Another mixed bag this week but hopefully something for everyone.
(NB Purchase links are affiliate links which could earn me a small commission)
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
Who would you be, if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are now?
Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully.
But when the plane she’s on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago – when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved.
Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to – but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain.
As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she’s never truly asked: what does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us?
Two possible futures. One impossible choice.
The Moment Before Impact by Alison Bruce
A terrible car accident – or calculated murder?
An evening out for five students ends in tragedy, with two dead and one critically injured. Nicci Waldock survives, but her life is left in tatters. Years later, a sighting of Jack Bailey, the brother of her dead friend, leaves her with a shocking realisation about the night of the accident.
Helped by former journalist Celia Henry, Nicci sets out to learn the truth about what really happened, and discovers a series of lies and dangerous secrets that have distorted everything she thinks she knows.
In uncovering the tangled truth of what happened that night three years ago, Nicci must decide who she can trust, and who is about to kill again. And she realises that everything can be saved or lost in the moment before impact.
Five Little Words by Jackie Walsh
When new mother, Laura Caldwell, opens the card dropped through her letterbox, she expected to see a heartfelt note, congratulating her on the birth of baby Shay.
Instead, she sees a message that makes her blood run cold. ‘Your husband is a murderer.’ It couldn’t be true, could it? Not Conor, her adoring husband. He couldn’t be behind the brutal killing of local barmaid, Vicky. Not him.
But while Laura fights to discover the truth about her husband, she’s also holding dark secrets of her own; secrets she’s spent years trying to hide. Could the card be a desperate attempt at revenge – or could her husband really be a murderer? There’s a tangled web between this perfect couple – and the truth might just destroy them…
Escape to the Little Chateau by Marie Laval
Will Amy’s dreams of a Provençal escape come true?
There are many reasons Amy Carter is determined to make Bellefontaine, her farmhouse hotel in the French countryside, a success. Of course, there’s the time and money she’s put in to making it beautiful, but she also has something to prove – particularly to people like Fabien Coste.
Fabien is the owner of the nearby château, and he might just be the most arrogant, patronising man Amy has ever met … unfortunately, he’s also the most handsome.
But as rumours circulate in the local community and secrets about the old farmhouse begin to reveal themselves, Amy quickly sees the less idyllic side of life at Bellefontaine. Could Fabien be the man to help prevent her Provençal dream from turning into a nightmare?
This was previously published as A Spell in Provence by Accent Press in 2015. This is a revised, edited and updated version. Published October 2020 by Choc Lit.
Into Thin Air by Deborah Rogers
A web of lies. A sister’s worst nightmare.
When Dr Julia Norris’s estranged sister, Toni, goes missing in Turkey, Julia thinks it’s just another one of her sister’s irresponsible stunts. But when Toni’s backpack and passport wash up along the Istanbul seafront, Julia realizes the situation is far more serious than first thought.
Desperate for answers, Julia travels to Istanbul to find out what’s happened to Toni. As she delves deeper into her sister’s mysterious disappearance, everything points to Toni being abducted. But as a stranger in a strange land, who will believe Julia? And as she gets drawn into a web of lies and betrayal, could Julia be in danger herself?
Set against the stunning backdrop of Istanbul, Into Thin Air is a gripping, fast-paced mystery with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.
A Village Vacancy by Julie Houston
As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in one handsome widower’s life…
Grace Stevens has decided it’s time to move on without her husband. He’s off gallivanting around Devon in search of a new life, and good riddance. It’s time to go back to teaching, so Grace returns to Little Acorns and takes on an unruly class of pre-teens.
As she deals with disasters in – and out of – the classroom including an accidental dalliance with her most troublesome pupil’s dad, helping track down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace begins to wonder more and more about the sparkle in David’s eyes and the sparking chemistry between them.
Could Grace be the one to fill this village vacancy?
The Windsor Knot by S J Bennett
The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.
When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place.
For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.
With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?
The Housewarming by S E Lynes
Everyone is going to the housewarming party.
All the same people who lived on the street the day Abi vanished…
Will her mother finally learn the truth?
Ava only left her daughter in the pushchair for five minutes. The buckle was fastened, and she was sure it was safe. But when she came downstairs, the door was open and Abi was gone – she walked down the road, past the Lovegoods’ house, and was never seen again.
A year later, the Lovegoods are planning their long-anticipated housewarming party. Ava doesn’t want to go. She can’t bear to look down that end of the road, to see the place where Abi vanished, and she doesn’t want to spend time with people who don’t share her grief. Her husband Matt persuades her: he’s worried about her. A night out might do her good.
But as her friends and neighbours chat, and the drink and gossip flows, Ava learns something new about the day she has re-lived a thousand times. A throwaway comment which could change everything.
Ava thought she knew every last detail of that day.
She’s about to find out she was wrong…
A Telegraph from Berlin by A O’Connor
Sometimes the past is too frightening to visit.
1939 – As the clouds of war gather across Europe, diplomat Gabriel Ford is sent to London to outline the Irish government’s intended policy of neutrality. While there, Gabriel, recently engaged and the son of a War of Independence hero, has his life thrown into turmoil when he meets a beautiful mysterious woman, Karina Harper.
Karina watched as a child as her magnificent home in Ireland was burned down by rebels and her family were driven out of the country. Now a secretary at the British Foreign Office, she is using all her contacts as she desperately tries to rescue the man she loves from Nazi Germany.
As war erupts and Karina is posted to Dublin, Gabriel risks everything for a scandalous affair with her. Gabriel and Karina become engaged. But is she all she seems? Is she just using Gabriel’s diplomatic status to rescue her true love trapped in wartime Germany? Or does she have some other darker motive for pursuing the relationship?
As a Nazi victory in Europe looks imminent, Gabriel is sent to Berlin by De Valera to try to avert a feared invasion of Ireland. Karina uses the opportunity to accompany him, to find her old love.
But as she and Gabriel board a plane for Berlin, Karina is hiding one more secret. And if discovered, this secret will ensure neither ever return.
Love Among the Recipes by Carol M Cram
Discover love in all its flavors in this fun, food-infused romp through Paris that is as crisp, sweet, and smooth as the perfect macaron.
Paris may be for lovers, but cookbook author Genna McGraw is definitely not looking for love. She’s looking for escape and she’s looking for a good runny Brie to pair with a smooth Bordeaux. Where better than Paris?
In Love Among the Recipes, Genna goes to the City of Light to get away from her philandering husband and write a “crossover cookbook/guidebook” that matches Parisian sights such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre with recipes for bistro-style French dishes. She also dabbles in romance with dishy French lawyer Pierre Leblanc and makes friends at her French class with Colorado transplant Marsha Renfrew and her snooty English boyfriend.
And then there’s big, blunt Bill Turner from Australia. Does he really eat crocodile steaks for tea?
But when Genna’s family crashes her new life in Paris, a crisis forces her to choose how she wants to live. Will she have the courage to embrace an uncertain future and risk losing everything?
Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
The Puzzle Women by Anna Ellory
Berlin, 1989. Siblings Rune and Lotte are shaken awake by Mama and told to follow her quietly into the night. Last time they snuck away from Papa, with Mama bruised and broken, they were back within a week. But this time they are starting a new life, Mama says—where nobody can ever hurt them again.
Ten years later, the memories of their escape are blurry; Mama is long gone and the siblings are back at Papa’s house. But when they receive a mysterious notebook that seems to have come from Mama, Papa tears it apart. Could there be more to their past than they’ve been led to believe?
With Rune paralysed by fear, Lotte takes their fate into her own hands. When she learns about the ‘Puzzle Women’ working tirelessly to reconstruct files shredded by the former secret police, she begs them to help her piece Mama’s story back together. But as Papa’s threats against both siblings escalate, can they unite to learn the full, brutal truth in Mama’s own words at last?
The Cookbook Club by Beth Harbison
MUST LOVE BUTTER: The Cookbook Club is now open to members. Foodies come join us! No diets! No skipping dessert!
Margo Everson sees the call out for the cookbook club and knows she’s found her people. Recently dumped by her self-absorbed husband, who frankly isn’t much of a loss, she has little to show for her marriage but his ‘parting gift’—a dilapidated old farm house—and a collection of well-loved cookbooks
Aja Alexander just hopes her new-found friends won’t notice that that every time she looks at food, she gets queasy. It’s hard hiding a pregnancy, especially one she can’t bring herself to share with her wealthy boyfriend and his snooty mother.
Trista Walker left the cutthroat world of the law behind and decided her fate was to open a restaurant…not the most secure choice ever. But there she could she indulge her passion for creating delectable meals and make money at the same time.
The women bond immediately, but it’s not all popovers with melted brie and blackberry jam. Margo’s farm house is about to fall down around her ears; Trista’s restaurant needs a makeover and rat-removal fast; and as for Aja, just how long can you hide a baby bump anyway?
In this delightful novel, these women form bonds that go beyond a love grilled garlic and soy sauce shrimp. Because what is more important in life than friendship…and food?
Other Fires by Lenore H Gay
Joss and Phil’s already rocky marriage is fragmented when Phil is injured in a devastating fire and diagnosed with Capgras delusion—a misidentification syndrome in which a person becomes convinced that a loved one has been replaced by an identical imposter. Faced with a husband who no longer recognizes her, Joss struggles to find motivation to save their marriage, even as family secrets start to emerge that challenge everything she thought she knew. With two young daughters, a looming book deadline, and an attractive but complicated distraction named Adam complicating her situation even further, Joss has to decide what she wants for her family—and what family even means.
The Fig Tree by Goran Vojnovic
The Fig Tree is a novel composed of the intertwining stories of the family of Jadran, a 30-something who tries to piece together the story of his relatives in order to better understand himself. Because he cannot understand why Anja walked out of their shared life, he tries to understand the suspicious death of his grandfather and the withdrawal of his grandmother into oblivion and dementia. With all his might, Jadran tries to understand the departure of his father in the first year of the war in the Balkans as he also tries to comprehend his mother, with her bewildering resentment of his grandfather, and her silent disappointment with his father.
The Fig Tree is a multigenerational family saga, a tour de force spanning three generations from the mid-20th century through the Balkans wars of the 90s until present day. Vojnovi is a master storyteller, and while fateful choices made by his characters are often dictated by the historical realities of the times they live in, at its heart this is an intimate story of family, of relationships, of love and freedom and the choices we make.
The Girl She Wanted by K L Slater
What if my sister is unstable and everyone can see it but me? What was she really doing standing over Florence’s cot in the middle of the night?
Alexa has always looked up to her older sister Carrie. Carrie lives in Alexa’s family home, and adores her one-year-old niece Florence. Alexa doesn’t know how they would cope without her. So when Carrie is suspended from her job as a senior nurse, accused of the most terrible crime, Alexa reels in disbelief. Alexa knows how caring Carrie is, and as she watches Florence gurgling and cooing whenever Carrie is around, she knows her little girl is in safe hands.
Alexa’s husband doesn’t trust Carrie. He wants her out of the house, unable to ignore what people are saying about her. But when he suggests that Carrie could be a danger to their daughter, Alexa shuts him out. Nobody will ever come between her and her sister.
Then Florence is hurt while in Carrie’s care and Alexa at last starts to wonder. Alexa has always wanted to protect Carrie from the past they have hidden. But does Alexa know what Carrie wants? And will the secret that has kept the sisters together now destroy her little girl?
Unbound Ties by Liz Mistry
When the past unravels, all that’s left is death.
Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When DI Gus McGuire is called out to the murder of a pregnant woman, the crime scene tells him that this killer is not only taunting them … he’s also just getting started.
With ritualistic precision, the killer has placed a series of clues beneath the victim’s feet. Gus soon realises that these clues link back to his mother’s past as a child in foster care in Scotland.
When I am king, dilly dilly,
Troubled by his mum’s secrets, Gus is in a dark place. Side-lined from the main investigation, Gus works another murder, not realising that the two are linked and that the killer is closer than he realises … Dangerously close.
You shall be queen.
Then the killer begins to target people near to Gus. Angry and determined Gus races to unravel the past and catch this sadist before the loss is too much for him to bear.
When Robins Appear by Densie Webb
With a lucrative freelance career and a loving family, Deborah Earle has a life many women would envy. But her daughter, Amanda, is heading to college soon, and Deborah worries about having an empty nest. She thinks another child might be the answer. Her husband, Richard, however, may not be willing to start over so late in life.
Amanda is excited about attending NYU next year, but she meets Graham, a handsome older boy, falls hard, and considers postponing her education to stay close to him. Her mother takes an instant dislike to Graham, but Amanda refuses to let her keep them apart.
As Deborah watches her daughter rush headlong toward heartache on an all-too-familiar path, the secrets lurking in Deborah’s past continue to echo in her present. When tragedy strikes, Deborah faces a future she could never have imagined.
Beneficence by Meredith Hall
When they meet in the 1930s, Doris and Tup’s love is immediate. They marry quickly and Doris commits to the only life Tup ever wanted: working the Senter family farm, where his parents and grandparents and great-grandparents are buried under the old pines. Their lives follow the calming rhythms of the land—chores in the cow barn, haying the fields, tending their gardens—and in this they find immeasurable joy.
Soon their first child, Sonny, is born and Doris and Tup understand they are blessed. More children arrive—precocious, large-hearted Dodie and quiet, devoted Beston—but Doris and Tup take nothing for granted. They are grateful every day for the grace of their deep bonds to each other, to their family, and to their bountiful land. As they hold fast to this contentment, Doris is uneasy, and confesses, “We can’t ever know what will come.”
When an unimaginable tragedy turns the family of five into a family of four, everything the Senters held faith in is shattered. The family is consumed by a dark shadow of grief and guilt. Slowly, the surviving Senters must find their way to forgiveness—of themselves and of each other.
The Dogs of Winter by Ann Lambert
The sequel to The Birds That Stay – hailed by the New York Journal of Books as “a fascinating and gripping tale of suspense” and the Globe and Mail as one of “Ten thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat”. Says Ann Cleeves of the new book: “it’s about power and powerlessness in the dead of winter. And more than that, it’s a rollicking good read.” The Dogs of Winter begins after a howling snowstorm envelops Montreal, and the body of a young woman is discovered in its wake. The only clue to her identity is the photograph in her pocket, and on it, the phone number of Detective Inspector Romeo Leduc. Meanwhile, Marie and Romeo are busy navigating their deepening relationship, and a student at Marie’s college is the victim of a terrible assault. While Romeo begins to think that the dead woman may be linked to violence against several homeless people in the city, the search for justice in both cases is thwarted by societal apathy and ignorance, even as the killer is stalking the frigid streets of Montreal, preying on and terrorizing its most vulnerable citizens.