Danielle Steel - Pegasus
Danielle Steel moves from her usual modern day setting to a historical one. The story focuses on two widowed aristocratic Germans, Nick and Alex, during World War II. An unexpected discovery about Nick's family means that he has to flee to America with his two young sons to save their lives. He takes with him a gift of horses, including the magnificent Pegasus, from his friend Alex. In their new country Nick and his family make a living as circus performers. It is a life totally alien to their experience, but they are accepted into the circus family, many of whom are also from Europe. Nick is smitten by the beautiful high wire artiste, Christianna, but faces opposition from her despotic father. Alex, meanwhile, tries to survive under the Nazi regime and protect his daughter, who eventually manages to flee to England. An intriguing plot, with interesting characters. The book engages the reader from start to finish.
Jenny Colgan - Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery
This turns out to be the third in a series, but stands alone well without reading the first two. Polly lives in a lighthouse with her American boyfriend, Huckle, and a rescued puffin called Neil. She runs the bakery of the title on a tiny island which is joined to mainland Cornwall by a tidal causeway. We join her life as the island approaches Christmas, with the challenges of bad weather and isolation. This also compounds the growing distance between Polly and her friend, Kerensa, who lives on the mainland with her American husband, Reuben, Huckle's friend. Kerensa has a secret that she eventually shares with Polly, but it causes a huge dilemma as Polly can't tell Huckle. Meanwhile she has a bakery to run, and mounting money worries as winter progresses. As Christmas approaches, all the problems come to a head, and somehow must be sorted out. Warm characters, engaging situations, a vivid setting, and written with Jenny Colgan's usual feel-good style.