‘Letters from the Lighthouse’ & ‘The Girls’

This month the most popular choice was Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll, the children’s fiction option, with a few going for The Girls by Emma Cline.

For the other choices please check out May’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 14th June, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.


Letters from the Lighthouse, Emma Carroll

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for May 2017

February, 1941.

After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her.

Then she finds a strange coded note – a note that changes everything and which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

Published: 01/06/2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571327584


The Girls, Emma Cline

The Girls - Emma Cline

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May 2017

If you’re lost, they’ll find you…

Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s 1969 and everywhere the heat of a Californian summer beats down and restless, empty days stretch ahead.

Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. A scattering of young women who are everything she is not, each utterly sure and at one with everything seemingly beyond Evie’s reach. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful.

Willingly, she begins to drop into their tranquilised circle, oblivious of the danger that sits so cruelly at its centre. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live.

Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?

Already a worldwide Bestseller, Emma Cline’s The Girls, is probably one of the most unsettling and quietly disturbing debuts of its kind.

Published: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784701741

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Review: The Good People

4/5 – Very good

Life in the Irish countryside when people were full of superstitions which played a huge part in their lives. The fairies possessing people and stopping chickens laying, cows not yielding milk, crops failing. The women gossiping spreading rumours. The sadness and lack of understanding of life and the troubles it brings. The trial of 3 women for possible murder when it was really fear and superstition.

I found it a rollercoaster of emotions. Well written with a good understanding of how people lived and how superstition ruled them.

Maria Bailey

‘Fingers in the Sparkle Jar’ and ‘Norse Mythology’

This month Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman were most popular, with The Power by Naomi Alderman coming a close third.

It’s spread fairly evenly, but for the other choices please check out April’s alternative reads.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 17th May, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.


Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, Chris Packham

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar by Chris Packham

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham only felt himself in the fields and woods around his suburban home.

But when he stole a young Kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love; a friendship that would change him forever.

In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the ’70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds’ eggs and sweaty jam jars, to his feral adventures. Pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn’t understand him.

Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir is unlike any you’ve ever read.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
ISBN: 9781785033506


Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

The great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction.

Now our greatest living fantasist reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales.

Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarök and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.

Published: 07/02/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408886816


The Power, Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Power is everywhere, it is under our feet, it circles around the cities and towns we have made our homes. We gather it and order it and make it flow from the centre outwards in a network like veins, pulsing with an electric heartbeat that keeps things functioning just as they always have. Yet power transfers and the time is coming for it to change hands.

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

Imagine a world where teenage girls awake one morning with extraordinary physical strength and power that outstrips their male counterparts. Thanks to a newly acquired section of muscle near their collarbone, young women can now conduct electricity like electric eels: inflicting pain or electrocuting to death as they wish. They can even waken this power in older women too. In Naomi Alderman’s The Power, the balance of the world is irrevocably altered overnight.

This brave new world is far from a utopia however. As uprisings and revolts spread through the world and after the initial delight in female empowerment subsides, a darker side to the new world order emerges.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780670919963

Black Water Lilies and The Tobacconist

This month Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi and The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler were most popular.

We have readers for a couple of the other choices, so please check out March’s alternative reads for the ones not listed.

Any reserved titles have been put aside but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order a copy of any book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 19th April, 5.20pm for 5.45pm.


Black Water Lilies, Michel Bussi

Black Water Lilies - Michel Bussi

Waterstones Book of the Month for March 2017

Three women lived in a village
The first was mean, the second was a liar, and the third an egotist.

This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jerome Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Water Lilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.

Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jerome Morval’s corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Water Lilies?

Published: 02/03/2017
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781474601764


The Tobacconist, Robert Seethaler

The Tobacconist - Robert Seethaler

When seventeen-year-old Franz exchanges his home in the idyllic beauty of the Austrian lake district for the bustle of Vienna, his homesickness quickly dissolves amidst the thrum of the city.

In his role as apprentice to the elderly tobacconist Otto Trsnyek, he will soon be supplying the great and good of Vienna with their newspapers and cigarettes. Among the regulars is a Professor Freud, whose predilection for cigars and occasional willingness to dispense romantic advice will forge a bond between him and young Franz.

It is 1937. In a matter of months Germany will annex Austria and the storm that has been threatening to engulf the little tobacconist will descend, leaving the lives of Franz, Otto and Professor Freud irredeemably changed.

Published: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781509806591

Review: Northern lights

Review: Northern lights

4/5 – Very good

A little slow at the beginning but then, the story telling and imagination took over. You enter into a world of fantasy, fear, witches, spiritual happenings. Well written with twists and turns finishing on a cliff hanger and a need to know what happens next, yes I bought the next book in the trilogy with all the promise of being as good as the first book. It is a hood read for adults and older children. Recommend this book.

Maria Bailey

Too close to call this February

Hello to all the new members! You’ll have noticed that we’ve had to put a freeze on new sign-ups as our little book club has become too darn popular. We’re seeing this as temporary, but in the meantime we can add people to a waiting list and anyone can follow along via this site, our Facebook page or via Goodreads.

There was a very close split between book choices this month so all except one were selected, the most popular was Little Deaths by Emma Flint, one of Leilah’s favourites:

I’m thrilled that Little Deaths has squeaked to the top of the popular vote. It’s a corker of a debut, and one of my own personal Books of the Year for certain!

The other choice can be found in February’s Alternative Read.

For Wednesday’s attendees all reserved copies have been put aside, but if you couldn’t make it, let Leilah know if you’d like order either book. Tell the Waterstones Doncaster staff member that you’re with the book club, and they should know to take off the extra pound, disclaimer.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd March, 5.25pm for 5.45pm.


Little Deaths, Emma Flint

Little Deaths by Emma FlintIt’s the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave.

One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery. Noting Ruth’s perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation.

Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can’t help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press.

Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew. Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive – is she really capable of murder?

Based on the real-life case of Alice Cribbins (previously fictionalised in the novel Where Are the Children? By Mary Higgins Clark) this is a novel about trial by media and the hunt for truth on shifting sand.

Published: 12/01/2017

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509826575


The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain

The Gustav Sonata - Rose Tremain

Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month February 2017
Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2016

‘It is no use asking what happened, Gustav… How can I possibly know? Everything in the war depended on who you were and where you were. And then destiny took over.’

What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment?

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him.

Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows. As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.

Published: 26/01/2017

Publisher: Vintage Publishing

ISBN: 9781784700201


Frazzled, Ruby Wax

Frazzled - Ruby Wax

Five hundred years ago no one died of stress: we invented this concept and now we let it rule us.

Roby Wax had spent a lifetime building a successful career, home and family through ‘sheer drive’ and determination. Then, having struggled with depression all her life, she suffered a major relapse and decided the time had come to make a change. She proceeded to study mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford University (achieving a Masters for good measure) and learned how to take personal control over her mind, her mood and her life.

Anyone afraid that this is a book about sitting on rocks in yoga tights chanting to the moon needn’t fear, this is a practical, honest and easy-to-follow guide that is about finding time and space for yourself in a world where the pace seldom slows. Ruby Wax shows us how to de-frazzle for good by making simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.

Published: 29/12/2016

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

ISBN: 9780241972069


Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman

Northern Lights - Phillip Pullman

It begins with a girl and her daemon

The girl is Lyra Belacqua, an orphan who lives in a place like, and yet unlike, Oxford in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Yet for Lyra, her world is about climbing the rooftops of the Oxford colleges with her friend Roger, enthralling the neighbourhood children with her tales and keeping out of the way of the scholars of Jordan College.

Then children start to go missing, snatched mysteriously by a group the children call ‘The Gobblers’. When Roger is taken, Lyra founds herself bound up in a dangerous chase, a daring game of cat-and-mouse that sees her on the run from the highest authorities.

It is a hunt that will take her far from Oxford, to high-society London and the home of the mysterious and beautiful Mrs Coulter and beyond, to the home of the witches and the kingdom of the ice bears where the aurora awaits.

Published: 05/03/2015

Publisher: Scholastic

ISBN: 9781407154169