Author Archive: redwingbookbird

One of Barack Obama’s favourite reads of 2017…

In 1922 Count Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal. He is sentenced to house arrest in The Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Read it for yourself


New on shelves from Stuart MacBride, a stand-alone thriller.

DC Callum MacGregor’s career was going pretty well until he covered up for a cock-up to protect his pregnant crime-scene tech girlfriend. Now Callum’s stuck on a squad with all the other misfits – the officers no one else wants but who can’t be fired, never likely to get within reach of a decent case again. Until they accidentally get handed the biggest murder investigation Oldcastle has ever seen…

Reserve  a copy

Find your next read…

… Among our carefully picked selection of some of the best and most popular books released this month:

Norfolk’s favourite crime writer, Elly Griffiths is back with another wonderful Dr Ruth Galloway mystery…

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome! So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.

Join the waiting list. 

Booker Winner now out in paperback:

The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body. From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm – called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo – and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Find a copy in the library

Alice’s favourite reads of 2017

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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..

Black Roses, The Winter Garden and A War of Flowers all by Jane Thynne
Berlin, 1933. Clara Vine, an attractive young Anglo-German actress, arrives in Berlin to find work at the famous Ufa studios. Through a chance meeting, she is drawn into a circle of Nazi wives, among them Magda Goebbels, Anneliese von Ribbentrop and Goering’s girlfriend Emmy Sonnemann. As part of his plan to create a new pure German race, Hitler wants to make sweeping changes to the lives of women. Then she meets Leo Quinn who is working for British intelligence and who sees Clara as the perfect recruit to spy on her new elite friends.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

London 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Retreating to the countryside with her son, she encounters rumours of the ‘Essex Serpent‘, a creature of folklore said to have returned to roam the marshes. Cora is enthralled, believing it may be an undiscovered species. Setting out on its trail, she collides with local minister William Ransome, who thinks the cure for hysteria lies in faith, while Cora is convinced that science offers the answers. Despite disagreeing on everything, he and Cora find themselves drawn together, changing each other’s lives in unexpected ways.

Exposure by Helen Dunmore
The Cold War is at its height, and a spy may be a friend or neighbour, colleague or lover. At the end of a suburban garden, in the pouring rain, a woman buries a briefcase deep in the earth. She believes that she is protecting her family. What she will learn is that no one is immune from betrayal or the devastating consequences of exposure.

A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham
From the first rumblings of revolution in France to the exciting, modern times of gas light and steam trains, Nellie Welche – companion to royalty and keeper of secrets – is the sharp-penned narrator of a changing world and the unchanging, cloistered lives of Princess Sophia and her sisters.

The book that inspired Park Chan-wook’s astonishing film The Handmaiden. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize. Set in London in the 1860s, Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves – fingersmiths – under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her ‘family’. But from the moment she draws breath, Sue’s fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.

The Pillars of the Earth and World without End by Ken Follett (looking forward to reading A Column of Fire in 2018)

I also read aloud to my children The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff – and it’s as good as I remember it was when I was their age!
– Alice

New from Amanda Craig: “As satisfying a novel as I have read in years” – Sarah Perry

Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon.

Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded. Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home?

The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them…

At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever. A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.

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Be a Better Reader with Norfolk libraries

Norfolk residents who find reading difficult are invited to join The Norfolk Reading Pathway, a new library service project helping people become better and more confident readers. Maybe you know someone who can’t read, or who lacks confidence in reading?

The free reading support is one to one and delivered in local libraries by volunteer reading coaches. Learner readers work in a fun and engaging way to help boost their reading skills, building confidence and self-esteem as they progress.

The project uses the reading programme ‘Yes We Can Read’ and those taking part are asked to spare an hour a week to work through the programme with their reading coach.

Learners will also receive a certificate of achievement as well as support to access other reading or learning opportunities if they wish to do so.

The project is open to anyone in Norfolk aged 8 or above (no upper age limit!) and is taking place in libraries across the county.

If you’d like to know more about the Norfolk Reading Pathway or want to talk to us about getting involved please get in touch by email to or call Angela on 07825 930654 or Christian on 07920 831358.

New from the winner of the 2016 Baileys’ Women’s Prize…

Like all 20-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is. This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he’s irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn’t accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour. There may be a way clear of the chaos in the business proposals of music promoter Colm and in theattention of the charming, impulsive Natalie. But now that his boss’s ambitions have rattled the city, Ryan is about to find out what he’s made of, and it might be that chaos is in his blood.

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Tess’ favourite books of 2017

Seal Skin: Su Bristow Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous – and makes a terrible mistake. His actions changes lives – not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence?

Take courage: Anne Bronte & the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis
Take Courage‘ is Samantha’s personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time – and her more celebrated siblings – and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life…

The watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find the lock picked and a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be thelargest-scale Fenian bombing in history.

Sleepers castle by Barbara Erskine

Two women, centuries apart. Linked in a place haunted by its history . . . Separated by more than six hundred years of history, two women are drawn together bySleeper’s Castle, a house steeped in memory and magic.

Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom & Bradley Trevor Grieve

Cameron Bloom, his wife Sam and their three boys were a normal, happy family – until a near-fatal fall left Sam paralysed and she sank into a deep depression. But in the darkest days of Sam’s struggle a new and unexpected member of the family came into their lives: an injured magpie chick abandoned after she fell from her nest, who became known as Penguin Bloom.

The Infernal World of Bramwell Bronte by Daphne Du Maurier

Life with the Lid off by Nicola Hodgkinson

Like many women after a divorce, NicolaHodgkinson found herself facing a stark reality. Withthree young children to raise, a ramshackle cottage by the sea she had a choice: to wallow in self pity or pull herself together and get on with it. She chose the latter..

The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

Browsing antiques shops in Wiltshire, Alison Bannister stumbles across a delicate old portrait – supposedly of Anne Boleyn. Except Alison knows better…

Come tell me how you live by Agatha Christie

This is an autobiographical account of AgathaChristie’s travels in Syria and Iraq in the 1930s, with her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan.
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