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ONE MOONLIT NIGHT by Rachel Hore (Macmillan £16.99, 480pp)

ONE MOONLIT NIGHT by Rachel Hore (Macmillan £16.99, 480pp)

A MOONLIGHT NIGHT

by Rachel Hore (Macmillan £16.99, 480pp)

I love Rachel Hore’s novels about good women in bad situations. And as things go, poor Maddie couldn’t get any worse. We are in the London of the Second World War, her house is bombed and her husband Philip has disappeared after Dunkirk. Accompanied by two little girls, Maddie takes refuge in Knyghton, Philip’s childhood home. A country mansion in Norfolk, it contains a vague, old-fashioned aunt and a prowling, manly cousin.

Maddie must deal with both while uncovering her husband’s hidden past and facing a future without Philip. But is he really dead?

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In this gripping, detailed, and beautifully written drama, Hore brilliantly captures the danger and desperation on both the home front and the battle front.

LONDON, WITH LOVE by Sarra Manning (Hodder £16.99, 432pp)

LONDON, WITH LOVE by Sarra Manning (Hodder £16.99, 432pp)

LONDON, WITH LOVE

by Sarra Manning (Hodder £16.99, 432pp)

An all-you-can-eat romantic comedy that begins in the 1980s, ends post-lockdown, and follows the intertwined trajectories of Jenny and Nick.

They are teenagers from North London who meet at school and face the world in their own way. Hard-working Jenny struggles to climb the publishing ladder while chic and hip Nick misses his high school diploma but ends up becoming a magazine editor anyway.

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All the grime and glory of the capital’s past five decades is here, from the sticky-floor nightclubs to the death of Princess Di, to a detour to New York where Jenny witnesses 9/11. Witty, well-paced, and wonderfully entertaining, with a heroine you really root for.

THE WAY FROM HERE by Jane Turner (Orion £8.99, 368pp)

THE WAY FROM HERE by Jane Turner (Orion £8.99, 368pp)

THE WAY FROM HERE

by Jane Turner (Orion £8.99, 368pp)

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Kate, Beth and Lesley are middle-aged and fed up for different reasons. Kate is an empty nest, Beth has motherhood issues, and Lesley is in a toxic marriage. Their friendship and the camaraderie of their senior women’s rowing team supports them and encourages them to face what needs to change in their lives.

I loved how it evokes everyone in rowing, from the technical drills to the thrill of racing to the occasional crew.

Turner is a rowing coach and her descriptions of whistling on the water made me want to try a figure eight myself.

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