Not so many titles this week, though I suspect that might change next week as I’ve spotted quite a few with an 18th February publication date! Some interesting ones this week though and several I’ve got my eye on.
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 indicated availability with the addition of a red button after the purchasing links – this makes it a bit easier to scan through and pick them up. The 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)
A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein
England, 1585. In Kit Marlowe’s last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty’s spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit’s flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.
While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spywork allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London’s raucous theater scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he’s worked so hard to attain–including the trust of the man he loves–could vanish before his very eyes.
Pairing modern language with period detail, Allison Epstein brings Elizabeth’s privy council, Marlowe’s lovable theater troupe, and the squalor of sixteenth-century London to vivid, teeming life as Kit wends his way behind the scenes of some of Tudor history’s most memorable moments. At the center of the action is Kit himself–an irrepressible, irreverent force of nature. Thrillingly written, full of poetry and danger, A Tip for the Hangman brings an unforgettable protagonist to new life, and makes a centuries-old story feel utterly contemporary.
The Downstairs Neighbours by Helen Cooper
In a converted Georgian townhouse in south west London, three families live under one roof.
The large flat that takes up the top two floors is home to the Harlow family: happily married Paul and Steph, and their bubbly teenage daughter Freya. The smaller first floor flat is rented by Emma, who spends most of her time alone, listening to people coming in and out of the building. And the basement flat belongs to Chris, a local driving instructor, who prefers to keep his personal life private from the neighbours.
But their lives are all upended when Freya vanishes. As the police become involved and a frantic Paul and Steph desperately search for answers, they begin to realise that the truth behind their daughter’s disappearance may lie closer to home than they were expecting.
When everyone has something to hide, can you ever really know those closest to you? Or will some secrets be taken to the grave?
Hardback & eBook releases
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles
IN THE DARKNESS OF WAR, THE LIGHT OF BOOKS – HOW LIBRARIANS DEFIED THE NAZIS
Odile Souchet is obsessed with books, and her new job at the American Library in Paris – with its thriving community of students, writers and book lovers – is a dream come true. When war is declared, the Library is determined to remain open. But then the Nazis invade Paris, and everything changes.
In Occupied Paris, choices as black and white as the words on a page become a murky shade of grey – choices that will put many on the wrong side of history, and the consequences of which will echo for decades to come.
Lily is a lonely teenage desperate to escape small-town Montana. She grows close to her neighbour Odile, discovering they share the same love of language, the same longings. But as Lily uncovers more about Odile’s mysterious past, she discovers a dark secret, closely guarded and long hidden.
Based on the true Second World War story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable novel of romance, friendship, family, and of heroism found in the quietest of places.
Super Host by Kate Russo
Bennett Driscoll is a Turner Prize nominated artist who was a Bright Young Thing. Now, aged 55, his wife has left him, the reviews have dried up, and his gallery wants to stop selling his paintings, saying they’ll have more value retrospectively…when he’s dead. So, left with a large West London home and no income, he moves into his painting studio in the back garden and rents out the house, soon reaching status as a Super Host on AirBed.
At last, the money is coming in, but he’s loveless and, well, lonely. Turns out his house guests are as quirky, lost and entertaining as Bennett himself, unwittingly unlocking the parts of Bennett’s life that have been forgotten to him for too long, but can they help him feel less lost in the place he knows best?
The Insomniac Society by Gabrielle Levy
Claire, who sits awake beside a snoring husband and a little boy who is not hers.
Jacques, a psychiatrist at the end of his career whose lonely nights are punctuated only by anonymous phone calls.
Michèle, a retiree whose dark secret compels her out of bed and to church.
Lena, a young goth who cannot brave the dawn, volunteering at a local café.
Hervé, a shy accountant who sits in bed, panicking about his job while scrolling through emails into the early hours.
They have one thing in common: insomnia.
As meetings led by sleep specialist Marie-Hélène draw them together, friendships will be formed and confessions made… but will they discover what’s keeping them awake? And more importantly: will they be able to get to sleep?
The Killing Choice by Will Shindler
‘Leave your daughter with me, or I will kill you both’
It felt like a normal Friday evening before Karl and his daughter Leah were ambushed by a figure in a blank mask. At knife point, Karl is forced to make an impossible choice. Stay and die, or walk away from Leah and take this thug’s word that they both will live.
Should Karl trust a villain and leave his daughter with a knife at her throat? Could he ever live with himself if he did?
It’s not long before more seemingly unconnected and innocent people across London are offered a deal in exchange for their life. More blood is spilled, more families shattered, and more people are left to suffer with the consequences of their decisions.
Skin by Kerry Andrew
London, 1985. Joe, father to eleven-year-old Matty, has disappeared, and nobody will explain where he’s gone, or why.
In the long, hot summer that follows, Matty’s hunt for Joe leads to the ponds at Hampstead Heath. Beneath the water, there is a new kind of freedom. Above the water, a welcoming community of men offer refuge from an increasingly rocky home life.
Fourteen years later, a new revelation sees Matty set off alone in a campervan, driving westwards through Ireland, swimming its wild loughs and following the scant clues left behind about Joe. The trip takes a dangerous turn, and Matty is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers. But safety comes at a price, and with desire and fear running high, the journey turns into an explosive, heart-rending reckoning with the past.
Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan
Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend: Violet’s life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now.
So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives.
Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it grant her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking?
Insatiable is about women and desire – lust, longing and the need to be loved. It is a story about being unable to tell whether you are running towards your future or simply running away from your past. The result is at once tender and sad, funny and hopeful.
Love Letters from Paris by Nicolas Barreau
Julien Azoulay is famous around the world for his beautiful romance novels. But last year, he stopped believing in love. When his beloved wife Hélène died, leaving him alone to raise his young son, Julien lost his faith in the happier side of life – and with it his ability to write.
But Hélène was clever. Before she died, she made Julien promise to write her one letter for each year of her life . . . and now, in this moment, in the most famous cemetery in Paris, Julien stands with his painful first letter in his hand. Here, even though Julien wouldn’t believe it, something wonderful is going to happen . . .
Come with us down the narrow streets, past the cosy red bistro on Rue Gabrielle, all the way to Montmartre cemetery with its beautiful stone angels, and discover the truth we all hope to find: that love is real, that miracles can happen and – most of all – that it’s never too late to rediscover your dreams.
LOVE LETTERS FROM MONTMARTRE is an ode to love, Paris and friendship. A love letter to readers and to anyone who believes in the healing power of the written word.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Meet Naomi and Nicholas: the Perfect Couple.
Their glorious, lavish wedding is coming up in three short months . . . and they are utterly, miserably sick of each other.
Unfortunately, whoever backs out first will end up bearing the brunt of the wedding bill. When Naomi finds out that Nicholas has been feigning contentment too, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of sabotage, pranks, and all-out emotional warfare to see who can annoy the other into surrendering first.
Now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves. In fact, they’re having so much fun getting on each other’s nerves that it starts to feel like something else entirely…
You, Me & the Sea by Elizabeth Haynes
Rachel is at crisis point. A series of disastrous decisions has left her with no job, no home, and no faith in herself. But an unexpected job offer takes her to a remote Scottish island, and it feels like a chance to recover and mend her battered self-esteem.
The island’s other inhabitants are less than welcoming. Fraser Sutherland is a taciturn loner who is not happy about sharing his lighthouse – or his precious coffee beans – and Lefty, his unofficial assistant, is a scrawny, scared lad who isn’t supposed to be there at all.
Homesick and out of her depth, Rachel wonders whether she’s made another mistake. But, as spring turns to summer, the wild beauty of the island captivates her soul. For the first time in years she sees the hope of a better life – if only she can break the deadlock between two men who are at war with one another, and with themselves.
Paperback & eBook releases
Fishwives by Sally Bellerose
Eighty-nine-year-old Regina and ninety-year-old Jackie met in 1955, an era when women were rounded up and jailed simply for dancing together or dressing like a man. On a cold winter day they manage to get themselves out of the house with the help of TJ and Ramon, two young men from their working-class neighborhood in Western Massachusetts. They tie their long-dead Christmas tree to the top of their car and, using a screwdriver in place of a broken gearshift, slowly make the drive to the dump.
This is also the day when everything changes.
During the course of their adventure, memories are triggered. Their history as a passionate and devoted, but troubled couple at the intersection of historic cultural and political change unfolds via scenes from the past—including their first meeting during a police raid on a bar and Regina’s epiphany that she could truly love another woman. In the early years, they often live apart as they flee landlords who discover their secret. As their journey leads them to seek jobs and a sustainable life, they are sometimes separated—but always find their way back to each other.
The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D Harrison
I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
An Ordinary Life by Amanda Prowse
Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.
London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.
Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.
Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?
The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey
Occupied Italy, 1944. In the mountain regions south of Bologna, Liliana Nicoletti’s family finds escaped POW James Foley behind German lines. Committed to the anti-Fascist cause, they deliver him to a powerful band of local partisans. But when the SS launches a brutal attack against the Resistance, Liliana’s peaceful community is destroyed. Alone and thrown together by tragedy, James and Liliana fight together as Monte Sole burns. Forging an unbreakable bond, they know their only hope of survival is to make it to the Allied lines.
Twelve years later, fate reunites Liliana, newly widowed, and James, now a journalist for a New York magazine. Liliana reveals to him the obsession that has haunted her since the massacre at Monte Sole: finding and bringing to justice the SS officer who ordered her family killed. James has a revelation too. He might know how to hunt the man down. Joining forces once more, and increasingly drawn to each other, Liliana and James discover new levels of conspiracy on a journey that leads them to Argentina—and to a choice that will change their lives forever.
The Juggle by Emma Murray
Mother-of-one Saoirse is just about holding it all together – combining part time work with the school run, while her husband David gets to focus on his career. But when David loses his job, everything has to change.
With no hesitation, Saoirse suggests she takes on the role of main breadwinner. After all, how hard can it be? And when a new client offers her a life-changing sum of money, Saoirse can look the other over-achieving Woodvale school-run mums in the eye with pride.
But there’s a problem with keeping too many balls in the air – eventually one is bound to drop. And when that happens – well, who knows what the consequences could be…
The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck
March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn’t like the other young society women back home in Baltimore – she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst. Once she’s recruited as an Allied spy, subverting the Nazis becomes her calling. But even the most cunning agent can be bested, and in wartime trusting the wrong person can prove fatal. Virginia is haunted every day by the betrayal that ravaged her first operation, and will do everything in her power to avenge the brave people she lost. While her future is anything but certain, this time more than ever Virginia knows that failure is not an option. Especially when she discovers what – and whom – she’s truly protecting.
Close Your Eyes by Rachel Abbott
Don’t let him under your skin. He’ll destroy you.
Don’t fight him. He’ll win.
Run. Never let him find you.
I thought I was safe here, but I’m not. I’ve stayed too long. Now Genevieve is dead, and the police are on their way. It’s time for me to go.
I must stick to the plan – the one I made the day I arrived in this city. My bag is packed. It always is. I will destroy every shred of evidence of my existence. The police must never find me. If they do, so will he.
I made a mistake, and someone had to die. But I’m the one who has truly lost her life.
I need to make a choice. If I keep running, I’ll never stop. If I go back, he will make me suffer.
How many lives can one person ruin?
Fragments by Malcolm Hollingdrake
DCI Cyril Bennett is where he belongs, at the helm in a case involving multiple murders. The sudden deaths of the elderly victims are seemingly from natural causes with no suspicious circumstances. All are male and belong to a private social media group representing various areas of the educational establishment, developed after various meetings and reunions. The team battles to solve the crime before more murders ensue.
Meanwhile, Owen, newly promoted to Inspector, is working on a drug related case. What initially seemed to be a straighforward investigation becomes a complex movement of drugs by a county line gang. When an adolescent goes missing, Owen must act swiftly.
The Dog Sitter by Zara Stoneley
Wanted: someone nice, normal and trustworthy to housesit a beautiful cottage in the Lake District while the owner is away on a business trip. Must like dogs.
Wanting to escape from crap bosses and useless boyfriends, Becky jumps at the chance of the perfect escape – rest, relaxation and dog-sitting a very cute pooch called Bella!
But looking after Bella comes with a catch, namely gorgeous, brooding, Chris Hemsworth-worthy Ash James, who claims Bella is his dog and will stop at nothing to get her back!
Becky’s not about to hand over lovely Bella to any Tom, Dick or Ash. She’s determined to watch every move Ash James makes…even if it gets her very hot under the collar.
What They Knew by Marion Todd
DI Clare Mackay starts the new year with a death…
It is the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay when Alison Reid admits a caller to her home. When her death is later reported, DI Clare Mackay attends the scene. The initial evidence does not rule out murder, but it’s not possible to say for certain if foul play was involved. Yet when the pathologist informs Clare about a post mortem of a young woman found in the Kinness Burn, and with some similarities to Alison’s case, it seems there’s a strong chance that there’s a killer on the loose in St Andrews.
Clare and her team will have to look past the obvious conclusions and delve deeper into the lives of the victims to get to the truth. But who else risks meeting the same fate while the clock is ticking?
The Never Ending Summer by Emma Kennedy
It’s never too late to find yourself.
Best friends Agnes and Bea decide to embark on one last adventure before their adult lives begin.
For Agnes’s mother Florence, a fresh chapter is starting as her youngest flies the nest and her marriage settles into a new routine. But she can’t help feeling that something is missing.
As Agnes travels to London and Florence follows her heart to Europe, both will discover a world of possibilities they never could have dreamed of.
Because wherever you are in life, there is always time to finally become the person you were always meant to be.
That’s all for another week, see you next Monday – if not before!