by Anita Shreve, Little, Brown $39.99
Set in a small town in rural Vermont, the challenges of a solo father bringing up a beautiful daughter are intertwined and enlivened by the life and death dramas of his work as a paramedic.
Peter Webster, trainee paramedic, attends a car crash where he helps save the life of the drunk driver, a gorgeous girl from Massachusetts. Despite his reluctance to get involved with a patient, Webster and Shelia become embroiled in a passionate love affair. Pregnant with their daughter Rowan, Shelia marries Peter. But Shelia's troubled past and her losing battle with the bottle destroy the marriage.
Nineteen years later, the father-daughter relationship is very strained. Then Shelia re-enters their lives, awakening the buried questions: Why would a mother leave her family? Why did the marriage end?
Anita Shreve, author of 15 other novels, grew up in Massachusetts, just outside Boston. After graduating from Tufts University, she taught at high school before turning to journalism and writing. She has received many awards for fiction and her novel, The Pilot's Wife, became an international best-seller and film.
Rescue is an absorbing domestic drama with likeable characters, real problems, and deals with the tragedy of alcoholism. It is also an interesting look at the life of a paramedic in smalltown America.
by Posie Graeme-Evans, Penguin, $40
Ellen Gowan is a famous dress designer for ladies of high society and one of the very few women in England who owns her own business. But her life wasn't always one of such privilege.
Orphaned at 13, pregnant at 15, Ellen endures loss, loneliness, and betrayal to become society's most talented and sought after dressmaker to the aristocracy of Victorian England.
Life takes Ellen down roads of opulence and depravity until she lands in the arms of the handsome Raoul de Valentin, and promptly marries him.
Abandoned by Raoul when he realises she is pregnant, Ellen begins the struggle to survive.
Years pass, and not only have she and her child survived, but Ellen has also achieved extraordinary success.
All is well until the day Raoul unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep, threatening to destroy all that she has achieved.
Overflowing with romance and the social intrigue of Victorian London, The Dressmaker is a powerful demonstration of one woman's tenacious spirit against all odds.