The Books and the City annual bloggers evening is always a fantastic event in which book bloggers and authors indulge in some shamelessly bookish conversation and eat the most fabulous cupcakes! It really is the highlight of my book events calendar and 2018 proved to be no exception.
First up was the chance to catch up with some of my lovely blogger friends, whom I only get to see once or twice a year, as well as meeting some other book blogger who I hadn’t met in person before. It was also lovely to chat with the publishing team and meet the ten authors SJV and the team had arranged to be in attendance for the evening, several of whom I had met before. It’s great to get the opportunity to meet the person behind a book and they seemed to be enjoying the evening just as much as the bloggers
Next up was the official part of the evening – all ten authors read a 60 second (with strict instructions for the reading to be not a second longer!) excerpt from their most recent books and answered a few questions put to them by the lovely Jo Dickinson. Those authors and books deserve a brief introduction, so here goes…
Victoria Walters – Random Acts of Kindness: Crossroads (publication date 2 April 2018)
Welcome to Littlewood, a small town community with a big heart.
Abbie and her boyfriend Jack are about to start their own PR company in London, but there are so many unanswered questions about their past and Abbie begins to question her decision to leave Littlewood… Will Thomas manage to hold onto Huntley Manor without her, or has her departure ruined his chances…?
After a shaky start, Eszter is determined to show her daughter Zoe that it doesn’t matter where you are from, that we are all the same. With a little help from Brew cafe, they decide to run a cake baking class for the local children to help her make some friends. But as the summer goes on, their return to Hungary looms over them… Will they go back and leave Zoe’s granny, Anne, all on her own? Or is life in Littlewood the perfect fit for their newly formed family…?
Having pushed Alex away, Louise finds herself battling with jealousy when she sees him with her colleague. But when tragedy strikes, Louise is confronted with how precious and short life can be… Is she ready to tell Alex how she really feels or will she lose him for good?
Packed full of love and kindness, this heart-warming story will reaffirm your faith in humanity!
Louise Candlish – Our House (publication date 5 April 2018)
FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.
When Fi Lawson arrives home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. How can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?
FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.
Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children or his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores. As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of the events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her – and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth – that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?
TILL DEATH US DO PART.
Juliet Ashton – The Sunday Lunch Club (publication date 19 April 2018)
The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.
Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.
Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.
Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?
Catherine Isaac – You Me Everything (publication date 19 April 2018)
You Me Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love. Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry, this is novel you will never forget.
You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.
Holly Hepburn – Starry Skies at Castle Court (publication date 1 May 2018)
Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Cat is burned out from working long hours as a chef. They decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester’s bustling streets.
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn’t think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there’s support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in the cocktail bar that overlooks the court.
Paige Toon – Five Years from Now (publication date 17 May 2018)
What happens if you meet the RIGHT person at the WRONG time?
Nell and Van meet as children when their parents fall in love, but soon they are forced worlds apart.
Five years later, they find each other. Their bond is rekindled and new feelings take hold, but once again they have to separate.
For the next two decades, fate brings Nell and Van together every five years, as life and circumstance continue to divide them. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?
‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’
Heidi Swain – Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square (publication date 31 May 2018)
Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide… a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy but lovely new neighbour.
Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around!
Penny Parkes – Best Practice (publication date 22 February 2018)
Dr Alice Walker has become accomplished at presenting a façade to the world – to anyone watching, she is the epitome of style, composure and professionalism. But perhaps it was to be expected that the cracks might begin to show at some point. Thankfully Grace is on hand to offer both friendship and support when it’s needed most.
Meanwhile, Dr Holly Graham has her hands full both professionally and personally. Planning a wedding with Taffy Jones is challenging enough, even before some surprising news changes everything. At least beloved Larkford resident, Elsie, still has a few tricks left up her sleeve!
Dr Dan Carter, on the other hand, has decided to throw himself into his career – the best antidote he’s found to unrequited love. When tragedy strikes in the heart of Larkford, Dan makes it his mission to help the community.
Santa Montefiore – The Temptation of Gracie (publication date 12 July 2018)
Never give up on your dreams, no matter how long you hold on to them . . .
When Gracie Burton stumbles upon an advertisement for a week long cookery course in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, she cannot resist, and ploughs her life savings into the trip.
Her only family – daughter Carina and granddaughter Anastasia – are hesitant about what has prompted this seemingly random venture.
But they have no sense of Gracie’s past; of what could possibly be calling her to Italy. They have no idea that Gracie is harbouring the secret of an extraordinary life that preceded them . . .
Anstey Harris – The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton (publication date 10 January 2019)
GRACE ATHERTON HAS FALLEN OUT OF LOVE … AND INTO LIFE
Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.
Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.
It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …
For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Keeper of Lost Things, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is the story of a woman who has her heart broken, but then puts it back together again in the most uplifting and exquisite way.
|Photograph by SJV at booksandthecity.co.uk|
As usual, I was too absorbed in listening and chatting to remember to take my camera out. I did manage a few pictures, although I’ve had to borrow a photograph from the BATC site in order to show you the fabulous cupcakes made by Restoration Cake.
SJV is legendary amongst the book blogging community for her goody bags and most definitely spoils us each year. I managed to resist digging through mine until the train journey home, upon which I was excited to discover three books – Five Years from Now by Paige Toon (published on), While I Was Sleeping by Dani Atkins (published on 26 July 2018) and The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright (published on 21 February 2019) – three books that I am hugely excited to read. There was also a sampler of the new books from the 10 presenting authors, as listed above. The samples are all great, so I think there are going to be a few more books than anticipated added to my shopping basket during 2018!
A fantastic evening was had by all and a huge thank you has to go out to SJV, her incredible team and all of the authors involved in the evening. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!