Coming this week – my pick of the new fiction titles to 11th October 2020

I can’t believe another week has gone already, but here we are again. It’s a fairly eclectic mix but the eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a distinct lack of Christmas Books. They are starting to come through now in quite large numbers but will not be included in my weekly lists. Regular visitors will know that I do an annual Christmas Reading list. Last year I restricted it to titles that were published in the year and I intend to do the same again this year. Consequently, expect a (very) long list of Christmas titles some time next month – it’ll take me until then to put it together!!

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Trio by William Boyd

A producer. A novelist. An actress.

It is summer in 1968, the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. There are riots in Paris and the Vietnam War is out of control. While the world is reeling our three characters are involved in making a Swingin’ Sixties movie in sunny Brighton.

All are leading secret lives. Elfrida is drowning her writer’s block in vodka; Talbot, coping with the daily dysfunction of making a film, is hiding something in a secret apartment; and the glamorous Anny is wondering why the CIA is suddenly so interested in her.

But the show must go on and, as it does, the trio’s private worlds begin to take over their public ones. Pressures build inexorably – someone’s going to crack. Or maybe they all will.


Coming Home to Penvennan Cove by Linn B. Halton
Coming Home to Penvennan Cove by [Linn B. Halton]

Can Kerra’s Cornish hometown offer the fresh start she needs?

When Kerra left the quiet Cornish town of Penvennan Cove for the bright lights of London she didn’t look back. But after the death of her mother, she’s decided it’s time to face her past and return to the place she called home. Her father needs her, and perhaps she needs him more than she’s willing to admit?

Tackling town gossip, home renovations and a flame from her past, it’s not quite smooth sailing for Kerra. Ross is the bad boy she was meant to forget, not a man who still sets her heart aflutter. As he helps bring her dream home to life, they begin to break down the barriers that have been holding them back and in the process learn things about themselves they never thought possible.

As friends old and new come together, the future in Penvennan looks bright.


Letters From Berlin by Tania Blanchard
Letters from Berlin by [Tania Blanchard]

Berlin, 1943

As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her beloved adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk. His mother – Susie’s godmother – is forced to register as a Jew and wear the Star of David, bearing the resentment of the village she has always called home.

Desperate to protect them any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. It means she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the terrifying world of the Nazi elite.

But all is not lost as her newfound position offers more than she could have hoped for … With critical intelligence at her fingertips, Susie seizes a dangerous opportunity to help the resistance.

The decisions she makes could change the course of the war, but what will they mean for her family and her future?


The Family Inheritance by Tricia Stringer
The Family Inheritance by [Tricia Stringer]

A toxic will plays havoc in the lives of three generations of women when they discover they have been living a lie. A keenly observed story of the danger of secrets, the legacy of betrayal and the power of family from a bestselling Australian author.

Sometimes an ending is really a beginning …

Felicity Lewis’s fiftieth birthday party in her newly renovated home, loving husband and daughter Greta by her side, is going off with a bang when disaster strikes. Her father, Franklyn, with his usual impeccable timing, has keeled over and died.

For some members of the family, his wife Hazel for example, Franklyn’s death is not the great loss it first appears to be. But when his toxic and inexplicable will is read out, it becomes clear that long-buried secrets are about to surface, starting with the astonishing reappearance of Hazel’s long-lost sister.

Indeed, Franklyn’s death sets in motion a chain of events that will cause three generations of Gifford family women to question everything they hold dear – their relationships, their loyalties, even their identities. Until, that is, they choose to fight back against their dark inheritance …

A clever, sympathetic and thought-provoking look at how a legacy of lies can seep through the generations and poison all it touches, and how the truth can set you free.


Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger
Confessions On The 7:45: An absolutely unforgettable psychological thriller by [Lisa Unger]

Everyone has a secret. Who would you trust with yours?

On Selena Murphy’s train home from work, a mysterious woman named Martha strikes up a conversation and shares a confession: she’s having an affair with her boss. In turn, Selena shares her own secret: she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny.

At Selena’s station the two women part, and Selena never expects to see her again. Until she receives a message. I’d love to continue our conversation. Can we get together? It’s Martha, by the way. From the train.

But Selena never gave Martha her number. She brushes the message off – until days later her nanny goes missing, and Selena begins to wonder if it’s all connected. Who is Martha, really? And what does she want with Selena?


Boomerville at Ballymegille by Caroline James
Boomerville at Ballymegille: Boomerville is back! Feel-good, funny, heartwarming - perfect for anytime of the year! by [Caroline James, Alli Smith]

Join Hattie and Jo as they head to Southern Ireland to open Boomerville Manor, a holiday retreat for guests of ‘a certain age’. There’s Irish craic and shenanigans aplenty for the colourful cast of characters as everyone gathers for the grand opening.

Meet Melissa, an ex-cabaret singer running from her abusive husband, and Bill, a bachelor bullied from beyond the grave by the ghostly voice of his mother. Along with local bobby Harry the Helmet, ageing aquatic team the Boomerville Babes, eccentric artist Lucinda Gray, and heartthrob Finbar Murphy, they gather in Ireland and the fun begins. But murder is in the air and there’s mischief afoot. Will the residents get more than they bargained for at Boomerville?

Set in the beautiful Irish countryside, ‘Boomerville at Ballymegille’ is a heart-warming story of friendship, fears and new beginnings.


The Wrong Kind of Woman by Sarah McCraw Crow
The Wrong Kind of Woman: A Novel by [Sarah McCraw Crow]

A powerful exploration of what a woman can be when what she should be is no longer an option

In late 1970, Oliver Desmarais drops dead in his front yard while hanging Christmas lights. In the year that follows, his widow, Virginia, struggles to find her place on the campus of the elite New Hampshire men’s college where Oliver was a professor. While Virginia had always shared her husband’s prejudices against the four outspoken, never-married women on the faculty—dubbed the Gang of Four by their male counterparts—she now finds herself depending on them, even joining their work to bring the women’s movement to Clarendon College.

Soon, though, reports of violent protests across the country reach this sleepy New England town, stirring tensions between the fraternal establishment of Clarendon and those calling for change. As authorities attempt to tamp down “radical elements,” Virginia must decide whether she’s willing to put herself and her family at risk for a cause that had never felt like her own.


A Painter in Penang by Clare Flynn
A Painter in Penang: A gripping story of the Malayan Emergency (Penang series Book 3) by [Clare Flynn]

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine unearths a shocking secret as her own life is put in danger. Throughout the turmoil, her one constant is her passion for painting.


Trust by Chris Hammer
Trust by [Chris Hammer]

On a bright sunny day in Port Silver, ex-journalist Martin Scarsden misses a call from his girlfriend Mandy. Checking his voicemail later, all he hears is her terrified scream before the phone cuts off.

Back at the house, he finds a policeman unconscious on the floor, and Mandy gone.

So starts a twisting tale of intrigue and danger, as Martin probes the past of the woman he loves, a woman who has buried her former life deep.

And for the first time, Mandy finds denial impossible, now the body of a man has been discovered – a man to whom she was engaged to marry. It’s time to face her demons once and for all; it’s time she learned how to trust.

Set in a Sydney riven with corruption and nepotism, privilege and power, TRUST is the third riveting novel from award-winning and internationally acclaimed writer Chris Hammer.


All the Pieces by Lisa Zumpano
All the Pieces: A Lillie Mead Historical Mystery (The Lillie Mead Historical Mystery Series Book 5) by [Lisa Zumpano]

Two murders. A kidnapped journalist. Can one reporter stop a crime spree before it hits too close to home?

England, 1923. Crime reporter Lillie Mead has just returned from sabbatical in France and is ready to get back to work. She hasn’t even had time to unpack before a body turns up at an annual rowing regatta and she is once again knee deep in the thick of it.

Racing against the clock to discover a missing story and reveal a sinister past, Lillie finds herself firmly entrenched in a complicated history of events. As she attempts to unravel the threads while balancing her increasingly complicated personal life, Lillie’s entire future is threatened.

Will this lone reporter uncover the pieces of the story and stop a murderer in his tracks?


The Nightworkers by Brian Selfon
The Nightworkers: A Novel by [Brian Selfon]

The Nightworkers is an electrifying debut crime novel from Brian Selfon about a Brooklyn family of money launderers thrown into chaos when a runner ends up dead and a bag of dirty money goes missing.

Shecky Keenan’s family is under fire—or at least it feels that way. Bank accounts have closed unexpectedly, a strange car has been parked near the house at odd hours, and Emil Scott, an enigmatic artist and the family’s new runner, is missing—along with the $250,000 of dirty money he was carrying.

Shecky lives in old Brooklyn with his niece Kerasha and nephew Henry, and while his deepest desire is to keep his little makeshift family safe, that doesn’t stop him from taking advantage of their talents. Shecky moves money for an array of unsavory clients, and Henry, volatile and violent but tenderhearted, is his bagman. Kerasha, the famed former child-thief of Bushwick, is still learning the family trade, but her quick mind and quicker fingers are already being put to use. They love one another, but trust is thin when secrets are the family trade. And someone will be coming for that missing money—soon.

Inspired by a career that has included corruption cases and wiretaps as an investigative analyst for New York law enforcement, Brian Selfon unspools a tale of crime and consequence through shifting perspectives across the streets, alleys, bodegas, and art studios of Brooklyn. The Nightworkers is an evocative blend of genres: a literary crime thriller with a mystery at the center of its big beating heart: What really happened to Emil Scott, and what can the future possibly hold for a family when crime is what keeps them together?


Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan by Deborah Reed

The story of a famous abstract painter at the end of her life–her family, her art, and the long-buried secrets that won’t stay hidden for much longer.

Ninety-three-year-old Violet Swan has spent a lifetime translating tragedy and hardship into art, becoming famous for her abstract paintings, which evoke tranquility, innocence, and joy. For nearly a century Violet has lived a peaceful, private life of painting on the coast of Oregon. The “business of Violet” is run by her only child, Francisco, and his wife, Penny. But shortly before Violet’s death, an earthquake sets a series of events in motion, and her deeply hidden past begins to resurface. When her beloved grandson returns home with a family secret in tow, Violet is forced to come to terms with the life she left behind so long ago–a life her family knows nothing about.

A generational saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America and into the present day, Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan is the story of a girl who escaped rural Georgia at fourteen during World War II, crossing the country alone and broke. It is the story of how that girl met the man who would become her devoted husband, how she became a celebrated artist, and above all, how her life, inspired by nothing more than the way she imagined it to be, would turn out to be her greatest masterpiece.


Why Birds Sing by Nina Berkhout
Why Birds Sing: A Novel by [Nina Berkhout]

A charming, deeply felt novel about human connection and finding music between the notes

When opera singer Dawn Woodward has an onstage flameout, all she wants is to be left alone. She’s soon faced with other complications the day her husband announces her estranged brother-in-law, Tariq, is undergoing cancer treatment and moving in, his temperamental parrot in tow. To make matters worse, though she can’t whistle herself, she has been tasked with teaching arias to an outspoken group of devoted siffleurs who call themselves the Warblers. Eventually, Tariq and his bird join the class, and Dawn forms unexpected friendships with her new companions. But when her marriage shows signs of trouble and Tariq’s health declines, she begins questioning her foundations, including the career that she has worked so hard to build and the true nature of love and song.


Keep Your Friends Close by Janelle Harris
Keep Your Friends Close by [Janelle Harris]

Darcy Hogan’s perfect life is all over social media. She’s beautiful, she’s successful, and she and her childhood sweetheart are about to become parents for the first time. But behind all the followers and the superficial likes lurks a darker truth…

In reality, Darcy feels isolated and afraid. Her difficult pregnancy has her confined to the house, she’s being harassed online, and out-of-control debt threatens to ruin everything she’s worked so hard for.

When her husband is summoned away on business, Darcy’s cabin fever soon spirals into fear. Who is making mysterious phone calls and knocking on her door? Is it an old friend trying to reach out—or a stranger determined to push in?

As her due date creeps closer, Darcy feels ever more certain that someone is out to get her. She’s desperate to get away—but is she running from the right person?


That’s it for this week – Happy Reading!!

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