Reading Group Set K-S

Reading Group Sets for Authors K - S

Click on the author links below to have a look at the books. Please note titles are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s surname.

          Authors A - J          Authors K - S          Authors T - Z

Kelman, Stephen. Pigeon EnglishKelman, Stephen. Pigeon English

With equal fascination for the local gang - the Dell Farm Crew - and the pigeon who visits his balcony, 11-year-old Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his new life in England. But when a boy is knifed to death and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own.

Kidd, Sue Monk. The secret life of beesKidd, Sue Monk. The secret life of bees

Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father's account of the event. Now 14, she yearns for her mother, and for forgiveness.

King, Claire. The Night RainbowKing, Claire. The Night Rainbow

During one long, hot summer, five-year-old Pea and her little sister Margot play alone in the meadow behind their house, on the edge of a small village in Southern France. Her mother is too sad to take care of them; she left her happiness in the hospital, along with the baby. Pea's father has died in an accident and Maman, burdened by her double grief and isolated from the village by her Englishness, has retreated to a place where Pea cannot reach her - although she tries desperately to do so. Then Pea meets Claude, a man who seems to love the meadow as she does and who always has time to play. Pea believes that she and Margot have found a friend, and maybe even a new papa. But why do the villagers view Claude with suspicion? And what secret is he keeping in his strange, empty house?

Kingsolver, Barbara. The LacunaKingsolver, Barbara. The Lacuna

Mexico, 1935. Harrison Shepherd is working in the household of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo. When exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky arrives, Shepherd throws in his lot with art and the revolution.
"It would be a desert island book." "Beautifully written", "I didn't want it to finish", "I particularly enjoyed the political bits” ”Wonderful description of Mexico""Far too long and wordy" "It took a long time to get into"

Knight, Ali. Until deathKnight, Ali. Until death

Marriage is a prison for Kelly. Her controlling and manipulative husband Christos videos her in the house, has her followed and tracks her every move. She may be desperate to leave, but she's not stupid. If she runs, he'll make sure she never sees her children again. Christos has a mistress, Sylvie, keen to pander to his every whim and even keener to step into Kelly's shoes, should she ever vacate them. Kelly thinks it is stalemate for their twisted threesome, but one of Christos's container ships is about to dock in London with a secret cargo that will change all their lives forever. If Kelly is to escape, it will be in a way she never imagined, and people will get hurt.

Lackberg, Camilla. The ice princessLackberg, Camilla. The ice princess

Returning to her hometown after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life. Erica conceives a memoir about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their lost friendship. While her interest grows to an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about the small town with a deeply disturbing past.

Landorff, Max. TretjakLandorff, Max. Tretjak

A bestselling European psychological thriller set around the Italian lakes Gabriel Tretjak is a fixer, hired by rich clients to fix their lives, to change fate on their behalf. He does so without moral limitations or scruples. His methods draw on experimental psychology and the latest research into the human brain. His fees are high, but his clients are always willing to pay. No matter how desperate their situation, they want a happy ending. But happy for whom? Soon the body of a famous brain surgeon is discovered in a horsebox: a murder made all the more gruesome by the fact that the victim's eyes have been removed by something resembling an ice-cream scoop. The surgeon is the first victim of a murderer who leaves tantalising clues behind, all pointing to Tretjak. While Tretjak tries to stay in control, a feeling begins to take hold, a feeling that he normally uses to his advantage when working on behalf of a client. That feeling is fear. It slowly dawns on him - and soon the police - that these murders are all linked to his past. The one thing he cannot fix.

Last, Nella. Nella Last’s War: the Second World War Diaries of ‘Housewife, 49’Last, Nella. Nella Last’s War: the Second World War Diaries of ‘Housewife, 49’

In September 1939, housewife and mother Nella Last began a diary whose entries, in their regularity, length and quality, have created a record of the Second World War which is powerful, fascinating and unique.

Lee, Laurie. Cider with RosieLee, Laurie. Cider with Rosie

This is a vivid memoir of childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a village before electricity or cars, a timeless place on the verge of change. Growing up amongst the fields and woods and characters of the place, Laurie Lee depicts a world that is both immediate and real and belonging to a now distant past.

Levy, Andrea. Small IslandLevy, Andrea. Small Island

Returning to England after the war Gilbert Joseph is treated very differently now that he is no longer in an RAF uniform. Joined by his wife Hortense, he rekindles a friendship with Queenie who takes in Jamaican lodgers. Can their dreams of a better life in England overcome the prejudice they face?

Locke, Attica. Black water risingLocke, Attica. Black water rising

On a dark night in Houston, Jay Porter hears a scream. Saving a woman from drowning in the bayou, he opens a Pandora's box. An activist in his youth, now a lawyer and expectant father, this small act of heroism becomes a threat to his work, his family and even his life, yet he can't walk away from the corruption he glimpses.

Lovric, Michelle. The Book of Human SkinLovric, Michelle. The Book of Human Skin

13 May, 1784, Venice: Minguillo Fasan, heir to the decaying, gothic Palazzo Espagnol, is born. Yet Minguillo is no ordinary child: he is strange, devious and all those who come near him are fearful. Twelve years later Minguillo is faced with an unexpected threat to his inheritance: a newborn sister, Marcella. His untempered jealousy will condemn his sister to a series of fates as a cripple, a madwoman and a nun. But in his insatiable quest to destroy her, he may have underestimated his sister's ferocious determination, and her unlikely allies who will go to extraordinary lengths to save her.

McCarthy, Cormac. The roadMcCarthy, Cormac. The road

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men that stalk the road.

McCarthy, Pete. The road to McCarthyMcCarthy, Pete. The road to McCarthy

Setting off from Ireland, Pete McCarthy takes us on a journey around the weird and wonderful Irish communities of the world.

McEwan, Ian. SaturdayMcEwan, Ian. Saturday

'Saturday' is a novel set within a single day in February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man, but what troubles him is the state of the world. Following a minor car accident, Perowne is brought into contact with a small-time thug called Miller. This meeting has savage consequences.

McGrath, Melanie. HoppingMcGrath, Melanie. Hopping

For more than a century, hopping was the main event in the East End calendar - an annual expedition of over 200,000 East Enders out to the Kentish countryside to look for casual work picking hops and stripping bines. Aunt Daisy was one of those day trippers. For her, the train ride from London Bridge to Faversham was a kind of magic that she always passed in a rush of sensation.
“Absolutely loved it.” "Very well researched”, “Good, but fragmented; it didn't hang together"

Mantel, Hilary. Wolf HallMantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall

Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust & need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, & later his successor.

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. Love in the time of choleraMarquez, Gabriel Garcia. Love in the time of cholera

An old man and his childhood sweetheart are united for the first time resulting in the consummation of an amor interruptus that spans half a century. This uplifting love story is set on the Colombian coast in the early 20th century. This edition ties-in to the long-awaited film adaptation.

Matar, Hisham. Anatomy of a disappearanceMatar, Hisham. Anatomy of a disappearance

In Egypt, Nuri, a teenage boy, falls in love with Mona - the woman his father will marry. Consumed with longing, Nuri wants to get his father out of the way - to take his place in Mona's heart. But when his father disappears, Nuri regrets what he wished for. Alone, he and Mona search desperately for the man they both love. Only for Nuri to discover a silence he cannot break and unimaginable secrets his father never wanted him to know.

Miller, Madeline. Song of AchillesMiller, Madeline. Song of Achilles Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Moore, Lorrie. A gate at the stairsMoore, Lorrie. A gate at the stairs

With America gearing up for war in the Middle East, Tassie Keltjin, a 'half-Jewish' farmer's daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university - escaping her provincial home to encounter a world of culture and politics. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her, Tassie realises she is becoming a stranger to herself.

Moore, Wendy. WedlockMoore, Wendy. Wedlock

WEDLOCK is the remarkable story of the Countess of Strathmore and her marriage to Andrew Robinson Stoney. Mary Eleanor Bowes was one of Britain's richest young heiresses. She married the Count of Strathmore who died young, and pregnant with her lover's child, Mary became engaged to George Gray. Then in swooped Andrew Robinson Stoney. Mary was bowled over and married him within the week. But nothing was as it seemed...

Morton, Kate. The Secret KeeperMorton, Kate. The Secret Keeper

1961: On a sweltering summer's day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can't wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything. 2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds - Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy - who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined. Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, murder and enduring love.

Mosley, Walter. Devil in a blue dressMosley, Walter. Devil in a blue dress

Los Angeles, 1948: Easy Rawlins is a war veteran just fired from his job. Drinking in a friend's bar, he wonders how to meet his mortgage when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty with a reputation. In the sleazy, fearful city, Easy must rely on his instincts, not just to solve the case, but to save his life.

Moyes, Jojo. Me before youMoyes, Jojo. Me before you

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Nemirovsky, Irene. Suite FrancaiseNemirovsky, Irene. Suite Francaise

'Suite Francaise' is a lost masterpiece written in World War II France, telling the spellbinding story of a group of characters living under Nazi occupation.

Niffenegger, Audrey. Her fearful symmetryNiffenegger, Audrey. Her fearful symmetry

Julia and Valentina Poole are identical twins who have no interest in college, jobs or anything outside their cosy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn't know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London

O'Connor, Joseph. Star of the seaO'Connor, Joseph. Star of the sea

During winter 1847, the Star of the Sea sets sail from Ireland for New York. Among the refugees are a maidservant, bankrupt Lord Merridith, an aspiring novelist and a maker of revolutionary ballads. Each is connected more deeply than they know. But a killer is stalking the decks, hungry for vengeance.

O’Farrell, Maggie. The vanishing act of Esme LennoxO’Farrell, Maggie. The vanishing act of Esme Lennox

Set between the 1930s and the present, Maggie O'Farrell's novel is the story of Esme, a woman edited out of her family's history, and of the secrets that come to light when, 60 years later, she is released from care, and a young woman, Iris, discovers the great aunt she never knew she had. The mystery that unfolds is the heartbreaking tale of two sisters in colonial India and 1930s Edinburgh - of the loneliness that binds them together and the rivalries that drive them apart, and lead one of them to a shocking betrayal - but above all it is the story of Esme, a fiercely intelligent, unconventional young woman, and of the terrible price she is made to pay for her family's unhappiness.

Pears, Iain.  An instance of the fingerpostPears, Iain.  An instance of the fingerpost

Set in the 1660s, this novel focuses on the death of Robert Grove, fellow of New College. There are four witnesses, each of whom discusses their perception of events; a Venetian Catholic, possible inventor of the blood transfusion; a Royalist traitor's son; the chief cartographer to Cromwell and Charles II; and Oxford antiquary, Anthony Wood. Only one is a reliable witness.

Peters, Ellis. A morbid taste for bonesPeters, Ellis. A morbid taste for bones

In 1137 the ambitious head of Shrewsbury Abbey has decided to acquire the remains of Saint Winifred for his Benedictine order. Brother Cadfael is part of the expedition sent to her final resting place in Wales, where they find the villagers passionately divided by the Benedictines' offer for the saint's relics. Canny, wise and all too worldly, Cadfael isn't surprised when this taste for bones leads to bloody murder. The leading opponent to moving the grave has been shot dead with a mysterious arrow, and some say Winifred herself dealt the blow. Brother Cadfael knows that a carnal hand did the killings, but he doesn't know that his plan to unearth a murderer may dig up a case of love and justice, where the wages of sin may be scandal - or his own ruin.

Picoult, Jodi. The storytellerPicoult, Jodi. The storyteller

For seventy years, Josef Weber has been hiding in plain sight. He is a pillar of his local community. He is also a murderer. When Josef decides to confess, it is to Sage Singer, a young woman who trusts him as her friend. What she hears shatters everything she thought she knew and believed. As Sage uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between terror and mercy, betrayal and forgiveness, love - and revenge.



Roffey, Monique. White woman on the green bicycleRoffey, Monique. White woman on the green bicycle

This novel tells how when George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England George instantly takes to their new life but Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill at ease with the racial segregation and the imminent dawning of a new era. George eventually finds out that Sabine has been keeping secrets from him.

 

Schlink, Bernhard. The ReaderSchlink, Bernhard. The Reader

For 15-year-old Michael Berg, a chance meeting with an older woman leads to far more than he ever imagined. The woman in question is Hanna, and before long they embark on a passionate, clandestine love affair which leaves Michael both euphoric and confused. For Hanna is not all she seems. Years later, as a law student observing a trial in Germany, Michael is shocked to realize that the person in the dock is Hanna. The woman he had loved is a criminal. Much about her behaviour during the trial does not make sense. But then suddenly, and terribly, it does - Hanna is not only obliged to answer for a horrible crime, she is also desperately concealing an even deeper secret.

Sanghera, Sathnam. The boy with the topknot. Sanghera, Sathnam. The boy with the topknot - a memoir of love, secrets and lies in Wolverhampton

“It's 1979, I'm three years old, and like all breakfast times during my youth it begins with Mum combing my hair, a ritual for which I have to sit down on the second-hand, floral-patterned settee, and lean forward, like I'm presenting myself for execution. "For Sathnam Sanghera, growing up in Wolverhampton in the eighties was a confusing business. On the one hand, these were the heady days of George Michael mix-tapes, Dallas on TV and, if he was lucky, the occasional Bounty Bar. On the other, there was his wardrobe of tartan smocks, his 30p-an-hour job at the local sewing factory and the ongoing challenge of how to tie the perfect top-knot. And then there was his family, whose strange and often difficult behaviour he took for granted until, at the age of twenty-four, Sathnam made a discovery that changed everything he ever thought he knew about them.

Sansom, C J. DissolutionSansom, C J. Dissolution

Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church and the country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. Under the order of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent through the country to investigate the monasteries. There can only be one outcome: the monasteries are to be dissolved. But on the Sussex coast, at the monastery of Scarnsea, events have spiralled out of control. Cromwell's Commissioner Robin Singleton, has been found dead, his head severed from his body. His horrific murder is accompanied by equally sinister acts of sacrilege a black cockerel sacrificed on the alter, and the disappearance of Scarnsea's Great Relic. Dr Matthew Shardlake, lawyer and long-time supporter of Reform, has been sent by Cromwell into this atmosphere of treachery and death. But Shardlake's investigation soon forces him to question everything he hears, and everything that he intrinsically believes . . .

Seierstad, Asne. The bookseller of KabulSeierstad, Asne. The bookseller of Kabul

In the spring of 2002, journalist Asne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to live with a family for several months.
Here she reveals her experiences, telling the story of Sultan Khan - who defied the authorities for 20 years to supply books to the people of Kabul - and his family.

Shaffer, Mary Ann. The Guernsey literary potato peel pie societyShaffer, Mary Ann. The Guernsey literary potato peel pie society

It's January, 1946, and writer Juliet Ashton sits at her desk, vainly seeking a subject for her next book. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a secondhand book that once belonged to Juliet - and, spurred on by their mutual love of Charles Lamb, they begin a correspondence.
"Very well researched",  "Clever to write the story just using letters". "Slightly too many people introduced at the beginning”. “Don’t be put off by the unusual letter format of this novel as you would be missing out on a moving and yet humorous story”.

Shields, Carol. Larry's partyShields, Carol. Larry's party

The Orange Prize-winning novel of Larry Weller, a man who discovers the passion of his life in the ordered riotousness of Hampton Court's Maze.
A detailed look at the ordinary life of Larry Weller between 1977 and 1997 follows the floral designer as he deals with the rapidly changing world and two marriages and two divorces along the way.

Shriver, Lionel. We need to talk about KevinShriver, Lionel. We need to talk about Kevin

Who is to blame for teenage atrocity? Narrator Eva Khatchadourian's son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-loved teacher who tried to befriend him. This novel is an examination of the effect tragedy has on a town, a marriage and a family.

Simonson, Helen. Mayor Pettigrew’s last standSimonson, Helen. Mayor Pettigrew’s last stand

Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love?

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie projectSimsion, Graeme. The Rosie project

Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. One thing he already knows, though, is that it's not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.



Smith, Ali.  There but for theSmith, Ali.  There but for the

Imagine you have a dinner party and a friend of a friend brings a stranger to your house as his guest. He seems pleasant enough. Imagine that this stranger goes upstairs halfway through the dinner party and locks himself in one of your bedrooms and won't come out. Imagine you can't move him for days, weeks, months. If ever. 

Smith, Zadie. N-WSmith, Zadie. N-W

Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic NW follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - after they've left their childhood council estate, grown up and moved on to different lives. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their city is brutal, beautiful and complicated. Yet after a chance encounter they each find that the choices they've made, the people they once were and are now, can suddenly, rapidly unravel. A portrait of modern urban life, NW is funny, sad and urgent - as brimming with vitality as the cit

 

Speller, Elizabeth. At break of daySpeller, Elizabeth. At break of day

In the summer of 1913, the world seems full of possibility for four very different young men. Young Jean-Baptiste dreams of the day he'll leave his Picardy home and row down-river to the sea. Earnest and hard-working Frank has come to London to take up an apprenticeship in Regent Street. His ambitions are self-improvement, a wife and, above all, a bicycle. Organ scholar Benedict is anxious yet enthralled by the sensations of his synaesthesia. He is uncertain both about God and the nature of his friendship with the brilliant and mercurial Theo. Harry has turned his back on his wealthy English family, has a thriving business in New York and a beautiful American wife. But his nationality is still British. Three years later, on the first of July 1916, their lives have been taken in entirely unexpected directions. Now in uniform they are waiting for dawn on the battlefield of the Somme. The generals tell them that victory will soon be theirs but the men are accompanied by regrets, fears and secrets as they move towards the line.

Stockett, Kathryn. The HelpStockett, Kathryn. The Help

Aibileen is a black maid, raising her 17th white child, but with a bitter heart after the death of her son. Minny is the sassiest woman in Mississippi. Skeeter is a white woman with a degree but no ring on her finger. Seemingly as different as can be, these women will come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk.
"Excellent", "well observed", "A good contrast between humour and pathos", "A skilful mix of characters" and "I loved the build up of tension".

Summerscale, Kate. The suspicions of Mr Whicher or The murder at Road Hill HouseSummerscale, Kate. The suspicions of Mr Whicher or The murder at Road Hill House

A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery - a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life

Click on the author links below to have a look at the books. Please note titles are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s surname.

          Authors A - J          Authors K - S          Authors T - Z

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