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Bill Spence

90-year-old Bill Spence, who writes under the name, Jessica Blair, is shortlisted for this year's Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Newsletter No 121

March 2014

“Tis better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all.” 
― Alfred Tennyson, In Memoria

The Book of the Month is THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER by Brian Payton, a story of love, loss and survival set in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, during World War 2.

Go to the competition page to win a copy and read an interview with the author.

The other recommended titles are: THE SHOCK OF THE FALL by Nathan Filer, a perceptive and moving first novel and Costa Book of the Year; LAYLA by Nina de la Mer, a contemporary and fast paced, urban story about a young lap-dancer trying to find a better life; and a wonderful collection of short stories, Goodbye CROCODILE by Conor Patrick.

The crime review is COLD COURAGE by Pekka Hiltunen. Written by a Finn and set in London about the murder of a Latvian - a truly European thriller!

Let us know what you think of our reviews. Leave your comments at the bottom of any review - we’d love to hear them.

The 5 lucky winners of UNEXPECTED LESSONS IN LOVE by Bernadine Bishop, are: Helen Johnson, Redruth; Julie Tift, Eastbourne; John Morey, Great Harwood; Joseph Arwen-Langham, Nottingham and Sarah Smith, Bathgate. Many thanks to Bloomsbury, the publishers.

The 4 winners of a pair of tickets to see ENO: PETER GRIMES live on 23rd February were: Rodney Mowe; Nicola Waugh; Lucia Hesketh and Marjorie Lacy. We hope you all enjoyed it.


Welcome to all the new groups who have recently registered with us. Now is the time to request your FREE BOOKS! Just go to the offers page. This is for ALL registered groups (sorry, UK and N. Ireland groups only) not just new ones. If your group is not registered then just fill in the form. It’s a very simple process. N.B. You only need to register once.
Do your bookgroup details need updating? Email us at info@bookgroup.info and we’ll amend your directory entry for you.

Do you want to be our BGoTM? Just fill in the questionnaire and win a £10 voucher if you’re chosen.

Here are some new groups recently registered with us who are looking for members: MK Reading Group, Milton Keynes; Wine Women, Wit, Bury St Edmunds; Rowntree Reading Café Bookgroup, York; Future Cities Readers Group, Central London; North City Reading Group, Harpurhey; Book Swap, Edinburgh and Crimetime, Manchester.
So if you're looking for a group in any of those areas, get in touch with them through their page on the directory.

See what’s on in your area on our list of festivals and events. If you want us to include something free on the listings page then complete the registration form or contact us at info@bookgroup.info

If you’re looking for an independent bookshop in your town our list could tell you if there’s one near you, or if you own or manage an independent bookshop we can list your shop free on the site. Just complete the registration form or email us at info@bookgroup.info for more information.

The Folio Prize which claims to be ‘the first major English language book prize open to writers from around the world’ will be awarded on Monday 10 March.

“There are many pop autobiographies that shouldn’t be written. Some to protect the unwary reader and some to protect the author. In Morrissey’s case, he has managed both.” Read the rest of this, The Hatchet Job of the Year Award which was awarded to A A Gill for his scathing review of AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Morrisey.

Good news for lovers of literary fiction. Hilary Mantel's BRING UP THE BODIES comes a creditable eighth in the most borrowed books of the year from UK libraries – the first time a Booker winner has reached the top 10. A sign of the economic times or just a great book?

The Wellcome Trust's Book Prize 2014 shortlist announced. The prize celebrates the topics of health and medicine in literature. It awards £30,000 each year to the winning author, and aims to stimulate interest and debate about medical science through books and reading. Its shortlists can include biography, crime, historical fiction, current affairs, sci-fi and more. 

For more than 50 years, female writers have won the top UK award for romantic fiction, and 2014 looked to be no different. But all was not as it seemed. One of the 36 writers shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year award, Jessica Blair, is in fact a pseudonym of Bill Spence, a 90-year-old war hero. Read more about the shortlist here.

The March edition of BBC Radio 4 Bookclub is on Sunday 2nd at 4pm and Thursday 6th at 3.30pm and features Naomi Alderman discussing her novel DISOBEDIENCE. Read our review before listening in. Remember, you can listen again on the BBC i-player.

Please do remember to forward the newsletter to other members of your group so that they can take advantage of the offers and competitions.

Please email us at info@bookgroup.info if you wish to unsubscribe to the newsletter.

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