Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson

'Everything changed after Mama found Father lying on top of another woman.' Blessing and her brother Ezikiel adore their larger-than-life father, their glamorous mother and their comfortable life in Lagos. But all that changes when their father leaves them for another woman. Their mother is fired from her job at the Royal Imperial Hotel - only married women can work there - and soon they have to quit their air-conditioned apartment to go and live with their grandparents in a compound in the Niger Delta. Adapting to life with a poor countryside family is a shock beyond measure after their privileged upbringing in Lagos. Told in Blessing's own beguiling voice, Tiny Sunbirds Far Away shows how some families can survive almost anything. At times hilarious, always poignant, occasionally tragic, it is peopled with characters you will never forget.

Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller. This is the story of four Londoners - three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching . . . Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret . . . Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover . . . Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances . . . Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement.

Disordered Minds by Minette Walters

In 1970, Harold Stamp, a retarded twenty-year-old was convicted on disputed evidence and a retracted confession of brutally murdering his grandmother - the one person who understood and protected him. Less than three years later he is dead, driven to suicide by isolation and despair. A fate befitting a murderer, perhaps, but what if he were innocent? Thirty years on, Jonathan Hughes, an anthropologist specialising in social stereotyping, comes across the case by accident. He finds alarming disparities in the evidence and has little doubt that Stamp's conviction was a terrible miscarriage of justice. But how far is Hughes prepared to go in the search for justice? Is the forgotten story of one friendless young man compelling enough to make him leave his books and face his own demons? And with what result? If Stamp didn't murder Grace Jeffries then somebody else did . . . and sleeping dogs are best left alone . . .

The Submission by Amy Waldman

A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner's name – and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. The memorial's designer is Mohammad Khan, an enigmatic, ambitious architect. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, Claire finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself. All will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

About the book Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime… Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Deep in the exquisite heart of Kashmir lies the lakeside city of Srinagar, where the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman. Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, a lock of child’s hair wrapped within its folds. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

Michael and Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in Baltimore, he was smitten, and in the heat of World War II fervour, they marry in haste. From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counter-culture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayers of later years, we watch their lives unspool and see the consequences of their very mismatched marriage.

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Friday August 15th, 1997. Two tiny Korean babies are delivered to two very different Baltimore families. Every year, on the anniversary of ‘Arrival Day’ the two families celebrate together, with more and more elaborately competitive parties, as little Susan and Jin-ho take roots and become American.

Tennyson’s Gift by Lynne Truss

In July 1864, a corner of the Isle of Wight is buzzing with literary and artistic creativity. A morose Tennyson is reciting 'Maud' to empty sofas; the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is white-washing the roses for visual effect and the mismatched couple, actress Ellen Terry and painter G. F. Watts, are thrown into the company of the remarkable Lorenzo Fowler, the American phrenologist, and his daughter Jessie. Enter mathematician Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), known to Jessie as the 'fiendish pedagogue', and Lynne Truss's wonderfully imaginative cocktail of Victorian seriousness and riotous farce begins to take flight.

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper

When Doug married Hailey - beautiful, smart and ten years older - he left his carefree Manhattan life to live in the suburbs with Hailey and her teenage son, Russ. Three years later, at 29, Doug has been a widower for twelve months and just wants to drown himself in self-pity and Jack Daniels. But his family has other ideas... Russ is furious with Doug for not adopting him, and has fallen in with a bad crowd. Claire, Doug's irrepressible, pregnant twin sister, has left her husband and, uninvited, moved in with Doug. And their sister Debbie is determined to have the perfect wedding, at any cost. Soon, Doug finds himself trying to forge a relationship with Russ, reconnect with his own eccentric family, and reluctantly edges back into the complicated world of dating...