Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: November 2015

A Year of Marvellous Ways (November 2015)

By Sarah Winman

November 1, 2015

Marvellous Ways is eighty-nine years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life.  Lately she’s taken to spending her days sitting by the river with a telescope.  She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.

Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War.  When his promise to fulfil a dying man’s last wish sees him wash up Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid.

A Year of Marvellous Ways is a glorious, life-affirming story about the magic in everyday life and the pull of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, love and death and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

The Guilty

By David Baldacci

November 1, 2015

When Special Agent Will Robie gets the call to make his first visit home since he was a teenager, it’s because his father, the local judge, has been arrested for murdering a man who came before him in court.

The small, remote Mississippi town hasn’t changed and its residents remember Robie as a wild sports star and girl magnet.  He left a lot of hearts broken, and a lot of people angry.

Will and his father, Dan, are estranged, and his mother left years ago.  When he visits Dan in jail, he finds that time hasn’t healed old wounds.  There’s too much bad blood between the men, and although Will feels no good will come of staying around, he is persuaded to confront his demons by fellow agent Jessica Reel.

But then another murder changes everything, and stone-cold killer Robie will finally have to come to grips with his toughest assignment of all.  His family.

A Few of the Girls

By Maeve Bincy

November 1, 2015

Maeve Binchy’s bestselling novels not only tell wonderful stories, they also show that while times change, people often remain the same: they fall in love, sometimes unsuitably; they have hopes and dreams; they have deep, long-standing friendships, and some that fall apart.  Maeve’s work has included wonderfully nostalgic pieces and also sharp, often witty writing which is insightful and topical.

But at the heart of all Maeve’s fiction are the people and their relationships with each other.  A Few of the Girls is a glorious collection of the very best of her writing, full of the warmth, charm and humour that has always been essentially Maeve.

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin and educated at the Holy Child convent in Killiney and at University College, Dublin.  After a spell as a teacher she joined the Irish Times.  Her first novel was published in 1982 and she went on to write many bestsellers, several of which have been adapted for cinema and television.

Maeve Binchy received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards in 1999 and in 2010 she was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Bord Gais Irish Book Awards by the President of Ireland.  She was married to the writer and broadcaster Gordon Snell for 35 years, and died in 2012.

In the Unlikely Event

By Judy Blume

November 1, 2015

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life.

Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen and in love for the first time, three planes fell from the sky within three months, leaving a community reeling.  Against this backdrop of actual events in the early 1950’s when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume weaves a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are for ever changed in the aftermath.

The plane crashes bring some people closer together and tear others apart; they create myths and unlock secrets.  As Miri experiences the ordinary joys and pains of growing up in extraordinary circumstances, a young journalist makes his name reporting tragedy.  And through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

Sweet Caress

By William Boyd

November 1, 2015

The Story of a woman – The story of a century

Amory’s first memory is of her father doing a handstand but it is his absences she chiefly remembers.  Her uncle Greville supplies the emotional bond she needs, and when he gives her a camera, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future.

Over the years, Amory’s search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of late 1920s Berlin, New York of the 1930s, the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers, collecting lovers, husbands and children, pursuing her dreams and battling her demons.

In this enthralling story of a life fully lived, William Boyd has created a sweeping panorama of some of the most defining moments of modern history, told through the camera lens of one unforgettable woman, Amory Clay.

The Secret Chord

By Geraldine Brooks

November 1, 2015

A unique and vivid novel that retells the story of King David’s extraordinary rise to power and fall from grace, from the Pulitzer Prize – winning author or People of the Book, Year of Wonders and March.

1000 BC.  The Second Iron Age.  The time of King David.

Anointed as the chosen one when just a young shepherd boy, David will rise to be king, grasping the throne and establishing his empire.  But his journey is a tumultuous one and the consequences of his choices will resound for generations.  In a life that arcs from obscurity to fame, he is by turn hero and traitor, glamorous young tyrant and beloved king, murderous despot and remorseful, diminished patriarch.  His wives love and fear him, his sons will betray him.  It falls to Natan, the courtier and prophet who both counsels and castigates David, to tell the truth about the path he must take.

With stunning originality, acclaimed author Geraldine Brooks offers us a compelling portrait of a morally complex hero from this strange age – part legend, part history.  Full of drama and richly drawn detail, The Secret Chord is a vivid story of faith, family, desire and power that brings David magnificently alive.

The Road to Little Dribbling

By Bill Bryson

November 1, 2015

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country.  The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the best-selling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain.

Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey around Britain to see what has changed.

Following (but not too closely) a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all, Bryson sets out to rediscover the wondrously beautiful, magnificently eccentric, endearingly unique country that he thought he knew but doesn’t altogether recognize any more.  Yet, despite Britain’s occasional failings and more or less eternal bewilderments, Bill Bryson is still pleased to call our rainy island home.  And not just because of the cream teas, a noble history, and an extra day off at Christmas.

Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

A Tattooed Heart

By Deborah Challinor

November 1, 2015

…for the first time that day she felt herself relax, like a candle slowly melting.  She drank some more and closed her eyes…

1832: Convict girls Friday Woolfe, Sarah Morgan and Harriet Clarke have been serving their sentences in Sydney Town for three years.  Though they have lived in fear of the sinister and formidable Bella Jackson, each has begun to make a life for herself.

Then Harrie’s adopted child, Charlotte, is abducted and taken to Newcastle and the girls must risk their very freedom to save her.  But is Friday up to the task?  Will the desperate battle with her own vices drive her to fail both herself and those she loves?

In this final volume of the saga about four girls transported halfway around the world, friends and family will be reunited but cherished loved ones lost, and an utterly shocking secret revealed.

The Crossing

By Michael Connelly

November 1, 2015

Six months ago, Harry Bosch left the LAPD before they could fire him, and then hired his half-brother, the maverick defence attorney Mickey Haller to sue the department for forcing him out.  Although it wasn’t the way he wanted to go, Bosch has to admit that being out of the game has its benefits.

Until Mickey asks him to help on one of his cases, and suddenly Harry is back where he belongs, right in the centre of a particularly puzzling murder mystery.  The difference is, this time Bosch is working for the defence, aiming to prevent the accused, Leland Foster, from being convicted.  And not only does the prosecution seem to have a cast-iron case, but having crossed over to ‘the dark side’ as his former colleagues would put it, Bosch is in danger of betraying the very principles he’s lived by his whole career.

With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department.  But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.


By Robin Cook

November 1, 2015

From number one New York Times bestselling author and master of the medical thriller Robin Cook comes an explosive new novel.  Host takes readers back to where the genre began, with Coma, and asks a chilling question: what happens when innocent hospital patients are used as medical ‘incubators’ against their will?

Lynn Pierce, a fourth-year medical student at Mason Dixon University, thinks she has her life figured out.  But when her otherwise healthy boyfriend, Carl, is admitted to hospital for routine surgery, Lynn is devastated by his sudden death.

Convinced there’s more to the story that what the authorities are willing to reveal, Lynn searches for answers, using all her university resources – including her initially reluctant lab partner, Edward – to hunt down evidence of medical error or malpractice.

What she uncovers, however, is far more disturbing.  Hospitals associated with Sentinel Healthcare, including the one attached to the university, have unnervingly high rates of unexplained complications and patients contracting serious and terminal illnesses in the wake of routine surgery.

When Lynn and Edward begin to receive death threats, they know they’re onto something bigger than either of them anticipated.  They must discover the truth, before the shadowy forces behind Sentinel Healthcare can put a stop to their efforts once and for all.

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