Fiction: The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

Astonishing, haunting and brutal, Katherine Arden’s WW1 historical fantasy, The Warm Hands of Ghosts, is a tale of endurance, duty, family, and stupid dumb hope; of the bonds between siblings, of the ties which bind together those who face unimaginable dread, and atrocities beyond description.

Nov 1917 – two young men, enemy soldiers, are trapped beneath an upturned pillbox, drowning in mud and darkness. Somehow against all odds they survive. Inexplicably linked by the shared horror, they escape through no man’s land, dread and terror driving them away from battle. Until they encounter a man, a fiddler who can make it all disappear, but at what cost?

Jan 1918 – Injured Canadian nurse Laura Iven has been discharged back home to Halifax, but there has been a terrible accident. Grief stricken and exhausted, she receives a parcel containing her brother Freddie’s uniform, and word that he has died in action, yet it doesn’t all add up. And so she returns to Belgium to search for answers.

Katherine Arden has brilliantly crafted a strange, mesmerising tale about the nature of evil, its need to destroy and erase, how the seeds of hope and new growth are an act of love, and shows the small mercies and care we can offer each other when the world is on fire.

Laura and Freddie etched their story onto my heart. Savage, shocking and filled with love, this testament to the terrible waste, a memorial to those lost, is simply unforgettable.

– Ruth, Bookshop Manager

Non Fiction: I Promise it Won’t Always Hurt like This by Clare Mackintosh

Grief is universal, but it’s also as unique to each of us as the person we’ve lost. It can be overwhelming, exhausting, lonely, unreasonable, there when we least expect it and seemingly never-ending. Wherever you are with your grief and whoever you’re grieving for, I Promise It Won’t Always Hurt Like This is here to support you. To tell you, until you believe it, that things will get easier.

When bestselling writer Clare Mackintosh lost her five-week-old son, she searched for help in books. All of them wanted to tell her what she should be feeling and when she should be feeling it, but the truth – as she soon found out – is that there are no neat, labelled stages for grief, or crash grief-diets to relieve us of our pain. What we need when we’re grieving is time and understanding. With 18 short assurances that are full of compassion – drawn from Clare’s experiences of losing her son and her father – I Promise it Won’t Always Hurt Like This is the book she needed then.

  • Ruth