The ‘Kindle Monthly Sale’ is now a variety of different ‘offers’ bundled together and they may in some cases last longer than the current month (particularly those 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.
My ongoing my policy of trying to be more selective has meant that going forward I’m restricting this list to my Top 40 (ish!) books, all published since 2019. This is based on the assumption that the longer a book has been around it’s more likely to have hit your radar already. 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 This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1950’s ie before I was born!)
Crime, thriller & mystery
Missing by Erin Kinsley
When two sisters receive the news their mother is missing, their lives will never be the same again. Loyal but fragile Lily, and headstrong, long-absent Marta must come together to uncover what has happened to her.
Meanwhile, on the brink of retirement, DI Fox investigates cold cases long since forgotten. And there’s one obsession he won’t let go: a tragic death twenty years before.
Can Lily and Marietta find the truth about their mother? Will Fox solve a mystery that has haunted him for decades? As their stories unexpectedly collide, long-buried secrets will change their lives in unimaginable ways.
The Rising by Brian McGilloway
A flooded graveyard brings an unsolved murder to light…
When Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is summoned to a burning barn, he finds inside the charred remains of a man who is quickly identified as a local drug dealer, Martin Kielty. It soon becomes clear that Kielty’s death was no accident, and suspicion falls on a local vigilante group. Former paramilitaries, the men call themselves The Rising.
Meanwhile, a former colleague’s teenage son has gone missing during a seaside camping trip. Devlin is relieved when the boy’s mother, Caroline Williams, receives a text message from her son’s phone, and so when a body is reported, washed up on a nearby beach, the inspector is baffled.
When another drug dealer is killed, Devlin realises that the spate of deaths is more complex than mere vigilantism. But just as it seems he is close to understanding the case, a personal crisis will strike at the heart of Ben’s own family, and he will be forced to confront the compromises his career has forced upon him.
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?
You’ll be riveted by the new psychological suspense from Nikki Smith – a gripping gut-punch of a novel . . .
Mystery at the Old Mill by Clare Chase
When the calm of Saxford St Peter is disrupted by a deadly fire at the Old Mill, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow finds herself investigating a most surprising mystery!
Everyone in Saxford St Peter is desperate to get to know Harry Tennant, the charming newcomer who owns the Old Mill, particularly Eve Mallow. He keeps himself to himself, and Eve is sure he’s hiding something… When Harry invites the whole village round for drinks, she can’t wait to find out more.
But two days before the party, a terrible fire sweeps through the mill, and Harry is found dead. When Eve passes the burned remains of his beautiful house, she can’t resist the call to investigate. Especially when it turns out Harry was living a double life as the famous advice writer Pippa Longford, and several of the villagers wrote letters to him. Eve has to wonder what confidences her neighbours shared… and whether one of them was worth killing for.
Accompanied by her reliable dachshund sidekick Gus, Eve starts digging. She soon realises Harry was at the centre of a web of lives – and lies. There’s an angry uncle desperate to inherit, an unhappy woman he didn’t want to marry, not to mention all the people who told him their darkest secrets. Was one of them much closer to home than Harry knew? And can Eve untangle the truth before she finds herself face to face with a killer?
The Perfect Lie by Nuala Ellwood
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BE SOMEONE ELSE?
Vanessa has always found it easy to pretend to be somebody different, somebody better. When things get tough in her real life, all she has to do is throw on some nicer clothes, adopt a new accent and she can escape.
That’s how it started: looking round houses she couldn’t possibly afford. Harmless fun really. Until it wasn’t.
Because a man who lived in one of those houses is dead.
And everyone thinks Vanessa killed him…
Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths
Three young women have gone missing.
A girl called Rhonda has vanished from her boarding school. Maybe she ran away, but there are disturbing similarities to the disappearance of two other young women – those too thought not to be suspicious.
But where are they?
Detective Edgar Stephens is under pressure to solve Rhonda’s disappearance, but it is his wife Emma, herself a former detective now frustrated at being just a housewife, who concludes there might be a connection between the three cases.
Then the danger comes nearer home.
Edgar’s friend, magician Max Mephisto, is reinventing himself as a movie star and trying not to envy his daughter Ruby’s television fame. Little do either of them know how close they are to being drawn into the deadly web of abduction and murder about to trap them all.
The Coffin Maker’s Garden by Stuart MacBride
A house of secrets…
As a massive storm batters the Scottish coast, Gordon Smith’s home is falling into the sea. The trouble is: that’s where he’s been hiding the bodies.
A killer on the run…
It’s too dangerous to go near the place, so there’s no way of knowing how many people he’s murdered. Or how many more he’ll kill before he’s caught.
An investigator with nothing to lose…
As more horrors are discovered, ex-detective Ash Henderson is done playing nice. He’s got a killer to catch, and God help anyone who gets in his way.
The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
o solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero…
Seventy-seven-year-old Judith Potts is blissfully happy. She lives alone in a faded mansion in Marlow, sets crosswords for The Times, and there’s no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink.
One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. When the local police don’t believe her story, Judith and two unlikely friends decide to investigate for themselves. Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
But soon another body turns up, and it seems they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. Now the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…
Kill Them Cold by J M Dalgliesh
One lie requires commitment… Multiple lies require dedication…
When the remains of a young woman are discovered near to Branodunum, a Roman archaeological site on the Norfolk coast, DI Tom Janssen and his team must work to discover who she was and how she came to be buried there.
The area is steeped in myth and folklore, a site excavated many times over the years. Just how long has she lain there… and who wishes she’d never been discovered? As the victim’s life comes into sharp focus, it appears there is far more to those who crossed her path than anyone previously realised.
Uncovering dark secrets at every turn, DI Janssen must unravel the web of deceit in order to unmask a killer; possibly the most cold blooded and dangerous murderer he has ever faced.
Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Norfolk, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed.
Exit by Belinda Bauer
Meet Felix Pink. The most unlikely murderer you’ll ever have the good fortune to spend time with.
When Felix lets himself in to Number 3 Black Lane, he’s there to perform an act of charity: to keep a dying man company as he takes his final breath . . .
But just fifteen minutes later Felix is on the run from the police – after making the biggest mistake of his life.
Now his world is turned upside down as he must find out if he’s really to blame, or if something much more sinister is at play. All while staying one shaky step ahead of the law.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
For fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry comes a powerful novel about the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.
How far can we run from the past, when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
The Perfect Lie by Jo Spain
He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.
Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny’s police colleagues one morning, it’s the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.
Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband’s murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect.
But it was all built on the perfect lie.
The Lost Hours by Susan Lewis
A loving marriage…
Golden couple Annie and David Crayce have it all. A perfect marriage, three beautiful children and a thriving family business. Life couldn’t be better. Until the unthinkable happens…
A long-buried crime…
Suddenly, David is the prime suspect of a murder committed twenty years ago. As the police investigate the cold case, so does Annie. But it all comes down to a few lost hours she can’t solve.
Now Annie must prove the man she loves is innocent.
The clock is ticking…
The Split by Sharon Bolton
SHE’LL NEVER STOP RUNNING.
BUT HE’LL NEVER STOP LOOKING.
A year ago Felicity Lloyd fled England to South Georgia, one of the most remote islands in the world, escaping her past and the man she once loved. Can she keep running her whole life?
Freddie Lloyd has served time for murder – and now he wants her back. Wherever she is, he won’t stop until he finds her. Will he be able to track her to the ends of the earth?
TOGETHER THEY’LL FIND THEMSELVES TRAPPED ON THE ICE AND IN DANGER. WHO WILL SURVIVE?
The Rock by LJ Ross
FROM THE SHADOWS INTO THE LIGHT…
When a fishing boat is wrecked off the treacherous North Sea coast and the body of a young woman washes up on the beach beside the iconic ‘Marsden Rock’, DCI Ryan cannot ignore the call to duty.
With one already dead and more human cargo missing from the wreckage, Ryan and his team race to find the remaining souls — before it’s too late, and their investigation turns to murder. As they uncover the seedy underbelly of Tyneside, cold and calculated opportunism clashes with the rock-hard arm of the Law, but there’s one thing that proves stronger than stone…
The human spirit.
Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular North Eastern landscape.
All Her Fault by Andrea Mara
ONE MISSING BOY.
Marissa Irvine arrives at 14 Tudor Grove, expecting to pick up her young son Milo from his first playdate with a boy at his new school. But the woman who answers the door isn’t a mother she recognises. She isn’t the nanny. She doesn’t have Milo. And so begins every parent’s worst nightmare.
FOUR GUILTY WOMEN.
As news of the disappearance filters through the quiet Dublin suburb and an unexpected suspect is named, whispers start to spread about the women most closely connected to the shocking event. Because only one of them may have taken Milo – but they could all be blamed . . .
IN A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS, WHO IS REALLY AT FAULT?
That Night by Gillian McAllister
What would you do to protect your family?
During a family holiday in Italy, you get an urgent call from your sister.
There’s been an accident: she hit a man with her car and he’s dead. She asks for your help.
She’d cover for you, so will you do the same for her?
But when the police come calling, the lies start . . .
And you each begin to doubt one another.
What really happened that night?
Who is lying to who?
AND WHO WILL BE THE FIRST TO CRACK?
Feel Good Fiction & Romance
The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.
So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.
But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.
Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?
And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….
The Paris Connection by Lorraine Brown
Could one split second change her life forever?
Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!
But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…
The Art of Loving You by Amelia Henley
They were so in love . . .
And then life changed forever . . .
Will they find happiness again?
Libby and Jack are the happiest they’ve ever been. Thanks to their dear friend, eighty-year-old Sid, they’ve just bought their first house together, and it’s the beginning of the life they’ve always dreamed of.
But the universe has other plans for Libby and Jack and a devastating twist of fate shatters their world.
All of a sudden life is looking very different, and unlikely though it seems, might Sid be the one person who can help Libby and Jack move forward when what they loved the most has been lost?
My Kind of Happy by Cathy Bramley
It started with a wishlist… Now can she make it happen?
‘I think flowers are sunshine for the soul.’
Flowers have always made Fearne smile. She treasures the memories of her beloved grandmother’s floristry and helping her to arrange beautiful blooms that brought such joy to their recipients.
But ever since a family tragedy a year ago, Fearne has been searching for her own contentment. When a chance discovery inspires her to start a happiness wishlist, it seems that Fearne might just have found her answer…
Sometimes the scariest path can be the most rewarding. So is Fearne ready to take the risk and step into the unknown? And what kind of happiness might she find if she does?
Fall in love with this romantic, feel-good story from bestseller Cathy Bramley about one woman’s search for happiness!
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain
ALBERT ENTWISTLE WAS A POSTMAN. It was one of the few things everyone knew about him. And it was one of the few things he was comfortable with people knowing.
64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been a postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the death of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him.
He realises it’s finally time to tell the truth. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgotten . . .
Join Albert as he sets out to find the long-lost love of his life, and has an unforgettable and completely life-affirming adventure on the way . . . This is a love story the likes of which you have never read before!
Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews
When does time out become the time of your life?
Jodie Jackson is all at sea, in every sense. On a ferry bound for the Isle of Wight, she’s leaving her London life, her career, and her husband behind. She’d like a chance to turn back the clocks, but she’ll settle for some peace and quiet on her brother Bill’s beautifully renovated houseboat, Sunny Days.
But from the moment Jodie steps aboard her new home, it’s clear she’ll struggle to keep herself to herself. If it isn’t Marilyn, who cleans for Bill and is under strict instructions to look after Jodie, then it’s Ned, the noisy sculptor on the next-door houseboat. Ned’s wood carving is hard on the ears, but it’s made up for by the fact that he’s rather easy on the eyes.
Bustled out of the boat by Marilyn and encouraged to explore with Ned, Jodie soon delights in her newfound freedom. But out of mind isn’t out of sight, and when her old life comes knocking Jodie is forced to face reality. Will she answer the call or choose a life filled with Sunny Days and Sea Breezes?
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.
Away With the Penguins by Hazel Prior
Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .
Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.
Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.
She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).
Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.
But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.
The Moment I Met You by Debbie Johnson
It only takes a second…
For life to change forever.
Elena Godwin could never have known that her dream holiday to Mexico would change her life forever. She thought that she was in charge of her own destiny. But on a gorgeous summer evening, her whole world is ripped from her feet in a single moment.
Ten years later, she still can’t forget the face of the stranger who held her whilst everything she knew was destroyed. Thrown back together again, Elena starts to uncover the truth around that fateful night – and questions whether she made the right decision all those years ago.
She only met him for a moment, but maybe it’s not too late…
Contacts by Mark Watson
One man’s last journey. One hundred and fifty-eight chances to save his life.
At five to midnight in Euston station, James Chiltern sends one text to all 158 people in his contacts. A message saying goodbye.
Five minutes later, with two pork pies and a packet of chocolate digestives in his pocket, he disappears.
Across the world, 158 phones light up. Phones belonging to James’s friends, his family, people he’s lost touch with. All of them now wondering, where has James gone? What happened to him? And more importantly, can they find him before it’s too late?
Funny and wise, tender and deeply moving, Contacts is a beautiful story about the weight of loneliness, the importance of kindness – and how it’s never too late to reach out.
All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle
In phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun and friendship.
But Hubert Bird is lying.
Something has made him turn his back on people, and he hardly sees a soul.
So when his daughter announces she’s coming to visit, Hubert faces a race against time: to make his real life resemble his fake life before he’s found out.
Along the way Hubert renews a cherished friendship, is given a second chance at love and even joins an audacious community scheme. But with the secret of his earlier isolation lurking in the shadows, is he destines to always be one of the lonely people?
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 . . .
A fabulous novel about love, friendship and finding the way to your best life.
The Second Marriage by Gill Paul
When her first marriage ends in tragedy, Jackie Kennedy fears she’ll never love again. But all that changes when she encounters…
Successful and charming, Ari Onassis is a man who promises her the world. Yet soon after they marry, Jackie learns that his heart also belongs to another…
A beautiful, famed singer, Maria Callas is in love with Jackie’s new husband – and she isn’t going to give up.
Little by little, Jackie and Maria’s lives begin to tangle in a dangerous web of secrets, scandal and lies. But with both women determined to make Ari theirs alone, the stakes are high. How far will they go for true love?
Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman
Meet the Gogartys: cantankerous gran Millie (whose eccentricities include a penchant for petty-theft and reckless driving); bitter downtrodden stepson Kevin (erstwhile journalist whose stay-at-home parenting is pushing him to the brink); and habitually moody, disaffected teenage daughter Aideen.
When Gran’s arrested yet again for shoplifting, Aideen’s rebelliousness has reached new heights and Kevin’s still not found work, he realises he needs to take action. With the appointment of a home carer for his mother, his daughter sent away to boarding school to focus on her studies and more time for him to reboot his job-hunt, surely everything will work out just fine. But as the story unfolds – and in the way of all the best families – nothing goes according to plan and as the calm starts to descend into chaos we’re taken on a hilarious multiple-perspective roller-coaster ride that is as relatable as it is far-fetched.
The Lip by Charlie Carroll
Away from the hotels and holiday lets, there is an unseen side of Cornwall, where the shifting uncertainties of the future breed resentment and mistrust.
Melody Janie is hidden. She lives alone in a caravan in Bones Break: a small cliff-top on Cornwall’s north coast. She spends her time roaming her territory, spying on passing tourists and ramblers, and remembering. She sees everything and yet remains unseen.
However, when a stranger enters her life, she is forced to confront not only him but the terrible tragedies of her past.
The Lip is a novel about childhood, isolation and mental health, told in the unique and unforgettable voice of Melody Janie.
The Affair by Hilary Boyd
On the glamorous shores of Lake Como, Connie meets Jared.
She’s married. He’s young. But that doesn’t stop the heat rising between them.
And so begins a long, hot, intoxicating summer where Connie succumbs to temptation – breaking her marriage vows.
At the end of summer, Connie returns to her husband, ready to put the affair behind her.
But Jared has other ideas . . .
The Moon Over Kilmore Quay by Carmel Harrington
When your heart belongs in two places, can you ever truly find home?
Brooklyn, New York,
Bea has grown up in the heart of the Irish community, always hearing stories of home. When she discovers a letter from her younger self, written years before, it sends her deep into her own family history.
Kilmore Quay, Ireland.
Years earlier, Lucy Mernagh leaves her much-loved home and family in search of the New York dream. The Big Apple is a world away from the quiet village she grew up in, and the longing for home aches within her.
When Bea uncovers a shocking secret, it takes her back across the water to Kilmore Quay, where – finally – long-buried truths will come to light. But fate has one last twist in store…
Starry, Starry Night by Marcia Willett
‘We’ll always be together, won’t we?’
Childhood friends and cousins Leo and Alice had imagined their whole lives playing out on their beloved Devon beach. But one night when they are teens, sitting on the sand beneath the stars, Alice tells Leo a secret that must never be shared with anybody else . . . then packs her bag and flees.
Leo is left to build his own life – without Alice. He surrounds himself with other family and friends and on the whole is content and fulfilled. But he is left with a sense of what – or who – is missing. So decades later, when he receives a note from Alice asking if she can come home, he doesn’t hesitate to agree.
But as the stars align and their reunion draws near, Leo is left to consider their separation and what so many years apart means for a relationship solidified in youth and a secret which could affect the whole family.
Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan
In the Eternal City, no secret stays hidden forever…
Lottie Archer arrives in Rome excited to begin her new job as an archivist. When she discovers a valuable fifteenth-century painting, she is drawn to find out more about the woman who left it behind, Nina Lawrence.
Nina seems to have led a rewarding and useful life, restoring Italian gardens to their full glory following the destruction of World War Two. So why did no one attend her funeral in 1978?
In exploring Nina’s past, Lottie unravels a tragic love story beset by the political turmoil of post-war Italy. And as she edges closer to understanding Nina, she begins to confront the losses in her own life.
The Boatman’s Wife by Noelle Harrison
There was some dark secret in this western edge of Ireland that her husband never wanted her to find out. She might never be able to lay his body to rest, but she could gain some kind of closure by finding out who the man she married was.
When Lily married her soulmate Connor, buffeted by the sea spray and wild winds of her coastal homeland in Maine, she never imagined she’d be planning his memorial just three years later. Connor has been lost at sea, leaving Lily heartbroken.
But as she prepares to say goodbye to Connor for the last time, she is shocked to discover a message to him that he never told her about:
Does your wife know who you really are, Connor Fitzgerald? Don’t ever think you can come home. Because if you do, I swear I’ll kill you.
Unable to bear living in the home she and Connor shared, Lily decides to find out her husband’s secret. She flies to Connor’s home town of Mullaghmore on the west coast of Ireland, a harbour town hugged by golden beaches. But when doors are slammed in her face, she begins to realise that she knows nothing about her husband’s past. Will Lily risk everything to find out the truth about the man she married?
Welcome to Ferry Lane Market by Nicola May
Although thirty-three-year-old Kara Moon loves her hometown of Hartmouth in Cornwall, she has always wondered if she should have followed her dream of going off to study floristry. But she couldn’t bring herself to abandon her emotionally delicate single father, and has worked on Ferry Lane Market’s flower stall ever since leaving school.
When her good-for-nothing boyfriend cheats on her and steals her life savings, she finally dumps him and rents out her spare room as an Airbnb. Gossip flies around the town as Kara welcomes a series of foreign guests to her flat overlooking the estuary.
Then an anonymous postcard arrives, along with a plane ticket to New York. And there begins the first of three trips of a lifetime, during which she will learn important lessons about herself, her life and what she wants from it – and perhaps find love along the way.
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 . . .
Home Stretch by Graham Norton
Shame and longing can flow through generations, but the secrets of the heart will not be buried for ever.
It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed.
The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life.
But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past.
The Binder of Lost Stories by Cristina Caboni
With her delicate touch, Sofia Bauer restores books to their original splendor. In this art she finds refuge from her crumbling marriage and the feeling that her once-vibrant life is slipping away. Then an antique German edition takes her breath away. Slipped covertly into the endpapers is an intriguing missive, the first part of a secret…from one bookbinder to another.
Two hundred years ago, Clarice von Harmel defied the constraints of family and society to engage in a profession forbidden to women. Within three separate volumes, Clarice bound her own hidden story filled with pain, longing, and love beyond all reason. A confession that now crosses centuries to touch the heart of a stranger.
With the help of book collector Tomaso Leoni, Sofia connects the threads of Clarice’s past, page by page, line by line, town by town. She’s determined to make Clarice’s voice heard. With each new revelation, Clarice is giving Sofia the courage to find her own voice and hope for the future she thought was lost.
The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti
1945, Italy. Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround the village of Bosconero. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…
1996. Luce Nardini searches the cobbled streets of a remote Italian village for a house with a faded blue door. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been completely untethered. Discovering why her mother cut all contact with her family and the village she loved feels like Luce’s last hope at understanding who she is.
Inside the house, she’s relieved to find the grandmother she never knew living out her final days. With a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand, her grandmother is just beginning to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother swore never to return, when then the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core.
Feeling more lost than ever before, Luce fears that the secrets of her past have been buried forever. Her only hope is to win back the trust of the small community and find her grandmother’s little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village.
But will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? And will anything have prepared her for the devastating betrayal she finds hidden inside the box…?
The Tuscan House by Angela Petch
Corbello, Italy, 1947. A woman and a little boy stagger into the ruins of an old house deep in the forest, wild roses overwhelming the crumbling terracotta walls. Since the war, nowhere has been safe. But they both freeze in shock when a voice calls out from the shadows…
For young mother Fosca Sentino, accepting refuge from reluctant British war hero Richard – in Tuscany to escape his tragic past – is the only way to keep her little family safe. She once risked everything to spy on Nazi commanders and pass secret information to the resistenza. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, Fosca’s best friend Simonetta disappeared without trace. The whole community was torn apart, and now Fosca and her son are outcasts.
Wary of this handsome stranger at first, Fosca slowly starts to feel safe as she watches him play with her son in the overgrown orchard. But her fragile peace is shattered the moment a silver brooch is found in the garden, and she recognises it as Simonetta’s…
Fosca has always suspected that another member of the resistenza betrayed her. With Richard by her side, she must find out if Simonetta is still alive, and clear her own name. But how did the brooch end up at the house? And with a traitor hiding in the village, willing to do anything to keep this secret buried, has Fosca put herself and her young son in terrible danger?
The Orchard Girls by Nikola Scott
London, 2004. Frankie didn’t always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won’t stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie’s own life.
Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet’s life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women’s Land Army. She wants nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchards face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, for ever . . .
The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett
The truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands…
1661, North Berwick, Scotland
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, Scotland
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 Secretary by Catherin Hokin
The Tower House. Down a secluded path, hidden by overgrown vines, the crumbling villa echoes with memories. Of the family who laughed and sang there, until the Nazis tore them from their home. And of the woman who walked its empty rooms, whose courage in the face of evil altered the course of history…
Germany 1940. As secretary to Himmler, the leader of the SS, Magda spends her days sending party invitations to high-ranking Nazis, and her evenings distributing pamphlets for the resistance. But Magda is leading a dangerous double life, smuggling secrets out of the office. It’s a deadly game, and eventual exposure is a certainty, but Magda is driven by a need to keep the man she secretly loves safe as he fights against the Nazis…
Forty years later.Nina’s heart pounds as she steps into an uncertain future carrying a forged passport, a few bank notes, and a scribbled address for The Tower House taken from an intricate drawing she found hidden in her grandmother’s wardrobe. Separated from her family and betrayed by her country, Nina’s last hope is to trace her family’s history in the ruins of the past her grandmother ran from. But, when she finally finds the abandoned house, she opens the door to a forgotten story, and to secrets which will change everything: past, present, and future…
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
the story of the girl who stole it.
Motherless and irrepressibly curious, Esme spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of lexicographers are gathering words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary.
Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day, she sees a slip containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutter to the floor unclaimed.
Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. She begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words.
Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
Set in a spectacular circus in the pleasure gardens of Victorian London, this is an addictive novel about power, fame, and a love that is threatened by a terrible secret.
1866. In a coastal village in southern England, Nell lives set apart by her community because of the birthmarks that speckle her skin.
But when Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders arrives in the village, Nell is kidnapped. Her father has sold her, promising Jasper Jupiter his very own leopard girl. It is the greatest betrayal of Nell’s life, but as her fame grows, and she finds friendship with the other performers and Jasper’s gentle brother Toby, she begins to wonder if joining the show is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
In London, newspapers describe Nell as the eighth wonder of the world. Figurines are cast in her image, and crowds rush to watch her soar through the air. But what happens when her fame eclipses Jasper’s own? And as she falls in love with Toby, can he detach himself from his past and the terrible secret that binds him to his brother?
The Way Home by Mark Boyle
It was 11pm when I checked my email for the last time and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be forever.
No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce.
In this honest and lyrical account of a remarkable life without modern technology, Mark Boyle explores the hard won joys of building a home with his bare hands, learning to make fire, collecting water from the spring, foraging and fishing.
What he finds is an elemental life, one governed by the rhythms of the sun and seasons, where life and death dance in a primal landscape of blood, wood, muck, water, and fire – much the same life we have lived for most of our time on earth. Revisiting it brings a deep insight into what it means to be human at a time when the boundaries between man and machine are blurring.
Saffron in the Souks by John Gregory-Smith
From the vibrant souks of Tripoli and Beirut to the quiet calm of the Chouf Mountains and Qadisha Valley, Lebanon is a land of bold colours, exquisite flavours and hidden beauty. For this gorgeous book, John Gregory-Smith travelled the length and breadth of the country to bring back the very best of Lebanese cuisine. Classic streetfood, delicate pastries and little known Druze recipes are given John’s signature twist, creating dishes that are bursting with flavour and sure to become star players in your kitchen.
With stunning location photography to bring the country to life, Saffron in the Souks is sure to delight and inspire its readers.
Son of a Silverback by Russell Kane
From one of Britain’s most popular and prolific comedians comes a hilarious and deeply moving memoir of life lived under the rule of a Silverback dad.
The Silverback is considered the undisputed king, a creature whose authority is never challenged and who does not yield to compromise. He walks proudly, feeds greedily, grafts tirelessly, mates voraciously, swears constantly and is threatened all too easily. The Silverback is known to nestle in the misty peaks of central Africa but can also be found in Barking, Essex. Meet Dave Kane, the disappointed, steroid-ingesting, metal-wielding, bouncer father of slight, effete Gamma Male, Russell Kane.
SON OF A SILVERBACK is a story about fathers and sons, class and education and how one scrawny, sensitive, fake-tan-applying ‘ponce’ stepped out of his father’s shadow and became a man – whatever that means.
Dead Famous by Greg Jenner
Celebrity, with its neon glow and selfie pout, strikes us as hypermodern. But the famous and infamous have been thrilling, titillating, and outraging us for much longer than we might realise. Whether it was the scandalous Lord Byron, whose poetry sent female fans into an erotic frenzy; or the cheetah-owning, coffin-sleeping, one-legged French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who launched a violent feud with her former best friend; or Edmund Kean, the dazzling Shakespearean actor whose monstrous ego and terrible alcoholism saw him nearly murdered by his own audience – the list of stars whose careers burned bright before the Age of Television is extensive and thrillingly varied.
Celebrities could be heroes or villains; warriors or murderers; brilliant talents, or fraudsters with a flair for fibbing; trendsetters, wilful provocateurs, or tragic victims marketed as freaks of nature. Some craved fame while others had it forced upon them. A few found fame as small children, some had to wait decades to get their break. But uniting them all is the shared origin point: since the early 1700s, celebrity has been one of the most emphatic driving forces in popular culture; it is a lurid cousin to Ancient Greek ideas of glorious and notorious reputation, and its emergence helped to shape public attitudes to ethics, national identity, religious faith, wealth, sexuality, and gender roles.
In this ambitious history, that spans the Bronze Age to the coming of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Greg Jenner assembles a vibrant cast of over 125 actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, freaks, demigods, ruffians, and more, in search of celebrity’s historical roots. He reveals why celebrity burst into life in the early eighteenth century, how it differs to ancient ideas of fame, the techniques through which it was acquired, how it was maintained, the effect it had on public tastes, and the psychological burden stardom could place on those in the glaring limelight. DEAD FAMOUS is a surprising, funny, and fascinating exploration of both a bygone age and how we came to inhabit our modern, fame obsessed society.
One Tin Bakes by Edd Kimber
Whether you want cookies or cakes, pastries or desserts, something fruity, chocolatey, spiced or nutty, baking just got a whole lot easier.
From Praline Meringue Cake to Matcha Roll Cake, Peanut Butter Brookies to Tahini Babka Buns, all you need is just one standard 9 x 13in baking tin.
Varied and versatile, requiring minimal skill and little equipment, Edd Kimber’s delicious treats range from simple bakes to slice and serve to impressive but achievable showstoppers.
Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink
For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up, she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, it was books that kept her afloat. Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, and packed with recommendations from one reader to another, Dear Reader is the ultimate love letter to reading and to finding the comfort and joy in stories.
So that’s it for this month, hopefully enough for you to discover a new, bargain read.