And I'm very glad it did because in Kate Morton's hands it isn't just a letter; it's a gateway to the mystery of the Mud Man, a door that opens long buried secrets for the sisters of Milderhurst castle and the spark that sets a flame to the story of our intrepid narrator, Edie Burchill.
When a letter that's been lost for 50 years arrives in the hands of Edie's mother Meredith, Edie witnessesses an emotional reaction that she very rarely sees in her usually stoic mother and her curiosity is awakened. The letter sparks a hunt for truth behind the secrets that permeate the novel, secrets kept by the mother she realises she's never really known, secrets behind a past intertwined with an ancient castle and the secrets buried in The True History of the Mud Man; a children's book written by the mad and mysterious Raymond Blythe.
From the very first moment the mystery surrounding the Mud Man and the three sisters Blythe, inhabitants of the now crumbling Milderhurst Castle, will inexorably draw you into their world; the prophetic nature of the narrator's voice leaving the answers tantalisingly out of reach until Morton is willing to give them. I was caught, as Edie must have been, in the story of the Blythe family - so much so that for once I wasn't tempted to read the end of the novel before even getting to the middle, I wanted this novel to unfold to me, to give up its secrets one by one.
And it doesn't disappoint. In the brilliantly executed voices of all the main protagonists of the novel the pieces of the puzzle slowly knit themselves together, making the reader feel as though they are some kind of omnipotent power; observing all these snapshot's in time, glueing the staggered pieces back together and most importantly giving you a big head. Because this is the trick, you may think you know the answers, you may have a clue, or an inkling or even be generally on the mark, but you won't; you won't have any idea until right at the very end, when slowly it begins to dawn on you exactly what happened, exactly what the answers are. And how fantastic is that? When a true mystery digs its fat, sharp claws into you and refuses to let go until you have read the very last word. Fantastic.
Of course this book is also so much more than a mystery, it is a snapshot into the ties that bind us; to our family, to our homes, to our love and ultimately to our loss. It is the story of what happens when dark secrets eat away at our hearts, a story of redemption and heart-rending 'What if's?' that lodge somehow in the readers head and refuse to move.
When I looked at the size of the book I was apprehensive with that same creeping doubt that always whispers in my head when I see a tome of a book - will it entertain me all the way through? But Morton is clever, revealing pieces of the puzzle piece by piece like a dance of the seven veils. Each chapter needs to be there, each voice, each character, they all have a part to play and they play it oh so well, coming to life in Morton's clear talent for description, using her words as a diving board with which to launch from. Even after finishing this book it lingered in my head for days. Highly, thoroughly recommended.
Goldsboro Books' Book of the Month, signed copies on sale now.
With the holiday season upon us and Christmas a month away is it time to think about what presents we can buy friends and loved one? Books are an ideal gift especially one that is a signed first edition. Books entertain and what is better than that added extra special touch of being signed by the author, never mind the long term investment and collectability?
2010 has been a great year for debut fiction and we have had some amazing titles fly out of our door. The biggest selling title of the year and one of our favourites, The Holy Thief by William Ryan. We really believed in this book and the sales proved we were right to. We even had the first 25 numbered copies of our exclusive edition leatherbound. There have been other extraordinary books published this year including, The Passage. This was always going to be big because word-of-mouth praise started months before publication. We were, obviously, delighted that Orion Publishers gave Goldsboro Books the exclusive slipcase edition. Copies come with a cloth The Passage bag. Room by Emma Donoghue was a book I read in March this year and loved. I just had to have it for our August Book of the Month. It isn't Emma's first book by any means but it is certainly her 'breakout' novel and now shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010, it is sure to feature prominently in the Orange Prize for fiction 2011.
I Am Number Four took us all by surprise. Both for its entertainment value and because it became the fastest selling book of the year for Goldsboro Books. Our slipcase numbered edition of 500 copies sold out before publication and the demand was unprecidented for one of our exclusives. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, the bestselling author of The Shadow of the Wind, and The Angel's Game, who returns with The Prince of Mist. This very scary ghost story stayed at the top of the Spanish book charts for two years and is now translated into English for the first time. The haunting tale is aimed at readers of all ages, so is one to share with the whole family. Goldsboro Books has an exclusive slipcase edition and a handful of copies left.
Gerard O'Donovan's debut novel, The Priest is published in paperback this month in the UK. We chose this excellent debut as our Book of the Month earlier in the year and commissioned the UK's only hardback exclusively for Goldsboro Books. More often, we will have hardbacks produced for us when publishers decide to publish their books in paperback only. It is the way of publishing now. There are going to be less and less hardbacks.
Other books that we have commissioned exclusively are the Young Sherlock Holmes series. Death Cloud was the first and Red Leech is available this month. We have agreed to continue with the series and hardbacks will be available exclusively for all of them from Goldsboro Books. This is a brilliant series of one of the most iconic detectives in crime fiction. Andrew Lane's reimagined and authentic teenage Sherlock Holmes made him the perfect choice to work with the Conan Doyle Estate to reinvent the world's most famous detective. We have sets of the same numbers available and will happily give you the same number throughout the series.
Young Sherlock Holmes
Other books available in stock and possible gift ideas, if not for yourself, for others...
Philip Kerr's prevous novel, If the Dead Rise Not, won the 2009 CWA Ellis Peters' Award for Best Historical Crime Novel. Field Grey is the new and seventh Bernie Gunther novel.
Already advertised in a previous emailer, Revenger by Rory Clements was the winner of this years CWA Ellis Peter's award and we still have a few copies available.
The Penobscot Expedition is an extraordinary story, one that has fascinated the Bernard Corwell for years.
Summer 1779, a British force of fewer than one thousand Scottish infantry were sent to build a garrison in the State of Maine. The war of Independence was in its third year and no other British troops stood between Canada and New York.
The State of Massachusetts was determined to expel the British, but when they sent a fleet of forty vessels to 'captivate, kill and destroy' they underestimated their enemies, calm in battle and ready for victory.
Told from both sides of the battle, the main characters are all real figures from history. Based on diaries, letters and court transcripts, we meet many of the war's greatest heroes, including Paul Revere and John Moore, each of whom become famous subjects of war poetry. Signed first edition copies of The Fort are available.
The brilliant and inimitable Paul Magrs has released a new novel featuring Brenda, The Bride The Time Forgot. The Wicked Witch of Whitby vs. the Bride of Frankenstein. Meet the good, the bad and the bitten...
Something is biting people on the streets of Whitby. In an ordinary town, this would be worrying. Here, it's disastrous, and only Brenda has guessed why. She's also trying to prepare for a packed festive break at her B&B, but her best friend Effie is in distracted mood: she just hasn't been the same since her suave gentleman friend Alucard reappeared.
Meanwhile, Penny has joined a book group in the new mystery bookstore, the Spooky Finger. As she is drawn into the strange and fantastic works of Edwardian lady novelist Beatrice Mapp, she makes some very surprising discoveries. Discoveries that will soon impact upon the lives of all the ladies of Whitby. When unexpected help from the shadows of the past arrives to illuminate the dangers awaiting them all, Brenda realises that unless she can find a way to save Effie, the consequences may be eternal.
One to Watch
by A. D. Miller
Signed First Editions*
A. D. Miller's Snowdrops is an intensely riveting psychological drama that unfolds over the course of one Moscow winter, as a young Englishman's moral compass is spun by the seductive opportunities revealed to him by a new Russia: a land of hedonism and desperation, corruption and kindness, magical dachas and debauched nightclubs; a place where secrets - and corpses - come to light only when the deep snows start to thaw - Snowdrops is a chilling story of love and moral freefall: of the corruption, by a corrupt society, of a corruptible young man. It is taut, intense and has a momentum as irresistible to the reader as the moral danger that first enchants, then threatens to overwhelm, its narrator.
Our Price £12.99
Order a signed first edition. *Exclusive Numbered Edition to Goldsboro Books for Book of the Month Club Members Only.