MUST READS

MUST READS

THE DISTANT SHORES by Santa Montefiore (Simon & Schuster £8.99, 416pp)

THE DISTANT SHORES

by Santa Montefiore (Simon & Schuster £8.99, 416pp) 

When biographer Margot Hart arrives at the Irish estate of Castle Deverill, she is full of enthusiasm. 

The castle, once home to the aristocratic Deverill family, is now a luxurious hotel, and Margot is staying there as a writer-in-­residence, while researching the family’s long and troubled history. 

Margot’s grandfather was a close friend of Harry Deverill, who died in World War I, leaving his illegitimate brother JP as heir to the estate. 

Having sold the castle to fund his divorce, JP still lives on the grounds, but will the Deverill family ever reclaim their birthright? 

The fifth volume of Santa Montefiore’s epicchronicle of the Deverills is an irresistible confection of family secrets, vengeful ghosts and near-fatal accidents in which love eventually conquers all.

MAGPIE

by Elizabeth Day (4th Estate £8.99, 336pp) 

‘One for sorrow’, goes the rhyme about magpies. So it seems like an omen when a magpie flies into a perfect house that author Marisa is viewing. But she refuses to let it bother her. 

After endless terrible dates, she has finally met the right man. City consultant Jake is handsome, kind and sexy, and after only a few months, he suggests they move in together and start a family. 

It all seems too good to be true — and so it proves. When one of Jake’s deals falls through, they have to take a lodger, Kate, who seems strangely at home in Marisa and Jake’s house. 

Elizabeth Day’s stylish thriller combines an ingeniously twisty plot with a compassionate take on the emotionally fraught issues of infertility, surrogacy and the enduring damage of dysfunctional families.

SORROW AND BLISS by Meg Mason (W&N £8.99, 358pp)

SORROW AND BLISS

by Meg Mason (W&N £8.99, 358pp) 

Soon after their marriage, Martha and Patrick are at a wedding when a fellow guest asks them how they met. ‘Patrick’s like the sofa that was in your house growing up,’ says Martha. ‘You can’t remember it not being there.’ 

In fact, they met when Patrick was 13 and Martha’s cousin, Oliver, who was at school with Patrick, had invited him to spend Christmas with his family. 

Patrick falls in love with Martha, but they go their separate ways — Patrick to train as a doctor, Martha to a disastrous first marriage — before reigniting a relationship that is blighted by Martha’s depression. 

It is an illness Mason doesn’t name, representing it instead by dashes. 

Heart breaking and redeemingly funny, Meg Mason’s elegant debut novel examines broken lives and whether they can ever be fixed.

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