Staff Picks

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Staff Picks

Looking for something new to read? Our staff are avid readers and provide recommendations each month.

Below are a selection of our favourite reads from last month.

The family doctor by Debra Oswald

Adult fiction

Picked by Amanda

Paula is a dedicated suburban GP, who is devastated by the murder of a friend and her children by their estranged husband and father. Stacey and the children had been staying with her after fleeing his control, and Paula is haunted by the thought that she couldn't protect them when they most needed it. How had she missed the warning signs? How had she failed to keep them safe? Not long after, a patient with suspicious injuries brings her anxious young son into Paula's surgery. The woman admits that her husband hurts her, but she's terrified to leave for fear of escalating the violence, and defeated by the consistent failures of the law to help her. Can Paula go against everything she believes to make sure one woman is saved, one child spared? She isn't motivated by revenge. She's desperately trying to prevent a tragedy.

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The push by Ashley Audrain

Adult fiction

Picked by Michelle

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting, supportive mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter - Violet rejects her mother, screams uncontrollably, and becomes a disturbing, disruptive presence at her preschool. Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she's imagining things. What he sees is an overwhelmed wife who can't cope with the day-to-day grind. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well. Then their son Sam is born - and with him, Blythe has the natural, blissful connection she'd always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth. Here, we see the making and breaking of a family in crystalline detail, and what it feels like when women are not believed.

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In the sea there are crocodiles by Fabrio Geda

Teen fiction

Picked by Tracey

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah's mother tells him three things: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, and don't steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn't there. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen.

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Tussaud by Belinda Lyons-Lee

Adult fiction

Picked by Briana

Paris, 1810. Haunted by the French Revolution, Marie Tussaud has locked herself away in her shop with the death masks she was forced to make to avoid the guillotine. Philidor, a famous magician, offers her the chance to accompany him to London to assist in creating a wax automaton that will bring them both money and success. Following a disastrous performance on their opening night in which the wax on their prized spectacle melts, the eccentric Duke, William Cavendish, invites them to his rambling estate, Welbeck, where he suggests they take up residence, use his underground ballroom for a new show and in return create a private commission for him: a wax automaton in the likeness of Elanor, a beautiful girl who mysteriously disappeared from the estate when he was a child.

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When the world was ours by Liz Kessler

Teen fiction

Picked by Sarah

Vienna. 1936. Three young friends spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness and that events will soon mean that they are ripped apart from each other as their lives take very different directions... Inspired by a true story, this is an extraordinary novel that is as powerful as it is heartbreaking and shows the bonds of love, family and friendship allow glimmers of hope to flourish, even in the most hopeless of times.

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The writers' festival by Stephanie Johnson

Adult fiction

Picked by Lis

Writers' festivals can be hotbeds of literary and romantic intrigue and the Oceania is up there with the best of them. Rookie director Rae McKay, recently returned from New York, fears she has bitten off more than she can chew. Pressure comes not only from local and international writers but also from the prestigious Opus Book Award, which this year is being hosted by the festival.

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Listening still by Anne Griffin

Adult fiction

Picked by Marj

Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the last words of the dead. Passed down from generation to generation, this gift means she is able to make wrongs right, to give voice to unspoken love and dying regrets. She and her father have worked happily alongside each other for years, but now he's unexpectedly announced that he wants to retire early and leave the business to her and her life is called into question. Does she really want to be married to the embalmer, or does she want to be with her childhood sweetheart, off in London? Does she want to have children, and pass this gift on to them? And does she want to be stuck in this small town, or is there more of the world she wants to see - like the South of France, where she's discovered a woman who shares her gift? Tied to her home by this unusual talent, she begins to question: what if what she's always thought of as a gift is a curse?

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