Bloomin’ Good Reads
By Anna Robinson, Maisy Twaddle, Jamie Butler and Charlotte Barber
Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World by Leah Broad
2 March, Faber & Faber
Dr Leah Broad’s debut biography is a powerful insight into the lives of four extraordinary women who changed the world of music over the past 200 years. With a focus on unfamiliar histories, Dr Broad’s exploration of the lives, loves, adventures and pioneering works of four women brings an often overlooked piece of musical history to the forefront.
The women – Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen – were celebrities in their time but have now become ghostly figures in the memory of music. With this group biography, Dr Broad hopes to re-introduce these women to the 21st century by recounting their forgotten lives and navigating rebellion, suffrage, heartbreak and ambition. Navigating British history over two world wars, Quartet “revolutionises the canon forever.”
Ethel Smyth was a trailblazing queer Victorian composer, traveller and Suffragette. Rebecca Clarke was one of the first women hired by a professional orchestra. Dorothy Howell shot to fame at the 1919 Proms and was revered as the “English Strauss.” Doreen Carwithen was one of Britain’s first female film composers and scored Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, whilst hiding her twenty-year affair with her composition tutor. As D Broad resurrects these powerful and creative women, we are enveloped in a world of music and personal drama to understand just how fascinating these women were.
Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood
7 March, Vintage Publishing
New from internationally acclaimed author Margaret Atwood, Old Babes in the Wood dazzles as a collection of fifteen stories.
Encounter a confused snail, beloved cats, George Orwell, a group of elderly female academics, an alien tasked with re-telling human fairy tales and philosopher-astronomer-mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria through this collection of stories examining the full warp and weft of experience.
The full range of Atwood’s creativity illuminates these tales, from friends disagreeing over their shared past to a daughter deciding whether her mother is really a witch and the right way to stop someone from choking. At the heart of the stories woven throughout is a stunning sequence of the big and small moments that form life when you’re in love through a married couple travelling together. This collection stirs equal delight and devastation through Atwood’s unique voice.
The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner
7 March, Park Row
Vaudeline D’Allaire is a renowned spiritualist living in 1873 Paris. She’s famous for her ability to conjure the spirits of murder victims and discover the truth behind who killed them. Lenna Wickes has never fully trusted or believed in the occult. Her logical nature doesn’t align with so much unknown. But everything is different now that she is left seeking answers after her sister's death.
The two women’s worlds intertwine when Lenna resolves to accompany Vaudeline to England and shadow her as she solves a high-profile murder. Enter the men of London’s infamous Séance Society, eager and ready to solve the same mystery. Now partnered with London’s Society, Vaudeline and Lenna discover they’re more wrapped up in this history than they could’ve imagined. Now they might not just be solving a crime but involved in one themselves.
Author of the bestselling novel, The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner’s latest is another thrilling and daring adventure starring heroic women on the quest for justice. The London Séance Society is sure to become another favourite.
The Love Wager by Lynn Painter
14 March, Berkeley
Hallie Piper is determined to be better. She has a new apartment, a new haircut, a new wardrobe and she is determined to forget her past mistakes. With her life now under control, she is determined to be more of an adult.
And yet when she begins her dating app journey to the love of her life, she is met with none other than Jack, the guy she left at the hotel room.
They become friends, and after a joint agreement, all they want is friendship. They place bets to see who can find their other half first. They text each other about their dates and schedule them at the same place so that they can get tacos afterwards if all goes south.
But as time progresses, neither is close to finding “the one,” and their copious amount of taco sharing can only go unnoticed for so long before they realise there might be something more between them after all…
Things get complicated when they fake-date at a wedding and suddenly the lines in their agreement begin to seem a little blurred.