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And from the big house beneath her, strange scent of incense, strange tense silence, then the answering burst of inhuman male singing, and the long line of the dance unfurling. It went on all day, the insistence of the drum, the cavernous, roaring, storm-like sound of male singing, the incessant swinging of the fox-skins behind the powerful, gold-bronze, stamping legs of the men, the autumn sun from a perfect blue heaven pouring on the rivers of black hair, men's and women's, the valley all still, the walls of rock beyond, the awful huge bulking of the mountain against the pure sky, its snow seething with sheer whiteness.
For hours and hours she watched, spell-bound, and as if drugged. And in all the terrible persistence of the drumming and the primeval, rushing deep singing, and the endless stamping of the dance of fox-tailed men, the tread of heavy, bird-erect women in their black tunics, she seemed at last to feel her own death; her own obliteration. As if she were to be obliterated from the field of life again.
In the strange towering symbols on the heads of the changeless, absorbed women she seemed to read once more the Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Her kind of womanhood, intensely personal and individual, was to be obliterated again, and the great primeval symbols were to tower once more over the fallen individual independence of woman. The sharpness and the quivering nervous consciousness of the highly-bred white woman was to be destroyed again, womanhood was to be cast once more into the great stream of impersonal sex and impersonal passion.
Strangely, as if clairvoyant, she saw the immense sacrifice prepared. And she went back to her little house in a trance of agony. After this, there was always a certain agony when she heard the drums at evening, and the strange uplifted savage sound of men singing round the drum, like wild creatures howling to the invisible gods of the moon and the vanished sun. Something of the chuckling, sobbing-cry of the coyote, something of the exultant bark of the fox, the far-off wild melancholy exultance of the howling wolf, the torment of the puma's scream, and the insistence of the ancient fierce human male, with his lapses of tenderness and his abiding ferocity.
Sometimes she would climb the high roof after nightfall, and listen to the dim cluster of young men round the drum on the bridge just beyond the square, singing by the hour. Sometimes there would be a fire, and in the fire-glow, men in their white shirts or naked save for a loin-cloth, would be dancing and stamping like spectres, hour after hour in the dark cold air, within the fire-glow, forever dancing and stamping like turkeys, or dropping squatting by the fire to rest, throwing their blankets round them.
And the women have black tunics? He looked into her eyes, curiously, and the faint, evasive smile came on to his face. Behind the smile lay a soft, strange malignancy.
They are like children, always with toys. We know the sun, and we know the moon. And we say, when a white woman sacrifice herself to our gods, then our gods will begin to make the world again, and the white man's gods will fall to pieces.
And the man all the time have to keep the sun happy in his side of the sky, and the woman have to keep the moon quiet at her side of the sky. All the time she have to work at this. And the sun can't ever go into the house of the moon, and the moon can't ever go into the house of the sun, in the sky.
So the woman, she asks the moon to come into her cave, inside her. And the man, he draws the sun down till he has the power of the sun. All the time he do this. Then when the man gets a woman, the sun goes into the cave of the moon, and that is how everything in the world starts. She listened, watching him closely, as one enemy watches another who is speaking with double meaning. But they can't keep him--they don't know how.
They got him, but they don't know what to do with him, like a boy who catch a big grizzly bear, and can't kill him, and can't run away from him. The grizzly bear eats the boy that catch him, when he want to run away from him.
White men don't know what they are doing with the sun, and white women don't know what they do with the moon.
The moon she got angry with white women, like a puma when someone kills her little ones. The moon, she bites white women--here inside," and he pressed his side. The Indian, can see it--And soon," he added, "the Indian women get the moon back and keep her quiet in their house.
And the Indian men get the sun, and the power over all the world. White men don't know what the sun is. Winter had now come, in the high valley, with snow that melted in the day's sun, and nights that were bitter cold. She lived on, in a kind of daze, feeling her power ebbing more and more away from her, as if her will were leaving her.
She felt always in the same relaxed, confused, victimised state, unless the sweetened herb drink would numb her mind altogether, and release her senses into a sort of heightened, mystic acuteness and a feeling as if she were diffusing out deliciously into the harmony of things.
This at length became the only state of consciousness she really recognised: Then she could actually hear the great stars in heaven, which she saw through her door, speaking from their motion and brightness, saying things perfectly to the cosmos, as they trod in perfect ripples, like bells on the floor of heaven, passing one another and grouping in the timeless dance, with the spaces of dark between.
And she could hear the snow on a cold, cloudy day twittering and faintly whistling in the sky, like birds that flock and fly away in autumn, suddenly calling farewell to the invisible moon, and slipping out of the plains of the air, releasing peaceful warmth.
She herself would call to the arrested snow to fall from the upper air. She would call to the unseen moon to cease to be angry, to make peace again with the unseen sun like a woman who ceases to be angry in her house. And she would smell the sweetness of the moon relaxing to the sun in the wintry heaven, when the snow fell in a faint, cold-perfumed relaxation, as the peace of the sun mingled again in a sort of unison with the peace of the moon.
She was aware too of the sort of shadow that was on the Indians of the valley, a deep, stoical disconsolation, almost religious in its depth. But he is wild with us, and shy like a horse that has got away. We have to go through a lot. And she, as if bewitched, replied:. She felt she was drifting on some consummation, which she had no will to avoid, yet which seemed heavy and finally terrible to her.
It must have been almost December, for the days were short, when she was taken again before the aged man, and stripped of her clothing, and touched with the old finger-tips. The aged cacique looked her in the eyes, with his eyes of lonely, far-off, black intentness, and murmured something to her. She was fascinated by the black, glass-like, intent eyes of the old cacique, that watched her without blinking, like a basilisk's, overpowering her. In their depths also she saw a certain fatherly compassion, and pleading.
She put her hand before her face, in the required manner, making the sign of peace and farewell. He made the sign of peace back again to her, then sank among his furs. She thought he was going to die, and that he knew it. There followed a day of ceremonial, when she was brought out before all the people, in a blue blanket with white fringe, and holding blue feathers in her hands. Before an altar of one house, she was perfumed with incense and sprinkled with ash.
Before the altar of the opposite house she was fumigated again with incense by the gorgeous, terrifying priests in yellow and scarlet and black, their faces painted with scarlet paint. And then they threw water on her.
Meanwhile she was faintly aware of the fire on the altar, the heavy, heavy sound of a drum, the heavy sound of men beginning powerfully, deeply, savagely to sing, the swaying of the crowd of faces in the plaza below, and the formation for a sacred dance. But at this time her commonplace consciousness was numb, she was aware of her immediate surroundings as shadows, almost immaterial.
With refined and heightened senses she could hear the sound of the earth winging on its journey, like a shot arrow, the ripple-rustling of the air, and the boom of the great arrow-string. And it seemed to her there were two great influences in the upper air, one golden towards the sun, and one invisible silver; the first travelling like rain ascending to the gold presence sunwards, the second like rain silverily descending the ladders of space towards the hovering, lurking clouds over the snowy mountain-top.
Then between them, another presence, waiting to shake himself free of moisture, of heavy white snow that had mysteriously collected about him. And in summer, like a scorched eagle, he would wait to shake himself clear of the weight of heavy sunbeams.
And he was coloured like fire. And he was always shaking himself clear, of snow or of heavy heat, like an eagle rustling. Then there was a still stranger presence, standing watching from the blue distance, always watching. Sometimes running in upon the wind, or shimmering in the heat-waves. The blue wind itself, rushing as it were out of the holes in the earth into the sky, rushing out of the sky down upon the earth.
The blue wind, the go-between, the invisible ghost that belonged to two worlds, that played upon the ascending and the descending chords of the rains. More and more her ordinary personal consciousness had left her, she had gone into that other state of passional cosmic consciousness, like one who is drugged.
The Indians, with their heavily religious natures, had made her succumb to their vision. It is the colour of what goes away and is never coming back, but which is always here, waiting like death among us. It is the colour of the dead. And it is the colour that stands away off, looking at us from the distance, that cannot come near to us. When we go near, it goes farther. It can't be near. We are all brown and yellow and black hair, and white teeth and red blood.
We are the ones that are here. You with blue eyes, you are the messengers from the far-away, you cannot stay, and now it is time for you to go back. The white women have driven back the moon in the sky, won't let her come to the sun. So the sun is angry. And the Indian must give the moon to the sun. And the Indian women will open the gate to the moon. The white women don't let the moon come down out of the blue coral. The moon used to come down among the Indian women, like a white goat among the flowers.
And the sun want to come down to the Indian men, like an eagle to the pine-trees. The sun, he is shut out behind the white man, and the moon she is shut out behind the white woman, and they can't get away.
They are angry, everything in the world gets angrier. The Indian says, he will give the white woman to the sun, so the sun will leap over the white man and come to the Indian again. And the moon will be surprised, she will see the gate open, and she not know which way to go. But the Indian woman will call to the moon, Come!
Come back into my grasslands. The wicked white woman can't harm you any more. Then the sun will look over the heads of the white men, and see the moon in the pastures of our women, with the Red Men standing around like pine trees. Then he will leap over the heads of the white men, and come running past to the Indians through the spruce trees.
And we, who are red and black and yellow, we who stay, we shall have the sun on our right hand and the moon on our left. So we can bring the rain down out of the blue meadows, and up out of the black; and we can call the wind that tells the corn to grow, when we ask him, and we shall make the clouds to break, and the sheep to have twin lambs.
And we shall be full of power, like a spring day. But the white people will be a hard winter, without snow--". She could never quite understand the way he looked at her. He was always so curiously gentle, and his smile was so soft. Yet there was such glitter in his eyes, and an unrelenting sort of hate came out of his words, a strange, profound, impersonal hate.
Personally he liked her, she was sure. He was gentle with her, attracted by her in some strange, soft, passionless way. But impersonally he hated her with a mystic hatred. He would smile at her, winningly. Yet if, the next moment, she glanced round at him unawares, she would catch that gleam of pure after-hate in his eyes.
They were gentle with her, and very considerate with her. Strange men, the old priests and the young cacique alike, they watched over her and cared for her like women. In their soft, insidious understanding, there was something womanly. Yet their eyes, with that strange glitter, and their dark, shut mouths that would open to the broad jaw, the small, strong, white teeth, had something very primitively male and cruel.
One wintry day, when snow was falling, they took her to a great dark chamber in the big house. The fire was burning in a corner on a high raised dais under a sort of hood or canopy of adobe-work.
She saw in the fire-glow, the glowing bodies of the almost naked priests, and strange symbols on the roof and walls of the chamber. There was no door or window in the chamber, they had descended by a ladder from the roof.
And the fire of pinewood danced continually, showing walls painted with strange devices, which she could not understand, and a ceiling of poles making a curious pattern of black and red and yellow, and alcoves or niches in which were curious objects she could not discern.
The older priests were going through some ceremony near the fire, in silence, intense Indian silence. She was seated on a low projection of the wall, opposite the fire, two men seated beside her.
Presently they gave her a drink from a cup, which she took gladly, because of the semi-trance it would induce. In the darkness and in the silence she was accurately aware of everything that happened to her: Then they laid her on a couch under another great indecipherable image of red and black and yellow, and now rubbed all her body with sweet-scented oil, and massaged all her limbs, and her back, and her sides, with a long, strange, hypnotic massage.
Their dark hands were incredibly powerful, yet soft with a watery softness she could not understand. And the dark faces, leaning near her white body, she saw were darkened with red pigment, with lines of yellow round the cheeks.
And the dark eyes glittered absorbed, as the hands worked upon the soft white body of the woman. They were so impersonal, absorbed in something that was beyond her. They never saw her as a personal woman: She was some mystic object to them, some vehicle of passions too remote for her to grasp.
Herself in a state of trance, she watched their faces bending over her, dark, strangely glistening with the transparent red paint, and lined with bars of yellow. And in this weird, luminous-dark mask of living face, the eyes were fixed with an unchanging steadfast gleam, and the purplish-pigmented lips were closed in a full, sinister, sad grimness.
The immense fundamental sadness, the grimness of ultimate decision, the fixity of revenge, and the nascent exultance of those that are going to triumph--these things she could read in their faces, as she lay and was rubbed into a misty glow, by their uncanny dark hands.
Her limbs, her flesh, her very bones at last seemed to be diffusing into a roseate sort of mist, in which her consciousness hovered like some sun-gleam in a flushed cloud. She knew the gleam would fade, the cloud would go grey. But at present she did not believe it. She knew she was a victim; that all this elaborate work upon her was the work of victimising her.
But she did not mind. Later, they put a short blue tunic on her and took her to the upper terrace, and presented her to the people. She saw the plaza below her full of dark faces and of glittering eyes. There was no pity: The people gave a subdued cry when they saw her, and she shuddered.
But she hardly cared. Next day was the last. She slept in a chamber of the big house. At dawn they put on her a big blue blanket with a fringe, and led her out into the plaza, among the throng of silent, dark-blanketed people.
There was pure white snow on the ground, and the dark people in their dark-brown blankets looked like inhabitants of another world. A large drum was slowly pounding, and an old priest was declaring from a housetop. But it was not till noon that a litter came forth, and the people gave that low, animal cry which was so moving. In the sack-like litter sat the old, old cacique, his white hair braided with black braid and large turquoise stones.
His face was like a piece of obsidian. He lifted his hand in token, and the litter stopped in front of her. Fixing her with his old eyes, he spoke to her for a few moments, in his hollow voice. Another litter came, and she was placed in it.
Four priests moved ahead, in their scarlet and yellow and black, with plumed headdresses. Then came the litter of the old cacique. Then the light drums began, and two groups of singers burst simultaneously into song, male and wild.
And the golden-red, almost naked men, adorned with ceremonial feathers and kilts, the rivers of black hair down their backs, formed into two files and began to tread the dance.
So they threaded out of the snowy plaza, in two long, sumptuous lines of dark red-gold and black and fur, swaying with a faint tinkle of bits of shell and flint, winding over the snow between the two bee-clusters of men who sang around the drum.
Slowly they moved out, and her litter, with its attendance of feathered, lurid, dancing priests, moved after. Everybody danced the tread of the dance-step, even, subtly, the litter-bearers. And out of the plaza they went, past smoking ovens, on the trail to the great cotton-wood trees, that stood like grey-silver lace against the blue sky, bare and exquisite above the snow. The river, diminished, rushed among fangs of ice. The chequer-squares of gardens within fences were all snowy, and the white houses now looked yellowish.
The whole valley glittered intolerably with pure snow, away to the walls of the standing rock. And across the flat cradle of snow-bed wound the long thread of the dance, shaking slowly and sumptuously in its orange and black motion. The high drums thudded quickly, and on the crystalline frozen air the swell and roar of the chant of savages was like an obsession. She sat looking out of her litter with big, transfixed blue eyes, under which were the wan markings of her drugged weariness.
She knew she was going to die, among the glisten of this snow, at the hands of this savage, sumptuous people. And as she stared at the blaze of blue sky above the slashed and ponderous mountain, she thought: What difference does it make, the transition from the dead I am to the dead I shall be, very soon!
The strange procession trailed on, in perpetual dance, slowly across the plain of snow, and then entered the slopes between the pine-trees. She saw the copper-dark men dancing the dance-tread, onwards, between the copper-pale tree trunks.
And at last she, too, in her swaying litter, entered the pine-trees. They were travelling on and on, upwards, across the snow under the trees, past the superb shafts of pale, flaked copper, the rustle and shake and tread of the threading dance, penetrating into the forest, into the mountain. They were following a stream-bed: There were dark, red-bronze willow bushes with wattles like wild hair, and pallid aspen trees looking like cold flesh against the snow.
Then jutting dark rocks. At last she could tell that the dancers were moving forward no more. Nearer and nearer she came upon the drums, as to a lair of mysterious animals. Then through the bushes she emerged into a strange amphitheatre. Facing was a great wall of hollow rock, down the front of which hung a great, dripping, fang-like spoke of ice.
The ice came pouring over the rock from the precipice above, and then stood arrested, dripping out of high heaven, almost down to the hollow stones where the stream-pool should be below. But the pool was dry. On either side the dry pool, the lines of dancers had formed, and the dance was continuing without intermission, against a background of bushes. But what she felt was that fanged inverted pinnacle of ice, hanging from the lip of the dark precipice above. And behind the great rope of ice, she saw the leopard-like figures of priests climbing the hollow cliff face, to the cave that, like a dark socket, bored a cavity, an orifice, half way up the crag.
Before she could realise, her litter-bearers were staggering in the footholds, climbing the rock. She, too, was behind the ice.
There it hung, like a curtain that is not spread, but hangs like a great fang. And near above her was the orifice of the cave sinking dark into the rock. She watched it as she swayed upwards.
On the platform of the cave stood the priests, waiting in all their gorgeousness of feathers and fringed robes, watching her ascent. Two of them stooped to help her litter-bearer. And at length she was on the platform of the cave, far in behind the shaft of ice, above the hollow amphitheatre among the bushes below, where men were dancing, and the whole populace of the village was clustered in silence.
The sun was sloping down the afternoon sky, on the left. She knew that this was the shortest day of the year, and the last day of her life. They stood her facing the iridescent column of ice, which fell down marvellously arrested, away in front of her.
Some signal was given, and the dance below stopped. There was now absolute silence. She was given a little to drink, then two priests took off her mantle and her tunic, and in her strange pallor she stood there, between the lurid robes of the priests, beyond the pillar of ice, beyond and above the dark-faced people.
The throng below gave the low, wild cry. Then the priests turned her round, so she stood with her back to the open world, her long blond hair to the people below. And they cried again. She was facing the cave, inwards. A fire was burning and flickering in the depths. Four priests had taken off their robes, and were almost as naked as she was. They were powerful men in the prime of life, and they kept their dark, painted faces lowered. From the fire came the old, old priest, with an incense-pan.
He was naked and in a state of barbaric ecstasy. He fumigated his victim, reciting at the same time in a hollow voice. Behind him came another robeless priest, with two flint knives. When she was fumigated, they laid her on a large flat stone, the four powerful men holding her by the outstretched arms and legs. Behind stood the aged man, like a skeleton covered with dark glass, holding a knife and transfixedly watching the sun; and behind him again was another naked priest, with a knife.
She felt little sensation, though she knew all that was happening. Turning to the sky, she looked at the yellow sun. The shaft of ice was like a shadow between her and it. And she realised that the yellow rays were filling half the cave, though they had not reached the altar where the fire was, at the far end of the funnel-shaped cavity. Yes, the rays were creeping round slowly.
As they grew ruddier, they penetrated farther. When the red sun was about to sink, he would shine full through the shaft of ice deep into the hollow of the cave, to the innermost.
She understood now that this was what the men were waiting for. Even those that held her down were bent and twisted round, their black eyes watching the sun with a glittering eagerness, and awe, and craving. The black eyes of the aged cacique were fixed like black mirrors on the sun, as if sightless, yet containing some terrible answer to the reddening winter planet.
And all the eyes of the priests were fixed and glittering on the sinking orb, in the reddening, icy silence of the winter afternoon.
They were anxious, terribly anxious, and fierce. Their ferocity wanted something, and they were waiting the moment. And their ferocity was ready to leap out into a mystic exultance, of triumph.
But still they were anxious. Only the eyes of that oldest man were not anxious. Black, and fixed, and as if sightless, they watched the sun, seeing beyond the sun. And in their black, empty concentration there was power, power intensely abstract and remote, but deep, deep to the heart of the earth, and the heart of the sun.
In absolute motionlessness he watched till the red sun should send his ray through the column of ice. Then the old man would strike, and strike home, accomplish the sacrifice and achieve the power. There was a woman who loved her husband, but she could not live with him.
The husband, on his side, was sincerely attached to his wife, yet he could not live with her. They were both under forty, both handsome and both attractive.
They had the most sincere regard for one another, and felt, in some odd way, eternally married to one another. They knew one another more intimately than they knew anybody else, they felt more known to one another than to any other person. Yet they could not live together. Usually, they kept a thousand miles apart, geographically. But when he sat in the greyness of England, at the back of his mind, with a certain grim fidelity, he was aware of his wife, her strange yearning to be loyal and faithful, having her gallant affairs away in the sun, in the south.
And she, as she drank her cocktail on the terrace over the sea, and turned her grey, sardonic eyes on the heavy dark face of her admirer, whom she really liked quite a lot, she was actually preoccupied with the clear-cut features of her handsome young husband, thinking of how he would be asking his secretary to do something for him, asking in that good-natured, confident voice of a man who knows that his request will be only too gladly fulfilled.
The secretary, of course, adored him. She was very competent, quite young, and quite good-looking. But then all his servants always did, particularly his women-servants. His men-servants were likely to swindle him. When a man has an adoring secretary, and you are the man's wife, what are you to do?
Not that there was anything 'wrong'--if you know what I mean! Nothing you could call adultery, to come down to brass tacks. They were just the young master and his secretary. He dictated to her, she slaved for him and adored him, and the whole thing went on wheels. He didn't 'adore' her. A man doesn't need to adore his secretary. But he depended on her.
The one thing he knew finally about her was that she didn't intend to be relied on. So they remained friends, in the awful unspoken intimacy of the once-married. Usually each year they went away together for a holiday, and, if they had not been man and wife, they would have found a great deal of fun and stimulation in one another. The fact that they were married, had been married for the last dozen years, and couldn't live together for the last three or four, spoilt them for one another.
Each had a private feeling of bitterness about the other. However, they were awfully kind. He was the soul of generosity, and held her in real tender esteem, no matter how many gallant affairs she had. Her gallant affairs were part of her modern necessity. I can't turn into a pillar of salt in five minutes just because you and I can't live together!
It takes years for a woman like me to turn into a pillar of salt. At least I hope so! By all means put them in pickle, make pickled cucumbers of them, before you crystallise out. He was like that: She could more or less fathom the idea of the pickled cucumbers, but the 'crystallising out'--what did that signify?
And did he mean to suggest that he himself had been well pickled and that further immersion was for him unnecessary, would spoil his flavour?
Was that what he meant? And herself, was she the brine and the vale of tears? You never knew how catty a man was being, when he was really clever and enigmatic, withal a bit whimsical. He was adorably whimsical, with a twist of his flexible, vain mouth, that had a long upper lip, so fraught with vanity! But then a handsome, clear-cut, histrionic young man like that, how could he help being vain?
The women made him so. And how nice the women would be if there were no other men! That's the best of a secretary. She may have a husband, but a husband is the mere shred of a man, compared to a boss, a chief, a man who dictates to you and whose words you faithfully write down and then transcribe. Imagine a wife writing down anything her husband said to her! Every and and but of his she preserves for ever.
What are candied violets in comparison! Now it is all very well having gallant affairs under the southern sun, when you know there is a husband whom you adore dictating to a secretary whom you are too scornful to hate yet whom you rather despise, though you allow she has her good points, away north in the place you ought to regard as home.
A gallant affair isn't much good when you've got a bit of grit in your eye. Or something at the back of your mind. But please yourself entirely.
Do what gives you most pleasure. They parted with a certain relentlessness that had a touch of wistful sentiment behind it. Off she went to her gallant affairs, that were like the curate's egg, palatable in parts.
And he settled down to work. He said he hated working, but he never did anything else. Ten or eleven hours a day. That's what it is to be your own master! So the winter wore away, and it was spring, when the swallows homeward fly, or northward, in this case. This winter, one of a series similar, had been rather hard to get through. The bit of grit in the gallant lady's eye had worked deeper in the more she blinked.
Dark faces might be dark, and icy cocktails might lend a glow; she blinked her hardest to blink that bit of grit away, without success. Under the spicy balls of the mimosa she thought of that husband of hers in his library, and of that neat, competent but common little secretary of his, for ever taking down what he said!
How she can stand it, common little thing as she is, I don't know! What was to be done? Matters, instead of improving, had grown worse. The little secretary had brought her mother and sister into the establishment. The mother was a sort of cook-housekeeper, the sister was a sort of upper maid--she did the fine laundry, and looked after 'his' clothes, and valeted him beautifully.
It was really an excellent arrangement. The old mother was a splendid plain cook, the sister was all that could be desired as a valet de chambre, a fine laundress, an upper parlour-maid, and a table-waiter. And all economical to a degree. They knew his affairs by heart.
His secretary flew to town when a creditor became dangerous, and she always smoothed over the financial crisis. And if he had been a fairy prince who could call the ants to help him, he would not have been more wonderful than in securing this secretary and her family. They took hardly any wages. And they seemed to perform the miracle of loaves and fishes daily. Yet when she appeared at her 'home', the secretarial family received her with most elaborate attentions and deference.
The knight returning from the Crusades didn't create a greater stir. She felt like Queen Elizabeth at Kenilworth, a sovereign paying a visit to her faithful subjects. But perhaps there lurked always this hair in her soup! Won't they be glad to be rid of me again!
But they protested No! They had been waiting and hoping and praying she would come. They had been pining for her to be there, in charge: Mother goes out and chooses the best she can find, that is nice and fresh.
But she thought you would tell her now what to get. I'm not very good at that sort of thing. Ask her to go on just the same; I'm quite sure she knows best. Could anything be more impossible! They had the house spotless and running like a dream; how could an incompetent and extravagant wife dare to interfere, when she saw their amazing and almost inspired economy!
But they ran the place on simply nothing! I never knew such comfort! Are you sure it isn't bad for you? She eyed him stealthily. He looked very well, and extremely handsome, in his histrionic way. He was shockingly well-dressed and valeted. But just when it seems that they really do have it all, tragedy and fate combine to make Ana's worst nightmares come true Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, Fifty Shades of Grey is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you for ever.
When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating.
Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind - until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out. Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more. But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view Two strangers escaping their past, move to the Blue Mountains together, following their dreams of creativity and love; but as Francis pursues his gift for designing exquisite wallpaper, Lilian finds that the ordinary life she craves remains frustratingly beyond reach.
The thrilling climax to the Ibis trilogy that began with the phenomenal Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies. It is and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war.
One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband's wealth and reputation.
Flood of Fire is a thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve. The sound of horses' hooves turns hollow on the farms west of Wirri. If a man can still ride, if he hasn't totally lost the use of his legs, if he hasn't died to the part of his heart that understands such things, then he should go for a gallop.
At the very least he should stand at the road by the river imagining that he's pushing a horse up the steep hill that leads to the house on the farm once known as One Tree.
You thought you trusted him. Now you can't even trust yourself. Dark secrets and a terrifying hunt for the truth lie at the heart of this gripping new thriller.
Forty Days Without Shadow: Winter is savage and cold in Lapland. When a priceless local relic is stolen from Kautokeino, a village in the middle of the isolated snowy tundra, detectives Klemet Nango — a familiar face in the rural community — and Nina Nansen, fresh out of the local police academy, are called to investigate.
There are just a few days until the locals will host a UN World Heritage conference, and Klemet and Nina are under pressure to retrieve the artefact, due to be presented to a world-renowned French scientist as part of the celebrations.
When a local reindeer herder is found brutally murdered, Klemet and Nina immediately suspect that the two events are linked. But the villagers don't take too kindly to having their secret histories stirred up and the duo is forced to cross the icy landscapes alone in search of the answers that will lead them to a killer. Set in an alternately savage and dreamlike Lapland, this multiple award-winning, compelling thriller takes the reader to the limits of hypermodernity against the stunning history of a native people struggling to keep their culture alive.
A compelling, emotional knockout debut from a brilliant new Australian author. An unforgettable novel that brings to life a new mother's worst fears. His wife, Anna, isn't coping with their newborn. Anna had wanted a child so badly and, when Jack was born, they were both so happy. They'd come home from the hospital a family. Was it really only six weeks ago? But Anna hasn't been herself since. One moment she's crying, the next she seems almost too positive.
It must be normal with a baby, Tony thought; she's just adjusting. He had been busy at work. It would sort itself out. But now Anna and Jack are missing. And Tony realises that something is really wrong What happens to this family will break your heart and leave you breathless. Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul -- the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation.
Patty was the ideal sort of neighbour who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Waltera??
Together with Walter --environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man -- she was doing her small part to build a better world. But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery.
Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz-outr?? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become a?? In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedoma??
Paul-the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job.
She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Waltera's dreams. Together with Walter-environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man-she was doing her small part to build a better world. What exactly is Richard Katz-outr? The fourth title in a successful series, this new book celebrates the enduring popularity of nautically inspired interiors, with a French twist. Azure blue skies and sparkling waves on the horizon are the perfect counterpoints to these cozy interiors inspired by life at the seaside.
Natural wood finishes set the tone and are the perfect complement to canvas-inspired upholstery and crisp linens in the fresh hues of summertime. A perfect seashell placed on a coffee table brings back memories of carefree holidays spent by the sea, while frosty gem-colored goblets cool us down even before the first sip of mint julep.
The overall impression of these interiors creates a relaxed sense of well-being that feeds the soul, and they are replete with ideas that will infuse the home with serenity and joy. Not just the facts I know you want to hear. If I'm going to tell you my story, I'm telling it my way. This is how it goes. So, why is she sitting in a police station confessing to murder?
They live in squalor in Brooklyn, with Kim attending school during the day and working with her mother in a Chinatown sweatshop at night. Exiled by language, estranged in a new culture and weighed down by staggering poverty, Kim must learn to translate not just her language but who she is as she straddles these two very different worlds.
Scout has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. The secrets of her past won't let her sleep, even with a new family and name - Milly. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water. She is, after all, her mother's daughter. Grace has not had twelve people at her table for a long time.
As Grace prepares the feast, she reflects on her life, her marriage and her friendships. When the three generations come together, simmering tensions from the past threaten to boil over. The one thing that no one can talk about is the one thing that no one can forget.
Stories for Today features new fiction by established and emerging writers who make sense of the country as it is now, in a borderless, globalised world balanced between crisis and opportunity.
Voices from home and the Australian diaspora explore the effects of migration, easy movement, pandemics, recession, connection with Asia, the service economy and more. Including a series of short essays, with questions about why writing fiction matters, how it differs from other forms of communication, and what it contributes to our culture and understanding of ourselves. Julia Chaplin has found the gypsy in her soul — and that of quite a number of simpatico others.
Following her best-selling Assouline title, travel writer Julia Chaplin explores the little-known enclaves of gypsy jet-setters around the world. From the Aeolian Islands in Italy to Lamu, Kenya, North Goa in India, and Jos Ignacio, Uruguay, Gypset Travel delves into the glamorous yet casual lifestyle of bohemian wanderers through intimate photography and first-person anecdotes, and is characterised by a fashionable exoticism and down-to-earth ease that is surely the literary reflection of its gypsy-infused writer.
As a teacher at the Fawlty Towers of London language colleges, Sebastian Pink is accustomed to confusion caused by the complexities of the English language.
Married to Sarah, a career woman who has long been a workaholic but is now desperate for a baby, Sebastian feels ambivalent about becoming a parent. Sarah has effectively been absent from his life for so long that they've grown apart and these days his social life has come to revolve around his work; walking his dog, Claude; and his obsessive daily completion of the cryptic crossword. When an alluring Czech student called Eva becomes one of Sebastian's students — and inadvertently provides him with the last solution in his morning crossword— he finds himself drawn into a sordid suburban tangle based mainly on his own misinterpretations and feverish imagination.
Happy Eva After is a seriously funny comedy about a bloke, his wife, his dog, an alluring young woman with a mysterious past, and the nuances of the English language.
Set in the Congo during the period of rapid colonial expansion in the 19th century, Heart of Darkness deals with the highly disturbing effects of economic, social, and political exploitation of European and African societies, and the cataclysmic behaviour this induced in many individuals. This classic may only be 80 pages, but it packs a serious punch and remains a bestseller after over years on the market.
Raging with moralistic passion, Hearts and Minds centres human rights lawyer Polly and her quest to investigate what happened to her missing au pair , Iryna. As the characters lives collide, the layers of London life get stripped bare, and nothing is as it seems. So when a patient tells him he looks in need of a holiday, Hector decides to set off on a worldwide search to find out what makes people everywhere happy and sad , and whether the secret of true happiness really exists.
He keeps a police scanner in his room, always showing up at crime scenes telling the cops what they need to do. But when his tutor is found dead, Jacob finds himself accused of murder.
The police take his reluctance to make eye contact, stimulatory tics and twitches and inappropriate gestures as signs of guilt. I Always Loved You: The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary's fierce determination wavers.
Her father is imploring her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle.
So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships. Only an omniscient narrator has the latitude to disclose the private yearnings and fears of these four as they grapple with issues of art execution, scathing reviews, self-doubt, elusive fame, tempestuous love, and creeping morality.
Here, in beautiful prose, juicy with nuance and depth, is the intimate, heart-wrenching story behind Impressionist art history, with Mary Cassatt at its center. Can you commit the perfect crime? Pilgrim is the codename for a man who doesn't exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him.
And it will take him to a rundown New York hotel room where the body of a woman is found facedown in a bath of acid, her features erased, her teeth missing, her fingerprints gone. What begins as an unusual and challenging investigation will become a terrifying race-against-time to save America from oblivion.
Pilgrim will have to make a journey from a public beheading in Mecca to a deserted ruins on the Turkish coast via a Nazi death camp in Alsace and the barren wilderness of the Hindu Kush in search of the faceless man who would commit an appalling act of mass murder in the name of his God.
Iris is getting old. A widow, her days are spent living quietly and worrying about her granddaughter, Grace, a headstrong young doctor. It's a small sort of life. But one day an invitation comes for Iris through the post to a reunion in France, where she served in a hospital during WWI. Determined to go, Iris is overcome by the memories of the past, when as a shy, naive young woman she followed her fifteen-year-old brother, Tom, to France in intending to bring him home. On her way to find Tom, Iris comes across the charismatic Miss Ivens, who is setting up a field hospital in the old abbey of Royaumont, north of Paris.
Putting her fears aside, Iris decides to stay at Royaumont, and it is there that she truly comes of age, finding her capability and her strength, discovering her passion for medicine, making friends with the vivacious Violet and falling in love. But war is a brutal thing, and when the ultimate tragedy happens there is a terrible price that Iris has to pay, a price that will echo down the generations.
A moving and uplifting novel about the small, unsung acts of heroism of which love makes us capable of. Eleven year old Oscar Flowers is on a quest to make sense of the strange world of adults that surround him in the seaside town of Tidetown. The bizarre behaviour of his parents and great aunt impels him to search for the blue tiger, a powerful and beautiful animal that will save his family from themselves.
A deep and wondrous friendship develops. I'm terrified of the day when they stop saying my name. Because maybe I'm only here, anchored, in order to hear them. Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss.
On a drunken whim, Marie gets a tattoo — and strikes up an unlikely friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys. Incredible Ink is a multi-layered examination of how we live now, in which one family becomes a microcosm for the changes operating in society at large.
Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings. A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon's knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.
With only a few lines from Dante's dark and epic masterpiece, The Inferno , to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat.
Set against an extraordinary landscape inspired by one of history's most ominous literary classics, Inferno is Dan Brown's most compelling and thought-provoking novel yet, a breathless race-against-time thriller that will grab you from page one and not let you go until you close the book.
Andy Larkham is late for the funeral of his favourite teacher, who once told him: Both a love story and a tragedy of betrayal and missed opportunities, Inheritance explores the temptations of unexpected wealth, the secrets of damaged families, and the price of being true to oneself.
Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, ZaritC -- known as TC tC -- is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, TC tC finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in , itb2s with powdered wigs in his trunks and dreams of financial success in his mind.
But running his fatherb2s plantation, Saint Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. Against the merciless backdrop of sugar cane fields, the lives of TC tC and Valmorain grow ever more intertwined. When the bloody revolution of Toussaint Louverture arrives at the gates of Saint Lazare, they flee the island that will become Haiti for the decadence and opportunity of New Orleans.
There, TC tC finally forges a new life - but her connection to Valmorain is deeper than anyone knows and not so easily severed. If poker was an addiction then music was an overwhelming obsession; one could never replace the other in my life.
During the Great Depression there was little hope for a boy born into the slums of Cabbagetown, Toronto. But Jack Spayd is offered a ticket out in the form of a Hohner harmonica, won by his brutal drunken father in a late-night card game. Jack makes music as a way of escaping his surroundings, and his talent leads him to a jazz club and, eventually, to the jazz piano. Vegas is a hard town ruled by the Mafia, but Jack prospers, until his luck turns bad and he falls foul of the Mob.
Forced to run for his life from Vegas, he must also leave the woman he adores. His adventuring takes him to the far reaches of Africa, to a rare and valuable bird that may seal his fate — and to the love of a very different woman. Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of , Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan.
Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it's here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper's horrible discovery.
With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu. And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse.
In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his hear. When a young woman inherits the key to a safety deposit box in Siena, she is told it will lead to an old family treasure. But her mysterious inheritance leads her on a perilous journey into the past - and to the true history of her ancestor, Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo turned medieval Siena upside down.
As she crosses paths with descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud that inspired Shakespearea?? A plague on both your housesa?? Both an inspired reimagining of the greatest love story ever told and a romantic, heart-pumping thriller, Juliet intertwines the fates of two fascinating women who lived centuries apart into one unforgettable tale no true romantic will be able to resist.
Already a bestseller in Italy and Germany, Juliet is set to win the hearts of readers in 30 other countries - and film rights have been snapped up by Universal. A love story that reads like a Da Vinci Code for the smart modern woman. Delightfully original - and the kind of thing you wish you had thought up yourself. We will never see Romeo and Juliet in quite the same way again.. Land of Painted Caves Jean M. Once again, Jean Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived thousands of years ago, rendering the terrain, dwelling places, longings, beliefs, creativity and daily lives of Ice Age Europeans as real to the reader as today's news.
The very name suggests birdsong, peace, and elegance. Home to the Hamilton children — Edward, Cynthia, and Harriet — who enjoy the freedom and excitement of privilege. But in the glorious summer of , with absent parents and a departed governess, disaster strikes the family, leaving it cruelly divided. More than forty years later, on the eve of the Second World War, Louisa Hamilton, newly presented at court but struck down with glandular fever, is sent to Larkswood to recuperate.
There, for the first time, she meets her grandfather, Edward, home after decades in India. But as Louisa begins to fall under the spell of Larkswood, she realises it holds the key to the mystery that shattered her family two generations before.
Will she find the courage to unravel the dark secrets of the past? And can Larkswood ever become home to happiness again? Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success - and their life changes for ever. Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendiest hotspots in LA.
Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in , a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in , the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past.
Here is Kate Atkinson at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves. After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wide, wild Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, one zebra with broken leg , an orang-utan, a pound Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker, and Pi - a year-old Indian boy.
As the 'crew' begin to assert their natural places in the food chain, Pi's fear mounts, and he must use all his wit and daring to develop an understanding with his fellow survivors. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, an astonishing work of imagination that will delight and stun readers in equal measures. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe.
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church -- the only available shelter from the rain -- and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister and widower, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the days of suffering that preceded her newfound security.
Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood of itinerant work. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a lucky knife to protect them. But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love.
When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonise the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.
Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead and Orange Prize-winning Home, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence.
When Condon first interviewed disgraced former police commissioner Terry Lewis, he had no idea that it would be the start of a turbulent six-year journey. As hundreds of people came forward to share their powerful and sometimes shocking stories, decades of crime and corruption were revealed in a new light.
Risking threats and intimidation, Condon tirelessly pursued his investigations into a web of cold murder cases and past conspiracies. What he discovered is much more sinister than anyone could have imagined. Edward Warren, twenty-four, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke.
But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara.
With her father's chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father's organs. Is he motivated by altruism, or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision? At seven years old, Millie Bird realises that everything is dying around her. She wasn't to know that after she had recorded twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things her dad would be a Dead Thing, too.
Agatha Pantha is eighty-two and has not left her house since her husband died. She sits behind her front window, hidden by the curtains and ivy, and shouts at passers-by, roaring her anger at complete strangers. Until the day Agatha spies a young girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven when his son kisses him on the cheek before leaving him at the nursing home. As he watches his son leave, Karl has a moment of clarity.
He escapes the home and takes off in search of something different. Three lost people needing to be found. But they don't know it yet. Millie, Agatha, and Karl are about to break the rules and discover what living is all about.
Love in a Cold Climate: Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate is a wickedly funny satire, brilliantly lampooning upper-class society. Love in a Cold Climate is an unforgettable tale of the absurdities and obsessions of the elite.
Peach Avenel is a broken woman. She thought she had a loving marriage. She thought she would be starting a family. She thought she had a successful career. She has a life that no longer fits, filled with broken dreams. When a tumbled down house with a neglected garden comes into her life by serendipitous circumstances, Peach feels something stir within her and although she prefers Jimmy Choo shoes to gum boots, she is drawn to the house and the garden.
What unfolds is a story of humour and love. Of cupcakes and cactus. And of a young woman learning about herself and finding that, sometimes, you need to break open to find who you really are. A chilling story of the disintegration of a marriage, Lover, Husband, Father, Monster traces the fragmentation of the relationship between Jennifer - law graduate, wife and mother - and Stuart, successful Dublin businessman, husband and father.
Reacting to his domineering approach, she finds solace in a former lover. His trust betrayed, Stuart vows to hurt her in a way she'll never forget. In a finale that shocks everyone to the core, he does. Told in two voices, 'Lover, Husband, Father, Monster' outlines how a marriage with even the best of intentions can become engulfed in tragedy.
This is a story that stays with the reader long after the book is finished. Lucinda Ellis has never really mastered the knack for dealing with people. So she usually avoids them. Until her sister, Jayne, takes a sudden trip to America and Lucinda's perfectly ordered life is thrown into chaos.
With Jayne's husband stranded in a remote Aboriginal community, Lucinda is forced to take charge of Jayne's children and their ridiculous little dachshund, Wilma. Then there is the malingering presence of teenage Emo Wesley Heslop, who's taken up residence on the living room couch, the mysterious disappearance of a stuffed eclectus parrot from the museum where she works, and the disarming affections of Madison's challenging 'second-best' friend, Kieran Waterford.
When an American cult moves to the Gold Coast, freelance journalist Scout Davis's investigative antennae start quivering. She sets out to expose the cult's bizarre practices, but when she learns the identity of a recent recruit, her quest becomes personal. Meanwhile, someone is cutting up girls' underwear at an exclusive school and Scout agrees to look into it.
The sinister secret behind the vandalism is not nice. But Scout has her secrets too. In the dead of night she sneaks out with an underground group of yarn bombers to decorate the locality with artworks. Scout has a sneaking suspicion that the local police sergeant, Rafe Kelly, is hot on her tail. With a heroine as wickedly perceptive as Amy Dunne and as dangerous as Lisbeth Salander, this marks the beginning of a razor-sharp and meteoric sequence of novels that will have readers around the world on the edge of their seats and holding their breath.
The retired Major Ernest Pettigrew leads a quiet life in a small English village. He values the proper things that Englishmen have treasured for generations — honour, duty and a properly brewed cup of tea. Steven and Lissa may have stopped a regional apocalypse, but that's only the beginning. People are dying in the brutal summer heat - and someone is trying to kill Steven de Selby.
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. Love, sex, death, family, friendship, betrayal, tenderness, brutality, sacrifice, and revelation This incendiary collection of stories from acclaimed writer Christos Tsiolkas, bestselling author of The Slap and Barracuda , takes you deep into worlds both strange and familiar, and introduces you to characters who will never let you go and situations that will haunt you forever.
Julia Heath is experiencing a tree-change nightmare. She suspects her yoga-teacher husband of having an affair, her mother-in-law is coming to stay, and her son is obsessed with flies. But Julia soon falls under the spell of Tom — a handsome yet troubled dairy farmer.
Milk Fever explores the healing nature of relationships and how, ultimately, we are all necessary to each other. It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she's ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiance Jeff, the man who shattered her heart eighteen years ago. Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her.
But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.
As Kat's hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved — her former fiance, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained.
With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there. The bestselling author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen returns with a Buchan-esque thriller.
A late night gambling session ends in a bet for Richard Gaunt: Gaunt sets off and as morning breaks and the dreaming spires near, his evening's winnings look set to double. When men in a Jeep reverse into him, scooping him off the roadside, Gaunt's life takes a very strange turn. When Tempe is called to the scene of an autoerotic death, she has little idea of the tangled chain of events that will follow.
Because the man whose body she is examines apparently died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 40 years before. So who is buried in the soldier's grave? Tempe's investigations take her to Honolulu where she is caught up not only in the mystery of the unidentified body in the soldier's grave, but also dragged into investigating who, or what, killed the young men whose body parts have floated up onto a popular Hawaiian beach.
And as Tempe gradually unravels the tangled threads of the mystery, it becomes clear that there are some who would rather the past stays dead and buried. To ask other readers questions about Two Man Station , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Sep 24, Emma Sea added it. Guess who got to beta read this?? Holy cow, I love this book. View all 7 comments. I had a lot of fun working on this one. I also had a lot of weird moments where the day job met the writing job.
If you want to know anything about Two Man Station, feel free to ask! View all 18 comments. Jan 04, Heather K dentist in my spare time rated it liked it Shelves: Two Man Station is a good story from Lisa Henry , but it felt like an intro to a romance rather than the romance itself.
I adore everything Lisa Henry, especially her lighter stuff, and so I was honestly expecting to 5-star this one. I mean, two cops However, that wasn't quite what I got. I enjoy police stor Two Man Station is a good story from Lisa Henry , but it felt like an intro to a romance rather than the romance itself.
I wasn't expecting the story to be as angsty as it was, though the blurb is pretty accurate to the issues that the characters face. My main complaint with the story is that is really isn't all that romantic. They just never got there. The story ends with the two barely figuring out if they like one another in a romantic way. There is some sex, but it wasn't as hot as I was expecting either. I felt like the sexual tension wasn't there, which is usually my favorite part of a story. There were very few signs of interest or attraction, and most of the story is the two men going on cop calls and getting to know country locals.
The story picked up quite a bit towards the end, but I think I wanted more oomph in the chemistry between the two MCs. Feb 19, Diana rated it really liked it Shelves: Two Man Station is the first book I read from author, Lisa Henry, and it certainly will not be my last. Jason Quinn has been in charge of the small police station in a remote town in Australia. He is struggling with being a single Dad as well as the needs of his town.
Rumors have been flying about the backstabbing police officer, and Jason was worried if Gio would have his back, if needed. But Gio is definitely not what he expected. Gio Valeri is forced to transfer from his big city police station, to some remote town, away from his family, and thankfully away from the bullying and harassment from people he, at one time, considered his friends. He just wants to keep his head down, and in two years, move closer to his sister.
The author does a fantastic job in developing a slower paced story, which is fine with me. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. View all 17 comments. Sep 24, Ele rated it really liked it. I know she is a very versatile author but I have a soft spot for her gritty writes. Pay atttention to the blurb. It's doing a great job describing the plot which I'm not going to rehash. The setting is almost like a third character in the story.
Lisa Henry does an incredible job describing life in the town of Richmond with its remote two man station and its people. These people and thei "This is a two-man station. These people and their personal stories will be of great importance to the main plot as well. This is a very slow paced story. I liked that because it gave time and space for the characters to bond. Gio was totally a fish out of water so he needed time to adjust, and Jason needed time to start trusting a guy that didn't exactly come with glowing references.
There is a certain level of trust that needs to be buitl between two men who have only each other's backs on the field. After the MCs get together, the mystery surrounding Gio's past clears away and we get some more romance and steam!
In the last third, the plot really picks up and I'll let you find out for yourselves. It's not very often that I see kids act their own age in books, but this one was amazing. Being real is a quality that all characters in this book share. Good people, good intentions and much love, but a lot of imperfections and mistakes as well.
I suspect that the most traditional romance readers might not find the ending satisfying enough. Gio found a home and a new family in Richmond, and Jason got his second chance. My own personal little niggle is that I wanted to see these bastards, Gio's former collegues, pay for what they did to him. Overall, I was very glad to read another book by Lisa Henry. I'm thrilled that this is going to be a series! I'm definitely going to keep reading.
View all 13 comments. Solid 4 star read! I really enjoyed this one. Ele's review described the setting as being like a third character, and I couldn't agree more. The two man station and Richmond were just as much a part of the book as the main characters Gio and Jason.
This was a quiet read, very slow paced but I was never bored. I was always engaged and I appreciated the slow build between Gio and Jason. I hope we get more of these characters.
I also hope Gio's former teammates get what they deserve. I hated the way they treated Gio. Last but not least He completely stole the show. I loved his character so much. I loved his reaction to catching Gio and Jason. I loved his love for the cat. I just loved him. Definitely a recommended read. ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review View all 4 comments. Sep 10, Christelle rated it really liked it Shelves: Dear Lisa Henry, I wish I had read this book before meeting you in Amsterdam last June so I could have profusely thanked you face to face for this story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Gio has always wanted to be a police officer. But even a dream job can have some drawback. There, he meets his new Sarge, Jason, a widower with a year-old kid.
They are the only 2 police officers in the area and have to learn to trust and rely on each other. Not an easy fate, with Jason's responsibilities over his son and Gio's ordeal.
The heaviness of some parts is nicely balanced with some real funny times. The characterization was well handled: A little more steam and more time with Gio and Jason by the end would have been even better for me: But what mostly appealed to me was the sense of place that Lisa Henry infused into this story.
And what a great character: Ele promised me that I would enjoy the next book in this series just as well: And Lisa Henry stated there will be more of Gio and Jason soon: Thank you so, so much, Judith: View all 23 comments.
Jan 22, Katerina rated it really liked it. I really liked it. Beautiful landscape descriptions, sympathetic characters. Lots of Aussie slang. A few annoying shortcuts that I just skipped over because they were irrelevant. And a lot of cockatoos too ;. View all 10 comments. Feb 14, Vivian rated it liked it Shelves: City life didn't prepare Gio for this. Gio's professional life has thrown and he's been offloaded to the hinterland. He's trying to make the best of it, but his past won't stay past, and soon the present seems very different.
This is an armchair romance with a slow burn and easy meander because country life ain't city life. Henry does a bang up job painting the isolation, quiet, and stark beauty of the Australian outback. The politics of small town policing has a learning curve as Gio finds o City life didn't prepare Gio for this.
The politics of small town policing has a learning curve as Gio finds out. This is more a character study story than a police action, or rather it focuses of the everyday minutiae of police work, the unglamorous and unsexy.
Not to say that there isn't a burr in the ointment. Gio's got problems, but he's not the only in Richmond, and when the humdrum of everyday breaks--it's fast and merciless. Don't be fooled by the quaint. This almost feels like it could be the beginning of a series because while there's resolution there's enough threads to pull and follow on in subsequent books. Recommended for those looking for conflicted and heartfelt heroes in a setting that dominates the story.
Gift from my Secret Valentine-- thank you! Sep 25, Ami rated it really liked it Shelves: Last year, one of my favorite reads of the year was Jane Harper's The Dry.
I was mesmerized with the strong sense of Australian's small town in that book, just as much as I loved the story. Ever since then, I am dying to get the same feeling in the romance genre. When I saw this cover and the author's name, I didn't hesitate. With that cover, I was hoping that Henry would deliver.
And boy, was I right! Heck yeah, it was slow burn. Because both Gio and Jason have their own, well, baggage. Gio doesn't exactly come to the small outback town of Richmond willingly. He is a pariah at his old station at Gold Coast. His relationship is shattered and his colleagues hate his guts.
So even if his boss said that it was " a fresh start ", Gio knows that the transfer is basically a professional punishment. Meanwhile Jason is a single father and a cop.
He has a slight trouble to juggle that part and often depends on people to take care of his son, Taylor. It's not an ideal situation.
And he misses his wife. So the two men comes into the relationship with rather tentative steps. And I was a sucker for that kind of set-up! Another thing that captivated me was the town itself. Richmond, with its red dirt and poisonous snakes. I LOVED everything about it -- and I gobbled up the time that Gio spent learning about the ins-and-outs of working in a two-man station as well as the quirks of Richmond.
He is truly a GEM of this book. Then he looked outraged. You have to ask someone if they want to be your girlfriend or your boyfriend before you kiss them! Boy, that part made my heart stopped! The only thing that let me down was the part where near the end, Jason said view spoiler ["I'm still in love with my wife" hide spoiler ].
It kind of spoiled the romance for me. While it could be true for Jason as a character, I prefer the ending to be slightly more promising -- romantically -- than that.
Unfortunately based on Lisa's comment to my reply the next one will be about different couple. Well, I just have to wish strongly so I get an update about the three guys. Initial Review Dear book. Thank you for being my first 4. The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received. Oct 10, Angela rated it really liked it Shelves:
A Dance With Dragons part 1: Dreams and Dust George R.R. Martin $ The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance. In the east, Daenerys, last scion of House Targaryen, her dragons grown to terrifying maturity, rules as queen of a city built on dust and death, beset by enemies. Search the world's information, including webpages, images, videos and more. Google has many special features to help you find exactly what you're looking for. Jan 20, · Two Man Station is the first book I read from author, Lisa Henry, and it certainly will not be my last. Jason Quinn has been in charge of the small police station in a remote town in Australia. He is struggling with being a single Dad as well as the needs of his town.