Letters to the Lost

Letters to the Lost. 1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London… Release Da...


Culture-Bite-logo-straplineWe are delighted to confirm we are, for the third year running, taking part in the brilliant Culture Bite Art and Literature Festival with our good friends at Hillingdon Libraries!

Tickets, at just £15 per person, are on sale here to join Dani AtkinsHeidi SwainHolly HepburnJuliet Ashton and Penny Parkes for a wonderful Afternoon Tea at Haste Hill Golf Club, The Drive, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1HN on Saturday 30th September at 2.30pm – and we are even throwing in a glass of fizz and a goody bag with a free book in it as well!

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What’s that I hear you say? ‘It’s too hot’?! Well, forget about the scorching summer heat and lose yourself in this magical winter wonderland!

9781471164859We are thrilled to share with you the wonderful cover for Heidi Swain’s new Christmas novel, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair. Isn’t she a beaut? I for one am hugely looking forward to the cooler months when we’ll be able to snuggle down in front of the fire and read Heidi’s latest – it’s out on October 5th in all good bookstores. We can’t wait!!!

The new Christmas bestseller from the author of Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market!

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

Join Anna for a festive journey that is festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy ever after.

Pre-order it now in paperback and/or eBook!



I am thrilled to reveal the cover forBest Practice Penny Parke’s new novel, Best Practice, which we publish in Spring 2018. Isn’t it fabulous?! The action starts at the village fete in Larkford, and all sorts of secrets, scandals and special moments are revealed as the story progresses. I love the characters of Larkford so much and it is so exciting to see the next chapter of their lives – can’t wait for you all to read it too! Stay tuned for more news from Penny, via her monthly column right here on BATC …




“The world needs more great broads like Jackie Collins” Jojo Moyes

“That smart, talented, and gorgeous woman paved the road for so many of us so that we could experience a much smoother journey … with or without heels. Heaven … watch out!” Sandra Bullock

“She was a true inspiration, a trail blazer for women in fiction and a creative force. She will live on through her characters but we already miss her beyond words.“ Jilly Cooper

“I’ve always loved Jackie Collins. She really knew how to tell a story. Growing up, my friends and I would loan her books from the library and swap them.” Dorothy Koomson

“I seek to emulate Jackie Collins’ work ethic, her down-to-earth attitude, her glamour — and the fact that she seemed to really bloody enjoy life.” Jessie Burton

“RIP Jackie Collins.  I always loved our interviews.” Oprah Winfrey

“She was the definition of a class act. Everyone who met her was lucky.” Graham Norton

“Jackie Collins. A super lady who ‘did it her way” Boy George

“I think I have achieved everybody’s dream.  Everybody wants to write a book, and I sat down and actually did it.  Not only did I do it, I became No. 1 at it, and there is nothing more exciting than that”  Jackie Collins


From chic New York and the exclusive Hamptons to the hungry heart of L.A., this high-suspense tale pulses with deadly obsessions and relentless desires in the seemingly perfect world of a gorgeous film actress. She could have any man – but the one she can’t resist is a mysterious lover with a shadowed past. As their jolting affair skyrockets with electric passion, shocking secrets break through their hidden traps – in a brilliantly twisting story that sparks with the explosive Jackie Collins touch!

On 19th September 2015 we were heartbroken to hear of the passing of our dear Jackie Collins – a true trailblazer for women and a warm, wise and witty friend to many of us here at BATC HQ.  It doesn’t seem possible that nearly two years have passed since we lost her…. but to celebrate all that Jackie was to the so very many people who loved her, we will be publishing a stunning hardback celebration edition of Thrill! on 21st September, complete gold sprayed edges – the PERFECT gift for Jackie fans and new readers alike.

“Thrill! will take you on a wild ride filled with passion and excitement. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it”  Jackie Collins

And then on 4th October, everyone here at BATC HQ will be raising a glass to wish Jackie a ‘Happy Birthday’ – so why not get involved with us on twitter, using the hashtag #GetYourJackieCollinsOn.  There will be prizes for the most awesome, kick-ass leopard print outfit/glass-raising combo photos, and if you need any cocktail recommendations, here is a word from the lady herself.



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November brings a very exciting publication in the BATC calendar with the publication of The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall. I have just finished reading the script and I can’t stop raving about it to everyone else – it is absolutely brilliant and the best thing Kate has written. I am so excited for everyone else to read it as well!

We also have a truly stunning cover to reveal – ta dah! Look out for it everywhere in the run up to Christmas – maybe a little treat for yourself as you shop, or the perfect gift for anyone who loves spellbinding historical fiction. Twin sisters, divided by their loyalties but bound by a terrible secret. Who will be betrayed? 

Stay tuned for further updates – including a new column from Kate, exclusive to BATC …

Love, Jo x












We are delighted to announce that we’re publishing the perfect novel for readers everywhere who are embracing the Danish art of hygge – we give you Hygge and Kisses by Clara Christensen, the first warm, wise and romantic hygge novel, coming in #DigitalOriginals eBook on 21st September and paperback on 30th November!

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Bo, 26, has always been careful, cautious. However, she’s just been made redundant and her life plan is beginning to unravel. Before she starts immediately applying for other jobs in a panic, her friend Kirsten persuades her to take a holiday, to visit Kirsten’s mother’s house in North Jutland, a part of Denmark Bo is ashamed to admit she has never heard of.

‘What’s the weather going to be like?’ she asks Kirsten hopefully, scrolling her cursor over the budget airlines webpage. ‘Terrible,’ Kirsten replies, ‘London is positively Mediterranean by comparison, and of course it’s November so it’ll be dark seventeen hours a day. But no one goes to Denmark to get a tan. You need a change of scene and to blow away the cobwebs, and trust me, Skagen will do that. Besides, the summerhouse is cosy whatever the weather, and you never know who else will be around.’

A few clicks later and there is no going back. And Bo’s life plan is about to be entirely rewritten.

Curl up under a blanket, light some candles and turn off the phone – immerse yourself in a feel-good treat and feel your worries drift away …

We are very excited about this novel, so stand by for more news coming your way soon …and in the meantime why not download a couple of sample chapters via NetGalley!

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Thank you to our friends at Grosvenor House Hotel who kindly audio recorded the Jackie Collins Literati event on 8th September 2015 – Jackie’s last public appearance.  Do have a listen.  As you would imagine, she was warm, wise and witty.  Everyone here at Books and the City is devastated by her loss. We will miss her every day.


masterclassOn Saturday 15th November 2014 we held our very first (but hopefully not our last!) Creative Writing Masterclass here at Books and the City HQ, aimed specifically at writers of commercial women’s fiction.  The day was split into two, with morning one-to-one sessions with editors Jo Dickinson and Clare Hey and afternoon panels for a wider audience with uber literary agent Lizzy Kremer, bestselling author Milly JohnsonPeter Saxton (Publisher Liaison Manager at Waterstones Head Office), Isabelle Broom (Book Reviewer at Heat Magazine) and Lindsey Mooney (Content Lead UK & Ireland  from Kobo).

We all had a fabulous time, our Panel Sessions were brilliant – with some cracking hints, tips and advice from the very best in the business, all topped off with fizz and cake at the end of the day.  Perfect.  Here are just a few of my favourite snaps from the day…






Grab yourself a pint of your favourite ice-cream (mine’s a Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough) on this, the hottest of days, for the grand reveal of our paperback cover for The Picture House by the Sea series written by the wonderful Holly Hepburn!

9781471161711As with A Year at the Star and Sixpence, the paperback sees our four lovely eBooks (Brief Encounter, Singing in the Rain, Dirty Dancing and Some Like it Hot) brought together for the very first time in one big fat paperback. And this is the wonderful summery cover. Oh how I wish to be beside the seaside with a Ferrelli’s gelato in hand!

Join Gina as she travels from London to the little seaside town of Polwhipple, Cornwall, to help her grandfather manage his ice-cream business after a fall. Quickly welcomed into the Polwhipple community, Gina throws herself into the renovation of her favourite cinema, The Palace, determined to return it to its glory days and aid the Ferrelli’s concession stand sales in the process. Complete with themed classic film screenings, and aided by handsome surfer/architect Ben, life with her boyfriend Max begins to feel very far away.

But nothing is ever simple in small town life, and The Palace is prime real estate – can Gina and her Polwhipple cohorts protect this perfect little cinema? Or will Gina be forced to return to life in London knowing she’s failed all her new friends…

Available in paperback on 10th August, or get stuck into part one on eBook now.




You + Me = Everything. When you are surrounded by love, you have nothing to fear.

You and me, we have history.
We have a child together.
We have kept secrets from each other for far too long.
This summer, in the beautiful hills of the Dordogne, it is time for everything to change.

You, Me, Everything is a heartfelt and unforgettable story about the lengths we are prepared to go to for those we love.

This is a story that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.

It’s not every day that you get to reveal a book jacket that is SO perfect and SO beautiful that it takes your breath away…. but yesterday was one of those days.  You, Me, Everything is a very special novel, written by Catherine Isaac, the pseudonym of our  Sunday Times bestselling author Jane Costello.  This new novel will be published in the UK in hardback in April 2018 and you can read all about Catherine’s exciting journey over on her new website as well as in her new Features for us here at @TeamBATC HQ.

New jacket for The Wedding Speech by Isabelle Broom!

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RoNAs news!

We were SO excited to report that not one, but two of our fabulous authors were shortlisted on the 2017 Romantic Novel of the Year Awards (RoNAs), sponsored by those wonderful folk over at Goldsboro Books.

At a glittering ceremony in the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place, London SW1 on 13th March all the category winners, and the overall award – the prestigious Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year Award – were presented by Prue Leith.  It was only last year that our very own Iona Grey won the overall award, with her beautiful novel – Letters to the Lost, and Milly Johnson won the Romantic Comedy Category with Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe – so we were crossing our fingers and toes for another wonderful night!

The awards comprised seven categories – Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Paranormal or Speculative Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel, the RoNA Rose Award (for shorter and category romance), and Young Adult Romantic Novel – with a range of authors shortlisted for each one.

The Contemporary Romantic Novel category was for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit and romantic suspense.

The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.

The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.

The Paranormal or Speculative Romance Novel category was for romantic novels that include elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, whether paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, time slip or worlds that include ghosts, vampires or creatures of legend.

The Romantic Comedy Novel was for consistently humorous or amusing novels and included our very own Penny Parkes.

The RoNA Rose Award recognised the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.

The Young Adult Romantic Novel featured protagonists who are teenagers or young adults, including our very own Paige Toon.
And we are delighted to announce that Penny Parkes triumphed in her category, winning the Romantic Comedy Novel for Out of Practice!

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On Saturday evening, 17th September 2016, Santa MontefiorePenny ParkesJane Costello and Juliet Ashton were joined by Isabelle Broom from Heat magazine for a very special Books and the City: Girls on Tour event at Chiswick Book Festival, and a wonderful time was had by all!!

With a glass of fizz to keep us going, our panel covered all manner of cracking questions such as ‘What does it take to be a modern woman?’, ‘Which women inspire you?’, most iconic female literary heroines, best things about being a writer,  ’What’s the best thing about being a modern women?’,  writing inspirations and even some nuggets of advice for aspiring writers, the event was frank, fun and fabulous!

Thank you so much to the team at Chiswick Book Festival, and especially Jo James for looking after us so well – we had a brilliant time!



Hillingdon Libraries called it their ‘event of the season’ and we couldn’t agree more!  On 26th May 2016 we toured four of our authors for a very special #GirlsOnTour Literary Afternoon Tea at the beautiful and historic Great Barn in Ruislip, Middlesex – bestselling authors Jane CostelloPaige ToonJuliet Ashton and Dani Atkins were our VIP hosts for the afternoon, and joined our guests for a very indulgent tea provided by local bakery Honey Bees Cakes - with extra fizz on the side!

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Last night, @TeamBATC uber’d it’s way down Whitehall way to take our seats at (lucky?) table number 14 at the Gladstone Library, One Whitehall Place, to attend  the star-studded annual #RoNAs (Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards) now sponsored by those fabulous chaps over at Goldsboro Books.

Imagine if you will, a beautiful library, steeped in history and packed to the rafters with 200 odd guests, nominated authors, members of the RNA, publishing bods and agents, sequined up to the eyeballs in their best gowns, with all the glamour and fizzing excitement of the Oscars, but with far less ego and Botox.

We were delighted to have the beautiful Isabelle Broom from Heat magazine as our guest, together with bestselling author Milly Johnson and debut author Iona Grey - each shortlisted for an award.

After a round of delicious nibbly savoury delights, pink fizz and pink cupcakes (natch), the event kicked off…

Oh my.  Let me tell you, I was giddy with anticipation – so god alone knows how all the nominated authors managed to keep a lid on it. I’d be running around screaming with a goat on my head.

In amongst the brilliant compering by Jane Wenham-Jones and guest presenting by the hilarious Fern Britton, the fizz fizzed, the laughter rang out loud and proud, and the warmth radiating from the room could have powered a small village for a week.  Let me tell you, the RNA is a very special Association and long may it continue.

Anyho. To cut a long story short, we were triumphant. Not only did Milly and Iona both win their category awards, for Romantic Comedy and Historical respectfully, but Letters to the Lost triumphed to win The Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year.  I KNOW!  Cue tears, hugging, tweeting a–go–go, proud mother moments for Editor of both novels, Queen of the Red Pen of Doom (and Delight!), Clare Hey and a giddy round of cheers!

Team BATC are incredibly proud and honoured to be the publishers of such a diverse and wonderful group of excellent authors, and whilst it goes without saying we love ALL our authors in equal measure, sometimes hearing a room full of less invested ladies whoop and cheer for our girls really does make the heart sing.  It really really does….

Here are a handful of my favourite snaps of the night….

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On 30th and 31st October 2015, Clare Hey and I were delighted to bring 3 cracking events to the Hillingdon Library CultureBite Festival.

First up, on Friday night, we had an evening with Jane CostelloAndy Jones and Paige Toon, at Winston Churchill Theatre…

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Saturday lunchtime, we were delighted to be joined by Sandra HowardMilly Johnson and Iona Grey at The Great Barn for Afternoon Tea…

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And then on Saturday evening, we held a fabulous How To Write A Novel And Get It Published event at Uxbridge Library with bestselling authors Rachel Hore and Susan Elliot Wright in conversation  with  Clare Hey, Fiction Editorial Director here at Books and the City HQ….

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Thank you so much to all our authors, the team at Hillingdon Library for looking after us so well, especially Sam, Lara and Jo, and the wonderful audiences at each of the events for coming!

Afternoon Tea at the Grosvenor House Hotel with Milly Johnson

In June 2015 we invited a group of readers, bloggers and fans to celebrate the launch of the fabulous Milly Johnson novel - Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe - at our favourite London hotel, Grosvenor House.

Here are a couple of our favourite snaps from the day.

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Thank you to everyone who came, the lovely team at Grosvenor House Hotel who looked after everyone SO well, and Emma who kindly delayed her holiday to attend!


A fab time was had by all at Waterstones in April 2015, at our first ever Liverpool Girls on Tour event.  As ever our brilliant chair, Clare Hey, grilled the authors following a short reading from each of them from their novels - The Love ShackThe Two of Us and Letters to the Lost, with a Q&A session to top it all off.  Thank you so much to Waterstones for hosting, and Janes dad for filming this great video!

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In October 2014 Grosvenor House Hotel played host to a #Literati event with the one and only Richard Madeley   A wonderful time was had by all, including our fabulous compère for the evening, Hannah Beckerman, The Croydon Massive Reading Group, Catriona the Fabulous Book Fiend and Sam Everett from Hillingdon Libraries.  Thanks to Lorna, Rosie and the brilliant team at Grosvenor House for looking after us all so well again and be sure to look out for details of more events at our favourite 5* London hotel coming soon…

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In August 2014, we hosted a fabulous Girls on Tour event at our favourite 5* hotel bar – Red Bar – at Grosvenor House Hotel with bestselling authors Ali HarrisJane Costello and Paige Toon.  It was a brilliant night with lots of chat, fizz, cocktails, cupcakes, doughnuts and an awesome goody bag for everyone that attended.  We were also lucky enough to have our friends from Benefit Cosmetics on hand to give complimentary ’make-uppers’ to all guests and the wonderful Hannah Beckerman as our compère for the evening!  We are hoping to go back to Red Bar for another #Glitterati event in 2016, so will let you know as soon as we can!


In June 2014 Girls on Tour visited Waterstones in Birmingham for a fabulous evening of book chat, cupcakes and pink fizz with Ali Harris, Milly Johnson and Paige Toon.  A wonderful time was had by all, so many thanks to everyone who came, our marvellous authors and the team at Waterstones for looking after us so well.  We look forward to announcing the date of the next event soon, so keep an eye out for details!

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In June 2014 we hosted a very special Afternoon Tea at BB Bakery in Covent Garden to celebrate the partnership between Melissa Hill’s paperback edition of A Gift To Remember and Bourjois.  The cakes were delicious, the pink fizz flowed, we talked about books and make-up all afternoon and our guests left with an exclusive goody bag!

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GET READY FOR #DigitalOriginals #ONEDAY – 15th July 2016
2016/06/15  |  Features  |  Comments are off

What do Andy Jones, Heidi Swain, Holly Hepburn, Juliet Ashton and Penny Parkes have in common.  All lovely people?  Natch.  All smart?  Totes.  And funny?  Yes, YES.  All writers?  Absolutely.  All five publishing/published under our #DigitalOriginals programme? BOOM! So here’s the news… for the third year running (on 15th July), we are throwing away, ripping up, laughing …