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Two Outstanding Authors

Portrait photograph of author Libby Purves

Shadow Child
by Libby Purves

Grief is a strange country. For Marion and Tom, the sudden death of their only child sees them travelling through a bleak landscape. The couple take different paths towards despair or resolution: she, confiding quietly in woman friends and he, turning his silent, futile rage on a tangled dispute with the Inland Revenue and a growing disaffection with Britain itself.

But the reticent progress of their mourning in a quiet country village is abruptly broken when a strange ranting woman turns up on their doorstep. The advent of angry Julia sparks off a process of shocking discovery: about their lost son's life and friends, and about the values of an edgier, more fragile urban world. Tom flees from it - Marion find that she cannot give up the quest.

As two couples' lives become increasingly entangled, both sides have something to learn. And at the heart of the discovery is a miracle which slowly, gradually surprisingly builds a future and brings a new family together.

The author
Libby Purves is a writer and also a broadcaster who has presented the talk programme Midweek on Radio 4 since 1984 and formerly presented Today. She is a main columnist on The Times and in 1999 was named the Granada 'What the Papers Say' Columnist of the Year, and awarded a OBE for services to journalism. She lives in Suffolk with her husband, the broadcaster and writer Paul Heiney.

'Touching insight . . . Purves seems to feel keenly the paradox that, despite love being humanity's redeeming feature, it inspires acts that cause untold and unforeseen pain.'

Portrait photograph of author Derek Flory

Torn Apart
by Sybil and Blanche Le Fleur with Derek Flory

When Sybil and Blanche Le Fluer were growing up in idyllic Burma in the 1920s and '30s, little did they realise the changes and challenges that they would face during their lives. With the death of first their mother and then their father, they had to cope with enormous personal tragedy, including the loss of all their family wealth. Then the Japanese bombed Rangoon on 23 December 1941. Sybil managed to get out of the city but there was no way for her to return to her sister, or even to know if Blanche was still alive, as the death toll was so high.

While Sybil escaped from Burma and settled in Scotland after marrying a Scottish soldier, Blanche lived for over three years under Japanese occupation. After leaving for India in 1958, Blanche made a new life while still thinking of and praying for her sister. Decades later, a chance set of circumstances led to the discovery by Sybil's son that Blanche was alive and living in India.

Torn Apart is the heart-rendering, inspirational account of how the Le Fleur sisters lived separate lives for more than 65 years before an emotional reunion brought them together again in 2007.

The authors
Sybil now lives in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, and her sister Blanche lives in Calcutta. Sybil's son Derek was born and raised in Aberdeenshire and now lives in Milnathort, Kinross with his wife and two daughters.

'It would be difficult to conceive of a more inherently dramatic and emotive memoir than this'
The Good Book Guide

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