Diana Gabaldon - An Echo in the Bone
This is the seventh book in the Outlander series, of which I an an unashamed fan. I have been thoroughly hooked since I read the first one, Outlander, (which was originally published in this country with the title Cross-stitch). I have read the first six novels more than once, and enjoy the television series as well. I'm going to try not to throw in any spoilers, but obviously there's a lot of back-story from the six previous novels. Suffice to say that the book, even though it's over a thousand pages long, is gripping and interesting throughout. Gabaldon as usual has done extensive historical research, and weaves her time-slip story in a way that beguiles the reader for the duration of the novel. There are several threads of story that run in parallel - Jamie and Claire now experiencing the American War of Independence, contemporary with Lord John and his stepson William, who is fighting in the British Army. In this time frame there's also the continuing story of Jamie's nephew Ian, and their attempts to take him home to Scotland. Needless to say, their journey has many exciting detours. Plus we follow their daughter Brianna with her husband and children, now back in 1980s Scotland. Threats abound in each era, and the passage between the two times still wields its unexpected menace. Gripping and vivid. There's another volume to come, which is on my reading list, and I look forward to the next instalment of the saga.
Hannah Begbie - Mother
From a seasoned writer to a debut novelist. This is the 2018 winner of the Joan Hessayon Award from the Romantic Novelists' Association for a first novel published in the past year. It's a stark and moving investigation into the role of a mother and how it is a vastly different experience for someone with a disabled child. From the pain of infertility to the joy of conceiving, Kath and David are in the first flush of happiness of parenthood when their lives are shattered at the news of their baby daughter's illness. Their own relationship becomes strained as they come to terms with Mia's constant treatment and hospital visits. Kath tries to find solace in a group for parents in similar circumstances. Here she's drawn to a man whose daughter is now a teenager, and he offers her reassurances and solace which she grasps eagerly. An emotional read, as the heroine tries to find her way through the new world she has not been expecting.
Anna Jacobs - One Quiet Woman
Another prolific author, this is one of Anna Jacbos' Lancashire novels. It's the first in a new series about the fictional village of Ellindale, and is set in the years after World War I. Many men have not returned, others are living with war disabilities, and life is hard for some families. Leah is recently orphaned and doing her best to look after her ten-year-old sister, Rosa, but she cannot earn enough to support them both and stay in their home. Local pawnbroker Charlie is about to marry and doesn't want to share his home with his brother Jonah who was gassed in the war and is something of an invalid. He finds the solution, for Jonah to marry Leah so that she can look after him in the home that he owns in the village of Ellindale. This marriage of convenience not only offers her the chance of security for herself and her sister, but also to do something for the people of the area. But there are evil men around who threaten the safety of Leah and her family. A good story, in this author's usual well-written style, with authentic background and setting.