By Shelley Harris
For Jenny Pepper, housewife, charity bookshop worker and mum to a stroppy teen, life has become a little boring. She was once an actress, but now spends every day tidying up after other people. Then, on her way to a party one night, Jenny bravely steps in to save a woman in trouble. Suddenly her world is exciting again - and she's a hero. As she starts patrolling the streets of her small town, she feels more alive than she has in years. But when a real villain appears, Jenny's daughter is in danger. Will she tell the police what she knows or go it alone and risk losing everything?VIGILANTE is about an ordinary woman stuck in a rut - and the extraordinary lengths she'll go to recapture her life.
The Versions of Us
By Laura Barnett
A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK AND NUMBER ONE BESTSELLERWhat if you had said yes . . . ?Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together, and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.The Versions of Us is an outstanding debut novel about the choices we make and the different paths that our lives might follow. What if one small decision could change the rest of your life?Laura's Barnett's new book GREATEST HITS is available for pre-order now.
A Very Private Diary
By Mary Morris
The newly discovered diary of a wartime nurse - a fascinating, dramatic and unique insight into the experiences of a young nurse in the Second World War.'I always seem to be saying good-bye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time...'1939: 18-year-old trainee nurse Mary Mulry arrives in London from Ireland, hoping for adventure. Little did she know what the next seven years would bring.In her extraordinary diary, published now for the first time, Mary records in intimate detail her life as a nurse, both on the Home Front and on the frontline. From nursing children during bombing raids in London to treating Allied soldiers in Normandy, Mary's experiences gave her vivid and unforgettable material for the private diary she was dedicated to keeping.Filled with romance, glamour and inevitably sadness, too, these are the rich memories of an irrepressible personality, living through the turbulent years of the Second World War.
The Vanished Landscape
By Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson recalls, with warmth and affection, his childhood in the Potteries - and a unique industrial landscape that has now gone for everPaul Johnson, the celebrated historian, grew up in Tunstall, one of the six towns around Stoke-on-Trent that made up `the Potteries'. From an early age he was fascinated by the strange beauty of its volcanic landscape of fiery furnaces belching out heat and smoke. As a child he often accompanied his father - headmaster of the local art school and desperate to find jobs for his students, for this was the Hungry Thirties - to the individual pottery firms and their coal-fired ovens. His adored mother and father are at the heart of this story and his older sisters who, as much as his parents, brought him up. Children made their own amusements to an extent unimaginable today, and his life was extraordinarily free and unsupervised. No door was locked - `Poverty was everywhere but so were the Ten Commandments.' The book ends in 1938 as the 11-year-old author queues at the town-hall for a gas mask.
By Neil Oliver
The Vikings famously took no prisoners, relished cruel retribution, and prided themselves on their blood-thirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the west and as far as Baghdad in the east. As the Vikings did not write their history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and that discovery, as Neil Oliver reveals, tells an extraordinary story of a people who, from the brink of destruction, reached a quarter of the way around the globe and built an empire that lasted nearly 200 years.Drawing on the latest discoveries that have only recently come to light, Neil Oliver goes on the trail of the real Vikings. Where did they emerge from? How did they really live? And just what drove them to embark on such extraordinary voyages of discovery over 1000 years ago? VIKINGS will explore many of these questions for the first time in an epic story of one of the world's great empires of conquest.
By Philip K. Dick
It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right. It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?
By W M Thackeray
Vanity Fair in half the timeBecky Sharp is the most alluring yet ruthless heroine ever to climb the social ladder. From sordid bohemian beginnings she moves upwards through Regency society, betraying her husband, her friend Amelia and all who cross her in her determination to acquire power. In post-war London after Waterloo, Becky continues her manipulative schemes but finds herself thwarted by personal and social forces.
By Robert Twigger
Best-selling author of Angry White Pyjamas travels across the Rocky Mountains by canoeFifteen years before Lewis and Clark, Scotsman Alexander Mackenzie, looking to open up a trade route, set out from Lake Athabasca in central Northern Canada in search of the Pacific Ocean. Mackenzie travelled by bark canoe and had a cache of rum and a crew of Canadian voyageurs, hard-living backwoodsmen, for company. Two centuries later, Robert Twigger decides to follow in Mackenzie's wake. He too travels the traditional way, having painstakingly built a canoe from birchbark sewn together with pine roots, and assembled a crew made up of fellow travelers, ex-tree-planters and a former sailor from the US Navy. Several had tried before them but they were the first people to successfully complete Mackenzie's diabolical route over the Rockies in a birchbark canoe since 1793. Their journey takes them to the remotest parts of the wilderness, through Native American reservations, over mountains, through rapids and across lakes, meeting descendants of Mackenzie and unhinged Canadian trappers, running out of food, getting lost and miraculously found again, disfigured for life (the ex-sailor loses his thumb), bears brown and black, docile and grizzly.
The Vertigo Years
By Philipp Blom
By Philipp von Boeselager
The last member of Operation Valkyrie - the daring July 20 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler - tells his remarkable story.'It was not the question of an isolated assassination, but rather of beginning a complete overthrow of the regime'July 20 1944. A fearless group of German officers attempted to act against the horrors of Nazism and put an end to the war by killing Adolf Hitler. But Operation Valkyrie failed, and one by one the plotters were found out, tortured and executed. Philipp von Boeselager - who supplied the explosives that would rip through the Führer's bunker - miraculously escaped death.In this unique memoir Philipp tells his extraordinary life story and the part he played in this, and three other dramatic attempts on Hitler's life. He recounts how a small band of resisters dared to stop evil and prevent profound loss of lives. Ultimately they failed but the legacy of their courage endures.
By Hugh Bicheno
The lives and loves of the great condottieriFederigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, was the archetypal 'Renaissance man': a brilliant soldier, scholar and ally of the pope, he spent much of the vast wealth on commissioning artists to decorate the city.Sigismondo Malatesta, lord of the neighbouring city of Rimini, was also a brilliant soldier and generous patron of the arts. He and Federigo were locked in an epic feud which saw them fight as mercenaries for and against just about every Italian ruler of note, so long as the other was on the opposite side.Together they epitomised the spirit of the condottieri - the contract army leaders who drove the explosion of new political, commercial and artistic ideas that has since become known as the Renaissance.
Vita and Harold
By Nigel Nicolson
The classic story of the relationship between Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, and a unique portrait of the Bloomsbury Group.The marriage was that between the two writers, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson and the portrait is drawn partly by Vita herself in an autobiography which she left behind at her death in 1962 and partly by her son, Nigel. It was one of the happiest and strangest marriages there has ever been. Both Vita and Harold were always in love with other people and each gave the other full liberty 'without enquiry or reproach', knowing that their love for each other would be unaffected and even strengthened by the crises which it survived. This account of their love story is now a modern classic.
By Liza Picard
From rag-gatherers to royalty, from fish knives to Freemasons: everyday life in Victorian London.Like its acclaimed companion volumes, Elizabeth's London, Restoration London and Dr Johnson's London, this book is the product of the author's passionate interest in the realities of everyday life so often left out of history books. This period of mid Victorian London covers a huge span: Victoria's wedding and the place of the royals in popular esteem; how the very poor lived, the underworld, prostitution, crime, prisons and transportation; the public utilities - Bazalgette on sewers and road design, Chadwick on pollution and sanitation; private charities - Peabody, Burdett Coutts - and workhouses; new terraced housing and transport, trains, omnibuses and the Underground; furniture and decor; families and the position of women; the prosperous middle classes and their new shops, such as Peter Jones and Harrods; entertaining and servants, food and drink; unlimited liability and bankruptcy; the rich, the marriage market, taxes and anti-semitism; the Empire, recruitment and press-gangs. The period begins with the closing of the Fleet and Marshalsea prisons and ends with the first (steam-operated) Underground trains and the first Gilbert & Sullivan.
Valdez is Coming
By Elmore Leonard
No writer chronicles the battles of misfits, underdogs and renegades like Elmore Leonard ...VALDEZ IS COMING is a stunning stale of morality and justice in which a simple, honest man is transformed into a killer - and begins a long journey of revenge against those who scarred his soul for ever.Elmore Leonard's Western novels stand as some of the most vivid writing of his career. With all of his trademark sharp dialogue and set against a beautifully evoked landscape, this is a classic work that captures the wild and glorious spirit of the American West.
The Viceroy's Daughters
By Anne de Courcy
The lives of the three daughters of Lord Curzon: glamorous, rich, independent and wilful.Irene (born 1896), Cynthia (b.1898) and Alexandria (b.1904) were the three daughters of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India 1898-1905 and probably the grandest and most self-confident imperial servant Britain ever possessed. After the death of his fabulously rich American wife in 1906, Curzon's determination to control every aspect of his daughters' lives, including the money that was rightfully theirs, led them one by one into revolt against their father. The three sisters were at the very heart of the fast and glittering world of the Twenties and Thirties.Irene, intensely musical and a passionate foxhunter, had love affairs in the glamorous Melton Mowbray hunting set. Cynthia ('Cimmie') married Oswald Mosley, joining him first in the Labour Party, where she became a popular MP herself, before following him into fascism. Alexandra ('Baba'), the youngest and most beautiful, married the Prince of Wales's best friend Fruity Metcalfe. On Cimmie's early death in 1933 Baba flung herself into a long and passionate affair with Mosley and a liaison with Mussolini's ambassador to London, Count Dino Grandi, while enjoying the romantic devotion of the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax. The sisters see British fascism from behind the scenes, and the arrival of Wallis Simpson and the early married life of the Windsors. The war finds them based at 'the Dorch' (the Dorchester Hotel) doing good works. At the end of their extraordinary lives, Irene and Baba have become, rather improbably, pillars of the establishment, Irene being made one of the very first Life Peers in 1958 for her work with youth clubs.
By Jostein Gaarder
A playful and inventive work from the bestselling author of SOPHIE'S WORLD.A box of Latin manuscripts comes to light in an Argentine flea market. An apocryphal invention by some 17th or 18th century scolar, or a transcript of what it appears to be - a hitherto unheard of letter to St Augustine to a woman he renounced for chastity? VITA BREVIS is both an entrancing human document and a fascinating insight into the life and philosophy of St.Augustine. Gaarder's interpretation of Floria's letter is as playful, inventive and questioning as SOPHIE'S WORLD.
The Victorian Internet
By Tom Standage
The history of the telegraph - the men and women who made it - and its relevance to the current Internet debateBeginning with the Abbe Nollet's famous experiment of 1746, when he successfully demonstrated that electricity could pass from one end to the other of a chain of two hundred monks, Tom Standage tells the story of the spread of the telegraph and its transformation of the Victorian world. The telegraph was greeted by all the same concerns, hype, social panic and excitement that now surround the Internet, and Standage provides both a fascinating insight into the past and a context in which to think rather differently of today's concerns.Standage has a wonderful prose style and an excellent eye for the telling and engaging story. Popular history at its best.
A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman
By Mary Wollstonecraft