Can’t believe it’s Monday again already, where did the week go? Hopefully you spent some of it reading and no doubt adding to your tbr pile. Well the bad news is here are a few more to choose from.
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)
Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
What war destroys, only love can heal.
Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.
As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.
Red Island House by Andrea Lee
“People do mysterious things when they think they’ve found paradise,” reflects Shay, the heroine of Red Island House. When Shay, a Black American professor who’s always had an adventurous streak, marries Senna, an Italian businessman, she doesn’t imagine that her life’s greatest adventure will carry her far beyond their home in Milan to an idyllic stretch of beach in Madagascar, where Senna builds a flamboyant vacation villa. Before she knows it, Shay has become the somewhat reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, caught between her privileged American upbringing and her connection to the continent of her ancestors.
At first, she’s content to be an observer of the passionate affairs and fierce rivalries around her, but over twenty tumultuous years of marriage, as she and Senna raise children and establish their own rituals at the house, Shay finds herself drawn ever deeper into a place where a blend of magic, sexual intrigue, and transgression forms a modern-day parable of colonial conquest. Soon the collision of cultures comes right to Shay’s door, forcing her to make a life-altering decision that will change her and Senna’s lives forever.
The Vietri Project by Nicola Derobertis-Theye
A search for a mysterious customer in Rome leads a young bookseller to confront the complicated history of her family, and that of Italy itself, in this achingly intimate debut with echoes of Lily King and Elif Batuman.
Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well-concealed facts of his life.
Following a trail of obituaries and military records, a memoir of life in a village forgotten by modernity, and the court records of a communist murder trial, Gabriele meets an eclectic assortment of the city’s inhabitants, from the widow of an Italian prisoner of war to members of a generation set adrift by the financial crisis. Each encounter draws her unexpectedly closer to her own painful past and complicated family history–an Italian mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized during her childhood, and an extended family in Rome still recovering from the losses and betrayals in their past. Through these voices and histories, Gabriele will discover what it means to be a person in the world; a member of a family and a citizen of a country–and how reconciling these stories may be the key to understanding her own.
Hardback & eBook releases
King of Rabbits by Karla Neblett
Kai lives in a mixed-race family on a rural council estate in Somerset where he and his three older sisters have three different dads, and his mum is being led into crack addiction by his petty-thief father. He idolises his dad, adores his friend Saffie and the school rabbit Flopsy, and is full of ambition to be the fastest runner in Middledown Primary. He and Saffie build a secret world of friendship in the school garden. But Kai’s natural optimism, imagination and energy run up against adult behaviour he doesn’t understand: his parents’ on-and-off romance, his dad’s increasing addiction and the limitations of poverty. Despite the people who try to look out for him, notably his loving Nanny Sheila and his big sister Leah, Kai’s life drifts towards a tragedy from which it is hard for him to recover. The refuge he seeks in his love of nature, and the wild rabbits who have made their burrows in the woods, may not be refuge enough.
Common Ground by Naomi Ishiguro
It’s a lonely life for Stan, at a new school that feels more ordeal than fresh start, and at home where he and his mother struggle to break the silence after his father’s death. When he encounters fearless, clever Charlie on the local common, all of that begins to change. Charlie’s curiosity is infectious, and it is Charlie who teaches Stan, for the first time, to stand on his own two feet. But will their unit of two be strong enough to endure in a world that offers these boys such different prospects?
The pair part ways, until their paths cross once again, as adults in London. Now Stan is revelling in all that the city has to offer, while Charlie seems to have hit a brick wall. He needs Stan’s help, and above all his friendship, but is Stan really there for the man who once showed him the meaning of loyalty?
Before the Storm by Alex Gray
Inspector Daniel Kohi of the Zimbabwean police force returns home one night to find his worst nightmare has been realised. His family dead, his house destroyed, and in fear for his life, he is forced to flee the country he loves.
Far away in Glasgow, DSI William Lorimer has his hands full. Christmas is approaching, the city is bustling, and whilst the homicide rate has been relatively low, something much darker is brewing. Counter-Terrorism have got wind of a plot, here in Lorimer’s native city, to carry out an unspeakable atrocity on Christmas Eve. They need someone with local knowledge to help them root it out and who better than the head of the Scottish Major Incidents Team.
But the investigation is complicated by a spate of local murders, and by the rumours that someone is passing information to criminal organisations from inside the police force. Soon Lorimer finds himself in desperate need of assistance. Then he meets an extraordinary man – a refugee from Zimbabwe whose investigative skills are a match for Lorimer’s own . . .
Blood Ties by Brian McGilloway
How can a dead woman avenge herself on her killer twenty years after her murder?
This is the puzzle facing Ben Devlin in his latest case. He is called to the scene of a murder – a man has been stabbed to death in his rented room and when his identity is discovered Devlin feels a ghost walk over his grave as he knows the name Brooklyn Harris well. As a teenager, Harris beat his then-girlfriend Hannah Row to death, and then spent twelve years in prison for the murder.
As Devlin investigates the dead man’s movements since his release it becomes apparent Harris has been grooming teenage girls online and then arranging to meet them. But his activities have been discovered by others, notably a vigilante, who goes straight to the top of Devlin’s list of suspects… until he uncovers that Harris was killed on the anniversary of Hannah’s death – just too big a coincidence in Devlin’s books. So Hannah’s family join the ever-growing list of suspects being interviewed by his team. And then forensics contact Devlin with the astounding news that blood found on Harris’s body is a perfect match to that of Hannah Row’s. Yet how can this be; the girl was murdered many years ago – and Devlin doesn’t believe in ghosts.
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?
What would you do to get it back?
Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.
But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.
Unsettled Ground is a heart-stopping novel of betrayal and resilience, love and survival. It is a portrait of life on the fringes of society that explores with dazzling emotional power how we can build our lives on broken foundations, and spin light from darkness.
The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart
In Second World War Bath, young, naïve wireless engineer Will meets Austrian refugee Elsa Klein: she is sophisticated, witty and worldly, and at last his life seems to make sense . . . until, soon after, the newly married couple’s home is bombed, and Will awakes from the wreckage to find himself alone.
No one has heard of Elsa Klein. They say he was never married.
Seventy years later, social worker Laura is battling her way out of depression and off medication. Her new case is a strange, isolated old man whose house hasn’t changed since the war. A man who insists his wife vanished many, many years before. Everyone thinks he’s suffering dementia. But Laura begins to suspect otherwise . . .
The April Dead by Alan Parks
NO ONE WILL FORGET . . .
In a grimy flat in Glasgow, a homemade bomb explodes, leaving few remains to identify its maker.
Detective Harry McCoy knows in his gut that there’ll be more to follow. The hunt for a missing sailor from the local US naval base leads him to the secretive group behind the bomb, and their disturbing, dominating leader.
On top of that, McCoy thinks he’s doing an old friend a favour when he passes on a warning, but instead he’s pulled into a vicious gang feud. And in the meantime, there’s word another bigger explosion is coming Glasgow’s way – so if the city is to survive, it’ll take everything McCoy’s got . . .
Last One Home by Shari J Ryan
AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR
THIS IS NOT A DRILL
Piercing sirens led to cries for help. The pungent scents of burning oil would be seared into our memories forever, and the meaning behind loss was incomprehensible on that infamous day in history.
Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Salzberg, a nursing student and strong-willed Jewish woman, lived under the strict guidance of her father, a naval commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Oahu, Hawaii. For the five years following her mother’s untimely death, Elizabeth had struggled to abide by society’s expectations of a woman’s duties. While spending her days preparing meals and keeping a clean house for her father and brothers, Elizabeth desired a more profound sense of worth and purpose in life.
Elizabeth’s dream of escaping the rigorous daily grind was drifting out to sea just before her unexpected encounter with the new handsome lieutenant on base. Everett Anderson, a former Hollywood actor who put his career on hold to serve in the Army is the talk of the town as women gossip over his arrival. Despite the attention, Everett fell for Elizabeth at first sight, but unbeknownst to him, she was the commander’s daughter and off-limits to all servicemen on base.
On the morning of December 7th, 1941, a forbidden romance was the least of Elizabeth and Everett’s worries when they found themselves fearing for their lives as they dropped to the ground beneath the air attack that would wipe out the U.S. Fleet within hours.
Elizabeth saw this pivotal moment as a turning point in her life. An opportunity to join the Army Nurse Corps was the purpose she had been seeking. She knew the country needed her services. This path was in resistance to her father’s wishes and would likely disrupt any future plans between her and Everett, but despite the internal battle to make a life-altering decision, Elizabeth felt an overwhelming need to prove her strength as a coming of age woman at a time when equality was more important than ever.
Could Elizabeth and Everett survive the bloodshed and tears of war, or would one have to come home without the other?
Half Life by Jillian Cantor
The USA Today bestselling author of In Another Time reimagines the pioneering, passionate life of Marie Curie using a parallel structure to create two alternative timelines, one that mirrors her real life, one that explores the consequences for Marie and for science if she’d made a different choice.
In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.But what if she had made a different choice?
What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted, instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie?Entwining Marie Curie’s real story with Marya Zorawska’s fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled–and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge. Through parallel contrasting versions of Marya’s life, Jillian Cantor’s unique historical novel asks what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. It examines how the lives of one remarkable woman and the people she loved – as well as the world at large and course of science and history–might have been irrevocably changed in ways both great and small.
The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams
mountweazel, noun: a fake entry deliberately inserted into a dictionary or work of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement.
In the final year of the nineteenth century, Peter Winceworth has reached the letter ‘S’, toiling away for the much-anticipated and multi-volume Swansby’s New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Overwhelmed at his desk and increasingly uneasy that his colleagues are attempting to corral language and regiment facts, Winceworth feels compelled to assert some sense of individual purpose and exercise artistic freedom, and begins inserting unauthorised, fictitious entries into the dictionary.
In the present day, young intern Mallory is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels as the text of the dictionary is digitised for modern readers. Through the words and their definitions she finds she has access to their creator’s motivations, hopes and desires. More pressingly, she must also field daily threatening anonymous phone calls. Is a suggested change to the dictionary’s definition of marriage (n.) really that controversial? What power does Mallory have when it comes to words and knowing how to tell the truth? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby’s staff to ‘burn in hell’?
As their two narratives combine, Winceworth and Mallory must discover how to negotiate the complexities of an often nonsensical, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable life.
Paperback & eBook releases
Close My Eyes by Beverley Harvey
It starts with a chance sighting: a face from her past, someone Beth hasn’t thought about for years. Suddenly she feels a terrifying wave of panic – the flash of a memory, of crushing weight and pain, and the flicker of firelight and smoke. Something in Beth’s past has been disturbed… And nothing will ever be the same again.
You’ve started to remember…
Beth never had any reason to doubt her peaceful, happy upbringing. Then she suddenly starts getting awful flashes of an event from her past – a vicious attack from an unknown person. And she thinks it could be more than just a nightmare. But how could she forget something this big?
Someone wants you to forget…
With no husband or boyfriend to turn to, she asks her trusted family and old friends for reassurance, only to hear that it must all be in her head. Meanwhile, the flashes get stronger, more frightening, and more details start to come back to her – details she knows she couldn’t have invented. But these are people who have known her all her life and have her best interests at heart. Who should she believe?
What will you risk to discover the truth?
Beth is determined to understand the meaning of these memories even if it means going it alone. But is she prepared for what she will find? Because the truth will ruin someone’s life – and they will stop at nothing to keep the past forgotten.
When the Evil Waits by MJ Lee
A child’s body in an unmarked grave. A killer waiting to strike again.
A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.
After two weeks, the police have made no progress finding the killer. The one thing they do know; he will kill again. It is a race against time – and they are losing.
DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work. Diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing supervised psychological therapy, he is dragged into the case against his better judgement. When another child is kidnapped, Ridpath must confront his own demons to stop a killer before he strikes again.
All the Little Things by Sarah Lawton
Never trust anyone. Never trust yourself.
Rachel has made poor decisions in the past, but she has always tried her best for her daughter. When Vivian needed a fresh start, Rachel didn’t hesitate to move them far from London. She just wishes she could shake the nagging doubt that Vivian is hiding something.
Vivian isn’t like other teenagers. On the surface she seems the same as her friends, but she knows she is different. When enigmatic Alex takes an interest in her, Vivian’s cool demeanour hides an intensity of feeling she has never known before. His touch sets her skin on fire.
Mother and daughter are both keeping secrets. But just how dangerous are they? As lust and anger give way to violence Rachel will have to decide: is she prepared to give up everything for her child? Even her own life?
You Let me Go by Eliza Graham
A secret family history of love, anguish and betrayal.
After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?
The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall by Jessica Thorne
September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.
Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.
Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?
Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?
On Cold Ground by D S Butler
A merciless killer who will stop at nothing. And a detective with nothing left to lose.
When Detective Karen Hart hears a scream echoing out of beautiful Lincoln Cathedral one snowy evening, she is the first officer on the scene. In the chapel a man lies murdered, a bloody cross carved into his forehead.
The twisted killing sends this close-knit community into shock. And a note to the police from the murderer, signed by ‘The Cleanser’, confirms their worst fears: this sadistic slaying is the first of many. The ritual killings will never stop until Hart uncovers the murderer’s ungodly motive.
When early leads become dead ends, Karen starts to wonder if there’s a link to a rumoured conspiracy within police ranks—particularly when an abrasive new officer is assigned to the case. Could the key to catching ‘The Cleanser’ be dangerously close to home? Meanwhile, she is battling her own demons as she struggles to come to terms with the deaths of her husband and daughter.
In her toughest case yet, Karen will come closer than ever before to a dangerous truth. Can she put the pieces of the puzzle together before she’s stopped in her tracks?
Mercoeur by Angela Wren
On a quiet forest walk, Investigator Jacques Forêt encounters a sinister scene. Convinced there is evidence of malicious intent, he treats his discovery as a crime scene.
But intent for what? Without a body, how can he be sure that a crime has been – or is about to be – committed? Without a body, how can Jacques be sure that it’s murder, and not suicide? Without a body, how can the perpetrator be found?
A baffling case that tests Jacques to his limits.
Raft of Stars by Andrew J Graff
One summer night in Wisconsin, the lives of two ten-year-old boys are changed forever…
Tired of seeing his best friend Dale Breadwin abused by his alcoholic father, Fischer Branson takes action. A gunshot rings out, and Bread and Fish flee into the woods. They build a raft, but the river quickly leads them into even greater danger.
In their wake travel a group of adults – each determined to save the boys from the terrors of Ironsford Gorge.
The further they go, the more the wilderness starts to change them in profound and unexpected ways. And when they reach the edge of the Gorge itself, they begin to understand the true violence and beauty of the natural world, and its ability to heal.
No matter where you run danger will always follow…
Blood Stained by Rebecca Bradley
Can’t find her.
Can’t catch him.
Can’t trust anyone.
The first in a gripping new Sheffield-set crime series starring Detective Claudia Nunn.
Detective Claudia Nunn’s colleague DS Dominic Harrison has been leading the case against a dangerous serial killer, who hunts his victims using a dating app. But now his own wife has gone missing.
Then a large pool of blood is discovered in their garage. And Dominic is the prime suspect.
Is Dominic being framed by a serial killer or will Claudia expose an even uglier truth?
Can’t tell a soul how it ends.
The Sister Surprise by Abigail Mann
Journalist Ava takes a DNA test hoping to discover her roots. Instead, she finds out she has a half-sister … whilst on a live stream watched by 100,000 people. Her boss thinks it’s the perfect click-bait story. Ava just wants to go to Moira’s tiny Scottish village and meet her.
But when Ava arrives undercover as a volunteer farmhand, she realises Moira – who’s her pig-wrestling, chatterbox polar opposite – might not be delighted by the news. And the longer Ava stays in Kilroch, with its inappropriately attractive minister and ties to her hidden family past, the more complicated this surprise is going to get…
Last Seen by Joy Kluver
I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…
When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.
Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.
But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?
And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.
Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.
Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?
The Invitation by A M Castle
Thirteen guests. One killer. No escape.
On an island on the coast of Cornwall, cut off from the mainland by the tides for most of the day, thirteen old friends meet at Tregowan Castle for a weekend of revelry.
By the next evening only twelve are still alive.
Amongst them is a killer – but who? As a storm traps them on the island and past betrayals and grievances are revealed, nerves fray and friendships begin to fracture.
But with no escape and no way of calling for help it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. And when everyone is keeping secrets, anybody could be the next victim…
The Resort by M J Hardy
When three women win a holiday in a Facebook competition, they think it’s by chance.
When one woman accompanies her husband on business, she thinks she’ll return with him.
Welcome to the resort, where nothing is as it seems.
Invited guests testing the facilities before it opens its doors in one weeks’ time face some uncomfortable truths.
Who will survive the week and who won’t leave at all?
The Car Share by Zoe Brisby
A ninety-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s and a heartbroken young man end up sharing a ride to Brussels that changes their lives forever.
When Alex pulls up to meet “Max”, he expects everything but a ninety-year-old lady who has her heart set on getting to Brussels by carpool.
As for ‘Max’, who is actually called Maxine, she could not be more ill at ease when settling into the seat next to this young man with bloodshot eyes. God help her if he turned out to be a drug addict who hasn’t slept in days!
When it becomes clear that Maxine is suffering from Alzheimer’s and wants to take matters in her own hands while she still can, and that Alex battles severe depression, a wonderful friendship starts to form between the unlikely pair. Before long, their travel plans take an unexpected turn…
OK folks, that’s it for another week, anything take your fancy?
See you – same time, same place next week.