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Holding a Book


The only bookshop worker who reads crime/thrillers... so definitely ask Alyson for her recommendations

More about me

1. Who are your auto-buy (you'll buy absolutely anything they write - even their shopping list) authors? 

Sally Hepworth, Kate Grenville, Stacey Halls, David Sedaris, and Nigel Slater - an eclectic bunch that would feed all my appetites.

2. What's your favourite genre/s?

Right this minute it's historical crime fiction with female protagonists. I'm deep in the Edwardian era at the moment!

3. Do you judge a book by its cover?

I do even thought I should know better and I'm always happy to be shown the error of my ways.

4. What's your most anticipated release of 2024?

Whatever Gabbie Stroud and Stacey Halls have coming up.

5.How do you organize your personal bookshelves?

TBR/borrowed books/books I am keeping and I won't let out of my sight ever/reference books/books I'm saving for full immersion/Books for giving away.

6. What books are high on your TBR (to be read pile) this year?

Any of Gabbie Stroud's books, A Room Made of Leaves, The Benevolent Society of Ill Mannered Women (so much gothic fun), Shuggie Bain (devastating).

Favourites of 2024 so far:

Currently Reading:

Pheasants Nest

By Louise Milligan

A gripping, propulsive and brilliantly original debut by award-winning investigative journalist and writer Louise Milligan.

She wonders if they have discovered she is missing yet? Has it broken as a story? Who has been assigned to cover it? Have they started spooling through her social media to pull out photographs? Constructing a narrative about who she is and what possible reason any person might have to kidnap or (let's be frank) kill her? She tries not to let out the whimper that is building in her sternum, at the thought that he might. Kill her, that is. He might kill her.
Kate Delaney has made the biggest mistake of her life. On a girls' night out, she picked the wrong sleazy guy to publicly humiliate in a bar and now she is living every woman's worst nightmare.
She finds herself brutalised, bound and gagged in the back of a car being driven god knows where by a man whose name she doesn't know, and petrified about what is in store for her.
As a journalist who is haunted by the crimes she's had to report over her career, Kate is terrifyingly familiar with the statistics of women who go missing - and the fear and trauma behind the headlines. She knows only too well how those stories usually end.
Kate can only hope the police will find her before it's too late, but she's aware a random crime is hardest to solve. As the clock ticks down, she tries to keep herself sane by thinking about her beloved boyfriend and friends, escaping into memories of love and happy times together. She knows she cannot give way to despair.
As the suspense escalates, Kate's boyfriend Liam is left behind, struggling with his shock, fear and desperation as the police establish a major investigation. The detectives face their own feelings of anguish and futility as they reflect on the cases they didn't solve in time and the victims they couldn't save. They know Kate's chances of survival diminish with every passing hour.

Acclaimed and award-winning writer and journalist Louise Milligan has written a stunning and surprising thriller with a gigantic heart: a gripping, propulsive and brilliantly original debut.

Pheasants Nest

The Painter's Daughters

By Emily Howes




'Beautifully written . . . I raced through it' HILARY MANTEL

'As exquisitely and tenderly rendered as a Gainsborough painting' TRACY CHEVALIER

'A wonderfully powerful and haunting novel with a hugely gripping plot' DEBORAH MOGGACH

'A rich evocation of secrets, art, sisterhood and class' i PAPER


1759, Ipswich. Sisters Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are the best of friends and do everything together. They spy on their father as he paints, they rankle their mother as she manages the books, they tear barefoot through the muddy fields that surround their home. But there is another reason they are inseparable: from a young age, Molly has had a tendency to forget who she is, to fall into confusion, and Peggy knows instinctively that no one must find out.

When the family move to Bath, Thomas Gainsborough finds fame as a portrait artist, while his daughters are thrown into the whirl of polite society. Here, the merits of marriage and codes of behaviour are crystal clear, and secrets much harder to keep. As Peggy goes to greater lengths to protect her sister, she finds herself falling in love, and their precarious situation is soon thrown catastrophically off-course. The discovery of a betrayal forces her to question all she has done for Molly - and whether any one person can truly change the fate of another . . .

Inspired by true events and told with irresistible vibrancy and wit, Emily Howes' award-winning debut is a captivating and deeply moving novel about art, sisterhood and the price we pay for love.

'Vividly imagined and exquisitely brought to the page' RACHEL JOYCE

'A beautiful debut' JO BROWNING WROE

'An incredible first novel that'll leave you scouring the real-life paintings for clues' STYLIST


The Painter's Daughters
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