This month we are highlighting some of the best reads that you can borrow on BorrowBox.
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, available in eBook and eAudio
A beautifully written and utterly captivating novel about female strength and the power of belief, set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King casts a light on the women soldiers who were written out of African history.
With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade.
Hirut and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms. But how could she have predicted her own personal war, still to come, as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers? The Shadow King is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, and what it means to be a woman at war.
A Falcon Flies by Wilbur Smith, available in eBook and eAudio
A mission of duty. A quest for love.
Dr Robyn Ballantyne has always worked hard for what she wants. Coming home to Africa after twenty years, she fears there are only three men who may still stand in her way:
THE BROTHER Zouga is the only family she’s known for much of her life. Yet she and the celebrated soldier will never quite see eye to eye . . .
THE CAPTAIN Codrington, ambitious British naval officer, wants to give her a perfect life. Could she ever be tamed enough to fit his idea of perfection?
THE TRADER Mungo St John, the notorious American merchant, repels her with his slave trading. But Robyn cannot forget what once passed between them.
As her adventures begin, Robyn must make decisions that will shape the future for all of them . . .
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce, available in eBook and eAudio
An out-of-this-world funny book, with illustrations throughout by Steven Lenton.
The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.
Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik.
As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It’s only Prez who thinks otherwise.
But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life – like a TV remote that fast-forwards people: ‘Anyone can do it, it’s just that people don’t read the instructions properly’; and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children’s party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it – and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself.
It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever . . .
The Wicked King by Holly Black, available in eBook and eAudio
I have heard that for mortals, the feeling of falling in love is very like the feeling of fear.
Jude has tricked Cardan onto the throne, binding him to her for a year and a day. But the new High King does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her, even as his fascination with her remains undimmed. Meanwhile, a traitor in the court is scheming against her. Jude must fight for her life and the lives of those she loves, all while battling her own complicated feelings for Cardan. Now a year and a day seems like no time at all . . .
The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri, available in eAudio
A timely, provocative and agenda-setting examination of the refugee experience.
What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. To be a refugee is to grapple with your place in society, attempting to reconcile the life you have known with a new, unfamiliar home. All this while bearing the burden of gratitude in your host nation: the expectation that you should be forever thankful for the space you have been allowed.
Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials.