Can a birdwatcher outwit a convict? Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for bird-spotting. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret bird-watching hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for bird-spotting to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot?
It’s late 1944. Allied victory is on its way, but it’s bloody well dragging its feet. Hitler’s rockets are slamming down on London with vicious regularity and it’s the coldest winter in living memory. In a large house next to Hampstead Heath, Vera Sedge is just about scraping by, with a household of lodgers to feed, and her young ward Noel (almost 15) to clothe and educate. When she witnesses a road accident and finds herself in court, the effects are both unexpectedly marvellous, and potentially deadly, because Vee is not actually the person she’s pretending to be, and neither is Noel. The end of the war won’t just mean peace, but discovery.
Lisa is running. She has taken her child, Jack, and she has run from his father. Lisa thinks she’s safe. She’s found a remote house where no one will be able to find them. Lisa is about to wake up in her worst nightmare. And now she must face what she’s tried to escape. Risking everything to protect her little boy, Lisa knows that in order to survive she will have to fight, but it’s hard to face someone you loved, especially someone you still love, who knows who you really are – and what you are really capable of. Family is everything. What would you do to protect it?
It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade. Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.
Snegurochka is a story about motherhood, from the perspective of young Englishwoman Rachel, living in Ukraine in 1992. Mykola the racketeer, Stepan the watcher and Elena the caretaker behave with depth and complexity as they respond to Rachel and a profound and emotive backstory is revealed that nevertheless keeps menace on a knife edge.
You’re called Fidge and you’re nearly 11. You’ve been hurled into a strange world. You have three companions: two are unbelievably weird and the third is your awful cousin Graham. You have to solve a series of nearly impossible clues. You need to deal with a cruel dictator and three thousand Wimbley Woos (yes, you read that sentence correctly). And the whole situation – the whole, entire thing – is your fault.