Coming this week – my pick of the new fiction titles to 18th October 2020

The numbers of books being released seem to be increasing (though that might be my imagination), however as we creep nearer to Christmas I anticipate that being the case. Anyway here’s this week’s dose of temptation for you all, plus an added bonus at the end!

Point of No Return by John Carson
Point of no Return: A Scottish Crime Thriller (A DCI Harry McNeil Crime Thriller Book 7) by [John Carson]

An old mystery solved after thirty-five years. And a new one just beginning…

Millionaire Murdo Wolf took off in a small plane from the island where he lived, and neither he nor the plane was ever seen again. Until now.

The Wolf family have gathered on the island they used to call home. They’re celebrating the life of their father, Oliver Wolf, who died six months ago.

Now, one of Oliver’s sons has been murdered. And when his body is discovered, so is the body of his grandfather. Did the son know where his grandfather was hidden? Did he die because of it?

DCI Harry McNeil is sent to the island to investigate the cold case and track down a killer who may or may not still be there.

Helping with the investigation are two detectives from Glasgow, DCI Jimmy Dunbar and DS Robbie Evans.

This isn’t an open-and-shut case and they discover the killer is still lurking on the island, and the body count is increasing. But with no clear motive and no direct links to the patriarch going missing all those years ago, this is going to be one of the hardest cases Harry has ever worked on.


First Date by Sue Watson
First Date: An absolutely jaw-dropping psychological thriller by [Sue Watson]

She’s been waiting her whole life to meet a man like Alex. But he’s been waiting too. And once he has her, he’ll never let her go…

Hannah has done everything to make sure her life is safe and secure. A long way from her unstable childhood growing up in foster care, she’s content with her sweet, little, messy apartment and her satisfying job as a social worker. She quietly worries that, aged 36, she might never fall in love. But otherwise her life is where she wants it to be.

Until, encouraged by her best friend to join a dating app, she meets Alex. He’s irresistibly handsome. He loves the same music as her. The same food as well. They both dream of travelling the world but agree they’d be equally happy escaping to a cottage by the beach in Devon. Both of them would love to own a Labrador one day. It’s like he’s made for her. It’s like he’s too good to be true.

Hannah’s friends aren’t so sure about him. But Hannah thinks he’s perfect.

Which is good. Because Alex knows she’s perfect for him too. In fact, she’s exactly the girl he’s been looking for…

And nothing Hannah’s done to make her life safe will ever be enough.


Dead Perfect by Noelle Holten

A murdered woman…

When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer.  The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else.  Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.

A determined detective…

Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger.  Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls? 

Can Maggie find the depraved killer?  Or will Kate become his next living doll?


The Amulet by Ann Bennett
The Amulet: A heart-breaking novel of love and loss set in WW2 Singapore by [Ann Bennett]

After her mother’s death, Lara discovers a beautiful amulet amongst her belongings, engraved with the words “for Suria.”

Suspecting Suria to be the grandmother she never met, Lara travels to Singapore to find out why her mother was committed to the care of a local orphanage during World War Two.

In 1941, Suria, a poor Malay girl working in a tailor’s shop and living in a communal warehouse, is befriended by a British officer, Charles Simmonds. They start to grow close, but war threatens to engulf Singapore and tear them apart.  

While delving into her grandmother’s past, Lara is forced to confront betrayal and brutality as she learns some disturbing truths about families and friendships…


A Lie for a Lie by Julie Corbin
A Lie For A Lie: What is the worst lie you've ever told? by [Julie Corbin]

We all tell lies, don’t we? Most of the time, they’re harmless. But every now and then, we lie without thinking about the consequences.

As a school nurse, Anna Pierce is a well-respected and trusted member of the community. So when she is accused of hitting a pupil, the reaction is one of shock and disbelief.

The pupil is Tori Carmichael – Anna’s mentee and a troubled child known for bending the truth.

With her career and reputation on the line, Anna is determined to clear her name. But before she can, the worst happens: Tori is found dead.

Suspicion mounts against Anna, who says she didn’t do it.

But if she isn’t the killer, there is someone out there who is . . .


Odd Bird by Lee Farnsworth
Odd Bird by [Lee Farnsworth]

Simon Selwood is an academic expert on the monogamous sexual behaviour of birds, but hopeless at finding human love. Then he meets Kim, and at last something is more important to him than ornithology.

Kim doesn’t give a hoot about birds. And at first she isn’t very interested in Simon either. Relying on what he has gleaned from observing the opportunistic pied flycatcher and other species, plus the unorthodox advice of old friend Phil, Simon sets out on a mission to discover love for himself.

But will he make the right choice?

Odd Bird takes a light-hearted look at the battle of the sexes, drawing on the surprising parallels between the courtship behaviours of humans and birds.


Why Mummy’s Sloshed by Gill Sims
Why Mummy’s Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink by [Gill Sims]

I just wanted them to stop wittering at me, eat vegetables without complaining, let me go to the loo in peace and learn to make a decent gin and tonic.  
It genuinely never occurred to me when they were little that this would ever end – an eternity of Teletubbies and Duplo and In The Night Bastarding Garden and screaming, never an end in sight.  But now there is.  And despite the busybody old women who used to pop up whenever I was having a bad day and tell me I would miss these days when they were over, I don’t miss those days at all.  
I have literally never stood wistfully in the supermarket and thought ‘Oh, how I wish someone was trailing behind me constantly whining ‘Mummy, can I have, Mummy can I have?’ while another precious moppet tries to climb out the trolley so they land on their head and we end up in A&E.  
Again.

Mummy has been a wife and mother for so long that she’s a little bit lost. And despite her best efforts, her precious moppets still don’t know the location of the laundry basket, the difference between being bored and being hungry, or that saying ‘I can’t find it Mummy’ is not the same as actually looking for it.

Amidst the chaos of A-Levels and driving tests, she’s doing her best to keep her family afloat, even if everybody is set on drifting off in different directions, and that one of those directions is to make yet another bloody snack. She’s feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated, and the only thing that Mummy knows for sure is that the bigger the kids, the bigger the drink.


Because of You by Dawn French
Because of You by [Dawn French]

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.

The old millennium turns into the new.

In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.

Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.

Anna leaves with empty arms.

Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.

The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits.

Perhaps beyond . . .


The Last Tea Bowl Thief by Jonelle Patrick
The Last Tea Bowl Thief by [Jonelle Patrick]

For three hundred years, a stolen relic passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, indelibly altering the lives of those who possess it. 

In modern-day Tokyo, Robin Swann’s life has sputtered to a stop. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not pottery. Her stalled dissertation sits on her laptop, unopened in months, and she has no one to confide in but her goldfish. 

On the other side of town, Nori Okuda sells rice bowls and tea cups to Tokyo restaurants, as her family has done for generations. But with her grandmother in the hospital, the family business is foundering. Nori knows if her luck doesn’t change soon, she’ll lose what little she has left. 

With nothing in common, Nori and Robin suddenly find their futures inextricably linked to an ancient, elusive tea bowl. Glimpses of the past set the stage as they hunt for the lost masterpiece, uncovering long-buried secrets in their wake. As they get closer to the truth–and the tea bowl–the women must choose between seizing their dreams or righting the terrible wrong that has poisoned its legacy for centuries. 


Love by Roddy Doyle
Love by [Roddy Doyle]

One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.

Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be.

Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart.

As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.


Stilled Voices by Alex Walters
Stilled Voices (DCI Murrain Book 4) by [Alex  Walters]

When will the voices stop?

The murder of professional astrologer Andrew Gorman seems a straightforward case for DCI Kenny Murrain – a tragic death resulting from an interrupted burglary. But when Gareth Clayburn, assistant to stage medium Justin Bannerman, is found dead in identical circumstances, Murrain begins to suspect the murders are linked.

Meanwhile, Geoff Nolan, television personality and professor of psychology, is developing a new series exploring the psychology of the paranormal. Starting with Bannerman’s work as a supposed spiritualist.

When Murrain receives an unexpected approach from the security services, he realises that the links between the killings lie deep in Murrain’s own past and his own paranormal gifts.

After days of rain and with floodwaters rising. Murrain finds himself in a race against time to prevent further deaths.

In a shattering climax at Nolan’s riverside home, Murrain finally comes face to face with an adversary who shares his remarkable gifts, as the book races to its dramatic and potentially tragic climax.


How to Make a Life by Florence Reiss Kraut
How to Make a Life: A Novel by [Florence Reiss Kraut]

When Ida and her daughter Bessie flee a catastrophic pogrom in Ukraine for America in 1905, they believe their emigration will ensure that their children and grandchildren will be safe from harm. But choices and decisions made by one generation have ripple effects on those who come later—and in the decades that follow, family secrets, betrayals, and mistakes made in the name of love threaten the survival of the family: Bessie and Abe Weissman’s children struggle with the shattering effects of daughter Ruby’s mental illness, of Jenny’s love affair with her brother-in-law, of the disappearance of Ruby’s daughter as she flees her mother’s legacy, and of the accidental deaths of Irene’s husband and granddaughter.

A sweeping saga that follows three generations from the tenements of Brooklyn through WWII, from Woodstock to India, and from Spain to Israel, How to Make a Life is the story of a family who must learn to accept each other’s differences—or risk cutting ties with the very people who anchor their place in the world.


Just an Ordinary Family by Fiona Lowe
Just An Ordinary Family : You can choose your friends ... by [Fiona Lowe]

Every family has its secrets…

Alice Hunter is smarting from the raw deal life has thrown her way: suddenly single, jobless and forced to move home to her parents’ tiny seaside town. And now she faces an uncomfortable truth. She wants her twin sister Libby’s enviable life.

Libby’s closest friend Jess Dekic has been around the Hunter family for so long she might as well be blood. She’s always considered herself a sister closer to Libby than Alice ever could be … 

Libby Hunter has all of life’s boxes ticked: prominent small-town doctor, gorgeous husband and two young daughters. But when she is betrayed by those she loves most, it reveals how tenuous her world is… 

For Karen Hunter, her children are a double-edged sword of pain and pride. She’s always tried to guide her girls through life’s pitfalls, but how do you protect your children when they’re adults?

As the family implodes, the fallout for these four women will be inescapable…


A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf
A More Perfect Union by [Tammye Huf]

A forbidden relationship. A love affair forged in secrecy. A couple facing betrayal at every turn…

Henry O’Toole sails to America in 1848 to escape poverty and famine in Ireland, only to find anti-Irish prejudice awaiting him. Determined never to starve again, he changes his surname to Taylor and heads south to Virginia, seeking work as a travelling blacksmith on the prosperous plantations.

Sarah is a slave. Torn from her family and sold to Jubilee Plantation, she must navigate the hierarchy of her fellow slaves, the whims of her white masters, and now the attentions of the mysterious blacksmith.

Fellow slave Maple oversees the big house with bitterness and bile, and knows that a white man’s attention spells trouble. Given to her half-sister as a wedding present by their white father, she is set on being reunited with her husband and daughter, at any cost.

Based on the true story of the author’s great-great-grandparents, and brilliantly reimagined, this is an epic tale of love and courage, desperation and determination.


Shelter in Place by David Leavitt
Shelter in Place by [David Leavitt]

It is the Saturday after the 2016 presidential election, and in a plush weekend house in Connecticut, an intimate group of friends, New Yorkers all, has gathered to recover from what they consider the greatest political catastrophe of their lives. They have just sat down to tea when their hostess, Eva Lindquist, proposes a dare. Who among them would be willing to ask Siri how to assassinate Donald Trump? Liberal and like-minded-editors, writers, a decorator, a theater producer, and one financial guy, Eva’s husband, Bruce-the friends have come to the countryside in the hope of restoring the bubble in which they have grown used to living. Yet with the exception of one brash and obnoxious book editor, none is willing to accept Eva’s challenge.

Shelter in Place is a novel about house and home, furniture and rooms, safety and freedom and the invidious ways in which political upheaval can undermine even the most seemingly impregnable foundations. Eva is the novel’s polestar, a woman who moves through her days accompanied by a roving, carefully curated salon. She’s a generous hostess and more than a bit of a control freak, whose obsession with decorating allows Leavitt to treat us to a slyly comic look at the habitués and fetishes of the so-called shelter industry. Yet when, in her avidity to secure shelter for herself, she persuades Bruce to buy a grand if dilapidated apartment in Venice, she unwittingly sets off the chain of events that will propel him, for the first time, to venture outside the bubble and embark on a wholly unexpected love affair.

A comic portrait of the months immediately following the 2016 election, Shelter in Place is also a meditation on the unreliable appetites-for love, for power, for freedom-by which both our public and private lives are shaped.


Death at the Orange Locks by Anja De Jager
Death at the Orange Locks (Lotte Meerman) by [Anja de Jager]

Keeping it in the family…

After her painful divorce four years ago, Lotte Meerman has kept well away from Arjen, her ex-husband, and his new wife Nadia. So when they both visit her at central Amsterdam’s police station to report Nadia’s father missing, Lotte is shocked – but hides it well.

Then two days later a dog walker reports the discovery of a body near the Orange Locks, built to keep the sea out of Amsterdam, and the missing man is identified as Nadia’s father. Lotte wants to stay away from the investigation but his widow, Margreet, keeps searching her out as she has no idea it was her daughter who was pivotal in the marriage break-up. She wrongly identifies Lotte as a friend and tells her that Patrick had been a great husband and father, and a successful businessman. But when Lotte digs into Patrick’s past, she discovers instead a failing company and a man with a history of making unwanted sexual advances to his female employees.

Margreet is unaware of any of this. And the more Lotte investigates the dead man’s past, the more she finds to suggest that her ex-husband is somehow involved in his death…


That Old Country Music by Kevin Barry
That Old Country Music by [Kevin Barry]

Since his landmark debut collection, There Are Little Kingdoms, and his award-winning second book, Dark Lies the Island, Kevin Barry has been acclaimed as one of the world’s most accomplished and gifted short story writers.

In this third collection, That Old Country Music, we encounter a ragbag of west of Ireland characters, many on the cusp between love and catastrophe, heartbreak and epiphany, resignation and hope. These stories show an Ireland in a condition of great flux but also as a place where older rhythms, and an older magic, somehow persist.

Barry’s lyric intensity, the vitality of his comedy, and the darkness of his vision recall the work of masters of the genre like Flannery O’Connor and William Trevor, but he has forged a style which is patently his own.


A Conspiracy of Silence by Anna Legat
A Conspiracy of Silence: a gripping and addictive mystery thriller (DI Gillian Marsh 5) by [Anna Legat]

When a body is found in the grounds of a prestigious Wiltshire private school, DI Gillian Marsh takes on the case. The young groundsman, Bradley Watson, has been shot dead, pierced through the heart with an arrow.

As the investigation gathers pace, DI Marsh is frustrated to find the Whalehurst staff and students united in silence. This scandal must not taint their reputation. But when Gillian discovers pictures of missing Whalehurst pupil, fifteen-year-old Rachel Snyder, on Bradley’s dead body – photos taken on the night she disappeared, and he was murdered – the link between the two is undeniable.

But what is Whalehurst refusing to reveal? And does Gillian have what it takes to bring about justice?


My Husband’s Daughter by Emma Robinson
My Husband's Daughter: An absolutely heartbreaking and gripping emotional page-turner by [Emma Robinson]

Cara took a deep breath and let it out slowly. ‘She’s not just my daughter,’ she said as she turned in her seat to face Jack. This man she had once loved, but who she hadn’t seen for nearly five years. ‘Sophie is your daughter too.’

It is just past ten o’clock on a cold Friday evening when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.

Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.

But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.

A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?


The Vow by Debbie Howells
The Vow: the gripping new thriller from a bestselling author - guaranteed to keep you up all night! by [Debbie Howells]

Everything was perfect. And then her fiancé disappeared…

Two weeks before her wedding, a stranger stops Amy in the street and warns her she’s in danger. Then that night, Matt, her fiancé, doesn’t come home. Desperate, Amy calls the police – but when Matt fails to emerge, she’s forced to call off her wedding day.

Then another man is reported missing, by a woman called Fiona – a man meeting Matt’s description, who was about to leave his fiancée for her.  He was supposed to be moving in with her – but instead, he’s vanished.

Amy refuses to believe Fiona’s lover can be her Matt – but photos prove otherwise, and it soon becomes clear that Matt has been leading a double life. As the police dig deeper, two conflicting, yet equally plausible stories emerge from two women who allegedly have never met.

The wedding day never happened. But the funeral might.


The Sicilian Method by Andrea Camilleri
The Sicilian Method (Inspector Montalbano mysteries) by [Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli]

Mimi Augello is visiting his lover when the woman’s husband unexpectedly returns to the apartment. Hurriedly, he climbs out the window and into the downstairs apartment, but from one danger to another. In the dark he sees a body lying on the bed.

Shortly afterwards another body is found and the victim is Carmelo Catalanotti, a director of bourgeois dramas with a harsh reputation for the acting method he developed for his actors: digging into their complexes to unleash their talent, a traumatic experience for all. Are the two deaths connected? Catalanotti scrupulously kept notes and comments on all the actors he worked with as well as strange notebooks full of figures, dates and names . . .

Inspector Montalbano finds all of Catalanotti’s dossiers and plays, the notes on the characters and the notes on his final drama, Dangerous Turn. It is in the theatre where he feels the solution lies.


Ghosts By Dolly Alderton
Ghosts: The Debut Novel from the Bestselling Author of Everything I Know About Love by [Dolly Alderton]

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.


Pulpit Rock by Kate Rhodes
Pulpit Rock (Di Ben Kitto Book 4) by [Kate Rhodes]

WITH A KILLER ON THE LOOSE
As the scorching summer sun beats down on St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly, DI Ben Kitto and his team are training for the annual Swimathon, until they discover a body hanging from Pulpit Rock, dressed in a bridal gown.

ON A TINY ISLAND
An obsessive killer is hunting for female victims. Kitto has no choice but to stop anyone leaving St Mary’s, but soon another woman is attacked.

EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT
The killer must be a trusted member of the community. Kitto’s investigation is being watched closely, the killer always one step ahead, as the next victim is chosen . . .

NO ONE IS SAFE


Mrs Murakami’s Garden by Mario Bellatin
Mrs. Murakami's Garden by [Mario Bellatin, Heather Cleary]

From the groundbreaking author of Beauty SalonThe Large GlassJacob the Mutant, Mario Bellatin delivers a rousing, allegorical novel following the widowed keeper of a mysterious garden. When art student Izu’s teacher asks her to visit the famous collection of Mr. Murakami, she publishes a firm rebuttal to his curation. Instead of responding with fury, the rich man pursues her hand in marriage.

When we meet her in the opening pages, Mrs. Murakami is watching the demolition of her now-dead husband’s most prized part of the estate: his garden. The novel that follows takes place in a strange, not-quite-real Japan of the author’s imagination. But who, in fact, holds the role of author? As Mr. Murakami’s garden is demolished, so too is the narrative’s authenticity, leaving the reader to wonder: did this book’s creator exist at all?

Mario Bellatin has revolutionized the state of Latin American literature with his experimental, shocking novels. With this brand-new, highly anticipated edition of Mrs. Murakami’s Garden from lauded translator Heather Cleary, readers have access to a playful modern classic that transcends reality.


The Other Woman by Amanda Brookfield
The Other Woman: An unforgettable page-turner of love, marriage and lies by [Amanda Brookfield]

On a normal day, in a normal house, on a normal street, wife and mother Fran has had enough. She packs a case, leaves a note for her bullying husband Pete, and one for her beloved twenty-year-old son Harry, and heads to the airport – and freedom.

In another house, on another street, Helena is desperately baiting her husband Jack into a fight. These days it feels like the only way to get Jack to take notice of her. Passionate, volatile, increasingly fragile, Helena is fast running out of hope.

What Helena and Fran don’t know, is that soon their lives are going to collide in ways neither expect nor understand. And if Fran and Helena are going to change their own futures, then first they will have to change each other’s.


The Secret Life of Mr. Roos by Hakan Nesser
The Secret Life of Mr Roos (The Barbarotti Series) by [Håkan Nesser]

At fifty-nine years old, Valdemar Roos is tired of life. Working a job he hates, with a wife he barely talks to and two step-daughters he doesn’t get on with, he doesn’t have a lot to look forward to. Then, one day, a winning lottery ticket gives him an opportunity to start afresh.

Without telling a soul, he quits his job and buys a hut in the remote Swedish countryside. Every day he travels down to this man-made oasis, returning each evening to his unsuspecting wife. Life couldn’t be better, until a young woman arrives in paradise . . .

Anna Gambowska is a twenty-one-year-old recovering drug addict. On the run from the rehab centre she hated and an abusive relationship she can’t go back to, all Anna’s prayers are answered when she comes across a seemingly vacant hut in the Swedish woodland. But it’s not long before Anna’s ex discovers her location, and an incident occurs that will mar the lives of both Anna and Valdemar forever.

Inspector Barbarotti doesn’t take much interest when a woman reports her husband as missing. That is, until a dead body is found near the missing man’s newly-bought hut, and Mr Roos becomes the number one murder suspect . . .


Under a Sky on Fire by Suzanne Kelman
Under a Sky on Fire: A gripping and utterly heartbreaking WW2 historical novel by [Suzanne Kelman]

September 1940, London
As the German Luftwaffe begin a terrifying bombing campaign that will come to be known as the Blitz, thousands are evacuated to safety. But Lizzie Mackenzie finds herself heading towards London.

She knows she must help in the war effort. But she has another reason for leaving the security of her Scottish village: the illegitimate child she gave up for adoption nearly five years before is somewhere in the city. And – as the bombs rain down – she will stop at nothing to find her and make sure her little girl is safe.

Then she finds herself trapped in a dark theatre during a bombing raid, where she meets Pilot Officer Jack Henson. Against all her instincts, she falls in love. But what chance is there for that love to flourish? Because if he discovers the secret shame of her past, he may never forgive her. And with Jack facing the enemy every day in the sky, and Lizzie’s job guiding pilots into battle – life and love has never felt so fragile.

Until a chance encounter with a little orphaned girl changes everything, forcing Lizzie to ask herself what truly matters. Because, in the darkest days of war, every life counts. And – when tragedy strikes – saving one child’s life might just give Lizzie a reason to survive…


Freetown by Otto de Kat
Freetown by [Otto de Kat, Laura Watkinson]

“He was a Fula. I say ‘was’, because I haven’t seen him for a long time. I don’t know if he’s still alive or where he might be. He just disappeared.”

Maria is independent, unconventional and unafraid. She is trying to find an explanation for the disappearance of Ishmael, a refugee from Sierra Leone who came to her door as a newspaper boy and stayed for seven years. He was like a son to her. Vincent is a psychologist. Once he and Maria had an all-encompassing relationship, but since their break-up he has been living in a kind of haze. One day, Maria asks for his help.

In the encounters that follow, Ishmael is pushed into the background by a rekindling of the old love between Vincent and Maria. The stories and memories that resurface come to replace the sadness at the loss of the boy. But despite the distraction of their new situation, Ishmael proves impossible to forget.

Otto de Kat is known for concise novels that are beautifully observed, subtle and precise, and Freetown is no exception.


My weekly lists are, for the purposes of keeping it simple, limited to new fiction. However the occasional non-fiction title will creep in and here’s one for this month. If, like me, your lockdown has been improved by the antics of Olive and Mabel then you might be interested in this. If you’ve not yet met them, scroll down to the end to see why we’ve all becomes fans of Andrew and his adorable dogs.

Olive, Mabel and Me by Andrew Cotter

When Andrew Cotter turned his brilliant sporting commentaries from the Masters, the Open, Wimbledon and the Six Nations to the lockdown contests between his two Labradors, Olive and Mabel, the result was an internet sensation. The series of videos – including Game of Bones – has been viewed well over 50 million times on social media, and the videos have resonated with dog owners and sports fans everywhere.

In OLIVE, MABEL AND ME, Andrew gives us a commentary of a different kind as he tells the heart-warming story of life with his two famous Labradors, Olive and Mabel. This is the full story of their rise to internet stardom and how walking and climbing in the mountains helps them all find peace, joy and happiness away from the hectic world of the media.

Above all, however, this is a book about the love we have for our dogs and the companionship and joy we can find from sharing our lives with our fabulous canine friends, as Andrew has done with dogs throughout his life.


Happy Reading!!

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