Staff Recs

Chloe Recommends for Christmas

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THE STARLESS SEA

by Erin Morgenstern

“All you’ll get out of me is a garbled mess of ‘ohmygod, you just have to read it’. Magic, mystery, romance, and the power of stories and books — what more could you possibly want?”

When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible - a recollection from his own childhood.

Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover - a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club, and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

You are invited to join Zachary on the starless sea - the home of storytellers, story-lovers and those who will protect our stories at all costs.

Vicky Recommends for Christmas

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THE FALCONER

by Dana Czapnik

“Coming of age story set in NY in the 1990s from the perspective of an incredibly bright, basketball playing teenage girl who doesn't quite fit in. Reads like Salinger's Catcher in The Rye meets Jim Carroll's The Basketball Diaries. Fast paced, whip-smart and deeply moving. LOVE.”

A new coming-of-age classic, an early '90s New York-set novel of love, basketball, art and feminism. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts.

Lucy's inner life is a contradiction. She's by turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed and, despite herself, is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, son of a prominent New York family who is trying to resist his upper crust fate. As Lucy questions accepted notions of success, bristling against her own hunger for male approval, she is drawn into the world of a pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York's bohemia. In her hit US debut, Dana Czapnik memorably captures the voice of a young woman in the first flush of freedom searching for an authentic way to live and love.


Suzy Recommends for Christmas

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THE DUTCH HOUSE

by Ann Patchett

“The kind of book that makes you neglect your chores. A book about homes, architecture, and the messiness of family life.”

Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve - Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house's former owners in the frames of their oil paintings.

Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve's lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother's - an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.

Told with Ann Patchett's inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak,
The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale and story of a paradise lost; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole lives.

Tanée Recommends for Christmas

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THE WIFE AND THE WIDOW

by Christian White

“If you like Jane Harper, you’ll love this. Super readable - perfect holiday/weekend read for crime lovers. Devouring it takes no effort at all as you'll be desperate to see how the mystery unfolds...”

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband's secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she's forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives. Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and the Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?


Holly Recommends for Christmas...

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DISAPPEARING EARTH

by Julia Philips

“A softer kind of crime thriller where an incredible emotional acuity to the personal worlds of (seemingly) peripheral characters takes centre stage. Incredibly subtle yet completely ‘unputdownable’!”

Spellbinding, moving - evoking a fascinating region on the other side of the world - this suspenseful and haunting story announces the debut of a profoundly gifted writer. One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls - sisters, eight and eleven - go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women. Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty - densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska - and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused. In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.