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).
The Midnight Library by Matt Haigh
When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.
Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?
Laura Laura by Richard Francis
An elderly academic on his way home from the cinema is accosted by a homeless woman. She tells him her name is Laura. So begins a nightmarish journey for Gerald, a historian forced to confront the mystery of his own past, and to ask himself if he has lived a good life—or even a decent one.
In the course of this very funny, sometimes disturbing and often moving novel, suppressed memories return to haunt him. There is the matter of the bag of farthings, stolen when he was just a small boy. And the question of the role he played in a family tragedy. Above all he has to assess the harm he may have done in a long-forgotten love affair.
Even those close to him suddenly appear unfathomable. How well does he really know his friend Terence, an apparently unworldly physics professor who inspired Gerald’s course on quantum history, or the vivacious, recently widowed Judith, his sister-in-law? And what about Abby, to whom he has been married the whole of his adult life? He seems to understand her as little as he understands himself.
The problem with exploring the past, Gerald begins to see, is that there are an infinite number of ways to travel through it.
Until I Find You by Rea Frey
2 floors. 55 steps to go up. 40 more to the crib.
Since Rebecca Gray was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, everything in her life consists of numbers. Each day her world grows a little darker and each step becomes a little more dangerous.
Following days of feeling like someone’s watching her, Bec awakes at home to the cries of her son in his nursery. When it’s clear he’s not going to settle, Bec goes to check on him.
She reaches in. Picks him up.
But he’s not her son.
And no one believes her.
One woman’s desperate search for her son . . .
In a world where seeing is believing, Bec must rely on her own conviction and a mother’s instinct to uncover the truth about what happened to her baby and bring him home for good.
The Mill of Lost Dreams by Lori Rohda
Between 1870 and 1900, twelve million people immigrated to America. Hundreds of
thousands of them came to work in the textile mills of Fall River, Massachusetts.
The Mill of Lost Dreams is a story of love, friendship and sacrifice that provides an inside view into the world of textile mills and the daily life of seven courageous souls who leave home and risk everything for their shared dream of a better life: Angelina and Guido Wallabee, who have left their family’s failed farm in Italy; eleven-year-old Miranda Alysworth and her fifteen-year-old brother, Francois, who have escaped from indentured service in Canada; twins Phoebe and Charlie Dougherty, the children of Irish immigrant parents, who, though not yet thirteen, are forced to work in Troy Mill to support their family after their father’s untimely death; and eleven-year-old, Anne Kenny, an orphan who’s never known where she came from. All but one take jobs in Troy Mill in Fall River.
Over the course of seven decades, there are marriages, births, secrets exposed, friendships tested, and innocence lost. Some succeed in making a new life away from harm but pay a terrible price. Many cannot build the life they dreamed of and the consequences impact and shape the lives of their children—and their children’s children.
The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
The stunning second novel from the award-winning author of Kintu is a soulful, fiercely original novel rooted in Ugandan mythology
Smart, headstrong Kirabo is raised by her grandparents in rural Uganda. But as she enters her teens, she starts to feel overshadowed by the absence of the mother she has never known.
At once epic and deeply personal, The First Woman is the bold and piercing story of one young girl’s discovery of what it means to be a woman in a family, a community and a country that seem determined to silence her. Steeped in the rich folklore of Uganda but with an eye firmly on the future, Jennifer Makumbi has written a sweeping, effervescent tale of longing, femininity, and courage.
The Girl from Vichy by Andie Newton
As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.
With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame del la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.
While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.
Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.
Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.
A Lover’s Discourse by Xiaolu Guo
A story of desire, love and language – and the meaning of home – told through conversations between two lovers
A Chinese woman comes to London to start a new life, away from her old world. She knew she would be lonely, adrift in the city, but will her new relationship bring her closer to this land she has chosen, will their love give her a home?
A Lover’s Discourse is an exploration of romantic love told through fragments of conversations between the two lovers. Playing with language and the cultural differences that her narrator encounters as she settles into life in a post-Brexit Britain, Xiaolu Guo shows us how this couple navigate these differences, and their romance, whether on their unmoored houseboat or in a stifling flatshare in east London, or journeying through other continents together…
Suffused with a wonderful sense of humour, this intimate and tender novel asks universal questions: what is the meaning of home when we’ve been uprooted? How can a man and woman be together? And how best to find solid ground in a world of uncertainty?
The Heart Goes On by Kate Hewitt
1819, Isle of Mull, Scotland: When Allan MacDougall tells his sweetheart Harriet Campbell he loves her on the eve of his departure to the New World, it breaks her heart. Because there is no way for her to go with him. She promises to wait for him, even though it could be years before they are reunited.
They vow to write, but when crucial letters go astray, they feel further apart than either could have imagined. Allan finds himself battling for his independence and future, and ultimately for his life. Whilst Harriet’s family fortunes take a turn for the worse, leaving her with an impossible choice—stay faithful to the man she loves… or save her family from destitution?
Their fortunes are to have a chance to collide once again. But is their love strong enough to survive? Or will the time—and oceans—that have separated them for so long keep them apart forever?
In the Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill
Sex and friendship, ambition and political intrigue, secrets and betrayal will set the fate of the two slave; Jamīla and Abimelech; in this ground-breaking debut novel.
In the Palace of Flowers recreates the opulent Persian royal court of the Qajars at the end of the nineteenth century. This is a precarious time of growing public dissent, foreign interference from the Russians and British, and the problem of an aging ruler and his unsuitable heir. It tells the story from the unique perspective of two Abyssinian slaves: Jamila, a concubine, and Abimelech, a eunuch.
Torn away from their families, they now serve at the whims of the royal family, only too aware of their own insignificance in the eyes of their masters. Abimelech and Jamila’s quest to take control over their lives and find meaning leads to them navigating the dangerous politics of the royal court and to the radicals that lie beyond its walls.
The Last to Know by Jo Furniss
American journalist Rose Kynaston has just relocated to the childhood home of her husband, Dylan, in the English village of his youth. There’s a lot for Rose to get used to in Hurtwood. Like the family’s crumbling mansion, inhabited by Dylan’s reclusive mother, and the treacherous hill it sits upon, a place of both sinister folklore and present dangers.
Then there are the unwelcoming villagers, who only whisper the name Kynaston—like some dreadful secret, a curse. Everyone knows what happened at Hurtwood House twenty years ago. Everyone except Rose. And now that Dylan is back, so are rumors about his past.
When an archaeological dig unearths human remains on the hill, local police sergeant Ellie Trevelyan vows to solve a cold case that has cast a chill over Hurtwood for decades.
As Ellie works to separate rumor from fact, Rose must fight to clear the name of the man she loves. But how can Rose keep her family safe if she is the last to know the truth?
Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow
Dying to know more about the brooding and mysterious Flynn Carter and the secrets behind his plans for Starcross Manor?
When Julia Coleman meets Flynn Carter again in the cosy village of Heartcross it can only mean trouble. Flynn might be rich, brooding and sexy, but Julia knows first-hand he’s ruthless and she plans to watch his every move.
When Julia discovers Flynn’s plans for beautiful Starcross Manor her greatest fears come true. Because Flynn’s dreams of turning Starcross into a luxury hotel could ruin Julia’s dreams…and finish off the community of Heartcross for good.
Flynn makes it clear he doesn’t want trouble, and he’s not the man Julia thinks he is. As he sets about convincing the community he’s changed, he hopes he can convince Julia to give him another chance too…
Save her Soul by Lisa Regan
Josie flinches as she takes in the faded blue sports jacket wrapped around the girl they just pulled from the water. Josie knew someone who’d once owned that jacket. He had died in her arms five years ago.
Heavy rain pours on the small town of Denton causing the riverbanks to break and the body of a young girl to float quietly to the surface. With no crime scene to examine, the odds are against Detective Josie Quinn and her team. Mercifully, the victim’s body is perfectly preserved, right down to the baseball patch on the jacket she was wearing. Josie can’t hide her devastation—her dead ex-husband, Ray, owned one just like it.
Following the trail back to her high school, Josie identifies the girl as Beverly Urban, a troubled student rumored to have been dating Ray before she left town for good. It looks like a tragic accident until the autopsy reveals a bullet in her head and the heart-breaking secret she was keeping.
Josie visits the salon where Beverly’s mother used to work, believing she was at the heart of a terrible scandal around the time her daughter’s life was taken. With the Denton wives remaining tight-lipped, Josie’s only hope is a secret meet-up with a terrified woman willing to talk. But she is murdered moments before giving Josie crucial information. It’s clear that someone is prepared to keep on killing to stop the truth from getting out.
Digging deep into memories of her own past with Ray is the only advantage Josie has on this twisted killer… but at what cost?
The House at Mermaid’s Cove by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
In April 1943 a young woman washes ashore on a deserted beach in Cornwall, England. With shorn hair and a number stitched on her tattered chemise, Alice is the survivor of a ship torpedoed by a German U-boat. She’s found by the mysterious Viscount Jack Trewella, who suspects that she’s a prisoner of war or a spy. But the secret Alice asks Jack to keep is one he could never have guessed, and it creates an intimate bond he never expected.
With her true identity hidden beneath the waves, Alice grasps the chance to reinvent herself. But as she begins to fall for Jack, she discovers he has secrets too—ones echoing the legend of a mermaid said to lure men into the dark depths of the sea.
For two strangers in the shadow of war, lost love, and haunting memories, is it time to let go of the past? Or to finally face it—whatever the risks?
The Big Man Upstairs by JD Kirk
Just when he thought he was out…
Burdened by guilt over the trauma recently inflicted on his friends and colleagues, former-Detective Chief Inspector Jack Logan has spent the past nine months living in self-imposed exile.
When a mother and her young daughter are the victims of a double murder staged to look like suicide, Logan is dragged back to help hunt down and catch a brutal, calculating killer.
But the world has moved on without him. To do what needs to be done, Logan must first find his place among old friends and new enemies before the killer strikes again, and a whole Highland community tears itself apart.
Maybe early retirement wasn’t such a bad idea, after all…
The Boy in the Field by Margot Livesey
One September afternoon in 1999, teenagers Matthew, Zoe, and Duncan Lang are walking home from school when they discover a boy lying in a field, bloody and unconscious. Thanks to their intervention, the boy’s life is saved. In the aftermath, all three siblings are irrevocably changed.
Matthew, the oldest, becomes obsessed with tracking down the assailant, secretly searching the local town with the victim’s brother. Zoe wanders the streets of Oxford, looking at men, and one of them, a visiting American graduate student, looks back. Duncan, the youngest, who has seldom thought about being adopted, suddenly decides he wants to find his birth mother. Overshadowing all three is the awareness that something is amiss in their parents’ marriage.
Over the course of the autumn, as each of the siblings confronts the complications and contradictions of their approaching adulthood, they find themselves at once drawn together and driven apart.
The Search Party by Simon Lelic
16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.
Five friends set out into the woods to find her.
But they’re not just friends…
You see, this was never a search party.
It’s a witch hunt.
And not everyone will make it home alive…
THE CHALK MAN meets THE HUNTING PARTY in this gripping story; witness four suspects as, alongside DI Fleet, you attempt to discover the truth about what happened to Sadie…
A short number this week – be warned next week will make make up for it! As always Happy Reading!!