Cnut, or Canute, was King of England for nearly 20 years, dying in Dorset in 1035. A formidable figure, Cnut is one of the great ‘what ifs’ in English history. The culmination of a long period of Viking attacks and settlement across England, Cnut’s reign could have permanently shifted 11th century England’s orbit to Scandinavia. Stretching his authority across the North Sea to become king of Denmark and Norway, and with close links to Ireland and an overlordship of Scotland, Cnut created a Viking Empire at least as plausible as the Anglo-Norman Empire that would emerge in 1066. Ryan Lavelle’s book explores this fascinating and powerful man. He has popularly come down to us for the story of Canute and the waves – but he was a nation and empire builder on the grandest scale and his reign is a sort of masterclass in the contingent, wayward nature of history.
The heartwarming story of a year spent in a forgotten corner of apartheid South Africa, where humour and kindness flourished amid grinding poverty and brutal racism. Funny and shocking in equal measure, this tale of a British teenager far from home – and his unlikely friendship with a local nun – is one of adventure, ambition and hope.
Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance. But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.
Cat likes to work in the garden digging, planting seeds and growing vegetables. Puss doesn’t appear to see the point in gardening, she likes to be in the house sitting around drinking tea. But Puss really likes to eat delicious food, so when Cat makes a feast with her harvest, Puss wants to share.
Addie and her sister are about to embark on an epic road trip to a friend’s wedding in rural Scotland. The playlist is all planned and the snacks are packed. But, not long after setting off, a car slams into the back of theirs. The driver is none other than Addie’s ex, Dylan, who she’s avoided since their traumatic break-up two years earlier. Dylan and his best mate are heading to the wedding too, and they’ve totalled their car, so Addie has no choice but to offer them a ride. The car is soon jam-packed full of luggage and secrets, and with 400-miles ahead of them, Dylan and Addie can’t avoid confronting the very messy history of their relationship. Will they make it to the wedding on time? And, more importantly – is this really the end of the road for Addie and Dylan?