Category Archives: Recommend

Looking for a book recommendation? Try the Costa Book Award shortlist

You can find the whole list of short-listed books here.


Malory Towers for grown-ups!

What a wonderful book! If you grew up with tales of Malory Towers or St Clare’s, this book for adults will bring happy memories flooding back. Set in a Cornish boarding school, we follow the adventures of teachers, girls and the Head.

Written by the brilliant Jenny Colgan under a different name.


Find a copy


Grab & Go Bags

There’s something NEW & exciting in Norfolk Libraries – Grab & Go Bags

In a hurry?

Favourite author not writing quickly enough?

Struggling to find something new to read? or Simply spoilt for choice?

Why not pick up a Grab & Go bag. Bags of themed books chosen by staff for your enjoyment.

Choose your bag then just issue it through the self-service machine [3 week loan].

Grab & Go bags are available to suit all ages; Adult, Teen, Junior & Child (picture books).

Adult and Child bags contain 6 books and Teen and Junior bags contain 4 books.

Look out for the coloured labels, Adult/Blue; Teen/Purple; Junior/Yellow and Child/Red.

You are welcome to renew any or all of the books and just return the bag to the library.

Now available from: Dersingham, Downham Market, Gaywood, Hunstanton, Kings Lynn and North Walsham Libraries.

Happy reading #GrabAndGo


A dark, funny – sometimes shocking – coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians…

ninaI loved Shappi Khorsandi’s memoir, A beginner’s guide to acting English so much that I can’t wait to read her first novel:

Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t? Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her. A dark, funny – sometimes shocking – coming of age novel from one of the UK’s leading comedians.

Click and collect from any Norfolk library

The House on Bellevue Gardens by Rachel Hore

Athe-house-on-bellevue-gardens piece of storytelling magic, interweaving several peoples stories into one great story which revolves around the House.

A lively cast of characters, different ages, different backgrounds, all living together in the one house, a house that has been a sanctuary for all of them, it was there when they needed it. It may be the shabbiest house of a smart white-painted Georgian terrace in North London, but it’s home.

It belongs to Leonie, not good at reading her mail so fails to take in the important information that her lease on the house is coming to an end and needs renewing. It gets lost in solicitor’s letters from neighbours complaining about the state of the building.

Each person who lives there has a different reason for being there, one escaping from an abusive relationship, another arriving from Poland looking for her brother and having nowhere to stay.

Leonie takes them all in, as she once had been taken in. We gradually learn her story as she tells it to Stef over a period of time.

Thoroughly enjoyable story, I recommend it. Can’t wait for Rachel’s next one.

Reserve The House on Bellevue Gardens


A Hunstanton reader picks their top reads of 2016

Here are my top 11 in no particular order – Sandy.

Together Apart by Natalie Martin
togetherWhen Adam proposes to Sarah, the last thing he expects is to be single and heartbroken less than forty-eight hours later. But Sarah has a secret, and she’s willing to sacrifice everything to keep it. Going through a break-up is hard enough but having to live together afterwards is even worse, especially when its a break-up neither person wants. For Adam, only ways to deal with it are drinking and partying. For Sarah, its keeping her distance and her secrets. Against a backdrop of lies, betrayals and passion, the delicate threads holding Sarah’s secret begin to unravel when her past and present collide. Reserve a copy.

Little Sister by Lucy Dawson
sisterIn the dead of night, Kate receives a phone call. Police have recovered her sister Anya’s clothes and personal belongings at the poolside of a remote hideaway in Mexico – a place she had no idea Anya would be. Anya was last seen getting into a vehicle with a local diving instructor but now he’s missing too. Their relationship has been complicated ever since a devastating tragedy blew their family apart, but Kate cannot believe Anya would willingly travel somewhere so isolated with a man she barely knows . . . would she? In a race against time, Kate must fight to find her little sister before it’s too late. Haunting, emotional and laced with psychological suspense, Little Sister will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. Reserve a copy

The invisible woman by Helen Walmsley-Johnson
9781785780523Sixty is the new forty, we’re constantly told. Or is it that seventy is the new fifty? Yet fashionable clothes shops cater for little but elfin twenty-year-olds; magazines carry little but articles about appearing younger. Heaven forbid you try to apply for a job. Older women are permitted to be either part of the slippers and cardigans brigade, or to cling desperately to their youth and insist on being ‘young at heart’. Can’t there be a third way? Read more

The Missing by C L Taylor
9780008118051When fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family that doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface. Claire is sure of two things – that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance. A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it? Find a copy on the catalogue.

The Ice Twins by S K Tremayne
9780007459223A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again. As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died? Find a copy on the shelves…

Dear Thing by Julie Cohen
9780552779005After years of watching her best friends Ben and Claire try for a baby, Romily offered to give them the one thing they most wanted. But Romily wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming feelings that have taken hold of her and which threaten to ruin her friendship with Ben and Claire – and even destroy their marriage.Now there are three friends, two mothers and only one baby, and an impossible decision to make . . .  Reserve a copy.

The return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor
9780751554236One ordinary morning, Norah Wells walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she left only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’. Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to the mother who stayed when the mother who left comes back? Find a copy.

Moving by Jenny Éclair
movingEdwina Spinner has lived in the same house for over fifty years. It used to be a busy, crowded family home but now Edwina lives alone and it has grown too big for her. She has decided to sell it. The young estate agent who comes to value the house sees potential. Knock down a few walls, add a wet room. ‘People like a project.’ But as Edwina takes him from room to room, she is transported back to her old life as a young mother… Read more
The swimming pool by Louise Candlish
9781405919876It’s summer, and for teachers Ed and Natalie Steele this means six weeks off work with their young daughter Molly. Their lives are predictable and uncomplicated – or, at least, they were – until they met the Channings. Suddenly, glamorous Lara Channing, a former actress leading an eccentrically lavish lifestyle, is taking Natalie under her wing and the stability of summer takes an exciting turn. But are there hidden motives behind this new friendship? And when the end-of-summer party at the lido is cut short by a blackout, Natalie realises that she’s been kept in the dark all along. Reserve a copy.

The House We Grew Up by In Lisa Jewell
9780099559559When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.But when something happens one Easter weekend, it is so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can talk about it.The family shatters, seemingly for ever.Until they are forced to return to the house they grew up in. And to confront what really took place all those years ago.  Find a copy in the library.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth
9781447280729Anna Forster is 38 years old and has started to suffer from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to an assisted living facility – but best can still hurt. What she also knows is that there’s just one other resident her age at the facility – Luke. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to all that’s left. What remains are her feelings for Luke. Before long the pair fall in love, despite the forces that are set against them. But when a tragic incident occurs, Luke and Anna’s families decide to separate them. There is one person at the facility who can help the pair, but only if she’s willing to risk everything for them. Reserve a copy.




Eileen’s Top Reads of 2016

So many books, so little time. Here are my favourites that I’ve read this year.

I notice that a lot of the Fiction are sequels, or part of a series.

In fairness to all the authors I have put them in alphabetical order. (I am a Librarian after all!)

Jeffrey Archer Cometh the Hour – This is the 6th volume of the Clifton Chronicles.   

Alex Brown The Secret of Orchard Cottage – Intriguing family story.The Secret of Orchard Cottage

Ann Cleeves The Moth Catcher  –  The 7th story in the Vera Stanhope series, as good as the first six!         

Lindsey Davis The Graveyard of the Hesperides – The 4th mystery in the Flavia Albia series, she is the daughter of Marcus Didius Falco.

Carola Dunn Superfluous Women – The 22nd Daisy Dalrymple mystery, I’ve read all of them!

Emma Hannigan The Perfect Gift – A story of family, of hope and despair.

David Lagercrantz The Girl in the Spider’s Web – The 4th book  in the Millennium series, continuing on from Stieg Larsson’s first three.The girl in the spider's web

Freya North The Turning Point – A wonderful family story, I can’t lie, I did cry when reading this.

Wilbur Smith Pharoah – The 6th book in the Egyptian Series featuring Taita, history and myth entwined to produce a very readable story.

Lucie Whitehouse Keep You Close – A very suspenseful novel, read it if you dare.

Jacqueline Winspear A Dangerous Place – The 11th book in the Maisie Dobbs crime/thriller stories. A series well worth reading.

Gardening Books

Guy Barter RHS how do worms work?: a gardener’s collection of curious questions and astonishing answers

Monty Don Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs                 

Kate Felus The secret life of the Georgian garden

Nigel           The secret life of the Georgian garden


Sarah’s picks of the year

The first part of 2016 was taken up with writing my MA dissertation and I did think that as a result I might have read fewer books than usual this year. This doesn’t seem the case as with two weeks to go (and ten days off work for reading) I’ve already read 215 books…

9781474601900My absolute favourite book of the year however is one that I read last year but that due to embargoes I couldn’t talk about at the time. Others agreed with me as my top book is East West Street by Philippe Sands which went on to win the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction. Join the waiting list.

9781910655153A special mention also has to go to The Apprentice Witch by James Nichol – James is a friend but hand on heart this was one of my top reads of the year. The book is a mix of two of my favourite children’s series – Harry Potter and The Worst Witch. I can’t wait for the next book. Reserve a copy.


Now for my other favourites – these are just split into categories, no top 10s this year!

Young Adult

normalAm I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

Chasing Stars – Malorie Blackman

Nina is Not Ok – Shappi Khorsandi



vinThe Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 ¼ – Hendrik Groen

Cartes Postales – Victoria Hislop

Five rivers met on a wooded plain – Barney Norris

The Infinite Air – Fiona Kidman

The Summer Before the War – Helen Simonson

Mrs Tim of the Regiment – D E Stevenson

Vinegar Girl – Anne Tyler


Non Fiction

berlinElizabeth Jane Howard – Artemis Cooper

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly & Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World – Matthew Goodman

The House by the Lake – Thomas Harding

Frontier Grit: the Unlikely True Stories of Daring Pioneer Women Marianne Monson

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City – Guy Delisle

Sentenced to Life – Clive James

The Print Museum – Heidi Williamson

Elena’s favourite books of 2016

Non-fiction pick: I’m torn between two books this year, so I shall include them both!

little-histA little history of the world: “In ‘A Little History of the World’ Ernst Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. There emerges a colourful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, the spread and limitations of science and tribes evolving towards society. Written in 1935 when the author was only 26, this history of the world for younger readers makes intelligible the full span of human history.” Read more…

multitudesI contain multitudes: “Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life. In other words, you contain multitudes. These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth. In a million tiny ways, I Contain Multitudes will radically change how you think about the natural world, and how you see yourself.” Reserve a copy.


Graphic Novel of the year:

giant-daysGiant Days: Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery mold, nuchauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.” Read more…


My favourite Young Adult series this year:

daughterDaughter of smoke and bone: “In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she’s a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in ‘Elsewhere’, she has never understood Brimstone’s dark work – buying teeth from hunters and murderers – nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn’t whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.” Reserve a copy.


And my top ten in general fiction:

planetThe long way to a small angry planet: Shortlisted for so many prizes, this is a truly unusual book. Thoroughly modern sci-fi with an amazing heart. “The astonishing self-published debut novel that Guardian calls ‘a quietly profound, humane tour de force. When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past. But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer.” Reserve a copy

griefGrief is the thing with feathers: “In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness. In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. This extraordinary debut, full of unexpected humour and emotional truth, marks the arrival of a thrilling and significant new talent.” Find it on the library catalogue.

ice-creamThe country of Ice Cream Star: “In the ruins of a future America, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star and her people survive by scavenging in the detritus of an abandoned civilization. Theirs is a world of children – by the time they are twenty, each of them dies from a disease they call posies. When her brother sickens, Ice Cream sets out on the trail of a cure, led by a stranger whose intentions remain unclear. It’s a quest that will lead her to love and heartbreak, to captivity and to a nation’s throne, and ultimately into a war that threatens to doom everyone she loves.” Read more…

ten10:04: “In the past year, the narrator of ‘10:04‘ has enjoyed unexpected literary success, been diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition, and been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. Now, in a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms and political unrest, he must reckon with his biological mortality, the possibility of a literary afterlife, and the prospect of fatherhood in a city that might soon be under water.” Reserve a copy.

shoreThe Shore: “A collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean that has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place they’ve inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a brave girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.” Read more…

steinbeckThe Grapes of Wrath: “‘I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags, I don’t want him satisfied.’ Shocking and controversial when it was first published, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck’s Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision. ” Reserve a copy.

propertyProperty: Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans, but most of all, she longs to be free of the suffocating domestic situation. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl who may have been given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon’s husband’s inclinations lie. This private drama is being played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings.” The author herself describes this book as  “a tour of hell with a guide who works for the management.” Find a copy in the library.

gloriousThe Glorious Heresies: “We all do stupid things when we’re kids. Ryan Cusack’s grown up faster than most – being the oldest of six with a dead mum and an alcoholic dad will do that for you. And nobody says Ryan’s stupid. Not even behind his back. It’s the people around him who are the problem. The gangland boss using his dad as a ‘cleaner’. The neighbour who says she’s trying to help but maybe wants something more than that. The prostitute searching for the man she never knew she’d miss until he disappeared without trace one night . . . The only one on Ryan’s side is his girlfriend Karine. If he blows that, he’s all alone. But the truth is, you don’t know your own strength till you need it. “ Borrow it here.

gameThe Game: “New Year 1924. Mary Russell is drawn into a new intrigue when she and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, pay a visit to Holmes’ gravely ill brother, Mycroft. Mycroft has received a strange package that contains the papers of a missing English spy named Kimball O’Hara, the hero of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, who is feared to have been taken hostage – or even killed. Mary and Sherlock embark on a search for the missing operative, which takes them on a perilous journey through sun-drenched India. But when a twist of fate forces the couple to part ways, Russell learns that in this faraway place it’s often impossible to tell friend from foe, and that some games must be played out until their deadly end.” Reserve a copy.

wolfThe wolf border: “For almost a decade Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District… The Wolf Border investigates the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, both animal and human. It seeks to understand the most obsessive aspects of humanity: sex, love, and conflict; the desire to find answers to the question of our existence.” Find it on the library catalogue.









Julian Barnes’s first novel since his Booker-winner…

barnes“In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return.So begins Julian Barnes’s first novel since his Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. A story about the collision of Art and Power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage, it is the work of a true master.”

Reserve The Noise of Time now.

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