Welcome all to the fifth month of our book group! This month we’ve picked two family dramas, spanning East Germany, the island of Mallorca and Tamworth. The first is a darkly comic love story with a twist, the other a mother-daughter tale of belief, doubt and loss of innocence – both guaranteed to get you thinking.
Look out for more exclusive blogs about both books over the coming weeks – not only from us but from the authors, editors and agents.
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
Set on the idyllic island of Mallorca, this is a double love story told in reverse.
Opening in 2005 with a dramatic event that appears to seal the mystery of two lives, the story moves backwards in time, unravelling over sixty years, amid the olive groves and bars, the boats and poolside parties, the lives and relationships of two intertwined families within an expat community of endearing and flawed characters.
As one story is revealed, another, sweeter one – a love story of a couple from the younger generation – arises in the wake of their elder’s failures.
The Rocks is a darkly comic, bittersweet, ultimately heart-breaking novel that slips back in time to reveal a shocking incident that marked and altered these lives for ever.
Follow Peter on Twitter @NicholsRocks. The Rocks will be published in the US by Riverhead Books on 26th May 2015, and will be published in paperback in the UK by Quercus on 2nd July 2015 (we love the hardback cover, but check out that paperback jacket!).
Motherland by Jo McMillan
It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation – as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it’s in the blood. The Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began.
Jess and her mother Eleanor struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth – a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn’t want to know. So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. On the other side of the Iron Curtain they turn from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, a new, more peaceful life seems possible.
But the Cold War has no time for love and soon the trouble begins. Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos. Friends become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides, and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.
Motherland is a tragi-comic portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It’s about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it’s like to grow up on the losing side of history.
Follow Jo on Twitter at @JoMcmillan, and check out her website, www.jomcmillan.com. Motherland will be published in the UK by John Murray on 2nd July 2015.