Another bumper week this week so I had to give myself a strict talking to be extra selective as a) I wanted a weekend and b) I’m sure you don’t want to nod off before the end of this post!
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)
Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer by Jamie Figueroa
In the tourist town of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas, in the aftermath of their mother’s passing, two siblings spend a final weekend together in their childhood home. Seeing her brother, Rafa, careening toward a place of no return, Rufina devises a bet: if they can make enough money performing for privileged tourists in the plaza over the course of the weekend to afford a plane ticket out, Rafa must commit to living. If not, Rufina will make her peace with Rafa’s own plan for the future, however terrifying it may be.
As the siblings reckon with generational and ancestral trauma, set against the indignities of present-day prejudice, other strange hauntings begin to stalk these pages: their mother’s ghost kicks her heels against the walls; Rufina’s vanished child creeps into her arms at night; and above all this, watching over the siblings, a genderless, flea-bitten angel remains hell-bent on saving what can be saved.
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 . . .
The Favour by Laura Vaughan
Fortune favours the fraud…
When she was thirteen years old, Ada Howell lost not just her father, but the life she felt she was destined to lead. Now, at eighteen, Ada is given a second chance when her wealthy godmother gifts her with an extravagant art history trip to Italy.
In the palazzos of Venice, the cathedrals of Florence and the villas of Rome, she finally finds herself among the kind of people she aspires to be: sophisticated, cultured, privileged. Ada does everything in her power to prove she is one of them. And when a member of the group dies in suspicious circumstances, she seizes the opportunity to permanently bind herself to this gilded set.
But everything hidden must eventually surface, and when it does, Ada discovers she’s been keeping a far darker secret than she could ever have imagined…
Hardback & eBook releases
Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay
Keep your family close, because your enemies are closer.
University student Matt Pine has just received devastating news. Nearly his entire family have been found dead while holidaying in Mexico. The local police claim it was an accident, but the FBI aren’t convinced – and they won’t tell Matt why.
The tragedy thrusts his family into the media spotlight again. Seven years ago, Matt’s older brother, Danny, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his teenage girlfriend. Danny has always sworn he was innocent, and last year, a true crime documentary that claimed he was wrongfully convicted went viral.
Now his family’s murder is overlapping with Danny’s case, Matt is determined to uncover the truth behind the crime that sent his brother to prison. Even if it means putting his own life in danger, and confronting his every last fear.
Rhapsody by Mitchell James Kaplan
One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.
Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.
Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman w
Windhall by Ava Barry
1940s Hollywood was an era of decadence and director Theodore Langley was its king. Paired with Eleanor Hayes as his lead actress, Theo ruled the Golden Age of Hollywood. That ended when Eleanor’s mangled body was discovered in Theo’s rose garden and he was charged with her murder. The case was thrown out before it went to trial and Theo fled L.A., leaving his crawling estate, Windhall, to fall into ruin. He hasn’t been seen since.
Decades later, investigative journalist Max Hailey, raised by his gran on stories of old Hollywood, is sure that if he could meet Theo, he could prove once and for all that the famed director killed his leading lady. When a copycat murder takes place near Windhall, the long reclusive Theo returns to L.A., and it seems Hailey finally has his chance.
When Hailey gets his hands on Theo’s long-missing journals, he reads about Eleanor’s stalkers and her role in Theo’s final film, The Last Train to Avalon, a film so controversial it was never released to the public. In the months leading up to her death, something had left her so terrified she stopped coming to work. The more Hailey learns about Avalon, the more convinced he becomes that the film could tell him who killed Eleanor and why she had to die. But the implications of Avalon reach far beyond Eleanor’s murder, and Hailey must race to piece together the murders of the past and present before it’s too late.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.
Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.
Two Wrongs by Mel McGrath
One girl jumped.
And then another followed…
In the city of Bristol, young women are dying in mysterious circumstances. The deaths look like suicides – but are they something more sinister?
Honor is terrified that her daughter might be next. But as she looks for clues as to what really happened to the girls, she stumbles upon a link to a dark secret in her own past – one that she’s kept from her daughter.
Now Honor has the chance to avenge her child for the terrible events of years ago. But how far will she go to protect her daughter and right the wrongs done to her family?
Transient Desires by Donna Leon
In his many years as a Commissario, Guido Brunetti has seen all manner of crime and known intuitively how to navigate the various pathways in his native Venice to discover the person responsible. Now, in the thirtieth novel in Donna Leon’s masterful series, he faces a heinous crime committed outside his jurisdiction. He is drawn in innocently enough: two young American women have been badly injured in a boating accident, joy riding in the Laguna with two young Italians. However, Brunetti’s curiosity is aroused by the behaviour of the young men, who abandoned the victims after taking them to the hospital. If the injuries were the result of an accident, why did they want to avoid association with it?
As Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, investigate the incident, they discover that one of the young men works for a man rumoured to be involved in more sinister night-time activities in the Laguna. To get to the bottom of what proves to be a gut-wrenching case, Brunetti needs to enlist the help of both the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Costiera. Determining how much trust he and Griffoni can put in these unfamiliar colleagues adds to the difficulty of solving a peculiarly horrible crime whose perpetrators are technologically brilliant and ruthlessly organised.
The Manningtree Witches by A K Blakemore
Fear takes root in the women of Manningtree when the Witchfinder General comes to town.
Caught amidst betrayal and persecution, what must Rebecca West do to survive?
England, 1643. Parliament is battling the King; the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. Puritanical fervour has gripped the nation, and the hot terror of damnation burns black in every shadow.
In Manningtree, depleted of men since the wars began, the women are left to their own devices. At the margins of this diminished community are those who are barely tolerated by the affluent villagers – the old, the poor, the unmarried, the sharp-tongued. Rebecca West, daughter of the formidable Beldam West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only by her infatuation with the clerk John Edes. But then newcomer Matthew Hopkins, a mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, takes over The Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about the women of the margins. When a child falls ill with a fever and starts to rave about covens and pacts, the questions take on a bladed edge.
The Manningtree Witches plunges its readers into the fever and menace of the English witch trials, where suspicion, mistrust and betrayal ran amok as the power of men went unchecked and the integrity of women went undefended. It is a visceral, thrilling book that announces a bold new talent.
Behind Closed Doors by Catherine Alliott
From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.
But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.
As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London – and the stories it hides – for a rural escape to her parents’ farmhouse in the Chilterns.
But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home, especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.
Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she’s been keeping from herself and those she loves.
Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . . .
A Class Act by Gervase Phinn
Change is afoot in the usually sleepy village of Risingdale. Gerald Gaunt, headmaster of the primary school for over thirty years, is retiring. It is the end of an era and Gerald hopes that his replacement will work with him to secure a bright, happy future for the school. But Mr Smart has his own ideas about how things should be run, and things start to become fraught very quickly.
On top of this, the teachers have plenty of other dramas to contend with. Still dealing with a class of children who seem to understand agriculture better than arithmetic, Tom Dwyer is pining over Janette, his one-that-got-away. Meanwhile, his colleague Joyce Tranter’s new marital bliss is shattered by the arrival of her husband’s avaricious, scheming nephew. And elsewhere in the village, Sir Hedley’s long-cherished plans for his future are jeopardised by the arrival back in his life of his bitter, desperate ex-wife.
Can the residents of Risingdale pull together and achieve happiness against the odds?
The Talk of Pram Town by Joanna Nadin
It’s 1981. Eleven-year-old Sadie adores her beautiful and vibrant mother, Connie, whose dreams of making it big as a singer fill their tiny house in Leeds. It’s always been just the two of them. Until the unthinkable happens.
Jean hasn’t seen her good-for-nothing daughter Connie since she ran away from the family home in Harlow – or Pram Town as its inhabitants affectionately call it – aged seventeen and pregnant.
But in the wake of the Royal Wedding, Jean gets a life-changing call: could she please come and collect the granddaughter she’s never met?
We all know how Charles and Diana turned out, and Jean and Sadie are hardly a match made in heaven – but is there hope of a happy ending for them?
When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister
This morning Gigi left her husband and children.
Now she’s watching Real Housewives and drinking wine in a crummy hotel room, trying to work out how she got here.
When the Twin Towers collapsed, Gigi Stanislawski fled her office building and escaped lower Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry. Among the crying, ash-covered and shoeless passengers, Gigi, unbelievably, found someone she recognised – the guy with pink socks and a British accent – from the coffee shop across from her office. Together she and Harry Harrison make their way to her parents’ house where they watch the television replay the planes crashing for hours, and she waits for the phone call from her younger brother that never comes. And after Harry has shared the worst day of her life, it’s time for him to leave.
Ten years later, Gigi, now a single mother consumed with bills and unfulfilled ambitions, bumps into Harry again and this time they fall deeply in love. When they move to London it feels like a chance for the happy ending she never dared to imagine. But it also highlights the differences in their class and cultures, which was something they laughed about until it wasn’t funny anymore; until the traumatic birth of their baby leaves Gigi raw and desperately missing her best friends and her old life in New York.
As Gigi grieves for her brother and rages at the unspoken pain of motherhood, she realises she must somehow find a way back – not to the woman she was but to the woman she wants to be.
The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley
Holly loves making marmalade. Now she has a chance to leave her stressful city job and pursue her dream – of returning to the Dorset landscape of her childhood to open Bitter Orange, a shop celebrating the fruit that first inspired her.
Holly’s mother Ella has always loved Seville. So why is she reluctant to go back there with Holly to source products for the shop? What is she frightened of – and does it have anything to do with the old Spanish recipe for Seville orange and almond cake that Ella keeps hidden from her family?
In Seville, where she was once forced to make the hardest decision of her life, Ella must finally face up to the past, while Holly meets someone who poses a threat to all her plans. Seville is a city full of sunshine and oranges. But it can also be bittersweet. Will love survive the secrets of the orange grove?
Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
Celebrated, bestselling, elusive…who is Maud Dixon?
Florence Darrow wants to be a writer. Correction: Florence Darrow IS going to be a writer. Fired from her first job in publishing, she jumps at the chance to be assistant to the celebrated Maud Dixon, the anonymous bestselling novelist. The arrangement comes with conditions – high secrecy, living in an isolated house in the countryside. Before long, the two of them are on a research trip to Morocco, to inspire the much-promised second novel. Beach walks, red sunsets and long, whisky-filled evening discussions…win-win, surely? Until Florence wakes up in a hospital, having narrowly survived a car crash.
How did it happen – and where is Maud Dixon, who was in the car with her? Florence feels she may have been played, but wait, if Maud is no longer around, maybe Florence can make her mark as a writer after all…
The Cut by Chris Brookmyre
Millie Spark can kill anyone.
A special effects make-up artist, her talent is to create realistic scenes of bloody violence.
Then, one day, she wakes to find her lover dead in her bed.
Twenty-five years later, her sentence for murder served, Millicent is ready to give up on her broken life – until she meets troubled film student and reluctant petty thief Jerry.
Together, they begin to discover that all was not what it seemed on that fateful night . . . and someone doesn’t want them to find out why.
Flappy Entertains by Santa Montefiore
Underneath her graceful exterior lies a passion nobody knew about, least of all Flappy herself…
Flappy Scott-Booth is the self-appointed queen bee of Badley Compton, a picturesque Devon village. While her husband Kenneth spends his days on the golf course, she is busy overseeing her beautiful house and gardens, and organising unforgettable events, surrounded by friends who hang on to her every word.
Her life is a reflection of herself – impossibly perfect.
Until the day that Hedda Harvey-Smith and her husband Charles move into the village. Into an even grander home than hers. Taking the front seat on the social scene, quite literally.
That simply will not do.
Flappy is determined to show Hedda how things are done here in Badley Compton. But then she looks into Charles’s beautiful green eyes. And suddenly, her focus is elsewhere. She is only human, after all…
Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding
Being Tommy’s mother is too much for Sonya.
Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.
Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O’Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy – forever.
Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
The Rajah sails for Australia.
On board are 180 women convicted of petty crimes, sentenced to start a new life half way across the world.
Daughters, sisters, mothers – they’ll never see home or family again. Despised and damned, all they have now is each other.
Until the murder.
As the fearful hunt for a killer begins, everyone on board is a suspect.
The investigation risks tearing their friendships apart . . .
But if the killer isn’t found, could it cost them their last chance of freedom?
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .
Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.
Jaipur Journals by Namita Gokhale
From a septuagenarian who has completed her semi-fictional novel but does not want to publish it, to an author who receives a threat in the form of an anonymous letter, from a historian who reunites with a past lover, to a burglar who is passionate about poetry, from a young woman who has no idea what this world has in store for her, to an American woman looking for the India of her hippie youth, this metafictional, wryly funny, pacey novel is an ode to literature. Told from multiple perspectives, set against the backdrop of the vibrant multilingual Jaipur Literature Festival, diverse stories of lost love and regret, self-doubt, and new beginnings come together in a narrative that is as varied as India itself. Partly a love letter to the greatest literary show on earth, partly a satire about the glittery set that throngs this literary venue year on year, and partly an ode to the millions of aspiring writers who wander the earth with unsubmitted manuscripts in their bags, Jaipur Journals is a light-footed romp that showcases in full form Gokhale’s unsparing eye for the pretensions and the pathos of that loneliest tribe of them all: the writers.
A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Anne Fowler
In Oak Knoll, a tight-knit North Carolina neighbourhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door – an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenage daughter.
With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard.
But as they fight, they fail to notice that there is a romance blossoming between their two teenagers. A romance that will challenge the carefully constructed concepts of class and race in this small community. A romance that might cause everything to shatter…
Paperback & eBook releases
The Broken Ones by Carla Kovach
Amber applies a dash of red lipstick and checks herself out in the mirror before heading out on a date. ‘Don’t wait up!’ she calls to her housemates as she leaves. But Amber never returns home that night. Amber Slater is never seen again.
The last person to see Amber was her housemate. He remembers everything she was wearing that night. He watched her leave. He listened to every word of her phone conversation with her friend before she left. He knows more about Amber’s movements than anyone.
At university, she is well-liked by her fellow students and teachers. Her tutor’s voice shakes when he is questioned by the police. Some say he and Amber were very close. Too close. Some say his wife had just found out about their relationship.
The manager at the restaurant where Amber was supposed to eat that night says she didn’t show up. Yet the chef at the restaurant is overly chatty about her. He wasn’t working that night. He wasn’t answering his phone. Nobody knows where he was when Amber went missing.
Rumours begin to circulate about Amber, it seems that everyone has a story to tell. But when the young girl’s lifeless body is found in a local park, with her blue lips glued shut, the gossip suddenly goes quiet. As the police trace the last few hours of Amber’s life, it seems that the girl simply vanished on her way to catch her bus. And when another woman goes missing in the dead of night, it’s a race against time to find her before she too is silenced forever.
If I Fall by Merilyn Davies
We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.
Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.
No one knew why we were there.
Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.
The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.
Someone is sending a message.
Now they’re coming for us.
The Far Away Girl by Sharon Maas
She dreamed of finding a new life…
Georgetown, Guyana 1970. Seven-year-old Rita is running wild in her ramshackle white wooden house by the sea, under the indulgent eye of her absent-minded father. Surrounded by her army of stray pets, free to play where she likes and climb the oleander trees, she couldn’t feel more alive.
But then her new stepmother Chandra arrives and the house empties of love and laughter. Rita’s pets are removed, her freedom curtailed, and before long, there’s a new baby sister on the way. There’s no room for Rita anymore.
With her father distracted by his new family, Rita spends more time alone in her bedroom. Desperate to fill up the hollow inside her, she begins to talk to the only photo she has of her mother Cassie, a woman she cannot remember.
Rita has never known what happened to Cassie, a poor farmer’s daughter from the remote Guyanese rainforest. Determined to find the truth, Rita travels to find her mother’s family in an unfamiliar land of shimmering creeks and towering vines. She finds comfort in the loving arms of her grandmother among the flowering shrubs and trees groaning with fruit. But when she discovers the terrible bruising secret that her father kept hidden from her, will she ever be able to feel happiness again?
The Ex by Diane Saxon
As a heat wave grips the country, DS Jenna Morgan is called to a domestic incident at the home of a young family in Ironbridge.
Pregnant Imelda Cheetham-Epstein has been found unconscious by her husband, Zak with serious head injuries.
When Jenna arrives on the scene, she discovers something even more disturbing – the couple’s eleven-month-old son, Joshua, is missing and the race against time begins to find him.
Is this an accident or something more sinister?
Are the two incidents linked?
Or has something in the Cheetham-Epstein’s past caught up with them?
The Wedding by Ruth Heald
Just four words were printed in the card. He doesn’t love you.
I’ve been dreaming about this day – marrying Adam, my childhood sweetheart, who I’ve loved for eighteen years.
I didn’t realise the perfect day would turn into the perfect nightmare.
I was so excited to send out the wedding invitations, carefully writing everyone’s names on thick cream paper in beautiful cursive script.
I had no idea I was inviting someone to destroy our marriage.
I couldn’t wait to say ‘I do’ surrounded by loved ones clinking champagne glasses.
I couldn’t imagine that one of them would try to hurt me.
It was meant to be the first day of the rest of our lives.
I never thought it would be the end of my life as I knew it.
We were meant to share our vows, to toast our future. But when the truth comes out, shocking the onlooking guests and ripping my heart out, is a happy ever after possible?
A Family Reunion by Patricia Scanlan
**Previously published as The Liberation of Brigid Dunne**
One explosive family reunion. A lifetime of secrets revealed.
When four feisty women from the same family, get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…
Marie-Claire, betrayed by her partner Marc plans her revenge to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She travels from Toronto, home to Ireland, to the house of the Four Winds, for her great aunt Reverend Mother Brigid’s eightieth birthday celebrations. It will be a long-awaited reunion for three generations of family, bringing together her mother, Keelin and grandmother, Imelda – who have never quite got along
And then all hell breaks loose.
Bitter, jealous Imelda makes a shocking revelation that forces them all to confront their pasts, admit mistakes, and face the truths that have shaped their lives. With four fierce, opinionated women in one family, will they ever be able to forgive the past and share a future?
And what of Marc?
It’s never too late to make amends…or is it?
My Brother by Karin Smirnoff
Jana is returning to see her twin brother Bror, still living in the family farmhouse in the rural north of Sweden. The house is decrepit and crumbling, and Bror is determindly drinking himself into an early grave. The siblings are both damaged by horrific childhood experiences, buried deep in the past, but Jana cannot keep running.
Alive with the brutality and beauty of the landscape, My Brother is a novel steeped in darkness and violence – about abuse, love, complicity, and coming to terms with the past. It’s the story of a homecoming without a home: a story of forgiveness.
Slow Motion by Jennifer Pierce
Westview belongs on a postcard. Quaint, picture-perfect, a tiny New England town steeped in history and traditions.
Angela has always been everything people in Westview want her to be. She’s supposed to be happy here, but she’s starting to see all the flaws in her seemingly-perfect life and she’s afraid that everyone else will notice, too. Now, she wants something more than small towns, something bigger than the life planned out for her by a family that has designed and destroyed reputations in Westview for generations.
Owen knows that history can be a lot of lies depending on who tells the story and he’s just discovered the truth about how Westview became a drowned town a century ago. But all he wants is to run away from his own past, from the bad decisions he’s made and the tragedies still haunting him. He’s focused on the future and proving people wrong, even though that means keeping secrets from his friends.
Long before they understood the rumours and grudges that rule their hometown, Angela and Owen were friends for one perfect summer. Now, as they navigate their senior year of high school and Westview celebrates its Tricentennial, they are reunited, discovering truths about themselves, each other, and the ways their community has been shaped by secrets, lies, and a devastating obsession with perfection.
Stella by Takis Wurger
In 1942, Friedrich, an even-keeled but unworldly young man, arrives in Berlin from bucolic Switzerland with dreams of becoming an artist. At a life drawing class, he is hypnotized by the beautiful model, Kristin, who soon becomes his energetic yet enigmatic guide to the bustling and cosmopolitan city, escorting him to underground jazz clubs where they drink cognac, dance and kiss. The war feels far away to Friedrich, who falls in love with Kristin as they spend time together in his rooms at the Grand Hotel, but as the months pass, the mood in the city darkens as the Nazis tighten their hold on Berlin, terrorizing any who are deemed foes of the Reich.
One day, Kristin comes back to Friedrich’s rooms in tears, battered and bruised. She tells him that her real name is Stella, and that she is Jewish, passing for Aryan. More disturbing still, she has troubling connections with the Gestapo that Friedrich does not fully understand. As Friedrich confronts Stella’s unimaginable choices, he finds himself woefully unprepared for the history he is living through. Based in part on a real historical character, Stella sets a tortured love story against the backdrop of wartime Berlin, and powerfully explores questions of naiveté, young love, betrayal, and the horrors of history.
My Kind of Happy by Cathy Bramley
‘I think flowers are sunshine for the soul.’
Flowers have always made Fearne smile. She treasures the memories of her beloved grandmother’s floristry and helping her to arrange beautiful blooms that brought such joy to their recipients.
But ever since a family tragedy a year ago, Fearne has been searching for her own contentment. When a chance discovery inspires her to start a happiness list, it seems that Fearne might just have found her answer…
Sometimes the scariest path can be the most rewarding. So is Fearne ready to take the risk and step into the unknown? And what kind of happiness might she find if she does?
The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson
Suzy Medley is having a bad day…
… when a shabby terrier turns up at her door. Just like Suzy, Scout has been abandoned, although only Suzy has been left with a financial mess and a business in tatters thanks to her ex.
Suzy takes Scout in and her chaotic world changes in unexpected ways: strangers have never been more welcoming and her teenage kids can’t wait to come home to visit.
Then a chance encounter on a windy Hebridean beach makes things more complicated, because Suzy isn’t the only one who needs a friend.
Scout has plenty of love to go round… but does Suzy?
Escape to Riverside Cottage by Sheila Norton
Can happiness be made in Devon?…
After the sudden death of her estranged husband, Clare is shocked to discover she has inherited a dog and a small fortune. Convinced by her adult children to finally do something for herself, Clare embarks on a coast-to-coast adventure – until she stumbles upon an unmarked location on the fringes of South Devon.
When Clare finds herself driving down a narrow road to the tiny village of Little Sorrell, she is met with distant, cold, and rude locals. But as she falls in love with a cottage she wishes to call home, can Little Sorrell truly be the place of second chances?…
On an Outgoing Tide by Caro Ramsay
Two murders, forty years apart. What links them? Detectives Anderson & Costello undertake their most baffling investigation to date.
The body is found in the early hours of the morning, drifting lifelessly on the outgoing tide. Twenty-three-year-old medical student Aasha Ariti had been enjoying a night out to celebrate the end of lockdown. Anthony Poole, the last person to have seen her alive, is the prime suspect.
Before detectives Anderson and Costello can make further headway, they are pulled off the case to investigate the murder of a pensioner in his own home. The body of eighty-one-year-old Jimmy Pearcey reveals evidence of prolonged, excruciating torture in the hours before he died. Of one thing DCI Anderson is certain: this killing was very close and very personal. But the victim was a loner, without friends or relatives.
As they dig deeper however, the two detectives uncover a number of secrets in the dead man’s past. Secrets that link to another murder more than forty years before. What really happened on 21st June 1978? Someone is determined to ensure that Anderson and Costello never find out. Whatever it takes .
The Performance by Claire Thomas
The false cold of the theatre makes it hard to imagine the heavy wind outside in the real world, the ash air pressing onto the city from the nearby hills where bushfires are taking hold.
The house lights lower.
The auditorium feels hopeful in the darkness.
As bushfires rage outside the city, three women watch a performance of a Beckett play.
Margot is a successful professor, preoccupied by her fraught relationship with her ailing husband. Ivy is a philanthropist with a troubled past, distracted by the snoring man beside her. Summer is a young theatre usher, anxious about the safety of her girlfriend in the fire zone.
As the performance unfolds, so does each woman’s story. By the time the curtain falls, they will all have a new understanding of the world beyond the stage.
The Garden of Angels by David Hewson
At his beloved Nonno Paolo’s deathbed, fifteen-year-old Nico receives a gift that will change his life forever: a yellowing manuscript which tells the haunting, twisty tale of what really happened to his grandfather in Nazi-occupied Venice in 1943.
The Palazzo Colombina is home to the Uccello family: three generations of men, trapped together in the dusty palace on Venice’s Grand Canal. Awkward fifteen-year-old Nico. His distant, business-focused father. And his beloved grandfather, Paolo. Paolo is dying. But before he passes, he has secrets he’s waited his whole life to share.
When a Jewish classmate is attacked by bullies, Nico just watches – earning him a week’s suspension and a typed, yellowing manuscript from his frail Nonno Paolo. A history lesson, his grandfather says. A secret he must keep from his father. A tale of blood and madness . . .
Nico is transported back to the Venice of 1943, an occupied city seething under its Nazi overlords, and to the defining moment of his grandfather’s life: when Paolo’s support for a murdered Jewish woman brings him into the sights of the city’s underground resistance. Hooked and unsettled, Nico can’t stop reading – but he soon wonders if he ever knew his beloved grandfather at all.
Die in the Dark by Dave Sivers
THE NIGHTMARE’S JUST BEGINNING…
A rainy night in Buckinghamshire. A vicious homophobic attack in the centre of Aylesbury sees the start of a new investigation for detectives Lizzie Archer and Dan Baines. As they search for answers, another woman is found left for dead, her partner missing – and this time the victims are closer to home for the team.
Amid a desperate race to find the missing woman, Baines finds himself once again confronted by the demons he hoped he was finally putting behind him. It’s a distraction that could cost him his sanity – and a friend her life.
The Restoration of Celia Fairchild by Marie Bostwick
Celia Fairchild, known as advice columnist ‘Dear Calpurnia’, has insight into everybody’s problems – except her own. Still bruised by the end of a marriage she thought was her last chance to create a family, Celia receives an unexpected answer to a “Dear Birthmother” letter. Celia throws herself into proving she’s a perfect adoptive mother material – with a stable home and income – only to lose her job. Her one option: sell the Charleston house left to her by her recently departed, estranged Aunt Calpurnia.
Arriving in Charleston, Celia learns that Calpurnia had become a hoarder, the house is a wreck, and selling it will require a drastic, rapid makeover. The task of renovation seems overwhelming and risky. But with the help of new neighbors, old friends, and an unlikely sisterhood of strong, creative women who need her as much as she needs them, Celia knits together the truth about her estranged family — and about herself.
The Kindness Project by Sam Binnie
It takes a lot of courage to be kind …
THE KINDNESS PROJECT:
Step 1. Help the baker’s widow find the way back from her loss
Step 2. Find the true calling of the overworked, exhausted single mum who runs the grocer’s
Step 3. Finally call a truce on the decades old feud between two local fishermen
Step 4. Unlock your clamped-shut heart
Step 5. Forgive me …?
The locals of a Cornish beach-side town are grieving the sudden loss of Bea Adlington who – loved or loathed – was the beating heart of their hard-working, tight-knit community.
Now her reclusive estranged daughter has turned up, keen to tie up her affairs and move on.
But Bea has bequeathed her daughter a mission – a collection of unfinished tasks to help out those most in need of it. She knew Alice would not refuse her challenge.
Each little act will bring Alice closer to understanding why her mother left her; it might help her find the courage to open her clamped-shut heart and, maybe, ‘The Kindness Project’ will be the key that unlocks the powerful secrets that both women had been keeping …
THE KINDNESS PROJECT will draw you deep into the lives of two lonely and compelling women who should have had the chance to say goodbye. It will break your heart then tenderly piece it back together again, stronger than it was before …
The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin
Sometimes the past won’t stay hidden, it demands to be uncovered…
Arthur Pettinger’s memory isn’t what it used to be. He can’t always remember the names of his grandchildren, where he lives or which way round his slippers go. He does remember Maryse though, a woman he hasn’t seen for decades, but whose face he will never forget.
When Arthur’s granddaughter, Maddy moves in along with her daughter Esther, it’s her first step towards pulling her life back together. But when Esther makes a video with Arthur, the hunt for the mysterious Maryse goes viral.
There’s only one person who can help Maddy track down this woman – the one that got away, Joe. Their quest takes them to France, and into the heart of the French Resistance.
When the only way to move forwards is to look back, will this family finally be able to?
Dog Days by Ericka Waller
George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.
Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.
Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep her secret just a while longer…
Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.
The Time of my Life by Tilly Tennant
She’s given up on love. But one little letter might change everything…
Single mum Bonnie is a born romantic. But she’s been seriously let down by love. Her good-for-nothing husband walked out on her and daughter Paige two years ago, and hasn’t been heard from since.
Between trying to make ends meet, managing teenage mood swings and the serious lack of eligible bachelors in her small town, Bonnie has all but given up on finding her happily ever after.
Although if real-life romance is in short supply, it doesn’t mean Bonnie can’t indulge in a harmless imaginary one. She’s started writing to her totally unattainable dream man, baring her soul before screwing up the pages and tossing them straight in the trash…
But when fate intervenes and Bonnie actually meets the man she never thought she could have, events take an interesting turn. Envelopes addressed to her start mysteriously arriving on her doorstep. Although Bonnie never sent him any of the letters she wrote, he has now begun writing to her.
Is Bonnie about to discover that dreams really do come true?
Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.
Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned.
Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.
With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?
OK folks, that’s it for another week, anything take your fancy?
See you – same time, same place next week.