A quieter week this week, so time to catch your breath ahead of what I suspect will be a bumper crop next time.
Just a reminder to anyone joining this round up for the first time. It’s not intended to be all inclusive, instead it reflects my current reading preferences from the forthcoming titles. I’ve not seen any advanced copies, so my choice is based purely on the blurb, the author, the genre and good old gut instinct (I can’t lie I’m also a sucker for a good cover!).
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)
Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana de Rosnay
Author Clarissa Katsef is struggling to write her next book. She’s just snagged a brand new artist residency in an ultra-modern apartment, with a view of all of Paris, a dream for any novelist in search of tranquility. But since moving in, she has had the feeling of being watched. Is there reason to be paranoid? Or is her distraction and discomfort the result of her husband’s recent shocking betrayal? Or is that her beloved Paris lies altered outside her windows? A city that will never be quite the same, a city with a scar at its center?
Stuck inside, in the midst of a sweltering heat wave, Clarissa enlists her beloved granddaughter in her investigation of the mysterious, high tech building even as she finds herself drawn back into the orbit of her first husband who is still the one who knows her most intimately, who shares the past grief that she has never quite let go.
Staying true to her favorite themes–the imprint of the place, the weight of secrets–de Rosnay weaves an intrigue of thrilling suspense and emotional power.
Hardback & eBook releases
Nick by Michael Farris Smith
Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I.
Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed first-hand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance – doomed from the very beginning – to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavour of debauchery and violence.
An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, NICK reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.
Those Who are Saved by Alexis Landau
On the cusp of World War II, a young mother is faced with an impossible choice. Vera is a Russian Jewish émigré to France, newly wed – but her marriage cannot protect her or her four-year-old-daughter, Lucie, once the Nazis occupy the country.
After receiving notice that all foreigners must report to an internment camp, Vera must decide: does she subject Lucie to the horrid conditions of the camp, or put Lucie into hiding with her beloved and trusted governess, safe until Vera can retrieve her? Surely the war will end soon…
And so begins a heartbreaking journey and separation . . . and an unpredictable fate for a mother and her daughter.
She Came to Stay by Eleni Kyriacou
In a city of strangers, who can you trust?
London, 1952. Dina Demetriou has travelled from Cyprus for a better life. She’s certain that excitement, adventure and opportunity are out there, waiting – if only she knew where to look.
Her passion for clothes and flair for sewing land her a job repairing the glittering costumes at the notorious Pelican Revue. It’s here that she befriends the mysterious and beautiful Bebba.
With her bleached-blonde hair and an appetite for mischief, Bebba is like no Greek Dina has ever met before. She guides Dina around the fashionable shops, bars and clubs of Soho, and Dina finally feels life has begun.
But Bebba has a secret. And as thick smog brings the city to a standstill, the truth emerges with devastating results. Dina’s new life now hangs by a thread. What will be left when the fog finally clears? And will Dina be willing to risk everything to protect her future?
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?
Pond Weed by Lisa Blower
A love story in the slow lane about loss and getting lost, two childhood sweethearts take a trip via pints, ponds and pitstops to find their future on a road very less travelled from Stoke-on-Trent to Wales.
‘Apparently, we spend almost two weeks of our life completely lost. That if you add up all the times you take a wrong turn or find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be, it equates to fourteen days of essentially being missing.’
One Monday afternoon, around three o’clock, pond supplies salesman Selwyn Robby arrives home towing the Toogood Aquatics exhibition caravan and orders his like-wife, Imogen ‘Ginny’ Dare, to get into the car. He’s taking her on a little holiday, he says. To Wales.
So begins their road trip west via ponds, pitstops, and blasts from Selwyn’s past. But it’s a fishy business towing this caravan with its saucy mermaid curtains, fully stocked bar, and the words ‘For your pondlife and beyond’ in the slanted red font favoured by Pound shops. And Ginny must untangle the pondweed to get to the bottom of it, even it does mean unearthing her own murky past to find out.
Oh to be a Gentleman by Clive Morton
Embarking on a cruise from Gibraltar and heading off to Barcelona, Rome and Pisa and Florence, eight passengers meet at dinner and, from that moment on, their lives are inextricably linked as they cruise between beautiful cities and historic sites.
So, let’s meet our companions for dinner…
Nat Mbele, an American businessman, who left his wife but found only guilt; Maude, a retired schoolteacher, who has never previously left Scotland and now feels all at sea; Mark, divorced with two children, wants to expand his life, but will a cruise bring him the new horizons he is hoping for? Veronica, already living in the south of France, recently lost her third husband and has learned that money is nothing without love; Retired barrister, Ralph, always on the lookout for a good time especially if it involves sex, but at what cost? Liz, a spinster with a successful career in the city but a yearning for more; Darren, computer whizz kid from the East End, who struggles to fit in; and Charlotte, recently divorced, and far from over it…
Thrown together, and crisscrossing the sea, all eight have a chance to change, but will they get their problems shipshape before the final port?
Or could they be disembarking with more baggage than when they weighed anchor?
Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks
WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN NO ONE IS INNOCENT?
There’s a heatwave in Glasgow and the drugs trade is booming. The whole force is searching for missing thirteen-year-old Alice Kelly. All except Harry McCoy, who has been taken off the case after a run-in with the boss, and is instead sent alone to investigate the death of rock-star Bobby March, who has just overdosed in the Royal Stuart hotel.
The papers want blood. The force wants results. McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
How do we continue living once we have lost our reason to live?
Rami and Bassam live in the city of Jerusalem – but exist worlds apart, divided by an age-old conflict. And yet they have one thing in common. Both are fathers; both are fathers of daughters – and both daughters are now lost.
When Rami and Bassam meet, and tell one another the story of their grief, the most unexpected thing of all happens: they become best of friends. And their stories become one story, a story with the power to heal – and the power to change the world.
In the Palace of Flowers by Victoria Princewill
Set in Iran at the end of the 19th Century ―in the Persian royal court of the Qajars―, In The Palace of Flowers is an atmospheric historical novel about Jamila, an Abyssinian slave who stands at the funeral of a Persian nobleman, watching the rites with empty eyes. In that very moment, she realises that her life will never be acknowledged or mourned with the same significance. The fear of being forgotten, of being irrelevant, sets her and Abimelech, a fellow Abyssinian slave and a eunuch, on a path to find meaning, navigating the dangerous and deadly politics of the royal court, both in the government and the harem, before leading her to the radicals that lie beyond its walls. Love, friendship and the bitter politics within the harem, the court and the Shah’s sons and advisors will set the fate of these two slaves. Highly accomplished, richly textured and elegantly written, In The Palace of Flowers is a magnificent novel about the fear of being forgotten.
Paperback & eBook releases
The Sculptress by V S Alexander
May 1917: The elegant streets of Boston are thousands of miles away from the carnage of the Western Front. Yet even here, amid the clatter of horse-drawn carriages and automobiles, it is impossible to ignore the war raging across Europe. Emma Lewis Swan’s husband, Tom, has gone to France, eager to do his duty as a surgeon. Emma, a sculptress, has stayed behind, pursuing her art despite being dismissed by male critics. On the bustling sidewalk she spies a returned soldier. His brutally scarred face inspires first pity, and then something more—a determination to use her skill to make masks for disfigured soldiers.
Leaving Boston for France also means leaving behind Linton Bower, a fiery, gifted artist determined to win her. Emma’s union with Tom has been steady yet passionless, marred by guilt over a choice she made long ago. In Paris, she crafts intricate, lifelike masks to restore these wounded men to the world. But in the course of her new career she will encounter one man who compels her to confront the secret she’s never revealed, not even to Tom. Only by casting off the façade she has worn for so long can she pursue a path through heartbreak and turmoil toward her own unexpected future. . . .
Dreaming Under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman
After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.
Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.
Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.
During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.
Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?
Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?
Light by C M Taylor
Accidents will happen.
Brakes will slowly skid.
Beautifully written, touching, irreverent and surprising, Light is a compelling exploration of the tangled lives of a group of young artists and friends in the 1990s.
Set against the backdrop of the decade’s e-commerce boom, tragic and riotous by turns, packed with complex relationships, humour, and heartbreak, Light is a book for anyone who ever struggled to find their place in the world.
Call me Mummy by Tina Baker
THIS MOTHER’S DAY YOU WILL CALL HER MUMMY
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…
A Good Father by Catherine Talbot
Des is a good husband, a good father – a good man.
He encourages his wife’s artistic endeavours, reads bedtime stories to his children every night, and holds down a well-paid, if unfulfilling, job.
But appearances can be deceptive. Lately, his wife seems to be forgetting that her art is for his eyes only. And rumours at work are threatening his reputation as a devoted family man. And he can’t help but feel that his kids don’t seem to need him as much as they once did.
Des is afraid.
Afraid of the world encroaching on his home.
Afraid of past mistakes catching up on him.
So afraid of losing control over his family that he is contemplating the unthinkable.
The Girl from Berlin by Kate Hewitt
They sat together on the roof, watching Berlin burn, as traces of smoke and cloud floated through the air. “I just want to be free,” Rosa said quietly, “Even if only for a few minutes. It might be the last chance I have.”
From her beautiful new home in Berlin, a young woman named Liesel Scholz barely notices the changes to the city around her. Her life is one of privilege and safety thanks to her father’s job working for the new government.
But a chance encounter with Rosa, the daughter of their Jewish housekeeper, confirms Liesel’s fears that something isn’t right. That the Nazi government’s brutal rules are cruel and dangerous, and that others aren’t as safe as she is. When Rosa begs Liesel to help—pressing her grandfather’s gold pocket watch into Liesel’s hand—Liesel recklessly agrees.
She will help hide Rosa and her loved ones—in the dusty, unused rooms at the top of their house—even if it means putting everyone she loves in danger. Even if it means risking her own life.
Frankfurt, 1946: An idealistic American captain, Sam Houghton, arrives in Germany to interrogate prominent Nazis on trial and to help rebuild a battered country. When he hires an enigmatic, damaged interpreter named Anna, he doesn’t expect sparks to fly between them. Perhaps there is a chance of love for both of them. But then the question of what happened to Anna in the war raises its head.
Because Anna has secrets—ones that link her to Berlin, the Nazi party, and the story of one gold pocket watch and two young women who became friends, even when they were told it was impossible…
Daria’s Daughter by Linda Huber
A mother and daughter torn apart
An explosive accident on the way to Glasgow airport leaves Daria hurt, bereaved and confused. Her daughter has vanished without a trace and nobody is telling her what happened. Evie’s gone. That’s all. Gone. What does Daria have left to live for?
A mother and daughter reunited
Margie can’t believe it. Bridie is hurt. Bridie needs her. They manage to escape the smoke, the noise and the confusion. They are together, that’s all that matters. Everything will be better in the morning, Margie tells Bridie. And it will.
The bonds that never break
Will Daria ever be able to put the pieces of her tattered life back together after the loss of her daughter? Is it possible that things aren’t quite as they seem? Can the unimaginable turn out to be the truth?
While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart
On a platform in occupied Paris, a mother whispers goodbye.
It is the end. But also the beginning…
A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.
Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.
On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined…
Grey Stones by Joss Stirling
A thrilling new whodunnit series, fast-paced and funny, featuring a detective as sharp as his suits and a heroine who’s trouble.
DI Leo George has been invited to a friends’ reunion weekend at a lodge in the grounds of the exclusive Piccadilly Club in the affluent Cotswolds village of Chipping Norton. He’s bringing his new girlfriend, Jess Bridges, an edgy private detective who’s wondering if she’ll fit in with Leo’s old university set.
As the only outsider, it’s clear to Jess that there is more than just friendship at the heart of the group, and they seem to have made a habit of pushing the boundaries of their relationships to their limits. The weekend proves to be a catalyst that opens a Pandora’s box of ugly secrets – Jess can see that when some friendships are this toxic, there can only be one deadly outcome …
Son of Simon by Thomas Fincham
A family man’s life is turned upside down when a woman from his past tells him a secret that will lead him down a path of no return.
How far will you go to protect someone you don’t know?
Simon Harris has a perfect life. A beautiful wife at home, a successful business, and all the trappings that come with money. After a brutal attack that leaves him bloodied and bruised, Simon is approached by a woman he has not seen in twenty years. What he discovers will changes his life forever.
Detective Helen Sloan is months away from retirement. She wants nothing more than to wrap up one last case before she hangs up her badge and gun. A simple investigation of a dead body found next to a bus shelter leaves Helen with more questions than answers.
Can a single lie change the course of so many lives? And who is the mysterious man that connects Simon and Helen to a crime that happened years ago?
The Split by Laura Kay
Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat.
After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.
In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism.
Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?
Time is Running Out by Michael Wood
You’re a survivor, aren’t you, Matilda? But what’s the point in surviving when everyone around you is dead?
When DCI Matilda Darke receives a mysterious telephone call, she immediately dismisses the threat. Afterall the Homicide and Major Enquiries team are a regular target for prank calls.
But ignoring this warning might soon be the biggest regret of Matilda Darke’s life.
A lone gunman is on a deadly rampage around Sheffield, leaving a bloody trail in his wake. Taking his shots with a sickening precision, he’s about to leave his mark on the world and change Matilda and her team’s lives forever.
The Menai Bridge Killings by Simon McCleave
A young couple on the run. A trail of death and destruction. Can DI Ruth Hunter stop Snowdonia’s answer to Bonnie and Clyde before another innocent victim is murdered?
The Rock by L J Ross
FROM THE SHADOWS INTO THE LIGHT…
When a fishing boat is wrecked off the treacherous North Sea coast and the body of a young woman washes up on the beach beside the iconic ‘Marsden Rock’, DCI Ryan cannot ignore the call to duty.
With one already dead and more human cargo missing from the wreckage, Ryan and his team race to find the remaining souls — before it’s too late, and their investigation turns to murder. As they uncover the seedy underbelly of Tyneside, cold and calculated opportunism clashes with the rock-hard arm of the Law, but there’s one thing that proves stronger than stone…
The human spirit.
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular North Eastern landscape.
That’s all from me for this post, hope to see you same time, same place next week for another dose of book temptation.