Contemporary Fiction

The English Heart

The English Heart
Title: The English Heart
Author:
Publisher:
Author's Twitter: @helenahalme
A stylish 1980’s Cold War love story based on true events. Young Finnish student Kaisa falls head over heals in love with Peter, a dashing newly qualified naval officer. Kaisa realised she’d never felt like this before. This was love. The stuff she’d read about in books since she was a teenager; the films she’d watched. This was how Ryan O’Neal felt about Ali MacGraw in Love Story, and Barbra Streisand about Robert Redford in The Way We Were. Kaisa grinned. She’d wanted to pose the same question to the Englishman that Katie had to Hubbell, ‘Do you smile ALL the time?’ ” When a young Finnish student, Kaisa, is invited to the British Embassy cocktail party in Helsinki to celebrate a Royal Navy visit to Finland, she’s not looking for romance. After all, her future has been carefully planned: she’s to complete her degree, marry her respectable, well-to-do Finnish fiancé Matti, and live happily ever after. Enter the dashing Peter, a newly qualified naval officer. Like a moth to a flame, Kaisa falls head over heels in love. Kaisa and Peter embark on a long-distance relationship, but at the height of the Cold War, while the Englishman chases Russian submarines, Kaisa is stuck in Finland, a country friendly with the Soviet Union. Can they trust each other? Can their love go the distance? A stylish 1980s Nordic love story based on true events.

One Night at the Jacaranda

One Night at the Jacaranda
Title: One Night at the Jacaranda
Author:
Publisher:
Published: April 28, 2016
Author's Twitter: @DrCarolCooper
The lives of a disparate group of Londoners intersect one night as they each search for someone special. Dan is trying to conceal a stretch in jail, while time is running out for cancer-stricken Sanjay. Geoff is a stressed doctor with erectile trouble, and Michael is the kind of man best avoided. Lawyer Laure is desperate to rewrite her abusive past but, for single mother Karen, sex is a distant memory she hopes to relive. Undercover journalist Harriet doesn’t have an agenda, other than writing articles to repay her debt to her live-in lover. She’s only there on assignment, but soon she has to choose between the comfortable life she knows and a bumpy road that could lead to happiness. As they all discover, finding happiness with someone special means finding yourself as well.

A Beautiful Family

A Beautiful Family
Title: A Beautiful Family
Published: May 27, 2014
Author's Twitter: @MarilynCohendeV
When Johannesburg socialite Brenda Silverman dies in mysterious circumstance in her palatial, well secured home, questions are inevitable. Did she commit suicide? Was it an accidental drug overdose? Or did her death have something to do with her husband? Alan Silverman is a handsome, charming businessman with impeccable credentials: a former political activist who fled South Africa in the 1980s and returned to help build the new democracy; a loving husband and devoted father; a pillar of Johannesburg’s orthodox Jewish community; and an intimate of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress elite. He is also a man hiding a terrible secret. Tracy Jacobs, a young journalist, is assigned to cover the story but as her investigations start to uncover cracks in the beautiful Silverman family facade, she finds herself in conflict with her own community. Will Brenda’s inquest finally reveal the truth? Spanning nearly forty years and three continents, A Beautiful Family confirms a horrible reality: that “things like that” can and do happen to people just like us.

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire
Title: The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire
Published: December 9, 2014
Author's Twitter: @sheerhubris
Will they or won’t they? Should they or shouldn’t they? It’s the summer of 1977 in a small college town, and physics professor David Asken has just lost his young family in a plane crash he somehow survived. Sixteen-year-old neighbor Molly Carmichael used to be the babysitter, but now will be keeping house for him while he recuperates. David’s quietly planning to end his life just as soon as he can drive again. Molly’s trying to cope with being known as Tampon Girl, thanks to a sculpture by her notorious artist mother, but she will have to deal with much worse after a drunken teenage party. In this engrossing coming-of-age novel by the author of The Awful Mess, both man and girl must grow up the hard way, and it’s their unexpectedly tender connection, fraught with potential scandal, that may just help them do it. This provocative novel asks: Is there ever a time when doing the wrong thing might be exactly right? Warning: Offers adult themes, bad language, violence, and a blistering feminist critique of how men always leave that crap in the bottom of the sink. May also keep you reading way too late into the night.

Six Months to Get a Life

Six Months to Get a Life
Title: Six Months to Get a Life
Author:
Published: January 21, 2015
Author's Twitter: @benadamsauthor
Graham Hope had it all – a wife, two perfect children, a detached house in the suburbs and a huge TV. He now has an ex-wife, lives in his parents’ spare room and gets the kids and the dog at weekends. He might be lost and lonely, but Graham is not a victim. In exactly six months time, he will be forty-three. He vows to sort this mess out by his birthday. He gives himself six months to get a life. Will Graham play a meaningful role in his boys’ lives? Will his friends take him under their wing? Will he move out of his childhood home? More importantly, will he ever have sex again? For Graham, failure is not an option. Warning: if you are looking for a sanctimonious self-help book, then ‘Six Months to Get a Life’ is NOT for you.

The Sicilian Defence

The Sicilian Defence
Title: The Sicilian Defence
Publisher:
Published: June 28, 2014
Stories reflecting Sicily’s power to encompass ideas of Good and Bad, Heaven and Hell, to enmesh them so tightly that, at times, it remains impossible to distinguish the two concepts.   A talented schoolboy struggles with unseen forces that rip his family apart; a hand-written note hidden in a hotel magazine has dire consequences for a relationship; a private detective hired to track a cheating fiancé is faced with a life and death decision… These short stories provide a window on contemporary Sicilian life seen through the lens of the island’s literary history. They reflect Sicily’s power to encompass perfectly the ideas of Good and Bad, Heaven and Hell, to enmesh them so tightly that, at times, it remains impossible to distinguish the two concepts.

After the Dog Died

After The Dog Died
Title: After The Dog Died
Author:
Publisher:
Published: August 20, 2011
Jim and Candy want more from life. They team up, slide into a life of crime, and find happiness in a recreational vehicle.   Through a strange narrative style, the author paints an oddly jovial picture of being broke, in debt, jobless, and heading towards hopeless in modern day Australia. Laugh out loud material and a pair of protagonists who although shallow and up to no good, you can really root for. A great debut novel and one to read poolside or on a long train journey.

Losing it All

Losing it All
Title: Losing it All
Published: March 8, 2013
Author's Twitter: @marshacornelius
Frank Barnes is content living on the streets of Atlanta. A soup kitchen and a makeshift shanty sure beat his days as a POW in Vietnam. But Chloe Roberts can’t handle the eviction that sends her into the hell of homelessness. With no family or friends to turn to, Chloe and her children are sucked into the traumatic world of night shelters, and dangerous predators. When they bump into each other at the soup kitchen, Frank offers Chloe a glimmer of hope that she can pull her life back together. She rekindles his lost sense of self-worth by taking his mind off his own problems. But they will not meet again until Frank is riding high as a working man, and Chloe has hit rock bottom. By helping Chloe rebuild her broken life, Frank banishes the demons from his own past. Unfortunately, the past comes strolling back into their lives, threatening to destroy the happiness they have finally found.

The Retail

The Retail
Title: The Retail
Published: November 11, 2014
Author's Twitter: @joshdankerdake
Aspiring writer Penn Reynard has just joined the ranks of America’s fifteen million retail workers: fresh out of college with an English degree, he can’t find a job anywhere except at the local big-box hardware store. Working returns, Penn experiences firsthand the often comical absurdity, chaos, and shenanigans of the retail world. At least he has a new romance with a coworker going for him—if he doesn’t screw it up. The constant pressures of dealing with hostile customers, oblivious coworkers, and overbearing management begin to take their toll on him, though, and as his desired career path threatens to fall out of reach, Penn struggles to break free of retail’s clutches.