All posts by Sandra Books

Life After Life – by guest reviewer Kate Vickers

Life after life is a beautifully wrought, unique novel that blends the concept of continuous reincarnation into an outstanding work of historical fiction. The reader experiences the tumultuous period of two world wars through Ursula, a heroine buffeted through multiple lives, the course of which vary wildly with each incarnation.

Each reimagining of her life highlights how we are all victims of circumstance and that destinies can change with just one altered decision. It also allows Atkinson to examine events and characters from multiple angles, vividly recreating a world now lost and depicting the raw, human devastation experienced by civilians on both British and German sides.

Although the book opens with the attempted assassination of Hitler, it immediately jumps to Ursula’s birth, setting a tone of displacement that runs throughout the book as her lives take stunted, weaving paths through a maze of life events.  Ursula herself is a somewhat lonely figure, forever at the mercy of the twists and turns of her lives, and the collusion of an unknown force disguised as happenstance. As such, it is hard to get a handle on what she wants, and what really drives her, as she and the reader are awash with the endless possibilities of her numerous lives.

The only constant throughout is the love and dedication of her family; a rich assembly of characters each with their set of nuances and hidden depths that can be uniquely probed through the varied destinies they are entwined within. As the story progresses, Ursula’s prophesied destiny becomes remote and in a sense unnecessary as the heart of the story is not a heroic assassination, but her love for her family and the arcadia within which they reside.

A feeling of nostalgia resonates throughout as it documents the passing of a world now gone, a time that can now only be looked upon through the lens of history. Kate Atkinson brings that world back to life, creating an intimacy and immediacy to the war and those caught within it whilst at the same time allowing the reader’s soul to soar at the prospect of the fairytale moment that could have prevented it all.

Review by Kate Vickers

An evening of crime


Marnie RichesTightrope is the first outing for flawed but fabulous PI, Bev Saunders, who takes on a corrupt politician although she becomes the one being hunted.
I stayed up super-late last night racing to the end, hardly daring to breathe‘ Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife.
Come and meet the award-winning, best-selling Marnie here for a double act of crime!


Paul Finch is a former cop and journalist, now turned full-time writer. He started his career penning episodes of the British drama, The Bill, and has written extensively in the field of film, audio drama and children’s animation. 
The Sunday Times bestseller will be here to talk about his latest nail-shredding thriller, Stolen – a must for all fans of Happy Valley and M.J. Arlidge.

The Song of Peterloo

The heartbreaking historical tale of courage in the face of tragedy

Come and meet local author Carolyn O’Brien as she talks about the inspiration for her powerful new novel.

The Song of Peterloo tells the dramatic story of Manchester mill-worker, Nancy Kay. Desperate to provide for her ailing mother and sensitive son, Nancy is drawn into the agitation for reform. But as she risks everything to attend a great assembly on St Peter’s Field, Nancy is unaware the day will go down in history not as triumph, but as tragedy; the Peterloo massacre.

Carolyn will be here on Thursday 19th September at 7pm.

Tickets cost £3.00 – this includes a glass of wine and is redeemable against the cost of a book on the evening.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Who wants to join us?

Between 15th June and 22nd June we will be hiding bears in various shops around Urmston – and it will be your job to find them.

To take part you need to come to the book shop to pick up your bear hunt pack, then away you go!

You have one week to collect up to 10 bear tokens.

There are various prizes along the way, with a grand prize of a Bear Hunt back pack for the overall winner.

On Saturday 22nd June at 2pm we will be having a grand prize draw and a retelling of the classic story, here in the shop.

What are you waiting for? Pop into the shop to collect your hunting pack today!

Meet Manchester Poet, Screen and Scriptwriter Keith Hutson


Keith will be appearing at Urmston Library as part of their hugely popular Wordfest on

Thursday 20th June from 7:30-9pm

Keith has written for Coronation Street and for several well-known comedians. His plays have been performed at venues including The Royal Exchange in Manchester. He is co-editor of Poetry Salzburg Review and tours extensively with Carol Ann Duffy.

Tickets cost just £2.00 and can be booked by visiting Urmston Bookshop, Urmston Library, or online on Eventbrite