Especially for you, Fiona tells us about the special inspiration behind the stories and what they mean to her: Season's Greetings Receiving the annual round robin from friends is a Christmas tradition I devour with the same indulgent pleasure as the green triangles in the Quality Street box. Season's Greetings tells Holly's story through a decade of Christmas letters. The Nativity Scene I'm now proud to count myself among the ranks of tear-stained parents who hold camera phones wonkily aloft at the school nativity play each year. In The Nativity Scene , the under 9s in home-made wings are not the only ones for whom the day could spell high drama. Dine Out On It When I was moving house a lot in the nineties and noughties, I clung onto spare front door keys as a keepsake. Dine Out On It came from seeing the clutch of Yales swinging on a hook at the back of a cupboard, and wondering what would happen if I ever tried them out again. Elizabeth Elizabeth was written for a Sunday newspaper at a time my heart regularly came unglued when falling in love without a safety net. I loved the idea of a complete reinvention, and the secret hope that somebody would one day find my leopard's spots beneath the whitewash. Freudian Slips This story was inspired by something a friend of mine did, and the image of lipstick on cricket whites was so heavenly, I just had to write Freudian Slips . . . Plus bonus content! This collection contains the first three chapters from Fiona's bestselling novel The Summer Wedding .
With a ringing phone, Jeanne Ray's charming and amusing new novel gets off to a rollicking start that never lets up. Not for a minute. On the other end of the phone is Caroline's daughter, Kay, a public defender like her father, sobbing at the improbably good news that the richest, most eligible boy in Raleigh, North Carolina, has asked her to marry him. While Caroline and Tom are trying to digest this, the other phone, the children's line, rings; it is Caroline's sister, Taffy, hysterical over her husband's decision to leave her for a woman two years younger than her daughter. Soon Taffy is wending her way up from Atlanta to seek solace in her sister's home, even though the two have been separated by more than just geography for the past forty years. With her is her little dog, Stamp, who has a penchant for biting ankles and stealing hearts. Tom and Caroline quickly realize that the wedding their future son-in-law's family is envisioning for nine-hundred-plus guests is to be their fiscal responsibility. To top it all off, the foundation of their home is in danger of collapsing and their contractor and his crew have all but moved in. It's a thundering whirlwind of emotion that finally boils down to: Who is in love with whom? and Who's going to get the next dance? Wise, funny, and impossible to put down, Step-Ball-Change is peopled with characters you feel you have known your whole life. It's the kind of book that you can't bear to see end.
Years ago, the historical Marshall Street Baths in the heart of Soho were full of kids taking swimming lessons and playing in the water. Today they're crowded with addicts, homeless people and, DI Jessie Driver's new boss thinks, a teenage runaway they're trying to track. But when CID searches the decaying building, they don't find Anna Maria Klein--but they do find a man's mummified body buried in the ground in the rat-infested basement. Who was he? How long has he been there? And what happened to him? Jessie, on the outs with her by-the-book new boss, tackles this mystery from the bowels of the Marshall Street Baths instead of the higher-profile runaway case. She's got the eccentric caretaker of the building to help her, but he seems fixated on the day a young boy drowned at the baths, many years ago. Plus, a local priest seems intent on giving his opinions, which are decidedly more otherworldly than Jessie would like. All in all, "The Unquiet Dead" is a fresh and pulse-pounding second novel in this streetwise procedural series from up-and-coming suspense talent Gay Longworth.
After twelve-year-old orphan, Alli Rosco, is cursed with a deadly spell, she must join the legendary Thieves Guild in order to try and save herself in this high-stakes debut. Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco is smart, resourceful, and totally incapable of keeping her mouth shut. Some of these traits have served her well during her nine years in Azeland's orphanage, and others have proved more troublesomebut now that she's escaped to try her luck on the streets, she has bigger problems than extra chores to contend with. Surviving would be hard enough, but after a run-in with one of the city's Protectors, she's marked by a curse that's slowly working its way to her heart. There is a cure, but the cost is astronomicaland seems well out of her reach. Enter Beck, a boy with a gift for theft and a touch of magic, who seems almost too good to be true. He tells Alli that the legendary Thieves Guild, long thought to be a myth, is real. Even better, Beck is a member and thinks she could be, too. All she has to do is pass the trial that the King of Thieves will assign to her. Join the Guild, collect her yearly reward and buy a cure. Plus, Alli hopes the Guild will be the homethe family that Alli has always wanted. But when their trial goes wrong, innocent lives are put in danger, and Alli has to decide how much she can sacrifice in order to survive.