Before This Is Over by Amanda Hickie

The Blurb On The Back:

A normal family.  A quiet, leafy street.  A terrifying epidemic.

It’s been coming for a while: a lethal illness.  With sons of five and fourteen to look out for Hannah has been stockpiling supplies, despite everyone telling her that it’s unnecessary.

Then it arrives.

At first there are a few unconfirmed cases.  Then a death.  Now the whole city is quarantined.  But Hannah’s family is not yet safe behind their locked front door …

Basics soon become luxuries, and neighbours become hazards.  There are power cuts, food shortages and an ever-growing sense of claustrophobia.  How will the family cope?

How would you cope?

How far would you go to protect your children? 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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The Party by Elizabeth Day

The Blurb On The Back:

As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation.  Because, although I didn’t know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again.

Martin Gilmour is an outsider.  When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent.  But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world.  Soon Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family’s estate, as Ben becomes the brother he never had.

But Martin has a secret.  He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell.  It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years.

Now, at Ben’s 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour.  Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich – Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging.  His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too.  There is disquiet in the air.  But Ben wouldn’t do anything to damage their friendship.

Would he?

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Last Stop Tokyo by James Buckler

The Blurb On The Back:

The funny thing with suffering is that, just when you think you’ve suffered enough, you realise it’s only just beginning. 

Alex thought running away would make everything better.  Six thousand miles from the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s hurt, Tokyo seems like the perfect escape.  A new life, a new Alex.

The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate him, and he finds himself transfixed by this country, which feels like a puzzle that no one can quite explain.  But when Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko, the peace he sought slips ever further from his grasp.

After all, trust is just betrayal waiting to happen, and Alex is about to find out that there’s no such thing as rock bottom.  There’s always the chance things will get worse …

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Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed

The Blurb On The Back:

Thou shalt not disobey thy father.

Thou shalt not enter another man’s home uninvited.

Thou shalt not raise more than two children.
Thou shalt not touch a daughter who has bled until she enters her summer of fruition.

Thou shalt not allow thy wife to stray in thought, deed, or body.

Thou shalt not allow women who are not sister, daughter, or mother to gather without a man to guide them.

Thou shalt not kill.

On a small island, cut off from the rest of the world, there’s a community that lives by its own rules.  Boys grow up knowing they will one day reign inside and outside the home, while girls know they will be married and pregnant within moments of hitting womanhood.

But before that times comes, there is an island ritual that offers children an exhilarating reprieve.  Every summer they are turned out onto their doorsteps to roam wild: they run, they fight, they sleep on the beach and build camps in trees.  They are free.

It is at the end of one of these summers, as the first frost leaves the ground, that one of the younger girls witnesses something she was never supposed to see.  And she returns home, muddy and terrified, clutching in her small hand a truth that could unravel their carefully constructed island world forever.

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