Inspired by a true story, this is the fictional reimagining of 'Able Seacat' Simon's adventures and heroics in dangerous wartime seas.Simon is discovered in the Hong Kong docks in 1948 and smuggled on board the H.M.S Amethyst by a British sailor who takes pity on the malnourished kitten. The young cat quickly acclimates to his new water-borne home, establishing himself as the chief rat-catcher in residence while also winning the hearts of the entire crew. Then the Amethystis ordered to sail up the Yangtze to take over the guarding of the British Embassy, and tragedy strikes as the ship comes under fire from Communist guns. Many of the crew are killed and Simon is among those who are seriously wounded. Luckily, with the help of the ship's doctor, the brave cat makes a full recovery and is soon spending time with the injured men in the sick bay, purring and keeping their spirits up. News of Simon's heroism spreads and he becomes famous world-wide - but it is still a long journey back to England for both the crew and the plucky little cat known as 'Able Seacat Simon'...
In 1963, London was on the brink of becoming one of the world's most vibrant cities. Angela Patrick was 19 years old, enjoying her first job working in the City when her life turned upside down. A brief fling with a charismatic charmer left her pregnant, unmarried and facing a stark future. Being under 21, she was still under the governance of her parents, strict Catholics who insisted she have the baby in secret and then put it up for adoption.Shunned by her family and forced to leave her job, Angela was sent to an imposing-looking convent for unmarried mothers in north-east London. Run like a Victorian workhouse, conditions in the convent were decidedly Spartan. Vilified and degraded by the nuns for her 'wickedness', her only comfort came from the other pregnant girls, all knowing they too would have to give up their babies. After a terrifying labour with no pain relief, Angela gave birth to a beautiful son, Paul, with whom she fell instantly in love. At eight weeks he was taken from her and forcibly put up for adoption, leaving Angela bereft and heartbroken. Not a day went by without Angela thinking about him. Then, thirty years later, she received a letter. It was from Paul, and a reunion was arranged.This vital slice of social history is a shocking reminder of how cultural mores have changed around the issue of single motherhood since the early 1960s. It is also an honest, heartfelt memoir that explores the closest of human bonds.
In 1963, London was on the brink of becoming one of the world's most vibrant cities. Angela Patrick was 19 years old, enjoying her first job working in the City when her life turned upside down. A brief fling with a charismatic charmer left her pregnant, unmarried and facing a stark future. Being under 21, she was still under the governance of her parents, strict Catholics who insisted she have the baby in secret and then put it up for adoption. Shunned by her family and forced to leave her job, Angela was sent to an imposing-looking convent for unmarried mothers in north-east London. Run like a Victorian workhouse, conditions in the convent were decidedly Spartan. Vilified and degraded by the nuns for her 'wickedness', her only comfort came from the other pregnant girls, all knowing they too would have to give up their babies. After a terrifying labour with no pain relief, Angela gave birth to a beautiful son, Paul, with whom she fell instantly in love. At eight weeks he was taken from her and forcibly put up for adoption, leaving Angela bereft and heartbroken. Not a day went by without Angela thinking about him. Then, thirty years later, she received a letter. It was from Paul, and a reunion was arranged. This vital slice of social history is a shocking reminder of how cultural mores have changed around the issue of single motherhood since the early 1960s. It is also an honest, heartfelt memoir that explores the closest of human bonds.
Radio Wales DJ Jack Valentine finds a lost trainer on a station platform. With echoes of Cinderella, he appeals on his show for its owner, Hope Shepherd, to come forward. Hope handles publicity for a Cardiff based charity, Heartbeat. Encouraged by colleagues to secure Jack Valentine to raise the profile of an upcoming fun run, she reluctantly heads for the studios. The attraction between Hope and Jack is immediate but, bruised and battered by their recent divorces, they are reluctant to risk romance again. Barefoot In The Dark is a bitter-sweet novel about taking the first steps towards trusting again. But when love at first sight is the last thing you're after, is a fairytale ending an impossible dream?
With his big blue eyes and soulful expression, George was the irresistible runt of the litter. But Dave and Christie Nasser's "baby" ended up being almost five feet tall, seven feet long, and 245 pounds. Eager to play, and boisterous to the point of causing chaos, this big Great Dane was scared of water, scared of dogs a fraction of his size and, most of all, scared of being alone. GIANT GEORGE is the charming story of how this precocious puppy won Dave and Christie's hearts and along the way became a doggie superstar. In 2010, George was named by Guinness World Records as the Tallest Dog in the World-ever. He appeared on Oprah, and even has his own global fan club. But to Dave and Christie, this extraordinary animal is still their beloved pet, the one who has made them laugh, made them cry, and continues to make them incredibly happy.
The poignant story of a girl who overcomes unique hardship and deprivation--growing up with a troop of capuchin monkeys--to find ultimate redemptionIn 1954, in a remote mountain village in South America, a little girl was abducted. She was four years old. Marina Chapman was stolen from her housing estate and then abandoned deep in the Colombian jungle. That she survived is a miracle. Two days later, half-drugged, terrified, and starving, she came upon a troop of capuchin monkeys. Acting entirely on instinct, she tried to do what they did: she ate what they ate and copied their actions, and little by little, learned to fend for herself.So begins the story of her five years among the monkeys, during which time she gradually became feral; she lost the ability to speak, lost all inhibition, lost any real sense of being human, replacing the structure of human society with the social mores of her new simian family. But society was eventually to reclaim her. At age ten, she was discovered by a pair of hunters who took her to the lawless Colombian city of Cucuta where, in exchange for a parrot, they sold her to a brothel. When she learned that she was to be groomed for prostitution, she made her plans to escape. But her adventure wasn't over yet . . .In the vein of Slumdog Millionaire and City of God, this rousing story of a lost child who overcomes the dangers of the wild and the brutality of the streets to finally reclaim her life will astonish readers everywhere.
Born the third of eight children into a life of rural squalor in a farming community in the south of England, Faith Scott's infant world is already more challenging than most. Bewildered by the bizarre and cruel behaviour of her mother and terrified by the violent outbursts of her perpetually angry father, the only certainty in life is that there is none. So when Granddad 'Pop' gives her sweets and does the horrid things he does to her, how is she to know that isn't what all Granddads do? And if it isn't, why does her mother find it funny? Told with honesty and courage, this is the story of a little girl who never stood a chance - who was regularly abused in the most shocking ways by her family and preyed upon by the worst kind of men. Faith went on to have two children in her teens and endured appalling domestic violence but now, after all the suffering, she has turned her life around. Her decades-long journey out of the darkness tells the truth about what happens to abused children when they grow up, in a story that's horrifying and compelling in equal measure.
When Julia's husband has an affair with local siren Rhiannon de Laney, she feels as if her world is falling apart. Once the arguments have abated, and her husband has moved out, Julia realises she's well and truly on her own, a single parent with two teenage children, a bad haircut and no idea of what to do or where to go next. Gradually, however, Julia begins to recognise the benefits of being single: it's the chance to meet new people and make new friends, change her hairstyle, throw out her old clothes, experiment with a new image, resurrect her photography career, travel the country with a boy band and, in short, rediscover herself outside the context of loyal wife and dutiful mother. She also rediscovers the joys of dating. After a few false starts, she finds herself learning more about the talents, musical and otherwise, of the lead singer of Britain's most famous band. Julia's certainly got herself a life you wonder whether it is the kind of existence she wants to live permanently, or whether her ailing marriage is worth saving. Light-hearted, humorous and at times surprising, Julia's battles with this age-old dilemma prove instantly recognisable yet highly entertaining, with a twist in the tale that may surprise or perplex.
Angie and Ian were childhood sweethearts, Angie adored kids and, as one of eight children himself, Ian was only too happy to have as many as they could. After their marriage they had three sons in quick succession. But then, aged just thirty one, Angie was diagnosed with breast cancer and the couple had to accept they might not be able to have any more. Five years on, though, with Angie well again they went on to have five more. But in 2007, Angie had a shadow on her lung and it was the return of the original breast cancer she thought she had beaten. It seemed the disease had returned to tear their world apart again. Though Ian searched tirelessly for cures, Angie practised acceptance. She wouldn't live to see her children grow up. Raising eight children would be a big job for any couple; to raise them alone, without their mother, an almost Herculean feat. But this was exactly what Angie wanted Ian to be able to do. So in the last months of her life, Angie compiled a list of 'rules' to guide Ian in the future, and put him on an intensive training course, so he could learn all the skills he would need. She taught him how to make her special chicken curry, how to soothe away their hurts, pack their lunchboxes with all their favourites and do all the little things she'd done for them so unthinkingly. And Ian knew he wasn't just doing this for the children. He was doing it so his beloved wife could be comforted by knowing that he had the tools to bring their children up her way. Finally, inevitably, came the hardest task of all. Angie, the job done, had to find the courage to let them go, and Ian and the children the courage to carry on without her.
My mother has just the two modes of operation. Either slightly dramatic or seriously dramatic. That this is the latter means just the one thing. That my day is about to get worse...' And for single mum, Abbie, life is complex enough. So once her eldest son, Seb, has gone on his gap year, she's decided it's time to make changes. She's just left her old job and started a new one (to escape the gorgeous man-who-turned-out-to-be-married), and is planning some space for herself at long last. But fate seems to have something else in mind for Abbie, in the shape of her demanding and incorrigible mother, whose feckless fourth husband, Hugo, has just died. Temporarily in a wheelchair after a recent knee op, Diana - retired TV fitness icon and dancer - will need looking after, so will have to move in. Still, Abbie tells herself - gritting her teeth - it won't be for more than a few weeks... However, Abbie hasn't figured on the sudden arrival of Hugo's 20 years' estranged son. A suave TV Weatherman, Gabriel Ash not only owns the deeds to what they thought was Hugo's house, but also has plans of his own...
Sisters Megan and Ffion have never had secrets, so when Megan goes to flat-sit all she's expecting is a rest and a change. When a stranger called Jack phones, Megan wonders who he is. Ffion behaves like she's just seen a ghost, and refuses to say any more. So is Jack a ghost? Ffion's not telling and when she disappears too, the mystery deepens. Megan begins to fear for the future. She's always been the one who's looked after her little sister. Is this going to be the one time she can't?
It was then that it struck me, with terrifying clarity. I was going to die. I was going to die at any moment. I was going to die, moreover, in a pair of tartan pyjamas and a grubby black cardigan. For whatever was attached to the headlights in front of me was actually driving on my side of the road...' So begins Sally Matthews' date with destiny. She doesn't actually believe in destiny, of course - she's way too busy looking after her husband, arranging her step-daughter's wedding, and humouring her mum-on-a-mission (which currently involves Tony Blair). No surprise, then, that she's out late at night, with nothing but a dog and a cricket bat for company. In short, Sally hasn't time for a near-death experience. However handsome the man who's about to run her off the road...
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