Well ladies and gents, today I hit the jackpot and I must say a huge THANK YOU to Jess from Allen & Unwin for making my day – a very welcome package to come home to after a very hectic day – THANK YOU!!! And in my package was The Glasgow Kiss by Craig Russell, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and Amandine by Marlena de Blasi.
The Long Glasgow Kiss
There are some concepts that are alien to the Glaswegian mind. Salad. Dentistry. Forgiveness.
Glasgow in the 1950s – not somewhere you’d choose to be unless you were born to it. Yet Lennox, a private investigator of Canadian descent, finds it oddly congenial. Lennox is a man balanced between the law and those who break it – a dangerous place where only the toughest and most ruthless survive.
Glasgow bookie and greyhound breeder Jimmy ‘Small Change’ MacFarlane runs one of the biggest operations at Glasgow’s dog-racing track. When MacFarlane is bludgeoned to death with a bronze statue of Danny Boy, his best racer, Lennox has a solid gold alibi – he spent the night with MacFarlane’s daughter.
Lennox finds himself drawn into hunting MacFarlane’s killer, and soon discovers that ‘Small Change’ was into a lot more than dog racing. Worse, crime boss Willie Sneddon, one of Glasgow’s notorious Three Kings, is clearly involved and he’s not a man Lennox wants to cross.
But somewhere out there in the shadows lurks a really big player, an elusive villain who makes the Three Kings look like minnows. Lennox thinks he can track him down. But he wouldn’t bet on it …
The Distant Hours
A thrilling tale of intrigue, romance and imagination.
It started with a letter. A letter that had been lost a long time, waiting out half a century, stifling summer after cooling winter, in a forgotten postal bag in the dim attic of a nondescript house in Bermondsey …
Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long-lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret.
Evacuated from London as a thirteen-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe, and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters and their father, Raymond, author of the 1920s children’s classic The True History of the Mud Man. In the grand and glorious Milderhurst Castle, a new world opens up for Edie’s mother. She discovers the joys of books and fantasy and writing, but also, ultimately, the dangers.
Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle, she, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric Sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiance in 1941 plunged her into madness.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for somone to find.
Marlena de Blasi, the bestselling author of A Thousand Days in Venice (over 50,000 copies now sold in ANZ), brings her luminous prose to the world of fiction with this remarkable debut novel. Set against the backdrop of Europe as it moves inexorably toward World War II, Amandine follows a young orphan’s journey in search of her heritage.
The story opens in Krakow in 1931, as a baby girl is conceived out of wedlock, the byproduct of a foolish heart and a tragic inheritance. The child’s grandmother, a countess, believes she is protecting her daughter when she claims that the baby didn’t survive. In truth, however, she deposits the infant at a remote convent in the French countryside, leaving her in the care of a young governess named Solange.
But even Solange’s unconditional love cannot protect Amandine. Disliked and mistrusted by the abbess and the convent girls, the curious Amandine finds her childhood troubled with challenges and questions. Eventually, Solange is forced to choose between the cruel life of the convent and the terrors of war looming outside its doors. With a purseful of worthless francs, the two flee north toward Solange’s childhood home. But what should have been a two-day journey by train becomes a perilous odyssey across Occupied France. Amandine’s mother, meanwhile, still mourns and dreams of the child she thinks she lost forever.
Marlena de Blasi’s epic novel winds its way toward a dramatic and compelling conclusion, as mother and daughter draw ever nearer. Amandine is a sumptuous tale of persistent hope and unexpected love.