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Leanne Chalmers has made a career for herself presenting her own style of home decorating and design on the nation’s screens. That was her past life, at least. For now Leanne has been forced to start again as Lily, leaving her name, job and marriage behind. No-one in the Lancashire village of Eagleton has a clue about Lily, save that she’s come up from the South West with her best friend and a small child. But it’s hard to lead a solitary existence in a small place, and Lily and Babs are swiftly embraced by some of the local characters: Mike, the Catholic priest, who the girls can’t help noticing is easy on the eye; Eve, a Liverpudlian, who has a big mouth but a heart of gold; the hairdressers Paul and Maurice; and Dave and his love, Philly, both shy yet determined not to be cowed by Dave’s mother, the domineering matriarch of the village. Soon, Lily’s new life is full of promise and as she joins Dave’s reading room, a shop come café and library, she begins to relax. But then Eve is wounded in a burglary, and suddenly, Lily is afraid that her secret is out: her husband Clive may have discovered where she is, and, having left her for dead before, is now out to kill her… Full of Ruth Hamilton’s unique warmth and humour, THE READING ROOM is a rich, compelling novel of love, life and courage.
- Pan Macmillan, June 2009
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