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About Alison Layland
She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University, and after a brief spell as a taxi driver worked for several years as a chartered surveyor before returning to her first love - language. She translates from German, French and Welsh into English, and her published translations include a number of award-winning and best-selling novels. She also writes
fiction, published by Honno Press.
Someone Else's Conflict, her debut novel, was a Debut of the Month for January 2015 on the Lovereading website. Her second novel, eco-themed psychological thriller Riverflow, was chosen as Welsh book of the month for August 2019 by UK book retail chain Waterstones.
See more at: www.alayland.uk
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A man consumed by a meaningless life is going to do something he’s never considered doing before. He’s going to enjoy the day…
For hyper-particular publishing heir Jonathan Grief, the day starts like any other—with a strict morning fitness regimen that’ll keep his divorced, easily irritated, cynical, forty-two-year-old self in absolutely flawless physical condition. But all it takes to put a crimp in his routine is one small annoyance. Someone has left a leather-bound day planner with the handwritten title Your Perfect Year in his spot on his mountain bike at his fitness course!
Determined to discover its owner, Jonathan opens the calendar to find that someone known only as “H.” has filled it in with suggestions, tasks, and affirmative actions for each day. The more he devotes himself to locating the elusive H., the deeper Jonathan is drawn into someone else’s rich and generous narrative—and into an attitude adjustment he desperately needs.
He may have ended up with a perfect year by accident, but it seems fate has set Jonathan on a path toward healing, feeling, and maybe even loving again…if only he can meet the stranger who’s changing his life one day at a time.
A single treasured keepsake links one unforgettable family across continents in this enthralling saga by Mina Baites, the author of The Silver Music Box.
London, 1963. I dream about my sister almost every night.
Lilian Morrison has one memento of her beloved sister, Emma: a battered silver music box. A family heirloom that was passed down through two world wars, the box was the key to Lilian’s recent, joyous reunion with the surviving members of her birth family, whom she lost many years earlier when she and her sister fled Hitler’s Germany on the Kindertransport. Now Lilian is compelled to investigate Emma’s final days after the girls were shipped to separate foster families in Britain and the time before Emma was killed in the London Blitz.
In London, as she searches for clues to retrace the past, Lilian finds that the anguish of war still reverberates after two decades. In Cape Town, her grandmother courageously protects innocent victims of violence, and in Dublin, a gifted woodworker creates a music box that is strangely similar to the one that Lilian owns. Separate lives will intertwine on a path of healing and hope as the hazy secrets of the past finally come to light.
A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together.
1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family.
A half century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future.
When newly single Annabel Hansen moves to the coastal town of Binz, all she wants is to leave her former life behind. Soon after settling into a beautiful home overlooking the Baltic Sea, she stumbles upon an old fishing boat in a nearby harbor and discovers another purpose: to convert the bullet-riddled Storm Rose into a floating café.
Yet there’s more to this project than peeling paint and a bad engine. When Annabel finds an old letter from an East German defector who was smuggled to safety aboard the vessel, she and Christian—her handsome new business partner—set out to find its author. Together they’ll unravel the Storm Rose’s hidden past—and a shocking mystery that will change Annabel’s life forever.
Gertrud and her foster sister, Hanna, used to be inseparable. But as the years pass, Hanna becomes the beautiful one while Gertrud remains plain. Their once unbreakable bond is strained by jealousy—until Gertrud is brutally murdered and Hanna disappears without a trace.
When uncompromising homicide detective Franza Oberwieser picks up the women’s eerie cases, she begins to pull back the veils over their shared history. Each layer reveals a new and more disturbing truth. Everyone in the family is holding their secrets close, and the deeper Franza digs, the darker they appear. With a mysterious man following her every move—and the nagging distraction of her own recent heartache—can Franza uncover the sisters’ fate before the case turns cold?
One woman takes hold of her legacy in an epic tale of Viennese romance, deception, and danger.
Vienna, 1892. Against all odds, at the height of Belle Époque splendor, Anna Sacher has taken possession of her late husband’s hotel, across the street from the famous opera house. At a time when controlling such a business was an opportunity afforded only to men, Anna is as vigilant as she is relentless. Now, under her ownership, the Hotel Sacher thrives amid the tumult of a changing continent, even as intrigue follows in the shadows.
Through its opulent halls stride visitors from all walks of life, including some of the most glamorous figures of Viennese society—opera singers, princes, princesses—and the maids and manservants who wait on them.
Some guests will find romance. Some will unearth secrets. And some will discover much more than they expected…
From the bestselling author of The Moonlit Garden comes the sweeping, romantic tale of one woman’s quest across two continents and one hundred years of history to unearth her family’s deepest secret.
Diana Wagenbach is the sole survivor in a withering family tree fraught with secrets. When the first in a trail of clues is handed down to Diana by her great-aunt on her deathbed, along with a plea to assuage their family’s guilt by revealing all, Diana obliges. She follows the clues—a picture here, a letter there, a pressed frangipani flower in a book—that carry her away from her philandering husband in Berlin to a charming manor in England and all the way to a tea plantation in Sri Lanka.
Diana unravels the dramatic tale of her great-great-grandmother, Grace Tremayne, with the aid of Jonathan Singh, a local historian and writer—and someone with whom she feels a deep bond that sparks into romance. As Grace’s tragic past in exotic colonial Ceylon is revealed and the family’s sins come to light, Diana finds inspiration in her ancestor’s courage and begins to rethink what happiness—and love—is worth, and how the surest route to peace is in setting the truth free.
Lilly Kaiser had come to terms with her solitary, uncomplicated life after becoming a young widow. So when a stranger delivers an old violin to her Berlin antiques shop and tells Lilly it belongs to her, she’s completely bewildered. Why should she be the one to inherit such an exquisite instrument?
Together with her best friend, Ellen, and handsome musicologist Gabriel Thornton, Lilly sets out to explore the violin’s legacy. From England to Italy to Indonesia, she follows its winding trail. Along the way, she learns of Rose Gallway, a beautiful woman of English and Sumatran descent who lived among Sumatra’s lush gardens more than a hundred years earlier. A celebrated and sought-after musician, Rose once owned Lilly’s violin and regularly played concerts for Sumatra’s colonial elite—until, one day, she simply disappeared.
As Lilly unravels the mystery behind Rose’s story—and uncovers other unexpected secrets—she’ll come to see her own life in an entirely new light. And as each shared discovery brings her closer to Gabriel, her heart might finally break its long-held silence.
No longer the benign friend of summer, the Severn was a restless dragon slithering its way past
After a beloved family member is drowned in a devastating flood, Bede and Elin Sherwell want nothing more than to be left in peace to pursue their off-grid life. But when the very real prospect of fracking hits their village, they are drawn into the front line of the protests. During a spring of relentless rain, a series of mysterious threats and suspicious accidents put friendships on the line, and the Sherwells’ marriage under unbearable tension. Is there a connection with their uncle’s death? As the river rises in torrential rain, pressure mounts, Bede’s sense of self begins to crumble, and Elin is no longer sure who to believe or what to believe in.
‘I was completely drawn in by her characters and their environment... The sense of unease that pervades throughout was heart-stopping.’ Emma Curtis
Swiss journalist Saskia Wagner’s life is in shambles—she’s lost her job and left her callous boyfriend. So when she learns of a summer job on a wine-growing estate in the small French village of Beaumes-de-Venise, she jumps at the chance, hoping it can provide her with the escape she needs to clear her head.
But it would seem that where wine flows, trouble follows. Jean-Luc Rougeon, the handsome-but-surly owner of the estate, appears distinctly unsettled by Saskia’s presence. And he’s not the only one: everyone in the village is behaving oddly toward her. It could just be curiosity about the new girl, but something more seems to be afoot.
Unwittingly entangled in her new community, Saskia faces charged emotions. Can this be the identity she’d come to Provence to discover?
In Port au Prince, Haiti, the police roam the streets and no one is safe. Fignolé, a musician and political radical, is missing. His sisters Joyeuse and Angelique search for their young brother amid the colorful bustle, urban deprivation, and political tension of the city; when they eventually locate him, they will have found more about themselves than they wanted to know. This story explores one day and three lives in a city where love is hard to find, life is cheap, and death is all too familiar. It is the tense, passionate, and vividly told story of small victories of hope in the face of a seemingly impossible fight against a monolithic regime.