Another bumper week this week so grab a cuppa.
Just a reminder that I’ve not read any of these as I don’t have access to Advance Reader Copies. My choices are based on previous reads/purchases of a particular author and reads I like the look of from the blurb otherwise known as gut instinct. The choices are therefore geared towards what I would read. I’m sure some weeks you’re wondering why I’ve missed some big releases and that’s either because I’ve messed up and missed it or quite simply it’s not my cup of tea. Either way, there’s still plenty to choose from.
The index is a guide as to what format the title is being released in. In some cases the title might already have been published in a different format. For those readers interested in audio editions I’ve made a note of availability in the title details. These categories are intended to give you an indication of price and/or suitablity depending on your preferred reading format. I have not complicated matters further by attempting to throw genres into the mix.
(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
The Art of Falling by Danielle McLaughlin – (Audio available)
Nessa McCormack’s marriage is coming back together again after her husband’s affair. She is excited to be in charge of a retrospective art exhibit for one of Ireland’s most beloved and enigmatic artists, the late sculptor Robert Locke. But the arrival of two outsiders imperils both her personal and professional worlds: a chance encounter with an old friend threatens to expose a betrayal Nessa thought she had long put behind her, and at work, an odd woman comes forward claiming to be the true creator of Robert Locke’s most famous work, The Chalk Sculpture.
As Nessa finds the past intruding on the present, she must decide whether she can continue to live a lie–or whether she’s ready to face the consequences once everything is out in the open. In this gripping debut, Danielle McLaughlin reveals profound truths about love, power, and the secrets that rule us.
NB Amazon claim publication is 21 Jan, Bookshop & Hive say 4 Feb.
The Survivors by Jane Harper – Audio available
Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on a single day when a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that haunts him still resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal town he once called home.
Kieran’s parents are struggling in a community which is bound, for better or worse, to the sea that is both a lifeline and a threat. Between them all is his absent brother Finn.
When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge in the murder investigation that follows. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…
In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce
An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.
They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte.
The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.
Hardback & eBook releases
Hurdy Gurdy by Christopher Wilson
I pledge on the jeopardy of my immortal soul. I saw it all, with my young eyes. From start to end.
And may Lucifer, and his infernal demons, fry my liver for break-fast if a word of this sorry history turns out to be a lie.
It is the year of our Lord 1349 and it is the season of the Plague. Novice friar Brother Diggory, now sixteen, has lived in the Monastery of the Order of St Odo at Whye since his eighth birthday. But his life is about to change. The sickness is creeping ever closer and the monks must attend to the victims. When Brother Diggory is nominated to tend to those afflicted, he realises he is about to meet the Plague, and that it is more powerful than him. What he doesn’t realise is that encountering an illness and understanding it are two quite different things.
An uproarious and uplifting novel about sickness and health, the fashions of 14th Century medicine, and how perhaps we’re never quite as cutting-edge as we might like to believe.
Gratitude by Delphine De Vigan – Audio Available
Marie owes Michka more than she can say – but Michka is getting older, and can’t look after herself any more. So Marie has moved her to a home where she’ll be safe.
But Michka doesn’t feel any safer; she is haunted by strange figures who threaten to unearth her most secret, buried g uilt, guilt that she’s carried since she was a little girl. And she is losing her words – grasping more desperately day by day for what once came easily to her.
Jérôme is a speech therapist, dispatched to help the home’s ageing population snatch and hold tight onto the speech still afforded to them. But Michka is no ordinary client.
Michka has been carrying an old debt she does not know how to repay – and as her words slide out of her grasp, time is running out.
Shiver by Allie Reynolds – Audio Available
They don’t know what I did. And I intend to keep it that way.
How far would you go to win? Hyper-competitive people, mind games and a dangerous natural environment combine to make the must-read thriller of the year. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular debut novel Shiver.
When Milla is invited to a reunion in the French Alps resort that saw the peak of her snowboarding career, she drops everything to go. While she would rather forget the events of that winter, the invitation comes from Curtis, the one person she can’t seem to let go.
The five friends haven’t seen each other for ten years, since the disappearance of the beautiful and enigmatic Saskia. But when an icebreaker game turns menacing, they realise they don’t know who has really gathered them there and how far they will go to find the truth.
In a deserted lodge high up a mountain, the secrets of the past are about to come to light.
Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic
A couple drive from London to coastal Provence. Anya is preoccupied with what she feels is a relationship on the verge; unequal, precarious. Luke, reserved, stoic, gives away nothing. As the sun sets one evening, he proposes, and they return to London engaged. But planning a wedding does little to settle Anya’s unease. As a child, she escaped from Sarajevo, and the idea of security is as alien now as it was then. When social convention forces Anya to return, she begins to change. The past she sought to contain for as long as she can remember resurfaces, and the hot summer builds to a startling climax. Lean, sly and unsettling, Asylum Road is about the many borders governing our lives: between men and women, assimilation and otherness, nations, families, order and chaos. What happens, and who do we become, when they break down?
We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan – Audio Available
‘You can’t stop birds from flying, can you, Sameer? They go where they will…’
1960s UGANDA. Hasan is struggling to run his family business following the sudden death of his wife. Just as he begins to see a way forward, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.
Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a past he never knew.
Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong.
The Godmothers by Monica McInerney
As the only daughter of a troubled young mother, Eliza Miller’s life was kept on track by the constant support of her two watchful godmothers, Olivia and Maxie – until a tragic event just before her eighteenth birthday changed everything.
Thirteen years on, Eliza is cautious, lonely, and dedicated to her work in Melbourne. Out of the blue, an enticing invitation from one of her godmothers, now based in the UK, prompts a leap into the unknown. Within a fortnight, Eliza is at the centre of a complicated family, and the hotel they run in Edinburgh’s West End.
Amidst the chaos, Eliza slowly finds a path to her future. But to take hold of it she, Olivia and Maxie will all have to face the secrets of their shared past.
The Yield by Tara June Winch – Audio Available
Knowing that he will soon die, Albert “Poppy” Gondiwindi has one final task he must fulfill. A member of the indigenous Wiradjuri tribe, he has spent his adult life in Prosperous House and the town of Massacre Plains, a small enclave on the banks of the Murrumby River. Before he takes his last breath, Poppy is determined to pass on the language of his people, the traditions of his ancestors, and everything that was ever remembered by those who came before him. The land itself aids him; he finds the words on the wind.
After his passing, Poppy’s granddaughter, August, returns home from Europe, where she has lived the past ten years, to attend his burial. Her overwhelming grief is compounded by the pain, anger, and sadness of memory―of growing up in poverty before her mother’s incarceration, of the racism she and her people endured, of the mysterious disappearance of her sister when they were children; an event that has haunted her and changed her life. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends and honor Poppy and her family, she vows to save their land―a quest guided by the voice of her grandfather that leads into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.
Told in three masterfully woven narratives, The Yield is a celebration of language and an exploration of what makes a place “home.” A story of a people and a culture dispossessed, it is also a joyful reminder of what once was and what endures―a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling, and identity, that offers hope for the future.
End of the Line by Robert Scragg
Detective Jake Porter’s life was ripped apart by the hit-and-run driver that killed his wife. The life he has been building up piece by piece is rocked by the discovery of new evidence that might finally lead him to her murderer. At the same time, he has a volatile case to juggle. Ross Henderson was a Vlogger with over ten million followers rallying against the growing tide of the far-right. As his audience tuned in to listen to Henderson tear apart more anti-immigrant vitriol, they watched in horror as he was brutally murdered during a live broadcast.
Struggling to prevent full-blown riots and following the trail to his wife’s killer will take its toll upon Porter, and there’s no guarantee he will come out the other side intact.
Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner – Audio due on 26th
Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman with more regrets than belongings who spends her life doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.
A new case brings Frankie to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier.
Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own. And she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered.
But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing will be her …
The Burning Girls by C J Tudor – Audio Available
Welcome to Chapel Croft.
For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.
And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.
Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.
Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?
Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.
But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .
And Now You’re Back by Jill Mansell – Audio Available
One magical winter’s night in Venice, Didi fell in love. But it ended – and he left without even saying goodbye.
Now, thirteen years on, Shay Mason is back.
The old spark is still there, but Didi’s determined to ignore it. As manager of a stunning Cotswolds hotel, she’s happy at last, and soon to be married. Anyway, Shay isn’t staying. He’s made a promise to his father. He’s going to keep it. And then he’ll be gone.
But Shay’s return stirs up long-forgotten emotions, and the scandal that led him to leave raises its head once again. It’s time for buried secrets to come to light. And it seems that this was someone’s intention all along . . .
Cathedral by Ben Hopkins
A sweeping story about obsession, mysticism, art, and earthly desire.
At the centre of this story, is the Cathedral. Its design and construction in the 12th and 13th centuries in the fictional town of Hagenburg unites a vast array of unforgettable characters whose fortunes are inseparable from the shifting political factions and economic interests vying for supremacy. From the bishop to his treasurer to local merchants and lowly stonecutters, everyone, even the town’s Jewish denizens, is implicated and affected by the slow rise of Hagenburg’s Cathedral, which in no way enforces morality or charity.
Around this narrative core, Ben Hopkins has constructed his own monumental edifice, a choral novel that is rich with the vicissitudes of mercantilism, politics, religion, and human enterprise. Ambitious, immersive, a remarkable feat of imagination, Cathedral deftly combines historical fiction, the literary novel of ideas, and a tale of adventure and intrigue.
Rescue Me by Sarra Manning – Audio Available
Margot doesn’t have time for love.
Will is afraid to love.
And neither of them are expecting to fall in love with Blossom: a gentle Staffy with a tragic past, a belly made for rubbing and a head the size of a football.
After their first meeting at the rescue centre, both Margot and Will want to adopt Blossom so reluctantly agree to share custody. But Will’s obsession for micro-managing and clear-cut boundaries and Margot’s need to smother Blossom with affection, means that soon they have a very confused and badly behaved dog on their hands.
Can they put their differences aside to become successful “co-pawrents” and maybe even friends? And meanwhile, does Blossom have plans of her own?
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell – Audio Available
Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…
A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.
Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…
Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…
What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?
Crow Court by Andy Charman
Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster a belligerent man with a vicious reputation is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.
So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife s grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer s block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.
Meanwhile, justice waits
The City of Tears by Kate Mosse – Audio Available
June 1572: for ten, violent years the Wars of Religion have raged across France. Neighbours have become enemies, countless lives have been lost, and the country has been torn apart over matters of religion, citizenship and sovereignty. But now a precarious peace is in the balance: a royal wedding has been negotiated by Catherine de’ Medici and Jeanne d’Albret, an alliance between the Catholic Crown and Henri, the Huguenot king of Navarre. It is a marriage that could see France reunited at last.
Meanwhile in Puivert, an invitation has arrived for Minou Joubert and her family to attend this historic wedding in Paris in August. But what Minou does not know is that the Joubert family’s oldest enemy, Vidal, will also be there. Nor that, within days of the marriage, on the eve of the Feast Day of St Bartholomew, Minou’s family will be scattered to the four winds and one of her beloved children will have disappeared without trace . . .
A breath-taking novel of revenge, persecution and loss, sweeping from Paris and Chartres to the City of Tears itself – the great refugee city of Amsterdam – this is a story of one family’s fight to stay together, to survive and to find each other, against the devastating tides of history . . .
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones – Audio Available
In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers.
For Wilma, it’s the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result.
When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope – of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man.
And Mira Whalen? It’s about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn’t get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.
Girl A by Abigail Dean – Audio Available
‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.
Exit by Belinda Bauer – Audio Available
IT WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE MURDER . . .
Pensioner Felix Pink is about to find out that it’s never too late . . . for life to go horribly wrong.
When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . .
But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.
Now his world is turned upside down as he must find out if he’s really to blame, or if something much more sinister is at play. All while staying one shaky step ahead of the law.
People Like Her by Ellery Lloyd – Audio Available
People like Emmy Jackson. They always have. Especially online, where she is Instagram sensation Mamabare, famous for always telling the unvarnished truth about modern parenthood.
But Emmy isn’t as honest as she’d like the fans to believe. She may think she has her followers fooled, but someone out there knows the truth and plans to make her pay. Because people like her have no idea what pain careless words can cause. Because people like her need to learn what it feels like to lose everything.
A Burning by Megha Majumdar – Audio Available
A girl walks through the slums of Kolkata holding an armful of books. She returns home smelling of smoke, and checks her most prized possession: a brand-new smartphone, purchased in instalments. On Facebook, there is only one conversation.
On the small, glowing screen, she types a dangerous thing…
‘If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean that the government is also a terrorist?’
Set in contemporary India, A Burning is the story of three unforgettable characters, all dreaming of a better future, whose lives are changed for ever when they become caught up in the devastating aftermath of a terrorist attack.
Jivan – a poor, young, Muslim girl, who dreams of going to college – faces a possible death sentence after being accused of collaborating with the terrorists.
Lovely – an exuberant hijra who longs to be a Bollywood star – holds the alibi that can set Jivan free, but telling the truth will cost her everything she holds dear.
PT Sir – an opportunistic gym teacher who once taught Jivan – becomes involved with Hindu nationalist politics and his own ascent is soon inextricably linked to Jivan’s fall.
Paperback & eBook releases
Perfect Little Dolls by Karen Long
The little boy played with his toy trains in the bedroom, keeping quiet so as not to wake his mother. He stayed silent as he watched his window creaking open and heard the whisper from outside. A minute later, Tommy and the trains were gone.
An unrelenting heatwave sweeps the country and starts a fire which uncovers the charred remains of a young woman. But when DI Eleanor Raven attends the post-mortem it reveals some disturbing details—the girl was dead long before the fire, her body had been lovingly preserved before being dressed up, her hair perfectly arranged, and a lime-green scarf knotted around her neck.
With little evidence surviving the fire, Eleanor and her team have no solid leads. But back on duty after six months’ enforced leave, Eleanor is determined to prove herself fit for service, and she won’t accept that this case could prove impossible.
Following a tenuous link to an old missing-persons case, Eleanor discovers the poor woman’s identity: Giselle Baker was a young dancer at a local bar before she disappeared two years ago, leaving behind a worried roommate and, concealed amongst her things, a curious wooden carving of a snake. Before Eleanor can uncover the significance of the toy though, another woman goes missing, and then, a little boy… It seems that someone is collecting a family for themselves.
As Eleanor battles her own demons, she pushes herself to the limit to find the killer. But her fight to save his last innocent victim may become a battle to save herself…
Kokoschka’s Doll by Afonso Cruz
At the age of forty-two, Bonifaz Vogel begins to hear a voice.
But it doesn’t belong to the mice or the woodworm, as he first imagines. Nor is it the voice of God, as he comes to believe. It belongs to young Isaac Dresner, who takes refuge in the cellar of Vogel’s bird shop on the run from the soldier who shot his best friend. Soon Vogel comes to rely on it for advice: he cannot make a sale without first bending down to confer with the floorboards.
Thus begins the story of two Dresden families, fractured and displaced by the devastating bombing of the city 1945, their fates not only intertwined, but bound also to that of a life-sized doll commissioned by the artist Oskar Kokoschka in the image of his lost lover.
Based on a curious true story, Kokoschka’s Doll is an imaginative and playful novel that transports the reader to Dresden, Paris, Lagos and Marrakesh, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters along the way.
Coming Home to Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn
On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.
Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?
The Day My Husband Left by Amy Miller – Audio Available
I didn’t think there was life after you, but you left me a gift on the day you died that changed everything for me…
On the day Heidi’s husband, Johnny, died, he passed on a final token of his love – a precious photograph of his last moments. As Heidi pores over the image, she sees a busy street scene and a pavement full of strangers – but she has no idea what this last message from her beloved husband could mean.
Heidi has spent her days – and her years – in her workshop, giving cherished old furniture a second chance. But there are some parts of Heidi’s own life that are beyond repair. Secrets that Heidi and Johnny kept throughout their long marriage. Things that they were never brave enough to speak about.
All Heidi knows now is that this picture of her husband’s final moments is where she has to start looking for clues. When she visits the busy street from the photograph, she suddenly comes face to face with the person Johnny had been meeting that day – someone she herself has spent a lifetime longing to know. But is she ready for what they’ll tell her and how will the rest of her family react when she brings them home?
The Family by Owen Mullen – Audio Available
Family – might be the death of you…
The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.
His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.
Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.
Two Wrongs by Rebecca Reid
How far would you go to correct your worst mistake?
When Chloe goes to university and meets wild, carefree Zadie, she is utterly seduced by her and her lifestyle. It doesn’t take long for Chloe to ditch her studies in favour of all-night parties at Zadie’s huge house off campus.
But when something goes badly wrong one night and Zadie disappears in the aftermath, Chloe knows she should have done more to help her friend. It’s something she’ll always regret.
Fifteen years later, Chloe finally gets the chance to make it right. But in order to do so, she’ll have to put everything at stake . . .
My Grandmother’s Braid by Alina Bronsky
Sharp and tender at once, a humourous take on family dysfunction and human weakness seen through a young boy’s eyes.
Max lives with his grandparents in a residential home for refugees in Germany. When his grandmother—a terrifying, stubborn matriarch and a former Russian primadonna—moved them from the Motherland, it was in search of a better life. But she is not at all pleased with how things are run in Germany.
His grandmother has been telling Max that he is an incompetent, clueless weakling since he was a child. While he may be dolt in his grandmother’s eyes, Max is bright enough to notice that his stoic and taciturn grandfather has fallen hopelessly in love with their neighbour, Nina. When a child is born to Nina that is the spitting image of Max’s grandfather, things come to a hilarious if dramatic head. Everybody will have to learn to defend themselves from Max’s all-powerful grandmother.
Advent by Jane Fraser
Winter, 1904, and feisty twenty-one-year-old Ellen has been summoned back from her new life in Hoboken, New Jersey, to the family farm on windswept Gower, in a last bid to prevent the impending death of her alcoholic father.
On her return, she finds the family in disarray. Ailing William is gambling away large swathes of Thomas land; frustrated Eleanor is mourning the husband she once knew; and Ellen’s younger twin brothers face difficult choices. Ellen, tasked with putting her family’s lives in order, finds herself battling one impossible decision after another.
Resourceful, passionate, and forthright, can she remain in Gower, where being female still brings with it so many limitations? Can she endure being so close to her lost love? Will she choose home and duty, or excitement and opportunity across the Atlantic?
The Other Mothers by M M Chouinard – Audio Available
It’s a crisp spring morning when the small-town community around Briar Ridge Elementary School is shattered by devastating news. Bright and shy five-year-old Nicole has disappeared at recess.
Nicole’s mother, Gia, is lost in her grief. On the same day her baby girl vanished, Gia found out she was pregnant with the sister Nicole had begged for. Gia is also devastated that her best friend Karen was supervising the playground when Nicole was taken. And when Nicole’s body is discovered, Gia can’t help but ask: why didn’t Karen protect her little girl?
Someone knows what happened in school that day and Detective Jo Fournier is determined to find the truth. Jo’s little nieces also attend Briar Ridge and she would cross mountains to keep them safe. As she starts to dig into the mothers’ secrets, she begins to wonder if anyone is telling the truth. Gia’s been hiding a part of herself for years and Jo can tell it’s eating her apart. And Karen is definitely lying—but what is more important than finding the killer of her best friend’s daughter?
As Gia and Karen struggle with their guilt, a teacher at Briar Ridge dies in what looks like a tragic accident. But with two deaths in such a short time, Jo knows better than that. In this school, where soccer moms flock to the gates with cookies for teachers, someone is willing to kill to keep a secret. The only question is who.
Testimony by Paula Martinac
In rural Virginia in 1960, history professor Gen Rider has secured tenure at Baines College, a private school for white women. A woman in a man’s field, she teaches “Negro” history, which has made her suspect with a powerful male colleague. Even while she’s celebrating her triumph, she’s also mourning the break-up of a long-distance relationship with another woman–a romance she has tightly guarded, even from her straight female mentor.
As the fall semester dawns, a male instructor at the college is arrested for having sex with a man in a park. Homosexual panic envelops the college town, launching a “Know Your Neighbor” reporting campaign. The police investigation directly threatens Gen’s friend Fenton, the gay theater director at Baines. But Gen finds herself vulnerable, too, when someone leaves mysterious “gifts” for her, including a suggestive pulp novel and a romantic card.
As Gen tentatively embarks on a new relationship, a neighbor reports she’s seen Gen kissing a woman, and hearings into her morality catch her in a McCarthy-like web. With her private life under the microscope, Gen faces an agonizing choice: Which does she value more, the career she’s scraped to build against the odds or her right to a private life?
The Couple on Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley – Audio Available
One sunny August afternoon, the residents of Cedar Close throw their annual summer barbecue. Children play in the cherry-tree lined street, tables are laden with food, and the wine is flowing. For Laurie Mills, it’s her first time meeting the neighbours. And it’s the first time she discovers her husband Robert is having an affair.
Cedar Close has always been a nice place to live – a quiet suburban street where everyone looks out for one another and bad things don’t happen.
Until late one evening, when Robert Mills is found dead in his bedroom.
Downstairs, in their beautiful kitchen, his wife Laurie sits alone in the dark with her head in her hands.
She can’t remember the last few hours, but she knows she didn’t kill Robert.
The trouble is, no-one believes her…
Sergeant Salinger by Jerome Charyn -Audio Available
J.D. Salinger, mysterious author of The Catcher in the Rye, is remembered today as a reclusive misanthrope. Jerome Charyn’s Salinger is a young American WWII draftee assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps, a band of secret soldiers who trained with the British. A rifleman and an interrogator, he witnessed all the horrors of the war―from the landing on D-Day to the relentless hand-to-hand combat in the hedgerows of Normandy, to the Battle of the Bulge, and finally to the first Allied entry into a Bavarian death camp, where corpses were piled like cordwood.
After the war, interned in a Nuremberg psychiatric clinic, Salinger became enchanted with a suspected Nazi informant. They married, but not long after he brought her home to New York, the marriage collapsed. Maladjusted to civilian life, he lived like a “spook,” with invisible stripes on his shoulder, the ghosts of the murdered inside his head, and stories to tell.
Grounded in biographical fact and reimagined as only Charyn could, Sergeant Salinger is an astonishing portrait of a devastated young man on his way to becoming the mythical figure behind a novel that has marked generations.
The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann – Audio Available
It’s Elissa’s birthday, and she’s accidentally booked a cervical smear instead of a celebration… Great. The icing on the cake? Her boyfriend is kicking her out of their houseshare.
So when she’s offered the chance to live with a pensioner rent-free, Elissa knows she needs to impress Annie, who turned down the last twenty-two applicants. Somehow, even after Elissa goes on about ‘definitely not being an axe-murderer’, Annie chooses her.
And just like Elissa, prickly, sweary, big-hearted Annie could use a friend. Elissa may have nowhere else to go, but is she just where she needs to be?
The Postmistress by Maggie Sullivan – Audio Available
One ordinary street in Lancashire is getting ready for war, who knows what else is going on behind the net curtains?
Vicky Parrot wanted more out of life than working all hours in her father’s Post Office. Her dreams were ruined when tragedy came calling, and now happiness seems impossible.
The other townsfolk have their problems too. Sylvia Barker runs the haberdashery shop and she’s hiding more than a few secrets behind the bales of wool in the shop window. Her daughter Rosie wants more out of life than needles and cotton, but her headstrong ways are about to get her into trouble.
Life goes on for the people of Greenhill, what they can’t know is that their world is about to change forever…
The Festival by Sarah J Naughton – Audio Available
Orly, Lenny, Mel and Thea have been best friends since school. But now it is 20 years later and inevitably they have drifted apart.
It is Lenny’s 40th birthday, plus Orly and Mel need cheered up, so Thea suggests a weekend away at a festival in their hometown. It’s a chance for them all to reconnect.
NOT ALL OF THEM WILL SURVIVE.
But their holiday soon takes a sinister turn, and not all of the friends will leave the festival alive…
My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Philips – Audio Available
There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .
You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.
Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there’s a darker side to their friendship, and once it has been exposed, there is no turning back.
So when Izzy’s body is found, Bec knows that if the police decide to look for a killer, she will be the prime suspect. Because those closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most . . .
Ask No Questions by Claire Allan – Audio Available
Not all secrets are meant to come out…
Twenty-five years ago, on Halloween night, eight-year-old Kelly Doherty went missing while out trick or treating with friends.
Her body was found three days later, floating face down, on the banks of the Creggan Reservoir by two of her young classmates.
It was a crime that rocked Derry to the core. Journalist Ingrid Devlin is investigating – but someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. As she digs further, Ingrid starts to realise that the Doherty family are not as they seem. But will she expose what really happened that night before it’s too late?
The Stolen Child by Alex Coombs
Meet DCI Hanlon. A woman with a habit of breaking the rules and a fierce loyalty to the few people she respects.
When the kidnap of a 12-year-old boy blows the case of some missing children wide apart, the finger is pointing at the heart of the Met.
Hanlon is sent in as the only cop who is incorruptible enough to handle it. But can she find the killer before another child is stolen?
NB This has been re-released along with a number of other titles. They were previously issued under different titles by Alex Harwood – please check your Kindle orders before you buy then again.
Into the Woods by David Mark
If you go into the woods, you’re in for a dark surprise.
Thirty years ago, three girls followed a stranger into the woods. Only two returned. The surviving pair have never been able to remember what happened or what the fate of the third girl was. Local rumours talk of hippies and drugs and mystic rituals, but no one has learned the truth.
This story is just what Rowan Blake needs. He’s in debt, his journalistic career is in tatters – as well as his damaged body – and he’s retreated to the Lake District to write. Yet even Rowan isn’t prepared for the evil he is about to unearth, for the secrets that have been buried in that wood for far too long…
A Question Mark is Half a Heart by Sofia Lundberg – Audio Available
Elin has the perfect life. A successful photographer, she lives in New York with her husband Sam and their seventeen-year-old daughter, Alice.
But something has always been missing…
When Elin receives a letter from her childhood friend Fredrik on the Swedish island of Gotland, memories come flooding back: of a past she has tried to forget, and a terrible secret she has shared with nobody – a secret that made her flee the island, and never return.
Torn between past and present and afraid the truth will destroy her family, Elin sets out on a journey to another continent, but also to another time and another life.
Old Bones by Helen Kitson
Diana and her sister Antonia are house-sharing spinsters who have never got over their respective first loves. Diana owns a gift shop, but rarely works there. Antonia is unemployed, having lost her teaching job at an all girls’ school following a shocking outburst in the classroom after enduring years of torment. Diana is a regular at the local library, Antonia enjoys her “nice” magazines, and they treat themselves to coffee and cake once a week in the village café.
Naomi lives alone, haunted by the failure of her two marriages. She works in the library, doesn’t get on with her younger colleagues, and rarely cooks herself a proper meal. Secretly she longs for a Boden frock.
When a body is discovered in the local quarry, all three women’s lives are turned upside down. And when Diana’s old flame Gill turns up unexpectedly, tensions finally spill over and threaten to destroy the outwardly peaceful lives all three women have carefully constructed around themselves.
A Mother’s Promise by K D Alden – Audio Available
Based on the true story behind a landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, K.D. Alden’s debut is a rich and moving story of one woman’s courage and determination to get her child back when all odds are stacked against her.
Virginia, 1927: All Ruth Ann Riley wants is a chance to have a family. But because she was poor and unwed when she became pregnant, she was sent to an institution and her child was given to another woman. Ruth Ann can’t stand the thought of never seeing little Annabel’s face again, never snuggling up to her warmth or watching her blue eyes crinkle with laughter. And now they want to take away her right to have any other babies? She is not going to let that happen.
All the rich and fancy folks may call her feebleminded, but Ruth Ann is smarter than any of them have bargained for. Because no matter how high the odds are stacked against her, she is going to overcome the scandals in her past and get her child back. She just never expects her battle will go to the U.S. Supreme Court, or that she’d find unexpected friendships . . . and even the possibility of love along the way.
Not fiction, but a special treat for anybody who hasn’t yet discovered Brian Bilston. A poet for our times described by Esquire as ‘Part John Cooper Clarke, part Frank Sidebottom’ which probably isn’t too far out. Released in hardback, audio and eBook.
Alexa, what is there to know about love? by Brian Bilston
Alexa, what is there to know about love? is a wonderful collection of poems about love in all its forms, covering everything from romantic love to familial love, to long-distance love, and even love on the internet.
The collection also features poems about the true passions for many booklovers, reading and literature, and the odd one about the subject causing many of us heartbreak: politics. With titles like ‘Hold My Hand While We Jump Off This Cliff’ and ‘Remembrance of Things Pasta’, there’s something for even the most jaded romantic within these pages.
So that’s another week of enticement for you hope you found something to whet your appetite. Until next Monday, Happy Reading!!