Between a Mother and Her Child
One impulsive wedding, twenty years and three adored children later, the Barrett family seems to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning.
In one instant, everything has changed in the cruellest of ways, and neither Bill nor Maggie nor the children can ever be the same again. Clinging to the wreckage of her family, Maggie cannot even begin to fix things on her own.
Enter Kate: housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. She's here to pick up the pieces and fix what isn't completely broken. But can Maggie trust Kate? And why is Kate so keen to help?
When Bill falls for another woman, Maggie realizes she will have to fight to put her family back together - but will they still want her?
Between a Mother and her Child is the moving and heart-warming exploration of the ultimate bond of love.
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The Way We Were
A chance meeting between them sends shockwaves through their lives. What happens when your first love makes a surprise appearance? Is fate telling you it’s time for a second chance … or should you simply walk away and let the past become ancient history?
But Susannah and Rob just aren’t able to forget the way they were … and the world is about to realise the consequences of their reunion.
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The Girl Next Door
Welcome to New York’s Upper East Side and a building with a burgundy red awning, where neighbours and friends become family.
Eve and Ed Gallagher are starting a new life in Apartment 7A, tucked inside a gorgeous building on New York’s Upper East Side. It should be a happy time but since leaving England, Eve has felt lost and lonely. The sun begins to shine, though, when she joins the Building Beautifying Committee, chaired by elderly neighbour Violet.
And the building itself is warming up thanks to the tangled emotions of its residents. The Kramers and the Schulmans in Apartments 6A and 6B find their lives intersecting in unexpected ways when unhappiness at home leads Jason Kramer to fall head-over-heels for Rachael Schulman.
Meanwhile, downstairs in 5A, Jackson Grayling III has eyes only for the intriguing Emily Mikanowski in 3A, even though his wealth is a magnet for hard-nosed Madison Cavanagh in 2B. And as for shy romance addict Charlotte Murphy in 2A, she’s crazy about the doorman but too wrapped up in her dreams to take the next step. No one is left unchanged as the secrets and desires hidden behind closed doors are finally brought into the light.
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The Friendship Test
They say the friends you make at college are with you for life, and for Tamsin, Reagan, Sarah and Freddie that certainly seems to be the case. With student life stretching ahead of them, they bonded years ago over too many bottles of wine and great gossip; ill-fated love affairs and essay deadlines were the only clouds on their horizon.
Although the four women have little in common this seems to make them greater friends, and they swear they'll always be there for one another . . . but twenty years is a long time to keep a promise.
And so, when tragedy plays a hand, their friendship is put to the ultimate test. Can they put their troubles and differences aside and remember the simple joy of their younger selves? After all, friends should always come first, shouldn't they?
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The Reading Group
Five women meet for their first reading group, little realising this social gathering over books and glasses of wine might see them share more than literary debate … and will, in fact, take each of them to places they’d never imagined.
Harriet and Nicole are the ringleaders, best friends who can’t quite admit – to themselves or one other – they might be trapped in loveless marriages. While Polly, a determined single mum, finds herself tipped off course by an unexpected proposal. Susan, usually so carefree and happy, is forced to face a shattering reality and Clare, quiet and mysterious, plainly has more on her mind than next week’s book choice.
Over the coming year their worlds will intertwine in delightful, unexpected and surprising ways. Stories will be re-written as dreams are made and broken, but through it all they’ll have the Reading Group, with friendship, tears and laughter featuring in every chapter of their lives.
Elizabeth writes …
“I think every woman who likes to read should be in a book group – as long as it’s the right kind for you. I’ve heard horror stories about reading clubs that give literary comprehension tests and require degrees, and read only foreign novels in their original languages. Those might be right for some people, but not for me. When it works, be it large, small, all female, mixed sex, neighbourhood, school run based, or randomly put together at a library or club, it will be interesting, stimulating, and great fun. You’ll read things you would never pick up on your own (and switch off the television to do it!), learn more about yourself and what you like and get to know your fellow members really well.
My own book club experience began pretty typically – a group of mums with kids just old enough to go to school who wanted to be pushed to read something more challenging than Hello! Magazine. We started gently. Most picks were from the front table in the bookshop, and I admit we sometimes chose based on number of pages more than anything else. It took us a few months to find our feet. But gradually, as we met more, we started to get into our stride, and that monthly date became a fixed point in our calendars.
Four years ago, I moved to the US. Leaving my book group was one of the biggest ‘cons’ for me in the list I made before we agreed to come to New York. So I didn’t. Every month, I read the book they’re all reading, and then, if I’m around, we talk on the phone, or, if they’re at a house with a skype camera, I check in that way. Okay, so the discussion isn’t quite as in depth, or as long. I don’t get to eat dinner or have a drink with them. But I’m there in spirit.
For the months when I can’t be there (their evenings are my afternoons, and I sometimes have to be on the sideline of a soccer match, or at a meeting) I bought them a stuffed bear – the kind that can be implanted with a recorded message. I recorded myself saying something pretentious about Iris Murdoch, and dressed the bear in a Statue of Liberty costume. Now she goes to book group every month. She’s had a couple of new outfits over the years. But she’ll still say something pretentious about Iris Murdoch if you press her left paw. And that makes us smile.”
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Natalie and her sisters have known Tom and his family forever. They climbed trees together, scraped knees on the same pavements and, in taking shared steps towards adulthood, shaped bonds that would last a lifetime.
So when Natalie’s long-term love walks out on her, Tom’s is the much-needed shoulder she cries on. And Tom dreams up an ingenious way to dry her tears: a series of Alphabet Weekends – starting with A for Abseiling – to make her forget the heartache and, he hopes, to make her see what’s been staring her in the face all these years. His genuine love for her.
But as they tumble from A to Z, their families and friends face broken hearts and tragedies of their own. Can the Alphabet Weekends unlock love in all its many and wonderful guises? And not just for Natalie and Tom, but for everyone they care about?
“Alphabet Weekends was easily the most fun of my novels to write, and especially to research. I wanted the central couple, childhood sweethearts Natalie and Tom, to have a lot of fun on their journey to commitment and love. The point is not to really wonder whether or not they end up together (did you ever doubt that Tom Hanks would end up with Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, or that Andie McDowell would get her act together and settle down with Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral?) but that you, the reader, would just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Speaking of which, N for Nemesis (the Alton Towers ride) is pretty much the only letter I didn’t personally try out for the book – I throw up on rollercoasters (and occasionally just miss small children doing so), so whilst I may be prepared to suffer a little for my art, I draw the line at that! Everything else I had either already done, or made sure I did before I wrote the book.
Abseiling, canoing and rock climbing were the most fun – I went with a bunch of girlfriends to a cold damp bunkhouse on Dartmoor and we did an outward bound course with two unfeasibly young and hunky lads (who must have been filled with dread as they watched seven wetsuit clad Surrey housewives bearing down on them laughing nervously…) We did a 50ft free abseil off a disused viaduct – some considerably more gung ho than others – and although I swore, cried and kept my eyes squeezed closed throughout, I have rarely felt so high as I did when I’d finished!
Vegas was much easier (and no wetsuit required)!”
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Things I Want My Daughters To Know
When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware they’ll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do?
Take Lisa, in her mid-thirties but incapable of making a commitment; or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst. While twentysomething Amanda is the traveler, always distanced from the rest of the family. And Hannah. A teenage girl on the verge of womanhood, about to be parted from the mother she adores.
But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara’s letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with her loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy life with all the passion and love each deserves?
From the Number One bestselling author of The Reading Group comes a novel you'll have to share with your mother, your daughter, your sister ... anyone you want to know how much you love them. Things I want my Daughters To Know is a tale of families, friends … and the glorious, endless possibilities of life.