Coming this week – my fiction picks to 11 July

Following on from last week’s announcement here’s this week’s curated list of new fiction titles. These are titles appearing in hardback/paperback for the first time. In some cases the ebook might already be available. All titles are based on the listings found in The Bookseller. A busier this week for new titles so I’ve added some genre categories.

(NB As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases)

Index

Crime, Thriller and Mystery

General Fiction

Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)

Non-Fiction added extras

Crime, thriller & mystery

Down By The Water: Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month

Down by the Water by Elle Connel

Seven friends gather at a castle in the Scottish Borders. One last weekend before Georgie’s wedding. Near the castle, through a path in the woods, is a loch. After a few drinks, they head down to the water to take photos. The loch is wild, lonely, and stunningly beautiful. They set their camera to self-timer and take some group shots. Later, looking back at the pictures, they see something impossible.

Behind them, eyes wide, a small, drenched boy emerges from the water.

But none of them saw him, and nobody knows where he went. They’re miles from the nearest town. How did he get there? Where did he go?

As the weekend unravels and terrible secrets come to light, it soon becomes clear that their perfect weekend is turning into a perfect nightmare. They’re desperate to leave – but someone won’t let them.


The Therapist: From the mind of a psychologist comes a chilling domestic thriller that gets under your skin.

The Therapist by Helene Flood

At first it’s the lie that hurts.

A voicemail from her husband tells Sara he’s arrived at the holiday cabin. Then a call from his friend confirms he never did.

She tries to carry on as normal, teasing out her clients’ deepest fears, but as the hours stretch out, her own begin to surface. And when the police finally take an interest, they want to know why Sara deleted that voicemail.

To get to the root of Sigurd’s disappearance, Sara must question everything she knows about her relationship.

Could the truth about what happened be inside her head?


Cabin Fever

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl

Alone and isolated in a vast Scandinavian forest, a therapist begins to read her client’s novel manuscript, only to discover the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

You are her therapist.

Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.

But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.

When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.

Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…


The Second Woman

The Second Woman by Charlotte Philby

Two women are found dead.

Both had a secret.

Both had a choice.

Artemis leaves the remote Greek island she grew up on to start a shiny new life in 1990s London with her British husband, a successful entrepreneur. Finally, she has escaped the ghosts of her past. Until she is found hanging from the stairs of her beautiful family home.
 
Two decades later, the apparent suicide of an heiress uncannily mirrors Artemis’ mysterious death. And when the ensuing investigation uncovers links to a criminal cartel, National Crime Agency officer Madeleine Farrow begins to pull apart the web of deceit surrounding the two women.
 
Secrets can be suffocating… especially in the wrong hands.


My Best Friend's Murder: An addictive and twisty must-read thriller that will grip you until the final breathless page

My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .

You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.

Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there is a darker side to their friendship. And Bec is about to reach breaking point.

Then Izzy’s body is found at the bottom of the stairs. It could have been an accident – perhaps she fell – but if the police decide to look for a killer, Bec is certain she will be the prime suspect. Because she knows better than anyone that those closest to you can hurt you the most. And that someone can only be pushed so far before they snap . . .


The Dying Day

The Dying Day by Vaseem Khan

A priceless manuscript. A missing scholar. A trail of riddles.
For over a century, one of the world’s great treasures, a six-hundred-year-old copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, has been safely housed at Bombay’s Asiatic Society. But when it vanishes, together with the man charged with its care, British scholar and war hero, John Healy, the case lands on Inspector Persis Wadia’s desk.

Uncovering a series of complex riddles written in verse, Persis – together with English forensic scientist Archie Blackfinch – is soon on the trail. But then they discover the first body.

As the death toll mounts it becomes evident that someone else is also pursuing this priceless artefact and will stop at nothing to possess it . . .

Harking back to an era of darkness, this second thriller in the Malabar House series pits Persis, once again, against her peers, a changing India, and an evil of limitless intent.


Arrowood and The Meeting House Murders: A gripping historical Victorian crime thriller you won’t be able to put down (An A...

Arrowood and the Meeting House Murders by Mick Finlay

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

Nowhere to hide.
London, 1879. As winter grips the city, a group of African travellers seek sanctuary inside the walls of the Quaker Meeting House. They are being hunted by a ruthless showman, who is forcing them to perform in his ethnic exhibition in the London Aquarium.
 
Nowhere to turn.
Private investigator William Arrowood and his assistant Barnett agree to help the travellers avoid capture. But when they arrive at the Meeting House, they find a scene of devastation. Two people have been murdered and the others have fled into the night.
 
Nowhere to run.
The hunt for the real killer leads Arrowood into the dark heart of Victorian London. A shadowy world of freak shows, violence and betrayal, where there are no good choices and only the slimmest chance of survival…

Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Everyone Is Still Alive

Everyone is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink

It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them. But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .

Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sun-drenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.


Songbirds: The heartbreaking follow-up to the million copy bestseller, The Beekeeper of Aleppo

Songbirds by Christy Lefteri

She walks unseen through our world.
Cares for our children, cleans our homes.
She has a story to tell.
Will you listen?

Nisha has crossed oceans to give her child a future. By day she cares for Petra’s daughter; at night she mothers her own little girl by the light of a phone.

Nisha’s lover, Yiannis, is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds on their way to Africa each winter. His dreams of a new life, and of marrying Nisha, are shattered when she vanishes.

No one cares about the disappearance of a domestic worker, except Petra and Yiannis. As they set out to search for her, they realise how little they know about Nisha. What they uncover will change them all.


The Snow Line

The Snow Line by Tessa McWatt

Old and young. White and brown. Male and female. British. Indian. Other.

Four strangers from around the world arrive in India for a wedding. Together, they climb a mountain — but will they see the same thing from the top?

Londoner Reema, who left India before she could speak, is searching for a sign that will help her make a life-changing decision. In pensioner Jackson’s suitcase is something he must let go of, but is he strong enough?

Together with two unlikely companions, they take a road trip up a mountain deep in the Himalayas, heading for the snow line — the place where the ice begins.

But even standing in the same place, surrounded by magnificent views, they see things differently. As they ascend higher and higher, they must learn to cross the lines that divide them.


The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious freshwater pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ — the gently decaying summer camp in the back woods of Cape Cod where her family has spent every summer for generations. As she passes the house, Elle glances through the screen porch at the uncleared table from the dinner the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the tablecloth, echoes of laughter of family and friends. Then she dives beneath the surface of the freezing water to the shocking memory of the sudden passionate encounter she had the night before, up against the wall behind the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the guests inside.

So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and across fifty years, as decades of family legacies, love, lies, secrets, and one unspeakable incident in her childhood lead Elle to the precipice of a life-changing decision. Over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the world she has made with her much-loved husband, Peter, and the life she imagined would be hers with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives.


We Could Not See the Stars: A John Murray Original

We Could Not see the Stars by Elizabeth Wong

Han was contemplative. Nothing that he had seen so far answered his questions about where his mama and he came from. Who they were. He was sad for his mama, and for himself, for not only did he not know her, he didn’t even know the person whom she had become. And then, what of the people that led to him? His mama’s father, his mama’s mother, his mama’s father’s father, his mama’s father’s mother – the list went on and on, the people he did not know, the stories they had not told him, the names that they had lost. ‘No people, only ghosts here,’ he whispered.

Han’s uneventful life in a sleepy fishing village is disturbed when a strange man arrives, asking questions about Han’s mother. Han doesn’t trust Mr Ng, but his cousin Chong Meng is impressed with the stories of his travels and tales of a golden tower. Together they steal the only thing Han has left to remember his mother by, before disappearing.

On a faraway island, across the great Peninsula and across the seas, the forest of Suriyang is cursed. Wander in and you will return without your memories. Professor Toh has been researching the forest of Suriyang for years. He believes that the forest hides something that does not wish to be discovered. An ancient civilization. A mysterious golden tower.

Chong Meng is tangled up in the professor’s plans to discover the truth about Suriyang. Han travels the breadth of the Peninsula to find his cousin before it is too late. How much will Han sacrifice to discover who he really is?


Dolly Considine's Hotel

Dolly Considine’s Hotel by Eamon Somers

Dolly Considine runs a late-night drinking establishment catering to the needs of thirsty politicians and theatricals in Dublin’s legendary drinking area, the Catacombs.

Julian Ryder (aka Paddy Butler) is an eighteen-year-old aspiring writer in need of shelter from his bullying older brother.

As the new live-in lounge assistant at Dolly Considine’s Hotel, Julian soon embroils himself in the shebeen’s gossip – and the guests’ bedsheets – and turns Dolly’s entourage into fodder for his literary ambitions. Reality quickly becomes difficult to separate from fantasy…

Set against the run-up to the Pro-life Constitutional Amendment of September 1983 and moving fluidly between the 1950s of Dolly’s youth and Julian’s Summer of Unrequited Love, the hotel becomes a stage for farce and tragedy. Between Julian’s fictions, Dolly’s Secrets, and narrow party politics – and featuring a papier-mâché figure of Mother Ireland giving birth and clashing sword-wielding dancers – this rich cocktail threatens to blow them, and even Ireland itself, wide apart.


Would I Lie to You?

Would I Lie to You by Aliya Ali-Afzal

At the school gates, Faiza fits in. It took a few years, but now the snobbish mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own. She’s learned to crack their subtle codes, speak their language of handbags and haircuts and discreet silver watches. You’d never guess, at the glamorous kids’ parties and the leisurely coffee mornings, that Faiza’s childhood was spent following her parents round the Tooting Cash’n’Carry.

When her husband Tom loses his job in finance, he stays calm. Something will come along, and in the meantime, they can live off their savings. But Faiza starts to unravel. Raising the perfect family comes at a cost – and the money Tom put aside has gone. When Tom’s redundancy package ends, Faiza will have to tell him she’s spent it all.

Unless she doesn’t…

It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has six weeks to find £75,000 before her lie spirals out of control. If anyone can do it, Faiza can: she’s had to fight for what she has, and she’ll fight to keep it. But as the clock ticks down, and Faiza desperately tries to put things right, she has to ask herself: how much more should she sacrifice to protect her family?


The Lost Storyteller

The Lost Storyteller by Amanda Block

Rebecca hasn’t seen her father Leo since she was six. Her family never talk about him, and she has long since pushed him firmly to the back of her mind. All she knows is that, once upon a time, he was a well-loved children’s TV star.

But when a journalist turns up uninvited at her office, asking questions about her once-famous father, Rebecca starts to wonder whether there is more to Leo’s absence than she realised. Then, looking for answers, she unearths a book of fairy tales written by Leo and dedicated to her – but what use are children’s stories to her now, all these years later?

Tentatively, Rebecca tries to piece together her father’s life, from the people he used to know and her own hazy memories. Yet her mind keeps returning to the magical, melancholic fairy tales, which seem to contain more truth than make-believe. Perhaps they are the key to unlocking the mystery of her father, the lost storyteller; to revealing who he was, what he went through – and even where he might be now…


Give a Little Love: The latest novel from the author of I'm Just a Teenage Punchbag

Give a Little Love by Jackie Clune

London, March 2020. Angela is reeling from the sudden death of her husband Robert. As the world hunkers down against the pandemic, she and her two children – home from university – lock down in their grief and remembrance.

Except Angela has this gnawing sensation, a tightness in her chest every time she thinks of Robert. He could be harsh, critical, often belittling in front of others. But he did his best – didn’t he? He looked after them, even if he did make the decisions and laugh at her small ambitions. Even if he controlled most things in Angela’s so-called life.

As lockdown drags on with its do-gooder neighbours and their cake-baking and competitive Clapping for Carers, Angela makes a disturbing discovery on Robert’s old phone: messages from a woman who clearly had a close relationship with her late husband. Enraged but liberated by the betrayal, Angela starts to reclaim her life.

Until she runs into Zana. Zana, who appears to be watching her house. Zana, with her small child in tow. Zana, and her inexplicable connection to Robert…

When Angela decides to help Zana she is forced to reframe her outlook, check her privilege and confront how exactly she plans to live the rest of her life. Slowly they build a relationship based on their mutual recognition, and when Zana introduces Angela to her friends at the local homeless mother and child hostel, she discovers a different, more hopeful, kind of family bubble.


Woman of a Certain Rage

Woman of a Certain Rage by Georgie Hall

Eliza is angry. Very angry, and very, very hot.

Late for work and dodging traffic, she’s still reeling from the latest row with husband Paddy. Twenty-something years ago, their eyes met over the class divide in oh-so-cool Britpop London, but while Paddy now seems content filling his downtime with canal boats and cricket, Eliza craves the freedom and excitement of her youth. Fifty sounds dangerously close to pensionable: her woke children want to cancel her, a male motorist has just called her a ‘mad old bat’ and to cap it all her hormones are on the run. Who knew menopause was puberty’s evil older sister?

But then a moment of heroism draws an unexpected admirer, and Eliza sets out to discover whether the second half of life can be a glass half full after all. She might suffer mental fog and night sweats – and have temporarily mislaid her waist – but this is her renaissance.


All the Fun of the Fair: A hilarious, brilliantly original coming-of-age story that will capture your heart

All the Fun of the Fair by Caroline Hulse

The Fair is the only good thing that happens every year. And Fiona Larson is the only person in town who’s never been.

She’s pretended to go – but she’s never been allowed. Because, before Fiona was even born, her sister died there.

This year, everything will be different.

Fiona is about to turn twelve – older than her sister was. This summer, Fiona will save some money, make new friends, and finally have some fun at The Fair.

But what she’ll actually do is:
– Find a mysterious bag in a bush
– Spy on everyone
– Lose her only friend
– Make a lot of lists
– Learn the truth about what happened at The Fair…


The Distant Shores: The escapist summer read of 2021 from the Sunday Times Number One bestselling author

The Distant Shores by Santa Montefiore

Margot Hart travels to Ireland to write a biography of the famous Deverill family. She knows she must speak to the current Lord Deverill – JP – if she is to uncover the secrets of the past. A notorious recluse, JP won’t be an easy man to crack. But Margot is determined – and she is not a woman who is easily put off.
 
What she never expected was to form a close bond with JP and be drawn into his family disputes. Shouldering the blame for running up debts that forced him to sell the family castle, JP is isolated and vulnerable. With help from his handsome son Colm, it seems as though Margot might be the only one who can restore JP’s fortunes.
 
Will the family ever succeed in healing rifts that have been centuries in the making?


Home: the most moving and heartfelt novel you'll read this year

Home by Penny Parkes

Anna Wilson travels the world as a professional housesitter – stepping into other people’s lives – caring for their homes, pets and sometimes even neighbours. Living vicariously.
 
But all Anna has ever really wanted is a home of her own – a proper one, filled with family and love and happy memories. If only she knew where to start.
 
Growing up in foster care, she always envied her friends their secure and carefree lives, their certainty and confidence. And, while those same friends may have become her family of choice, Anna is still stuck in that nomadic cycle, looking for answers, trying to find the courage to put down roots and find a place to call home.


Annie Stanley, All At Sea

Annie Stanley, All at Sea by Sue Teddern

Sometimes the end is only the beginning . . .

Annie is single, unemployed and just a bit stuck when her beloved father dies unexpectedly. Furious at his partner’s plans to scatter his ashes somewhere of no emotional significance, Annie seizes the urn and, on a whim, decides to take it on a tour of the thirty-one sea areas that make up the shipping forecast, which her father loved listening to, despite living in landlocked St Albans. Travelling around the coastline of Britain searching for the perfect place to say goodbye, she starts to wonder if it might be time to rethink some of the relationships in her life – but is it too late for second chances?

A novel about love, loss and the importance of living life to the full, Annie Stanley, All at Sea by Sue Teddern is proof that it’s often the most difficult moments in life that show us what really matters.


Summer in the City: An uplifting and heart-warming story to brighten your summer

Summer in the City by Fiona Collins

Prue is not someone you would notice willingly. She likes to keep herself to herself and fade into the background. If it were not for the birthmark on her left cheek, she might actually succeed at becoming invisible.

She spends all of her time with her blind father, Vince. Together, they sit in silence and ignore the vibrant city just on their doorstep. Life is as good as what’s on TV. That is, until something forces them both to go outside and see what they have been missing. For Vince, that means discovering how to see the world without his sight. For Prue, that means finding the courage to finally love and be loved in return.

Back to Index

Historical

The Last Daughter: A spellbinding and gripping historical mystery to escape with in summer 2021

The Last Daughter by Nicola Cornick

A secret hidden in the past.

A family bound by a dark legacy…

Ever since her sister disappeared eleven years ago, Serena Warren has been running from a ghost, haunted by what she can’t remember about that night.

When Caitlin’s body is discovered, Serena returns to her grandfather’s house, nestled beside the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall in Oxfordshire, determined to uncover the truth. But in returning to the place of her childhood summers, Serena stands poised at the brink of a startling discovery – one that will tie her family to a centuries-old secret…


The Queen’s Spy: A new and gripping Tudor historical fiction novel for 2021

The Queen’s Spy by Clare Marchant

1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.

There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…

2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.

Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?


Back to Index

Non-Fictionan added extra

The Right Sort of Girl: 'A joy from start to finish' Emma Kennedy

The Right Sort of Girl by Anita Rani

‘I’m a girl and northern and brown, didn’t you know? A triple threat!’ Trying to navigate her Indian world at home and the British world outside her front door, Anita Rani was a girl who didn’t ­fit in anywhere. She was always destined to stand out: from playing Mary in her otherwise all white nursery nativity to growing up in eighties Yorkshire with her Punjabi family, spending evenings in the factory her parents owned whilst trying to ­figure out how best to get rid of hair that seemed to be growing EVERYWHERE.

Anita shares the lessons she wishes her younger self could have known: ‘Freedom is Complicated’, ‘You Will Fall in Love and Be Loved’ and, most importantly, ‘Your Anger is Legitimate’. How did she manage to become the powerhouse she is, whilst battling against being too white inside her home and too brown outside of it?

This story of a second-generation British Indian woman up north is also a tale of tenacity and a life lived with positivity and humour. If you have ever felt alone, different, or just not the right sort of girl, this is the book for you.


Lost Paradise: The Story of Granada

Lost Paradise : The Story of Granada by Elizabeth Drayson

The Andalusian city of Granada has long cast its spell on visitors. In the ninth centruy, the Muslim sage Abd al-Malik described it as a place of enchantment, while a later poet, Ibn Zamrak, sang of it as a city that wears a crown upon its forehead, bejewelled with diamond stars. From the early Middle Ages to the present, foreign travellers have been bewitched by Granada’s peerless beauty.

Granada is also the stuff of story and legend, with an unforgettable history to match. Romans, then Visigoths, settled here, as did a community of Jews; in the eleventh century a Berber chief made Granada his capital, and from 1230 until 1492 the Nasrids – Spain’s last Islamic dynasty – ruled the emirate of Granada from their fortress-palace of the Alhambra. After capturing the city to complete the Christian Reconquista, the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella made the Alhambra the site of their royal court.

In this, the first narrative history of Granada for English-speaking readers, Elizabeth Drayson takes the reader on a voyage of discovery that uncovers the many-layered past of Spain’s most complex and fascinating city, celebrating and exploring its evolving identity. Her account brings to the fore the image of Granada as a lost paradise, revealing it as a place of perpetual contradiction and linking it to the great dilemma over Spain’s true identity as a nation. This is the story of a vanished Eden, of a place that questions and probes Spain’s deep obsession with forgetting, and with erasing historical and cultural memory.

Back to Index

So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

2 comments

    • Thank you! I’m hoping The Story of Granada will go to paperback but as a fairly specialist title, I might just have to bite the bullet and buy it in hardback – I love Granada! I’d like to take credit for the HTML but I haven’t a clue how that stuff works, so I certainly didn’t do anything too techy, just followed the sidebar instructions.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.