Peter Donnelly

Literary Fiction

Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart

16 January 2021
Shuggie Bain Book Cover Shuggie Bain
Douglas Stuart
Literary Fiction
6 August 2020

A heart-wrenchingly moving first novel set in Glasgow during the Thatcher years, Shuggie Bain tells the story of a boy's doomed attempt to save his proud, alcoholic mother from her addiction.


Shuggie Bain is a beautifully written, poignant account of a Glaswegian family and their struggles through poverty, family breakdown, alcoholism, and community divisiveness. In a society where misery and despair…


Interview with Frances Quinn – Author of The Smallest Man

5 January 2021
Interview with Frances Quinn Book Cover Interview with Frances Quinn
Author Interviews
Peter Donnelly
The Reading Desk
6 January 2021


Author Bio

Frances Quinn grew up in Forest Gate, East London, and studied English Literature at King’s College Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, writing for magazines including Woman’s Weekly, Prima, Good Housekeeping and Ideal home, and now divides her time between novels and copywriting, having produced words for everything from Waitrose pizza packaging to the London Business School’s website and the Easyjet in-flight brochure. She lives in Brighton with her husband and a badly behaved Tonkinese cat.


Peter: Frances, your debut book ‘The Smallest Man’ is a fascinating story inspired by Jeffery Hudson during King Charles I’s reign in England. I would like to congratulate you…

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The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020)

3 January 2021
The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020) Book Cover The Annual Bookend: Volume 3 (2020)
Annual Review
Peter Donnelly
The Reading Desk
January 1 2021

Now on the third year of writing an annual recap, what I appreciate is the opportunity to share favourite books and recommendations with my wonderful online network, plus the opportunity to highlight those moments that make this platform such a joy.

A Tonic

In the year of THE pandemic, we have all suffered in some respect and witnessed many changes in our daily lives, some useful but often demanding and challenging….

Historical Fiction Literary Fiction

The Prophets – Robert Jones Jr.

2 January 2021
The Prophets Book Cover The Prophets
Robert Jones Jr
African American gay men
5 January 2021

In this blinding debut, Robert Jones Jr. blends the lyricism of Toni Morrison with the vivid prose of Zora Neale Hurston to characterise the forceful, enduring bond of love, and what happens when brutality threatens the purest form of serenity.

The Halifax plantation is known as Empty by the slaves who work it under the pitiless gaze of its overseers and its owner, Massa Paul. Two young enslaved men, Samuel and Isaiah dwell among the animals they keep in the barn, helping out in the fields when their day is done. But the barn is their haven, a space of radiance and love - away from the blistering sun and the cruelty of the toubabs - where they can be alone together.

But, Amos - a fellow slave - has begun to direct suspicion towards the two men and their refusal to bend. Their flickering glances, unspoken words and wilful intention, revealing a truth that threatens to rock the stability of the plantation. And preaching the words of Massa Paul's gospel, he betrays them.

The culminating pages of The Prophets summon a choral voice of those who have suffered in silence, with blistering humanity, as the day of reckoning arrives at the Halifax plantation. Love, in all its permutations, is the discovery at the heart of Robert Jones Jr's breathtaking debut, The Prophets.


The Prophets is an absorbing novel, with unsettling overtones, profound and deeply moving. Masterfully written in beautiful poetic prose it enriches the soul through the dreams and expression of love…

Historical Fiction

The Diver and the Lover – Jeremy Vine

31 December 2020
The Diver and the Lover Book Cover The Diver and the Lover
Jeremy Vine
Historical Fiction
3 September 2020

A novel of love, sacrifice and Salvador Dali, set against the backdrop of post civil war Catalonia. For fans of Victoria Hislop. It is 1951 and sisters Ginny and Meredith have travelled from England to Spain in order to help Meredith recover from a terrible trauma. They discover that the renowned artist Salvador Dali is staying in nearby Port Lligat. Meredith is fascinated by modern art, a legacy of her troubled past, and longs to meet the famous surrealist. Dali is embarking on an ambitious new work, but his model has refused to pose. A replacement is found, a young American waiter whom Ginny has begun to fall for. The lives of the characters become entangled as art, ego, loyalty and the heightened politics of Franco's Spain threaten to undo the fragile bonds that have been forged. A powerful story of love, sacrifice and the lengths we will go to for who - or what - we love. Based on the real events behind Salvador Dali's painting Christ of St John of the Cross.


Jeremy Vine is a popular host and commentator on BBC TV and radio, and The Diver and the Lover is his debut novel. It is a highly imaginative historical story…