This week at our Pennsylvania office, it’s suddenly dropped below freezing (current temperature: 19 degrees). The good news is, the weather has inspired us to find books to escape that dreary winter chill. From travel guides, to summertime romances, these titles will help you escape the cold this winter.
Although for many the Kalahari evokes images of a vast dry desert of thirsty red sands, it is the capricious summer landscape that has lured Robert Grogan back to this region for more than 30 years. He has braved unpredictable storms, impassable roads, fierce heat and humidity, insects and tall grass for the chance to paint the summer cloud banks and startling transformations rendered by the rains. He has photographed, too, the iconic wildlife, as well as seasonal delights, such as butterflies, wildflowers and the springbok lambing season. The capricious summer landscape of the Kalahari has lured Robert Grogan back to this region for more than 30 years. This vibrant collection of landscape paintings and magnificent wildlife photographs brings the Kalahari’s lush and beautiful summer season vividly to life.
Buy it here $28.95
The Summer House
England 1918. Lady Helen believes her parents when they say she will never find a better husband than Richard, but when he returns to the Front, she begins to wonder just who it is she has married. His letters home are cold and distant – and Helen realizes that she has made a terrible mistake. Then Oliver Donovan enters her life and they begin an affair that leaves Helen pregnant and alone – she is forced to surrender her precious baby. Over twenty years pass and a second war is ravaging Europe, but that is not the only echo of the past to haunt the present. Laura Drummond is caught in a tragic love affair of her own and when she is forced to leave London during the Blitz, she turns to the mother she never knew.
Buy it here $16.95
Oscar Wilde and the Scandalous Summer of Earnest
In the summer of 1894 Oscar Wilde spent eight weeks in Worthing. It was during this family holiday that he wrote his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest.
The two months in Worthing were a microcosm of Wilde’s turbulent life during the three years between his falling in love with Lord Alfred Douglas (‘Bosie’) in 1892 and his imprisonment in 1895. Constance Wilde, lonely and depressed, became emotionally involved with her husband’s publisher, to whom she wrote a love-letter on the day he visited the Wildes in Worthing. Meanwhile Wilde was spending much of his time with the feckless and demanding Douglas and with three teenage boys he regularly took out sailing, swimming and fishing. One of these boys was Alphonse Conway, with whom Wilde became sexually involved, and about whom he was to be questioned at length and to damaging effect in court six months later, when he sued Douglas’s father, the Marquess of Queensberry, for libel.
Oscar Wilde and the Scandalous Summer of Earnest tells for the first time the full extraordinary story of the final summer before Wilde’s life fell apart and reassesses the aftermath, offering fresh insights into Wilde’s attitude to the boys and young men with whom he was involved.
Buy it here $34.95
‘The end of the old world’ people said about the long hot summer of 1914. It was the last season of optimism, of certainty about the future as the sun set on the Edwardian age. That summer Aunt Tilly comes to stay with her brother the Rector and his four lively daughters in the sleepy Sussex village of Ashden. Aunt Tilly’s visit sparks off a chain of events which threatens to split Ashden apart, in which Agnes Pilbeam, the Rectory palourmaid, and her sweetheart Jamie find themselves bewilderingly caught up. Then in August the lamps go out all over Europe and war bursts open the straitjacket of rural village life. The war will bring tragedy, change and love as private torments and struggles are subjected to the greater need. The challenge will prove too much for some and the making of others.
Buy it here $9.95
Africa in the Footsteps of the Great Explorers
Fans of Kingsley Holgate and his wild adventures, tackled fearlessly with his wife Gill and son Ross and a varying band of expedition members, will relish this series of epic exploits. Always game to venture where many before him have feared to tread, Kingsley and his entourage have set out to honor those tough, courageous early explorers of the African continent. David Livingstone, Henry Morton Stanley, Frederick Courtney Selous, John Hanning Speke and others all faced starvation, fever and often death to open up Africa to the Western world. Like these brave and tenacious individuals, the Holgate party tackle mighty rivers such as the Nile, Congo, Rovuma and Ru ji, negotiating angry rapids, thrashing with crocodiles and startling territorial hippos. Circumnavigating Africa’s greatest lakes – Niassa, Victoria and Tanganyika – they battle demonic high winds and water, and endure the blistering furnace of the desolate lava-bouldered Jade Sea’s shores. These are tales of such daring, courage and endurance that it is impossible for readers to tire of the Holgate family’s high adventures. The adventures are illustrated with photographs, line drawings and historical maps.
Buy it here $29.00
When libel lawyer, Tom Hadleigh acquires a perfect holiday home – a 14th century house that needs restoring, there’s a slight problem. The house is located in the beautiful Umbria countryside and Tom can’t speak a word of Italian.
Enter Evie Shaw, masquerading as an agency temp but in reality the newest reporter for gossip magazine Pure Dirt. Unbeknown to Tom, Italian speaking Evie has been sent by her manipulative editor to write an exposé on him. And the stakes are high – Evie’s job rests on her success.
But the path for the investigative journalist is seldom smooth, and it certainly never is when the subject in hand is drop-dead gorgeous.
Buy it here $11.95
The Hawthorns Bloom in May
Now in her fifties and a grandmother, Rose Hamilton has much to be thankful for in the steady love of her husband John and their relative prosperity. But she is concerned for her children: Sarah, recently widowed, is burdened with grief and worried by signs of trade union discontent in the Sinton family mills. Sam, married to cold, selfish Martha, is struggling to bring up his six children. Only Hannah, happily married and living in England, causes Rose no worry, though she misses her dreadfully.
As world events impinge on the family at Ballydown – the sinking of the Titanic and the outbreak of the First World War – Rose and Sarah face new challenges and tragedies in their daily lives.
Buy it here $16.95
Read the prequels…
Sinker thrusts us into the story of Baker Forley. He begins the novel as a sweet, unassuming Irish man who is revealed to be a promising newcomer to the world’s most controversial sport – professional drinking. Ambition fuels his talent as he strives to make something of his life, but he is plagued by worries that he could die from his job, through alcohol poisoning. Frequent fatalities occur, as players often drop dead during games. When his popularity lands him a spot at the infamous Bullfight competition in sun-baked Mallorca, Baker believes that his luck has turned. But when his drunken eye is drawn to a Saudi beauty, her bodyguard steps over and floors him. The bodyguard’s boss – a Saudi oil baron – invites Baker to his magnificent, surreal, Gaudi-designed palace to hear an apology. Baker – joined by his over-ebullient coach Ratface – gets an offer he can’t refuse: “Teach the crazy billionaire Sheikh to drink like a pro and in turn he’ll make you rich.” Later, as illicit lust flares between Baker and the oil baron’s sober wife; he learns the real reason why he has been asked along. It’s a set up, and he’s about to be framed for killing a Sheikh. After three days of industrial-level drinking and dealing with Ratface’s random groping, can Baker break free?
Buy it here $20.00