We’ve had an enjoyable overdose of Marian Keyes lately, what with re-reading Rachel’s Holiday and then her latest Again, Rachel. This time, the book’s not by her at all … but she’s the star character (and by the way, she loved the book … saying it was warm, funny and moving!). Written by four local authors and friends (Amy Heydendrych, Qarnita Loxton, Pamela Power and Gail Schimmel)), Chasing Marian is the story of four strangers who meet by chance online. There’s a yummy mummy of two whose life is slowly unravelling and who has recently separated from her husband; a happily widowed granny with a salty tongue and a wicked sense of humour; a gorgeous and sensitive almost-qualified psychologist who still lives with his parents; and a librarian who has an absent boyfriend and a secret writing habit. And the only thing these four have in common is that they’re die-hard Marian Keyes fans. And when they hear that Marian is due to visit South Africa to attend a literary festival, they are all desperate to meet her. Together they come up with a mad-cap plan. Will they succeed – or will life intervene? And will you guess which author wrote which character? MacMillan, available at Exclusive Books
Such, such fun. In Christine Simon’s The Patron Saint of Second Chances, the 212 inhabitants of an old, crumbling Italian village need to pay for some expensive repairs to the water pipes, or they’ll be cut off and forced to leave. In a desperate bid to save the town, the self-appointed mayor starts a rumour that Italian heart-throb Dante Rinaldi is coming to town to film his next movie. Soon, the place is teeming with fans and everyone wants to be involved … from the butcher who’ll invest if roles can be found for each of his 15 sons to the local priest! It seems the only way to give their beloved town a second chance is to actually make a movie. What could possibly go wrong? Little Brown, available at Exclusive Books
New on the bookshelves
Two cultures. Two families. And a couple in love. Complications, betrayals, long-held secrets, lies. Desires, marriage. Family. Race, class, faith. Monica’s Ali’s Love Marriage is a great big read (just less than 500 pages), both funny and heartbreaking, full of twists and surprises … an exceptional read. Virago • Meet Nick: Failed writer. Failed husband. Dog owner. Meet Bee: Serial dater. Dress maker. Pringles enthusiast. In Sarah Lotz’s Impossible, the pair’s paths cross over a misdirected email, the connection is instant, electric, and they feel like they’ve known each other all their lives. Nick buys a new suit, gets on a train. Bee steps away from her desk, sets off to meet him under the clock at Euston station. It should have been the perfect love story. Think you know how the rest of the story goes? They did too . . . HarperCollins • The Marjorie Marshall Memorial Cafeteria is at the heart of St Jude’s Hospital. Staffed by successive generations of dedicated volunteers, for over fifty years it’s been serving up a kind word and sympathetic ear along with tea and scones. But now the cafeteria is under threat of closure, and the three current volunteers – ranging from a stalwart Manageress, to an always-late worker and a teenager working in the hols – must put aside their many differences and save the day! Joanna Nell’s The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital is a heartwarming, delightful read. Hodder & Stoughton. All these books available at Exclusive Books
It’s Sunday morning, and Sarah Bullen should be at her parents’ house in Simonstown, sipping wine and looking out over the yachts sailing. Instead, she’s sitting on a concrete floor with a six-kilogram cock – all feathers and claws – on her head. She and her husband are at a ritual ceremony to thank their ancestors ahead of his next brain scan. In a minute, she’s going to have to bathe in the chicken’s blood. This is how Sarah’s Love And Above – A Journey into Shamanism, Coma and Joy starts. Honestly. Harshly. Shockingly. They’re there because her husband Llewely has been studying with a sangoma. Sarah and Llewely have thriving careers, a great life, and two young children. And Llewely has a brain tumour. Add to that in his last weeks of life, Sarah was fighting for life, too, in a month-long coma on life support. This is her story …. one of surviving death, choosing love over fear, discovering a new way of living. Tafelberg, available at Exclusive Books. Details: sarahbullen.com
Oh … joy. A new Tilly Bagswhawe just in time for the Easter weekend. Sweeping from the 1920s through WWII, The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine is the story of the Salignac family … love affairs and secrets, drama and tragedy, and a glorious chateau in the rich vineyards of Burgundy in France. Harper Collins, available from Exclusive Books.