Snuggle up this winter and indulge yourself with these great reads from local authors.
The Wartime Bookshop
By Lesley Eames
I read this book in one sitting on a rainy afternoon. Set in a Hertfordshire village during the Second World War, it follows the lives of three very different women, each in need of a friend, who are brought together by their shared love of books. But they do more than that – can they bring together their local community – and can one of them find love? A warm hug of a book that is highly recommended – it was a shame it came to an end. The good news is that Lesley has plans for two more books in the series!
Award-winning author Lesley Eames lives in St Albans and has published four books set in World War One and the Roaring 20s.
How To Find Your Way Home
By Katy Regan
Out in paperback in January
A touching tale about the love between siblings, How To Find Your Way Home tells the tale of Emily, who has a good job and a lovely home, and her older brother Stephen, who has been living on the streets. Emily has been searching for him for years when he suddenly turns up when she least expects it. A poignant read, with beautiful characters who draw you in from the start, Katy had created a compelling tale of a family broken by an abusive stepfather. She also highlights the plight of the homeless in the UK, and focuses on the beauty of our landscape and its wildlife. A must-read.
Katy Regan is a former magazine journalist and lives with her teenage son in Berkhamsted.
In The Shadows of the Ceiba
By TMH Gall
This thriller transports the reader from the 2020 Covid pandemic in our NHS to third world Guatemala, as surgeon Sofia Rose leaves her London working life to work in a remote hospital in Guatemala, where she was born. Unsurprisingly, it’s a decision that changes Sofia’s view of life and death forever.
As well as a gripping storyline, this page turner also covers medical issues in real detail – not surprising as the author is a real-life surgeon. Anyone who loves medical dramas will enjoy the story from this perspective alone – and there’s a great twist at the end!
Tamara Gall is a surgeon who grew up in Berkhamsted and then Little Gaddesden. She is currently completing a complex pancreatic surgery fellowship in Sydney, Australia.
A Dragon called Shining Leaves
By Pam G Howard
One of our younger readers – Zoe Clark-Monks – reviewed this book. She writes: The book follows three young best friends, Tan, Autumn and Otto. Throughout the book each of them ascend into their own magical adventure as the Lord’s evil brother takes over the castle and its occupants in their hometown, Tan as an apprentice to a librarian (who may or may not have a magic staff!); Autumn with the company of a dragon called Shining Leaves and Otto working out a way to take down the Lord’s brother from inside the castle. Each of them fight their own battles and make their way back to each other to take down the Lord’s brother. It is full of adventure, magic and really captures your imagination, I couldn’t put it down!
Pam lives in Little Gaddesden and has published two books in her Ashridge Adventures series, along with three McDragon tales. She says: ‘When I write a book I never know exactly what is going to happen, which means it’s as much of a mystery to me as to the reader!’
Hidden In Plain Sight: The Blackstones
By Peter Edward White
Available on Amazon
When student William Fairchild visits his grandparents in a sleepy village (inspired by Aldbury), he discovers a secret from his grandfather’s past. A trip to London finds him embroiled in a sinister world he never knew existed – and which ultimately could threaten his life.
A thrilling tale that moves at a fast pace, the book also made me chuckle – and I loved the ‘nerdy facts’ that the author introduces intermittently about facts such as how the City of London came to exist.
My only complaint is that it ended far too soon, but the good news is that a prequel and sequel are in the pipeline.
Pete White, from Tring is a lighting tech in the TV and film industry. He wrote this book after contracting Covid in 2020 – he took 10 days off work and completed the first draft in that time.
Magic & Memories: A Collection of Short Stories
By Ann Parker. Illustrations by Harvey Padmore
This charming little book is filled with short stories written in rhyme. Perfect for a short story at bedtime, Ann’s tales include a Christmas and Halloween story, as well as one about the tooth fairy, so it’s a book that is guaranteed to be read again and again at certain times of the year. There’s also tales of animals, elves, fairies, family, football and more. The sweet illustrations have been created by Ann’s grandson, Harvey, who is an animation and design student.
Hemel-based Ann Parker has lived in Hertfordshire all her life. She says: ‘I love Pam Ayres and I often get commissioned to write funny, birthday present poems for people, in her style.’’