Welcome all to the third month of our book group. This month we’ve picked two very different books for our members – one a sweeping love story, the other a dazzling social and political satire – both guaranteed to bring up lots of talking points!
Look out for more exclusive blogs about both books over the coming weeks – from the authors, editors an agents (and the odd one from us too!)
And don’t worry if you’re not yet a member of our book group – we’ll also be offering two lucky readers the chance to join our online chats with Iona Grey and Tim Glencross later this month. Just follow us on Twitter at @cbbookgroup for your chance to win!
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey
1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five…
He promised to love her forever
Sixty years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan’s words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.
Follow Iona on Twitter at @Iona_Grey and check out Iona’s Letters to the Lost themed board on Pinterest. Letters to the Lost will be published in the UK by Simon & Schuster on 23rd April 2015 and in the US by Thomas Dunne Books on 26th May 2015.
Barbarians by Tim Glencross
It is 2008, late capitalism is in crisis, and the great and the good are gathered at an Islington house party. Hosting proceedings are waspish Sherard Howe, scion of a publishing dynasty and owner of a left-wing magazine, and his wife, Daphne Depree, whose feminist work The Third Sex is seen – to her increasing discomfort – as an intellectual cornerstone of the Blair era. The guests include cabinet ministers, celebrated artists and peers of the realm; but somehow it’s doubtful that any number of grandees would overshadow Afua, the Howes’ beautiful and supremely ambitious adopted daughter, already a rising star of the Labour Party.
Into this world arrives twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth “Buzzy” Price, an aspiring poet only too aware of her suburban background. Moral support is at hand from shy but devoted Henry, the Howes’ biological son – though perhaps Buzzy is most grateful for her friend’s connection to her own unrequited love, Afua’s boyfriend, the worldly Marcel.
As the years pass and a coalition government takes office, Buzzy’s fortunes rise and the elder Howes’ lives threaten to unravel. But do the civilising possibilities of art involve enlarging Buzzy’s romantic ambitions, or revealing their moral complacency? And could meek and gentle Henry, having angered his family by going to work for the political enemy, turn out to be steelier than anyone thought – as steely, even, as his formidable adopted sister?
Barbarians is a debut of extraordinary scope and confidence; a fresh, contemporary novel about love, art and politics, told with a 19th century sensibility.
Find out more about Tim and Barbarians by visiting Tim’s website, timglencross.com. Barbarians will be published in paperback by John Murray on 26th March 2015.