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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

International Happiness Month

By Georgia Wells, Anna Robinson and Steph Carroll

The Connellys of County Down by Tracey Lange

1 August, Celadon Books

After serving an eighteen-month drug charge sentence, Tara Connelly faces the daunting task of rebuilding her life at the age of thirty. With no money or prospects, she moves in with her busy siblings, each dealing with their own troubles. Her brother, a single dad, struggles with the lingering effects of a past brain injury, while her sister’s composed exterior hides significant secrets.

To complicate matters further, the cop responsible for her imprisonment keeps appearing unexpectedly, leaving Tara puzzled by his intentions. Amid rebuilding her career and maintaining family bonds, Tara unexpectedly finds love. However, as their concealed truths surface, the Connellys must confront their fears or risk losing each other forever.

The Funny Thing about Death by Jo Caulfield

3 August, Birlinn Ltd

Comedian Jo Caulfield skilfully navigates grief and the death of a sibling through humour and caustic wit in her memoir, The Funny Thing About Death.

Six years ago, Jo found out her older sister, Annie, had cancer just as she was about to go on stage for a comedy gig. Despite this shaky start to her nationwide comedy tour, the presence of thousands of people in various towns and cities proved to be a welcome distraction for both sisters.

Reporting back from hotels and service stations, Jo and Annie revisit their childhood and teenage years, all while navigating the horrors of Annie’s illness. During the tour, Jo learns how to behave when a loved one is unwell and how best to care for her sister.

In Jo’s memoir, her humour takes the place of sorrow and grief as she explores her unconventional childhood in the 1970s. Raised on Air Force bases and later at a strict convent boarding school, the sisters did not fit in. Annie was witty and greedy for life, travelling the world and becoming a screenwriter and broadcaster. Equally rebellious, Jo didn’t have a plan but wanted to be just like her older sister.

Jo’s sharp observations and cutting wit make her story of life with her older sister entertaining, touching and relatable, despite the backdrop of grief and pain.

What You Are Looking For is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama, translated by Alison Watts

10 August, Doubleday

What You Are Looking For is in the Library, the Japanese best-selling novel and shortlisted for the Japan Booksellers Award, is an uplifting, soul-stirring novel that teaches us to listen to our hearts and follow our dreams.

Sayuri Komachi asks the visitors entering her library one question: “What are you looking for?” With the ability to sense what someone is looking for in life and what their heart desires, she picks the perfect book recommendation to guide them down the right path, helping them find exactly what they’re looking for.

In this delightful story, we meet five visitors who are all on a quest for a newfound purpose in life; the restless retail assistant, the mother who has been demoted at work after maternity leave, the accountant who yearns to swap his career for his dream antique store, the young manga artist and a retired salaryman. All five wish to follow a new path in life, and Sayuri knows just the book to guide them in the right direction and help them achieve the dreams they most desire.

The magic of community libraries can be found within this inspirational novel and the message that the discovery of connection, paired with seizing all opportunities, can help us achieve even our wildest dreams.

Happiness by Danielle Steel

17 August, Pan MacMillan

Amid an unsettling and joyless childhood, followed by two unsuccessful marriages marked by a lack of true affection, Sabrina Brooks, the acclaimed author of thrilling tales, has at last discovered the life she always yearned for. She finally feels content. She immerses herself in writing, treasures her close-knit circle of friends and finds solace in her picturesque home nestled in the tranquil Massachusetts Berkshire Mountains, where her two cherished dogs share in her happiness.

However, Sabrina's idyllic existence is abruptly upended when she receives a mysterious letter bearing the news that she is now the sole inheritor of her recently departed uncle's grand title and historic manor estate in Hampshire, England. Although her intentions lean towards selling the property, she is compelled to journey across the Atlantic Ocean and inspect the estate in person. Yet as Sabrina's feet tread upon English soil, her life takes an unexpected twist. Exploring the depths of her ancestral past, she is confronted with family secrets hidden by her father.

Surprisingly, she falls in love with the beauty of the manor and its gardens and cannot help but enjoy the company of the devastatingly handsome but complicated lawyer who acts as her tour guide.


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