A bumper week this week, so plenty to choose from. There are some crackers so get the kettle on and limber up!
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 suitability 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 Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.
An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.
And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.
But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .
The Lost Manuscript by Cathy Bonidan
Sometimes a book has the power to change your life…
When Anne-Lise Briard books a room at the Beau Rivage Hotel for her vacation on the Brittany coast, she has no idea this trip will start her on the path to unearthing a mystery. In search of something to read, she opens up her bedside table drawer in her hotel room, and inside she finds an abandoned manuscript. Halfway through the pages, an address is written. She sends pages to the address, in hopes of potentially hearing a response from the unknown author. But not before she reads the story and falls in love with it. The response, which she receives a few days later, astonishes her…
Not only does the author write back, but he confesses that he lost the manuscript 30 years prior on a flight to Montreal. And then he reveals something even more shocking—that he was not the author of the second half of the book.
Anne-Lise can’t rest until she discovers who this second mystery author is, and in doing so tracks down every person who has held this manuscript in their hands. Through the letters exchanged by the people whose lives the manuscript has touched, she discovers long-lost love stories and intimate secrets. Romances blossom and new friends are made. Everyone’s lives are made better by this book—and isn’t that the point of reading? And finally, with a plot twist you don’t see coming, she uncovers the astonishing identity of the author who finished the story.
Allegation by R G Adams
An evil monster exposed?
Or an innocent father condemned?
A scandal will shake a small community to its very foundations.
Sandbeach, South Wales.
Two women have come forward to make historical sexual allegations against a pillar of the local community, Matthew Cooper.
The case lands on the desk of inexperienced Social Worker, Kit Goddard, who must remove Cooper from his home and family while the investigation is carried out. Although intrepid and intuitive, she is ill-prepared for such a high-profile case.
Kit finds herself navigating a local minefield of connections and class, reputations and rumour. Unsure whether her interference is a heroic intervention or a hurtful intrusion, she knows one thing: it will have an impact. The question is whether this impact will be to expose a lie, or destroy an innocent life…
Hardback & eBook releases
A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde
Lizzy has just arrived in London and is determined to make the best of her new life.
Her mother may be keen that she should meet a Suitable Man and have a nice wedding in the country, but Lizzy is determined to have some fun first.
It is 1963 and London is beginning to swing as Lizzie cuts her hair, buys a new dress with a fashionably short hemline, and moves to a grand but rundown house in Belgravia with two of her best friends.
Soon Lizzie’s life is so exciting that she has forgotten all about her mother’s marriage plans for her.
All she can think about is that the young man she is falling in love with appears to be engaged to someone else…
What Will Burn by James Oswald
The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned-out game-keepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh. Clearly no accidental fire, Detective Inspector Tony McLean suspects that neither is this simply a grim arson attack. There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings might suggest, and something ritualistic to her horrific murder.
Nor will it be the only case of death by fire that Tony and his team will be faced with. This is only the beginning, and with such evil clouding the air, Tony begins to wonder what else will burn . . .
We Are Not in the World by Conor O’Callaghan
Heartbroken after a long, painful love affair, a man drives a haulage lorry from England to France. Travelling with him is a secret passenger – his daughter. Twenty-something, unkempt, off the rails.
With a week on the road together, father and daughter must restore themselves and each other, and repair a relationship that is at once fiercely loving and deeply scarred.
As they journey south, down the motorways, through the service stations, a devastating picture reveals itself: a story of grief, of shame, and of love in all its complex, dark and glorious manifestations.
Here Comes the Miracle by Anna Beecher
It begins with a miracle: a baby born too small and too early, but defiantly alive. This is Joe.
Decades before, another miracle. In a patch of nettle-infested wilderness, a seventeen year old boy falls in love with his best friend, Jack. This is Edward.
Joe gains a sister, Emily. From the outset, her life is framed by his. She watches him grow into a young man who plays the violin magnificently and longs for a boyfriend. A young man who is ready to begin.
Edward, after being separated from Jack, builds a life with Eleanor. They start a family and he finds himself a grandfather to Joe and Emily.
When Joe is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Emily and the rest of the family are left waiting for a miracle. A miracle that won’t come.
The Divines by Ellie Eaton
I am Divine.
My mother was Divine and her mother before that, which isn’t uncommon.
Although that was at a time when being Divine meant something . . .
The girls of elite English boarding school, St. John the Divine, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cutting in the way that only teenage girls can be. But for Josephine, now in her thirties, her time at St. John feels like a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shut its doors in disgrace . . .
But an impromptu visit reawakens blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the ugly secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels, derailing not just her marriage and career, but her entire sense of self.
With the emotional power of My Dark Vanessa and the reflective haze of The Girls, The Divines is a compulsive debut exploring the intoxicating, destructive relationships between teenage girls.
All Girls by Emily Layden
An all-girls boarding school in a hilly corner of Connecticut, Atwater is a haven for progressive thinking and feminist intellectuals. The students are smart, driven and worldly; they are also teenagers, learning to find their way. But when they arrive on campus for the start of the Fall term, they’re confronted with startling news: an Atwater alumna has made a troubling allegation of sexual misconduct against an unidentified teacher. As the weeks wear on and the administration’s efforts to manage the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary young women come to realise that the adults in their lives may not be the protectors they previously believed.
All Girls unfolds over the course of one tumultuous academic year and is told from the point of view of a small cast of diverse, interconnected characters as they navigate the social mores of prep school life and the broader, more universal challenges of growing up. The trials of adolescent girlhood are pitched against the backdrop of sexual assault, consent, anxiety and the ways that our culture looks to young women as trendsetters, but otherwise silences their voices and discounts their opinions. The story that emerges is a richly detailed, impeccably layered, and emotionally nuanced depiction of what it means to come of age in a female body today.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
It was meant to be an evening to honour and celebrate Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning, career-making scientific research – but Evelyn has things on her mind.
Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better, newer woman. A woman who is now pregnant – but shouldn’t be – and is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.
A woman who shouldn’t exist.
The Echo Wife is a propulsive new novel from an international rising star about identity, murder, and the choices society forces women to make.
Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson
London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives.
But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous, than she can know . . .
From the pleasure palaces and gin-shops of Covent Garden to the elegant townhouses of Mayfair, Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s Daughters of Night follows Caroline Corsham as she seeks justice for a murdered woman whom London society would rather forget . . .
The Promise by Lucy Diamond
When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise – to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was.
But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?
A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore
Minnie Gray is an ordinary young woman.
She is also a spy for the British government.
It all began in the summer of 1928…
Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.
Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.
She soon gains the trust of important leaders. But as she grows more and more entangled in the workings of the movement, her job becomes increasingly dangerous. Leading a double life is starting to take its toll on her relationships and, feeling more isolated than ever, she starts to wonder how this is all going to end. The Russians are notorious for ruthlessly disposing of people given the slightest suspicion.
What if they find out?
The One Hundred Years of Lennie and Margot by Marianne Cronin
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.
Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.
To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.
As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.
Kololo Hill by Neema Shah
When you’re left with nothing but your secrets, how do you start again?
A devastating decree is issued: all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days. They must take only what they can carry, give up their money and never return.
For Asha and Pran, married a matter of months, it means abandoning the family business that Pran has worked so hard to save. For his mother, Jaya, it means saying goodbye to the house that has been her home for decades. But violence is escalating in Kampala, and people are disappearing. Will they all make it to safety in Britain and will they be given refuge if they do?
And all the while, a terrible secret about the expulsion hangs over them, threatening to tear the family apart.
From the green hilltops of Kampala, to the terraced houses of London, Neema Shah’s extraordinarily moving debut Kololo Hill explores what it means to leave your home behind, what it takes to start again, and the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones.
Before my Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney
‘If I could go back to being sixteen again, I’d do things differently.’
‘Everyone over the age of forty feels like that, you total gom,’ says my best friend Lizzie Magee.
When she was young Mary Rattigan wanted to fly. She was going to take off like an angel from heaven and leave the muck and madness of troubled Northern Ireland behind. Nothing but the Land of Happy Ever After would do for her.
But as a Catholic girl with a B.I.T.C.H. for a Mammy and a silent Daddy, things did not go as she and Lizzie Magee had planned.
Now, five children, twenty-five years, an end to the bombs and bullets, enough whiskey to sink a ship and endless wakes and sandwich teas later, Mary’s alone. She’s learned plenty of hard lessons and missed a hundred steps towards the life she’d always hoped for.
Will she finally find the courage to ask for the love she deserves? Or is it too late?
Uncoupling by Lorraine Brown
Could one split second change her life forever?
Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!
But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…
Diary of a Film by Niven Govinden
An auteur, together with his lead actors, is at a prestigious European festival to premiere his latest film.
Alone one morning at a backstreet café, he strikes up a conversation with a local woman who takes him on a walk to uncover the city’s secrets, historic and personal. As the walk unwinds, a story of love and tragedy emerges, and he begins to see the chance meeting as fate. He is entranced, wholly clear in his mind: her story must surely form the basis for his next film.
This is a novel about cinema, flâneurs, and queer love – it is about the sometimes troubled, sometimes ecstatic creative process, and the toll it takes on its makers.
But it is also a novel about stories, and the ongoing question of who has the right to tell them.
A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson
Clara’s sister is missing. Angry, rebellious Rose, had a row with their mother, stormed out of the house and simply disappeared. Eight-year-old Clara, isolated by her distraught parents’ efforts to protect her from the truth, is grief-stricken and bewildered.
Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember and within hours gets a visit from the police. It seems he’s suspected of a crime.
At the end of her life Elizabeth Orchard is thinking about a crime too, one committed thirty years ago that had tragic consequences for two families and in particular for one small child. She desperately wants to make amends before she dies.
Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, A Town Called Solace explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. By turns gripping and darkly funny, it uncovers the layers of grief and remorse and love that connect us, but shows that sometimes a new life is possible.
The Darkest Evening by Anne Cleeves
The darkest nights can hide the deadliest secrets . . .
Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope’s only thought is to get there quickly.
But with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way, eventually stumbling on another car abandoned on the road. With the driver’s door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.
Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.
Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera has a new case. Could she be the child’s mother and, if she is, what happened to her?
The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson
Two women, two very different destinies, drawn together in the shadow of the Tower of London:
Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.
Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.
Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the imposing walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Lydia Perez owns a bookshop in Acapulco, Mexico, and is married to a fearless journalist. Luca, their eight-year-old son, completes the picture. But it only takes a bullet to rip them apart.
In a city in the grip of a drug cartel, friends become enemies overnight, and Lydia has no choice but to flee with Luca at her side. North for the border… whatever it takes to stay alive. The journey is dangerous – not only for them, but for those they encounter along the way. Who can be trusted? And what sacrifices is Lydia prepared to make.
The Secrets of De Courcy Square by Ann O’Loughlin
When Cora Gartland learns that long-term partner, Jack, has been killed in a car crash in Ireland her world falls apart. But she soon discovers that there was another woman in the car: a wife he’d never told her about.
Devastated, she flies to Dublin to try to make sense of Jack’s secret life. As she grieves, Cora must find the truth and a way to move forward. But what else was Jack keeping from her and how will she survive this betrayal…?
The Sight of You by Holly Miller
Joel is afraid of the future.
Since he was a child he’s been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what’s going to happen – the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again.
Callie can’t let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie’s been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn’t know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.
Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today.
And though they’re not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing.
Until Joel has a vision of how it’s going to end . . .
The Perfect Father by Charlotte Duckworth
THE PERFECT HUSBAND . . .
After a difficult pregnancy, Esther is grateful that her husband Robin offers to put his career on hold so that she can return to the job she loves.
But Esther finds leaving her daughter Riley behind more challenging than she’d thought. And soon the new imbalance in her relationship with Robin brings old tensions to the surface.
OR A PERFECT LIE?
Then one day Esther arrives home from work to find Robin and Riley are missing. As the police investigate their disappearance, it becomes clear that nothing about this modern-day family is what it seems…
Is Robin the perfect father everyone thinks he is? Or was it all a perfect lie?
Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler
Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .
Jack and Bet have been married for seventy years. Happily so, for the most part. Now, all they want is to enjoy the time they have left together in their small flat. But their son Tommy has other ideas: he thinks they should move out and opt
for round-the-clock care in a very different kind of home.
When a young Romanian woman, Marinela, enters their lives, Bet thinks she might have found a solution to all of their problems; one that could change Marinela’s life for the better. But doing so would mean confronting a long-buried secret Bet has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for decades.
An irresistibly moving story about love and loss, Jack & Bet is at once a story of unlikely friendship and a tender look at a lifelong struggle to find a place to call home.
Paperback & eBook releases
Mother by Laura Jarratt
Two Girls. One Chance.
When Lizzie’s car crashes with her two daughters inside, she faces a terrible choice. And when she recovers from her injuries, she has to deal with the impact of that tragedy as well as the police investigation into it.
As Lizzie and her family struggle to come to terms with the events of that night, things take an even darker turn. Just what did happen on that remote country road? Who is responsible? And can the family get through this together…Or will the truth finally tear them apart?
The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow
1914. Everything changes for Jessie on a day trip to Blackpool. She realises her feelings for Arthur are far more than friendship. And just as they are travelling home, war is declared.
Arthur lies about his age to join his Pals’ Regiment. Jessie’s widowed mother is so frightened, she agrees to marry Amos Morgan. Only Jessie can see how vicious he is. When he turns on her, Arthur’s mother is the only person to help her, the two women drawn together by Jessie’s deepest secret.
Facing a desperate choice between love and safety, will Jessie trust the right people? Can she learn to trust herself?
The Other Daughter by Caroline Bishop
You only get one life – but what if it isn’t the one you were meant to live?
‘When it finally arrived I was shocked to see it; to read the words Mum wrote about these women fighting for rights I know I take for granted. Mum was here. And while she was, something happened that changed the entire course of my life. Perhaps, if I can summon the courage, the next eight weeks will help me finally figure out what that was . . .’
When Jessica discovers a shocking secret about her birth, she leaves her London home and travels to Switzerland in search of answers. She knows her journalist mother spent time in the country forty years earlier, reporting on the Swiss women’s liberation movement, but what she doesn’t know is what happened to her while she was there. Can Jess summon the courage to face the truth about her family, or will her search only hurt herself and those around her even more?
The Kindness Club on Mapleberry Lane by Helen Rolfe
The smallest things can make the biggest difference…
Veronica Beecham’s cottage is the neatest house on Mapleberry Lane. A place for everything, and everything in its place – that’s her motto. But within her wisteria-covered walls, Veronica has a secret: she’s hardly left her perfect home in years.
Then her teenage granddaughter, Audrey, arrives on the doorstep, and Veronica’s orderly life is turned upside down. Shy and lonely, Audrey is struggling to find her place in the world. As a bond begins to form between the two women, Audrey develops a plan to give her gran the courage to reconnect with the community – they’ll form a kindness club, with one generous action a day to help someone in the village, and perhaps help each other at the same time.
As their small acts of kindness begins to ripple outwards, both Veronica and Audrey find that with each passing day, they feel a little braver. There’s just one task left before the end of the year: to make Veronica’s own secret wish come true…
Fatal Isles by Maria Adolfsson
A remote island. A brutal murder. A secret hidden in the past . . .
In the middle of the North Sea, between the UK and Denmark, lies the beautiful and rugged island nation of Doggerland.
Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned to the main island, Heimö, after many years in London and has worked hard to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland.
So, when she wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, she knows she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. And Karen is the only one who can give him an alibi.
The news sends shockwaves through the tight-knit island community, and with no leads and no obvious motive for the murder, Karen struggles to find the killer in a race against time.
Soon she starts to suspect that the truth might lie in Doggerland’s history. And the deeper she digs, the clearer it becomes that even small islands can hide deadly secrets . . .
Valse Triste by Marcello Fois
When Michelangelo, a young autistic child, goes missing, Commissario Sergio Striggio is put in charge of the investigation. Searches turn up nothing, but there is an interesting connection with the mother’s past: when she was a child, her twin brother also went missing, never to be found.
However, Striggio is finding it difficult to concentrate on the case. He is waiting for his father, Pietro, to come and stay. The idea of the visit is torturing him. He fears having to reveal that he is gay – most of all he fears that his partner, Leo, will reveal his sexuality to his father. Pietro, however, has other matters on his mind: he has news of a devastating diagnosis to share with his son.
And when his life with Leo unexpectedly collides with his investigation into Michelangelo’s disappearance, it seems that in the complicated web of the small town of Bolzano, the truth behind the mystery cannot hide for long.
Safe and Sound by Philippa East
Home can be the most dangerous place…
In a small London bedsit, a radio is playing. A small dining table is set for three, and curled up on the sofa is a body…
Jenn is the one who discovers the woman, along with the bailiffs. All indications suggest that the tenant – Sarah Jones – was pretty, charismatic and full of life.
So how is it possible that her body has lain undiscovered for ten whole months?
Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea by Liz Eeles
From the attic of Driftwood House there are stunning views of the deep green sea and sapphire sky. But Rosie can’t tear her eyes away from the faded photograph in her hands, and the words written on the back that will change everything…
Back in the tiny seaside village of Heaven’s Cove after the death of her mother, all Rosie Merchant wants is to hide her tears, rent out her childhood home, and get back to her ‘real’ life, away from the gossiping villagers and wild Devon weather she escaped from years ago.
She’s surprised to find a smiling man in hiking boots – local farmer Liam – waiting on the stone doorstep. His kind offer to help clear crumbling, isolated Driftwood House is hard to refuse, and despite Rosie’s determination not to let anyone get close, soon they’re walking and laughing together along the clifftops. As clouds scud across the endless sky and green waves crash against the shore, Rosie is reminded that nowhere is more beautiful than home.
Then, up in the attic of Driftwood House, Rosie stumbles across a photo which exposes the heart-stopping truth about how her mother came to live at Driftwood House years ago… and Liam only seems concerned about the implications for his own nearby farm. Did he know this painful secret all along, and should she run from Heaven’s Cove for good? Or will facing up to her devastating family history mean Rosie can finally put down roots in this beautiful place?
The Scarlet Dress by Louise Douglas
Alice Lang was wearing her favourite scarlet dress when she disappeared twenty-five years ago, and her memory still casts a long shadow.
‘The past was like water. Once the tide turned, you couldn’t hold it back.’
In the long, hot summer of 1995, twenty-two-year-old Alice Lang rents a caravan on a holiday park on the outskirts of the lively holiday resort of Severn Sands. She befriends Marnie, a shy, damaged little girl whose father is the park’s caretaker and whose mother died a few months earlier. Will, whose mother runs the bar, falls in love with Alice, and is unbearably jealous of anyone else she sees. Tensions rise until one evening Alice disappears from her caravan. She’s never seen again, and only her scarlet dress is found washed up on the shore.
A quarter of a century later, the town is run down and nobody comes there anymore. Mr and Mrs deVillars, former owners of the holiday park, have passed the failing business onto their son Guy, who promptly sells the land for development. Builders clearing the land to create an expanse of executive homes uncover human bones. It has to be Alice.
Will and Marnie’s lives were entirely shaped by what happened that summer, and now Alice has been found, they must struggle to pin down their memories, to escape the secrets of the past, the lies they told and the unbearable guilt they’re both carrying.
They need to find out what happened to Alice. Who killed her? And why?
The Garden of Little Rose by Suzanne Snow
For love to grow, Flora will have to first dig up the past.
At a hen party on the remote Scottish island of Alana, Flora is dared to ask a handsome stranger to be her plus-one for the wedding. When the gorgeous Mac accepts her invite, she assumes he’s joking and thinks nothing more of it… Until he turns up at the church on the wedding day.
But Mac has an agenda. He wants to hire her skills as a horticulturist to restore the gardens at Róisín House, his home back on Alana. Flora knows she should refuse – Mac has ‘heartbreaker’ written all over him – but she can’t resist uncovering the tragic truth behind the garden at Róisín.
When We Were Young by Jaclyn Goldis
Corfu, 1942: To sixteen-year-old Sarah Batis, the Nazis are a distant danger—of far greater threat is the opposing needs of her heart and her people. Tradition demands that Sarah marry a Jewish man. Only Sarah has fallen in love with a fisherman outside their community. And when the Nazis invade, Sarah must watch from afar as her family is taken away. . .
Corfu, 2004: Sarah’s daughter, Bea, has built a happy life with a steadfast husband and two independent daughters. Their summers on the Greek island with the Winn family appear idyllic, especially the love that blossoms between Bea’s daughter Joey and Leo Winn. But there is a secret threatening their beach paradise.
Florida, 2019:Joey is only days away from marrying the nice Jewish man her family adores. The arrival of Leo, Joey’s first love, sends her reeling. Even after fifteen years, the attraction between them burns bright—but Leo isn’t looking for a happy reunion. He’s there to reveal why he really broke up with her during their last summer together.
Weddings have a way of bringing out the best—and worst—in those you love the most. And as the revelations of her family flood to the surface, what Joey learns will either bring them closer together . . . or tear them apart forever.
The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron
Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.
Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation. Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.
A Fatal Lie by Charles Todd
In one of his most puzzling cases, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge must delve deep into a dead man’s life and his past to find a killer determined to keep dark secrets buried.
A peaceful Welsh village is thrown into turmoil when a terrified boy stumbles on a body in a nearby river. The man appears to have fallen from the canal aqueduct spanning the valley. But there is no identification on the body, he isn’t a local, and no one will admit to having seen him before. With little to go on, the village police turn to Scotland Yard for help.
When Inspector Ian Rutledge is sent from London to find answers, he is given few clues—a faded military tattoo on the victim’s arm and an unusual label in the collar of his shirt. They eventually lead him to the victim’s identity: Sam Milford. By all accounts, he was a good man and well-respected. Then, why is his death so mysterious? Looking for the truth, Rutledge uncovers a web of lies swirling around a suicidal woman, a child’s tragic fate, another woman bent on protecting her past. But where among all the lies is the motive for murder?
To track a killer, Rutledge must retrace Milford’s last journey. Yet death seems to stalk his every move, and the truth seems to shift at every turn. Man or woman, this murderer stays in the shadows, and it will take desperate measures to lure him—or her—into the light.
The Birds of Bachelor Lane by Hannah McNiven
Bachelor Lane is living up to its name. Presided over by the domineering Evelyn Burnley, it was once filled with life and people but now is a place with a distinct lack of gossip-worthy news. But, in the spring of 1953, all of that is about to change.
Evelyn’s eldest daughter, Lili, forms a tenuous relationship with a farmer on the Lane, Ewan Cameron. Meanwhile Wren Stevens, a timid girl banished from the household of her mentally ill mother, arrives in the local town to take up residence with her wealthy Great-aunt Astrid. Here, Wren blossoms under the positive influence of Astrid and catches the eye of several young men. However, it is Bertie Burnley, Evelyn’s only son, who makes the greatest impression on her.
As the seasons change each of them experiences family difficulties, the joy of love, the pain of loss and the sting of betrayal. They learn that love can bring out the best in people –and the worst. And they realise that no matter how close they become, everyone can keep secrets.
Where Ravens Roost by Karin Nordin
The raven cawed at him, craning its neck unnaturally. As it dug its hooked beak into the mess of dried grass and twigs that made up its nest, a shiny glimmer reflected off a low-hanging bulb. Kjeld edged closer to get a better look. It was a human tooth.
Detective Kjeld Nygaard wants nothing more than to forget his family and Varsund, the small mining town he once called home, even exist. But while on suspension after his last case went disastrously wrong, his estranged father Stenar leaves a message on Kjeld’s phone claiming he’s seen a murder.
But with no evidence and Stenar suffering from Alzheimer’s, the local police think he must have imagined it. Kjeld can’t stop himself from investigating what actually happened, and soon discovers a body. But when the police start to suspect Stenar, it’s a race against time to discover the truth before it’s lost forever.
But will uncovering the truth expose family secrets that are best left buried?
The Dare by Lesley Kara
As a child, it was just a game. As an adult, it was a living nightmare.
‘This time it’s different. She’s gone too far now.
She really has.’
When teenage friends Lizzie and Alice decide to head off for a walk in the countryside, they are blissfully unaware that this will be their final day together – and that only Lizzie will come back alive.
Lizzie has no memory of what happened in the moments before Alice died, she only knows that it must have been a tragic accident. But as she tries to cope with her grief, she is shocked to find herself alienated from Alice’s friends and relatives. They are convinced she somehow had a part to play in her friend’s death.
Twelve years later, unpacking boxes in the new home she shares with her fiancé, Lizzie is horrified to find long-buried memories suddenly surfacing. Is the trauma of the accident finally catching up with her, or could someone be trying to threaten her new-found happiness?
Twelve years is a long time to wait, when you’re planning the perfect revenge . . .
Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge
You wake up.
You can’t remember what happened.
The man lying next to you is not your husband.
And he’s not breathing . . .
Louise wakes up. Her head aches, her mouth is dry, her memory is fuzzy. But she suspects she’s done something bad.
She rolls over towards her husband, Niall.
But it’s not Niall who’s lying beside her. In fact, she’s never seen this man before.
And he’s dead . . .
As Louise desperately struggles to piece her memories back together, Detective Jonah Sheens and his team mark her as their prime suspect.
But she’s not the only one with something to hide . . .
Did she do it?
And, if not, can they catch the real killer before they strike again?
Who Took Eden Mulligan by Sharon Dempsey
‘They’re dead. They’re all dead. It’s my fault. I killed them.’
Those are the words of Iona Gardener, who stands bloodied and staring as she confesses to the murder of four people in a run-down cottage outside of Belfast.
Outside the cottage, five old dolls are hanging from a tree. Inside the cottage, the words “WHO TOOK EDEN MULLIGAN?” are graffitied on the wall, connecting the murder scene with the famous cold case of Eden Mulligan, a mother-of-five who went missing during The Troubles.
But this case is different. Right from the start.
Because no one in the community is willing to tell the truth, and the only thing DI Danny Stowe and forensic psychologist Rose Lainey can be certain of is that Iona Gardener’s confession is false….
The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana
Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people . . .
Abandoned as a baby in the hallway of a shared house in London, Marina has never known her parents, and the circumstances of her birth still remain a mystery.
Now an adult, Marina has returned to the house where it all started, determined to find out who she really is. But the walls of this house hold more than memories, and Marina’s reappearance hasn’t gone unnoticed by the other tenants.
Someone is watching Marina. Someone who knows the truth . . .
Madam by Phoebe Wynne
For 150 years, Caldonbrae Hall has loomed high above the Scottish cliffs as a beacon of excellence in the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. A boarding school for girls, it promises that its pupils will emerge ‘resilient and ready to serve society’.
Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher and new head of department. Rose is overwhelmed by the institution: its arcane traditions, unrivalled prestige, and terrifyingly cool, vindictive students. Her classroom becomes her haven, where the stories of fearless women from ancient Greek and Roman history ignite the curiosity of the girls she teaches and, unknowingly, the suspicions of the powers that be.
But as Rose uncovers the darkness that beats at the very heart of Caldonbrae, the lines between myth and reality grow ever more blurred. It will be up to Rose – and the fierce young women she has come to love – to find a way to escape the fate the school has in store for them, before it is too late.
Secrets on the Fens by Joy Ellis
One moonlit night, the bodies of two young people are discovered lying entwined on a blanket in the woods. The young man is clutching a red rose. It appears to be a lovers’ suicide pact . . .
Until Detective Nikki Galena and DS Joseph Easter look more closely. Romeo and Juliet, as they decide to call them, were murdered somewhere else and brought to the woods. But why?
Then another young couple are found dead, again beautifully posed as lovers. And Nikki knows they have a twisted serial killer on their hands. Who are the next victims?
EVERYONE HAS SECRETS. BUT SOME PEOPLE WILL KILL TO KEEP THEM.
The Verdict by C J Cooper
You set him free. But what if you were wrong?
One morning, a jury summons arrives on Natalie’s doorstep.
She is one of twelve people to decide whether a man is innocent or guilty of a horrific crime.
But in the weeks after the trial, Natalie can’t shake the feeling that the verdict was a terrible mistake. That they let a guilty man walk free.
So when she crosses paths with the accused by chance, she decides to do whatever it takes to find the truth.
Because as Natalie knows, sometimes you have to take justice into your own hands . . .
The Blame by Kerry Wilkinson
Paige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…
Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one. But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…
Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember – jet-black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous?
Revealing the truth about what we saw that day twenty years ago could clear Richard’s name… but will the blame fall on me? And can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret?
When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, only one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too. All three of us are in danger…
So that’s it for another week, some cracking titles I think you’ll agree.
So, so many here that sound appealing Jill. I particularly like the sound of “Secrets at the Last House Before the Sea” by Liz Eeles.
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There are lots I’ll be keeping an eye on as way too expensive to afford them at the minute. Plus I’m supposed to be reading what I’ve got (which will last me a good 20 years!).
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Thanks for the much needed reminder 😚📚
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I’m looking forward to Judith Barrow’s The Heart Stone.
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It does look good, not long to wait!
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