So here we go with this week’s selection, the titles are a mix of eBooks, paperbacks and hardbacks. My choices are made in the time tested way of author, cover and blurb – not necessarily in that order. It served me well in my library days when getting my hands on the Bookseller’s Buyers Guide was one of my highlights. Publication was correct at time of writing.
(NB I am a member of the affiliate schemes run by Amazon and, Hive Books which means that any qualifying sales made via the links below will earn me a small commission)
The Safe Place by Anna Downes
Emily Proudman has been offered the chance of a lifetime – leave her messy London life, move to a beautiful estate in France and help her boss’s wife take care of their daughter. It seems like the perfect opportunity to start again.
But once there, Emily soon starts to suspect that her charismatic new employers aren’t telling her the whole truth. That there are even dangerous secrets hidden beneath the glamorous facade.
Why have the family been moved to this isolated house so far from home? Why does her bosses’ daughter refuse to speak or be touched? Why are there whispers in the night?
The only problem is, the more Emily knows, the less chance there is she will ever be able to leave . . .
The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies
ONE WAR. TWO WOMEN. WILL THEY BE ABLE TO SAVE THE ONES THEY LOVE?
In 1943, Contessa Sofia de’ Corsi’s peaceful Tuscan villa among the olive groves is upturned by the sudden arrival of German soldiers. Desperate to fight back, she agrees to shelter a wounded British radio engineer in her home, keeping him hidden from her husband Lorenzo – knowing that she is putting all of their lives at risk.
When Maxine, an Italian-American working for the resistance, arrives on Sofia’s doorstep, the pair forge an uneasy alliance. Feisty, independent Maxine promised herself never to fall in love. But when she meets a handsome partisan named Marco, she realizes it’s a promise she can’t keep…
Before long, the two women find themselves entangled in a dangerous game with the Nazis. Will they be discovered? And will they both be able to save the ones they love?
One Step Behind by Lauren North
Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker.
Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him.
Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.
But how many lines is she willing to cross to take back control of her life?
The Shadow Bird by Ann Gosslin
Three months into her new role as a psychiatrist at a clinic in New York, Erin Cartwright is asked to evaluate the case of a man who murdered his mother and sisters at the age of seventeen.
Found not guilty by reason of insanity and held in a maximum-security psychiatric facility for twenty-seven years, Timothy Stern is now eligible for release. Upon learning the crime occurred in the same village she once visited as a child, Erin is on the verge of refusing to take the case, when a startling discovery triggers memories she’d rather keep hidden, and a suspicion the wrong man is behind bars.
The Tea Planter’s Club by Ann Bennett
In 1980, Edith Mayhew, proprietor of the Tea Planter’s Club in Calcutta, is preparing to sell up after years of decline. She thinks back to 1942 when her sister Betty vanished having fled over the mountains from Burma to Assam to escape the Japanese invasion. Whilst packing, Edith comes across some letters which may hold clues to Betty’s mysterious disappearance.
The discovery propels Edith on an epic journey to Assam, where she is forced to face devastating secrets of love and betrayal from the war years.
Innocent by Erin Kinsley
The pretty market town of Sterndale is a close-knit community where everyone thinks they know everyone else. But at a lavish summer wedding a local celebrity is discovered slumped in the gardens, the victim of a violent assault that leads to a murder investigation.
As the police search for answers, suspicion and paranoia build – and the lives of the locals are turned upside down. Secrets that lurk beneath the pristine façade of Sterndale come to light as detectives close in on the truth…
Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock
It’s springtime at The Vineyard in Alsace, a new season and a new beginning
After being abandoned by her partner when she falls pregnant, Lottie Schell goes home to live on The Vineyard in Alsace, where she has started a new relationship with the estate’s winemaker, Thierry. Now about to give birth, Lottie’s determined to raise her child and to provide for them both on her own without having to depend on anyone else.
Thierry Bernard is still dealing with his grief and guilt following the death of his wife two years earlier, for which he blames himself. When he meets Lottie, the instant attraction he feels towards her gives him hope that he can move on from the tragedy of his past, as long as he can tell Lottie the truth of what happened.
When circumstances force Lottie and Thierry closer together, they both find it hard to compromise – she’s proudly independent and he’s fiercely protective – and they’re both wary about trusting someone new with their heart.
Can Lottie and Thierry take a chance on each other, move on from their pasts and start over?
Turn to Dust by Rachel Amphlett
When the body of a naked man is found in the middle of a barren field, a rural community is left in shock – and fear.
Discovering that someone is offering money in return for information about the dead man and anyone connected to him, Detective Kay Hunter realises there is a dark side to the victim’s past.
When a key witness disappears and a web of deceit and lies threatens to derail the investigation, she fears the worst.
Can Kay and her team of detectives find out who is behind the man’s murder before another victim is targeted?
All Adults Here by Emma Straub
Coming of age isn’t just for kids.
Astrid Strick has always tried to do her best for her three children. Now, they’re finally grown up – but you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
Elliott doesn’t have any idea who he really is, or how to communicate with his own sons. Porter is, at last, pregnant – but feels incapable of rising to the challenge. Nicky has fled to distant New Mexico, where he’s living the bohemian dream.
And Astrid herself is up to things that would make her children’s hair curl.
Until now, the family have managed to hide their true selves from each other. But when Nicky’s incorrigibly curious daughter Cecelia comes to stay, her arrival threatens to upturn everything . . .
The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal
It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.
Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.
Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.
Belladonna by Anbara Salam
It is summer, 1956, when fifteen-year-old Bridget first meets Isabella. In their conservative Connecticut town, Isabella is a breath of fresh air. She is worldly, alluring and brazen: an enigma.
When they receive an offer to study at the Academy in Italy, Bridget is thrilled. This is her ticket to Europe and – better still – a chance to spend nine whole months with her glamorous and unpredictable best friend.
There, lodged in a convent of nuns who have taken a vow of silence, the two girls move towards a passionate but fragile intimacy. As the year rolls on, Bridget grows increasingly fearful that she will lose Isabella’s affections – and the more desperate she gets, the greater the lengths she will go to keep her.
Belladonna is a hypnotizing coming-of age story set against the stunning and evocative backdrop of rural Northern Italy. Anbara Salam tells a story of friendship and obsession, desire and betrayal, and the lies we tell in order to belong.
Anne Devine : Handle with Care by Colm O’Regan
Just once, Ann Devine would like life to be straightforward. But there’s just too much drama knocking about for that to happen.
Ann’s family is proving a handful at the moment. Her mother moves in after having a fall, her sister Ger is off ‘finding herself’ in India leaving Ann to look after her teenage, wide a-woke, niece Freya. Her daughter Jennifer is dealing with a love triangle that involves her mother-in-law-to-be. It’s all far from simple.
Now Rory, her youngest, has set his sights on a future as a local TD and it’s all Ann can do not to box him up and post him off to the backend of wherever is furthest away from his local ‘mentor’, politician, and all-round chancer Patsy Duggan. Just to save him from himself. Of course, that’s not even an option because now the post office is closing down. The locals are up in arms, but what do the powers-that-be care about rural Ireland? Without really meaning to be, Ann finds herself in the thick of things – and things are getting dodgier by the minute.
She only wanted to save the village, but sometimes even saviours need saving from themselves.
Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave
From a compelling new voice in women’s fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams.
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.
Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.
Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.
Fragments of Light by Michele Phoenix
An impossible decision in the chaos of D-Day. Ripples that cascade seventy-five years into the present. And two lives transformed by the tenuous resolve to reach out of the darkness toward fragments of light.
Cancer stole everything from Ceelie—her peace of mind, her self-image, perhaps even her twenty-three-year marriage to her college sweetheart, Nate. Without the support of Darlene, her quirky elderly friend, she may not have been able to endure so much loss.
So when Darlene’s prognosis turns dire, Ceelie can’t refuse her seemingly impossible request—to find a WWII paratrooper named Cal, the father who disappeared when Darlene was an infant, leaving a lifetime of desolation in his wake.
The search that begins in the farmlands of Missouri eventually leads Ceelie to a small town in Normandy, where she uncovers the harrowing tale of the hero who dropped off-target into occupied France.
Alternating between Cal’s D-Day rescue by two young French sisters and Ceelie’s present-day journey through trial and heartbreak, Fragments of Light poses a timeless question: When life becomes unbearable, will you press toward the light or let the darkness win?
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.
And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.
As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.
With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.
Mother Land : a novel by Leah Franqui
When Rachel Meyer, a thirtysomething foodie from New York, agrees to move to Mumbai with her Indian-born husband, Dhruv, she knows some culture shock is inevitable. Blessed with a curious mind and an independent spirit, Rachel is determined to learn her way around the hot, noisy, seemingly infinite metropolis she now calls home.
But the ex-pat American’s sense of adventure is sorely tested when her mother-in-law, Swati, suddenly arrives from Kolkata—a thousand miles away—alone, with an even more shocking announcement: she’s left her husband of more than forty years and moving in with them. Nothing the newlyweds say can budge the steadfast Swati, and as the days pass, it becomes clear she is here to stay—an uneasy situation that becomes more difficult when Dhruv is called away on business.
Suddenly these two strong-willed women from such very different backgrounds, who see life so differently, are alone together in a home that each is determined to run in her own way—a situation that ultimately brings into question the very things in their lives that had seemed perfect and permanent . . . with results neither of them expect.
Heartfelt, charming, deeply insightful and wise, Mother Land introduces us to two very different women from very different cultures . . . who maybe aren’t so different after all.
The Family Clause by Jonas Hassen Khemiri
A grandfather returns home from abroad to visit his adult children. The son is a failure. The daughter is having a baby with the wrong man. Only the grandfather, the proud patriarch, is perfect – at least, according to himself.
Over the course of ten intense days, the relationships of this chaotic and entirely normal family unfold and painful memories resurface. Something has to give. But the son is duty-bound to his father through an arrangement they call ‘the father clause’. Can it be renegotiated, or will it bind everyone to the past forever?
In The Family Clause, multi-award-winning writer Jonas Hassen Khemiri has created a tender, funny and bruising novel about what it means to be a good parent, the difficulty of understanding those closest to us, and how it sometimes takes courage just to stick around. An ode to families, their dynamics, their boundaries and their silences, in all their messy glory, it reveals one of the real challenges in life: how to stop your family defining your destiny.
The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
mountweazel, noun: a fake entry deliberately inserted into a dictionary or work of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement.
In the final year of the nineteenth century, Peter Winceworth has reached the letter ‘S’, toiling away for the much-anticipated and multi-volume Swansby’s New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Overwhelmed at his desk and increasingly uneasy that his colleagues are attempting to corral language and regiment facts, Winceworth feels compelled to assert some sense of individual purpose and exercise artistic freedom, and begins inserting unauthorised, fictitious entries into the dictionary.
In the present day, young intern Mallory is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels as the text of the dictionary is digitised for modern readers. Through the words and their definitions she finds she has access to their creator’s motivations, hopes and desires. More pressingly, she must also field daily threatening anonymous phone calls. Is a suggested change to the dictionary’s definition of marriage (n.) really that controversial? What power does Mallory have when it comes to words and knowing how to tell the truth? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby’s staff to ‘burn in hell’?
As their two narratives combine, Winceworth and Mallory must discover how to negotiate the complexities of an often nonsensical, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable life.
The Miseducation of Evie Epworth
Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine.
If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.
Moving, inventive and richly comic, The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is the most joyful debut novel of the year and the best thing to have come out of Yorkshire since Wensleydale cheese.
Clouds of Love and War by Rachel Billington
Occasionally panoramic, more often intimate, in Clouds of Love and War author Rachel Billington balances a detailed and highly researched picture of the life of a Second World War Spitfire pilot with the travails and ambitions of a young woman too often on her own. The result is both a gripping story of war and a sensitive story of love, a love that struggles to survive.
Eddie and Eva meet on the eve of the Second World War. Eddie only wants to be a flyer, to find escape in the clouds from his own complicated family. However, the Battle of Britain makes a pilot’s life a dangerous way to flee reality. Eva has her own passionate longing: to become a painter. When Eva’s Jewish mother disappears to Germany, she is left alone with her elderly father. Both Eddie and Eva come of age at a time that teaches them that happiness is always fleeting, but there are things worth living – or dying – for.
Through the connecting stories of these young people and their wider families, and against a background of southern county airfields, London, Oxford, Dorset and France, Rachel Billington brings the world of war time England, now eighty years in the past, back to life.
Hope you found something to suit?