Is it really a month since the last time sat and produced this list? Again there seems to be an increasing number to trawl though and I’m still thinking about the best way of presenting a list that seems to be longer each month. For this list I’ve concentrated on the more recent titles, but have dropped in a few older titles that I wouldn’t want you to miss. Genres have been allocated by me and have been generously applied. I don’t necessarily like to pigeon hole but it helps to give the post a bit more structure.
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.
This post includes affiliate links and you can see what this means here. Click on image for purchase link
A Vintage Friendship by Cathy Hopkins
Has their friendship stood the test of time?
The Class of ’72, Sara, Ally, Jo and Mitch were as close as sisters, then life intervened and the four friends lost touch. Now in her sixties, Sara has realized – late in the day – that those women were the best friends she’d ever had and is determined to get the gang back together.
Ally is facing a huge turning point in her life and Jo, after years of being chief cook and bottle washer, needs to put herself first after a wake-up call.
None of them know what happened to Mitch. The coolest and most enigmatic of the foursome doesn’t want to be found and it seems that even after all these years, the women are still keeping a few secrets from each other…
If You Were her by Alice Peterson
When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.
Five years later, Flo is engaged and moving to New York with her fiancé. Peggy never told her what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.
As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: if a test could decide your future, would you take it?
The Wish by Alex Brown
The touching and emotional new novel from the No.1 bestselling author of The Great Christmas Knit-Off and The Secret of Orchard Cottage.
Sam Morgan knows he messed up with his wife Chrissie and daughter Holly – he wasn’t there when they needed him most, but now he’ll do anything to put his family back together again. Until then, he’s back living in the picture-postcard village of Tindledale.
Jude Darling is coming home for good this time. She’s taking over the antique shop in Tindledale, the place where she grew up and she’s going to make sure she’s there for her friend, Chrissie, and Goddaughter, Holly. They certainly need her right now.
As for Holly, there’s only one thing she wants and it’s not the sort of thing you can buy in a shop. She might be thirteen years old, but Holly still believes in wishes, and perhaps if she wishes hard enough, this one might come true…
Only You by Kate Eberlen
One person is all it takes to change a lifetime . . . But how will you know if they’re the one?
Letty and Alf are the only English speakers at an Italian class in Rome, where they discover the language that really connects them is dance: Letty’s first love was ballet, while Alf was a junior ballroom champion. They come from different worlds, until the moment they waltz around the Piazza Navona, and everything changes.
But one moment can’t change the past, and it’s clear that Alf and Letty still have their secrets. What caused them to leave their lives behind in England? And who, or what, are they running from? As their relationship deepens, it becomes harder and harder to tell the truth . . .
When the unthinkable happens, Letty returns to London and Alf to Blackpool. Will they spend their lives apart, or discover a future together?
Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson
You never forget the one that got away.
Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.
But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; after all, she’d been the one to run.
Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.
For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her skin-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.
And so begins a new mix tape.
Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…
Something to Love For by Richard Roper
The most uplifting story of the summer – about Andrew, who has forgotten how to live, and Peggy, who helps him remember…
Everybody likes Andrew. But they don’t really know him.
They know what he’s told them – that he’s happily married with two kids. Living the kind of life that’s either so boring it’s true, or so perfect it’s a lie . . .
Peggy arrives in Andrew’s life in a burst of kindness and possibility. For the first time in ages, Andrew feels alive again. So now that he has everything to lose, can he risk it all and tell Peggy the truth?
A big-hearted story about love, loneliness, and the importance of taking a chance when we feel we have the most to lose.
The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together . . .
SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan – and fast – to keep her café and customers safe.
YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets.
CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil.
ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life.
And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules.
As these five women discover there is more to each other than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will change their lives forever. Because even in a place rife with conflict, love, friendship and hope will always survive . . .
The Secret to Happiness by Jessica Redland
Everyone deserves a chance at happiness…
Danniella is running from her past, so when she arrives at the beautiful seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay, the last thing on her mind is making friends. After all, they might find out her secrets…
Alison is fun, caring and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But beneath the front, she is a lost soul, stuck in a terrible relationship, with body confidence issues and no family to support her. All she really needs is a friend.
Karen’s romance has taken a back seat to her fitness business. But she doesn’t want to give up on love quite yet. If only those mysterious texts would stop coming through …
When the women meet at their local bootcamp, a deep friendship blossoms. And soon they realise that the secret to happiness is where they least expected to find it…
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…
Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and L Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
The Saturday Morning Park Run by Jules Wake
This is the story of two women.
One old, one young.
One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose.
Both needing a friend.
And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).
Some people come into your life when you need them the most.
A Bicycle Built for Sue by Daisy Tate
Getting on her bike will change everything…
Sue Young has never asked for much apart from a quiet life. She’s always been happy with her call centre job and dinner on the table at six o clock; that was until a tragedy tore her tranquility into little shreds.
With her life in tatters, Sue is persuaded to join a charity cycle ride led by Morning TV’s Kath Fuller, who is having a crisis of her own, and Sue’s self-appointed support crew are struggling with their own issues. Pensioner Flo Wilson is refusing to grow old, gracefully or otherwise, and a teen goth Raven Chakrabarti, is determined to dodge the path her family have mapped out for her.
Can the foursome cycle through saddle sores and chaffed thighs to a brighter future, or will pushing themselves to the limit prove harder than they thought?
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey
1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother. Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living nearby – the artists Jo and Edward Hopper – and an unlikely friendship is forged.
She, volatile, passionate and often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn and unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie’s frail and beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live – an infatuation he shares with young Michael.
A novel of loneliness and regret, the legacy of World War II and the ever-changing concept of the American Dream.
The Shepherdess of Siena by Linda Lafferty
Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has always harbored a deep love for horses—though she knows she may never have the chance to ride. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, Virginia’s possibilities are doubly limited by her peasant class and her gender. Yet while she tends her flock, Virginia is captivated by the daring equestrian feats of the high-spirited Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, much to the horror of her brother, the tyrannical Gran Duca Francesco de’ Medici.
Inspired, the young shepherdess keeps one dream close to her heart: to race in Siena’s Palio. Twenty-six years after Florence captured Siena, Virginia’s defiance will rally the broken spirit of the Senese people and threaten the pernicious reign of the Gran Duca. Bringing alive the rich history of one of Tuscany’s most famed cities, this lush, captivating saga draws an illuminating portrait of one girl with an unbreakable spirit.
On Wilder Seas : the Woman on the Golden Hind by Nikki Marmery
April 1579: When two ships meet off the Pacific coast of New Spain, an enslaved woman seizes the chance to escape.
But Maria has unwittingly joined Francis Drake’s circumnavigation voyage as he sets sail on a secret detour into the far north.
Sailing into the unknown on the Golden Hind, a lone woman among eighty men, Maria will be tested to the very limits of her endurance. It will take all her wits to survive – and courage to cut the ties that bind her to Drake to pursue her own journey.
How far will Maria go to be truly free?
Inspired by a true story, this is the tale of one woman’s uncharted voyage to freedom.
The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.
America, present day. Tori Kovač, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.
Inspired by true stories, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.
The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton
Orphaned young, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H’s life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out – friendless, pregnant and destitute – into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.
Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen. Weathering it all, can H charm, or scheme, her way to the life of freedom and independence that she longs for?
The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor
China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.
Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.
Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.
A Little London Scandal by Miranda Emmerson
Nik Christou has been a rent boy since he was 15. He knows the ins and outs of Piccadilly Circus, how to spot a pretty policeman and interpret a fleeting glance. One summer night his life is turned upside down, first by violence and then by an accusation of murder.
Anna Treadway, fleeing the ghosts of her past, works as a dresser in Soho’s Galaxy theatre. Experience has taught her never to put too much faith in the law, so, convinced Nik is innocent she determines to find him an alibi.
Merrian Wallis, devoted wife to an MP whose career has already been tarnished by scandal, just wants proof that her husband couldn’t have been involved.
As Anna searches for clues amongst a cast of MPs, actors, members of gentlemen’s clubs and a hundred different nightly clients, will anyone be willing to come forward and save Nik from his fate?
The Second Marriage by Gill Paul
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.
Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?
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 Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…
Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.
Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.
Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…
Crime and Thrillers
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier
All it takes to unravel a life… is one home truth.
Marin used to have it all. She’s married to the love of her life, Derek, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and is admired in her community as head of a loving family. Until the world falls apart the day her son Sebastian is taken…
A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The police search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. With her sanity ebbing, Marin hires a private investigator to pick up where the police left off.
But instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a much younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She’s lost her son; she’s not about to lose her husband. Derek’s mistress is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix. Permanently.
Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney
‘She lifted the flap of the envelope and pulled out the single white page. As she opened it up she stared, open mouthed. Four words were typed on the page. I am watching you.’
When Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan leave a local nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning and don’t arrive home, their families are beside themselves with worry. Conor Dowling has just been released from prison, a man full of hatred for Amy, the girl who put him behind bars in the first place.
The case is given to Detective Lottie Parker, when the girls’ blood-soaked bodies are found, days later, in a derelict squat. Chillingly, both girls are clutching silver coins in their hands – what message is this killer leaving behind? All the signs point to Conor but his alibi is water tight.
As Lottie examines Penny and Amy’s final days alive in a desperate search for clues, two more girls are found stabbed to death in a luxury apartment complex. Caught up in what is fast becoming her toughest case yet, Lottie is unaware that somebody is watching her every move.
Then Lottie’s two daughters, Katie and Chloe suddenly disappear from the town centre. Terrified that the killer has her girls, the stakes have never been higher for Lottie.
But as Lottie puts everything on the line to find her daughters and solve the case, she’s about to find herself in terrible danger – someone has a personal axe to grind with her and they know the best way to get to her is to hurt the ones she loves the most.
In Cold Blood by Jane Bettany
No secret can stay buried forever…
As the Whitworth family begin renovations on their new home, their plans are brought to an abrupt end when they discover a body buried in the back garden.
DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate, but as she approaches Ecclesdale Drive, a feeling of unease settles in her gut.
The property cordoned off is number 23. The house she used to live in as a child…
The forensic team estimate that the body has been in the ground for up to forty years – coinciding with the time Isabel’s family lived in the house.
Isabel’s father vanished without a trace when she was fourteen years old. And with her mother remaining tight-lipped about her father’s disappearance, Isabel can’t escape the unnerving sense of dread that it’s his body, buried in the garden.
Remain Silent by Susie Steiner
A TRAGIC DEATH. A TOWN FILLED WITH SECRETS.
A NAMELESS BODY
A young man is found hanging from a tree, with nothing to identify him.
NO LEADS TO FOLLOW
Was he driven to suicide, or was he silenced? Somebody knows, but they’re not saying.
With potential witnesses too scared to talk to her, can DI Manon Bradshaw discover the truth before more innocent people die?
Paper Dolls by Lisa Bradley
YOU HAVEN’T FORGOTTEN.
THEY HAVEN’T FORGIVEN.
Leah Wallace has just achieved her dream of becoming editor at a regional paper. On her first day a 15-year-old girl, Hope Hooper-Smith, is reported missing. The police fear that she has been abducted.
Hours later, another teenage girl goes missing. But this girl, Tilly Bowers, is from a troubled background and is a habitual runaway. Leah decides to run the Hope’s abduction on the front page, while Tilly only gets a small mention on page eighteen. The next day, Hope is found unharmed at a train station. But Tilly is never seen or heard from again.
Sixteen years later, a TV documentary questions Leah’s decision not to give Tilly’s case immediate coverage, implying that she could have cost Tilly her life, and Leah starts receiving death threats online.
Then mysterious paper dolls begin appearing, cut from the newspapers Leah used to edit, and she suspects that an intruder has been in the house. Leah becomes convinced that someone wants to punish her for the part she played in Tilly’s disappearance. But just how far will they go to make her pay?
Shed No Tears by Caz Frear
Case closed . . . Or is it?
Christopher Masters, known as ‘The Roommate Killer’, strangled three women over a two-week period in a London house in November 2012. Holly Kemp, his fourth victim, was never found.
Her remains have been unearthed in a field in Cambridgeshire and DC Cat Kinsella and the Major Investigation Team are called in. But immediately there are questions surrounding the manner of her death. And with Masters now dead, no one to answer them.
Did someone get it wrong all those years ago? And if so, who killed Holly Kemp?
Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks
Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great, isn’t it?
After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three.
And so what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes – Daisy’s used to it, she knows he’s letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And that happy little family of three will never be the same again.
How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister
You can run, you can hide, but can you ever really disappear? . . .
Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.
The only choice is to disappear.
From their family, their friends, even from Lauren’s husband.
No goodbyes. Just new names, new home, new lives.
One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new.
As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy.
Staying hidden is much harder . . .
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.
How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
The Lying Room by Nicci French
Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man.
She doesn’t call the police.
‘You know, it’s funny,’ Detective Inspector Hitching said. ‘Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she’ll know. She’s the one people talk to, she’s the one people confide in.’
A trusted colleague and friend.
Neve Connolly is all these things.
She has also made mistakes.
One that is now spiralling out of control.
Bringing those around her into immense danger.
Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?
The Holiday by T M Logan
Seven days. Three families. One killer.
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence.
But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends.
One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.
Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.
A Deathly Silence by Jane Isaac
When the mutilated body of a police officer is found in a derelict factory, the Hamptonshire police force is shocked to the core.
DCI Helen Lavery returns from injury leave and is immediately plunged into an investigation like no other. Is this a random attack or is someone targeting the force? Organised crime groups or a lone killer?
As the net draws in, Helen finds the truth lies closer than she could have imagined, and trusts no one.
But Helen is facing a twisted killer who will stop at nothing to ensure their secrets remain hidden. And time is running out…
Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan
As the country bakes under the relentless summer sun, a young doctor is found brutally murdered at his home in a picturesque Cambridgeshire village.
Is his death connected to his private life – or his professional one?
Dr Joshua Ainsworth worked at an all-female detention centre, one still recovering from a major scandal a few years before. Was he the whistle-blower – or an instigator?
As Detective Sergeant Ferreira and Detective Inspector Zigic begin to painstakingly reconstruct Dr Ainsworth’s last days, they uncover yet more secrets and more suspects. But this isn’t the only case that’s demanding their attention – a violent criminal has been released on a technicality and the police force know he will strike again: the only question is who will be his first victim…
Date With Danger by Julia Chapman
In the heart of Yorkshire, the Dales Detective Agency is about to face its biggest challenge.
A fatal accident at Bruncliffe’s livestock auction mart leads auctioneer Harry Furness to call in detective duo Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe, but what starts as a simple health-and-safety investigation soon takes a sinister turn when they discover evidence that suggests murder.
With their enquiries ongoing, Clive Knowles approaches them for help – his sheep are being threatened by the gang of rustlers that is plaguing the Dales. Meanwhile, Poacher Pete Ferris has also decided to play his hand, setting in motion a blackmail plot which will ensure Samson is pulled back into trouble with his nemesis Rick Procter.
With all three cases converging, Samson and Delilah will find that their latest investigation is fraught with danger; a danger that will leave them fighting for their lives.
The Devil You Know by Emma Kavanagh
Up until yesterday I knew who I was.
Up until yesterday my life wasn’t a lie.
Rosa Fisher is the smart girl, the good girl. At twenty-five and mid-way through a PhD in the psychology of fraud, she thinks she has herself all figured out. Until that night, when the house is dark and she is all alone, and she hears an intruder on the stairs.
But the intruder isn’t looking for Rosa Fisher. He’s after someone else. And everything Rosa has ever known about her world is about to be turned upside down.
Determined to find out who she really is, Rosa traces her origins back to a small Canadian town, to a fire in a barn and a devastating family tragedy. Which forces her to question – if she can lie with such ease, was she ever really the good girl after all?
Brixton Hill by Lottie Moggach
As Rob reaches the end of a seven year stretch inside, he winds up in an open prison in Brixton. Each morning, he exits the prison gates and begins the short walk to a local charity shop, where he spends the day in the backroom sorting through other people’s discarded belongings. All he needs to do is keep his nose out of trouble and in just a few months’ time, he’ll be out for good.
One morning in the bustle of commuters on Brixton Hill, Rob notices a well-dressed woman trip over. He helps her up and they exchange a few words before parting ways, but she’s made a lasting impression on him. From that day on, Rob keeps an eye out for her – and always seems to get lucky with a sighting. Despite coming from very different worlds, the pair slowly become acquainted and Rob gets increasingly desperate to hide his current residence from her.
But who exactly is this woman who seems to have a growing interest in him? Rob must be very careful – one false step and it could set him back years . . .
Brixton Hill is a teasing study of desperate lives delivered in a series of charged encounters on the streets of south London. Nail-biting in its execution, award-winning author Lottie Moggach ratchets up the tension, taking us behind the prison walls and into a world in which no one is quite who they seem.
Innocent by Erin Kinsey
A MURDER TEARS A SMALL TOWN APART. BUT WHO DID IT?
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…
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 . .
The Hit List by Holly Seddon
What would you do if you found your name on a hitlist? And your late husband put it there?
When Marianne’s husband Greg is knocked off his bike and killed on the way to work, she must unpick the life he left behind. Numb with grief, Marianne consoles herself by scouring Greg’s laptop, finding comfort in reading his old emails and tracing his footsteps across the web. Until one day, she discovers that he had been accessing the dark web. Why was Greg, a principled charity worker and dedicated husband, logging on to a website that showcases the worst of humanity’s cruel impulses and where anything is available for a price? Marianne steels herself and logs on. After tentative searching, she discovers her name on a hit list.
In this fast-paced, powerful and exceptionally plotted novel, Marianne must figure out whether Greg was trying to protect her or whether he was complicit in the conspiracy for her murder. As she is pulled deeper into the depths of the underworld that Greg was seemingly hostage to, she gets closer and closer to coming face to face with Sam – the assassin hired to kill her. The dark truths that Marianne uncovers speak volumes about the dark underbelly of our society and forces us to question how far we would go to protect those we care most about.
Contemporary (ish) Fiction
Before the Coffee gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
What would you change if you could go back in time?
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King
One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.
When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?
Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.
The Telephone Box Library by Rachael Lucas
The Cotswolds: the perfect retreat for a stressed-out teacher. And Lucy has found just the right cottage for a bargain rent. All she has to do is keep an eye on Bunty, her extremely feisty ninety-something neighbour . . .
With her West Highland terrier Hamish at her side, Lucy plans to relax and read up on the women of nearby Bletchley Park. But the villagers of Little Maudley have other ideas, and she finds herself caught up in the campaign to turn a dilapidated telephone box into a volunteer-run library.
Along the way, she makes friends with treehouse designer Sam, and finds herself falling for the charms of village life. And it seems Bunty has a special connection to Bletchley and the telephone box, one that she’s kept secret for decades . . .
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
When Alice Hale leaves a career to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in the basement, she becomes captivated by its previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the pages Nellie left clues about her life.
Soon Alice learns that while a Baked Alaska may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister, even dangerous, side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.
The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly
United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?
After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?
The Weight of Small Things by Julie Lancaster
Nine-year-old Frankie Appleton likes to count gates.
One day she hopes to design the perfect gate – a gate to keep the bad things out.
Little does she know that the bad things have already got in.
Now her mother is dead, and the only other person with a house key has disappeared.
Frankie thinks she knows who it is. But first she has to prove it.
The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
*A moving, unforgettable story inspired by true events*
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .
When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.
Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people travel to it from miles around.
Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.
What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.
When you’ve lost everything, what can you find . . ?
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Two ordinary families. One life-changing day . . .
When the Gleesons and the Stanhopes become neighbours, lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend. But Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone.
It’s left to their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – to find their way to one another.
To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and a tragedy that will engulf them all.
A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later . . .
When everything has fallen apart, can their children’s love pull it back together again?
The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble
The only gift Charlie wants for his 80th birthday is his family all together again.
Ever since his wife Daphne passed away, and the children grew up into their own busy lives, it’s felt like they’ve drifted apart.
So he’s invited them all on a family holiday – their first in years.
And by some miracle, everyone has said yes.
Ten days all together in the Cotswolds . . . how hard can it be?
Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin
How do you pick up the pieces when the person that held them together is gone?
When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.
Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?
But even though the Hayes family are all fighting their own battles, they are drawn together by their love for Rabbit, and their love for each other. In the years that follow her death they find new ways to celebrate and remember her, to find humour and hope in the face of tragedy, and to live life to its fullest, as Rabbit would have wanted.
The Restaurant by Roisin Meaney
When Emily’s heart was broken by the love of her life, she never imagined that she would find herself, just two years later, running a small restaurant in what used to be her grandmother’s tiny hat shop. The Food of Love offers diners the possibility of friendship (and maybe more) as well as a delicious meal. And even though Emily has sworn off romance forever, it doesn’t stop her hoping for happiness for her regulars, like widower Bill who hides a troubling secret, single mum Heather who ran away from home as a teenager, and gentle Astrid whose past is darker than any of her friends know.
Then, out of the blue, Emily receives a letter from her ex. He’s returning home to Ireland and wants to see her. Is Emily brave enough to give love a second chance — or wise enough to figure out where it’s truly to be found?
The Sight of You by Holly Miller
Joel is afraid of the future.
Since he was a child he’s been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what’s going to happen – the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again.
Callie can’t let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie’s been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn’t know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.
Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today.
And though they’re not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing.
Until Joel has a vision of how it’s going to end . . .
This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens
Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year’s Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.
Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different.
Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.
What if fate is trying to bring them together?
Maybe it’s time to take a chance on love…
Truly, Madly, Like Me by Jo Watson
She’s used to faking it. Now it’s time to get real.
It all started with a faulty elevator…
When social media influencer Frankie Paulson’s followers turn on her after an embarrassing public break-up with her perfect #couplegoals boyfriend, and she almost plummets to her death with two strangers in a faulty elevator, all she wants to do is hide.
A town with no internet is the ideal sanctuary, but Frankie has never done anything without sharing it on one of many apps she can’t live without. After all, surely it’s much more satisfying to take the perfect photograph of her breakfast than eat it?
When Fate, in the form of a new four-legged companion, plays a hand in keeping her in the town, Frankie starts to make tentative but genuine connections with the people she meets. Suddenly every rule she’s been living by seems far less meaningful and she begins to wonder if her apparently #blessed life wasn’t as real as she thought…
Flip Side by James Bailey
It’s love . . . what’s the worst thing that could happen?
When Josh proposes in a pod on the London Eye at New Years’ Eve, he thinks it’s perfect.
Until she says no.
And they have to spend the next 29 excruciating minutes alone together.
His life is falling apart.
Realising he can’t trust his own judgment, Josh decides from now on he will make every decision through the flip of a coin.
Maybe the coin will change his life forever.
Maybe it will help him find the girl of his dreams . . .
Our Story by Miranda Dickinson
Otty has just landed her dream job. She’s about to join the writing team of one of the most respected showrunners in TV. And then the night before her first day, she’s evicted from her flat.
Joe has been working with Russell for years. He’s the best writer on his team, but lately something has been off. He’s trying to get his mojo back, but when his flatmate moves out without warning he has other things to worry about.
Otty moving into Joe’s house seems like the perfect solution to both their problems, but neither is prepared for what happens next. Paired together in the writing room, their obvious chemistry sparks from the page and they are the writing duo to beat. But their relationship off the page is an entirely different story, and neither of them can figure out why.
And suddenly the question isn’t, will they, or won’t they? It’s why won’t they?
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey
1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London…
Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five.
… He promised to love her forever
Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan’s words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late?
Now forever is finally running out.
Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas
Fashionopolis is the definitive book on the cost of fast fashion, and a blueprint for how we get to a more sustainable future.
Fashion has blighted our planet. Today, one out of six people on earth work in fashion, churning out 100 billion garments a year. Yet 98 percent of them do not earn a living wage, and 2.1 billion tonnes of clothing is thrown away annually. The clothing industry’s exploitation of fellow humans and the environment has reached epic levels. What should we do?
Bestselling author and veteran journalist Dana Thomas has travelled the globe to find the answers. In Fashionopolis, she details the damage wrought by fashion’s behemoths, and celebrates the visionaries – including activists, artisans, designers, and tech entrepreneurs – fighting for change.
We all have been casual about our clothes. It’s time to get dressed with intention. Fashionopolis is the first comprehensive look at how to start.
Coming to Britain by Floella Benjamin
Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents, whom they had not seen for fifteen months. They had left the island paradise of Trinidad to make a new home in London – part of a whole generation of West Indians who were encouraged to move to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War.
Reunited with her mother, Floella was too overwhelmed at first to care about the cold weather and the noise and dirt from the traffic. But, as her new life began, she was shocked and distressed by the rejection she experienced. She soon realized that the only way to survive was to work twice as hard and be twice as good as anyone else.
Son of a Silverback by Russell Kane
The Silverback is considered the undisputed king, a creature whose authority is never challenged and who does not yield to compromise. He walks proudly, feeds greedily, grafts tirelessly, mates voraciously, swears constantly and is threatened all too easily. The Silverback is known to nestle in the misty peaks of central Africa but can also be found in Barking, Essex. Meet Dave Kane, the disappointed, steroid-ingesting, metal-wielding, bouncer father of slight, effete Gamma Male, Russell Kane.
SON OF A SILVERBACK is a story about fathers and sons, class and education and how one scrawny, sensitive, fake-tan-applying ‘ponce’ stepped out of his father’s shadow and became a man – whatever that means.
Dark, Salt, Clear by Lamorna Ash
A captivating, lyrical and deeply discerning portrait of life in the Cornish town of Newlyn, the largest working fishing port in Britain, from a brilliant debut writer
There is the Cornwall Lamorna Ash knew as a child – the idyllic, folklore-rich place where she spent her summer holidays. Then there is the Cornwall she discovers when, feeling increasingly dislocated in London, she moves to Newlyn, a fishing town near Land’s End. This Cornwall is messier and harder; it doesn’t seem like a place that would welcome strangers.
Before long, however, Lamorna finds herself on a week-long trawler trip with a crew of local fishermen, afforded a rare glimpse into their world, their warmth and their humour. Out on the water, miles from the coast, she learns how fishing requires you to confront who you are and what it is that tethers you to the land. But she also realises that this proud and compassionate community, sustained and defined by the sea for centuries, is under threat, living in the lengthening shadow cast by globalisation.
An evocative journey of personal discovery replete with the poetry and deep history of our fishing communities, Dark, Salt, Clear confirms Lamorna Ash as a strikingly original new voice.
Well that’s your lot for another month. Hope it helps to narrow the choice for you.
Some on your list caught my eye. Thanks.
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My pleasure, happy reading xx
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You do us such a great service with these lists Jill. I like having the categories because I can easily skip over the ones that don’t appeal (am trying to wean myself off crime for a while). The one that most appeals is The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey – have seen several positive reviews
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I’m happy doing them as long as they’re being used. I bought The Narrow Land in pbk last month – sod’s law it’s now in the sale. C’est la vie, it was one of my ‘Indie publisher’ purchases so only fair it was a real book I bought.
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I like the categories too, Jill – and thanks to your recommendations I’ve just downloaded The Narrow Land and Letters to the Lost! 🙂
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Looks like the categories will stay then. I loved Letters to the Lost, hoping to get to The Narrow Land next week when I’ll a on holiday.
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So many awesome books!!!!!!!!!! x
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Just wish I had the time and money for them all xx
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I know that feeling! LOL xx
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