Here’s this month’s list of suggested buys. Usual rules apply – all books I include are those I’ve either read and recommend, books that are patiently waiting to be read, or they’re ones I’d happily to add to my reading list. Therefore, it’s a list that’s skewed towards what currently appeals to me so feel free to look at the complete list on Amazon here.
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
Auntie Poldi can think of no finer place to wait for death than Sicily. All she asks is a sea view, fine wine (and plenty of it), and her family close around.
When death instead takes her handsome young friend Valentino – and under mysterious circumstances at that – Poldi will not take it lying down.
Perhaps it’s in her blood (her father was a detective chief inspector); perhaps it’s a diverting excuse to spend more time with men in uniform; or perhaps it’s just the promise she makes to Valentino while holding his poor dead hand.
But Auntie Poldi’s hunting instincts have never felt more alive. Justice must be served – if it’s the last thing she does . . .
Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland
Dear Mike, I can’t believe that it’s true. You wouldn’t do this to me. You promised.
Elizabeth knows that her husband is kind and good and that he loves her unconditionally. She knows she hasn’t been herself lately but that, even so, they are happy.
But Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when Mike dies in a tragic drowning accident. Suddenly everything Elizabeth knows about her husband is thrown into doubt. Why would he sacrifice his own life, knowing he’d never see his wife again? And what exactly was he doing at the lake that night?
Elizabeth knows that writing to Mike won’t bring him back, but she needs to talk to him now more than ever . . .
This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik
Everyone has a place they call home. But who gets to decide where you belong?
For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.
On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village.
Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined.
Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham
The laughter continues to flow in Gina Kirkham’s brilliant sequel to the wonderful Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.
Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike. Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.
Revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?
Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.
Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.
How long before revenge becomes irresistible?
With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?
So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?
An amusing and life-affirming travel memoir, concluding with tips for managing depressive episodes.
Keith Foskett refused to let his dark mood define his limitations. Unknowingly suffering with depression, he took to hiking the wilds of Scotland to face the inner demons that threatened to gnaw him to the bone. From the craggy Highlands of the Cape Wrath Trail and West Highland Way, to the canals criss-crossing the low country, 600 miles of unforgiving hiking terrain called his name.
Keith repositioned his compass to what really matters in life. As laughter became his travelling companion, he discovered that when dealing with emotional baggage, it’s best to pack light. Pushing his mind and body past breaking point, his journey could set a brave new course for coping with depression.
Battling ferocious weather, the ubiquitous Scottish midge, strange-sounding local delicacies and substandard TV sets, this is one man’s battle to conquer the wilds of Scotland, and his own psychological demons.
The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig
Quentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can’t afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can’t afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can’t understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.
Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.
Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer’s wife; and when Lottie’s innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever.
A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.
The Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.
Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.
But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.
Remembrance Day 1920: A wartime secret connects three women’s lives:
Hettie whose wounded brother won’t speak.
Evelyn who still grieves for her lost lover.
And Ada, who has never received an official letter about her son’s death, and is still waiting for him to come home.
As the mystery that binds them begins to unravel, far away, in the fields of France, the Unknown Soldier embarks on his journey home. The mood of the nation is turning towards the future – but can these three women ever let go of the past?
The Secrets of Primrose Square by Claudia Carroll
It’s late at night and the rain is pouring down on the Dublin city streets. A mother is grieving for her dead child. She stands silently outside the home of the teenage boy she believes responsible. She watches . . .
In a kitchen on the same square, a girl waits anxiously for her mum to come home. She knows exactly where she is, but she knows she cannot reach her.
A few doors down, and a widow sits alone in her room. She has just delivered a bombshell to her family during dinner and her life is about to change forever.
And an aspiring theatre director has just moved in to a flat across the street. Her landlord is absent, but there are already things about him that don’t quite add up . . .
Welcome to Primrose Square.
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
At the heart of this epic saga, set just before the Opium Wars, is an old slaving-ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its crew a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.
In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed villager, from an evangelical English opium trader to a mulatto American freedman. As their old family ties are washed away they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races and generations.
The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of China. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, which makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive — a masterpiece from one of the world’s finest novelists.
The Covent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold
1757 – Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, a salacious publication detaling the names and ‘specialities’ of the capital’s prostitutes, eventually became one of the eighteenth century’s most successful literary works as well as an essential accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure.
Beyond its titillating passages lay a glimpse into the sex lives of those who lived and died by the List’s profits during the Georgian era.
The Covent Garden Ladies tells the story of three unusual characters whose colourful lives were brought together by this publication.
Its story plunges the reader down the dark alleys of eighteenth-century London’s underworld, a realm populated by tavern owners, pimps, punters, card sharks and of course, a colourful range of prostitutes and brothel-keepers.
Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Confusion is the third novel in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s bestselling Cazalet Chronicles.
London and Sussex, 1942. The privileged English family in turmoil . . .
The long, dark days of struggle provide the poignant background to the third book of the Cazalet Chronicles. As the war enters its fourth year, chaos has become a way of life.
Both in the still peaceful Sussex countryside, and in air-raid-threatened London, the divided Cazalets begin to find the battle for survival echoing the confusion in their own lives.
Read the next books in the series, Casting Off and All Change, or start from the beginning with The Light Years and Marking Time.
Patrick has uncovered a crime that the experts were too close to see . . .
Life is strange for Patrick Fort – being a medical student with Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t come without its challenges. And that’s before he is faced with solving a possible murder.
Because the body Patrick is examining in anatomy class is trying to tell him all kinds of things. And now he must stay out of danger long enough to unravel the mystery – while he dissects his own evidence . . .
The Diary of Two Nobodies by Giles Wood and Mary Killen
Everybody is a somebody.
Giles is a countryman who relishes solitude. His wife Mary thrives in company and enjoys frequent escapes to London.
After thirty years in a marriage of opposites, Giles and Mary have adapted to a life of domestic misunderstandings within comical misadventures.
In The Diary of Two Nobodies, you will have the unique opportunity to discover, first hand, what occurs when a man who sees himself as a cross between Mr Bean and Basil Fawlty shares his life with a woman who identifies closely with the Queen.
Featuring original illustrations by the artist Giles, himself.
Summer, 1972: In the claustrophobic heat, eleven-year-old Byron and his friend begin ‘Operation Perfect’, a hapless mission to rescue Byron’s mother from impending crisis.
Winter, present day: As frost creeps across the moor, Jim cleans tables in the local café, a solitary figure struggling with OCD. His job is a relief from the rituals that govern his nights.
Little would seem to connect them except that two seconds can change everything.
And if your world can be shattered in an instant, can time also put it right?
From shipwreck and heartbreak to treachery and war: can their love survive?
Abandoned as a baby and raised in a remote lighthouse off the wild Northumberland coast, Alice Fairchild has always dreamed of adventure. When a fierce storm wrecks a ship nearby, she risks everything in an act of bravery that alters the course of her life.
Aboard the doomed vessel is the handsome John Sinclair, a Scottish soldier on his way to India. The connection between them is instant, but soon fate intervenes and leaves Alice heartbroken and alone. Determined to take charge of her destiny but secretly hoping her path will cross again with John’s, she too makes a new start in colonial India.
Life there is colourful and exotic, but beneath the bright facade is an undercurrent of violence, and when the British invade Afghanistan, Alice is caught up in the dangerous campaign. When at last she hears news of John, she is torn between two very different lives. But will she follow her head or her heart?
The Light we Lost by Jill Santopolo
Two people. One choice. What if?
Every love story has a beginning…
Lucy and Gabe meet in New York on a day that will change their lives – and the world – forever. As the city burns behind them, they kiss for the very first time.
Over the next thirteen years they are torn apart, then brought back together, time and time again. It’s a journey of dreams, of desires, of jealousy, of forgiveness – and above all, love.
And as Lucy is faced with a devastating choice, she wonders whether their love is a matter of destiny or chance.
…what if this is how their story ends?
Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey
A murder without a body
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns to her West London home one day to find the house covered in blood and Kate, her mother, gone. All the signs point to murder.
A girl too scared to talk
Maeve Kerrigan is determined to prove she’s up to her new role as detective sergeant. She suspects Chloe is hiding something, but getting her to open up is impossible.
A detective with everything to prove
No one on the street is above suspicion. All Maeve needs is one person to talk, but that’s not going to happen. Because even in a case of murder, some secrets are too terrible to share…
Million Love Songs by Carole Matthews
Ruby Brown is ready for a change.
She’s single for the first time in years and she’s going to dive into this brave new world with a smile on her face and a spring in her step. The last thing she’s looking for is a serious relationship.
Mason represents everything Ruby wants right now: he’s charming, smooth and perfect for some no-strings-attached fun. Joe on the other hand is kind and attractive, but comes with the sort of baggage Ruby wants to avoid: an annoyingly attractive ex-wife and two teenage children.
Ruby thinks she knows what she wants, but is it what she needs to be truly happy? It’s about to get emotional in Million Love Songs.
The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard
Elvira Carr is twenty-seven, neuro-atypical, and has never lived alone. But her father – who she suspects was in the secret service – is dead, and when her mother has a stroke and is taken into care, Elvira suddenly finds herself home alone. In order to cope, Elvira – who knows a lot about biscuits and supermarkets, but not much about life – develops Seven Rules for interacting with others. Not even her rules can help her, however, when she’s faced with solving a mystery she didn’t know existed . . .
Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain
Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.
In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.
There’s just one problem.
Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.
The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.
Cold as the Grave by James Oswald
Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.
As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.
But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…
The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.
The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…
The House by the Loch by Kirsty Walk
Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can’t believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family, nor Walter’s care, can seem to save her.
Many years later, Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.
Now You See Her by Heidi Perks
Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.
Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.
Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.
Someone is hiding the truth.
So what really happened to Alice?
Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, neither does he.
They’re both searching for something – they just don’t know it yet.
Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.
Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.
Can their unexpected friendship survive?
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
It is Halloween in King’s Lynn, and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is attending a strange event at the local history museum – the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But then Ruth finds the body of the museum’s curator lying beside the coffin.
Soon the museum’s wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but DCI Harry Nelson isn’t convinced, and it is only a matter of time before Ruth and Nelson cross paths once more.
When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth’s friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the Aboriginal ritual of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths – and be the key to their own survival.
All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…
To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.
Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.
Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.
Dead Memories by Angela Marsons
She ruined their lives. Now they’re going to destroy hers.
‘Someone is recreating every traumatic point in your life. They are doing this to make you suffer, to make you hurt and the only possible end game can be death. Your death.’
On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago.
When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the death of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known.
Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour.
Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?
A HOMECOMING MARRED BY BLOOD
Journalist Martin Scarsden returns to Port Silver to make a fresh start with his partner Mandy. But he arrives to find his childhood friend murdered – and Mandy is the prime suspect. Desperate to clear her name, Martin goes searching for the truth.
A TERRIBLE CRIME
The media descends on the coastal town, compelled by a story that has it all: sex, drugs, celebrity, and religion. Martin is chasing the biggest scoop of his career, and the most personal.
A PAST HE CAN’T ESCAPE
As Martin draws closer to a killer, the secrets of his traumatic childhood come to the surface, and he must decide what is more important – the story or his family…
Thanks for all the suggestions, Jill. I’ve just downloaded Kirsty Wark’s novel as I read her first one and enjoyed it. 🙂
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I’ve bought that one as well. I daresay I might be tempted by more, but I have a fair few of them already.
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Wow so many good books! I can thoroughly recommend Little Black Lies and Sleep! xx
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I enjoyed Little Black Lies but haven’t read Sleep, might have to buy that one x
The audiobook was really good! x
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I’ll see if my library has a copy x
Great picks, as usual, and some real bargains! I enjoyed Primrose Square and Meet Me at the Museum, and I’ve just read The House by the Loch.
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I liked Primrose Square too, I’ve just bought The House by the Loch, I’ve had my eye on that for a while.
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Meet Me at the Museum was one of my favorites last year–so wonderful!! Lots of good stories here–hoping I can read a few that sound good.
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Meet me at the Museum is proving popular. I already have that, so maybe I should bump it up my reading list.
You are a temptress! 😀
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I’ll take that as a compliment 😊
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Wow Jill! What a wonderful list. Three of them I have read and loved. “Perfect”, “Dead Memories”, and “Little Black Lies”. Two are ones that I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while “Rubbernecker” and “Dirty Little Secrets”.
And… the ones you’ve tempted me with… “Silver”, “The house by the loch”, “The secrets of Primrose Square”, and “Letters to my husband”. You are such a bad influence. Thanks. ❤