The ‘Kindle Monthly Sale’ is now a variety of different ‘offers’ bundled together and they may in some cases last longer (but hopefully not shorter) than the current month, this particularly applies to titles priced at £1. As a result I’ve decided not to include the £1 books in my selection, anyone wanting to look quickly at those can look here. As a general rule I’d suggest if you see something you want and can afford it, get it sooner rather than later, just in case!
Continuing my policy of trying to be more selective (famous last words) I’ve been quite ruthless in predominantly restricting the titles to those published largely since 2018. This is based on the assumption that the longer a book has been around it’s more likely to have hit your radar already. I’m also 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 might still throw in a few golden oldies that I’ve read and loved. 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.
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 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 Confession by Jo Spain
Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.
An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.
Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?
Cruel Acts by Jane Casey
A year ago, Leo Stone was convicted of murdering two women and sentenced to life in prison. Now he’s been freed on a technicality, and he’s protesting his innocence.
DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent are determined to put Stone back behind bars where he belongs, but the more Maeve digs, the less convinced she is that he did it.
The wrong decision could be deadly…
Then another woman disappears in similar circumstances. Is there a copycat killer, or have they been wrong about Stone from the start?
Dead at First Sight by Peter James
You don’t know me, but I thought I knew you . . .
A man waits at a London airport for Ingrid Ostermann, the love of his life, to arrive. Across the Atlantic, a retired NYPD cop waits in a bar in Florida’s Key West for his first date with the lady who is, without question, his soulmate. The two men are about to discover they’ve been scammed out of almost every penny they have in the world – and that neither women exist.
Meanwhile, a wealthy divorcée plunges, in suspicious circumstances, from an apartment block in Munich. In the same week, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to investigate the suicide of a woman in Brighton, that is clearly not what it seems. As his investigations continue, a handsome Brighton motivational speaker comes forward. He’s discovered his identity is being used to scam eleven different women, online. The first he knew of it was a phone call from one of them, out of the blue, saying, ‘You don’t know me, but I thought I knew you’.
That woman is now dead.
Burnt Island by Kate Rhodes
INTRUDERS HERE ARE BOUND TO DIE . . .
As the sun sets on a cold November evening, the tiny community of St Agnes prepares for their annual Fifth-of-November festivities. Moments before the fireworks are scheduled to commence, an islander discovers a charred body left on the bonfire, and quickly it becomes clear that a killer is at large.
Ben Kitto is the Deputy Chief of Police for the Scilly Isles, and with a killer on the loose, he has no choice but to forbid all residents from leaving the island. With a population of just eighty people, everyone is a suspect and no one is safe.
When threats start appearing, written in the old Cornish language, Ben suspects that the killer’s motive is to rid the island of the newcomers who threaten their traditions. With time running out, Ben hurries to discover the secrets of the island’s peculiar residents, but he knows it’s only a matter of time before another fire is started . . .
No place to run.
No place to hide.
One Way Out by A A Dhand
If Luther was set in Bradford…
The government is firm, it does not negotiate with terrorists. But Detective Harry Virdee’s wife has been taken hostage. He can see only one way out.
‘One of the most multi-layered policemen to have appeared in recent years’ Mail on Sunday
IMMINENT SECURITY ALERT, LEAVE CITY PARK IMMEDIATELY.
DCI Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt; there is worse to come.
A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtareen – the chosen ones.
The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.
But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtareen, to offer the Patriots his own deal. Because sometimes the only way to save lives, is to take them.
A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin
Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder
When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.
But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to the former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.
Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.
Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
Jack McEvoy is a reporter with a track record in finding killers. But he’s never been accused of being one himself.
Jack went on one date with Tina Portrero. The next thing he knows, the police are at his house telling Jack he’s a suspect in her murder.
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t like being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Or maybe it’s because the method of her murder is so chilling that he can’t get it out of his head.
But as he uses his journalistic skills to open doors closed to the police, Jack walks a thin line between suspect and detective – between investigation and obsession – on the trail of a killer who knows his victims better than they know themselves…
Rites of Spring by Anders de la Motte
Southern Sweden: Beautiful countryside, endless forests, coastal walks, dark days – and even darker nights. But beneath the beauty lies a dark heart . . .
Skåne, 1986: On the night of Walpurgis, the eve of May Day, where bonfires are lit to ward off evil spirits and preparations are made to celebrate the renewal of spring, a sixteen-year-old girl is ritualistically murdered in the woods beside a castle. Her stepbrother is convicted of the terrible deed and shortly after, the entire family vanishes without a trace.
Spring, 2019: Dr Thea Lind moves into the castle. After making a strange discovery in an ancient oak tree on the grounds, her fascination with the old tragedy deepens. As she uncovers more and more similarities between her own troubled past and the murdered girl, she begins to believe that the real truth of the killing was never uncovered.
What if the spring of 1986 claimed more than one victim?
The Other Woman by Jane Isaac
When Cameron Swift is shot and killed outside his family home, DC Beth Chamberlain is appointed Family Liaison Officer. Her role is to support the family – and investigate them.
Monika, Cameron’s partner and mother of two sons, had to be prised off his lifeless body after she discovered him. She has no idea why anyone would target Cameron.
Beth can understand Monika’s confusion. To everyone in their affluent community, Monika and her family seemed just like any other. But then Beth gets a call.
Sara is on holiday with her daughters when she sees the news. She calls the police in the UK, outraged that no one has contacted her to let her know or offer support. After all, she and Cameron had been together for the last seven years.
Until Cameron died, Monika and Sara had no idea each other existed.
As the case unfolds, Beth discovers that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has secrets. Especially the dead…
Previously published as After He’s Gone, The Other Woman is the first book featuring DC Beth Chamberlain.
I am Dust by Louise Beech
A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…
The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…
Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?
Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?
Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?
Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.
And Chloe has been watching…
The Runaway by Linda Huber
Keep your secrets close to home…
Bad things happen in threes – or so it seems to Nicola. The death of her mother-in-law coincides with husband Ed losing his job and daughter Kelly getting into trouble with the police. Time to abandon their London lifestyle and start again by the sea in far-away Cornwall.
It should be the answer to everything – a new home, a new job for Ed and a smaller, more personal school for fifteen-year-old Kelly. But the teenager hates her new life, and it doesn’t take long before events spiral out of control and the second set of bad things starts for Nicola.
Some secrets can’t be buried.
Or… can they?
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. But when her mom falls ill, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, running her most dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer – but behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy.
After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, a mansion of dark secrets. It’s there that her path collides with Nina’s and gives way to a winter of desire and aspiration, duplicity and revenge.
Killing Mind by Angela Marsons
It had seemed so simple. Get in, get the information, get out. But now they were getting inside her mind and she didn’t know how to stop them…
When Detective Kim Stone is called to the home of Samantha Brown, she finds the young woman lying in bed with her throat cut and a knife in her hand. With no sign of forced entry or struggle, Kim rules her death a tragic suicide.
But a visit to Samantha’s parents rings alarm bells for Kim – there’s something they’re not telling her. And, when she spots a clue in a photograph, Kim realises she’s made a huge mistake. Samantha didn’t take her own life, she was murdered.
Then a young man’s body is found in a local lake with his throat cut and Kim makes a link between the victim and Samantha. They both spent time at Unity Farm, a retreat for people seeking an alternative way of life.
Beneath the retreat’s cosy façade, Kim and her team uncover a sinister community preying on the emotionally vulnerable.
Sending one of her own undercover into Unity Farm is high risk but it’s Kim’s only hope if she is to catch a killer – someone Kim is convinced the victims knew and trusted.
With Bryant distracted by the emergence of a harrowing case close to his heart, and an undercover officer in way over her head, Kim’s neck is on the line like never before. Can she protect those closest to her before another life is taken?
Midnight at Malabar House by Vaseem Khan
Bombay, New Year’s Eve, 1949
As India celebrates the arrival of a momentous new decade, Inspector Persis Wadia stands vigil in the basement of Malabar House, home to the city’s most unwanted unit of police officers. Six months after joining the force she remains India’s first female police detective, mistrusted, sidelined and now consigned to the midnight shift.
And so, when the phone rings to report the murder of prominent English diplomat Sir James Herriot, the country’s most sensational case falls into her lap.
As 1950 dawns and India prepares to become the world’s largest republic, Persis, accompanied by Scotland Yard criminalist Archie Blackfinch, finds herself investigating a case that is becoming more political by the second. Navigating a country and society in turmoil, Persis, smart, stubborn and untested in the crucible of male hostility that surrounds her, must find a way to solve the murder – whatever the cost.
Once Upon a Lie by Lisa Ballantyne
Clare and Lorraine have been friends since college and trust each other with their lives. So when Lorraine, a single mother, needs a much-needed night away without her children, she calls on Clare and her husband Sam to look after them. They’re godparents – what could go wrong?
While Clare and Sam believe the children to be asleep, the unimaginable happens and Clare finds baby Theo lifeless in his room. The police are called. Statements are taken. But the biggest nightmare for any parent is about to spiral out of control.
Because a lie has been told. An enormous and terrible one.
Out of Clare, Sam and Lorraine, one of them isn’t telling the truth . . .
Good Girl by Mel Sherratt
When sixteen-year-old Erin Ellis is attacked, she dies in the arms of her best friend Molly, just metres from her home. Molly is the surviving girl but says she easily could have been the victim – it was a random mugging gone wrong.
With inconclusive evidence, DS Grace Allendale must dig deep within the tight-knit Stoke community for leads. And she soon finds that someone had a motive to kill Erin.
As the investigation unfolds, Grace is reminded of a horrifying case she worked on earlier in her career.
Is the past coming back to haunt her? And can she push through her fear to catch Erin’s killer before it’s too late?
The Last Thing to Burn by Will Dean
He is her husband. She is his captive.
Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.
She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.
Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.
For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him, and waiting . . .
The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper
Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .
It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.
While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .
Black Widows by Cate Quinn
Blake Nelson moved onto a hidden stretch of land – a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah – where he lived with his three wives:
Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault.
Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn’t.
And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else.
When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up.
But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake.
Or, at least, that’s what they’ll tell the police…
Fatal Isles by Maria Adolfsson
A remote island. A brutal murder. A secret hidden in the past . . .
In the middle of the North Sea, between the UK and Denmark, lies the beautiful and rugged island nation of Doggerland.
Detective Inspector Karen Eiken Hornby has returned to the main island, Heimö, after many years in London and has worked hard to become one of the few female police officers in Doggerland.
So, when she wakes up in a hotel room next to her boss, Jounas Smeed, she knows she’s made a big mistake. But things are about to get worse: later that day, Jounas’s ex-wife is found brutally murdered. And Karen is the only one who can give him an alibi.
The news sends shockwaves through the tight-knit island community, and with no leads and no obvious motive for the murder, Karen struggles to find the killer in a race against time.
Soon she starts to suspect that the truth might lie in Doggerland’s history. And the deeper she digs, the clearer it becomes that even small islands can hide deadly secrets . . .
When They Find Her by Lia Middleton
NAOMI ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A MOTHER.
But three years ago, her husband left, taking their child with him.
Now, her daughter has come to stay, and Naomi knows it’s her one chance to re-build her family.
But the night ends in a terrible accident.
And Naomi has no memory of what happened.
Panicking, desperate, Naomi finds herself telling a lie:
‘My daughter is missing.’
NOW SHE CAN NEVER TAKE IT BACK…
The Whispers by Heidi Perks
A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?
Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.
She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life. . .
But what has happened to her?
At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start. Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers, and certain that someone is hiding the truth.
With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And a the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks. . .
Look What You Made me Do by Nikki Smith
Two people can keep a secret . . . if one of them is dead.
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?
The Little Lies by Valerie Keogh
Could you keep a secret if your life depended on it?
When Jodie, a nurse with a long-held secret, starts dating Flynn she believes the past is firmly behind her.
Little does she know that Victor Hill, a man from her childhood, has been following her for years and thinks it’s time he makes his presence felt…
Oblivious to the evil lurking behind her, Jodie is certain that nothing can spoil her life, but a call from the manager of the nursing home where she works changes everything.
Then the discovery of a parcel tied to her front door rocks her world further and as everything begins to crumble around her, she wonders who she can trust.
Is the man from her past responsible for her torment, or does someone much closer to home have Jodie in their sights?
Feel Good Fiction & Romance
The Lido by Libby Page
Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers…
Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.
Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She’s on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.
So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim – it is the heart of the community.
A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino
Here is your chance to buy your own home in southern Italy for less than the price of a cup of coffee. The picturesque mountain town of Montenello is selling off some of its historic buildings for just ONE EURO each. The only conditions are that purchasers must renovate their new home within the next three years and that they plan to contribute in a meaningful way to this small community.
To be considered as a future resident of Montenello contact the town’s mayor, Augusto Rossi. Live your dream of Italy for just one euro.
When the Mayor of a picturesque Italian town launches a new scheme to rejuvenate the community, his advertisement is read with interest and excitement by many. Zara is in her thirties and desperate to get on the property ladder. Tim and Lynda are retiring and need a project. Some are looking for a peaceful bolthole. Others hope to make a profit, start a business, escape a dull life or an unhappy relationship. And there is someone who just might be hiding their true motivation…
The Secret to Happiness by Jessica Redland
Danniella is running from her past, so when she arrives at the beautiful seaside resort of Whitsborough Bay, the last thing on her mind is making friends. After all, they might find out her secrets…
Alison is fun, caring and doesn’t take herself too seriously. But beneath the front, she is a lost soul, stuck in a terrible relationship, with body confidence issues and no family to support her. All she really needs is a friend.
Karen’s romance has taken a back seat to her fitness business. But she doesn’t want to give up on love quite yet. If only those mysterious texts would stop coming through…
When the women meet at their local bootcamp, a deep friendship blossoms. And soon they realise that the secret to happiness is where they least expected to find it…
Things Can Only Get Better by David M Barnett
For elderly churchwarden Arthur Calderbank, there’s no place like home. His home just so happens to be a graveyard.
He keeps himself to himself, gets on with his job, and visits his wife everyday for a chat. When one day he finds someone else has been to see his wife – and has left flowers on her grave – he is determined to solve the mystery of who and why. He receives unlikely help from a group of teenage girls as he searches for answers, and soon learns that there is more to life than being surrounded by death.
Set during the 90s, when we were all just common people believing things could only get better, this is an uplifting story about the power of a little kindness, friendship and community.
Five French Hens by Judy Leigh
The best days of your life might be still to come…
When 73 year old Jen announces that she is going to marry Eddie, a man she met just a few months previously on a beach on Boxing Day, her four best friends from aqua aerobics are flabbergasted.
The wedding is booked and, when the groom decides to have a stag trip to Las Vegas, the ladies arrange a hen party to beat all others -a week in the city of love, Paris.
From misadventures at the Louvre, outrageous Parisian cabarets, to drinking champagne with a dashing millionaire at the casino, Paris lives up to all their hopes and dreams. But a week can change everything, and the women that come home have very different dreams from the ones who got on the plane just days ago.
Looking for Lucy by Julie Houston
Clementine needs to find Lucy before it’s all too late. She also knows bringing up a child on your own down on Emerald Street where the street walkers ply their trade isn’t easy, even when your daughter’s as adorable as four-year-old Allegra.
When Peter Broadbent, wealthy, kind and possessed of the most beautiful house Clementine has ever seen, proposes, she knows it seems almost too good to be true.
Will this be the happy-ever-after Clementine deserves, or will her dreams come crumbling down around her?
Saving Missy by Beth Morrey
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find where you truly belong…
Seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?
Missy Carmichael is prickly, stubborn – and terribly lonely. Until a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new. Something wonderful.
Missy was used to her small, solitary existence, listening to her footsteps echoing around the empty house, the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock. After all, she had made her life her way.
Now another life is beckoning to Missy – if she’s brave enough…
Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas
Can Del find her recipe for happiness?
Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie.
Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? After discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?
Grace by Patricia Dixon
Miles away from home, can you survive Christmas alone?
Singleton Grace loves Christmas and having all her family with her on the day. But this year things will be different.
One by one, each of her three children announce that they have other plans for the holidays, leaving Grace home alone with a dilemma. Should she put on a brave face or admit she is hurt?
After deciding it’s time for a change, Grace books a cottage in the French countryside for Christmas.
Max is also at life’s crossroads after coming to terms with the end of his marriage. Making a spur of the moment decision, Max heads to the Loire where he hopes to clear his head, see the sights and escape the festivities.
In the meantime, Grace’s children embark on their own Yuletide journeys. Heidi faces the dreaded in-laws, Amber heads to New York to bag herself a fiancé, and Seth can’t wait to hit the slopes.
But when their plans begin to fall apart, they are all left wishing they were at home with their Mum for Christmas.
Will Grace get what she originally wanted or is a surprise in store?
*** This book was previously published under the title The Christmas Cottage ***
The Secrets of Sunshine by Phaedra Patrick
A lonely single father gets an unexpected second chance at love in the heart-warming new novel from the bestselling author of The Library of Lost and Found.
Only his daughter Poppy knows that behind his prickly exterior, Mitchell Fisher is deeply lonely. He may have sworn off romance, relishing his job cutting off the padlocks that couples fasten to his hometown’s famous ‘love story’ bridge… but underneath it all, he’s still grieving the loss of Poppy’s mum.
Then one hot summer’s day, everything changes when Mitchell bravely rescues a woman who falls from the bridge into the river. He’s surprised to feel an unexpected connection to her, but then she disappears. Desperate to find the mysterious woman, Mitchell teams up with her spirited sister Liza to see if she’s left any clues behind. There’s just one – a secret message on the padlock she left on love story bridge…
A Wedding at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
Escape to Everdene Sands, where the sun is shining – but is the tide about to turn?
Robyn and Jake are planning their dream wedding at the family beach hut in Devon. A picnic by the turquoise waves, endless sparkling rosé and dancing barefoot on the golden sand . . .
But Robyn is more unsettled than excited. She can’t stop thinking about the box she was given on her eighteenth birthday, and the secrets it contains. Will opening it reveal the truth about her history – and break the hearts of the people she loves most?
As the big day arrives, can everyone let go of the past and step into a bright new future?
A Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock
After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.
But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.
When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.
Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?
And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…
The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley
This is not a typical love story, but it’s our love story.
Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever.
Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences.
Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…
You Me & the Sea by Elizabeth Haynes
Rachel is at crisis point. A series of disastrous decisions has left her with no job, no home, and no faith in herself. But an unexpected job offer takes her to a remote Scottish island, and it feels like a chance to recover and mend her battered self-esteem.
The island’s other inhabitants are less than welcoming. Fraser Sutherland is a taciturn loner who is not happy about sharing his lighthouse – or his precious coffee beans – and Lefty, his unofficial assistant, is a scrawny, scared lad who isn’t supposed to be there at all.
Homesick and out of her depth, Rachel is sure she’s made another huge mistake. But, as spring turns to summer, the wild beauty of the island begins to captivate her soul.
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.
Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.
To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.
As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.
The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley
All Marnie wants is somewhere to call home. Mourning lost years spent in a marriage that has finally come to an end, she needs a fresh start and time to heal. Things she hopes to find in the rural west Lancashire village her mother always told her about.
With nothing but her two green thumbs, Marnie takes a job as a gardener, which comes with a little cottage to make her own. The garden is beautiful – filled with roses, lavender and honeysuckle – and only a little rough around the edges. Which is more than can be said for her next-door neighbour, Ned Mars.
Marnie remembers Ned from her college days but he’s far from the untroubled man she once knew. A recent relationship has left him with a heart as bruised as her own.
Can a summer spent gardening help them recapture the forgotten dreams they’ve let get away?
The Split by Laura Kay
Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat.
After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.
In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism.
Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?
The Dog Share by Fiona Gibson
Suzy Medley is having a bad day…
… when a shabby terrier turns up at her door. Just like Suzy, Scout has been abandoned, although only Suzy has been left with a financial mess and a business in tatters thanks to her ex.
Suzy takes Scout in and her chaotic world changes in unexpected ways: strangers have never been more welcoming and her teenage kids can’t wait to come home to visit.
Then a chance encounter on a windy Hebridean beach makes things more complicated, because Suzy isn’t the only one who needs a friend.
Scout has plenty of love to go round… but does Suzy?
The Best is Yet to Come by Katy Colins
Sometimes it’s the things we don’t say that we need others to hear the loudest . . .
Izzy has always taken everything in her stride but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase but the dark clouds are starting to appear.
Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way.
When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
‘Like a cold spider, the memory stirred in my head and spun an icy web about my brain. Someone else crawled in. I remembered’
Thirty-on-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.
With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything.
Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
Be careful what you wish for…
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .
On a windy hill in Japan, in a garden overlooking the sea stands a disused phone box. For years, people have travelled to visit the phone box, to pick up the receiver and speak into the wind: to pass their messages to loved ones no longer with us.
When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she is plunged into despair and wonders how she will ever carry on. One day she hears of the phone box, and decides to make her own pilgrimage there, to speak once more to the people she loved the most. But when you have lost everything, the right words can be the hardest thing to find . . .
Then she meets Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss. What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking…
The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason
The haunting began quietly. The girls heard it first . . .
1976. Loo and her sister Bee live in a run-down cottage in the middle of nowhere, with their artistic parents and wild siblings. Their mother, Cathy, had hoped to escape to a simpler life; instead the family find themselves isolated and shunned by their neighbours. At the height of the stifling summer, unexplained noises and occurences in the house begin to disturb the family, until they intrude on every waking moment . . .
Loo, now Lucy, is called back to her childhood home. A group of strangers are looking to discover the truth about the house and the people who lived there.
But is Lucy ready to confront what really happened all those years ago?
The Day My Husband Left by Amy Miller
I didn’t think there was life after you, but you left me a gift on the day you died that changed everything for me…
On the day Heidi’s husband, Johnny, died, he passed on a final token of his love – a photograph taken the day he died. As Heidi pores over the image, she sees a busy street scene and a pavement full of strangers – but she has no idea what this last message from her beloved husband could mean.
Heidi has spent her days – and her years – in her workshop, giving cherished old furniture a second chance. But there are some parts of Heidi’s own life that are beyond repair. Secrets that Heidi and Johnny kept throughout their long marriage. Things that they were never brave enough to speak about.
All Heidi knows now is that this picture of her husband’s final moments is where she has to start looking for clues. When she visits the busy street from the photograph, she suddenly comes face to face with the person Johnny had been meeting that day – someone she herself has spent a lifetime longing to know. But is she ready for what they’ll tell her?
The Truth and Other Hidden Things by Gea Geller
On the same day Bells Walker learns that her IUD has failed, her husband, Harry, is denied tenure at his Manhattan university. So Bells, Harry, their two adolescent children, and her baby bump move to New York’s Hudson Valley, where Harry has landed a job at Dutchess College in the town of Pigkill.
When the farm-to-table utopia Bells envisioned is anything but, she turns to the blogosphere. Under the pen name the County Dutchess, she anonymously dishes about life in Pigkill, detailing the activities of hypercompetitive parents and kombucha-drinking hipsters. Suddenly, Bells has a place to say all the things she’s been secretly thinking about being a wife and mother. As Bells turns the focus of her blog on her new neighbors, her readership continues to grow, but her scandalous posts hit closer to home: she puts Harry’s new job in jeopardy, derails her children’s lives, and risks the one real friendship she’s built.
When Bells uncovers scandals right under her nose, the Dutchess goes viral, and soon everyone is asking, Who is the County Dutchess? Now Bells has to ask herself if it’s worth losing the people closest to her to finally feel noticed by everyone else.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope
What will you find from his story?
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape.
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.
Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
London. 1850. On a crowded street, the dollmaker Iris Whittle meets the artist Louis Frost. Louis is a painter who yearns to have his work displayed in the Royal Academy, and he is desperate for Iris to be his model. Iris agrees, on the condition that he teaches her to paint.
Dreaming of freedom, Iris throws herself into a new life of art and love, unaware that she has caught the eye of a second man. Silas Reed is a curiosity collector, enchanted by the strange and beautiful. After seeing Iris at the site of the Great Exhibition he finds he cannot forget her.
As Iris’s world expands, Silas’s obsession grows. And it is only a matter of time before they meet again .
A Paris Secret by Caroline Montague
1952. In the fragile atmosphere of post-war Paris, Sophie Bernot is training as a heart surgeon. A young woman in a man’s world, Sophie is determined to bury her past and forge her medical career, whatever the costs.
Across the channel, Sebastian Ogilvie is burning with ambition for his first architectural project. As his schemes lead him to France, and to a chance encounter with Sophie, his future seems full of promise.
But when Sophie and Sebastian find themselves entangled in a brief, passionate affair, they each face a choice that will change their lives irrevocably, and a secret that will take years to be uncovered…
Sweeping from Paris to London, to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, this is an unforgettable story of passion, heartache and forgiveness.
The Lost Lights of St Kilda by Elisabeth Gifford
Chrissie Gillies comes from the last ever community to live on the beautiful, isolated Scottish island of St Kilda. Evacuated in 1930, she will never forget her life there, nor the man she loved and lost who visited one fateful summer a few years before.
Fred Lawson has been captured, beaten and imprisoned in Nazi-controlled France. Making a desperate escape across occupied territory, one thought sustains him: find Chrissie, the woman he should never have left behind on that desolate, glorious isle.
From these Broken Streets by Roland Merullo
Italy, 1943. The Nazi occupation has cemented its grip on the devastated city of Naples.
Giuseppe DiPietra, a curator in the National Archives, has a subversive plan to aid the Allies. If he’s discovered, forced labor or swift execution. Lucia Pastone, secretary for the Italian Fascist government, is risking her own life in secret defiance of orders. And Lucia’s father, Aldo, is a black marketeer who draws Giuseppe and Lucia into the underworld—for their protection and to help plant the seeds of resistance. Their fates are soon intertwined with those of Aldo’s devoted lover and a boy of the streets who’ll do anything to live another day. And all of Naples is about to join forces to overcome impossible odds and repel the Nazi occupiers.
The German Girl by Lily Graham
Germany, 1938. Fifteen-year-old Asta and her twin brother Jurgen are stopped as they run home from school through strangely silent streets:
‘Your parents were taken. And if you go home, the Nazis will take you too…’
Heartbroken, Asta knows they must make the perilous journey across a hostile country that no longer feels like home to reach Denmark and their aunt Trine, a woman they barely know.
Crossing the border is punishable by death. In the middle of the snowy forest, barking dogs and armed soldiers capture Jurgen and Asta escapes.
Asta must hold on to hope no matter what. One day she will find her twin, the other half of herself. Even if it means leaving the safety of Denmark, and risking her life in a labour camp to track down the man who took her brother. Whatever the price she has to pay, her brother’s life is worth it.
The Girl at the Back of the Bus by Suzette D Harrison
I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
Those Who Are Saved by Alexis Landau
On the cusp of World War II, a young mother is faced with an impossible choice. Vera is a Russian Jewish émigré to France, newly wed – but her marriage cannot protect her or her four-year-old-daughter, Lucie, once the Nazis occupy the country.
After receiving notice that all foreigners must report to an internment camp, Vera must decide: does she subject Lucie to the horrid conditions of the camp, or put Lucie into hiding with her beloved and trusted governess, safe until Vera can retrieve her? Surely the war will end soon…
And so begins a heartbreaking journey and separation . . . and an unpredictable fate for a mother and her daughter.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
1940, Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.
Three very different women are recruited to the mysterious Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.
Vivacious debutante Osla has the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses – but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, working to translate decoded enemy secrets. Self-made Mab masters the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and the poverty of her East-End London upbringing. And shy local girl Beth is the outsider who trains as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts.
Seven years after they first meet, on the eve of the royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, disaster threatens. Osla, Mab and Beth are estranged, their friendship torn apart by secrets and betrayal. Yet now they must race against the clock to crack one final code together, before it’s too late, for them and for their country.
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 January Man by Christopher Somerville
The January Man is the story of a year of walks that was inspired by a song, Dave Goulder’s ‘The January Man’. Month by month, season by season and region by region, Christopher Somerville walks the British Isles, following routes that continually bring his father to mind. As he travels the country – from the winter floodlands of the River Severn to the lambing pastures of Nidderdale, the towering seabird cliffs on the Shetland Isle of Foula in June and the ancient oaks of Sherwood Forest in autumn – he describes the history, wildlife, landscapes and people he encounters, down back lanes and old paths, in rain and fair weather.
This exquisitely written account of the British countryside not only inspires us to don our boots and explore the 140,000 miles of footpaths across the British Isles, but also illustrates how, on long-distance walks, we can come to an understanding of ourselves and our fellow walkers. Over the hills and along the byways, Christopher Somerville examines what moulded the men of his father’s generation – so reticent about their wartime experiences, so self-effacing, upright and dutiful – as he searches for ‘the man inside the man’ that his own father really was.
How to be Champion by Sarah Millican
Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.
If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.
declutter by Debora Roberston
Bursting with practical and relatable advice, this book injects enthusiasm, energy and some much-needed humour into the essential task of de-cluttering. Forget the holier-than-thou approach promising a whole new you if you alphabetise your sock drawer – this is decluttering for real people, with real lives. With a refreshingly honest approach, Debora tackles the best ways to deal with domestic dilemmas, cluttered kitchens and crowded cupboards. She includes handy tips and tricks for the average time-poor person. Tasks are broken down into achievable goals and ‘quick fixes’, allowing even the busiest of people to create, maintain and achieve a tidy home. And it’s not just the home she tackles.
Debora helps you banish anxiety and kick-start productivity with ’10 de-cluttering commandments’ and includes honest advice on how to conquer the fear of change. The busy writer, who has transformed her own cluttered home and mind using these techniques, also explores how best to unclutter your virtual world, from managing social media accounts to balancing email mailing lists.
On the Marsh by Simon Barnes
When writer Simon Barnes heard a Cetti’s warbler sing out as he turned up to look at a house for sale, he knew immediately that he had found his new home. The fact that his garden backed onto an area of marshy land only increased the possibilities, but there was always the fear that it might end up in the wrong hands and be lost to development or intensive farming. His wife saw through the delicate negotiations for the purchase. Once they’d bought it, they began to manage it as a conservation area, working with the Wildlife Trust to ensure it became as appealing as possible to all species. For their son Eddie, who has Down’s syndrome, it became a place of calm and inspiration.
In On The Marsh, we see how nature can always bring surprises, and share in the triumphs as new animals – Chinese water deer, otters and hedgehogs – arrive, and watch as the number of species of bird tops 100 and keeps on growing. As the seasons go by, there are moments of triumph when not one but two marsh harrier families use the marsh as a hunting ground, but also disappointments as chemical run-off from neighbouring farmland creates a nettles monoculture in newly turned earth.
High and Low by Keith Foskett
An amusing and life-affirming travel memoir, concluding with tips for managing depressive episodes.
Keith Foskett refused to let his dark mood define his limitations. Unknowingly suffering with depression, he took to hiking the wilds of Scotland to face his inner demons. From the craggy Highlands of the Cape Wrath Trail and West Highland Way, to the canals criss-crossing the low country, 600 miles of unforgiving hiking terrain called his name.
Keith repositioned his compass to what really matters in life. As laughter became his travelling companion, he discovered that when dealing with emotional baggage, it’s best to pack light. Pushing his mind and body past breaking point, his journey could set a brave new course for coping with depression.
Battling ferocious weather, the ubiquitous Scottish midge, strange-sounding local delicacies and substandard TV sets, this is one man’s battle to conquer the wilds of Scotland, and his own psychological demons.
The Little Book of Small Space Gardening by Kay Maguire
RHS Little Book of Small-space Gardening is packed with practical information and inspirational ideas for anyone who wants to grow plants in a variety of outside spaces, from balconies to stairways, windowsills to doorsteps. Look inside to discover a host of creative step-by-step projects, such as speedy salads, wildlife pots, fragrant baskets and green garden walls. Handy plant profiles tell you what’s best to grow in a variety of conditions, such as wind, shade and drought.
Whether you choose to start with a simple pot or tackle a more ambitious project, with this beautifully illustrated book you’ll soon see how even the smallest spaces can be amazing growing spaces.
Storecupboard One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay
Miguel Barclay is back with his sixth book in the ‘One Pound Meals’ series and he’s on a mission to save you even more money and time with this collection of storecupboard recipes.
Miguel has already revolutionised the way that many of you cook at home – with his budget recipes, healthy ingredients and his ingenious time-saving tips. In STORECUPBOARD ONE POUND MEALS Miguel takes his stress-free, maximum flavour philosophy and teaches you how to get the most out of your every day cupboard essentials. Tins, cans, dried herbs and spices become the main ‘hero ingredients’, helping you plan affordable dinners each week.
With over 80 of Miguel’s favourite storecupboard dishes, you’ll have plenty of recipes for the whole family to enjoy, or tasty leftovers to eat the next day or freeze for another time.
So that’s it for this month, hopefully you’ll discover a new, bargain read.