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Friday Evening with wine - 2023

We are offering an evening event with refreshments and the opportunity to meet the author, listen to them talk about their book/books and ask questions.  And as we hope you appreciate these free events, in turn you will buy lots of books! All authors will be happy to sign.

January - Friday 27th

Ray Rumsby with his book 'The Prentice-Boy'.

In 1820 London, landscape artist William Daniell hires Jesse Cloud, a homeless teenager, to be his apprentice. But all is not as it seems. Both William and his apprentice must make their own inner journeys to expose others' betrayals and explore their own possibilities.

Faced with bankruptcy, starvation looms. Friendship fragment. The artist must learn how to see and his apprentice must learn how to survive while the truth shatters all.

The powerlessness of the poor and women's suffrage are a constant presence tainting the air. This troubled period of change and division provides a vivid sense of time and place. William's casual assumptions about the poor in society and about women in particular challenges his very identity.

An accident-prone venture to remote East Anglian shores becomes a journey of revelation and self-discovery as long-hidden truths about their backgrounds begin to unravel, and the secretive nature of the prentice-boy gains sudden significance. Williams camera obscura captures an insecure society of inequality and flux. Two centuries later it is uncannily familiar and resonates deeply.


February - Friday 3rd

Jo Browning with her new book 'Terrible Kindness'.

A Top 10 Sunday Times best seller.

When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them....

It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan.

William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets.

His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because - as William discovers - giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.


March - Friday 31st 

Sarah Hardy with her new book 'The Walled Garden'.

Sarah Hardy will be with us at The Halesworth Bookshop to talk about her new book 'The Walled Garden'.  Sarah will be happy to sign copies.

LONGLISTED FOR THE HWA GOLD CROWN AWARD FOR BEST HISTORICAL FICTION NOVEL OF THE YEARA luminous debut novel about love, the trauma of war and the miracle of human resilience, for readers of Anna Hope, Sadie Jones and Elizabeth Jane Howard. No one survives war unscathed. But even in the darkest days, seeds of hope can grow.

It is 1946 and in the village of Oakbourne the men are home from the war. Their bodies are healing but their psychological wounds run deep. Everyone is scarred - those who fought and those left behind.

Alice Rayne is married to Stephen, heir to crumbling Oakbourne Hall. Once a sweet, gentle man, he has returned a bitter and angry stranger, destroyed by what he has seen and done, tormented by secrets Alice can only guess at. Lonely and increasingly afraid of the man her husband has become, Alice must try to pick up the pieces of her marriage and save Oakbourne Hall from total collapse.

She begins with the walled garden and, as it starts to bear fruit, she finds herself drawn into a new, forbidden love. Set in the Suffolk countryside as it moves from winter to spring, The Walled Garden is a captivating love story and a timeless, moving exploration of trauma and the miracle of human resilience. 'Richly evocative and transporting' Stacey Halls'A heartbreaking tale, vividly dramatised' Rachel Hore'Tender and lyrical .
The Walled Garden final cover.jpg

April - Friday 28th

India Knight with her new book, now out in pb Darling

A savagely funny, bracingly sad, dazzlingly clever reimagining of The Pursuit of Love. I loved it' 'Meg Mason', author of 'Sorrow and Bliss' 'A triumph! Brilliantly done, faithful but imaginative, tremendously romantic and very funny' Nina Stibbe, author of Reasons to be Cheerful.


Marooned in a sprawling farmhouse in Norfolk, teenage Linda Radlett feels herself destined for greater things. She longs for love, but how will she ever find it? She can't even get a signal on her mobile phone.

Eventually Linda does find her way out from the bosom of her deeply eccentric extended family, and she escapes to London. She knows she doesn't want to marry 'a man who looks like a pudding', as her good and dull sister Louisa has done, and marries the flashy, handsome son of a UKIP peer instead. But this is only the beginning of Linda's pursuit of love, a journey that will be wilder, more surprising and more complicated than she could ever have imagined.

A razor-sharp, laugh-out-loud novel that re-imagines the cast of Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love.

'Darling is a black forest gateau of a book: rich characters, sumptuous prose, delicious dialogue, and layered throughout with sharp wit and intelligence... Treat yourself to this novel' Katherine Heiny, author of Early Morning Riser


May - Friday 26th

Kate Sawyer with her new book 'This Family'.

An ambitious new novel of family life past and present from the author of the Costa Book Awards shortlisted The Stranding. 'Feels like the ultimate eavesdropping exercise, it's satisfying, fresh and expertly structured. The penultimate chapter will make you shriek.

It is my dearest wish, that after so long apart, I am able to bring this family together for my wedding day. This house. This family.

Mary has raised a family in this house. Watched her children play and laugh and bicker in this house. Today she is getting married in this house, with all her family in attendance.
The wedding celebrations have brought a fractured family together for the first time in years: there's Phoebe and her husband Michael, children in tow. The young and sensitive Rosie, with her new partner. Irene, Mary's ex-mother-in-law.

Even Emma, Mary's eldest, is back for the wedding - despite being at odds with everyone else. Set over the course of an English summer's day but punctuated with memories from the past forty years of love and loss, hope and joy, heartbreak and grief, this is the story of a family. Told by a chorus of characters, it is an exploration of the small moments that bring us to where we are, the changes that are brought about by time, and what, despite everything, stays the same.



June - Friday 23rd 

Polly Crosby with her new book 'Vita and the Birds'.

Lady Vita Goldsborough lives in the menacing shadow of her controlling older brother, Aubrey. But when she meets local artist Dodie Blakeney, the two women form a close bond, and Vita finally glimpses a chance to be free.

1997: Following the death of her mother, Eve Blakeney returns to the coast where she spent childhood summers with her beloved grandmother, Dodie. Eve hopes that the visit will help make sense of her grief. The last thing she expects to find is a bundle of letters that hint at the heart-breaking story of Dodie's relationship with a woman named Vita, and a shattering secret that echoes through the decades.

What she discovers will overturn everything she thought she knew about her family - and change her life forever. 'Luminous and captivating ... Polly Crosby's shimmering writing veils a dark hint of the gothic,' says Kate Griffin, author of 'Fyneshad'.  What readers are saying about Vita and the Birds 'A beautiful and haunting tale of family, love, control and connections.


July - Friday 28th 

Oliver Soden will be in Conversation with local Editor Elizabeth Burke.

(Elizabeth runs Private Passions and works on Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime on Radio Four) Discussing Oliver's latest book 'Masquerade: The Lives of Noel Coward'.

'This is the biography - truthful, sympathetic and thorough - that Coward deserves' DAILY TELEGRAPH The voice, the dressing-gown, the cigarette in its holder, remain unmistakable. There is rarely a week when one of Private Lives, Hay Fever, and Blithe Spirit is not in production somewhere in the world. Phrases from Noel Coward's songs - "Mad About The Boy", "Mad Dogs and Englishman" - are forever lodged in the public consciousness.

He was at one point the most highly paid author in the world. Yet some of his most striking and daring writing remains unfamiliar. As T.S.Eliot said, in 1954, "there are things you can learn from Noel Coward that you won't learn from Shakespeare". Coward wrote some fifty plays and nine musicals, as well as revues, screenplays, short stories, poetry, and a novel. He was both composer and lyricist for approximately 675 songs.

Louis Mountbatten's famous tribute argued that, while there were greater comedians, novelists, composers, painters and so on, only "the master" had combined fourteen talents in one. So central was he to his age's theatre that any account of his car
eer is also a history of the British stage. And so daring was Coward's unorthdoxy in his closest relationships, obliquely reflected throughout his writing, that it must also be a history of sexual liberation in the twentieth century.

In Oliver Soden's sparkling, story-packed new Life, the Master finally gets his due.


August - Friday 25th

Richard Hawking with his new book 'A Countryman's Spring Notebook'(TBC)

A new treat for lovers of Adrian Bell is A Countryman’s Spring Notebook, edited by Richard Hawking. This is the second seasonal selection from the weekly column Bell wrote from 1950 to 1980 for the Eastern Daily Press and catches beautifully the arrival of Spring in the East Anglian landscape he loved and knew so well. Each essay is a little masterpiece, a fleeting moment captured with a painterly eye. Read one every morning and it will set you up for the day.



September - Friday 29th 

Phoebe Morgan is an author and editor. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside.  She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day and writes her own books in the evenings.  Phoebe's books have been translated into nine languages including French, Italian, Polish and Croatian.  Phoebe will be with us talking about all her titles along with the highs and lows of being an author alongside a publishing/editing career.


October - Friday 27th

Clare Wilkes - Will be giving us an illustrated talk about her book 'Framed by a Smoking Gun; The Explosive Life of Colonel B D Shaw...

Generations of chemistry students were captivated by B D Shaw's maverick and humorous approach to chemistry lecturing. His use of Very pistols and a Crimean War musket to demonstrate the power of explosives betrayed his parallel career in the Territorial Army. It was easy to divert him from the mechanisms of chemical reactions to tales of Prisoner of War camps in World War II, though modesty kept him from bragging about his World War I Military Medal.

He found fame on BBC Two's Horizon and continued to demonstrate explosives worldwide to the age of 92. This book draws on a wealth of primary sources including photographs, scripts, recorded interviews, and a treasure-trove of letters written from the POW camps to loved ones in his home towns of Nottingham and Ilkeston. B D Shaw's story is a celebration of his joint passions for chemistry and rifle shooting, and of his devotion to explaining the science of explosives to the world.

His zest for life kept him involved to the end - his 100th birthday celebrations went off with a bang, and he came close to causing a posthumous explosion with the discovery of his secret attic laboratory.


November - Friday 24th

Elizabeth Wilde McCormick - Talking about her latest book 'Wordless Threads' the third of the Dr Max Trilogy, published by small, local publisher 'Brigand Books' from Bury St Edmunds.


The Pale Green Room  2018
The Ruthless Furnace  2019
Wordless Threads (published September 2023)

Wordless Threads is the third novel of the trilogy featuring Dr Max Maxwell and his psychotherapeutic work with patients. Now in his sixties, Max lives alone, nourished mainly by music and nature. He still enjoys work and takes on a patient called Agnes, who has suffered a cryptic pregnancy. Agnes didn’t know she was pregnant until her child was born dead when she was walking on Salisbury Plain, leaving the young woman wracked with guilt and trauma. Working therapeutically with Agnes awakens Max to his own repressed senses due to a painful past. Both he and Agnes find new life awakened within the wordless threads of sound, movement, touch, taste and smell. 

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