Coming over the next two weeks – my fiction picks to 13th February

Here’s this week’s 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, so I’m not working from a list of all titles being published.

Just a reminder I don’t see any advance copies, my choices are based on the blurb, gut instinct and what takes my fancy at the time.

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Index

Crime, Thriller and Mystery

General Fiction

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

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

The Murder Stones: A gripping Polish crime thriller

The Murder Stones by Hania Allen

Polish-born DS Dania Gorska is called upon to investigate a seemingly straightforward case of an RTA – a car has crashed into a tree, having first hit a deer on an icy road. But a witness has come forward to say he saw someone fleeing the scene and then the autopsy reveals vicious marks on the head of the dead man. Suddenly Dania is looking at murder.

The dead man, Eddie Sangster, has had an intriguing past – the youngest of three brothers, he inherited the family estate after the oldest committed suicide and the other simply disappeared. But decades on it would seem someone is out for vengeance as murder stones – carved headstones attesting to the brutal murders of both brothers – start to appear on the grounds of the estate.

Clearly the key to the puzzle of the murder stones lies at Sangster Hall, where a calamitous incident in the past is now shaping the present, and it is up to Dania to discover the murderous secret of the Sangster family.


We Know You Remember

We Know You Remember by Tove Alsterdal

Where were you the night Lina Stavred went missing?

The case was closed.
Everyone in Ådalen remembers the summer Lina Stavred went missing. At first, the investigation seemed like a dead end: there was no body, no crime scene, no murder weapon.

The records were sealed.
Then a local boy confessed to Lina’s murder. The case opened a wound – one the whole community has spent over two decades trying to heal.

But we know you remember.
Now Lina’s murderer has reappeared, and detective Eira Sjödin must face the spectre of his brutal crime. This is her chance to untangle years of well-kept secrets – but the truth is something Ådalen would rather forget.


Take Your Breath Away: From the international bestselling author of books like Find You First comes the biggest new crime ...

Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay

It’s always the husband, isn’t it? 

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most people assumed Andy had got away with murder, but the police couldn’t build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom – he drank too much, was abandoned by his friends, nearly lost his business and became a pariah in the place he had once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has put his life back together. He’s sold the house he shared with Brie and moved away for a fresh start. When he hears his old house has been bulldozed and a new house built in its place, he’s not bothered. He’s settled with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, ‘Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?’ And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman – who bears a striking resemblance to Brie – is gone. The police are notified and old questions – and dark suspicions – resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future, and the lives of those closest to him, depends on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers…


The Locked Room: Thrilling mystery to rival Agatha Christie (The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries Book 14)

The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths

Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1963.

Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and home-schooling. Happily, the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Zoe, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorsteps clapping for carers.

Nelson, meanwhile, is investigating a series of deaths of women that may or may not be suicide. When he links the deaths to an archaeological discovery, he breaks curfew to visit the cottage where he finds Ruth chatting to her neighbour whom he remembers as a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer.

Only then her name wasn’t Zoe. It was Dawn.


One Bad Thing

One Bad Thing by M K Hill

She thought she’d got away with it. She was wrong.

Hannah Godley is an agony aunt on a London radio show Queen of Hearts. She’s warm and empathetic; a good listener. Her catchphrase is: Be kind, always. But when a stranger phones in to tell a tragic story about her brother who killed himself after he was the victim of a terrible prank by two people, Hannah goes cold. Because she remembers Diane’s brother well. In fact, all these years later, he still haunts her dreams. All because of that one bad thing she did when she was young…

Is Diane just a sad, lonely woman looking for a friend, or does she know what Hannah did, and is looking for revenge? Because as Diane insinuates herself into her life and family, Hannah is going to discover that you can never truly escape that One Bad Thing you did – sooner or later, you’re going to have to pay the price…


The Long Weekend: ‘By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands’

The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan

By the time you read this, I’ll have killed one of your husbands.

In an isolated retreat, deep in the Northumbria moors, three women arrive for a weekend getaway.

Their husbands will be joining them in the morning. Or so they think.

But when they get to Dark Fell Barn, the women find a devastating note that claims one of their husbands has been murdered. Their phones are out of range. There’s no internet. They’re stranded. And a storm’s coming in.

Friendships fracture and the situation spins out of control as each wife tries to find out what’s going on, who is responsible and which husband has been targeted.

This was a tight-knit group. They’ve survived a lot. But they won’t weather this. Because someone has decided that enough is enough.

That it’s time for a reckoning.


Hear No Evil

Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith

In the burgeoning industrial city of Glasgow in 1817 Jean Campbell – a young, Deaf woman – is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde from the Old Bridge.

No evidence is yielded from the river. Unable to communicate with their silent prisoner, the authorities move Jean to the decaying Edinburgh Tolbooth in order to prise the story from her. The High Court calls in Robert Kinniburgh, a talented teacher from the Deaf & Dumb Institution, in the hope that he will interpret for them and determine if Jean is fit for trial. If found guilty she faces one of two fates; death by hanging or incarceration in an insane asylum.

Through a process of trial and error, Robert and Jean manage to find a rudimentary way of communicating with each other. As Robert gains her trust, Jean confides in him, and Robert begins to uncover the truth, moving uneasily from interpreter to investigator, determined to clear her name before it is too late.


The House of Ashes: The most chilling thriller of 2022 from the award-winning author of The Twelve

The House of Ashes by Stuart Neville

For Sara Keane, it was supposed to be a second chance. A new country. A new house. A new beginning with her husband Damien.

Then came the knock on the door.

Elderly Mary Jackson can’t understand why Sara and her husband are living in her home. She remembers the fire, and the house burning down. But she also remembers the children. The children who need her, whom she must protect.

‘The children will find you,’ she tells Sara, because Mary knows she needs help too. Sara soon becomes obsessed with what happened in that house nearly sixty years ago – the tragic, bloody night her husband never intended for her to discover. And Mary – silent for six decades – is finally ready to tell her story . . .


The Hunting Ground: A gripping detective novel that will give you chills (DI Alex Finn)

The Hunting Ground by Will Shindler

Sadie Nicholls has been found dead, brutally and strangely murdered, in her South East London flat. Her little boy is missing.

DI Alex Finn and DC Mattie Paulsen know that, in the case of a missing child, it’s the first 24 hours that count. They don’t have many left to find out where Sadie’s son might be and the identity of her killer. Why would anyone want a struggling single mother, loved by many, dead?

But when they realise a similar crime was committed at the same house nearly 20 years ago, a question is on everyone’s lips: is this more than just a coincidence?


The Lighthouse: The new claustrophobic psychological fiction thriller with a heart thudding twist you don’t want to miss i...

The Lighthouse by Fran Dorricott

No one expected them to go there. The question is: will any of them leave?

Six friends travel to a remote island north of the Scottish Highlands for an old school reunion. They’ve rented The Lighthouse – a stunning, now abandoned building that was once notorious for deaths at sea.
 
On the first evening, someone goes missing. The group search all through the night to no avail. But when the five remaining friends return to the lighthouse early the next morning, they are shocked to find James inside. He’s looks terrified – but won’t say a word about where he’s been.
 
The party vow to put the strange night behind them and enjoy the rest of their stay, but when more unexplained things begin to occur, tensions escalate. It’s clear James knows something, but nothing will persuade him to give up the secrets of the island. Is he protecting his friends from a terrible truth, or leading them into more danger?


Winter Water

Winter Water by Suzanne Jansson

Legend has it that the ocean can lure children and make them fall into the depths to never return . . .

Martin, who has always been drawn to the ocean, moves his wife Alexandra and their two young children move to his family’s idyllic summer cottage in the picturesque island village of Orust, on the west coast of Sweden. Martin begins to cultivate a mussel farm, where he soon runs into trouble with the locals.

One January weekend, when Martin is distracted by a ringing phone, he discovers that in those few moments, his young son has gone missing and his little red bucket is bobbing in the waves. Though his body is never found, it’s ruled an accidental drowning. Martin’s grief is all-consuming as he falls into a deep depression, withdrawing from his family and community.

When former police photographer Maya Linde arrives to Orust, she learns of the little boy’s disappearance and decides to do some investigating of her own. Martin and Maya grow closer as they learn the hidden truths of this town and the locals who have always mythologized the ocean.

Together they make a macabre discovery: other children have tragically died in the these waves, all on the same day in January, all in the exact same spot, though decades apart. Can it really be a coincidence, or is the ocean luring the children into its depths? As Maya and Martin grapple with a threat far greater than they ever imagined, they soon realize that the truth is actually much stranger than fiction . . .


Back to Index

General/Contemporary Fiction

Violets

Violets by Alex Hyde

A young woman, Violet, lies in a hospital bed in the closing days of World War Two. Her pregnancy is over and she is no longer able to conceive. With her husband deployed in Burma and her friends caught up in transitory love affairs, she must find a way to put herself back together.

In a small, watchful town in the Welsh valleys, another Violet contemplates the fate she shares with her unborn child. Unwed, an overseas posting offers a temporary way out. Plunged into the heat and disorder of Naples, her body begins to reveal the responsibility it carries even as she is drawn into the burnished circle of a charismatic new friend, Maggie.

Between these two Violets, sung into being like a babe in a nursery rhyme: a son. As their lives begin to intertwine, a spellbinding story of women’s courage emerges, suffused with power, lyricism and beauty, from an exhilarating new voice in British fiction.


Black Cake: 2022’s most unforgettable debut soon to be a major Hulu series produced by Oprah

Black Cake  by Charmaine Wilkerson

‘We can’t go to the island, Bryon. We don’t really know what we’re getting into . . .’

Eleanor Bennett won’t let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children – Byron and Benny – reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.

First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that’s separated Byron and Benny.

Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past. Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother’s final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?

Or will Eleanor’s revelations leave them feeling more lost than ever?


Love Marriage: 'Exquisitely written with big heartedness, intelligence and passion' Ruth Jones

Love Marriage by Monica Ali

Yasmin Ghorami has a lot to be grateful for: a loving family, a fledgling career in medicine, and a charming, handsome fiancée, fellow doctor Joe Sangster.

But as the wedding day draws closer and Yasmin’s parents get to know Joe’s firebrand feminist mother, both families must confront the unravelling of long-held secrets, lies and betrayals.

As Yasmin dismantles her own assumptions about the people she holds most dear, she’s also forced to ask herself what she really wants in a relationship and what a ‘love marriage’ actually means.

Love Marriage is a story about who we are and how we love in today’s Britain – with all the complications and contradictions of life, desire, marriage and family. What starts as a captivating social comedy develops into a heart-breaking and gripping story of two cultures, two families and two people trying to understand one another.


Brown Girls: A blazingly original new debut novel

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades

If you really want to know, we are the colour of 7-Eleven root beer. Colour of the charcoal pencil our sisters use to rim their eyes. Colour of peanut butter.

Brown Girls dives deep into the lives of a group of young women of colour growing up in Queens, New York. Here, streets echo with many languages, subways rumble above dollar stores and the briny scent of the ocean wafts in from Rockaway Beach. Here, girls like Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish, Angelique, and many others, struggle to reconcile their immigrant backgrounds with the American culture they come of age in. Here, they become friends for life. Or so they vow.

In this bold debut told in a uniquely lyrical voice, Daphne Palasi Andreades paints a stunning collective portrait of the journey from girlhood to adulthood, set against a backdrop of race, class, and marginalisation in America today. Brown Girls is an unforgettable love letter to women of colour everywhere from a daring new writer.


The Stars Are Not Yet Bells

The Stars are Not Yet Bells by Hannah Lillith Assadi

It is the end of the Great Depression and Elle Ranier believes that by marrying her wealthy husband Simon she is saving her life. Young and impressionable, she is unable to foresee the true cost of her decision. Instead, she leaves everything she has known in New York City to live in a vine-covered mansion on the tangled shores of Lyra, an island off America’s southeastern coast. There, amid the wild horses, oak woods and rumours of jewels hidden beneath the water, Elle harbours a secret. Her so-called ‘cousin’ Gabriel, who comes to stay, is really a boyfriend from back home and the love of her life.

In subsequent years, when Elle and Simon raise a family and face a less than idyllic relationship, Elle can never forget her brief dalliance with Gabriel. Even fifty years later, when her memory recedes into the mists of Alzheimer’s disease, she is haunted by his fate. With her mind a maze of questions about long-buried stories, the bewitching island of Lyra might eventually bring answers to light.


All's Well

All’s Well by Mona Awadle

Miranda Fitch’s life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers. And now she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what’s coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that’s kept her from the spotlight is made known.


A Very Nice Girl

A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp

Anna is struggling to afford life in London as she trains to be a singer. During the day, she vies to succeed against her course mates with their discreet but inexhaustible streams of cultural capital and money, and in the evening she sings jazz at a bar in the City to make ends meet.

It’s there that she meets Max, a financier fourteen years older than her. Over the course of one winter, Anna’s intoxication oscillates between her hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nights spent with Max in his glass-walled flat overlooking the city.

But Anna’s fledgling career demands her undivided attention, and increasingly – whether he necessarily wills it or not – so does Max…


The Colony

The Colony by Audrey Magee

He handed the easel to the boatman, reaching down the pier wall towards the sea.

Mr Lloyd has decided to travel to the island by boat without engine – the authentic experience.

Unbeknownst to him, Mr Masson will also soon be arriving for the summer. Both will strive to encapsulate the truth of this place – one in his paintings, the other by capturing its speech, the language he hopes to preserve.

But the people who live on this rock – three miles long and half-a-mile wide – have their own views on what is being recorded, what is being taken and what is given in return. Soft summer days pass, and the islanders are forced to question what they value and what they desire. As the autumn beckons, and the visitors head home, there will be a reckoning.


What a Shame: A dazzling, bold and funny debut

What a Shame by Abigail Bergstrom

There is something wrong with Mathilda.

She’s still reeling from the blow of a gut-punch break up and grieving the death of a loved one.
But that’s not it.

She’s cried all her tears, mastered her crow pose and thrown out every last reminder of him.
But that’s not helping.

Concerned that she isn’t moving on, Mathilda’s friends push her towards a series of increasingly unorthodox remedies.
Until the seams of herself begin to come undone.


Flamingo: An exquisite and heartbreaking novel of kindness, loneliness, hope and love

Flamingo by Rachel Elliot

In the garden, there were three flamingos. Not real flamingos, but real emblems, real gateways to a time when life was impossibly good. They were mascots, symbols of hope. Something for a boy to confide in.

First, there were the flamingos. And then there were two families. Sherry and Leslie and their daughters, Rae and Pauline – and Eve and her son Daniel.

Sherry loves her husband, Leslie. She also loves Eve. It couldn’t have been a happier summer. But then Eve left and everything went grey. Now Daniel is all grown-up and broken. And when he turns up at Sherry’s door, it’s almost as if they’ve all come home again. But there’s still one missing. Where is Eve? And what, exactly, is her story?

FLAMINGO is a novel about the power of love, welcome and acceptance. It’s a celebration of kindness, of tenderness. Set in 2018 and the 80s, it’s a song for the broken-hearted and the big-hearted, and is, ultimately, a novel grown from gratitude, and a book full of wild hope.


The Impulse Purchase: The unmissable new heartwarming and uplifting read for 2022 from the Sunday Times bestselling author

The Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry

Sometimes you have to let your heart rule your head . . .

CherryMaggie and Rose are mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows. They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.

All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.

Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door.

Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?


12 Hours To Say I Love You: Beautiful, witty and tender, an emotional journey you won't forget

12 Hours to Say I Love You by Olivia Poulet & Laurence Dobiesz

Whir, beep, click, breath. Whir, beep, click, breath.

Pippa Gallagher is rushed in to hospital following a traffic accident.

As Pippa lies unconscious, fragments of the past flash through her mind. The day she met Steve Gallagher, the man who would become the love of her life. The heartbreak she felt tonight as she got into her car, her eyes blurry from tears.

Meanwhile Steve sits at her bedside, his eyes fixed on her pale, still face. He has no idea where his wife was going when she crashed. No clue as to why she became distracted behind the wheel. All he knows is that she is his world. And that he wasn’t there when she needed him most.

For the next twelve hours, Steve tells Pippa all the reasons he loves her.

But is it too late? Can Pippa find her way back to him?


How To Find Your Way Home

How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan

Sometimes you need to be lost before you can find your way home…

What if the person you thought you’d lost forever walked back into your life?

On a sunny morning in March 1987, four-year-old Stephen Nelson welcomes his new baby sister, Emily. Holding her for the first time, he vows to love and protect her, and to keep her safe forever.

Nearly thirty years later, the two have lost touch and Stephen is homeless.

Emily, however, has never given up hope of finding her brother again and when he arrives at the council office where she works, her wish comes true. But they say you should be careful what you wish for – and perhaps they’re right, because there is a reason the two were estranged . . .

As the two embark on a birding trip together, Emily is haunted by long-buried memories of a single June day, fifteen years earlier; a day that changed everything. Will confronting the secrets that tore them apart finally enable Emily and Stephen to make their peace – not just with their shared past and each other, but also themselves?


The Start of Something: the new feel good and utterly charming romance fiction book of 2022, from the Sunday Times bestsel...

The Start of Something by Miranda Dickinson

Two lonely people.
One note in the window.
And what happens when they reach out…

Lachlan Wallace is stuck at home after a car accident stalled his army career. With months of physiotherapy still to endure and only his rescue dog and cat for company, he’s taken to gazing out of the window, watching the world spin on without him. And then he notices a vase of flowers on the windowsill of the apartment opposite his. Drawn to their hope and colour, he decides to reach out and sticks a message in his window…

Bethan Gwynne is a stranger in a new town. Bringing up her son Noah by herself, she is slowly rebuilding her life, but loneliness is one obstacle she has yet to overcome. She’s intrigued by a glimpse of her neighbour in the apartment across from hers – and then, one evening, she sees a message in his window just for her:

WHAT ARE THOSE FLOWERS CALLED?

And so begins a love story of two people reaching out, daring to trust a stranger…


It Must Be Love: The new, heartwarming and gorgeously romantic love story to curl up with this winter

It Must be Love by Caroline Khoury

Fourteen days together. Fifteen years apart.
Their love story isn’t over yet…

When Abbie met Oz they were young, idealistic students from different backgrounds, but their connection was unmistakable. Then Oz went home to Istanbul and life moved on.

Years later, Abbie and Oz meet again – a chance encounter that could change everything.

Despite leading very different lives, they find themselves drawn to eachother once more. But they have commitments, jobs and families that take priority – and too much time has passed… Hasn’t it?


It Could Never Happen Here: A perfect read for fans of Motherland and Catastrophe

It Could Never Happen Here by Eithne Shortall

Their school is about to be taught a lesson…

Beverley Franklin will do whatever it takes to protect her local school’s reputation.

So when a scandal involving her own daughter threatens to derail the annual school musical’s appearance on national television, Beverley goes into overdrive.

But in her efforts to protect her daughter and keep the musical on track, she misses what’s really going, both in her own house and in the insular Glass Lake community – with dramatic consequences.

Glass Lake primary school’s reputation is about to be shattered…


Coming Home to Cariad Cove: An emotional and uplifting romance (Cariad Cove Village Book 1)

Coming Home to Cariad Cove by Darcie Boleyn

Can a running club help heal a broken heart?

Following the death of her husband, Ffion moves back to her family hotel in Wales seeking home comfort. In the village of Cariad Cove, she reconnects with her family, and starts to find hope as she takes up running and meets Joe

For Joe, the second his dog crashes into the beautiful woman on the beach, it’s love at first sight. But recognising a hurting soul, he offers Ffion his friendship and soon the two are organising a charity run for the local animal sanctuary.

Now Ffion is feeling things she never thought she would again. Is it too soon to move on? Can she open her heart to love again? She’s planning on running… but will it be away from Joe or towards him?


When We Were Birds

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Darwin is a down-on-his-luck gravedigger, newly arrived in the Trinidadian city of Port Angeles to seek his fortune, young and beautiful and lost. Estranged from his mother and the Rastafari faith she taught him, he is convinced that the father he never met may be waiting for him somewhere amid these bustling streets.

Meanwhile in an old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. And she is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: the power to talk to the dead. The women of Yejide’s family are human but also not – descended from corbeau, the black birds that fly east at sunset, taking with them the souls of the dead.

Darwin and Yejide both have something that the other needs. Their destinies are intertwined, and they will find one another in the sprawling, ancient cemetery at the heart of the island, where trouble is brewing…


A Family Affair: the irresistibly funny, heartwarming new read from bestselling author Julie Houston

A Family Affair by Julie Houston

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities – well, for now, anyway. Two years after fleeing Westenbury with a shattered heart, it’s time to return and take up her place on the board of the family business. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves is floundering, and Frankie knows she can turn it around.

But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to persuade them that she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend Daisy, Frankie begins to thrive with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into her life and threatens to ruin everything…


Back to Index

Historical

Devotion

Devotion by Hannah Kent

1836, Prussia. Hanne is nearly fifteen and the domestic world of womanhood is quickly closing in on her. A child of nature, she yearns instead for the rush of the river, the wind dancing around her. Hanne finds little comfort in the local girls and friendship doesn’t come easily, until she meets Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit and finally, acceptance.

Hanne’s family are Old Lutherans, and in her small village hushed worship is done secretly – this is a community under threat. But when they are granted safe passage to Australia, the community rejoices: at last a place they can pray without fear, a permanent home. Freedom.

It’s a promise of freedom that will have devastating consequences for Hanne and Thea, but, on that long and brutal journey, their bond proves too strong for even nature to break . . .


The Language of Food: "Mouth-watering and sensuous, a real feast for the imagination" BRIDGET COLLINS

The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs

Eliza Acton, despite having never before boiled an egg, became one of the world’s most successful cookery writers, revolutionizing cooking and cookbooks around the world. Her story is fascinating, uplifting and truly inspiring.

Told in alternate voices by the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, and with recipes that leap to life from the page, The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs is the most thought-provoking and page-turning historical novel you’ll read this year, exploring the enduring struggle for female freedom, the power of female friendship, the creativity and quiet joy of cooking and the poetry of food, all while bringing Eliza Action out of the archives and back into the public eye.


The Lost Chapter

The Lost Chapter by Caroline Bishop

1957, France. 
*****************

Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart.

Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent. The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her.

When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can’t stay buried for ever.


The Dressmaker’s Secret: A totally gripping and absolutely heartbreaking World War 2 page-turner

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Lorna Cook

1941, Nazi-occupied Paris: In the glamourous Ritz hotel there is a woman with a dangerous secret…

As Coco Chanel’s assistant, Adèle lives side by side with German officers in the splendour of The Ritz hotel. But Adèle has a secret. She is working for the resistance, right under the Germans’ noses.

As occupied Paris becomes more and more dangerous, Adèle will have to decide if she can risk everything to save innocent lives and protect the man she loves…

Present day: Chloé’s grandmother has never spoken about the war and avoids questions about the legendary designer she once worked for. Now Chloé has come to Paris, to uncover the truth about Adèle’s life. But is she prepared for what she will find? And for the power of her grandmother’s secrets to change her family forever…


The Hemlock Cure: "A beautifully written story of the women of Eyam" Jennifer Saint, author of ARIADNE

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or that she studies from Wulfric’s forbidden books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unspeakable peril.

And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .


I, Mona Lisa

I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons

Listen to my history. My adventures are worth hearing. I have lived many lifetimes and been loved by emperors, kings and thieves. I have survived kidnap and assault. Revolution and two world wars. But this is also a love story. And the story of what we will do for those we love.

In Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, bursting with genius imagination, towering commissions and needling patrons, as well as discontented muses, friends and rivals, sits the painting of the Mona Lisa. For five hundred tumultuous years, amid a whirlwind of power, money, intrigue, the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo is sought after and stolen.

Over the centuries, few could hear her voice, but now she is ready to tell her own story, in her own words – a tale of rivalry, murder and heartbreak. Weaving through the years, she takes us from the dazzling world of Florentine studios to the French courts at Fontainebleau and Versailles, and into the Twentieth Century.


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So that’s all for this week.

Happy Reading!

6 comments

  1. The Barclay book and Gilly MacMillan have awhile until they are released over here, but I definitely want to read them. There are a few others, okay lot of others, that call to me, but not enough time to read them all. Great list, Jill.

    Liked by 1 person

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