Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: April 2017

The Scent of You (April 2017)

By Maggie Alderson

April 1, 2017

Are you still married if you haven’t seen your husband for months?

Polly’s life is great.  Her children are away at uni, her glamorous mother – still modelling at eighty-five – is happily settled in a retirement village, and her perfume blog is taking off.  Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes.

As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going – Shirlee, the loudmouthed yoga student; Guy, the mysterious, infuriating and hugely talented perfumer; and Edward, an old flame from university.

And while she distracts herself with the heady world of luxury perfume, Polly knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever.  Eventually she is forced to confront some difficult truths: about her husband, herself and who she really wants to be.

Norse Mythology (April 2017)

By Neil Gaiman

April 1, 2017

The Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from the novels of Tolkien to the worlds of comics and superheroes.  They are also an inspriration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-winning, bestselling fiction.

Now Gaiman reaches back through time to the original source stories in an epic and electrifying retelling of the great Norse myths – thrilling tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasures and magic, and of Asgard, home to the gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the gods; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer, Mjollnir, was forged by dwarfs and makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who gives short shrift to the gods, giants and ogres who seek to control her.

Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – as he leads us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok, the inescapable final downfall of the gods…

Secrets of a Happy Marriage (April 2017)

By Cathy Kelly

April 1, 2017

Any family knows that a special birthday party is the perfect chance to come together, but for the Brannigan clan it’s about more than just raising a glass…

Bess is hoping to show everyone just how happy her recent marriage is, but behind all the party-planning the cracks are begining to show.  Why is joining a new family so difficult?

Jojo, Bess’s stepdaughter, has a point to make.  Bess is not her mother, and she won’t replace the one she’s been missing every day for the past two years.  And will she ever get the chance to become a mum herself?

Cousin Cari is a fierce career-woman who isn’t unnerved by anything – apart from facing the man who left her at the altar, and he’s on the guestlist.  Her job has been a safe place to hide ever since – but is it time to let love into her life again?

Thanks to laughter, tears and one surprise appearance, the Brannigans might just discover the secrets of a happy marriage…But will they find out before it’s too late?

My not so Perfect Life (April 2017)

By Sophie Kinsella

April 1, 2017

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.  But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack.  All Katie’s hopes are shattered.  She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance.  But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams – or try to get her job back?  Does Demeter – the woman who has everything – actually have such an idyllic life herself?  Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

Earthly Remains (April 2017)

By Donna Leon

April 1, 2017

During the interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Commissario Guido Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret.  In the aftermath, he begins to doubt his career choices and realises that he needs a break from the stifling problems of his work.

Granted leave from the Questura, Brunetti is shipped off by his wife, Paola, to a villa owned by a wealthy relative on Sant’Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the Venetial laguna.  There, he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny’sNatural History.

The recuperative stay goes according to plan and Brunetti is finally able to relax, until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house, goes missing following a sudden storm.  Nobody can find him – not his daugher, not his friends, and not the woman he’d been secretly visiting.  Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his holiday and discover what happened to the man who had recently become his friend.

In Earthly Remains, Donna Leon shows Venice through an insider’s eyes.  From family meals and vaporetti rides to the never-ending influx of tourists and suffocating political corruption, the details and rhythms of everyday Venetian life are at the core of this thrilling novel, and of the terrile crime at its heart.

The Revolving Door of Life (April 2017)

By Alexander McCall Smith

April 1, 2017

Life is getting better for seven-year-old Bertie Pollock.  The enforced absence of his endlessly pushy mother, Irene – currently consciousness-raising in a Bedouin harem – has immediate blessings: no psychotherapy, no Italian lessons and no yoga classes.  Bliss.  Elsewhere, Matthew makes a discovery that could make him even richer but also leaves him worried; Pat makes one that could make her poorer and her father miserable – unless that uber-narcissist, Bruce, can help her out; and the Duke of Johannesburg, we discover, isn’t exactly who he says he is.  Will the residents of 44 Scotland Street – both young and grown-up – be able to overcome the new dilemmas thrown their way?

The Woolgrower’s Companion (April 2017)

By Joy Rhoades

April 1, 2017

Australia 1945.  Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on Amiens, her family’s sprawling sheep station in northern New South Wales.  The horrors of war have for the most part left her untouched.  But with her father succumbing to wounds he’s borne since the Great War, the management of the farm is increasingly falling on Kate’s shoulders.

With only the sheep-rearing book The Woolgrower’s Companion to guide her, Kate rises to the challenge.  However, the arrival of two Italian POW labourers unsettles not only the other workers, but Kate too – especially when she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.

Then she receives devastating news.  The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess.  Given just eight weeks to pay the debts, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.

Lincoln in the Bardo (April 2017)

By George Saunders

April 1, 2017

February 1862.  The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill.  Days later, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.  Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.  From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying.  Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm – called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo – where ghosts mingle, squabble and commiserate, and a monumental struggle erupts over his soul…

The Cellar (April 2017)

By Minette Walters

April 1, 2017

Muna’s bedroom is a dark windowless cellar and her activities are confined to cooking and cleaning.  She’s grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave.

She’s never been outside, doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English.

At least that’s what the Songolis believe.

But Muna is far cleverer – and her plans more terrifying – than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine…

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