A relatively quiet week this week, from previous experience that means it will be be a mega week next week. Looking at the number of titles I’ve picked up already that certainly looks as though that will be the case. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we need to enjoy this week’s goodies first.
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)
Edie Richter is Not Alone by Rebecca Handler
Funny, acerbic Edie Richter is moving with her husband from San Francisco to Perth, Australia. She leaves behind a sister and mother still mourning the recent death of her father. Before the move, Edie and her husband were content, if socially awkward―given her disinclination for small talk.
In Perth, Edie finds herself in a remarkably isolated yet verdant corner of the world, but Edie has a secret: she committed an unthinkable act that she can barely admit to herself. In some ways, the landscape mirrors her own complicated inner life, and rather than escaping her past, Edie is increasingly forced to confront what she’s done. Everybody, from the wildlife to her new neighbors, is keen to engage, and Edie does her best to start fresh. But her relationship with her husband is fraying, and the beautiful memories of her father are heartbreaking, and impossible to stop. Something, in the end, has to give.
The City of Good Death by Priyanka Champaneri
Banaras, Varanasi, Kashi: India’s holy city on the banks of the Ganges has many names but holds one ultimate promise for Hindus. It is the place where pilgrims come for a good death, to be released from the cycle of reincarnation by purifying fire. As the dutiful manager of a death hostel in Kashi, Pramesh welcomes the dying and assists families bound for the funeral pyres that burn constantly on the ghats. The soul is gone, the body is burnt, the time is past, he tells them. Detach.
After ten years in the timeless city, Pramesh can nearly persuade himself that here, there is no past or future. He lives contentedly at the death hostel with his wife, Shobha, their young daughter, Rani, the hostel priests, his hapless but winning assistant, and the constant flow of families with their dying. But one day the past arrives in the lifeless form of a man pulled from the river—a man with an uncanny resemblance to Pramesh.
Called “twins” in their childhood village, he and his cousin Sagar are inseparable until Pramesh leaves to see the outside world and Sagar stays to tend the land. After Pramesh marries Shobha, defying his family’s wishes, a rift opens up between the cousins that he has long since tried to forget. Do not look back. Detach. But for Shobha, Sagar’s reemergence casts a shadow over the life she’s built for her family. Soon, an unwelcome guest takes up residence in the death hostel, the dying mysteriously continue to live, and Pramesh is forced to confront his own ideas about death, rebirth, and redemption.
Told in lush, vivid detail and with an unforgettable cast of characters, The City of Good Death is a remarkable debut novel of family and love, memory and ritual, and the ways in which we honor the living and the dead.
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 Arsonists’ City by Hala Alyan
A rich family story, a personal look at the legacy of war in the Middle East, and an indelible rendering of how we hold on to the people and places we call home
The Nasr family is spread across the globe–Beirut, Brooklyn, Austin, the California desert. A Syrian mother, a Lebanese father, and three American children: all have lived a life of migration. Still, they’ve always had their ancestral home in Beirut–a constant touchstone–and the complicated, messy family love that binds them. But following his father’s recent death, Idris, the family’s new patriarch, has decided to sell.
The decision brings the family to Beirut, where everyone unites against Idris in a fight to save the house. They all have secrets–lost loves, bitter jealousies, abandoned passions, deep-set shame–that distance has helped smother. But in a city smoldering with the legacy of war, an ongoing flow of refugees, religious tension, and political protest, those secrets ignite, imperiling the fragile ties that hold this family together.
Hardback & eBook releases
Call Me Elizabeth Lark by Melissa Colasanti
Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happensher missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door. Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. Shes just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth. Except the Barkley girl didnt just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.
Angels Weep by Colin Falconer
Three can keep a secret. If two of them are dead…
Two women are snatched off the streets of London in one weekend.
DI Charlie George and his team get to work. The lives of these young women – one of them a mother – are on the line, and the clock is ticking.
When they catch a lucky break from a CCTV camera, Charlie is sure they have their man. And that’s when he gets his first surprise. Because nothing about this case is simple and not everyone is quite what they seem.
Charlie’s job is to find the missing women and get to the truth.
But some people would rather the truth stays hidden – even when the bodies start to pile up…
Paperback & eBook releases
A Funny Kind of Paradise by Jo Owens
When her husband left her with a baby, a toddler and a fledgling business, Francesca managed–she wasn’t always gentle or patient, but the business thrived and Chris and Angelina had food to eat. At nearly 70, she feels she’s earned a peaceful retirement. But when a massive stroke leaves her voiceless, partially paralyzed and wholly reliant on the staff of an extended care facility, it seems her freedom is lost.
However, Francesca is still clear-headed and sharp, and she knows one thing: she wants to live. She savours her view of a majestic chestnut tree through the hospital window, and speaks in her mind to her beloved friend Anna, dead for two years. The daily tasks and dramas of the rotating crew of care aides tether her to the world: Young Lily, eager to fall in love and regularly falling apart when things don’t work out; Michiko, with her spiky hair and tattoos and wicked sense of humour; Molly, endlessly kind and skilled in her work; Blaire, cold and enigmatic.
Amidst the indignities of bed baths and a feeding tube, Francesca is surprised to experience flashes of hilarity and joy, even the blossoming of a new friendship with a fellow patient. But as she reflects to Anna on her dutiful son and her troubled and absent daughter, regrets and painful realizations rise to the surface. For the first time, there is nowhere for Francesca to hide from her own choices, and she must reckon with her past before it’s too late. A Funny Kind of Paradise is a warm and insightful novel about one woman’s opportunity for reinvention–for unconditional love, acceptance and closure–in the unlikeliest of places.
Everything is Mine by Ruth Lillegraven
Clara and Henrik are married and living in a beautiful inherited villa in Oslo. She is a single-mindedly ambitious child-rights activist at the Ministry of Justice. Having grown up in rural Western Norway, she is also an Oslo outsider. Henrik is a doctor from a well-to-do Oslo family. Though their marriage is under serious strain, they share a devotion to their twin sons and their work. Outwardly, they’re a successful couple both dedicated to saving lives.
Then a Pakistani Norwegian child is admitted to Henrik’s hospital and dies in his care. The boy had clearly been the victim of child abuse. Soon after, a related murder rocks the city. It won’t be the last. The events unearth years of trauma, secrets, and buried resentments at the heart of Clara and Henrik’s fragile marriage.
Little by little, in the wake of these shattering crimes, the veneer of normalcy begins to fall away. But even then, nothing is as it appears.
Her Dark Lies by J T Ellison
Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets.
From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife.
Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…
The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson
A young girl, kidnapped on the eve of World War II, changes the lives of a German archaeologist forced into the Nazi Party and—decades later—a researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.
1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding—and what she begins to uncover—could put them both in mortal danger.
Eighty years later, Ember Ellis is a Holocaust researcher intent on confronting hatred toward the Jewish people and other minorities. She reconnects with a former teacher on Martha’s Vineyard after she learns that Mrs. Kiehl’s mother once worked with the Nazi Ahnenerbe. And yet, Mrs. Kiehl describes her mother as “a friend to the Jewish people.” Wondering how both could be true, Ember helps Mrs. Kiehl regain her fractured childhood memories of World War II while at the same time confronting the heartache of her own secret past—and the person who wants to silence Ember forever.
This Land is no Stranger by Sarah Hollister & Gil Reavill
With a career that is spiraling out of control and a nasty drug habit that has taken her to rock bottom, NYC detective Veronika Brand is looking for a way out. When a call from Sweden interrupts her personal chaos, the foreign tongue of her distant Swedish relatives pulls her across the Atlantic with the lure of adventure and escape. But what she finds is far from the idyllic picture her grandmother painted. Instead of long languid summers basking in the midnight sun, she unearths secrets long since buried in the frozen ground.
In Krister Hammar, a local Sami land rights lawyer, she thinks she has found a kindred spirit. But when they stumble upon a brutal murder scene in a manor house owned by the rivals of her family, she starts questioning his truth. She finds herself being moved like a chess piece between the desolate region of Härjedalen in the north and the steely-cold streets of Stockholm, scrambling to find the links between her family history, a trail of missing Roma girls, and a series of vicious murders. In unfamiliar territory on the wrong side of the law, Veronika has her sights set only on the beast that preys on the wicked. Will she be able to see past the lure of the northern lights to the dark secrets that threaten to destroy her?
Look What You Made Me Do by Nikki Smith
Sisters Jo and Caroline are used to hiding things from each other. They’ve never been close – taking it in turns to feel on the outside of their family unit, playing an endless game of favourites.
Jo envies Caroline’s life – things have always come so easy to her. Then a family inheritance falls entirely to Jo, and suddenly now Caroline wants what Jo has. Needs it, even.
But just how far will she go to get it?
Off the Wild Coast of Brittany by Juliet Blackwell
An unforgettable story of resilience and resistance set during WWII and present-day France on a secluded island off the coast of Brittany
Natalie Morgen made a name for herself with a memoir about overcoming her harsh childhood after finding a new life in Paris. After falling in love with a classically trained chef, they moved together to his ancestral home, a tiny fishing village off the coast of Brittany.
But then Francois-Xavier breaks things off with her without warning, leaving her flat broke and in the middle of renovating the guesthouse they planned to open for business. Natalie’s already struggling when her sister, Alex, shows up unannounced. The sisters form an unlikely partnership to save the guesthouse, reluctantly admitting their secrets to each other as they begin to heal the scars of their shared past.
But the property harbors hidden stories of its own. During World War II, every man of fighting age on the island fled to England to join the Free French forces. The women and children were left on their own…until three hundred German troops took up residence, living side-by-side with the French women on the tiny island for the next several years.
When Natalie and Alex unearth an old cookbook in a hidden cupboard, they find handwritten recipes that reveal old secrets. With the help of locals, the Morgen sisters begin to unravel the relationship between Violette, a young islander whose family ran the guesthouse during WWII, and Rainier, a German military customs official with a devastating secret of his own.
The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Nice girls can do bad things…
When Ambrosia first arrives at prestigious college Wesleyan, she’s desperate to fit in. But Amb struggles to navigate the rules of this strange, elite world, filled with privileged ‘nice’ young women – until she meets the charismatic but troubled Sully, with whom she forms an obsessive friendship.
Intoxicated by Sully’s charm and determined to impress her, Amb finds herself drawn deep into her new best friend’s dangerous manipulations. But if she wants to play Sully at her own game, Amb has no idea just how devastating the consequences will be…
A New York Secret by Ella Carey
She looked at the telegram in horror, the words blurring in front of her eyes. She dropped to her knees, feeling that her entire world was ending. The paper slipped from her hands as she put her head in hands, sobs wracking her chest…
1942, New York. As war rages in Europe, Lily Rose is grateful for her perfect life: the love of her wealthy uptown parents in their beautiful brownstone overlooking the park and her dream job as a chef at one of New York’s finest restaurants, the art deco dream that is Valentino’s. But in her heart, Lily is drawn towards the bohemian Sicilian community in Greenwich Village, where gorgeous fresh fruit spills onto the pavement and the smell of freshly baked cannoli tempt her inside every Italian deli.
Part of the attraction is Tom Morelli, talented chef and handsome grandson of Sicilian immigrants, whose deep brown eyes call to her and set her heart on fire. As wartime rationing bites in the city, Lily and Tom stay up late, dreaming up delicious meals that will see Valentino’s through the war and distract New Yorkers from the threat of sons and sweethearts being called up. Lily knows he has found the key to her heart.
Then Tom receives a devastating summons that changes everything: he is drafted to Italy. He must return to his beautiful homeland to fight a desperate war.
Suddenly alone, with only the memory of Tom’s last kiss, Lily turns to her parents for support. But when her mother finds out about her relationship, she is furious. When the war ends, Lily’s duty is to marry the man picked for her, raise children and never work again. They give her a heartbreaking ultimatum: end her relationship with Tom and give up her job or lose her family and inheritance forever.
Lily knows she must follow her heart to Valentino’s and to Tom. But when Tom is declared missing in action, Lily is totally heartbroken. If she pursues her dreams, will there be anything left for her when the war is over?
Everything After by Jill Santopolo
The Light We Lost mixes with a touch of Daisy Jones and the Six in this novel of first love, passion, and the power of choice–and how we cannot escape the people we are meant to be.
Two loves. Two choices. One chance to follow her dreams.
Emily has come a long way since she lost her two passions fifteen years ago: music, and Rob. She’s a psychologist at NYU who helps troubled college students like the one she once was. Together with her caring doctor husband, Ezra, she has a beautiful life. They’re happy. They hope to start a family. But when a tragic event in Emily’s present too closely echoes her past, and parts of her story that she’d hoped never to share come to light, her perfect life is suddenly upturned. Then Emily hears a song on the radio about the woman who got away. The melody and voice are hauntingly familiar. Could it be? As Emily’s past passions come roaring back into her life, she’ll find herself asking: Who is she meant to be? Who is she meant to love?
OK folks, that’s it for another week, anything take your fancy?
See you – same time, same place next week.