SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
‘Over The Top [is] a lightning bolt – devastating and stirring … generous and frank.’ The Observer
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.
The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.
Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma - yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.
She couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “Go ahead, ask your question,” her father urged, nudging her forward. She smiled shyly and said, “You’re my hero. Who’s yours?”
Many people—especially girls—have asked us that same question over the years. It’s one of our favorite topics.
HILLARY: Growing up, I knew hardly any women who worked outside the home. So I looked to my mother, my teachers, and the pages of Life magazine for inspiration. After learning that Amelia Earhart kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles about successful women in male-dominated jobs, I started a scrapbook of my own. Long after I stopped clipping articles, I continued to seek out stories of women who seemed to be redefining what was possible.
CHELSEA: This book is the continuation of a conversation the two of us have been having since I was little. For me, too, my mom was a hero; so were my grandmothers. My early teachers were also women. But I grew up in a world very different from theirs. My pediatrician was a woman, and so was the first mayor of Little Rock who I remember from my childhood. Most of my close friends’ moms worked outside the home as nurses, doctors, teachers, professors, and in business. And women were going into space and breaking records here on Earth.
Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book.
So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, LGBTQ trailblazer Edie Windsor, and swimmer Diana Nyad kept pushing forward, no matter what. Writers like Rachel Carson and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named something no one had dared talk about before. Historian Mary Beard used wit to open doors that were once closed, and Wangari Maathai, who sparked a movement to plant trees, understood the power of role modeling. Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai looked fear in the face and persevered. Nearly every single one of these women was fiercely optimistic—they had faith that their actions could make a difference. And they were right.
To us, they are all gutsy women—leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do. Because if history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women.
* LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL *
‘Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman’s exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us – it is a glorious experience. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances – and then it delivers with a tremendous punch. It opens up the world … in a way that is absolutely unique. By the end you may be weeping’ Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge
In Berlin in 1941 during humanity’s darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Praise for Alice Hoffman:
'A major contribution to twenty-first century literature' Toni Morrisonon The Museum of Extraordinary Things
‘A great atmospheric storyteller… Her books are a real pleasure’ Kate Atkinson
'Hoffman reminds us with every sentence that words have the power to transport us to alternate worlds, to heal a broken heart, and to tie us irrevocably to the people we love' Jodi Picoult
'Miss Hoffman heals wounds with the gentle touch of an angel' Joseph Heller
‘Hoffman… writes with heartbreaking clarity’ The Times
‘Alice Hoffman is simply brilliant’ Daily Mail
'Hoffman knows how to tell a good story' Sunday Times
'Monumental… magical, moving… beautifully written... A genuine masterpiece' Daily Mail on The Dovekeepers
'One of the finest writers of her generation' Newsweek
‘The SAS and all it stands for is exemplified in men such as Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham. They are the backbone of the British military and I for one am thankful he is on our side!’ – Sir Ranulph Fiennes
‘Billy is inspirational and always humble. A giant of a man!’ – Bear Grylls
'The most experienced Special Forces soldier in recent memory. The Hard Way is brutally brilliant.' – Tom Marcus, Number One bestselling author of Soldier Spy
Billy Billingham grew up tough; a grim future ahead of him offering little respite from the hostile streets he walked. Leaving school at eleven years of age, the threat of borstal hanging over his head, running with gangs in Birmingham, and almost being killed in a knife fight eventually led to Billy discovering the British armed forces at sixteen years of age. It would be the making of him.
Billingham would graduate from the Royal Marine cadets to enlisting with the Parachute Regiment in 1983, where he would serve with distinction as a Patrol Commander and expert sniper. In 1991 he took on an even bigger challenge – taking the SAS course – the fearsome and secretive elite special forces unit with a well-won reputation for excellence in operating in extreme and hazardous conditions. He excelled in this life, rising to the rank of sergeant major for the regiment, and undertaking dozens of classified and extremely dangerous missions. He would ultimately serve seventeen years with the SAS, serving in countless war zones, winning a commendation for bravery and being awarded the MBE. After leaving the army he would embrace the life of a bodyguard to Hollywood stars such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sir Michael Caine, Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, before being recruited as one of the lead instructors on SAS - Who Dares Wins for television.
Billy is a highly-decorated veteran; with a reputation for excellence, honesty and integrity not only supporting his comrades Ant Middleton, Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton, but equally intimidating and inspiring the contestants who take on the gruelling challenges each week. The Hard Way details Billy’s story thus far, but will also educate and enthral those wishing to seek a challenge and conquer it – the SAS way.
In the aftermath of war, everyone is searching for answers . . .
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I
‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ Fanny Blake, bestselling author of A Summer Reunion
1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search.
Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.
And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.
An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.
Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.
Praise for The Photographer of the Lost:
‘The pain of not knowing where a son, brother or husband lies, and the guilt and psychological dissonance that torment survivors, are movingly conveyed in this terrific first novel’ Daily Mail
'I was utterly captivated by this novel, which swept me away, broke my heart, then shone wonderful light through all the pieces' Isabelle Broom, author of One Winter Morning
‘Beautiful, unflinching, elegiac: The Photographer of the Lost is going to be on an awful lot of Best Books of the Year lists, mine included . . . it’s unforgettable’ Iona Grey, author of The Glittering Hour
‘A beautiful, tender novel which explores the aftermath of the Great War, and the shattered lives left behind . . . had me spellbound from the first page to the last’ Hazel Gaynor, author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
"Riveting stuff. Through the prism of his experience of the military elite, Fiennes presents a dazzling history of the world's best fighting units to amaze and enthral the reader." Damien Lewis, Bestselling author of Zero Six Bravo
Inspired by the heroic war time escapades of his father, as well as drawing on his own experiences in the special forces, acclaimed adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes thrillingly explores the history of elite military units, from ancient Sparta to the War on Terror.
The best of the best, these elite units have frequently been immortalised on the big screen, and in computer games, for their daring deeds. Whether it be fighting on the battlefield, storming forts and castles, rescuing hostages, high stakes reconnaissance missions or the dramatic assassination of enemy leaders, these are the men who are relied upon to undertake dangerous missions of the highest stakes. While celebrating the heroics of groups such as the SAS and Navy Seals, Sir Ranulph also reveals the true stories of infamous organisations such as The Assassins and Templar Knights. Uncovering their origins, and examining their weapons and tactics, Sir Ranulph showcases these units most famous missions, and reveals the men behind them. Showing incredible courage, often in the face of impossible odds, these units have also changed the course of history along the way. Sir Ranulph discusses the reasons behind their success and failures, with many notorious conflicts often being decided by these elite units facing off against each other, with the victor not only evolving warfare, but also consigning their opponent to history.
While these units traditionally prefer to operate in the shadows, Sir Ranulph brings their remarkable histories to the fore, told with his trademark ability to weave a story which has seen him become one of Britain’s most beloved bestselling authors.
‘A beautiful book.’ Zoë Ball
Be it as Nicky Hutchinson in Our Friends In The North, Maurice in The A Word, or his reinvention of Doctor Who, one man, in life and death, has accompanied Christopher Eccleston every step of the way – his father Ronnie. In I Love The Bones Of You, Eccleston unveils a vivid portrait of a relationship that has shaped his entire career trajectory, mirroring and defining his own highs and lows, from stage and screen triumph to breakdown, anorexia, self-doubt, and a deep belief in the basic principles of access and equality denied to generations. The actor reveals how his background in Salford, and vision of a person, like millions, denied their true potential, shaped his desire to make drama forever entwined with the marginalised, the oppressed, and the outsider.
Movingly, and in scenes sadly familiar to increasing numbers, Eccleston also describes how the tightening grip of dementia on his father slowly blinded him to his son’s existence, forcing a new and final chapter in their connection, and how ‘Ronnie Ecc’ still walks alongside him today. Told with trademark honesty and openness, I Love The Bones Of Youis a celebration of those on whom the spotlight so rarely shines, as told by a man who found his voice in its glare. A love letter to one man, and a paean to many.
‘My father was an “ordinary man”, which of course means he was extraordinary. I aim to capture him and his impact on my life and career.’ - Christopher Eccleston