I couldn’t quite believe my luck when this invitation dropped into my inbox as I really enjoy Orion’s fiction so I was thrilled that I was actually able to attend. My goodness, what an afternoon it was. It was wonderful to catch up with authors, bloggers and publishing folk I already knew like Erica James and to meet new ones such as Richard Roper, but I was especially delighted finally to meet Fanny Blake whose books I’ve loved for ages.
There was a smashing Christmassy feel to the event with a tree bedecked in bookish baubles in keeping with the theme of All I Want for Christmas is Books!
It was so lovely to be made to feel special with a personalised name tag too:
The tables were absolutely groaning – first with gorgeous food so that, along with several glasses of champagne, I think I ate my own bodyweight in scones:
But more importantly, there were so many fabulous books as well as other edible treats to bring away in our goody bags. I would have liked a copy of everything but that would have been too greedy even for me.
I wonder whose champagne that is…
All the publicists must have put in ages to organise this afternoon so brilliantly and I would like to thank each and every one for making me so welcome, for being so passionate about their authors and books and for giving me so many wonderful books to bring home to read.
This is the selection I received:
Some of them are so new that they don’t even have pre-order links or final covers yet but they include:
The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly
Three women, three birthdays, one year that will change everything…
Ginger isn’t spending her thirtieth the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster.
Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her fortieth birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother?
Callie is celebrating her fiftieth at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party changes everything…
Louis and Louise by Julie Cohen
ONE LIFE. LIVED TWICE.
Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor and a final ‘e’.
They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.
Thirteen years later, they are both coming home.
A tender, insightful and timely novel about the things that bring us together – and those which separate us.
Maid by Stephanie Land
‘My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.’
As a struggling single mum, determined to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, working long hours in order to provide for her small family. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.
As she worked hard to climb her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labour jobs as a cleaner whilst also juggling higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote. She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of the overworked and underpaid.
Written in honest, heart-rending prose and with great insight, Maid explores the underbelly of the upper-middle classes and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. ‘I’d become a nameless ghost,’ Stephanie writes. With this book, she gives voice to the ‘servant’ worker, those who fight daily to scramble and scrape by for their own lives and the lives of their children.
Bring Me Sunshine by Laura Kemp
Charlotte Bold is nothing like her name – she is shy and timid and just wants a quiet life. When her job doing the traffic news on the radio in London is relocated to Sunshine FM in Mumbles, she jumps at the chance for a new start in Wales.
But when she arrives she discovers that she’s not there to do the travel news – she’s there to front the graveyard evening show. And she’s not sure she can do it.
Thrust into the limelight, she must find her voice and a way to cope. And soon she realises that she’s not the only person who finds life hard – out there her listeners are lonely too. And her show is the one keeping them going.
Can Charlotte seize the day and make the most of her new home? And will she be able to breathe new life into the tiny radio station too…?
Out on 7th February 2019 Bring Me Sunshine by Laura Kemp is available for pre-order through the links here.
Swallowtail Summer by Erica James
It was the summer it all ended . . . It was the summer a new story began.
Linston End has been the summer home to three families for several decades. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together. But recently widowed Alastair is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all… Can these friends learn to live life to its fullest?
An Italian Affair by Caroline Montague
Love. War. Family. Betrayal.
Italy, 1937. Alessandra Durante is grieving the loss of her husband when she discovers she has inherited her ancestral family seat, Villa Durante, deep in the Tuscan Hills. Longing for a new start, she moves from her home in London to Italy with her daughter Diana and sets about rebuilding her life.
Under the threat of war, Alessandra’s house becomes first a home and then a shelter to all those who need it. Then Davide, a young man who is hiding the truth about who he is, arrives, and Diana starts to find her heart going where her head knows it must not.
Back home in Britain as war breaks out, Alessandra’s son Robert, signs up to be a pilot, determined to play his part in freeing Italy from the grip of Fascism. His bravery marks him out as an asset to the Allies, and soon he is being sent deep undercover and further into danger than ever before.
As war rages, the Durante family will love and lose, but will they survive the war…?
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins can’t cut a break. Well, apart from one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That’s definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Stuck between a boss who doesn’t seem to see her, a family who don’t seem to listen (if it’s not Jesus or water rates, they’re not interested), and trying to fit in two worlds that don’t really understand her, it’s no wonder she’s struggling.
She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on modern life, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way.
Cape May by Chip Cheek
Cape May, New Jersey 1957.
Newlyweds Henry and Effie arrive from Georgia for their honeymoon. It’s the end of the summer season, and as they tentatively discover each other – walking on the deserted beach overlooking the vast, darkening Atlantic, clumsily making love in the dusty rooms of a distant relative’s house – they begin to realize that everyday married life might be disappointingly different from their happy-ever-after fantasy.
Just as they get ready to cut the trip short and leave Cape May, a light goes on in one of the houses on their street. In that one moment their destiny is altered forever.
A glamorous set suddenly disrupt their newly-formed married life and sweep them up into their drama: there’s Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.
The empty town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, marvel at the power and beauty of their bodies, experiment with love and sex, and drink massive amounts of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with consequences that reverberate through the rest of their lives.
And last but by no means least – the only man in the room and with apologies for the image but I couldn’t find it yet as it’s so new:
Something to Live For by Richard Roper
Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…
Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.
The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.
Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start.
So you can see what a busy reader I’m going to be. I feel absolutely spoilt and honoured to have so many wonderful books on my TBR and I would like to reiterate my thanks to authors and publicists and everyone in between for creating such brilliant books and allowing me to read them
I also brought home a copy of Orion’s Spring Catalogue (which has had me stroking the pages and sighing since – you can see it already looks well-thumbed) but if you’d like to see what’s coming up you can find out more by viewing the catalogue online here.
I wonder if there’s anything that immediately takes your fancy?