when the apricots bloom by gina wilkinson
Another fantastic read by an Aussie author. Inspired by her own experiences in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule, Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women confronting the limits of friendship and forgiveness, and the strength of a mother’s love. Def one for the summer read collection!!
Official Blurb - What would you do if the secret police demanded you spy on a friend in order to protect your family? Three women confront the complexities of trust, friendship and motherhood under the rule of a dictator in this debut inspired by the author's own experiences in Iraq
At night, in Huda's fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the secret police, who have ordered her to befriend Ally, the deputy ambassador's wife.
Huda's former friend Rania, an artist, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family's wealth is gone, and Rania is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads.
As the women's lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.
Transporting readers to one of the world's most legendary cities, with mouth-watering cuisine, incredible history, a surprising art scene and bustling book markets, Gina Wilkinson's suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women confronting the limits of friendship and forgiveness, and the strength of a mother's love.
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The Vanishing Half by Brit bennett
The quandary began a couple of weeks ago. Making a list and checking it twice. What book to choose as my best read of this year. I just cant go past this beauty from Brit Bennett as ( drumroll please ) my favourite for 2020.
I read this book in one sitting on a rare Sunday afternoon with free time. It got me from the very first chapter and there I stayed until it was finished. I felt like I was interfering in their lives, looking through the window like a nosy neighbour to see what was going to happen next. Each character was described and their innermost thoughts revealed in such a human and fragile way. Generational family drama with the issues of racism and identity front and centre. Do yourselves a favour over summer and pop this on your TBR list.
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Official Blurb: The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.
Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined.
What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' story lines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.
Looking well beyond issues of race, THE VANISHING HALF considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
the Ickabog by j k rowling
Well there's no need for an introduction to this new mega book out on 10th November. Its a massive blockbuster, hard cover edition and oh so popular. So on with the show.....
Official blurb -
The Ickabog is coming... A mythical monster, a kingdom in peril, an adventure that will test two children's bravery to the limit. Discover a brilliantly original fairy tale about the power of hope and friendship to triumph against all odds, from one of the world's best storytellers.
The kingdom of Cornucopia was once the happiest in the world. It had plenty of gold, a king with the finest moustaches you could possibly imagine, and butchers, bakers and cheesemongers whose exquisite foods made a person dance with delight when they ate them.
Everything was perfect - except for the misty Marshlands to the north which, according to legend, were home to the monstrous Ickabog. Anyone sensible knew that the Ickabog was just a myth, to scare children into behaving. But the funny thing about myths is that sometimes they take on a life of their own.
Could a myth unseat a beloved king? Could a myth bring a once happy country to its knees? Could a myth thrust two children into an adventure they didn't ask for and never expected?
If you're feeling brave, step into the pages of this book to find out...
A beautiful hardback edition, perfect for sharing and gift-giving. Brought to life with full-colour illustrations by the young winners of The Ickabog Illustration Competition.
SOPHIA SPARKS by ELANOR BEST
This story is such a great way to show that girls can do anything. Sophia is an inventor and her bow is the magical key to it all. Included with the book is a beautiful blue bow to wear. With help from her friends they create wonderful things. I love the rhyming text and the colours just pop out at you. If you have girls in your life between the ages of four to eight then this book is perfect. Super cool, super fun!!
Official blurb - Sophia wears her bow whenever she needs to come up with a new, dazzling invention. But one day, she can't find it! Join Sophia as she learns — through the power of mashed potato and friends — that she didn't need a bow on her head to think of brilliant things, after all.
Fun, rhyming text and Lara Ede's sweet illustrations combine to bring Sophia's world of incredible inventions to life! From glitter-fueled rockets to dancing robots, there's something in this story that will spark the imagination of every little reader who hears it.
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AMERICAN DIRT BY JEANINE CUMMINS
Starts with a bang from the very first page. Gritty, raw and very emotional. Its a story that will have you reading into the wee hours. I know there was some controversy surrounding this book when it first came out earlier this year but as a work of fiction I found it thoroughly engaging from beginning to end. Its a Yes from me and a Meh from Miss Bella who was not impressed that the bedside lamp stayed on while she was trying to slumber.
Official blurb - También de este lado hay sueños. On this side, too, there are dreams.
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
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