Reading Group Collection List Updated May 2016


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My Last Duchess

Beautiful Cora Cash, the wealthiest debutante in America, is spirited away from the glamour & comfort of her Park Avenue mansion & suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, mistress of Lulworth Castle, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. As Cora is soon to discover, nothing in this strange new world is quite as it seems.


The Fortune Hunter

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied.

GREGORY, Philippa

The White Queen

'The White Queen' tells the tale of one woman's ambitious ascent to royalty during the Wars of the Roses and the unsolved mystery around her sons' imprisonment in the Tower.

GREGORY, Rhiannon

( Welsh Language Fiction )

Aderyn Brith

An exciting historical novel based on the true and remarkable story of Mai ar Manac'h, Lady Mond, who looks back on her colourful 'rags to riches' life during her imprisonment at Porte d'Angoisse camp in Guingamp, Brittany, during the Second World War. Nofel hanesyddol fyrlymus yn seiliedig ar hanes gwir a hynod Mai ar Manac'h, Arglwyddes Mond, sy'n edrych yn ol ar ei bywyd lliwgar, o dlodi i gyfoeth, yn ystod ei charchariad yng ngwersyll Porte d'Angoisse yng Ngwengamp, Llydaw, adeg yr Ail Ryfel Byd.


The Secret River

Following a childhood marked by poverty and petty crime in the slums of London, William Thornhill is sentenced in 1806 to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife and children, he arrives in a harsh land to a life that feels like a death sentence.  


Root of the Tudor Rose

This is the story of a passionate romance and a secret marriage which gave its name to the most famous royal dynasty in the history of Great Britain: the Tudors. When King Henry V and his bride, Catherine de Valois, are blessed with the birth of a son, their happiness is short-lived. Henry's unexpected death leaves Catherine a widow at the age of twenty-one. Then her father, King Charles of France, also dies, and her son inherits both crowns.


( Welsh Language Fiction )

Merched Gwyllt Cymru

This review is from: Merched Gwyllt Cymru / Wild Welsh Women (Paperback)

This book provides a welcome counterbalance to the dominance of male culture that I have found since moving to Wales. Although I knew of some of these women by name, I did not really know much about them and have enjoyed finding out. The bilingual format is a true gift. It means I can attempt to read the Welsh pages as far as possible, but can fall back on the English pages if necessary, rather than trawling through dictionaries and grammar books to decipher what is being said.


Water for Elephants

When Jacob Jankowski - recently orphaned and suddenly adrift - jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters and misfits in the form of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a travelling circus struggling to survive the Great Depression.

GUENE, Faiza

Dreams From The Endz

Dreams from the Endz is the story of twenty-four Ahlme, who is spirited, sassy and wise but has more problems than she knows how to deal with. Her father, The Boss, is permanently disabled after an accident on a building site, her sixteen-year-old brother, Foued, has been permanently excluded from school and seems intent on joining the drug-dealers who share their estate, while she is left to deal with the guilt trips from their family back in Algeria.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

A murder mystery like no other, this novel features Christopher Boone, a 15 year-old who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. When he finds a neighbour's dog murdered, he sets out on a journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

HAMID, Mohsin

Reluctant Fundamentalist

At a café table in Lahore, a Pakistani man converses with a stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting.

HANNAH, Sophie


The Monogram Murders

Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified, but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at the fashionable Bloxham Hotel have been murdered, a cufflink placed in each one's mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim.


The Good Father

America is rocked by the shooting of a presidential candidate and the young man arrested for the crime is Danny, the child of Dr Paul Allen's first marriage - news which sends the family down a harrowing path of no return. Even if he is the only man in the world who believes in Danny's innocence, Paul is determined to prove it.



Elizabeth is Missing

'Elizabeth is missing', reads the note in Maud's pocket in her own handwriting. Lately, Maud's been getting forgetful. She keeps buying peach slices when she has a cupboard full, forgets to drink the cups of tea she's made and writes notes to remind herself of things. But Maud is determined to discover what has happened to her friend, Elizabeth, and what it has to do with the unsolved disappearance of her sister Sukey, years back, just after the war.

HISLOP, Victoria

The Island

On the brink of her own life-changing decision, Alexis Fielding longs to find out about her mother's past. But Sofia has never spoken of it. All she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London.  

HISLOP, Victoria

The Thread

Thessaloniki, 1917. As Dimitri Komninos is born, a devastating fire sweeps through the Greek city where Christians, Jews and Muslims live side by side. 5 years later, Katerina Sarafoglou's home in Asia Minor is destroyed by the Turkish army. Losing her mother in the chaos, she flees across the sea to an unknown destination in Greece.


This Book Will Save Your Life

Richard is a middle-aged divorcee trading stock out of his home in Los Angeles. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one, until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world.


The Kite Runner

Winter, 1975: Afghanistan, a country on the verge of an internal coup. 12 year old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his father, one of the richest merchants in Kabul. He's failed to do so through academia or brawn but the one area they connect is the annual kite fighting tournament.


A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns' is a chronicle of Afghan history, and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, and the salvation to be found in love.

HYDE, Catherine Ryan

Love in the Present Tense

Growing up as a child surrounded by violence, Pearl was determined not to let the same fate befall her own son Leonard. But when a man from her past returns, she knows that she must part with Leonard so that he does not follow her down that same dark path.  



The Buried Giant

'The Buried Giant' begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.


Never Let Me Go

Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham - an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside. The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was crucial. But for what reason were they really there?

IVEY, Eowyn

The Snow Child

Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start in the raw Alaskan wilderness. In a moment of tenderness, the pair build a snowman - or rather a snow girl - together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared. But Jack can't shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure running in the trees in the dawn light.


The Rabbit Back Literature Society

There is a secret at the heart of a small Finnish town, involving its most famous occupant, the world-renowned children's author Laura White, and a strange literary game. Ella is an unsettled young teacher and aspiring author, who returns to her hometown of Rabbit Back. On the evening that she is initiated as the tenth member of the local Literary Society. White, who was its founder, disappears before everyone's eyes. As Ella makes unsettling discoveries about White's and the Society's past, the novel explores the nature of literature, storytelling and truth itself.


The Finkler Question

Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik. Both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and together with Treslove they share a sweetly painful evening revisiting a time before they had loved and lost. It is that very evening, when Treslove hesitates a moment as he walks home, that he is attacked - and his whole sense of who and what he is slowly and ineluctably changes.



This Boy: A Memoir of Childhood

This is the story of two incredible women: Alan Johnson's mother, Lily, who battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and loneliness to try to ensure a better future for her children; and his sister, Linda, who had to assume an enormous amount of responsibility to protect her family.


The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

On his 100th birthday Allan Karlsson makes his escape from the old people's home and embarks on an unlikely and momentous adventure.


(Welsh Language Fiction )


Monday, 30 March, 4.35 a.m. Most of the inhabitants of the town and its surrounding area were asleep in their beds - around six thousand of them - men, women and children. At the Cors Ddyga fracking site, night shift workers were busy at work. Then without warning, rumblings were felt from the very core of the earth.

Dydd Llun, 30 Mawrth, 4.35 a.m. Cysgai'r rhan fwyaf o boblogaeth y dref a'r ardal gyfagos gwsg diofal yn eu gwlâu - oddeutu chwe mil ohonynt, yn ddynion, merched a phlant. Yng nghanol Cors Ddyga roedd gweithwyr y shifft nos ar y safle ffracio yn ddiwyd wrth eu gwaith. Yn ddirybudd, daeth ochenaid ddofn o grombil y ddaear.

JONES, Geraint. V
( Welsh Language Fiction )


Cyfrol arobryn cystad ieuath Gwobr Goffa Daniel Owen yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru Bro Ogwr 1998. Nofel dditectif soffistigedig a chyfoes, gyda chyn-aelod o'r SAS yn arwr iddi.

JONES, Geraint. V

( Welsh Language Fiction )

Yn Y Gwaed

Cyhoeddwyd yn wreiddiol fel enillydd Gwobr Goffa Daniel Owen, 1990 = Originally published as winner of the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize Competition: 1990


Black Parade

One of Merthyr’s Victorian brickyard girls, Saran watches the world parade past her doorstep on the banks of the stinking and rat-infested Morlais Brook: the fair-day revellers; the chapel-goers and the funeral processions. She never misses a trip to the towns wooden theatres, despite her life ruled by the 5 a.m. hooter, pit strikes, politics and the First World War that takes away so many of her children. The town changes and grows but Saran is still there for her children and grandchildren.

JONES, Sadie

The Outcast

1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and 19 years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.  

JOYCE, Rachel

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.

JOYCE, Rachel


The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note to him had explained she was dying from cancer. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold the truth. Composing this new message, the volunteer promises, will ensure Queenie hangs on. It will also atone for the secrets of the past. As the volunteer points out, 'It isn't Harold who is saving you. It is you, saving Harold Fry.' This is that letter. A letter that was never sent. Told in simple, emotionally-honest prose, with a mischievous bite, this is a novel about the journey we all must take to learn who we are; it is about loving and letting go.


The Poisonwood Bible

A fiery evangelist takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, carrying all they need from home, but find it is calamitously transformed on African soil. The tale recounts the family's tragic undoing and reconstruction.  

KOOMSON, Dorothy

Marshmallows for Breakfast

When Kendra Tamale returns to England from Australia she rents a room from Kyle, a divorced father of two, and begins a new job. She's looking forward to a fresh start and a simple life. Then she bumps into the man who shares her awful secret, and things fall apart. The only way to fix things is to confess to the terrible mistake she made. 

KOSTOVA, Elizabeth

The Historian

Based on the legend of Vlad the Impaler, this is the story of a young girl who discovers an ancient and disturbing book in her father's library, one which will lead to terrible loss and tragedy, as well as uncovering Dracula's resting place.  

KRAUSS, Nicole

The History of Love

A young girl, hoping to find a cure for her mother's loneliness, stumbles across a book that changed her mother's life and she goes in search of the author. Soon these and other worlds collide.


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

40 years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared off the secluded island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger family. There was no corpse, no witnesses, no evidence. But her uncle, Henrik, is convinced that she was murdered by someone in her own family - the deeply dysfunctional Vanger clan.


Whispers of a Storm

"Whispers of a Storm" follows the stonemason and noblewoman’s fortunes as they unwittingly become involved in a dangerous game of survival, as they try to find out what dark storm is about to break out across the Four Vales.  


Sons And Lovers

D.H. Lawrence's first major novel was also one of the first in the English language to explore ordinary working-class life from the inside.  

Le CARRE, John

LEE, Harper

Absolute Friends

Ted Mundy, British soldier's son born 1947 in the shining-new Republic of Pakistan, is friends with Sasha, refugee son of an East German Lutheran pastor. The two men meet first as students in riot-torn West Berlin of the late sixties, again in the grimy looking-glass of Cold War espionage and in today's world of terror.  

To Kill a Mockingbird

'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties.

LEE, Laurie

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

It was 1934 when Laurie Lee left his home to tramp through Spain. This first book of Lee's autobiography paints a lyrical picture of a beautiful and violent country that was to involve him inextricably.

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