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...

Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope

Friday nights, the best night of the week, the night they all looked forward to more than they cared to admit - talking, drinking, laughing and crying together. They were six female friends, different in age and circumstances, but with one common need: the warmth and support of their Friday nights. It was a time to share secrets and fears, triumphs and tragedies and, above all, to feel safe in the company of women friends. But things never stay the same forever, especially when a man is introduced into the mix...

The Soldier’s Wife by Joanna Trollope

The soldiers are coming home – after six months in Afghanistan. Surely being reunited with their wives and girlfriends and families will be heaven, after the hell they have been through. When Dan Riley returns to his adored wife, Alexa, and their children, his Army life still comes first. Alexa thought she was prepared to help him, and the whole family, to make the transition to normal life again – but no-one had told her how lonely and near impossible the task would be. Does marrying a soldier always have to mean that you are not marrying a man, but a regiment?

The Other Family by Joanna Trollope

Chrissie, in the twenty-three years she'd been together with Richie, had always believed that he loved her. He loved their three daughters and their house in Highgate and their happy, lively existence. But if she really was the love of his life, why had he never given her the one thing that would have made her life perfect? Then suddenly Richie is no longer there, and without him Chrissie's carefully constructed life is in jeopardy.The one big fact she had always tried to keep from her daughters threatens to overwhelm them all. For Richie had still been married to his first wife, the one with a son that he had abandoned in Newcastle. And now, with Richie gone and the practicalities of wills and money to be sorted out, it is finally time for the two families to face each other ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

Lucia Sartori is the beautiful twenty-five-year-old daughter of a fine Italian immigrant family in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1950. Fuelled by the post-war boom, in which talented girls with ambition are encouraged to follow their dreams, Lucia becomes an apprentice for a made-to-wear clothing designer at a chic department store on Fifth Avenue. Though she is sought after as a potential wife by the best Italian families, Lucia stays her course and works hard, determined to have a career. She juggles the roles of dutiful daughter and ambitious working girl perfectly. When a handsome stranger comes to the story and catches her eye, it is love at first sight for both of them. In order to win Lucia's hand, he must first win over her traditional family and make the proper offer of marriage. Their love affair takes an unexpected turn as secrets are revealed, Lucia's family honour is tested, and her own reputation becomes the centre of a sizzling scandal. Set in a time of possibility and change for women in America, in a city that celebrates its energy with style and elegance, LUCIA, LUCIA is the story of a girl who risks everything for the belief that a woman could - and should - be able to have it all.

The Road Home by Rose Tremain

Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife, his beloved young daugher and his outrageous friend Rudi who - dreaming of the wealthy West - lives largely for his battered Chevrolet. Ahead of Lev lies the deep strangeness of the British: their hostile streets, their clannish pubs, their obsession with celebrity. London holds out the alluring possibility of friendship, sex, money and a new career and, if Lev is lucky, a new sense of belonging...