Luxuread's literary picks for May

May 27, 2021

The Beautiful Ones

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail's most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina's chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun and already Nina's debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis: the haphazard manifestations of her powers have long made her the subject of gossip - malicious neighbours even call her the Witch of Oldhouse.

But Nina's life is about to change, for there is a new arrival in town: Hector Auvray, the renowned entertainer, who has used his own telekinetic talent to perform for admiring audiences around the world. Nina is dazzled by Hector, for he sees her not as a witch, but ripe with magical potential. Under his tutelage, Nina's talent blossoms - as does her love for the great man.

But great romances are for fairy-tales, and Hector is hiding a secret bitter truth from Nina - and himself - that threatens their courtship.

The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

 

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

Being Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya. Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands.

Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy – forever.

The Good Girls by Camilla Bruce

Katra Sadatganj. A tiny village in western Uttar Pradesh. A community bounded by tradition and custom; where young women are watched closely, and know what is expected of them.

It was an ordinary night when two girls, Padma and Lalli, went missing. The next day, their bodies were found – hanging in the orchard, their clothes muddied.

In the ensuing months, the investigation into their deaths would implode everything that their small community held to be true, and instigated a national conversation about sex, honour and violence.

The Good Girls returns to the scene of Padma and Lalli's short lives and shocking deaths, daring to ask: what is the human cost of shame?

Greenwich Park

Helen has it all...

Daniel is the perfect husband.
Rory is the perfect brother.
Serena is the perfect sister-in-law.

And Rachel? Rachel is the perfect nightmare.

When Helen, finally pregnant after years of tragedy, attends her first antenatal class, she is expecting her loving architect husband to arrive soon after, along with her confident, charming brother Rory and his pregnant wife, the effortlessly beautiful Serena. What she is not expecting is Rachel.

Extroverted, brash, unsettling single mother-to-be Rachel, who just wants to be Helen's friend. Who just wants to get know Helen and her friends and her family. Who just wants to know everything about them. Every little secret…

Welcome to the must-read thriller of 2021.

Heartsick

When Jessie Stephens went through a difficult breakup, she started to look for books or stories that would reflect her experience and perhaps give her some hope for the future.

There were plenty of guide books in the '101 tips to cure a broken heart' vein, but what Jessie wanted were stories. She wanted to read about other people's experiences, to see the universalities, and to feel connected to others who were struggling in a similar way. Now she's written the book she needed to read - a close-up, compelling narrative nonfiction account of many lows and occasional surprising highs of heartbreak.

Based on intensive interviews with three main subjects, Jessie has woven together three vastly different - yet breathtakingly similar - stories of heartbreak. Claire has returned from London to the dust and familiarity of her childhood home, Toowoomba, after breaking up with her girlfriend Maggie. Patrick is a lonely uni student, until he teams up with Caitlin on a group project - but does she feel as connected as he does? And Ana is happily married with three children, until the night she falls in love with her best friend.

Bruising, beautiful, achingly specific but wholeheartedly universal, Heartsick reminds us that emotional pain can make us as it breaks us, and that storytelling has the ultimate healing power.

The Road Trip

Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend's wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed.

But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie's ex, Dylan, who she's avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier.

Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they've totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with four hundred miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can't avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship...

Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly... is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?

Perfect on Paper

A bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her school friends is hired by the hot new kid to help him get his ex back.Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before - the new queer YA rom-com from Sophie Gonzales.

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes - for a fee.
Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
Really cannot stand the new Australian jock at school, Alexander Brougham.
Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke...who is in love with someone else.

Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

But when Brougham catches Darcy in the act of collecting letters from locker 89 - out of which she's been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service - that's exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she's behind the locker, some things she's not proud of will come to light, and there's a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who's already fallen for him once? What could possibly go wrong? 

The Warsaw Orphan

Inspired by the real-life heroine who smuggled thousands of Jewish children to safety during WWII, the powerful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author

In the spring of 1942, young Elzbieta Rabinek is aware of the swiftly growing discord just beyond the courtyard of her comfortable Warsaw home. But she has no idea what goes on behind the walls of the Jewish Ghetto nearby until she makes a discovery that propels her into a dangerous world of deception and heroism.

Elzbieta comes face to face with the plight of the Gorka family who must give up their newborn daughter - or watch her starve. For Roman Gorka, this final injustice stirs in him a rebellion not even his newfound love for Elzbieta can suppress. His recklessness puts their families in harm's way until one violent act threatens to destroy their chance at freedom forever. 

Purpose

Lisa Messenger believes that once you know your Purpose or your Why, the How will follow. In this brilliant new book, Lisa breaks down all the steps needed to find your Why and how to bring it to life. You’ll find inspiring stories and lots of ‘playsheets’ designed to get you thinking, writing, journaling, and scribbling so you can feel inspired and motivated to lead your very best life, find your why, and live on purpose each and every day.

 

 



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