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We review books by Bananarama Cliff Richard, Jeffrey Archer and Victoria Hislop


We’ve got stars in our eyes in this week’s Mirror Book Club, as Bananarama’s Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward recount their heyday.

While aging rocker Cliff Richard’s autobiography finds him disarming and heroically unselfconscious.

Also this week, Jeffrey Archer continues the story of William Warwick and Victoria Hislop drops her eagerly awaited sequel to The Island.

Really Saying Something, by Sara Dallin and  Keren Woodward

Hutchinson, £20

Bananarama burst onto the Eighties pop scene with back-combed hair, customised clothes they’d run up on a sewing machine, brilliantly shambolic dance moves and super-catchy pop songs.

It felt like watching long-standing friends onstage and it’s that friendship between Dallin and Woodward, founder members of one of the UK’s most successful girl groups (they’ve sold 30 million records), that lies at the heart of this engaging, entertaining memoir that recounts career highs and lows, motherhood, break-ups and the menopause.

They met at primary school in Bristol. Kindred spirits from the get-go, they later moved to London and lived in a grotty flat above the Sex Pistols’ rehearsal studio. They went clubbing every night, hung out with musicians, and sang backing vocals for anyone who’d let them.

Hidden in Plain Sight by Jeffrey Archer and Really Saying Something, by Sara Dallin and  Keren Woodward

Sara met Siobhan Fahey, the third member of the group, at the London College Of Fashion where they were both studying fashion journalism.

They formed Bananarama in 1979 and three years later appeared with Fun Boy Three singing It Ain’t What You Do on Top Of The Pops.

Success then came quickly, a riotous round of record deals, US promotional tours, nights outs and various fallings out.

It’s all brilliantly recounted by Dallin and Woodward who relished their Eighties heyday but, today, family and their enduring friendship are just as important as stardom.

BY EITHNE FARRY

Hidden In Plain Sight, by Jeffrey Archer

Macmillan, £20

Archer continues the story of William Warwick, now promoted to Detective Sergeant and working for the drugs squad, where a daring raid results in the imprisonment of drugs baron Ahmed Rashidi.

At long last, Warwick also puts his long-time nemesis, arch criminal Miles Faulkner, behind bars.

But, in prison, Rashidi and Faulkner bond over their hatred of the detective who put them there and the future doesn’t look so bright for Warwick.

Though Hidden In Plain Sight contains fewer plot twists than Nothing Ventured, it’s a more gritty and dramatic read.

BY LUCY HELLIKER

One August Night, by Victoria Hislop

The Dreamer: An Autobiography, by Cliff Richard and One August Night, by Victoria Hislop

Headline Review, £14.99

Hislop’s eagerly awaited sequel to The Island is set in August 1957 as a cure for leprosy is found. The leper colony on the island has closed and Anna is among the ex-patients welcomed home.

However, while Anna was away, her sister Maria betrayed her. This triggers a moment of violence that devastates the village and Manolis, Anna’s former fiancé, is heartbroken, fleeing the village for the mainland.

Can he ever return to the place he calls home? Hislop expertly delves into the complex history of a fascinating country in this beautifully written family saga.

BY ANNE CATER

The Dreamer: An Autobiography, by Cliff Richard

Ebury Press, £20

Sir Cliff marks his 80th birthday with this breezy, wholesome memoir.

Anyone looking for juicy revelations will come away disappointed – the book is conflict-free. The only exception is utterly jarring. In August 2014, police officers raided Cliff’s home following allegations that he’d molested a teenage boy in 1985 and BBC News cut to a live broadcast of the raid. The case against him was tossed out so he sued the police and the BBC and won, but only after “two years of heartache and pain… the worst, darkest period of my life”.

Cliff also zips through his childhood. Then, from the moment in 1956 when he heard Elvis on Radio Luxembourg, his path was laid out for him. For a while there with The Shadows, he was a true blue rock ’n’ roll star in his homeland.

Cliff wanted to be “super-famous”. However, once The Beatles erupted out of Liverpool in 1963, he was never hip again. Instead, he did panto and Eurovision, found God and serenaded the Centre Court.

He seems disarming and heroically unselfconscious. He signs off promising to tour again next year and, of course, he will. He’ll be forever Cliff.

BY PAUL REES

Join the debate and read our next book of the month!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

 

Mirror Book Club members have chosen An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

In this novel, which won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. Then Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.

Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend.

But then Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns home to resume their life together.

We’d love you to give An American Marriage a read and let the Mirror Book Club know what you think at
facebook.com/groups/mirrorbookclub.

We’ll print your feedback here on November 20.

We have 25 copies of An American Marriage to give away to Mirror Book Club members. For a chance to win, simply like the post announcing the giveaway in our Facebook group before Monday.





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