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The Convent, by Maureen McCarthy

A breathtaking novel that follows the hidden and intertwined lives of four young women as they face difficult, life-changing, impossible choices during the 1920s, 1960s, and the present. 'I woke up with a feeling about today,' Stella says dreamily. 'Something truly amazing is going to happen.' 'To us or to the world?' I say. 'To you.' 'To me?' I laugh. 'Nothing ever happens to me, Stella.' 'But today it will.' 'Will it be good?' She looks thoughtful and then frowns. 'I . . . I don't know.' Peach is 19 and pretty happy with the way things are. She has her college work, two wildly different best friends, her sister, Stella, to look after, and a broken heart to mend. But when she takes a summer job at a café in the old convent, her idea of who she is takes a sharp turn into the past. Where once there were nuns, young girls and women who had fallen on hard times, Peach discovers secrets from three generations of her family. As their stories are revealed, Peach is jolted out of her comfort zone. But does she really want to know who she is? Warm and real, intense and provocative, this novel shows in vivid detail how fate and the choices we make ripple and reverberate through time.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

Just a Girl, by Jackie French

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a truly extraordinary woman. And after 2000 years, the story of her brave and remarkable life continues to inspire and enthrall us, as that young woman from Nazareth wasnever 'just a girl'. Who was Mary of Nazareth, the most famous woman in all of history? In 72 AD, as the Roman army pillages Judea and destroys their village, killing and enslaving its inhabitants, fourteen-year-old Judith hides with her younger sister, her great-grandmother Rabba and an unwilling goat in a storage cave used for storage. Judith is 'just a girl', but her skills will save them - and help escaped Roman slave Caius survive as well. Wolves - and humans - threaten them all during that long, icy winter, but there are feasts of stored, and scavenged food to enjoy as they listen to Rabba tell stories of her youth; of her wealthy marriage in Jerusalem and her life in Nazareth as a child. But there is one story Rabba will not tell, no matter how much they coax her. It is the story of Maryiam, her beloved friend who faced the scandal and shame of an unwed pregnancy and the anguish of seeing her son crucified. Yet the example of the woman Maryiam, who showed how pain and humiliation can become the most joyous story in the world, will give Judith and her younger sister and Caius the courage to step beyond their refuge. Because like Judith, 'Maryiam of Nazareth' was never 'just a girl'. Based on primary sources, this book tells the story of the Mary behind the legend, of her life and her extraordinary legacy, still an inspiration after 2000 years.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

The Diamond Thief, by Sharon Gosling

No one performs on the circus trapeze like 16-year-old Rémy Brunel. But Rémy also leads another life, prowling through the backstreets of Victorian London as a jewel thief. When she is forced to steal one of the world’s most valuable diamonds, she uncovers a world of treachery and fiendish plots. Meanwhile, young detective Thaddeus Rec is determined to find the jewel and clear his name. Will Thaddeus manage to rescue the jewel? Or is it really Rémy that he needs to save?

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

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