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The Bishop, The EDT, The Great Exhibition, the Actress or another?
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messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 08 June, 2015 12:57

Sorry I've only just seen this! You can see my username now :-) Looking forward to seeing you soon .I've just started July's book...
Holly x

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 29 July, 2015 07:36

Hi everyone, sorry for the very late posting of next month's date and book.

We are meeting on MONDAY 3 August at the usual time 7:45pm and usual venue The Tippler. The book is Bridge, written by a friend of a long time bookclubber who moved away. I have one spare copy of the book if anyone still needs it. Just PM me.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by sparklehorse 03 August, 2015 19:44

Tipplers closed. Palmerston?

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 03 August, 2015 19:47

Sure, I'm running a bit late!
Holly x

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Red_Cat 03 August, 2015 19:54

I'm at Palmerston

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 03 August, 2015 22:51

Did You Ever Have A Family doesn't come out until 25th August, will that be OK for everyone?

Holly x

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Red_Cat 03 August, 2015 23:18

Ooh we didn't think of that did we, our second choice seems to be not available at the moment either, I think that's been the problem previously on choosing books from that list. It's okay by me as we still have 3 weeks to read it so
should be alright if everyone else is ok with it.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by kennethw 04 August, 2015 16:22

I dunno, I finally get my act together and get the first Tuesday of the month free, then it's all changed to meet on Monday. smiling smiley

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 04 August, 2015 17:55

Oh Kenneth! It was just that once - we are back on Tuesdays next month and it would be great to see you smiling smiley

We are reading 'Did you ever have a family?' by Bill Clegg and we are meeting on Tuesday 15 September at 7:45pm for an 8pm start at the Tippler

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by overcaffeinated 21 August, 2015 16:36

Hi all - so the book is only available in hardback (when it comes out) at £17 - or £6 on kindle. £17 feels a bit steep... Does everyone have access to a kindle or should we choose something else (I don't but have been contemplating buying one for a while so could be persuaded)?

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Alec John Moore 21 August, 2015 19:00

You can get the Kindle app for other devices if that helps.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 21 August, 2015 19:30

I agree £17 is steep but I found it for £10ish at Waterstones. Happy to swap to something else if preferred.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 21 August, 2015 22:47

I've got a kindle so easy for me but happy to change xxx

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by sparklehorse 22 August, 2015 11:16

I have Kindle, but happy to change if it works out expensive for those that don't.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by overcaffeinated 22 August, 2015 15:59

Let's stick with it and I'll see if I can find it cheaper/will get the app/kindle

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Julie82 23 August, 2015 08:50

Hello, I just ordered the book and would love to come along and try your book club for the next session in September.
I hope that is ok?

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 23 August, 2015 15:58

Hi Julie82, you are very welcome - I just bought the book myself and am looking forward to the discussion. See you in September.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 01 September, 2015 17:41

I just found out that Southwark libraries is now lending ebooks and eAudiobooks - [www.southwark.gov.uk] and thought my fellow book-clubbers might be interested...

If you've already got a library card it's super easy to set it up on your phone or tablet. I don't think this would really be an option for our bookclub books but I've certainly enjoyed downloading some eAudiobooks for listening while I'm doing something else (cooking/cleaning)

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Alec John Moore 14 September, 2015 22:13


I have to go to Gypsy Hill tomorrow evening to contribute my hops to the Palace Pint community ale. It's a seasonal thing. I'll try to drop in to the Tippler on the way home.


messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by sparklehorse 15 September, 2015 19:23

Hello Tipplers

Looking forward to seeing you this evening (7.45 for 8.00 at House of Tippler).

Slightly belatedly, here's our shortlist for next month, on a theme of NYC:

See you shortly!

The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s. The Age of Innocence centers on an upper-class couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a woman plagued by scandal whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of 1870s' New York society, it never devolves into an outright condemnation of the institution. The title is an ironic comment on the polished outward manners of New York society when compared to its inward machinations.

“I love virtually all of Edith Wharton, but this one's my favourite... I admire her prose style, which is lucid, intelligent, and artful rather than arty; she is eloquent but never fussy, and always clear. She never seems to be writing well to show off. As for The Age of Innocence, it's a poignant story that, typically for Wharton, illustrates the bind women found themselves in when trapped hazily between a demeaning if relaxing servitude and real if frightening independence, and that both sexes find themselves in when trapped between the demands of morality and the demands of the heart. The novel is romantic but not sentimental, and I'm a sucker for unhappy endings” -- Lionel Shriver

The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
"If there is a set-book of the Eighties, it is Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities. No other novel has achieved such a precise place in the imagination of the reading classes. With his first attempt at fiction Wolfe has become the 'Dickens or Balzac of his age'; the dandy journalist has become the towering genius" (The Times)

"Wolfe's modern morality tale displays the sardonic humour and sharp appreciation of the grotesque familiar to admirers of his non fiction... Savagely funny and compelling" (Guardian)

"The air of New York crackles with an energy that causes the adrenalin to pump, until one has the illusion that this is where the whole of life is taking place. The feeling is perfectly reproduced in Wolfe's novel, which opens such cans of worms as racial hostility, dress codes, political labelling and the cynical opportunism that governs every action. It's, well, electric" (Sunday Times)

Jazz – Toni Morrison
In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

"Jazz blazes with an intensity more usually found in tragic poetry of the past, not in fiction today.... Morrison's voice transcends colour and creed and she has become one of America's outstanding post-war writers... A great storyteller, her characters have amazing and terrible pasts - they must find them out, or be haunted by them" (Guardian)

"Morrison’s writing of a black romance pays its debt to blues music, the rhythms and the melancholy pleasures of which she has so magically transformed into a novel" (London Review of Books)

Ragtime – E. L Doctorow
Published in 1975, Ragtime changed our very concept of what a novel could be. An extraordinary tapestry, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the century and the First World War. The story opens in 1906 in New Rochelle, New York, at the home of an affluent American family. One lazy Sunday afternoon, the famous escape artist Harry Houdini swerves his car into a telephone pole outside their house. And almost magically, the line between fantasy and historical fact, between real and imaginary characters, disappears. Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, J. P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit, Sigmund Freud, and Emiliano Zapata slip in and out of the tale, crossing paths with Doctorow's imagined family and other fictional characters, including an immigrant peddler and a ragtime musician from Harlem whose insistence on a point of justice drives him to revolutionary violence.

‘As exhilarating as a breath of pure oxygen . . . this highly original novel is enormous fun to read’ Newsweek .

Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband, Guy, move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing her husband takes a special shine to them.
Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castevets’ circle is not what it seems…

A terrifying book: I can think of no other in which fear of an evil strikes with greater chill. (Daily Telegraph)

Suspense is beautifully intertwined with everyday incidents; the delicate line between belief and disbelief is faultlessly drawn. (New York Times)

A darkly brilliant tale of modern devilry that induces the reader to believe the unbelievable. I believed it and was altogether enthralled. (Truman Capote)

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by kennethw 19 October, 2015 20:10


We're going on tour to Peckham tomorrow evening, so we won't be at the Tippler at the usual time. If anyone wants to come along to discuss the Age of Innocence, please send me a PM.



messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Red_Cat 19 October, 2015 23:17

Will be there and will bring next months list with me, I'll try and post on here beforehand, hopefully, if get time.


messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by Red_Cat 20 October, 2015 13:26

Next month's choices, some spooky stories...

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
A very young woman's first job: governess for two weirdly beautiful, strangely distant, oddly silent children, Miles and Flora, at a forlorn estate...An estate haunted by a beckoning evil. Half-seen figures who glare from dark towers and dusty windows- silent, foul phantoms who, day by day, night by night, come closer, ever closer. With growing horror, the helpless governess realizes the fiendish creatures want the children, seeking to corrupt their bodies, possess their minds, own their souls...But worse-much worse- the governess discovers that Miles and Flora have no terror of the lurking evil. For they want the walking dead as badly as the dead want them.

Affinity by Sarah Waters
An upper-class woman recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has begun visiting the women’s ward of Millbank prison, Victorian London’s grimmest jail, as part of her rehabilitative charity work. Amongst Millbank’s murderers and common thieves, Margaret finds herself increasingly fascinated by one apparently innocent inmate, the enigmatic spiritualist Selina Dawes Selina was imprisoned after a séance she was conducting went horribly awry, leaving an elderly matron dead and a young woman deeply disturbed. Although initially skeptical of Selina’s gifts, Margaret is soon drawn into a twilight world of ghosts and shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions, until she is at last driven to concoct a desperate plot to secure Selina’s freedom, and her own.

The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings by Edgar Allan Poe
The grandmaster stylist of macabre storytelling; the dean of American literary terror. Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of brooding fear, haunting mystery, and horrifying madness are flawless gems of dark imagination. This selection of Poe's critical writings, short fiction and poetry demonstrates his intense interest in aesthetic issues, and the astonishing power and imagination with which he probed the darkest corners of the human mind. 'The Fall of the House of Usher' describes the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In 'Tell-Tale Heart', a murderer's insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as 'The Pit and the Pendulum' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' explore extreme states of decadence, fear and hate. These works display Poe's startling ability to build suspense with almost nightmarish intensity. 'And much of Madness and more of Sin And Horror the Soul of the Plot'

The Shining by Stephen King
Danny was only five years old but in the words of old Mr Halloran he was a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father became caretaker of the Overlook Hotel his visions grew frighteningly out of control. As winter closed in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seemed to develop a life of its own. It was meant to be empty, but who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive? Somewhere, somehow there was an evil force in the hotel - and that too had begun to shine...

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
'In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop... There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white.' The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright's eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his 'charming' friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing's contemporary gothic horror story—centered on the birth of a baby who seems less than human—probes society's unwillingness to recognize its own brutality. Harriet and David Lovatt, parents of four children, have created an idyll of domestic bliss in defiance of the social trends of late 1960s England. While around them crime and unrest surge, the Lovatts are certain that their old-fashioned contentment can protect them from the world outside—until the birth of their fifth baby. Gruesomely goblin-like in appearance, insatiably hungry, abnormally strong and violent, Ben has nothing innocent or infant-like about him. As he grows older and more terrifying, Harriet finds she cannot love him, David cannot bring himself to touch him, and their four older children are afraid of him. Understanding that he will never be accepted anywhere, Harriet and David are torn between their instincts as parents and their shocked reaction to this fierce and unlovable child whose existence shatters their belief in a benign world.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by susan_ 21 October, 2015 09:55

Thanks Kenneth for hosting us last night - your new flat is lovely.

Next month we're back at the Tippler on 17 November at the usual time of 7:45 for 8pm start. We choose The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing. Newcomers are welcome, just read the book and turn up on the night - we usually sit in the seat by the front window. (If the Tippler is unexpectedly shut then we reconvene at the Palmerston.)

Tash agreed to do the list for the following month.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by overcaffeinated 17 November, 2015 00:12

Sorry it's a bit late - list for this month!:

Love in Small Letters - Francesc Miralles

When Samuel wakes up on 1st January, he is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing exciting or unusual – until a strange visitor bursts into his flat, determined not to leave. The appearance of Mishima, a stray cat, leads Samuel to a strange encounter with the enigmatic Valdemar and his neighbour Titus, with whom he had previously never exchanged a word, and is the catalyst for the incredible transformation that is about to occur in the secluded world he has built around himself.

Cathedral of the Sea - Ildefonso Falcones

A spell-binding drama of love, war, greed and revenge in medieval Barcelona...

A young serf in fourteenth century Spain, Arnau is on the run from his feudal lord. Through famine, plague and thwarted love he struggles to earn his freedom in the shadow of the mighty Cathedral of the Sea: a magnificent church being built by the humblest citizens of the city.

Arnau's fortunes begin to turn when King Pedro makes him a baron in reward for his courage in battle. But his new-found wealth excites the jealousy of his friends, who begin to plot against him, with devastating consequences.

Monsignor Quixote - Graham Greene

When Father Quixote, a local priest of the Spanish village of El Toboso who claims ancestry to Cervantes’ fictional Don Quixote, is elevated to the rank of monsignor through a clerical error, he sets out on a journey to Madrid to purchase purple socks appropriate to his new station. Accompanying him on his mission is his best friend, Sancho, the Communist ex-mayor of the village who argues politics and religion with Quixote and rescues him from the various troubles his innocence lands him in along the way. Published in 1932, Monsignor Quixote is Graham Greene’s last religious novel, a fond homage to Cervantes, and a sincere exploration into the meaning of faith in the modern world.

A Heart So White - Javier Maria

Javier Marías's A Heart So White chronicles with unnerving insistence the relentless power of the past. Juan knows little of the interior life of his father Ranz; but when Juan marries, he begins to consider the past anew, and begins to ponder what he doesn't really want to know. Secrecy—its possible convenience, its price, and even its civility—hovers throughout the novel. A Heart So White becomes a sort of anti-detective story of human nature. Intrigue; the sins of the father; the fraudulent and the genuine; marriage and strange repetitions of violence: Marías elegantly sends shafts of inquisitory light into shadows and on to the costs of ambivalence.

Winter in Madrid - C J Sansom

The playing fields of Rookwood did little to prepare reluctant spy Harry Brett for the moral no man's land of post–Civil War Spain that awaits him in this cinematic historical thriller from British author Sansom. But those halcyon days have made him one of the few people likely to win the confidence of fellow old boy Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Franco associate and object of intense curiosity to British intelligence. Despite his reservations, Brett—whose best friend from Rookwood, Bernie Piper, disappeared in Spain a few years earlier while battling Franco with the International Brigade—accepts the assignment as his duty, and almost as swiftly regrets it. For the Madrid he finds has become a mockery of the vibrant, hopeful place he and Bernie visited during the dawn of the Republic. As in his Matthew Shardlake mystery series set in Tudor London, Sansom deftly plots his politically charged tale for maximal suspense, all the way up to its stunning conclusion. A bestseller in the U.K., this moving opus leaves the reader mourning for the Spain that might have been—and the England that maybe never was.

The Yellow Rain - Julio Llamazares

In this somber and elegiac novel, Llamazares's first to be translated into English, the last, dying resident of a deserted village in the Spanish Pyrenees, "forgotten by everyone, condemned to gnaw away at my memory and my bones like an old dog," summons the ghosts of his past. The closing of the local mill sent Ainielle's population to other towns, until only the elderly narrator and his wife, Sabine, remained. Lonely and grieving, Sabine killed herself, and the old man is left with only his loyal, sorrowful dog. Now, on what seems to be his final night on earth, he recalls the tragedies that have befallen him: his daughter, Sara, died when she was only four; the Spanish Civil War claimed his son Camilo; and his other beloved son, Andres (the narrator's namesake), "abandoned" his family to seek his fortune. The old man has never forgiven Andres, nor anyone else who left the village to rot, its houses collapsing "like an animal felled by a bullet." Llamazares's gorgeous prose evokes the empty streets and desolate landscape as effectively as it suggests ambiguities in the narrative's truth: is Andres the elder a crazy, potentially dangerous man who sees visions of the dead? Or is he himself a ghost? A gorgeous, heartbreaking meditation on memory and solitude, and a poetic accounting of physical and spiritual decay, Llamazares's slender novel transports readers to a grim and unforgettable world.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by sparklehorse 06 December, 2015 20:21

Can I just check, are we next meeting Tuesday 15 December? (M Quixote)?


messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 06 December, 2015 20:29

We are :-)


messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by chicklin 07 December, 2015 09:46

Hi - I am new to the area and would love to join a fun book club - are you still operating? if so when is your next meeting?



messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by sparklehorse 07 December, 2015 11:06

Hi Claire

You would be very welcome - newcomers can just come along on the evening. Our next meeting is Tuesday 15 December, 7.45 for 8.00pm at the house of tippler. We are usually sitting on the sofas near the front. The book is Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene, which is actually super short so you might have time to read it before then, if you wanted to, but equally you'd be very welcome to just come along and say hello.

messageRe: Tuesday Tipplers Book Club - newbies welcome
Posted by hollyt 07 December, 2015 16:47


Here't the shortlist for next month - the theme is food!

Gourmet Rhapsody

In the heart of Paris, in the posh building made famous in The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Pierre Athens, the greatest food critic in the world, is dying. Revered by some and reviled by many, Monsieur Arthens has been lording it over the world’s most esteemed chefs for years, passing judgment on their creations, deciding their fates with a stroke of his pen, destroying and building reputations on a whim. But now, during these his final hours, his mind has turned to simpler things. He is desperately searching for that singular flavor, that sublime something once sampled, never forgotten, the Flavor par excellence. Indeed, this flamboyant and self-absorbed man desires only one thing before he dies: one last taste.

Thus begins a charming voyage that traces the career of Monsieur Arthens from childhood to maturity across a celebration of all manner of culinary delights. Alternating with the voice of the supercilious Arthens is a chorus belonging to his acquaintances and familiars—relatives, lovers, a would-be protege, even a cat. Each will have his or her say about M. Arthens, a man who has inspired only extreme emotions in people. Here, as in The Elegance of Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery’s story celebrates life’s simple pleasures and sublime moments while condemning the arrogance and vulgarity of power.

The Cookbook Collector

Heralded as “a modern day Jane Austen” by USA Today, National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman has compelled and delighted hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, in her most ambitious work yet, Goodman weaves together the worlds of Silicon Valley and rare book collecting in a delicious novel about appetite, temptation, and fulfillment.

Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposites in every way: Twenty-eight-year-old Emily is the CEO of Veritech, twenty-three-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily is rational and driven, while Jess is dreamy and whimsical. Emily’s boyfriend, Jonathan, is fantastically successful. Jess’s boyfriends, not so much—as her employer George points out in what he hopes is a completely disinterested way.

Bicoastal, surprising, rich in ideas and characters, The Cookbook Collector is a novel about getting and spending, and about the substitutions we make when we can’t find what we’re looking for: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living. But above all it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays.

Pomegranate Soup

Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of “crazed sheep and dizzying roads,” they might finally find a home.

From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets–an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Café, and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh’s uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied–and by foreigners, no less.

But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Marjan is thrilled with the demand for her red lentil soup, abgusht stew, and rosewater baklava–and with the transformation in her sisters. Young Layla finds first love, and even tense, haunted Bahar seems to be less nervous.

And in the stand-up-comedian-turned-priest Father Fergal Mahoney, the gentle, lonely widow Estelle Delmonico, and the headstrong hairdresser Fiona Athey, the sisters find a merry band of supporters against the close-minded opposition of less welcoming villagers stuck in their ways. But the idyll is soon broken when the past rushes back to threaten the Amnipours once more, and the lives they left behind in revolution-era Iran bleed into the present.

Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumph,s of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living.

The Last Chinese Chef

This alluring novel of friendship, love, and cuisine brings the best-selling author of Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light to one of the great Chinese subjects: food. As in her previous novels, Mones’s captivating story also brings into focus a changing China -- this time the hidden world of high culinary culture.

When Maggie McElroy, a widowed American food writer, learns of a Chinese paternity claim against her late husband’s estate, she has to go immediately to Beijing. She asks her magazine for time off, but her editor counters with an assignment: to profile the rising culinary star Sam Liang.

In China Maggie unties the knots of her husband’s past, finding out more than she expected about him and about herself. With Sam as her guide, she is also drawn deep into a world of food rooted in centuries of history and philosophy. To her surprise she begins to be transformed by the cuisine, by Sam’s family -- a querulous but loving pack of cooks and diners -- and most of all by Sam himself. The Last Chinese Chef is the exhilarating story of a woman regaining her soul in the most unexpected of places.

The Wedding Officer: A Novel of Culinary Seduction

In the sumptuous tradition of Chocolat and Captain Corelli's Mandolin, and already optioned for a major motion picture, comes a magical tale of romantic passion, culinary delight—and Italy.

Captain James Gould arrives in wartime Naples assigned to discourage marriages between British soldiers and their gorgeous Italian girlfriends. But the innocent young officer is soon distracted by an intoxicating young widow who knows her way around a kitchen...Livia Pertini is creating feasts that stun the senses with their succulence—ruby-colored San Marzana tomatoes, glistening anchovies, and delectable new potatoes encrusted with the black volcanic earth of of Campania—and James is about to learn that his heart may rank higher than his orders. For romance can be born of the sweet and spicy passions of food and love—and time spent in the kitchen can be as joyful and exciting as the banquet of life itself!

The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students' lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian's food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.

John Saturnall's Feast

A beautiful, rich and sensuous historical novel, John Saturnall’s Feast tells the story of a young orphan who becomes a kitchen boy at a manor house, and rises through the ranks to become the greatest Cook of his generation. It is a story of food, star-crossed lovers, ancient myths and one boy’s rise from outcast to hero.

Orphaned when his mother dies of starvation, having been cast out of her village as a witch, John is taken in at the kitchens at Buckland Manor, where he quickly rises from kitchen-boy to Cook, and is known for his uniquely keen palate and natural cooking ability. However, he quickly gets on the wrong side of Lady Lucretia, the aristocratic daughter of the Lord of the Manor. In order to inherit the estate, Lucretia must wed, but her fiancé is an arrogant buffoon. When Lucretia takes on a vow of hunger until her father calls off her engagement to her insipid husband-to-be, it falls to John to try to cook her delicious foods that might tempt her to break her fast.

Reminiscent of Wolf Hall and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, John Saturnall’s Feast is a brilliant work and a delight for all the senses.

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