Book club

Whitley WI Book Club 2020

Book Club meetings are held on the Wednesday following the WI monthly meeting at 7.30 pm. No meetings are held in December or August. Occasionally there may be a change in venue, date or order for reading the books but members will be notified of any changes and details will also be on the Whitley WI website. For contact information see the printed programme.

Hosts – Helen…… carey.helen@yahoo.co.uk

and Joyce…… joyceb27@icloud.com 

New members very welcome

January 8th  2020 ……at Joyce’s 7.30pm

Leader Jonty Jones

The Testimony of the Hanged Man by Ann Granger

A hanged man would say anything to save his life. But what if his testimony is true? When Inspector Ben Ross is called to Newgate Prison by a man condemned to die by the hangman’s noose he isn’t expecting to give any credence to the man’s testimony. But the account of a murder he witnessed over seventeen years ago is so utterly believable that Ben can’t help wondering if what he’s heard is true. It’s too late to save the man’s life, but it’s not too late to investigate a murder that has gone undetected for all these years, though convincing his superiors to allow him to investigate ‘a cold case’ proves difficult.

However, Lizzie is determined that she will look into it and what she discovers persuades Scotland Yard to take the matter seriously.

But Lizzie, in making her enquiries, has entered dangerous territory.

Wednesday February 12th 2020 7.30 pm at Helen’s

Leader Joan Blackshaw

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie’s portrait – painted by Edouard – a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.

Almost a century later, and Sophie’s portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting’s true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv’s life upside down all over again . . .

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most – whatever the cost.

 Moyes does a majestic job of conjuring a cast of characters who are charismatic, credible and utterly compelling’ The Independent

Wednesday March 11th 2020 7.30 pm at Joyce’s

Leader Jean Waite

The Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

A photographer is mysteriously targeted for death in this white-knuckle ride deep into a terrifying conspiracy.

You wake. Confused. Disorientated.
A noose is round your neck.
You are bound, standing on a chair.
All you can focus on is the man in the mask tightening the rope.
You are about to die.

John Wallace has no idea why he has been targeted. No idea who his attacker is. No idea how he will prevent the inevitable.
Then the pendulum of fate swings in his favour.
He has one chance to escape, find the truth and halt his destruction.
The momentum is in his favour for now.
But with a killer on his tail, everything can change with one swing of this deadly pendulum…

You have one chance. Run.

‘James Patterson calls it “one of the best thrillers of the year”, and it is plain to see why…told at a great pace, has a strong central character and a snaking plot’

Wednesday April 8th 2020 7.30 pm Helen’s

Leader Helen Carey

The Penguin Lessons by Tim Michell

‘I was hoping against hope that the penguin would survive because as of that instant he had a name, and with his name came the beginning of a bond which would last a life-time’

Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin.

Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular one homesick school boy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other…

The Penguin Lessons is a unique and moving true story which has captured imaginations around the globe – for all those who dreamed as a child they might one day talk to the animals.

Wednesday May 13th 2020 7.30 pm Joyce’s

Leader Karen Smith

An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope

An uplifting story of love, family and second chances.

‘Why on earth, after all you’ve been through, all you’ve survived, all you’ve achieved, why do you want to get married?’

Rose Woodrowe has just got engaged to Tyler Masson – a wonderful, sensitive man who is head-over-heels in love with her. The only problem? This isn’t the first time for either of them, and their five grown-up children have strong opinions on the matter . . .

Who to listen to? Who to please? Rose and Tyler are determined to get it right this time, but in trying to make everyone happy, can they ever be happy themselves?

Wednesday June 10th 2020 7.30 pm Helen’s

Leader Penny Cross

The Testaments by Margaret Attwood

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.

More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

A savage and beautiful novel, and it speaks to us today, all around the world, with particular conviction and power… The bar is set particularly high for Atwood and she soars over it’ Peter Florence, Booker Prize Chair of Judges, Guardian

Wednesday July 8th 2020 7.30 pm Joyce’s

Leader Joyce Doyle

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors’ prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol’s rutheless governor and his cronies.

The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules – even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the Captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: to the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet. Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.

Winner of the John Creasey Dagger Award for best debut crime novel of 2014.

No Book Club in August

Wednesday September 9th 2020 7.30 Helen’s

Leader Pat Sharp

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

A powerful and bittersweet story of an unexpected male friendship and an unlikely love story, a thought provoking storyline told with Mike’s distinctive wit and insight, touching on issues which affect us all. This uplifting tale reminds us of the simple courage at the heart of every human being.

Ever since The Incident, James DeWitt has stayed on the safe side.

He likes to know what happens next.

Danny Allen is not on the safe side. He is more past the point of no return.

The past is about to catch up with both of them in a way that which will change their lives forever, unexpectedly.

But redemption can come in the most unlikely ways.

What a beautiful, tender, unexpected story. It uplifted me a lot. It was LOVELY’ Marian Keyes

Wednesday October 7th 2020 7.30 pm Joyce’s

Leader Joyce Barber

My Alphabet – a Life from A to Z by Nick Hewer

When Nick Hewer first appeared on our TV screens in The Apprentice in 2005, he had thought he was heading towards a quiet retirement after a long and successful career in PR and marketing. Little did he realise that appearing on the show with Lord Sugar and Margaret Mountford would mean that his life was about to be transformed. Quickly, he became a regular presence in our homes, renowned for his wry sense of humour and his astute insights.

But the story of how the current host of Countdown came to this point has remained largely unknown – until now. In My Alphabet, Nick Hewer takes us through an A to Z of some of the most remarkable and entertaining events his life, covering everything from his Boyhood in Swindon, when he took his Dinky toys on a most unexpected journey, to Regrets, and an episode that ended in a kidnapping. With chapters on subjects from Tottenham Hotspur to one on Underwear, there is sure to be something for all tastes within these pages.

My Alphabet builds up into a brilliant and fascinating self-portrait, taking the reader on a remarkable journey that will inform, entertain and move you. We get to see behind the scenes on The Apprentice and Countdown, and much else besides. Self-deprecating and witty, Nick Hewer has written a brilliant book his many fans are sure to treasure.

I always knew he was quite creative, but I had no idea he was so reckless’ Lord Sugar

‘This book is a total delight – as wise and witty and surprising as the man himself’ Gyles Brandreth

Please bring suggestions for books to read in 2021 to this October  meeting

Wednesday November 11th 2020  7.30 pm Helen’s

We have decided not to have a specific book to read this month but to give more time for finalising the selection of books we would like to read in 2021 and making suggestions for further reading. We also thought it would be nice to have a social time and a chance to see if we needed to make any changes to the way we run the Book Club.

No Book Club Meeting in December


Further Reading List (suggested by members but not for discussion at meetings)

The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd

A quest for secrets in the blue afternoon . . .

Los Angeles, 1936. Kay Fischer, a young and ambitious architect, is being followed by an old man. When confronted, he explains that his name is Salvador Carriscant – and that he is her father.

In a matter of weeks Kay will join Salvador on an extraordinary journey as they delve back into his past to not only learn the truth behind her own birth, but also to discover the whereabouts of a woman long thought dead – and to uncover the identity of a killer.

‘Achingly memorable’ The Times

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Marrying the Mistress by Joanna Trollope

Merrion Palmer has been Judge Guy Stockdale’s mistress for the last seven years and his wife and two grown-up sons know absolutely nothing about her. Up until now, Guy and Merrion have enjoyed a blissfully, uncomplicated relationship in stolen moments in Merrion’s flat, and to the rest of the world, Guy has played the part of model husband, father and grandfather.

But now the time has come for things to change. Guy has become conscious of wasted years and he wants to share his relationship with Merrion with the world. He wants, dammit, to marry her. Yet he is quite unprepared for the storm that will follow …

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