Books I’m Excited About for May 2013

Even though I’m not a mum, I like Mother’s Day. Why? Because so many great books are released! These are some of the new releases for Australia this May that I’m looking forward to. (Plus, I can also buy some for Mum and read them too!)

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant (recommended to me by Dymocks Hay St – who can resist the scandals of the Borgias?)

From the website:

Acclaimed novelist of the Italian Renaissance Sarah Dunant now takes on the era’s most infamous family: the Borgias.

By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched by its brutality and corruption, nowhere more than in Rome and in the Church. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, he is defined not just by his wealth or his passionate love for his illegitimate children, but by his blood: he is a Spanish Pope in a city run by Italians. If the Borgias are to triumph, this charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for life, women and power must use papacy and family to succeed.

His eldest son Cesare, a dazzlingly cold intelligence and an even colder soul, is his greatest – though increasingly unstable – weapon. Later immortalised in Machiavelli’s The Prince, he provides the energy and the muscle. His daughter Lucrezia, beloved by both men, is the prime dynastic tool. Twelve years old when the novel opens, hers is a journey through three marriages: from childish innocence to painful experience, from pawn to political player.

Stripping away the myths around the Borgias, BLOOD & BEAUTY is a majestic novel that breathes life into this astonishing family and celebrates the raw power of history itself: compelling, complex and relentless.

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell (saw the lovely cover on Twitter and intrigued to find out more)

From the website:

The stunning new novel from the author of the best-selling SECRETS OF THE TIDES. A captivating story of secrets, tragedy, lies and betrayal. No one knew one lost year would cast such a long shadow

On a sultry summer s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her friends, it offers an escape; a chance to drop out for a while, with lazy summer days by the lake and intimate winter evenings around the fire. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again …

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? Why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can’t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her?

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella (Her books are always light and funny, plus I once won a Shopaholic competition!)

From the website:

Sophie Kinsella author of Confessions of a Shopaholic and the Madeleine Wickham series is back with her new romantic comedy Wedding Night.
Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. There will be no dates and no engagement—just a straight wedding march to the altar! Next comes the honeymoon on the Greek island where they first met, where Kinsella’s delivery will have you laughing and cringing at the same time. But not everyone is thrilled with Lottie and Ben’s rushed marriage, and family and friends are determined to intervene. Will Lottie and Ben have a Wedding Night to remember … or one to forget?

Flora by Gail Godwin (love post WWII stories and this sounds like it has a few Gothic hints too)

From the website:

Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen’s decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of World War II.At three Helen lost her mother and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories. Flora, her late mother’s twenty-two-year old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played against a backdrop of a lost America will haunt Helen for the rest of her life.
This darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation evokes shades of
The Turn of the Screw and also harks back to Godwin’s memorable novel of growing up, The Finishing School. With its house on top of a mountain and a child who may be a bomb that will one day go off, Flora tells a story of love, regret, and the things we can’t undo. It will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (always topical and always thought provoking)

From the website:

When Pandora picks up her older brother Edison at her local Iowa airport, she literally doesn′t recognize him. In the four years since the grown siblings last saw one another, the once slim, hip New York jazz pianist has gained hundreds of pounds. What happened?

Worse, Edison′s slovenly habits, appalling diet, and know-it-all monologues drive her health-and-fitness freak husband Fletcher insane. After the big blowhard of a brother-in-law has more than overstayed his welcome, Fletcher delivers his wife an ultimatum: it′s him or me.

Putting her marriage and two adoptive children on the line, Pandora chooses her brother — who, without her support in losing weight, will surely eat himself into an early grave.

BIG BROTHER tackles a constellation of issues surrounding obesity: why we overeat, whether extreme diets ever work in the long run, and how we treat overweight people.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
(
because his books are always heartfelt)

From the website:

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one…

Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari – as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named – is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled.

One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand.

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways in which we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

Do any of these books tickle your fancy? Which books are you looking forward to this month?

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6 thoughts on “Books I’m Excited About for May 2013

Add yours

  1. Some of these certainly do look interesting. I like Sophie Kinsella too and the “And the Mountains Echoed” looks especially interesting.

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