Here’s this week’s list of bookish temptation. As usual the titles will be a mix of eBooks, paperbacks and hardbacks, all available to pre-order. Publication dates were correct as at time of writing. (NB the links used are affiliate links details of which are here).
A Bookshop in Paris by Ellen Feldman
The war is over, but the past is never past …
Paris, 1944. Charlotte Foret is working in a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris struggling to stay alive and keep her baby Vivi safe as the world around them is being torn apart. Every day they live through is a miracle until Vivi becomes gravely ill. In desperation, Charlotte accepts help from an unlikely saviour – and her life is changed forever.
Charlotte is no victim – she is a survivor. But the truth of what happened in Paris is something she can never share with anyone, including her daughter. But can she ever really leave Paris behind – and survive the next chapter of her life?
Seamlessly interweaving Charlotte’s past in wartime Paris and her present in the 1950s world of New York publishing, A Bookshop in Paris is a heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story of resilience, love – and impossible choices.
Perfect Tunes by Emily Gould
The perfect song. The biggest dream. The love of her life.
It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village in the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs with her beautiful best friend when she falls hard for a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived – but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.
Fifteen years later, Laura’s teenage daughter is asking questions about her father, questions Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a stable life in Brooklyn that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. When her best friend – now a famous musician – comes to town, opportunity knocks for Laura for a second time. Has growing older changed who she is and what she most wants? After all the sacrifices and compromises she’s made along the way, how much is she still that girl from Ohio, with big talent and big dreams?
The Lions of Fifth by Fiona Davis
It’s 1913, and on the surface, Laura Lyons couldn’t ask for more out of life—her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library, allowing their family to live in an apartment within the grand building, and they are blessed with two children. But headstrong, passionate Laura wants more, and when she takes a leap of faith and applies to the Columbia Journalism School, her world is cracked wide open. As her studies take her all over the city, she is drawn to Greenwich Village’s new bohemia, where she discovers the Heterodoxy Club—a radical, all-female group in which women are encouraged to loudly share their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights. Soon, Laura finds herself questioning her traditional role as wife and mother. But when valuable books are stolen back at the library, threatening the home and institution she loves, she’s forced to confront her shifting priorities head on . . . and may just lose everything in the process.
Eighty years later, in 1993, Sadie Donovan struggles with the legacy of her grandmother, the famous essayist Laura Lyons, especially after she’s wrangled her dream job as a curator at the New York Public Library. But the job quickly becomes a nightmare when rare manuscripts, notes, and books for the exhibit Sadie’s running begin disappearing from the library’s famous Berg Collection. Determined to save both the exhibit and her career, the typically risk-adverse Sadie teams up with a private security expert to uncover the culprit. However, things unexpectedly become personal when the investigation leads Sadie to some unwelcome truths about her own family heritage—truths that shed new light on the biggest tragedy in the library’s history.
Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell
YOU DON’T SEE HER. BUT SHE SEES YOU.
MIDNIGHT: In an area of urban wasteland where cats hunt and foxes shriek, a girl is watching …
When Saffyre Maddox was ten, something terrible happened, and she’s carried the pain of it ever since. The man who she thought was going to heal her didn’t, and now she hides, learning his secrets, invisible in the shadows.
Owen Pick is invisible too. He’s never had a girlfriend; he’s never even had a friend.
Nobody sees him. Nobody cares.
But when Saffyre goes missing from opposite his house on Valentine’s night, suddenly the whole world is looking at Owen.
Accusing him, holding him responsible for Saffyre’s disappearance …
INVISIBLE GIRL: an engrossing, twisty story of how we look in the wrong places for bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight.
A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville
It is 1788. Twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth is hungry for life but, as the ward of a Devon clergyman, knows she has few prospects. When proud, scarred soldier John Macarthur promises her the earth one midsummer’s night, she believes him.
But Elizabeth soon realises she has made a terrible mistake. Her new husband is reckless, tormented, driven by some dark rage at the world. He tells her he is to take up a position as Lieutenant in a New South Wales penal colony and she has no choice but to go. Sailing for six months to the far side of the globe with a child growing inside her, she arrives to find Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, scheming and rumours.
All her life she has learned to be obliging, to fold herself up small. Now, in the vast landscapes of an unknown continent, Elizabeth has to discover a strength she never imagined, and passions she could never express.
Inspired by the real life of a remarkable woman, this is an extraordinarily rich, beautifully wrought novel of resilience, courage and the mystery of human desire.
Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis
Jenny has just given birth to the baby she’s always wanted. She’s never been this happy.
Her husband, Leo, knows this baby girl can’t be his. He’s never felt so betrayed.
The same night, a vulnerable young woman, Hannah, wakes to find her newborn lifeless beside her. She’s crazed with grief.
When chance throws Hannah into Leo’s path, they make a plan that will have shattering consequences for all of them.
Years later, a sixteen-year-old girl reads an article in a newspaper, and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth about herself. But what she learns will put everything she has ever known – and her own life – in grave danger. Because some people will go to desperate lengths to protect the secrets their lives are built on . . .
Imperfect Women by Araminta Hall
YOU’D DO ANYTHING FOR YOUR FRIENDS. BUT WOULD YOU TELL THEM THE TRUTH?
Nancy, Eleanor and Mary met at college and have been friends ever since, through marriages, children and love affairs.
Nancy married her college sweetheart and is now missing that excitement of her youth.
Eleanor put her career above all else and hasn’t looked back, despite her soft spot for Nancy’s husband.
Mary fell pregnant far too young and is now coping with three children and a mentally unwell husband.
But when Nancy is killed, Eleanor and Mary must align themselves to uncover her killer. And as each of their stories unfold, they realise that there are many different truths to find, and many different ways to bring justice for those we love…
Everyone wants a perfect life. But there is no such thing…
The Woman in Red by Diana Giovinazzo
Experience the “epic tale of one woman’s fight . . . to create the life of her dreams” in this sweeping novel of Anita Garibaldi, a 19th century Brazilian revolutionary who loved as fiercely as she fought for freedom (Adriana Trigiani).
Destiny toys with us all, but Anita Garibaldi is a force to be reckoned with. Forced into marriage at a young age, Anita feels trapped in a union she does not want. But when she meets the leader of the Brazilian resistance, Giuseppe Garibaldi, in 1839, everything changes.
Swept into a passionate affair with the idolized mercenary, Anita’s life is suddenly consumed by the plight to liberate Southern Brazil from Portugal — a struggle that would cost thousands of lives and span almost ten bloody years. Little did she know that this first taste of revolution would lead her to cross oceans, traverse continents, and alter the course of her entire life — and the world.
At once an exhilarating adventure and an unforgettable love story, The Woman in Red is a sweeping, illuminating tale of the feminist icon who became one of the most revered historical figures of South America and Italy.
The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning
Why would someone bury a bucket of precious jewels and gemstones and never return?
Present Day. When respected American jewelry historian, Kate Kirby, receives a call about the Cheapside jewels, she knows she’s on the brink of the experience of a lifetime.
But the trip to London forces Kate to explore secrets that have long been buried by her own family. Back in Boston, Kate has uncovered a series of sketches in her great-grandmother’s papers linking her suffragette great-grandmother Essie to the Cheapside collection. Could these sketches hold the key to Essie’s secret life in Edwardian London?
In the summer of 1912, impoverished Irish immigrant Essie Murphy happens to be visiting her brother when a workman’s pickaxe strikes through the floor of an old tenement house in Cheapside, near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The workmen uncover a stash of treasure—from Ottoman pendants to Elizabethan and Jacobean gems—and then the finds disappear again! Could these jewels—one in particular—change the fortunes of Essie and her sisters?
Together with photographer Marcus Holt, Kate Kirby chases the history of the Cheapside gems and jewels, especially the story of a small diamond champlevé enamel ring. Soon, everything Kate believes about her family, gemology, and herself will be threatened.
Based on a fascinating true story, The Lost Jewels is a riveting historical fiction novel that will captivate readers from the beginning to the unforgettable, surprising end.
The New Girlfriend by Sheryl Browne
Cassie once did something so bad she’s never spoken about it since.
When her beloved son, Josh, dies suddenly in a tragic accident, Cassie is overcome with grief. And, as she cries on her husband’s shoulder, her phone lights up with a message that terrifies her.
I know what you did and I’m going to make you pay.
Somebody from Cassie’s past has found her and they want revenge for something Cassie did when Josh was just a baby. They want everyone to know just what kind of a woman Cassie really is. As Cassie tries to hide the message from her husband, there is a knock on the door of their perfect home. Cassie’s biggest secret is about to be revealed. And you won’t believe what she does next…
The Electric by Edward Hogan
Brighton, 1950s. When Daisy got married, she knew nothing of a police wife’s struggles – the way secrecy and suspicion seep into the home. But over the years she finds ways to resist. She builds a fierce bond with her children, Linda and Michael, and escapes to the twilit world of the cinema.
By 1998 Linda and Michael are still struggling to cope after their mother’s death, a decade before. Mike finds solace in suburban violence, while Linda invests her hopes in Lucas, her deaf teenage son. But the appearance of a man from Daisy’s past threatens to upend their uneasy peace.
Meanwhile, Lucas is obsessed with his support worker, and relearning the sign language he shared with his grandmother. As the language comes back, so do memories of his early childhood. But will the truth about the events of ten years ago save his family, or destroy it?
The Electric is a brilliantly realised novel about three generations bound together by love, tragedy and the struggle to escape the past.
The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon by Sarah Steele
To unravel that long-lost summer, she had to follow the thread…
Florence Connelly is broken hearted. Her marriage has collapsed under the weight of the loss she shares with her husband, and her beloved grandmother has just died. Even the joy she found in dressmaking is gone.
But things change when Flo opens a box of vintage 1960s dress patterns found inside her grandmother’s wardrobe. Inside each pattern packet is a fabric swatch, a postcard from Europe and a photograph of a mysterious young woman, Nancy Moon, wearing the hand-made dress.
Flo discovers that Nancy was a distant relation who took the boat train to Paris in 1962 and never returned. With no one to stay home for, Flo decides to follow Nancy’s thread. She unravels an untold story of love and loss in her family’s past. And begins to stitch the pieces of her own life back together.
The Mission House by Carys Davies
Fleeing the dark undercurrents of contemporary life in Britain, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in Ooty, a hill station in South India. There he finds solace in life’s simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town with his driver Jamshed and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery where the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla have taken Hilary under their wing.
The Padre is concerned for Priscilla’s future, and as Hilary’s friendship with the young woman grows, he begins to wonder whether his purpose lies in this new relationship. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems.
The Mission House boldly and imaginatively explores post-colonial ideas in a world fractured between faith and non-belief, young and old, imperial past and nationalistic present. Tenderly subversive and meticulously crafted, it is a deeply human fable of the wonders and terrors of connection in a modern world.
I Give it to You by Valerie Martin
Jan Vidor seems like the ideal tenant for a long summer holiday in a Tuscan villa. Unobtrusive and quietly sociable, the American academic can be relied upon to entertain herself – but her aristocratic landlady Beatrice has made a terrible mistake.
A chance remark about a violent death at Villa Chiara during the war piques Jan’s writerly interest and sends her digging into the Salviati family’s tragic past. Was Beatrice’s uncle Sandro really mistaken for a partisan, or was his killer someone closer to home? Does it matter if Jan just fills in the gaps? After all, Beatrice said she could do as she liked with the story, she even said ‘I give it to you’ . . .
Written with a deep understanding of loyalty and temptation, I Give It To You is a riveting novel about who owns a story, whether we have a right to what we inherit, and what a gift really means.
Homecoming by Luan Goldie
For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.
Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.
Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.
When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.
Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound and moving story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, opening yourself up to the exquisite pain and pleasure of love, and of what happens when three lost souls, all bound by one person, come together and finally share their truths.
All the Right Mistakes by Laura Jamison
Five college friends have arrived at forty in very different circumstances, but with at least one thing in common: they are among the more privileged in society. Elizabeth and Sara are lawyers, Martha is a doctor, Carmen is a wealthy and well-educated homemaker, and Heather, the most successful, is a famous tech executive—and after more than two decades of friendship, they know one another better than anyone.
Then Heather writes a women’s advice book detailing the key life “mistakes” of her four friends—opting out, ramping off, giving half effort, and forgetting your fertility—that becomes wildly popular, and Elizabeth, Sara, Martha, and Carmen all feel the sting of Heather’s cruel words. Despite their status, these women face everyday obstacles, including work problems, parenting challenges, secondary infertility, racism, sexism, financial stress, and marital woes—and as they weather their fortieth year, each one can’t help but wonder if their life might have been different if they had followed Heather’s advice.
But as these friends are continually reminded, life is complex, messy, disappointing, and joyful, often all at once—and no one can plan her way out of that reality. In the end, all five women must embrace the idea that their lives are shaped not just by their choices but also by how they handle the obstacles life inevitably throws at us all.
Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn
Danny’s life is falling apart. He’s become a single father to eleven-year-old Will–who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash a year earlier–and Danny has just been fired from his construction job. To make matters worse, he’s behind on the rent and his nasty landlord is threatening to break his legs if he doesn’t pay soon. Danny needs money, and fast.
After observing local street performers in a nearby park, Danny spends his last few dollars on a tattered panda costume, impulsively deciding to become a dancing bear. While performing one day, Danny spots his son in the park, and chases off the older boys who are taunting him. Will opens up for the first time since his mother’s death, unaware that the man in the panda costume is his father. Afraid of disclosing his true identity, Danny comforts his son. But will Danny lose Will’s trust once he reveals who he is? And will he be able to dance his way out of debt, or be beaten up before he has a chance?
Filled with a colorful cast of characters, Bear Necessity is a refreshingly unpretentious and ultimately uplifting story of a father and son reconnecting in the most unlikely of circumstances.
An Unfinished Story by Boo Walker
A grieving widow and a disenchanted writer form an unexpected bond in a novel about second chances and finding the courage to let go of the past.
It’s been three years since Claire Kite lost her husband, David, an aspiring novelist, in a tragic car accident. Claire finally finds the courage to move on; then she discovers among the remnants of her shattered world her husband’s last manuscript. It’s intimate, stirring—and unfinished. An idea comes to her…What if she can find someone to give David’s novel the ending it deserves?
Whitaker Grant is famous for his one and only bestselling novel—a masterpiece that became a hit film. But after being crippled by the pressure of success and his failed marriage, Whitaker retreated from the public eye in his native St. Petersburg, Florida. Years later, he’s struggling through a deep midlife crisis. Until he receives an intriguing request from a lonely widow. To honor David’s story, Whitaker must understand, heart and soul, the man who wrote it and the woman he left behind.
There’s more to the novel than anyone dreamed. Something personal. Something true. Maybe, in bringing a chapter of David’s life to a close, Claire and Whitaker can find hope for a new beginning.
The Wife’s Choice by Emma Davies
Tell your most devastating secret, or risk losing your only daughter…
Then: Twenty years ago, Alys’ husband, Sam, was in a terrible car accident that left him fighting for his life. His recovery was slow and painful and, just at the point when Alys began to hope, he sent her away, refusing to see her ever again for reasons she could never understand.
Now: Married again and living in a new town with a new family, Alys feels like she’s sleepwalking through life. She’s just lost her job, her grown-up daughter is flying the nest, and her new husband doesn’t see – or even seem to care about – the downward spiral she is in.
But a chance encounter changes everything. As the life she could have had crashes into the one she settled for, Alys must decide whether or not to reveal the lie she’s been telling everyone all these years. Will it tear apart the ones she loves, or could it set them free?
Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim
Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes–or misfortunes–in tealeaves.
Ever since she can remember, Vanessa has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.
After her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa sees death for the first time. She decides that she can’t truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric Aunt Evelyn shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to California and bonjour to Paris. There, Vanessa learns more about herself and the root of her gifts and realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is.
The Comeback by Ella Berman
A deep dive into the psyche of a young actress raised in the spotlight under the influence of a charming, manipulative film director and the moment when she decides his time is up.
At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared.
Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn’t going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.
But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke—the man who controlled her every move for eight years—she realizes that she can’t run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she’s the only one with nothing left to lose.
Alternating between past and present, The Comeback tackles power dynamics and the uncertainty of young adulthood, the types of secrets that become part of our sense of self, and the moments when we learn that though there are many ways to get hurt, we can still choose to fight back.
Listed Dead by Jan Edwards
November 1940. The Battle of Britain has only just ended and the horror of the Blitz is reaching its height.
Two deaths in rapid succession on the Sussex Downs brings Bunch Courtney and Chief Inspector Wright together once more. What could possibly link a fatal auto accident with the corpse in a derelict shepherd’s hut? The only clue the pair have is a handwritten list of the members of a supper club that meets at London’s Café de Paris.
Two of those on that list are now dead and the race is on to solve the mystery before any more end up on the mortuary slab.
The King’s Fool by Mahi Binebine
Sidi is dying.
In the last days of this all-powerful tyrant, his faithful court fool takes stock of the decades he has spent in the king’s service. For the many years have left certain indelible wounds.
During his service, the fool has been the king’s closest counsel, his most trusted companion and adviser, privy to the king’s deepest secrets and most intimate thoughts. It is an honoured position for which many other courtiers would pay a hefty price. Something the fool understands only too well, for this closeness has indeed come at a terrible cost.
What price the confidence of a great king? Is it stories, jokes, witty repartee? Or does the debt fall closer to home? Perhaps it must be paid far from the magnificent palaces, feasting and festivities of the royal court. Perhaps it must be paid in the death jails of a formidable prison fortress far out in the desert; a place so feared that few dare to speak its name . . .
The Innocent Dead by Lin Anderson
Mary McIntyre’s disappearance tore the local community apart, inflicting wounds that still prove raw for those who knew her.
So when the present-day discovery of a child’s remains are found in a peat bog south of Glasgow, it seems the decades-old mystery may finally be solved.
Called in to excavate the body, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod uses the advances made in forensic science since Mary’s vanishing to determine what really happened all those years ago . . . and who was responsible.
One key person had been Karen Marshall who was devastated by her best friend’s abduction. Questioned by the police at the time had led to a dead end and the case soon went cold.
Now the news of the discovered body brings the nightmares back. But added to that, memories long-buried by Karen are returning, memories that begin to reveal her role in her friend’s disappearance and perhaps even the identity of the killer . . .
The Viper by Christobel Kent
Sandro Cellini faces his demons…
Sandro Cellini hasn’t set foot in La Vipera, a derelict farmhouse just outside Florence that was once home to a free-living commune, for forty years – until the discovery of two bodies nearby leads him back there.
At the start of his career, Cellini investigated an accusation that minors were being corrupted at La Vipera, but no charges were ever brought. Now, tasked with tracking down former members of the community, he has a chance to finally discover what really went on all those years ago.
But in order to learn the true nature of the commune’s mission, he must face his own traumatic memories. As he sifts through the lies, those closest to him are placed in danger. Only Cellini can unravel the final mystery of La Vipera, and so protect those he loves.
The Whispering House by Elizabeth Brooks
Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s suicide five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella – a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought.
Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is drawn into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya’s relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession, the darkness behind the locked doors of Byrne Hall threatens to spill out.
The Many Lives of Heloise Starchild by John Ironmonger
REMEMBER ME WHEN THE COMET COMES…
On the day the comet came, a girl named Heloise was born. She would live a fine life, and inherit a fortune, but would meet a cruel, untimely death.
Years later, strange dreams plague Katya Nemcová, a teenager burdened with a rare and curious gift. Memories come to Katya in her dreams – images and stories from a past that isn’t her own. Are these ghosts real? And what of the memory she seems to have of Heloise’s treasures, two centuries old?
A novel that spans the history of Europe – from revolutionary France to the world wars, the Prague Spring, post Brexit Britain, and beyond – this is the irresistible, adventurous and affectionate story of a quite extraordinary woman, her exceptionally talented ancestors and the curious memories they share.
So that’s it for another week – Happy Reading!!