An increasing number this week – clearly got the Christmas market in mind. There’s several that I’ve pre-ordered so that’s something nice for me to look forward too. Hope you all find something you fancy.
Just a heads up for those seeking Christmas titles, my annual post will be coming in the next couple of weeks (it’ll take me that long to get the post together!). I’ve set a cut off point of end of October to stop adding to the list though it will include titles published after that date.
Anyway here we go with this week’s choices.
(NB As an Amazon Associate and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
The Company Daughters by Samantha Rajaram
Wanted: Company Daughters. Virtuous young ladies to become the brides of industrious settlers in a foreign land. The Company will pay the cost of the lady’s dowry and travel. Returns not permitted, orphans preferred.
Amsterdam, 1620. Jana Beil has learned that life rarely provides moments of joy. Having run away from a violent father, her days are spent searching for work in an effort to stay out of the city brothels, where desperate women trade their bodies for a mouthful of bread. But when Jana is hired as a servant for the wealthy and kind Master Reynst and his beautiful daughter Sontje, Jana’s future begins to look brighter.
But then Master Reynst loses his fortune on a bad investment, and everything changes. The house is sold to creditors, leaving Jana back on the street and Sontje without a future.
With no other choice, Jana and Sontje are forced to sign with the East India Company as Company Daughters: sailing to a colonial Dutch outpost to become the brides of male settlers they know nothing about. With fear in their hearts, the girls begin their journey – but what awaits them on the other side of the world is nothing like what they’ve been promised…
Based on true history, this is a beautiful and sensual historical novel, perfect for fans of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Miniaturist and The Indigo Girl.
The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.
When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.
In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages… The truth.
The Deception of Harriet Fleet by Helen Scarlett
1871. An age of discovery and progress. But for the Wainwright family, residents of the gloomy Teesbank Hall in County Durham the secrets of the past continue to overshadow their lives.
Harriet would not have taken the job of governess in such a remote place unless she wanted to hide from something or someone. Her charge is Eleanor, the daughter of the house, a fiercely bright eighteen-year-old, tortured by demons and feared by relations and staff alike. But it soon becomes apparent that Harriet is not there to teach Eleanor, but rather to monitor her erratic and dangerous behaviour – to spy on her.
Worn down by Eleanor’s unpredictable hostility, Harriet soon finds herself embroiled in Eleanor’s obsession – the Wainwright’s dark, tragic history. As family secrets are unearthed, Harriet’s own begin to haunt her and she becomes convinced that ghosts from the past are determined to reveal her shameful story.
For Harriet, like Eleanor, is plagued by deception and untruths.
When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott
They need him to remember. He wants to forget.
1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.
The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.
When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home?
Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.
Contacts by Mark Watson
One man’s last journey. One hundred and fifty-eight chances to save his life.
James Chiltern boards the 23:50 sleeper train from London to Edinburgh with two pork pies, six beers and a packet of chocolate digestives. At 23:55 he sends a message to all 158 people in his contacts, telling them that he plans to end his life in the morning. He then switches his phone to flight mode. He’s said goodbye. To him, it’s the end of his story – and time to crack open the biscuits.
But across the world, 158 phones are lighting up with a notification. Phones belonging to his mum. His sister. His ex-best friend. The woman who broke his heart. People he’s lost touch with. People he barely knows. And for them, the message is only the beginning of the journey.
Funny and wise, tender and deeply moving, Contacts is a beautiful story about the weight of loneliness, the importance of kindness – and how it’s never too late to reach out.
The Chalet by Catherine Cooper
French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.
Someone knows what really happened that day.
And somebody will pay.
The Guilty Man by Helen Durrant
A little girl, presumed dead, turns up playing happily in the park. She is barefoot but otherwise unharmed. The child’s mother, who lives on a notorious local estate, doesn’t seem bothered that her daughter has returned alive.
Meanwhile, a man is tortured by a ruthless criminal. The victim’s severed hand is left on his wife’s doorstep.
Detective Harry Lennox and DI Jess Wilde investigate. How do the cases connect and who is using threats to drive people out of their homes?
Harry Lennox is battling his own demons, trying to bury a secret from his past with alcohol. He stays in a rundown campervan on a friend’s driveway. Jess wants to know why he’s living like this, but he refuses to tell her anything. What’s he hiding?
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella
I love you . . . but what if I can’t love your life?
Ava is sick of online dating. She’s always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.
Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he’s funny, he’s kind and – she soon learns – he’s great in bed. He’s equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other’s real names.
But when they return home, reality hits. They’re both driven mad by each other’s weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?
One Way Street by Trevor Wood
The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.
One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.
As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.
Toto Among the Murderers by Sally J Morgan
It is 1973 and Jude – known to her friends as Toto – has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel’s life isn’t as perfect as it seems.
Reports of attacks on women punctuate the news and Jude takes off again, suffocated by an affair she has been having with a married woman. But what she doesn’t realise is that the violence is moving ever closer to home: there is Janice across the road who lives in fear of being beaten up again by her pimp and Nel, whose perfect life is coming undone at her boyfriend’s hands. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.
Scatter Her Ashes by Heine Bakkeid
Disgraced, damaged former police officer Thorkild Aske has stopped taking his painkillers after his last experience searching for the missing in northern Norway. Wracked by withdrawal and desperate for work, he reluctantly agrees to investigate the disappearance of two schoolgirls for bestselling crime writer Milla Lind – but he soon discovers that Lind’s interest in the case is not, as she claims, simply research for her latest novel.
When Thorkild discovers that her previous investigator was murdered on the job, no-one will explain why – all he has to go on are files about unrelated cases from all across Norway. Oh, and his ex-wife wants to talk. What could possibly go wrong?
When the Music Stops by Joe Heap
This is the story of Ella.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.
‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean.
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’
Ella has known Robert all her life. Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…
The Missing Piece by Catherine Miller
Broken Heart Syndrome: A sudden and acute form of heart failure, brought on by emotional or physical distress.
After years of studying cardiac medicine, thirty-one-year-old Keisha knows the heart inside out. She knows the average heartrate for each age group, she can name every valve, and she can tell you exactly how much blood it pumps daily.
The one thing she doesn’t know is how to fall in love. And nor does she want to. The secret her tattoo covers is a reminder that the best way to protect a heart is to never let it feel in the first place…
Seventy-nine-year-old Clive is Subject Five in Keisha’s latest research project. He’s been in love since he was seventeen, ever since he met Nancy at a tea dance. But last night, his beloved wife was killed. Suddenly, he has no one to waltz with. He has woken up in hospital, a widower diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome.
These strangers, brought together by a broken heart, must face up to the truth of their pasts. Can Clive teach his new friend that until you’ve loved, you haven’t lived? And can Keisha help him see that it’s never too late for a second chance?
Helen and the Grandbees by Alex Morrall
Forgetting your past is one thing, but living with your present is entirely different.
Twenty years ago, Helen is forced to give up her newborn baby, Lily. Now living alone in her small flat, there is a knock at the door and her bee, her Lily, is standing in front of her.
Reuniting means the world to them both, but Lily has questions. Lots of them. Questions that Helen is unwilling to answer. In turn Helen watches helplessly as her headstrong daughter launches from relationship to relationship, from kind Andrew, the father of her daughter, to violent Kingsley who fathers her son.
When it’s clear her grandbees are in danger, tangled up in her daughter’s damaging relationship, Helen must find the courage to step in, confronting the fears that haunt her the most.
Told in Helen’s quirky voice Helen and the Grandbees addresses matters of identity, race and mental illness.
One August Night by Victoria Hislop
Victoria Hislop returns to Crete in this long-anticipated sequel to her multi-million-copy Number One bestseller, The Island.
25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.
The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper
A young woman’s quest to heal a family rift entangles her in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles when an intricately illustrated map offers a clue to the fate of a long-lost girl. A mesmerising historical mystery set in the Hunter Valley from bestselling author Tea Cooper for readers of Natasha Lester and Kate Morton.
1880 The Hunter Valley
Evie Ludgrove loves to map the landscape around her home – hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a one thousand pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to figure it out – after all, there are clues in her father’s papers and in the archives of The Royal Geographical Society. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that taints everyone’s lives for 30 years.
When Letitia Rawlings arrives at the family estate in her Model T Ford, her purpose is to inform her Great Aunt Olivia of a bereavement. But Letitia is also escaping her own problems – her brother’s sudden death, her mother’s scheming and her own dissatisfaction with the life planned out for her. So when Letitia discovers a beautifully illustrated map that might hold a clue to the fate of her missing aunt, Evie Ludgrove, her curiosity is aroused and she sets out to discover the truth of Evie’s disappearance.
But all is not as it seems at Yellow Rock estate and as events unfold, Letitia begins to realise that solving the mystery of her family’s past could offer as much peril as redemption.
A Good Map of All Things by Alberto Alvaro Rios
In Alberto Álvaro Ríos’s new picaresque novel, momentous adventure and quiet connection brings twenty people to life in a small town in northern Mexico. A Good Map of All Things is home to characters whose lives are interwoven but whose stories are their own, adding warmth and humor to this continually surprising communal narrative. The stories take place in the mid-twentieth century, in the high desert near the border—a stretch of land generally referred to as the Pimería Alta—an ancient passage through the desert that connected the territory of Tucson in the north and Guaymas and Hermosillo in the south. The United States is off in the distance, a little difficult to see, and, in the middle of the century, not the only thing to think about. Mexico City is somewhere to the south, but nobody can say where and nobody has ever seen it.
Ríos has created a whimsical yet familiar town, where brightly unique characters love fiercely and nurture those around them. The people in A Good Map of All Things have secrets and fears, successes and happiness, winters and summers. They are people who do not make the news, but who are living their lives for the long haul, without lotteries or easy answers or particular luck. Theirs is the everyday, with its small but meaningful joy. Whether your heart belongs to a small town in Mexico or a bustling metropolis, Alberto Álvaro Ríos has crafted a book that is overflowing with comfort, warmth, and the familiar embrace of a tightly woven community.
The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg
Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, church-going and proper, and his Aunt Idgie, the fun-loving hell-raiser. Together they ran the town’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe, known far and wide for its fun and famous fried green tomatoes. And as Bud often said of his childhood to his daughter Ruthie, “How lucky can you get?”
But sadly, as the railroad yards shut down and Whistle Stop became a ghost town, nothing was left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time.
Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see what has become of his beloved Whistle Stop. In so doing, he discovers new friends, as well as surprises about Idgie’s life, about Ninny Threadgoode and other beloved Fannie Flagg characters, and about the town itself. He also sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and many others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you really go home again?
The Eyes of the Queen by Oliver Clements
In this first novel of the exhilarating Agents of the Crown series, a man who will become the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enlightenment.
After centuries locked in an endless cycle of poverty, persecution, and barbarity, Europe has finally emerged into the Age of Enlightenment. Scientists, philosophers, scholars, and poets alike believe this to be a new era of reason and hope for all. But the forces of darkness haven’t completely dissipated, as Spain hunts and butchers any who dare to defy its ironclad Catholic orthodoxy.
Only one nation can fight the black shadow that threatens this new age, and that is Britain, now ruled by a brilliant young Queen Elizabeth I. But although she may be brave and headstrong, Elizabeth knows she cannot win this war simply by force of arms. After her armies have been slashed in half, her treasury is on its knees. Elizabeth needs a new kind of weapon forged to fight a new kind of war, in which stealth and secrecy, not bloodshed, are the means.
In this tense situation, Her Majesty’s Secret Service is born with the charismatic John Dee at its head. A scholar, a soldier, and an alchemist, Dee is loyal only to the truth and to his Queen. And for her, the woman he’s forbidden from loving, he is prepared to risk his life.
My Sister’s Husband by Nicola Marsh
The sunroom at the back of the house is just as I remember. I can’t taste homemade lemonade or smell oatmeal cookies without thinking of home, of the beautiful cliffs of Martino Bay, and I feel welcomed. But all thoughts of a happy family reunion are destroyed the moment I see him…
He’s as handsome as I remember: broad shoulders, piercing blue eyes, hair the colour of burnt toffee.
The man who once meant the world to me. The reason I fled eleven years ago. I’ve never told anyone the terrible mistake I made that night. The secret we share. I’m still haunted by the crashing waves at the bottom of the cliffs, the blood…
But what is he doing at my sister’s house?
And then I see her. My baby sister. She smiles, she tips her hand so I can see the ring. And his arm slides around her waist, pulling her close…
The Forgotten Daughter by Joanna Goodman
Divided by their past, united by love.
1992: French-Canadian factions renew Quebec’s fight to gain independence, and wild, beautiful Véronique Fortin, daughter of a radical separatist convicted of kidnapping and murdering a prominent politician in 1970, has embraced her father’s cause. So it is a surprise when she falls for James Phénix, a journalist of French-Canadian heritage who opposes Quebec separatism. Their love affair is as passionate as it is turbulent, as they negotiate a constant struggle between love and morals.
At the same time, James’s older sister, Elodie Phénix, one of the Duplessis Orphans, becomes involved with a coalition demanding justice and reparations for their suffering in the 1950s when Quebec’s orphanages were converted to mental hospitals, a heinous political act of Premier Maurice Duplessis which affected 5,000 children.
Véronique is the only person Elodie can rely on as she fights for retribution, reliving her trauma, while Elodie becomes a sisterly presence for Véronique, who continues to struggle with her family’s legacy.
The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell
At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers the company of birds to people, but when a fall lands her in a nursing home she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy. From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ – of the car park! – she dreams of escape.
Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home as soon as he is fit and able to take charge of his mobility scooter.
When Hattie and Walter officially meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog, Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is dismissed over her unconventional approach to aged care, they must join forces – and very slowly, an unlikely, unexpected friendship begins to grow.
Her Final Hour by Rachel Amphlett
What if the perfect friend was hiding a deadly secret?
When a championship jockey discovers the body of a young woman during a cold morning’s training ride, the local racing community is shocked to its core.
Everyone says she was the perfect friend, the perfect daughter and the perfect fiancée.
However as Detective Mark Turpin delves into the girl’s fateful last hours, he discovers a past full of lies and mystery.
Investigating the truth behind her savage death, Mark uncovers jealousy and ambition within the tiny community, accompanied by a disturbing reluctance to help the police.
When another death takes place only days later, Mark realises he is running out of time to stop a killer who will do anything to keep a dark secret hidden…
The Stromness Dinner by Peter Benson
Ed fits kitchens in the small family business in London, and hes wondering if there isnt more to life. So when Marcus, a client in banking, offers him an extra job refurbishing a cottage in Stromness he thinks, why not? Orkney is certainly a welcome change of scene from Bermondsey, and the works easy enough. Then Marcus sister Claire arrives, all city power and perfume, and events take an unexpected turn. The Stromness Dinner is an offbeat, entirely readable novel about relationships. Beautifully observed, gently humorous, it is a very human and contemporary story about how we live today, and what happens when two people follow their dreams. Peter Benson has created a new sort of hero in Ed Beech, whose homespun philosophy of life stays in the memory long after the novel ends.
The Manhattan Secret by Marie-Bernadette Dupuy
October 1886. Catherine and Guillaume Duquesne set off to New York with their six-year-old daughter Elisabeth. But the young couple’s dreams of freedomand independence soon turn into a nightmare when Catherine dies during the journey and Guillaume is assaulted and left for dead soon after their arrival on American soil.
A wealthy family adopts Elisabeth, who grows up spoiled and happy. But when she turns 16, she learns the truth about her origins and decides to return to France to meet her real family. Upon her arrival she realises that her grandfather’s house, too, is seething with secrets…
The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham
Berlin, 1938: It’s the height of summer, and Germany is on the brink of war. When fledgling reporter Georgie Young is posted to Berlin, alongside fellow Londoner Max Spender, she knows they are entering the eye of the storm.
Arriving to a city swathed in red flags and crawling with Nazis, Georgie feels helpless, witnessing innocent people being torn from their homes. As tensions rise, she realises she and Max have to act – even if it means putting their lives on the line.
But when she digs deeper, Georgie begins to uncover the unspeakable truth about Hitler’s Germany – and the pair are pulled into a world darker than she could ever have imagined…
Inside Out by Chris McGeorge
SHE WAS SENT DOWN…
Cara Lockhart has just commenced a life sentence in HMP North Fern – the newest maximum security women’s prison in the country. She was convicted of a crime she is adamant she didn’t commit.
SHE WAS SET UP…
One morning she wakes up to find her cellmate murdered – shot in the head with a gun that is missing. The door was locked all night, which makes Cara the only suspect.
BUT THAT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Cara needs to clear her name, unravelling an impossible case, with an investigation governed by a prison timetable.
But as Cara starts to learn more about North Fern and the predicament she is in, she finds connections between the past and present that she never could have imagined.
Indeed it seems that her conviction and her current situation might be linked in very strange ways…
Someone Who Isn’t Me by Danuta Kot
When everyone hides the truth, who do you turn to?
Becca’s had a hard time of it, but she has finally got her life together. She has a nice little flat, a steady job pulling pints, and she’s even seeing someone new: Andy, who keeps his private life to himself but is always good for a laugh. And then Andy vanishes. When his body turns up on isolated Sunk Island, Becca learns Andy wasn’t just another punter. He was a police officer, deep undercover, investigating a drugs ring that he believed operated out of Becca’s pub.
Staggered by the betrayal, Becca turns to the only person she thinks she can trust: her foster mum, Kay. But Kay has problems of her own. She’s just moved into a short-term let in the hopes of finding some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet are hard to come by on Sunk Island . . .
Before long, both women are drawn into a terrifying world of drugs, money and death.
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter
It is 1909 in Spokane, Washington. The Dolan brothers live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his dashing older brother Gig dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. When Rye finds himself drawn to suffragette Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, her passion sweeps him into the world of protest and dirty business. But a storm is coming, threatening to overwhelm them all . . .
The Cold Millions is an intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice and betrayal set against the panoramic backdrop of an early 20th century America. Jess Walter offers a stunning, kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation grappling with the chasm between rich and poor, dreams and reality, in a sensational tale that resonates powerfully with our own time.
That’s all the temptation for this week – Happy Reading!!