enough-to-have-children-with is the next best option. So when she meets easy-going Collin Read on a platonic co-parenting website, it finally feels like she has found her version of happily ever after.
But things take a turn for the worst when they move back home to Singapore where her very traditional family and remorseful ex-fiancé await.
With pressure mounting on all sides and her perfect plan unravelling, Lucie has to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice for a chance at happiness – and maybe, just maybe, love.
Lucie Yi appears very put together. That is until she goes to purchase a baby gift for her friend and she quite literally has a meltdown in the store. Lucie’s last relationship didn’t end well and there are no other romantic prospects on the horizon but all Lucie wants is a child. That’s when she signs up to a co-parenting website to find a suitable partner. That’s when she meets Colin who also wants to become a parent but doesn’t want to get married. As soon as they meet Lucie and Colin appear to be the perfect match. When Lucie becomes pregnant she and Colin move to Singapore to raise their child. Will Lucie’s traditional family approve of this unconventional arrangement? When Lucie’s ex makes a reappearance in her life and her feelings for Colin start moving towards something more than platonic who will Lucie choose?
The concept of this book with the co-parenting idea was a brilliant storyline and very interesting. I thought it was quite an original idea and haven’t read anything like this before. Lucie was a hilarious character and I knew I’d like her from the first page. When Lucie meets Colin they have an instant connection and it’s like they were meant to be so it did make me think what would have happened if they’d met in different circumstances. Although they decide to co-parent and nothing more it was clear that Lucie started having feelings for Colin and this was more than pregnancy hormones. Colin was also feeling the same but neither wanted to cross that line or admit their feelings for each other. At times they acted more like a couple than as friends. I thought it was a little unfair when Lucie’s ex Mark made a reappearance and said that he wanted her back. Especially after everything he’d put her through. This isn’t just a book about Lucie wanting a child but is also a story about female friendship. From the beginning of the book we are introduced to her best friends Weina and Suzie (the group are collectively known as The Fab Trio) who have what I would call a forever friendship. They can talk about anything and are always there for each other no matter what.
A book I’d highly recommend if you’re a fan of the love triangle trope.
Lauren Ho is a reformed legal counsel who writes funny stories. Hailing from Malaysia, she lived in the United Kingdom, France and Luxembourg before moving with her family to Singapore. Her first novel, Last Tang Standing was an international bestseller.
CONSPIRACY OF CATS… a supernatural murder mystery.
An apprehensive Jos Ferguson travels from Edinburgh to Northern Tanzania to visit the house her Uncle Peter built before he died. But Peter isn’t as dead as he should be… he was murdered, and he wants his niece to help him exact revenge upon his killer. With a little Maasai magic and a conspiracy of cats, Jos sets out to do exactly that.
A beautiful house. A horrible death. A brilliant revenge.
Who knew death could be so lively?
Jos Ferguson was twenty-four, five foot ten, with a cloud of thick, wavy, red hair. She was Scottish, so her skin tone was pale bordering on translucent, with a generous helping of freckles. She was on the plain side of pretty but did scrub up well when she could be bothered. Or maybe that should be when she absolutely had to be bothered, because Jos wasn’t really one for choosing to socialise. At that moment she was disembarking from the flight that had brought her to Tanzania. This was going to be a wonderful holiday, an adventure, a chance to see the house her uncle built before she was born. It could as easily be a nightmare, and Jos wondered for the millionth time if she was doing the right thing.
Had Jos known that she was about to play a leading role in a story that had begun with murder and was destined to end the same way, she’d have fled Kilimanjaro International Airport and ran all the way back to Edinburgh.
But she didn’t, so Jos carried on putting one foot in front of the other and carried on smiling as if she was having the best time. Just her, that encouraging veneer, and a big old Fendi bag salvaged from a pile of unwanted possessions Auntie Jude had recently earmarked for the local charity shop.
B.C. Harris lives on the west coast of Scotland with her husband and their two dogs. Surrounded by hills, forests and beautiful beaches, she has plenty of space for walking and thinking about characters. Her first book, Conspiracy of Cats, was published in 2021 and received wonderful reader reviews. Making Sacrifices is her second book, due out later in 2022, and she hopes readers will enjoy it every bit as much.
Sometimes you have to let your heart rule your head . . .
Cherry, Maggie and Rose are mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows. They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.
All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.
Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door.
Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?
Escape to the glorious Somerset countryside with this joyful and uplifting story of family, love and hope.
Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for THE ARCHERS, HEARTBEAT and HOLBY CITY amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA NOVEL OF THE YEAR AWARD for A NIGHT ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Veronica lives with her family by the sea in north Devon. Find out more at http://www.veronicahenry.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @veronica_henry
Will a summer escape be the answer she’s looking for?
Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back. Every room in the house is taken and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.
So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.
From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story…
Eliza can honestly say that she is not one who is suffering from empty nest syndrome because her 2 bedroom flat is now full after her grown up children have returned to live with her due to circumstances in their lives. Eliza doesn’t mind having them around, however, the flat is very full and she’s trying to juggle her job as well as studying for a college course. Then Eliza sees an advert for a house sitter in Andalucía and it looks like the perfect place for her to get some peace and quiet and complete her studies. It’s Josep’s house she will be house sitting which is on a working pig farm. As well as her college work Eliza finds herself looking after the pigs, delving into the secrets of The Gastronómica Society and becoming a member of The Spanish Conversation Club. Eliza may have had some rest and recuperation planned but her stay in Spain will be one holiday that she won’t regret.
It hadn’t gone unnoticed when I picked up this book that I knew straight away after reading the title ‘Retreat To The Spanish Sun’ and the tagline ‘sometimes you just need to get away’ that this was going to be the perfect read for me because for the past few months I’ve been dreaming about a holiday in Spain. So clearly fate intervened and I went on holiday with Eliza.
This was such a quick and fun read. I really don’t know how to describe it apart from it was heartwarming and quirky. The book was so well written and with such rich detail that at times I felt like I was in Spain too. From the blurb this appears to be a story about Eliza trying to escape her children and she goes to Spain but rather than leaving her troubles behind she finds new ones waiting for her there. The house owner Josep was quite mysterious to begin with and doesn’t really disclose to Eliza where he is going or why she is needed to house sit. I loved how the house was on a working farm. Eliza is a very strong and determined character. When the person that’s meant to be looking after the pigs leaves she takes on that challenge and responsibility herself. One of my favourite parts was how she tried to cheer up a boar that she named Antonio Banderas which I thought was brilliant. At the same time she’s discovering the local community and learning more about the mysterious closed group The Gastronómica Society. I loved the friendship she built with The Spanish Conversation Club (despite their name they can’t speak Spanish) and became an honorary member. Essentially this is Eliza’s story about being herself and finding out what she truly wants. At the start of the book Eliza’s main goal is to further her education but her time in Spain makes her question whether that is what she truly wants.
A book that will warm your heart and make you wish you were in Spain.
Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller and won both the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the Festival of Romance Best eBook Award. Her recent book Escape to the French Farmhouse was a #1 bestselling eBook and in every one of her novels Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching. Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family life.
One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet. Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…
Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.
Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began, and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?
When we meet Edie it’s her 35th birthday and she’s feeling anxious. It’s on her birthday that she receives an e-mail from her past self that Edie wrote on her 18th birthday to her future self while she was working at Heartlands Holiday Park. This isn’t the first e-mail from past Edie to future Edie which also include a small note to self. It’s the start of the e-mails that prompts Edie to look up Sophie who also worked at the holiday park and it’s through meeting up with Sophie that she happens to bump into Joel. Joel wasn’t just a work colleague from the holiday park. They were friends but Edie liked Joel as more than a friend. The pair shared a near kiss but then Joel started to act strangely, which was quickly followed by the death of Edie’s mother and she never spoke to Joel again. But now Joel is back in her life and as the e-mails continue to arrive will Edie reassess her life and now that Joel is back on the scene is there another chance for them or are some things best left in the past.
This was a really sweet, romantic and fun read. It was a little slow to begin with but then the pace of the book did pick up. I loved the concept of this book i.e. e-mails from the past to the future. Edie was such a lovely character to meet. However, her biggest flaw is putting others before herself. She never pursued her career aspirations because once her mother died she joined the family business and single-handedly look after it as her father was struggling to cope. Edie now finds herself in a relationship which has become quite stale but it is comfortable for her and what she knows. That is until Joel re-enters her life and she starts to think about what she truly wants. The biggest life changing impact for Edie and the catalyst for her making some well needed changes are the e-mails from young Edie. Young Edie’s e-mails are truly a blast from the past and her younger self is optimistic about the future and where she will be. Today’s Edie takes on the courage of her younger self and pushes herself out of her comfort zone making decisions she wouldn’t ordinarily make and having those tough conversations. It’s through young Edie that older Edie puts herself first for the first time in years.
Joel, what can I say about Joel other than he is a complete dream boat. The first meeting between Joel and Edie was certainly unforgettable when a young Edie finds a naked Joel in her bed at the holiday camp. The friendship between Edie and Joel was just perfect. They could talk to each other about anything, spend time with each other and it is clear that they were best friends but there was definitely that more than friends speak between them. But then Joel started to act strangely. It’s only as the story progresses that we realise why Joel was acting the way he did but also why another event bought their friendship to an end. As for that ending it truly melted by heart and it was the perfect ending for Edie. One of my favourite scenes including watching the sunrise on the beach.
If you like second chance romances and are a big romantic like me this is a must read.
Anna lives in the South of France with her young family and energetic labrador. When not chained to her laptop, Anna can be found basking in the summer sun, heading to the ski slopes in the winter (to drink hot chocolate and watch – she can’t ski) or having a sneaky treat from the patisserie – all year round!
Ghanaian-American Angela Appiah has checked off all the boxes for the ‘Perfect Immigrant Daughter’: enrol in an elite medical school; snag a suitable lawyer/doctor/engineer boyfriend, and surround herself with a gaggle of successful and/or loyal friends… But when her boyfriend dumps her, her best friend pulls away, and she bombs the most important exam of her medical career, Angie finds herself in the middle of a quarter life crisis of epic proportions. To make matters worse, her parents are suddenly a lot less proud of their daughter, now that she’s not following through with the path they chose for her.
Just when things couldn’t get any more complicated, enter Ricky Gutierrez – brilliant, thoughtful, sexy, and most importantly, seems to see Angie for who she is instead of what she can represent. Unfortunately, he’s also got ‘wasteman’ practically tattooed across his forehead, and Angie’s done chasing mirages of men. Or so she thinks…
For someone who’s always been in control, Angie realizes that there’s one thing she can’t plan on: matters of her heart.
For fans of Grey’s Anatomy and Seven Days in June, this dazzling debut novel by Shirlene Obuobi explores that time in your life when you must decide what you want, how to get it, and who you are, all while navigating love, friendship, and the realisation that the path you’re traveling is going to be a bumpy ride.
When we meet Angie, she has been dumped by her boyfriend. As if that wasn’t bad enough she receives a less than favourable score on a medical exam that will determine her medical career. That’s when Angie meets Ricky. A cute but complete stranger and they bond. Angie talks about the pressure and career expectations from her parents and Ricky understands. Angie indicates that she wants to see Ricky again but Ricky is reluctant and Angie hopes she doesn’t run into Him again. However, fate has other plans and is determined to throw Angie and Ricky together at work and as part of Angie’s friendship circle. Although Angie and Ricky become friends there is still something between them. Will Angie and Ricky become more than friends?
I knew I’d enjoy this book from the outset because it had very Grey’s Anatomy vibes from the outset. Angie as a character was very relatable. She was predestined to be a doctor by her Ghanaian parents and her personal life is less than successful. There’s a lot of pressure on Angie to be the perfect daughter but also to be successful in her career. So I can understand why she doesn’t tell her parents at the outset about her exam results because she has knows that she will have to work extra hard on her project to make up for the low score. As the book progresses Angie’s parents realise the pressure that she is under and do start to support their daughter more. As for Ricky he sounded adorable and he and Angie were perfect for each other. One of my favourite scenes included Ricky trying to cheer Angie up by building a blanket fort and watching TV together and having a pillow fight. The chemistry between Angie and Ricky was obvious from the outset despite Ricky being reluctant. However, Ricky’s reluctance is explained further on in the book.
The friendship between Angie and Nia was everything and I loved their little group of Angie, Nia, Michelle and Marcus which they very aptly call The Sanity Circle. This book isn’t just about romance because it also touches perfectly on what happens when friends start to grow apart. When this happened to Angie and Nia my heart truly broke, having gone through a similar situation. But I’m glad that they found their way back to each other. It was interesting to also learn more about new cultures and rituals such as The Knocking which I’d not heard of before.
If you love Grey’s Anatomy then this is a must read for any fan.
Shirlene Obuobi is a Ghanaian-American Cardiology fellow. She also draws comics under the moniker ShirlyWhirl, M.D. Her comics have gained a steady following on Instagram and Facebook, international recognition in the medical community, and have been featured in The Lancet, Axios, Student Doctor Network, and more. In her spare time (ha!) she teaches zoom workshops on creative expression for medical students. On Rotation is her debut novel.
Heartbroken on Hogmanay, Steph wanders through the Edinburgh street party until she bumps into Jamie. He’s funny, attractive and clearly interested. In a word, he’s perfect – but she didn’t get his number. All she remembers is his lime and mango beer.
Determined to be reunited, Steph tracks him by a milk carton-style campaign, sticking a message to his favourite beer across local pubs. Although eventually reunited, Jamie is frequently uncontactable and evasive, and Steph worries she’s on the path to heartbreak once more.
There’s a fine line between being patient and being gullible, and Steph’s reaching her limit. When a chance encounter with Jamie reveals his secret, she faces an even tougher decision. Should Steph give love another chance, or was one night in Edinburgh all she and Jamie were meant to have?
A funny and emotional romance for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Beth O’Leary and Rosie Walsh.
Meet Ava: rule-abiding lawyer who has ticked all of life’s boxes. She’s married to a successful surgeon and has just taken an indefinite career break to raise her adorable toddler. A picture-perfect life.
Meet Winnie: Ava’s old college roommate. Once awkward, quiet and apparently academically challenged, she left Stanford in a shroud of scandal. But now, she is charismatic, wealthy and has returned to town dripping in designer accessories. An actual perfect life.
When the two women bump into one another at a local coffee shop, it seems like fate has intervened: Winnie’s new-found success is courtesy of a shady business and she needs a favour; Ava is realising she is not built for the stay-at-home life. But what starts as one favour turns into two, then three, and soon Ava is in far deeper than she ever imagined.
Now Ava has to make the ultimate decision: cut and run, or risk it all?
Essentially this is the story of two women Ava and Winne who first met each other at university. However, Winnie never stayed to complete her education and disappeared under a cloud of controversy. 20 years have passed and Ava is now a lawyer having given up work to look after her son. Out of the blue Winnie gets back in touch with a proposal that Ava work with her in her new business venture which happens to relate to counterfeit handbags. The scam is basically that Winnie buys a designer handbag and then returns a counterfeit in its place for a refund. The handbag is then sold online. The counterfeit handbags are so good that you can’t tell they are fake. As Ava and Winnie delve into the world of counterfeit handbags are they in a bit over their heads.
My first impression after reading the synopsis for this book was that it sounded different and quite intriguing. Ava has given up her job as a lawyer to raise her young son and become a housewife. She had a lot on her plate because the majority of the time she’s raising her son with a nanny because her husband works as a surgeon. It’s at this time we’re introduced to Winnie who is glamorous and seems to be quite successful. At the start of the book Winnie integrates herself into Ava’s life quite neatly. She keeps her friend company but is also there to assist with Ava’s son who forms quite an attachment to her. Ava is reluctant to be involved in the scheme until her circumstances change and she has no choice.
The book is split into two parts. Part one is solely Ava’s narrative and the story from her perspective. In part two we are introduced to Winnie’s narrative which really did add more context to the story but at the same time changed the storyline. At the start of the book with Ava’s narrative the suggestion is made early on that Winnie has conned Ava into helping her with the counterfeit handbag scam and that Ava has no choice once she steps foot into that world to continue. However, when Winnie’s narrative is introduced it puts a slightly different slant on the story. From Winnie’s perspective Ava was happy and willing to become involved in the business. Ava very quickly going forward became the driving force behind the business and entered it with her eyes wide open. As I was coming to the end of the book I was questioning who was manipulating who. The twist at the end was pretty perfect and was not what I was expecting but it did add more flesh to the personality of the characters and who they truly were. Once I’d finished reading I did question who between the characters was genuine and was telling the truth and who like the counterfeit handbags was completely fake. I’ll leave that to the individual reader to decide.
A must read book that will keep you guessing.
Kirstin Chen is the author of Soy Sauce for Beginners and Bury What We Cannot Take. Born and raised in Singapore, she currently lives in San Francisco.
When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her.
Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to continue Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the 88 bus is slipping away . . .
More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chance for happiness – before it’s too late.
A beautifully uplifting novel about how one chance meeting can change the course of your life forever.
In April 1962 on an ordinary day Frank meets a mysterious girl on the 88 bus. They sit and talk and Frank very quickly falls in love with this girl. As the girl starts to leave the bus Frank asks if he can see her again. This prompts the girl to write her phone number on a bus ticket and Frank having nothing to give in return gives her the book he is reading. Shortly after this Frank discovers that he’s lost the bus ticket and the phone number. Every day that follows and in years to come Frank sits on the top deck of the 88 bus hoping to meet the girl again. Fast forward to April 2022 and Libby has just arrived in London to live with her sister having just broken up with her boyfriend. On the 88 bus Libby meets Frank. They talk, he tells her the story of the girl on the 88 bus and they become friends. Having been completely bowled over by Frank’s story Libby makes it her mission to help Frank find the girl and reunite them. So together with Frank and his carer Dylan the search for the girl on the 88 bus begins. Will they be able to find her and who is she?
This was a truly heart-warming and emotional read. It was perfect in every way from the storyline to the characters. From the first page I was captivated and transported to the 1960s with Frank. At times it felt like I was on the search with Libby, Frank and Dylan to find the mysterious girl. The characters felt so real that they jumped off the page and felt like people that I would want to meet in real life. Frank was just lovely and reminded me very much of my grandad who I sit with and listen to his stories. Frank is the kind of character that you could speak to daily and he would regale you with a new story from his youth. I knew from the first page that Frank was the perfect storyteller and I would happily sit with Frank on the bus to listen to a story from his past. Libby was definitely a character I bonded with. She’s been through a lot especially after being dumped by her long term boyfriend, Simon. At the same time she doesn’t appear to be understood by her own family who at times blame her for the break up with Simon despite him instigating it. But Libby does come out of her shell when she meets Dylan, despite their first meeting being less than pleasant. Libby and Dylan have this unspoken bond where they just understand each other and Dylan is the first person that Libby opens up to about what happened with Simon and how she is feeling. It’s through spending time with Dylan that Libby sees herself through his eyes and becomes a little more carefree. As for Simon who makes several appearances in this book I have nothing nice to say apart from he’s not very nice and very unlikeable. I love the character Esme. She’s so forthright, bold, knows what she wants and speaks her mind. There was a plot twist regarding the identity of the girl I didn’t see coming but no spoilers because you’ll have to read the book.
I was very sad when the book ended because it was such a wholesome read that pulled at my heart strings. Having read The Last Library which was the author’s debut novel, followed by this the second novel I am super excited to see what the author writes next because I have fallen in love with both books. I can’t wait to see what adventures are featured in the next book. The ending was quite poignant but sad in parts. I did shed a tear or two when I finished the book but as one story on the 88 bus finished another one started. By the time I turned the last page I left a little piece of my heart with the characters and the story.
This is a story about friendships, hope and never giving up. The girl on the 88 bus is definitely a new favourite read for me and one that everyone should read because it’s an amazing story.
Freya Sampson works in television as a creator and Executive Producer. Her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British Royal Family, and a number of factual and entertainment series. She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize. She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.