As mentioned previously, the ‘Kindle Monthly Sale’ has been subsumed into their generic Kindle offers, consequently there is no designated ‘Monthly’ sale as we used to know it. What we now have is a variety of different ‘offers’ bundled together.
I’ve decided to still feature a monthly offers post but will try and be more selective (famous last words). I’ll continue to concentrate on more recent titles (within the last year or so), largely on the assumption that the longer a book has been around it’s more likely to have hit your radar already. Where I’ve been selective is that I’m only including my top picks rather than including ALL the books I’ve bought, read or would read. This will hopefully help to focus my mind! That said I’ll still throw in a few golden oldies that I’ve read and love. As ever, it’s a list that’s skewed towards my prevailing reading tastes so feel free to look at the complete list on Amazon here.
What I will also do over the course of the month is post additional titles over on my Facebook page here . These will be titles which on the whole are less recent but well worth a look.
Genres have been allocated by me and have been generously applied especially as some books are a mix of genres. I don’t like to pigeon hole but it helps to give the post a bit more structure.
(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)
Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)
Crime, Thriller & Mystery
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 . . .
Her Sister’s Child by Alison James
Sixteen years ago my sister died. Her baby disappeared on the same day. And I’ve never stopped searching for her…
Lizzy’s life was complicated and she had so many secrets. Secrets I kept for her. Maybe if I’d done things differently, she’d still be here now and the little girl she gave birth to wouldn’t have gone missing…
In all these years, I’ve never stopped looking, but I’d almost given up hope. Until now.
Because today I encountered an old school friend, Johnny, and it all came flooding back to me.
That day. The terrible discovery.
And something he said made me realise the shocking truth: I’ve always known who took Lizzy’s baby. I just didn’t want to admit it. Because then everything that happened would be my fault…
Unbound Ties by Liz Mistry
When the past unravels, all that’s left is death.
Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When DI Gus McGuire is called out to the murder of a pregnant woman, the crime scene tells him that this killer is not only taunting them … he’s also just getting started.
With ritualistic precision, the killer has placed a series of clues beneath the victim’s feet. Gus soon realises that these clues link back to his mother’s past as a child in foster care in Scotland.
When I am king, dilly dilly,
Troubled by his mum’s secrets, Gus is in a dark place. Side-lined from the main investigation, Gus works another murder, not realising that the two are linked and that the killer is closer than he realises … Dangerously close.
You shall be queen.
Then the killer begins to target people near to Gus. Angry and determined Gus races to unravel the past and catch this sadist before the loss is too much for him to bear.
After the Fire by Jo Spain
Nobody was supposed to get out alive.
On a Dublin city street, packed with afternoon shoppers, a young woman appears, naked, traumatised and bearing burn marks.
Tom Reynolds, now Chief Superintendent, is no longer head of the murder squad. But when it transpires the woman escaped from a house fire started deliberately and that there are more victims, Tom is sucked in. What begins as a straightforward case of arson, soon becomes something much more sinister.
The people in that house never wanted to be there in the first place. Now more of them are missing. Tom is faced with a ticking clock as he tries to locate the others and as he does, a terrifying spider’s web of domestic and international crime unfolds.
And not everybody will survive the fall-out.
Cut to the Bone by Roz Watkins
A beautiful young social-media star goes missing.
But who took her?
When controversial internet celebrity Violet Armstrong vanishes in the middle of a scorching Peak District summer, the case sparks a media frenzy.
The clock is ticking for DI Meg Dalton and her team to find Violet before online threats explode into real-life violence. And then the blood and hair of a young woman are found in an empty pig trough at the local abattoir…
The more Meg finds out about this unnerving case, the more she becomes convinced that something very, very bad has happened to Violet. With temperatures rising and the press demanding answers, the case is about to take a terrifying turn…
The Missing by Daisy Pearce
A missing girl. A loving mother who never gave up. A betrayed wife who doesn’t know who to trust.
Teenager Edie Hudson was nobody’s little darling, which made vanishing all too easy. Two decades later, she’s been forgotten by everyone except her mother, Samantha.
And the person who knows what happened to her.
Samantha has had a long time to remember, and to regret. Having seen how little her daughter mattered to the community in the months following her disappearance, she wonders if Edie was lost before she was even gone. Or was it guilt, not indifference, that made the locals turn a blind eye? When she meets Frances, she at last starts to hope for answers.
Because Frances is obsessed with the mystery too, after finding a photo of her husband with the girl who disappeared.
What really happened all those years ago? And just how dangerous could it be to find out?
The Lie by Hilary Boyd
‘I just thought you should know who you’re married to . . .’
Romy and Michael had it all. 30 years of marriage, two wonderful sons and a beautiful home.
Until a letter arrives containing a shocking accusation, and everything falls apart.
Fleeing to an idyllic countryside village to find time to think, Romy finds herself drawn to Finch, a handsome stranger with a tragic past. Is this a chance to start again?
But then the phone rings:
Michael is in hospital. He says he needs her help . . .
Some One’s There by Diane Saxon
Who’s watching who?
When a beautiful, red haired nurse’s body is found mutilated in her house in Lawley the morning after a date with Detective Constable Ryan Downey, all eyes turn to him.
With a very specific modus operandi, Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan and her team know exactly who the offender is, the trouble is he’s currently serving a life stretch in HMP Long Lartin.
It soon becomes evident to DS Morgan and her team that there may be a copycat killer is on the loose, one who may be taking his pleasure in stalking his victims first.
In a race against time, they need to track down the copycat and discover who is pulling whose strings?
Corrupted by Simon Michael
A sordid secret lies at the heart of political London…
Charles Holborne has cemented his reputation as a respected murder trial lawyer, who is near unbeatable in the courtroom.
Having overcome the traumas of his past, he seems to be settled in his career and his relationship with his partner, Sally.
But Charles is his own worst enemy and old habits threaten to drag him down…
He is also still on the radar of the notorious Kray Twins and before long he finds himself drawn into one of their darker scandals.
Charles’s career – and his life – is in jeopardy as he fights for justice in a world of corruption and double-dealings.
The Truth Will Out by Jane Isaac
CALL OF DEATH
Eva Carradine is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend, Naomi Spence, during a video call. Fearing for her own safety, Eva calls an ambulance and flees her home. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into Naomi’s murder, but with no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the pieces of the puzzle are slow to come together.
As Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present. Someone is after both her and Eva. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. When the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as help Eva to escape hers?
The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
Edinburgh, 1849. Hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. And a whispering campaign seeks to paint Dr James Simpson, pioneer of medical chloroform, as a murderer.
Determined to clear Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher must plunge into Edinburgh’s deadliest streets and find out who or what is behind the deaths. Soon they discover that the cause of the deaths has evaded detection purely because it is so unthinkable.
What You Did by Claire McGowan
It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.
When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted—by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying—but which? And why?
When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.
Deadly Games by Sally Rigby
A killer is playing cat and mouse……. and winning.
DCI Whitney Walker’s in trouble. She’s threatened with demotion if she screws up another case. So, when a killer starts murdering female students, it’s a chance to redeem herself.
Forensic psychologist, Dr Georgina Cavendish, has spent her life inside the university walls, but when one of her students is murdered, she steps out from behind the text books and puts her skills to the test.
The two headstrong women join forces to stop the killer. But sparks fly when real world policing meets academic theory, and it’s not a pretty sight.
Deadly Games is the first book in the Cavendish and Walker crime fiction series. If you like serial killer mysteries and psychological intrigue, then you’ll love Sally Rigby’s page turning book. Pick up your copy today.
Feel Good Fiction & Romance
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…
The Man I Didn’t Marry by Anna Bell
What happens when the man she married can’t remember her?
Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.
Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?
As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
Emmie Blue has a secret…
A long time ago, Emmie Blue released a red balloon with a secret message hidden inside – and against all odds, across hundreds of miles of ocean, it was found on a beach in France by a boy called Lucas.
Fourteen years later, on the eve of her thirtieth birthday, Emmie hopes that Lucas is finally about to kiss her. She never expected him to announce that he was marrying someone else!
Suddenly Emmie’s dreams are shattered and the one person in her life she can rely on is slipping through her fingers. But what if Lucas isn’t her forever? What if her love story is only just beginning…
Growing Up for Beginners by Claire Calman
It’s not easy being a grown-up, but Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…
When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.
Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.
Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.
Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…
Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and L Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
The Golden Oldies Guesthouse by Dee MacDonald
Tess and Simon Sparrow may have a few more grey hairs than they used to, but that doesn’t stop them being swept up in a whirlwind romance and starting over. Swapping their city lives for an escape to the Cornish countryside, they fall in love with a crumbling hotel and impulsively buy it to renovate as their forever home. But soon the newlyweds have had their first fight (and their second and third…) and building costs are spiralling out of control. Their families think they’re mad and Tess is starting to agree – she just wants to escape back to civilisation.
Doing up the glorious, wisteria-clad property was meant to be a delightful retirement project. But the electrics are faulty, there’s no central heating, and the kitchen ceiling’s fallen in: the dream has become reality and things only get more chaotic when the first guests arrive…
Mysterious Celia, hapless romantic Dominic and tarnished, lovelorn actress Titania are all looking for a fresh start. Everyone in this eclectic group has their own reasons for being in Cornwall, but the summer is full of secrets and surprises. As plans go awry and truths are revealed, Tess and Simon realise that they’ve taken on a bigger challenge than they intended to: can their happily-ever-after survive the chaos or will this end up being the biggest mistake of their lives?
Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits. But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning.
Now an adult, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda returns to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unravelling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel, only to discover that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all …
Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … but it can also turn out to have a happy ending.
La Cour des Roses Books 2 & 3 by Helen Pollard
Return to the Little French Guesthouse
Blue skies, new love, and a glass of Bordeaux . . . what could possibly go wrong?
When Emmy Jamieson leaves her life behind and moves to La Cour des Roses, a gorgeous guesthouse amidst vineyards in France, everything is resting on her success as the new guesthouse manager.
Looming in the calendar is the biggest booking ever, when the entire eccentric, demanding Thomson family will descend for a golden wedding anniversary. With airbeds on the floor and caravans in the garden, La Cour des Roses will be bursting at the seams.
Emmy knows she’s up to the challenge, especially with the support of the gorgeous Alain, the half-French, half-English, caramel-eyed accountant. But she hadn’t counted on a naked, sleepwalking travel blogger, or the return of owner Rupert’s venomous ex-wife Gloria.
Gloria has a few things to say about Emmy’s new role, Rupert’s finances, and the unsuspecting Alain, which send everybody reeling. Just when Emmy can see a future for herself of endless sunshine, true love and laughter, are her dreams about to be ripped at the seams?
Summer at the Little French Guesthouse
Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss … Right?
Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.
The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.
But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?
The Never Ending Summer by Emma Kennedy
Three women. Two unforgettable road trips.
Wherever you are in life, it’s never too late to find yourself.
Best friends Agnes and Bea decide to embark on one last adventure before their adult lives begin.
For Agnes’s mother Florence, a fresh chapter is starting as her youngest flies the nest and her marriage settles into a new routine. But she can’t help feeling that something is missing.
As Agnes travels to London and Florence follows her heart to Europe, both will discover a world of possibilities they never could have dreamed of…
Brass Ring by Diane Chamberlain
What if your LONG-LOST SISTER holds the key to a family secret?
Claire leads a busy, fulfilled and happy life, a life she wouldn’t trade for anything . . . but that is about to change for ever.
When Claire fails to prevent a young woman’s suicide, the incident seems to trigger something in her – forgotten images of a long-lost sister and a childhood she had always remembered as being close to perfection. Realising that this was not the case, Claire runs the risk of uncovering the dark secrets that are locked away in her memories.
Caught in a complex struggle between the present and past, between the man who wants to help her and the husband who cannot, Claire must discover the terrible truth for herself…
This Secret Thing by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Out of love. Out of protection. Out of fear. Everyone has a reason to lie.
Everyone in Raleigh, North Carolina, is talking about Norah Ramsey, the single mother accused of being a suburban madam. But Norah’s not the only one keeping secrets.
After her mother’s arrest, Norah’s teenage daughter, Violet, is devastated and alone. She has no one to turn to until her grandmother Polly arrives. Polly, long estranged from Norah, is running from her own troubles. Down the street, Bess, once Norah’s best friend, desperately tries to hide secrets while Casey, Bess’s daughter, flees college after a traumatic event, only to find that home isn’t the safe haven she expected. And Nico, the detective who has doggedly pursued Norah Ramsey in hopes that she will lead him to his missing brother, is drawn further into these women’s lives while facing his own domestic disturbance.
Scandal has brought each of them to a crossroads. Now, as they delve into Norah’s secrets, they must come to terms with secrets of their own—ones that still have the power to hurt or to heal.
Back to School by Jack Sheffield
The year is 1969 and Jack Sheffield is a young teacher in need of a job.
In a room full of twenty-nine other newly qualified teachers, he’s overjoyed when he’s appointed to Heather View Primary. Jack is excited to start his first year there and to begin shaping young minds in a beautiful new location on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.
But Heather View isn’t as idyllic as it first sounds. In fact, it looks more like a prison than a primary school. With less than adequate funding and a head teacher who doesn’t seem to care, it’s no easy task to give the kids the education they deserve. But Jack’s determined to do just that.
Full of warmth and good humour, Back to School is like taking a nostalgic walk through the past to a simpler time…
The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman
A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?
Like a House on Fire by Caroline Hulse
Things Stella and George have had blazing rows about:
– Misquoting Jurassic Park
– Leaving a Coke can on the side of the bath
– Fitting car seats for their hypothetical kids
In other news, they’re getting divorced.
But first, Stella’s mum is throwing a murder mystery party and – with her dad losing his job, her mum’s recent diagnosis, and some very odd behaviour from her sister – now is not the time to tell everyone.
All Stella and George have to do is make it through the day without their break-up being discovered – though it will soon turn out that having secrets runs in the family…
A Touch of Silk by Caro Fraser
To all the world, Leo Davies is both a successful and charismatic QC, whose flourishing career is the envy of the legal profession. But this outward facade conceals a troubled private life, one that he is struggling to keep hidden from his clients and co-workers. When feelings for a close colleague in chambers are rekindled, Leo is torn between following his heart and breaking apart the fragile relationship he has with his daughter.
And with a new lawyer joining the team at 5 Caper Court, Leo is also in for a rude awakening at work. As professional rivalries become personal entanglements, flings and rumours abound, and Leo will discover the danger of mixing business with pleasure.
Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope
What happens when family roles are reversed and the children must look after mum and dad?
It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . .
As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?
The Liberation of Brigid Dunne by Patricia Scanlan
**Published in the UK as A Family Reunion** which is £5.99!!
THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
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 to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She travels home from Toronto 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?
Find Me by André Aciman
In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, now a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train upends Sami’s visit and changes his life forever.
Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.
Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the nuances of emotion that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the world of one of our greatest contemporary romances to show us that in fact true love never dies.
Secrets of Santorini by Patricia Wilson
Sent away to a convent school in Dublin at the age of five, Irini McGuire has always had a strained and distant relationship with her mother, Bridget, a celebrated archaeologist who lives on the paradise island of Santorini. So, when Irini receives news that Bridget has been injured at a dig and is in a coma, she knows it is finally time to return to the island of her birth.
Reading through her mother’s notes at her bedside, Irini starts to realise how little she knows about Bridget’s life. Now, driven by rumours that her mother’s injury was no accident, Irini must uncover the dark secrets behind her family’s separation.
Will she discover the truth about her parents and her past before it is too late?
The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
Faith. Secret. Magic. Murder…?
Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her youngest child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray. Then the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – seems to herald a change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder . . .
What will the wind blow in today?
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Everybody knows Daisy Jones and the Six.
From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation. Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They sold out arenas from coast to coast.
This is the story of their incredible rise: the desire, the rivalry – and the music.
Then, on 12 July 1979, Daisy Jones and the Six split up.
Nobody knew why. Until now…
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
A TWIST THAT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART . . . AN ENDING THAT WILL PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.
Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.
As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie is a twenty-five-year-old Black woman living in south London, straddling Jamaican and British culture whilst slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white, middle-class peers, and beg to write about Black Lives Matter. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie finds herself seeking comfort in all the wrong places.
As Queenie veers from one regrettable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be? – the questions that every woman today must face in a world that keeps trying to provide the answers for them.
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family, Queenie will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way. A disarmingly honest, boldly political and truly inclusive tale that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and acceptance and found something very different in its place.
The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns
Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.
America, present day. Tori Kovač, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.
Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson
Meet Eve, who has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia: defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.
Inexperienced and ill-equipped, Sally and Eve embark upon a journey through the canals of England, guided by the remote and unsympathetic Anastasia. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of canalboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds.
The Raj Hotel series by Janet MacLeod Trotter
The Emerald Affair (Book 1)
In this evocative tale of life in India between the wars, friendships will be tested and loyalties torn. But can love win the day?
In Scotland in the aftermath of the First World War, nurse Esmie McBride meets handsome Captain Tom Lomax at her best friend Lydia’s home. Esmie is at first concerned for Tom’s shell shock, then captivated by his charm, but it’s effervescent Lydia he marries, and the pair begin a new adventure together in India.
When marriage to Tom’s doctor friend Harold offers Esmie the chance to work in India, the two sets of newlyweds find themselves living wildly different lives on the subcontinent. Esmie, heartbroken but resolved, is nursing at a mission hospital on the North West Frontier. Lydia, meanwhile, is the glamorous mistress of the Raj Hotel, where Tom hopes his sociable new wife will dazzle international guests.
As Esmie struggles with her true feelings for Tom and the daily dangers of her work, Lydia realises the Raj is not the centre of high society she had dreamed of. And when crisis strikes both couples, Esmie faces a shattering choice: should she stay the constant friend she’s always been, or risk everything and follow her heart?
The Sapphire Child
In the dying days of the Raj, can paths divided by time and circumstance ever find each other again?
In 1930s Northern India, childhood friends Stella and Andrew have grown up together in the orbit of the majestic Raj Hotel. Spirited Stella has always had a soft spot for boisterous Andrew, though she dreams of meeting a soulmate from outside the close-knit community. But life is turned on its head when one scandal shatters their friendship and another sees her abandoned by the man she thought she loved.
As the Second World War looms, Andrew joins the army to fight for freedom. Meanwhile in India, Stella, reeling from her terrible betrayal, also throws herself into the war effort, volunteering for the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, resigned to living a lonelier life than the one she dreamed of as a child.
When Andrew returns to the East on the eve of battle with Japan, the two former friends are reunited, though bitter experience has changed them. Can they rekindle what they once had or will war demand of their friendship the ultimate sacrifice?
A Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys
London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.
Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.
But under the heat of the sun, all is not as it seems. Now, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before things spiral out of control…
The Longest Echo by Eoin Dempsey
Occupied Italy, 1944. In the mountain regions south of Bologna, Liliana Nicoletti’s family finds escaped POW James Foley behind German lines. Committed to the anti-Fascist cause, they deliver him to a powerful band of local partisans. But when the SS launches a brutal attack against the Resistance, Liliana’s peaceful community is destroyed. Alone and thrown together by tragedy, James and Liliana fight together as Monte Sole burns. Forging an unbreakable bond, they know their only hope of survival is to make it to the Allied lines.
Twelve years later, fate reunites Liliana, newly widowed, and James, now a journalist for a New York magazine. Liliana reveals to him the obsession that has haunted her since the massacre at Monte Sole: finding and bringing to justice the SS officer who ordered her family killed. James has a revelation too. He might know how to hunt the man down. Joining forces once more, and increasingly drawn to each other, Liliana and James discover new levels of conspiracy on a journey that leads them to Argentina—and to a choice that will change their lives forever.
Pippo & Clara by Diana Rosie
A country torn apart by war. Two siblings divided by fate.
Italy, 1938. Mussolini is in power and war is not far away . . .
Clara and Pippo are just children: quiet, thoughtful Clara is the older sister; Pippo, the younger brother, is forever chatting. The family has only recently arrived in the city carrying their few possessions.
When Mamma goes missing early one morning, both Clara and Pippo go in search of her. Clara turns right; Pippo left.
As a result of the choices they make that morning, their lives will be changed forever.
Spirited by Julie Cohen
Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her – and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . .
Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them – but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Only a few months after the end of the Second World War, a new battle is beginning in the little village of Chawton. Once the final home of Jane Austen, the Chawton estate is dwindling, and the last piece of Austen’s heritage is at risk of being sold to the highest bidder…
Drawn together by their love of her novels, eight very different people – from a local farmer to a glamorous film star – must unite to attempt something remarkable. As new friendships form, and the griefs of the past begin to fade, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society, and to save the beloved novelist’s home and legacy. But can her words change all their lives in return?
People Like Us by Louise Fein
Leipzig, 1930s Germany
Hetty Heinrich is a perfect German child. Her father is an SS officer, her brother in the Luftwaffe, herself a member of the BDM. She believes resolutely in her country, and the man who runs it.
Until Walter changes everything. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life. A Jew.
Anti-semitism is growing by the day, and neighbours, friends and family members are turning on one another. As Hetty falls deeper in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, she begins to fight against her country, her family and herself. Hetty will have to risk everything to save Walter, even if it means sacrificing herself…
The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton
Orphaned young, H is sent to live with her doting aunt in London. H’s life is a happy one until her lecherous cousin robs her of her innocence, and the plague takes away the city and the people she loves. H is cast out – friendless, pregnant and destitute – into the rapidly emptying streets of London under quarantine.
Forced to fend for herself, she is determined to gain back the life she lost. H will face a villain out for revenge, find love in the most unexpected places, and overcome a betrayal that she never could have foreseen. Weathering it all, can H charm, or scheme, her way to the life of freedom and independence that she longs for?
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?
The Foundling by Stacey Halls
Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .
London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.
Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.
The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey
1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.
Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.
But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed.
A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.
When he is sent back to the front, Emily volunteers as a “land girl,” tending to the neglected grounds of a large Devonshire estate. It’s here that Emily discovers the long-forgotten journals of a medicine woman who devoted her life to her herbal garden. The journals inspire Emily, and in the wake of devastating news, they are her saving grace. Emily’s lover has not only died a hero but has left her terrified—and with child. Since no one knows that Emily was never married, she adopts the charade of a war widow.
As Emily learns more about the volatile power of healing with herbs, the found journals will bring her to the brink of disaster, but may open a path to her destiny.
The Snow Gypsy by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
At the close of World War II, London is in ruins and Rose Daniel isn’t at peace. Eight years ago, her brother disappeared while fighting alongside Gypsy partisans in Spain. From his letters, Rose has just two clues to his whereabouts—his descriptions of the spectacular south slopes of the Sierra Nevada and his love for a woman who was carrying his child.
In Spain, it has been eight years since Lola Aragon’s family was massacred. Eight years since she rescued a newborn girl from the arms of her dying mother and ran for her life. She has always believed that nothing could make her return…until a plea for help comes from a desperate stranger.
Now, Rose, Lola, and the child set out on a journey from the wild marshes of the Camargue to the dazzling peaks of Spain’s ancient mountain communities. As they come face-to-face with war’s darkest truths, their lives will be changed forever by memories, secrets, and friendships.
The Silk House by Kayte Nunn
Rowan Caswell leaves her village to work at the home of an English silk merchant. Very soon, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous world, where her talent for herbs and healing starts to attract unwanted attention.
Mary-LouiseStephenson dreams of becoming a silk designer, a path that has remained largely forbidden to women. A length of fabric she weaves with a pattern of deadly flowers will have shocking consequences for all who dwell at the Silk House.
Thea Rust arrives at an exclusive boarding school in the British countryside to look after the first intake of girls in its history. She is to stay with them in the Silk House, a converted silk factory from the 18th century, where the shadows hide secrets waiting to be discovered…
All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison
The fields were eternal, our life the only way of things, and I would do whatever was required of me to protect it.
The autumn of 1933 is the most beautiful Edie Mather can remember, though the Great War still casts a shadow over the cornfields of her beloved home, Wych Farm.
When charismatic, outspoken Constance FitzAllen arrives from London to write about fading rural traditions, she takes an interest in fourteen-year-old Edie, showing her a kindness she has never known before. But the older woman isn’t quite what she seems. As harvest time approaches and pressures mount on the whole community, Edie must find a way to trust her instincts and save herself from disaster.
The Domestic Revolution by Ruth Goodman
A large black cast iron range glowing hot, the kettle steaming on top, provider of everything from bath water and clean socks to morning tea: it’s a nostalgic icon of a Victorian way of life. But it is far more than that. In this book, social historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman tells the story of how the development of the coal-fired domestic range fundamentally changed not just our domestic comforts, but our world.
The revolution began as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when London began the switch from wood to coal as its domestic fuel – a full 200 years before any other city. It would be this domestic demand for more coal that would lead to the expansion of mining, engineering, construction and industry: the Domestic Revolution kick-started, pushed and fuelled the Industrial Revolution.
There were other radical shifts. Coal cooking was to change not just how we cooked but what we cooked (causing major swings in diet), how we washed (first our laundry and then our bodies) and how we decorated (spurring the wallpaper industry). It also defined the nature of women’s and men’s working lives, pushing women more firmly into the domestic sphere. It transformed our landscape and environment (by the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London’s air was as polluted as that of modern Beijing). Even tea drinking can be brought back to coal in the home, with all its ramifications for the shape of the empire and modern world economics.
Taken together, these shifts in our day-to-day practices started something big, something unprecedented, something that was exported across the globe and helped create the world we live in today.
Parallel Lives by Phyllis Rose
In every relationship there are two narratives; more often than not these narratives do not converge.
This is the basis for academic and writer Phyllis Rose’s cult classic Parallel Lives, a book that examines five literary Victorian partnerships, from Charles Dickens’s disastrous marriage to Catherine Hogarth to George Eliot’s joyful and unwed union with George Henry Lewes.
In an age where divorce was scandalous and ‘until death do us part’ was taken literally, the subjects of Rose’s book were forced to find inventive and surprising ways to coexist. As she tracks the shifting tides of power within these parallel lives in fascinating detail, Rose shows how desire, fantasy and control play out in our most intimate relationships.
Parallel Livesis an engrossing group biography and an essential work of feminist non-fiction that continues to resonate, compelling us to reflect on how we live now.
I Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston
Be it as Nicky Hutchinson in Our Friends In The North, Maurice in The A Word, or his reinvention of Doctor Who, one man, in life and death, has accompanied Christopher Eccleston every step of the way – his father Ronnie. In I Love The Bones Of You, Eccleston unveils a vivid portrait of a relationship that has shaped his entire career trajectory, mirroring and defining his own highs and lows, from stage and screen triumph to breakdown, anorexia, self-doubt, and a deep belief in the basic principles of access and equality denied to generations. The actor reveals how his background in Salford, and vision of a person, like millions, denied their true potential, shaped his desire to make drama forever entwined with the marginalised, the oppressed, and the outsider.
Movingly, and in scenes sadly familiar to increasing numbers, Eccleston also describes how the tightening grip of dementia on his father slowly blinded him to his son’s existence, forcing a new and final chapter in their connection, and how ‘Ronnie Ecc’ still walks alongside him today. Told with trademark honesty and openness, I Love The Bones Of Youis a celebration of those on whom the spotlight so rarely shines, as told by a man who found his voice in its glare. A love letter to one man, and a paean to many.
‘My father was an “ordinary man”, which of course means he was extraordinary. I aim to capture him and his impact on my life and career.’ – Christopher Eccleston
Till the Cows Come Home by Sara Cox
Till the Cows Come Home is DJ and TV presenter Sara Cox’s wonderfully written, funny coming of age memoir of growing up in 1980s Lancashire.
The youngest of five siblings, Sara grew up on her father’s cattle farm surrounded by dogs, cows, horses, fields and lots of ‘cack’. The lanky kid sister – half girl, half forehead – a nuisance to the older kids, the farm was her very own dangerous adventure playground, ‘a Bolton version of Narnia’.
Her writing conjures up a time of wagon rides and haymaking and agricultural shows, alongside chain smoking pensioners, cabaret nights at the Conservative club and benign parenting. Sara’s love of family, of the animals and the people around them shines through on every page. Unforgettable characters are lovingly and expertly drawn bringing to life a time and place.
Sara later divided her childhood days between the beloved farm and the pub she lived above with her mother, these early experiences of freedom and adventure came to be the perfect training ground for later life.
The Five : the Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.
What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.
Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.
Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, historian Hallie Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, and gives these women back their stories.
The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell
Emma Mitchell has suffered with depression – or as she calls it, ‘the grey slug’ – for twenty-five years. In 2003, she moved from the city to the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens and began to take walks in the countryside around her new home, photographing, collecting and drawing as she went. Each walk lifted her mood, proving to be as medicinal as any talking therapy or pharmaceutical.
In Emma’s hand-illustrated diary, she takes us with her as she follows the paths and trails around her cottage and further afield, sharing her nature finds and tracking the lives of local flora and fauna over the course of a year. Reflecting on how these encounters impact her mood, Emma’s moving and candid account of her own struggles is a powerful testament to how reconnecting with nature may offer some answers to today’s mental health epidemic. While charting her own seasonal highs and lows, she also explains the science behind such changes, calling on new research into such areas as forest bathing and the ways in which our bodies and minds respond to plants and wildlife when we venture outdoors.
Written with Emma’s characteristic wit and frankness, and filled with her beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a truly unique book for anyone who has ever felt drawn to nature and wondered about its influence over us.
So that’s it for this month, hopefully enough for you to discover a new, bargain read.