Published this week – my fiction picks to 13th June 2021

A lot to get through this week. As you might expect a lot of summery, escapist reads starting to come through, though they’ll not be seeing many foreign beaches in the current climate. Never mind, we can all still dream and we certainly need the escape – thank goodness for books!

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 new 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.

Where I’ve read the book, and would recommend it, I’ve added a new ‘Recommended’ button

(NB As an Amazon Associate, Bookshop and Hive Affiliate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)

Index

Hardback releases

Hardback and eBook releases

Paperback releases

Paperback and eBook releases

eBook releases

Hardback Releases

One Way Street: A gritty and addictive crime thriller. For fans of Val McDermid and Ian Rankin (Jimmy Mullen Newcastle Crime Thriller Book 2) Kindle Edition

One Way Street by Trevor Wood

A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the North East’s homeless community on edge.

The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.

One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.

As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.

Title

A series of bizarre drug-related deaths among runaway teenagers has set the North East’s homeless community on edge.

The word on the street is that a rogue batch of Spice – the zombie drug sweeping the inner cities – is to blame, but when one of Jimmy’s few close friends is caught up in the carnage, loyalty compels him to find out what’s really going on.

One Way Street sees the welcome return of Jimmy Mullen, the homeless, PTSD-suffering, veteran as he attempts to rebuild his life following the events in The Man on the Street.

As his probation officer constantly reminds him: all he needs to do is keep out of trouble. Sadly for him, trouble seems to have a habit of tracking Jimmy down.

Hardback & eBook releases

Daisy Chain: a novel of The Glasgow Girls Kindle Edition

Daisy Chain by Maggie Ritchie

Lily Crawford and Jeanie Taylor, from very different backgrounds, are firm friends from their childhoods in Kirkcudbright. They share their ambitions for their futures, Lily to be an artist, Jeanie to be a dancer.

The two women’s eventful lives are intertwined. In the years before the First World War, the girls lose touch when Jeanie runs away from home and joins a dance company, while Lily attends The Mack, Glasgow’s famous school of art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A chance meeting reunites them and together they discover a Glasgow at the height of its wealth and power as the Second City of the Empire – and a city of poverty and overcrowding. Separated once again after the war, Lily and Jeanie find themselves on opposite sides of the world. Lily follows her husband to Shanghai while Jeanie’s dance career brings her international fame. But the glamour and dissolution of 1920s Shanghai finally lead Lily into peril. Her only hope of survival lies with her old friend Jeanie, as the two women turn to desperate measures to free Lily from danger.

Inspired by the eventful and colourful lives of the pioneering women artists The Glasgow Girls, particularly that of Eleanor Allen Moore


Lives Like Mine

Lives Like Mine by Eva Verde

Mother.
                To three small children, their heritage dual like hers.
 
Daughter.
                To a mother who immigrated to make a better life but has been rejected by her chosen country.
 
Wife.
                To a man who loves her but who will not defend her to his intolerant family.
 
Woman…
                Whose roles now define her and trap her in a life she no longer recognises…
 
 
Meet Monica, the flawed heroine at the heart of LIVES LIKE MINE.
 
With her three children in school, Monica finds herself wondering if this is all there is. Despite all the effort and the smiles, in the mirror she sees a woman hollowed out from putting everyone else first, tolerating her in-laws’ intolerance, and wondering if she has a right to complain when she’s living the life that she has created for herself.
 
Then along comes Joe, a catalyst for change in the guise of a flirtatious parent on the school run. Though the sudden spark of their affair is hedonistic and oh so cathartic, Joe soon offers a friendship that shows Monica how to resurrect and honour the parts of her identity that she has long suppressed. He is able to do for Monica what Dan has never managed to, enabling her both to face up to a past of guilty secrets and family estrangements, and to redefine her future.


Waiting for the Miracle: The heartbreaking new novel from the bestselling author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

Waiting for the Miracle by Anna McPartlin

2010

Caroline has hit rock bottom. After years of trying, it’s clear she can’t have children, and the pain has driven her and her husband apart. She isn’t pregnant, her husband is gone and her beloved dog is dead.

The other women at her infertility support group have their own problems, too. Natalie’s girlfriend is much less excited about having children than her. Janet’s husband might be having an affair. And then there’s Ronnie, intriguing, mysterious Ronnie, who won’t tell anyone her story.

1976

Catherine is sixteen and pregnant. Her boyfriend wants nothing to do with her, and her parents are ashamed. When she’s sent away to a convent for pregnant girls, she is desperate not to be separated from her child. But she knows she might risk losing the baby forever.


Sunrise by the Sea: Escape to the Cornish coast with this brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author (Little...

Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs.

Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she’s been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate.

But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . .


I Know What I Saw: 'A mesmerising thriller. Don't miss this one' - T. M. Logan

I Know What I Saw by Imran Mahmood

I saw it. He smothered her, pressing his hands on her face. The police don’t believe me, they say it’s impossible – but I know what I saw.

But who was the dead woman, who the police later tell him can’t have been there? And why is the man Xander saw her with evading justice?

As Xander searches for answers, his memory of the crime comes under scrutiny, forcing him to confront his long-buried past and the stories he’s told about himself.

How much he is willing to risk to understand the brutal truth?


The Murder of Graham Catton: a gripping new crime thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, from the acclaimed...

The Murder of Graham Catton by Katie Lowe

It’s time to hear the truth…

Ten years ago, Hannah Catton’s husband was brutally murdered in their home.
The murderer was convicted. The case was closed.

But now a podcast called Conviction is investigating this horrific crime – and they have Hannah in their sights.

Someone knows more than they’re letting on, and listeners are about to become judge, jury and executioner as they undercover the truth about the murder of Graham Catton.


Fragile: Secrets and Betrayal in the Stunning Break-out Psychological Thriller from the Theakstons' Crime Novel of the Yea...

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Everything she touches breaks . . .

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperately trying to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.

So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes teh opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own.

But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break . . .


Voyeur: 'A Sizzling Summer Debut' Esquire

Voyeur by Francesca Reece

WRITER SEEKS ASSISTANT TO HELP WITH ARCHIVING/RESEARCH FOR A NEW NOVEL. Don’t bother to apply if your name is Shakespearean or classical.

PARIS AND SOUTH. PART-TIME.

Leah, a young woman who has found herself ‘ambitioned’ out of London, is now aimlessly adrift in Paris. Tired of odd jobs in cafés and teaching English to unresponsive social media influencers, her heart skips a beat when she spots an advert for a writer seeking an assistant.

Michael was once the bright young star of the London literary scene, now a washed-up author with writer’s block. He doesn’t place much hope in the advert, but after meeting Leah is filled with an inspiration he hasn’t felt in years.

When Michael offers Leah the opportunity to join him and his family in their rambling but glorious property in the south of France for the summer, she finally feels her luck is turning. But as she begins to transcribe the diaries from his debauched life in 1960s Soho, something begins to nag at Leah’s sense of fulfilment; that there might be more to Michael than meets the eye.


The Good Neighbours

Good Neighbours by Nina Allan

Cath is a photographer hoping to go freelance, working in a record shop to pay the rent and eking out her time with her manager Steve. He thinks her photography is detective work, drawing attention to things that would otherwise pass unseen and maybe he’s right . . .

Starting work on her new project – photographing murder houses – she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie.

Arriving at the Craigie house, Cath finds that it’s occupied by Financial Analyst Alice Rahman. Her bid to escape the city lifestyle, the anxiety she felt in that world, led her to leave London and settle on the island. The strangeness of the situation brings them closer, leading them to reinvestigate the Craigie murder. Now, within the walls of the Craigie house, Cath can uncover the nefarious truths and curious nature of John Craigie: his hidden obsession with the work of Richard Dadd and the local myths of the fairy folk.


Mrs England: The captivating new feminist novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Familiars and The Foundling

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Mrs England is a gripping feminist mystery where a nanny must travel to Yorkshire to a grand house filled with secrets. For there’s no such thing as the perfect family…

‘Something’s not right here.’
I was aware of Mr Booth’s eyes on me, and he seemed to hold his breath. ‘What do you mean?’
‘In the house. With the family.’

West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.

Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the ‘angel of the house’ Ruby was expecting. As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.


Barcelona Dreaming

Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson

Set on the eve of the financial crash of 2008, Barcelona Dreaming is made up of three stories that are linked by time and place, and also by the moving, unexpected interactions of a rich cast of characters.

The stories are narrated, in turn, by an English woman who runs a gift shop, an alcoholic jazz pianist, and a translator tormented by unrequited love, all of whose lives will be changed forever. Underpinning the novel, and casting a long shadow, is a crime committed against a young Moroccan immigrant.

Exploring themes of addiction, racism, celebrity, immigration, and self-delusion, and fuelled by a longing for the unattainable and a nostalgia for what is about to be lost, Barcelona Dreaming is a love letter to one of the world’s most beautiful cities and a powerful and poignant fable for our uncertain times.


The Day I Fell Off My Island

The Day I Fell Off My Island by Yvonne Bailey-Smith

The Day I Fell Off My Island tells the story of Erna Mullings, a teenage Jamaican girl uprooted from her island following the sudden death of her beloved grandmother. When Erna is sent to England to be reunited with her siblings, she dreads leaving behind her elderly grandfather, and the only life she has ever known. A new future unfolds, in a strange country and with a mother she barely knows. The next decade will be a complex journey of estrangement and arrival, new beginnings and the uncovering of long-buried secrets.

A psychologist and former social worker, Yvonne Bailey-Smith, explains:

‘As an immigrant child, I often wished that someone had been able to take me aside and explain to me that leaving everything I knew to go on a so-called adventure to somewhere way beyond my imagination was going cause me an unimaginable sense of loss and sadness. 

I also wish that the same person had been there to reassure me that I would survive and even flourish, given half a chance. My work and conversations with children, young people and adults, as well as with many friends, have given me a unique insight into the travails of people who have experienced things for which they felt utterly unprepared at the time.’


The Maidens: The new thriller from the author of the global bestselling debut The Silent Patient

Maidens by Alex Michaelides

St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.

For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.

As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.

Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.

A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…

The Maidens is a story of love, and of grief – of what makes us who we are, and what makes us kill.

One Ordinary Day at a Time

One Ordinary Day at a Time by Sarah J Harris

Behind every ordinary day, behind every ordinary story, there’s an extraordinary one just waiting to happen…

TWO PEOPLE
 
Simon Sparks is the man you know from behind the counter at the local Prince Burger (‘hold the gherkin!’), fry shovelling, shelf stacking, hiding away from the world. And Jodie Brook is the single mum you see crossing the street with her son Zak – always chasing a dream she can’t reach.
 
ONE LIFE
 
What if life could be so much more? When Simon and Jodie’s worlds collide, it upends everything they know. But in chaos comes opportunity. And for every person who’s ever doubted them, they find someone who’ll finally believe…
 
ONE ORDINARY DAY AT A TIME
 
From the award-winning author, Sarah J. Harris, comes a warm, uplifting story about ordinary people, extraordinary tomorrows, and all the ways that life can surprise us…


All Human Wisdom

All Human Wisdom by Pierre Lemaitre

The second volume of Pierre Lemaitre’s enthralling, award-winning between-the-wars trilogy

In 1927, the great and the good of Paris gather at the funeral of the wealthy banker, Marcel Péricourt. His daughter, Madeleine, is poised to take over his financial empire (although, unfortunately, she knows next to nothing about banking). More unfortunately still, when Madeleine’s seven-year-old son, Paul, tumbles from a second floor window of the Péricourt mansion on the day of his grandfather’s funeral, and suffers life-changing injuries, his fall sets off a chain of events that will reduce Madeleine to destitution and ruin in a matter of months.

Using all her reserves of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a burning desire for retribution, Madeleine sets about rebuilding her life. She will be helped by an ex-Communist fixer, a Polish nurse who doesn’t speak a word of French, a brainless petty criminal with a talent for sabotage, an exiled German Jewish chemist, a very expensive forger, an opera singer with a handy flair for theatrics, and her own son with ideas for a creative new business to take Paris by storm.

A brilliant, imaginative, free-falling caper through between-the-wars Paris, and a portrait of Europe on the edge of disaster.

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Paperback releases

Chasing the Italian Dream: Escape and unwind with bestselling author Jo Thomas

Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?


This is How We Are Human

This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.

Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.

When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

A topical and moving drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.


Staying Out for the Summer: a laugh-out-loud romantic comedy which is the perfect beach read

Staying Out for the Summer by Mandy Baggot

This is one summer that won’t end in tiers!

For NHS nurse, Lucie Burrows, it’s time to put the past behind her and embrace Greek life.

Finally free from the UK restrictions, Lucie is excited for the summer of 2021. When her best friend, Gavin, finds the perfect Greek island getaway, Lucie is sure that this holiday to Corfu is going to be one to remember.

But when a landslide puts the village into a local lockdown, Lucie is thrown together with Michalis Andino, the super sexy village doctor. It’s not quite the escape she had planned, but things could certainly be worse.

As Lucie relaxes into the Greek way of life, she begins to wonder whether this lockdown might just end in a new beginning – and a new love…


Everything Happens for a Reason

Everything Happens for a Reason by Katie Allen

When Rachel’s baby is stillborn, she becomes obsessed with the idea that saving a stranger’s life months earlier is to blame. An unforgettable, heart-wrenching, warm and funny debut…

Mum-to-be Rachel did everything right, but it all went wrong. Her son, Luke, was stillborn and she finds herself on maternity leave without a baby, trying to make sense of her loss.

When a misguided well-wisher tells her that “everything happens for a reason”, she becomes obsessed with finding that reason, driven by grief and convinced that she is somehow to blame. She remembers that on the day she discovered her pregnancy, she’d stopped a man from jumping in front of a train, and she’s now certain that saving his life cost her the life of her son.

Desperate to find him, she enlists an unlikely ally in Lola, an Underground worker, and Lola’s seven-year-old daughter, Josephine, and eventually tracks him down, with completely unexpected results…

Both a heart-wrenchingly poignant portrait of grief and a gloriously uplifting and disarmingly funny story of a young woman’s determination, Everything Happens for a Reason is a bittersweet, life- affirming read and, quite simply, unforgettable.


The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger: absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 historical fiction

The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin

The secrets of the past won’t remain hidden forever…

Arthur Pettinger’s memory isn’t what it used to be. He can’t always remember the names of his grandchildren, where he lives or which way round his slippers go. He does remember Maryse though, a woman he hasn’t seen for decades, but whose face he will never forget.

When Arthur’s granddaughter, Maddy, moves in along with her daughter Esther, it’s her first step towards pulling her life back together. But when Esther makes a video with Arthur, the hunt for the mysterious Maryse goes viral.

There’s only one person who can help Maddy track down this woman – the one that got away, Joe. Their quest takes them to France, and into the heart of the French Resistance.


Local Woman Missing: A gripping thriller with a jaw-dropping twist from the New York Times bestselling author

Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica

You’ll never find her. Don’t even try.

When a local mother and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah, suddenly vanish, their close-knit suburban community is rocked by fear and suspicion. How could such a terrible thing have happened in their small town?

Then, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly reappears. Everyone wants to know what really happened to her. But there are secrets hidden deep in the past – and when the truth about those missing years begins to surface, no one is prepared for what they’re about to find out.


The Union of Synchronised Swimmers

The Union of Synchronised Swimmers by Cristina Sandu

It’s summer behind the Iron Curtain, and six girls are about to swim their way to the Olympics ― and a new life.

In an unnamed Soviet state, six girls meet each day to swim. At first, they play, splashing each other and floating languidly on the water’s surface. But soon the game becomes something more.

They hone their bodies relentlessly. Their skin shades into bruises. They barter cigarettes stolen from the factory where they work for swimsuits to stretch over their sunburnt skin. They tear their legs into splits, flick them back and forth, like herons. They force themselves to stop breathing.

When they find themselves representing their country as synchronised swimmers in the Olympics, they seize the chance they have been waiting for to escape and begin new lives.

Scattered around the globe, six women live in freedom. But will they ever be able to forget what they left behind?


Miss Graham’s War: A gripping, thrilling historical fiction book for 2021

Miss Graham’s War by Celia Rees

Germany, 1946
History hides many secrets
One woman will hunt for the truth…

It’s 1946 and the dust of war has settled over Europe. But for Edith Graham, an ordinary woman living an ordinary life, her journey is only just beginning…
 
Daughter – Sister – Friend – Spy

Escaping her humdrum existence, Edith is swept into war-torn Germany and recruited to draw elusive Nazis out of hiding.

But the closer she gets to the truth, the more blurred the line between good and evil. In a shadowy world of shifting loyalties, where no-one is quite who they seem to be, who can Edith trust?

NB *Previously published as ‘Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook’*


After the Silence: a twisty page-turner of deadly secrets and an unsolved murder investigation

After the Silence by Louise O’Neill

Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years.
Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.

On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.

The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.

Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.


The Wayward Girls: A captivating ghost story by a modern Daphne du Maurier

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

The haunting began quietly. The girls heard it first . . .

THEN
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 . . .

NOW
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?


Sponsored Ad – Shadow Sands: The heart-racing new Kate Marshall thriller

Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza

When Kate Marshall finds the body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.

But the details don’t add up: why was he there in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown? As Kate and her assistant Tristan Harper follow the evidence, they make a far darker discovery . . .

This is only the latest victim in a series of bloody murders dating back decades. A mythic serial killer is said to hide in the rolling fog, abducting his victims like a phantom. And when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.


Behind Closed Doors: The compelling new novel from the bestselling author of A Cornish Summer

Behind Closed Doors by Catherine Alliott

From the outside, anyone would think that Lucy Palmer has it all: loving children, a dashing husband and a gorgeous home.

But when her marriage to Michael comes to an abrupt and unexpected end, her life is turned upside down in a flash.

As the truth of her marriage threatens to surface, Lucy seizes the opportunity to swap her house in London – and the stories it hides – for a rural escape to her parents’ farmhouse in the Chilterns.

But Lucy gets more than she bargained for when she moves back to her childhood home, especially when it throws her into the path of an old flame.

Coming face-to-face with her mistakes, Lucy is forced to confront the secrets she’s been keeping from herself and those she loves.

Is she ready to let someone in? Or will she leave the door to her past firmly closed . . .


Rodham: The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller asking: What if Hillary hadn’t married Bill?

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

‘Awfully opinionated for a girl’ is what they call Hillary as she grows up in her Chicago suburb.

Smart, diligent, and a bit plain, that’s the general consensus. Then Hillary goes to college, and her star rises. At Yale Law School, she continues to be a leader – and catches the eye of driven, handsome and charismatic Bill. But when he asks her to marry him, Hillary gives him a firm No.

How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?

With her sharp but always compassionate eye, Sittenfeld explores the loneliness, moral ambivalence and iron determination that characterise the quest for high office, as well as the painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world ruled by men.


Monogamy

Monogamy by Sue Miller

Annie is the great love of Graham’s life. Here they are in late middle-age, the photographer and the bookseller, so mismatched and yet so well-matched. Theirs is a happy marriage of nearly thirty years – and even the happiest of marriages, Graham tells himself, have their secrets.

Then the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Annie is alone, stumbling in the dark. How much can we ever know the people who love us?


And Now You're Back: The most heart-warming and romantic read of 2021!

And Now You’re Back by Jill Mansell

One magical night in Venice, Didi fell in love. But it ended – and he left without even saying goodbye.

Now, thirteen years on, Shay Mason is back.

The old spark is still there, but Didi’s determined to ignore it. As manager of a stunning Cotswolds hotel, she’s happy at last, and soon to be married. Anyway, Shay isn’t staying. He’s made a promise to his father. He’s going to keep it. And then he’ll be gone.

But Shay’s return stirs up long-forgotten emotions, and the scandal that led him to leave raises its head once again. It’s time for buried secrets to come to light. And it seems that this was someone’s intention all along . . .


Dark Tides: The compelling new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Tidelands

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse’s poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy – his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows – without doubt – that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home.


The Promise

The Promise by Lucy Diamond

When faced with the sudden death of his brother, Dan’s mission is clear. He puts together a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is Dan’s promise – to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was.

But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything Dan knew about his older brother. With more than just his promise on the line, Dan is faced with an ultimatum: Should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own?


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Paperback & eBook releases

The Country Village Summer Fete: A perfect, heartwarming summer read

The Country Village Summer Fete by Cathy Lake

Emma Patrick’s life is spiralling out of control. On the cusp of her 50th birthday, she realises that she’s been so focused on work that she’s lost any real connection to people.

When Emma’s ageing father needs her help, she decides to go back home to the countryside to spend some time with him. But returning to Little Bramble after years away is filled with complications and people she’d rather avoid.

To her surprise, as Emma settles in she finds herself loving village life. When the opportunity to get involved in the running of the summer fête comes her way, soon she’s embracing jam making, cake baking and bunting. And with romance brewing, Emma begins to doubt the glamorous city life that she worked so hard to build . . .


The Getaway: A holiday romance for 2021 - perfect summer escapism!

The Getaway by Isabelle Broom

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find the person you need . . .

Most people travel to Croatia for its endless sunshine, pebbly beaches and crystal clear sea.

Kate goes there to disappear.

She needs to escape from a life that has fallen apart in spectacular and public fashion, and no one on the beautiful island of Hvar knows who she is or what she’s running away from.

Until she meets another lonely soul.

Alex is different to any man Kate has ever known, yet the connection between them is undeniable. She soon begins to open up in ways she never has before – not even to herself. But Kate is not the only person in Hvar hiding secrets. And, as she is about to discover, it is always only a matter of time before the truth catches up with you . . .

The Summer Holiday

The Summer Holiday by Jo Clegg

Two weeks. Two families. What could possibly go wrong…?

Claire Swift can’t think of anything worse than another holiday with the Wellbeloved family. The last trip together was a complete disaster – yet somehow, despite Claire’s best efforts, they’re all off to the Cornish coast again this summer.
So, this time she’s coming prepared.

But becoming a domestic goddess to keep up with perfect Honor Wellbeloved isn’t easy – especially when Claire is known for being clumsy and burns every meal she makes. And it’s not long before her carefully laid plans are going spectacularly wrong.

It’s only two weeks, what’s the worst that can happen?


The Transparency of Time

The Transparency of Time by Leonardo Padura

Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money. Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santeria appears on the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla – a black Madonna. This sets Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue. Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout


Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

The plague is spreading.
The hundred year war is beginning.
Katharina Kepler is believed to be a witch.

The story begins in 1618, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years’ War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch.

Katharina is an illiterate widow, known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It’s enough to make anyone jealous, and Katharina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone’s business.

So when the deranged and insipid Ursula Reinbold (or as Katharina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katharina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, Katharina is in trouble. Her scientist son must turn his attention from the music of the spheres to the job of defending his mother. Facing the threat of financial ruin, torture, and even execution, Katharina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets.


Waiting to Begin

Waiting to Begin by Amanda Prowse

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?


The Long Journey Home

The Long Journey Home by Cecily Blench

It’s 1941 and Kate is living in Rangoon, Burma, a world away from her traditional English upbringing. When she meets Edwin, a young teacher from London, she senses that he too is looking for a place to call home, and soon a friendship develops between them.

As their bond grows, Kate begins to learn of the secrets in Edwin’s past and the tragic events that brought them both to Burma. But war is coming and, when the Japanese forces invade, Kate and Edwin are forced to flee, along with thousands of others. They begin a perilous journey to India but soon become separated. As Kate continues on alone, she can’t get this troubled young man out of her head.

With the fallout of war all around them, in a place far from home, will Kate and Edwin survive their journey and find the new beginning they both seek?


The River Between Us: Perfect escapist women’s fiction from the bestselling author of books like The Path to the Sea

The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the river Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.

Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.

As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river, while finding her own new path to happiness.


Out of the Mountain's Shadow: An emotional World War Two historical novel

Out of the Mountain’s Shadow by Rose Alexander

A secret from the past with the power to change one woman’s future…

1939: War has broken out, and in Albania Bekim’s family take in a Jewish family fleeing from Nazi Austria. The years of war will shape his life in unimaginable ways as Bekim grows to love Hannelore, doing everything in his power to protect her. But will he be enough to keep her safe?

2019: Following a shock redundancy, Ruth is taking an extended holiday in southern Italy where she befriends local Zak. When Zak’s dying father asks them to solve a mystery from his past, Ruth leaps at the chance. Journeying through his homeland of Albania, Ruth and Zak race to find the sacred artefacts hidden in the mountains during the war.


The Book Club

The Book Club by Roisin Meaney

A tragic accident leaves the tight-knit book club in the small seaside town of Fairweather reeling. Then stranger Tom McLysaght arrives in the community, and the members of the club find their lives changing in ways they never could have imagined.

None of them realise that Tom is hiding a secret. On the surface, his move to Fairweather was to escape his highflying life in London and to put some much-needed distance between him and his ex-fiancée – but deep down Tom knows that there are some things he cannot run from.

As the months pass with book club gatherings, secrets are shared and hurts begin to heal. New friendships might be the last thing on their minds but the members of the book club are about to discover that opening themselves up to other people might be the only thing that will help them all to live, and to love, again.

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eBook releases

Knock Knock

Knock Knock by Anders Roslund

He thought she was safe. Then the past came knocking.

Seventeen years ago, Inspector Ewert Grens was called to the scene of a brutal crime. A family had been murdered, with only their five-year-old daughter left behind. The girl was moved out and placed under witness protection, but while the case went cold, Grens is still haunted by the memory. When he learns that the apartment where the crime took place is now the scene of a mysterious break-in, Grens fears that someone is intent on silencing the only witness. He must race to find her…before they do.


Sisters of the Resistance: A Novel of Catherine Dior's Paris Spy Network

Sisters of the Resistance by Christine Wells

Two sisters join the Paris Resistance in this page-turning new novel inspired by the real-life bravery of Catherine Dior, sister of the fashion designer and a heroine of World War II France—perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Jennifer Chiaverini.

Paris, 1944: The war is nearly over, but for members of the Resistance in occupied France, it is more dangerous than ever before. Twenty-five-year-old Gabby Foucher loathes the Nazis, though as the concierge of 10 rue Royale, she does her best to avoid conflict—unlike her bolder sister Yvette, who finds trouble at every turn. 

Paris, 1947: Yvette returns from New York to reunite with Gabby and begin life anew as a mannequin for Dior, who is revolutionizing fashion with the New Look. But first she must discover the truth behind Catherine’s terrible fate, while Gabby finds that there are many kinds of courage, and that love is always worth fighting for.


The House in the Clouds

The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

Two strangers, one house, and a secret to be revealed.

Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.

With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.

But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.


The Secrets of Thistle Cottage: A gripping and emotional historical novel for 2021

The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett

The truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands…

1661, North Berwick
One stormy night, healer Honor Seton and her daughter Alice are summoned to save the town lord’s wife – but they’re too late. A vengeful crusade against the Seton women leads to whispers of witchcraft all over town. Honor hopes her connections can protect them from unproven rumours and dangerous accusations – but is the truth finally catching up with them?

Present day, North Berwick
After an explosive scandal lands her husband in prison, Tess Blyth flees Edinburgh to start afresh in Thistle Cottage. As she hides from the media’s unforgiving glare, Tess is intrigued by the shadowy stories of witchcraft surrounding the women who lived in the cottage centuries ago. But she quickly discovers modern-day witch hunts can be just as vicious: someone in town knows her secret – and they won’t let Tess forget it…


The Affair: Escape to Lake Como this summer

The Affair by Hilary Boyd

Connie McCabe longs for the summer where she spends the days leading tours across the continent.

But it’s on the glamorous shores of Lake Como where she is truly swept away, when Jared, a much younger man, falls for her.

Despite resisting his advances, Connie finds that he’s got under her skin.

And so begins a long, hot, intoxicating summer where Connie succumbs to temptation – breaking her marriage vows.

At the end of the season, Connie returns home to her husband, ready to put this affair behind her.

But Jared has other ideas . . .

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OK folks, that’s it for another week, anything take your fancy?

Now normally I would say ‘see you the same time next week’, but sadly that might not happen. I’m disappearing for a few weeks and while I’m desperately trying to get all my upcoming posts together some take much longer than others, this being one. So it might happen, but apologies if it doesn’t and I’ll see you all soon. One thing’s for sure I know you’ll have plenty to keep you going!

Happy Reading!!

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