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Champion of Champions

A boy. A bike. A legend.

By David Brayley

What if you were a professional road cyclist and – due to a run of bad injuries and loss of form – were told your career will be finished if you didn’t succeed in one of the world’s toughest races? Daniel’s dream of being a leading professional cyclist is under threat but, far from being worried, he believes he has the answer. All he has to do is remember it.

For that, he must go back to the very beginning of his journey as a 14-year-old rider in the leafy lanes of Wales’s Gower Peninsula, and then make a shock detour to rural Italy, where he first hears what will become his mantra – “Be the best that you can be.”

The eccentric stranger who tells him so also introduces Daniel to the legendary Italian racer, Fausto Coppi, and inspires the teenage boy with stories of Coppi’s excellence, bravery, success and ultimate heartbreak. But the eerie man with detailed knowledge hides a dark secret. Once before he tried to inspire a teenage cyclist and the horror of that episode is slowly revealed to Daniel.

In a story that threatens to tear a family apart, can Daniel navigate his past and call on the reasons that led to him becoming a professional cyclist in the first place? If so, he may just be able to deliver a performance in the brutal Milan-San Remo race and save not only his cycling career but everything his life has meant so far.

Will the memories be too painful? Or will they lead on to ultimate glory?

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Mr. Nicholls

A Brontë Story

By Juliet Heslewood

An old man is asked to remember the Brontës. Wasn’t he taught by the famous sisters in school? John looks back and recalls how, as a young boy, he liked to spy on the family from his secret post, high in Haworth’s church tower, opposite their home.

His own village is one mile away, across the moors. He lives with his shoemaker father and his sisters who work in the local woolen mills. Things change here when Mr. Nicholls, the Haworth curate, builds a small church for its Anglican residents.

John gets to know him. When he does well at school, John is given extra lessons by Mr. Nicholls. The two become close – not only through their work, but because John learns that his master is deeply in love with Charlotte Brontë. John is surprised to learn that she, and her sisters, have become famous writers. For him they are familiar individuals.

He encourages Mr. Nicholls to pursue Charlotte, especially when she loses her siblings and now lives alone with her father. But Mr. Brontë is against Mr. Nicholls, despite his good work in the parish. When it seems he must leave – perhaps to go to the other side of the world – John is alarmed. Yet he has learned much about affection. Over the years he too has become fond of a girl in his village.

The story is based on known events in the lives of the Brontës and the role John played in witnessing Mr. Nicholls’s anguish, as well as his final success.

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P*** Up In A Brewery

Adventures on the Ale – by Tony Thomson

When Tony Thomson decided it was time for York to have its own beer again, he had more than a brewery in mind…

As well as creating a superior beer, the pioneering independent brewer wanted to offer the Minster city’s visitors an alternative attraction – a showpiece brewery with a visitor centre, bar and club.

P**s Up in a Brewery records every step along the way to building a successful business – from the birth of an idea to the search for funding; from hauling a second-hand kit across the Pennines to the improbable task of finding premises within the city walls; from tackling the stern resistance of York landlords to the moment when the new kid on the block captures the industry’s most coveted awards.

Alongside the drama is the humour associated with building a business on the simple premise that you like its product. The book’s cast of colourful characters include Tony’s partner in crime, one-time burger-flipper Smithy, and the softly-spoken barman who lets his wooden club do the talking for him. With secretive brewers, a couple of ghosts and a lass on a hen party determined to down a yard of ale also in the mix, you have something between a soap opera, a business plan and a sitcom.

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The Woman With Nine Lives

The eagerly-awaited sequel to The Woman Without A Number

Iby Knill is remarkable. An Auschwitz holocaust survivor from Bratislava, she married a British army officer and set out to make a new life in England, arriving in Cornwall in 1947 to set up home.

After struggling to integrate as an immigrant in post-war Britain, she went on to raise a family and carved careers in civil defence, education, textile design and as a linguist, before gaining an MA, aged 80. The loss of her beloved Bert prompted thoughts of writing, but there was a stumbling block: 60 years of suppressed memories.

Now in her 90s, Iby has since overcome several breakdowns but remains determined to share her experiences with future generations. This eagerly-awaited sequel picks up where her best-seller, The Woman Without a Number, left off. It tells the stories of her brother, father and mother – whose indominability she has inherited – and evokes changing times through a life that has embraced challenge and opportunity.

Poignant, moving and searingly honest, The Woman With Nine Lives is confirmation that the past cannot be avoided but, when the very best of human nature is on display, a brighter future can always lie ahead.

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The Great Leeds Pub Crawl

By Simon Jenkins

Join the Yorkshire Evening Post’s award-winning beer writer Simon Jenkins on a criss-cross pub crawl through Leeds, calling in at dozens of popular watering holes.

Along with descriptions of the beers, pubs and adventures the author encounters along the way, The Great Leeds Pub Crawl also contains fascinating asides about local history, the story of brewing in the city, and it suggests plenty of alternative routes to keep even the thirstiest pub-crawler satisfied.

Comprehensively revised and updated, with even more magnificent colour photos, this is a book that no visitor to – or resident of – Yorkshire’s biggest city can afford to be without. An ale trail with a difference, it looks at no less than 63 pubs in detail and many more in passing.

This is an entertaining, informative and at times surprising tour of one of Britain’s most vibrant metropolises. Whether you are after a quiet pint, a lively night out, a chat with friendly locals, the odd cocktail or a quality bite to eat, The Great Leeds Pub Crawl is the guide for you.

 

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