Sensitively Handled Storyline; Book Reviews

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The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell is published in trade paperback by Century, priced pounds 12.99. Available now.

LISA Jewell, best-selling author of Ralph's Party and Vince & Joy, returns with a story that moves up a gear from her usual contemporary romances. Lydia is a millionaire who had a troubled childhood in Wales, Essex girl Robyn is a love-struck medical student, and Londoner Dean is a dad whose girlfriend dies giving birth to their daughter. They all have one thing in common: Daniel, their sperm donor father.

Daniel is dying in a hospice and asks his friend Maggie to help him find his children. When all of them join the online Donor Sibling register, they embark on a emotional journey to find the family they have never met and to discover a lot more about themselves too.

The subject of sperm donation and its impact has been sensitively handled by Jewell, resulting in a complex but engaging plot.

LAURA WURZAL Dog Binary by Alex Macdonald is published in hardback by Beautiful Books, priced pounds 9.99. Available now. LIKE his creator Alex Macdonald, protagonist Manny paints film sets, though one hopes this debut novel's autobiographical elements end there. Manny spends his earnings on booze, drugs and prostitutes in a vain attempt to blank out the memories of his unhappy childhood.

Sometimes Manny paints fine art too, but then his talent for self-sabotage tends to manifest even more spectacularly. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrific, Dog Binary maintains its interest more through sheer vibrancy than any sense of direction.

ALEX SARLL Slaying the Badger LeMond, Hinault and the Greatest Ever Tour de France by Richard Moore is published as a trade paperback by Yellow Jersey, priced pounds 12. …