The Richard and Judy Book Club Autumn 2016

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The Ballroom by Anna Hope

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Ella Fay does not know how a simple impulsive act landed her in the strict confines of a Yorkshire asylum. She does not know the stories of the other women there, or why the strange doctor plays them the piano, or where the patients go before they are never seen again. But there are two things she does know: she is not insane, and she will never stop struggling for freedom. Her spirit of escape ignites a spark of life within fellow patient John Mulligan, and a courtship flares into being as the couple are thrown together weekly in the ballroom for the Friday night dance. Yet with the odds stacked against them, and hope as fragile as the eggshells on which they have to tread, they find themselves in equal fear of what it is they are running away from, and what it is they are running towards. Full review...

The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent

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When Fran met Nathan everyone assumed she was on the rebound from a lengthy stint at the mercy of Nick The Unsuitable. I imagine falling pregnant within those first few heady months may have added fuel to that particular fire particularly from where Fran’s best friend is standing. But when this is followed by a hasty wedding and a move to an isolated farmhouse in the Fens, Fran feels sure that her new role as home-maker and mother, so very different from the London party-girl she used to be, is the right one for her. So when Fran wakes in the middle of the night to find Nathan’s side of the bed completely cold, she goes to look for him. Finding him bloodied and very much dead was most definitely not part of the bargain. Full review...

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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The USA is an odd place at times, and not just during election season. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies, places that time forgot, places that ‘’people’’ forgot. Broken Wheel, Iowa is one such place. You’d have no reason to go unless you knew someone there. And Sara does, her pen-pal Amy. Invited by Amy to come for a visit, and with time on her hands due to a recent redundancy, Sara packs her bags (and her books) and buys a plane ticket from her native Sweden to the US of A. Full review...

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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Beryl Clutterbuck was just two when she was taken by her parents from Abingdon in England to Kenya, to a farm at Njoro in the Rongai Valley in what was then the British East African Protectorate and which would become Kenya. Her mother was dismayed - amazed that her father would have sold everything to get little more than a few mud huts - and it was only a couple of years before she returned home with Dickie, Beryl's brother, leaving Beryl and her father to cope as best they could. Beryl grew up wild - largely brought up by the local tribespeople - and was catapulted into a disastrous marriage when she was just sixteen. It taught her one thing, though - she needed to take charge of her own destiny. Full review...

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

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Edith Hind has gone missing. Sir Ian and Lady Hind are demanding answers, Edith's friends aren't telling the whole story, her boyfriend seems too innocent and police investigator, Manon Bradshaw can't catch a break in the case. The longer Edith is missing, the more she is presumed ... Full review...

The Widow by Fiona Barton

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Newly widowed Jean Taylor is being interviewed by top investigative reporter Kate Waters. Jean sees that she's not like the other reporters; Kate's not battering down Jean's door, she's nice, patient, she feels like a friend. But Jean isn't completely fooled, Kate wants to know about her husband, about the terrible crime he was accused of, how Jean feels about him now and the most dangerous question of all… what Jean knows. Full review...

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

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Janie is a single mother, living in New York with her pre-schooler Noah. It's just the two of them, so it's rather disconcerting when Noah screams out in the night, calling for his real mom and asking when he can go home. Night after night this happens. There's other things, too. He hates water and regularly goes to nursery stinky because his mother simply cannot get him in the bath. He has the odd bizarre turn of phrase that comes out, far beyond what one might expect for a child of his age. He knows certain things, too, without anyone understanding how he picked up this knowledge, whether it be the names of different reptiles or the plot of books he's never read. Full review...

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