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)
Historical (I tend to take this as pre 1960’s ie not in my lifetime!)
Crime, Thriller & Mystery
The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.
A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.
We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.
A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.
As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.
Meantime by Frankie Boyle
Glasgow, 2015. When Valium addict Felix McAveety’s best friend Marina is found murdered in the local park, he goes looking for answers to questions that he quickly forgets. In a haze of uppers, hallucinogens, and diazepam, Felix enlists the help of a brilliant but mercurial GP; a bright young trade unionist; a failing screenwriter; semi-celebrity crime novelist Jane Pickford; and his crisis fuelled downstairs neighbour Donnie.
Their investigation sends them on a bewildering expedition that takes in Scottish radical politics, Artificial Intelligence, cults, secret agents, smugglers and vegan record shops.
The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
Early morning, June 2019: on the foreshore of the river Thames, a bag of bones is discovered. Human bones. DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene and quickly sends the bag for forensic examination. The bones are those of a young woman, killed by a blow to the head many years ago. Also inside the bag is a trail of clues, in particular the seeds of a rare tree which lead DCI Owusu back to a mansion in Chelsea where, nearly thirty years previously, three people lay dead in a kitchen, and a baby waited upstairs for someone to pick her up. The clues point forward too to a brother and sister in Chicago searching for the only person who can make sense of their pasts. Four deaths. An unsolved mystery. A family whose secrets can’t stay buried for ever …
All I Said Was True by Imran Mahmood
I didn’t kill her. Trust me…
When Amy Blahn died on a London rooftop, Layla Mahoney was there. Layla was holding her. But all she can say when she’s arrested is that ‘It was Michael. Find Michael and you’ll find out everything you need to know.’
The problem is, the police can’t find him – they aren’t even sure he exists.
Layla knows she only has forty-eight hours to convince the police that bringing in the man she knows only as ‘Michael’ will clear her name and reveal a dangerous game affecting not just Amy and Layla, but her husband Russell and countless others.
But as the detectives begin to uncover the whole truth about what happened to Amy, Layla will soon have to decide: how much of that truth can she really risk being exposed?
Blood Sisters by Cate Quinn
You’d die for your best friend… But would you kill for her?
Some women just can’t take a joke.
At least, that’s what locals tell the police when a man is found gruesomely murdered at the pub in a tiny outback town. All fingers point to the backpackers working behind the bar that night – sorority sisters Beth and Lauren, who skipped town before the body was discovered.
Despite all the evidence against them, rookie cop Tara Harrison knows there must be more to this case. But even as she tries to prove their innocence, Tara discovers that Beth and Lauren have dark secrets of their own – secrets they’ve sworn to take to the grave…
The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson
It wouldn’t be a country house weekend without a little murder. . .
Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of Lettice Davenport, the author whose sleuthing creation of the 1930s, Dahlia Lively, had made each of them famous to a new generation. A contemporary mystery with a Golden Age feel, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Jessica Fellowes – and Janice Hallett and Richard Osman, of course!
In attendance at Aldermere: the VIP fans, staying at house; the fan club president turned convention organiser; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves; and the three actresses famous for portraying Dahlia Lively through the decades.
There is national treasure Rosalind King, from the original movies, who’s feeling sensitive that she’s past her prime, TV Dahlia for thirteen seasons, Caro Hooper, who believes she really IS Dahlia Lively, and ex-child star Posy Starling, fresh out of the fame wilderness (and rehab) to take on the Dahlia mantle for the new movie – but feeling outclassed by her predecessors.
Each actress has her own interpretation of the character and her own secrets to hide – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences as the crimes at Aldermere turn anything but cosy.
When fictional death turns into real bodies, can the three Dahlias find the answers to the murders among the fans, the film crew and the family – or even in Lettice’s books themselves?
Night Shadows by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir
The small community of Akranes is devastated when a young man dies in a mysterious house fire, and when Detective Elma and her colleagues from West Iceland CID discover the fire was arson, they become embroiled in an increasingly perplexing case involving multiple suspects. What’s more, the dead man’s final online search raises fears that they could be investigating not one murder, but two.
A few months before the fire, a young Dutch woman takes a job as an au pair in Iceland, desperate to make a new life for herself after the death of her father. But the seemingly perfect family who employs her turns out to have problems of its own and she soon discovers she is running out of people to turn to.
As the police begin to home in on the truth, Elma, already struggling to come to terms with a life-changing event, finds herself in mortal danger as it becomes clear that someone has secrets they’ll do anything to hide…
Under the Marsh by GR Halliday
SHE NEVER CONFESSED. NOW SHE’S READY TO TALK.
Twelve years ago DI Monica Kennedy caught the notorious serial killer Pauline Tosh, imprisoning her for life.
When Pauline asks Monica to visit her at the remote Highlands Carselang prison, the detective thinks she’s playing games.
But then Pauline hands her a hand-drawn map with a cross marking the desolate marsh lands near Inverness and Monica can’t ignore it – she was always convinced there were more victims out there.
And when a body is discovered it looks like they’ve found a new name from Pauline’s kill list.
But things are never that simple…
The Serial Killer’s Daughter by Alice Hunter
Is murder in the blood?
In a sleepy Devon village, a woman is taken from the streets. Local vet Jenny is horrified. This kind of thing doesn’t happen here.
But it’s not the first time she’s been so close to a crime scene. The daughter of a prolific serial killer, she’s spent her whole life running from who she really is.
And the crime is harrowingly similar to those her father committed all those years ago…
But she’s not her father’s daughter.
The Reunion by Polly Phillips
A chance to reconnect.
A chance to get revenge . . .
Emily Toller has tried to forget her time at university and the events that led to her suddenly leaving under a cloud. She has done everything she can to forget the shame and the trauma – and the people involved. She has tried to focus on the life she has built with her children and husband, Nick.
But events like that can’t just be forgotten. Not without someone answering for what they’ve done.
When an invitation arrives to a University reunion, everything clicks into place. Emily has a plan.
Because if you can’t forget – why not get revenge?
The Girl in the Photo by Heidi Amsinck
When ninety-year-old Irene Valborg is found brutally murdered in an affluent suburb of Copenhagen, her diamond necklace missing, it looks like a burglary gone wrong.
When two more victims are attacked, the police lament a rise in violence against the elderly, but who is the young girl in the photo found by DI Henrik Jungersen on the scenes of crime? Impatient to claim her inheritance, Irene’s daughter hires former Dagbladet reporter Jensen and her teenage apprentice Gustav to find the necklace.Questioning his own sanity, while trying to fix his marriage, Henrik finds himself once more pitched in a quest for the truth against Jensen – the one woman in Copenhagen he is desperate to avoid.
The Last to Vanish by Megan Miranda
Will the dark secrets of a small mountain town finally be revealed?
Ten years ago, Abigail Lovett fell into a job she loves, working at the Passage Inn, nestled in the resort town of Cutter’s Pass, just off the Appalachian Trail.
Now, the string of unsolved disappearances that haunts the town is again thrust into the spotlight when Landon West, a journalist investigating the story, himself disappears.
Abigail still feels like an outsider within the community she now calls home, and when Landon’s brother shows up to look for him, she senses the town closing ranks.
Then she finds incriminating evidence that may finally bring the truth to light and discovers how little she knows about her co-workers, neighbours, and even those closest to her…
The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre
One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for
Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…
She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.
As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.
It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.
Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.
Common Decency by Susannah Dickey
In an apartment building in Belfast, two women wrestle with the sorrows and spectres of love and loss.
Since her mother’s death, Lily has withdrawn from the world, trapped between grief and anger. She has to break out of this damaging cycle – but how?
Upstairs, Siobhán is consumed by her affair with a married man. Her days revolve around his sporadic texts and rare visits. She barely notices the strange girl who lives below and dawdles in the foyer.
But Lily is keeping a close eye on her neighbour, whose life seems so much better and more fulfilling than her own. When resentment evolves into something darker and more urgent, she decides to teach Siobhán a lesson…
From the critically acclaimed author of Tennis Lessons comes a darkly powerful novel about two lives running closely in parallel but divided by gulfs of misunderstanding. With boundless wisdom and deep empathy, Dickey charts the anonymity and hidden intimacies of modern existence, and our profound human need to connect.
The Holiday Bookshop by Lucy Dickens
Are you looking to start a new chapter?
Role: Bookseller wanted! (3-month fixed-term contract)
Location: A luxury resort on the tropical island of Bounty Cove Cay.
Skills required: The ideal candidate will have experience in a retail environment, preferably within the book industry.
Desired qualities: This role will appeal to a book lover with an adventurous streak who is looking for an escape from their everyday life.
What to expect: Sun, sea, and a bookshop that is far from thriving. No one said it would be smooth sailing!
Please note: You may fall in love with more than just our island along the way…
The Movement by Ayisha Malik
With words come power. But do you speak out or shut up?
Everywhere Sara Javed goes – online or outside – everyone is shouting about something. Couldn’t they all just shut up? One day she takes her own advice.
At first people don’t understand her silence and are politely confused at best. But the last thing Sara could anticipate is becoming the figurehead of a global movement that splits society in two.
The Silent Movement sparks outrage in its opposers. Global structures start to shift. And the lives of those closest to Sara – as well as strangers inspired by her act – begin to unravel.
It’s time for the world to reconsider what it means to have a voice.
Summer of Hopes and Dreams by Sue McDonagh
Can “Dozy Rosie” spice up her life and prove she’s not boring?
Rosie Bunting has spent her life caring for others, often at the expense of her own hopes and dreams. But when she overhears somebody describing her as “boring”, she decides it’s time for a change.
Little does she realise that the outdoor pursuits weekend brochure handed to her at the local Art Café will kick start a summer that will see her abseiling down a Welsh cliff face in “eye watering” leggings, rediscovering her artistic side and unexpectedly inheriting an old fire engine. It also involves meeting hunky outdoor instructor, Gareth Merwyn-Jones – although of course he’d never be interested in Dozy Rosie Bunting … would he?
One thing’s for certain: Rosie’s path to achieving her hopes and dreams might not be smooth, but it’s definitely not boring.
Thursdays at Orange Blossom House by Sophie Green
At 74, former cane farmer Grace Maud is feeling her age, and her isolation, and thinks the best of life may be behind her. Elsewhere in town, high school teacher Patricia has given up on her dreams of travel and adventure and has moved back home to look after her ageing parents, while cafe owner Dorothy is struggling to accept that she may never have the baby she and her husband so desperately want.
Each woman has an unspoken need: reconnection. And that’s how they find themselves at Orange Blossom House, surrounded by perfumed rainforest, being encouraged by their yoga teacher, the lively Sandrine. Together, they will find courage and strength – and discover that life has much more to offer than they ever expected . . .
Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews
A girl grows up in the north-east of England amid scarcity, precarity and a toxic culture of bodily shame,certain that she must make herself ever smaller to be loved.
Years later, living in tiny rented rooms and working in noisy bars across London and Paris, she fights to create her own life. She meets someone who cracks her open and offers her a new way to experience the world. But when he invites her to join him in Barcelona, the promise of pleasure and care makes her uneasy. In the shimmering heat of the Mediterranean, she faces the possibility of a different existence, and must choose what to hold on to from her past.
Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou
Twenty-nine-year-old PhD student Ingrid Yang is desperate to finish her dissertation on the late canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou and never read about ‘Chinese-y’ things again. When she accidentally stumbles upon a strange and curious note in the Chou archives, she convinces herself it’s her ticket out of academic hell.
But Ingrid’s in much deeper than she thinks. Her clumsy exploits to unravel the note’s message lead to an explosive discovery, one that upends her entire life and the lives of those around her. With her trusty friend Eunice Kim by her side and her rival Vivian Vo hot on her tail, together they set off a roller coaster of mishaps and misadventures, from campus protests and over-the-counter drug hallucinations, to book burnings and a movement that stinks of Yellow Peril propaganda. In the aftermath, nothing looks the same, including her gentle and doting fiancé, Stephen Greene . . . As the events Ingrid instigated keep spiraling, she’ll have to confront her sticky relationship to white men and white institutions – and, most of all, herself.
The Wilderness by Sarah Duguid
Once it was a family home. Now they are all at sea . . .
When Anna and David receive a phone call late one evening, their lives are upturned. Within minutes, they are travelling to the west coast of Scotland, preparing to care for two young sisters, tragically and suddenly orphaned.
It’s a beautiful place, the heather is in bloom, the birds wheel above the waves, the deer graze peacefully in the distance. But the large granite house is no longer a home for the girls, and Anna knows she can never take the place of their mother. Then David invites his friend to stay, to ‘ease them through’ and Anna finds herself increasingly isolated, with everything she – and the girls – once knew of life discarded and overruled by a man of whom she is deeply suspicious.
The Mermaid’s Tale by Lee Wei-Jing
If the mermaid doesn’t swim back to the sea, but instead goes ashore, she will learn to walk on two legs. Perhaps, she will even learn to dance……
In her early thirties, Summer lives alone, jobless, with little material wants. Her only passion is dancing. To be more specific, ballroom dancing. She is at an awkward position: she started too late to be competition-worthy, yet takes dancing far too seriously to be a mere pastime. Her solitary existence poses another obstacle: you need a partner in the ballroom, where “men lead, women follow” is the ironclad rule.
Under the tutelage of the legendary Donny, Summer embarks on a journey of self-discovery and, perhaps more importantly, in search of the perfect partner.
Her hopes are dashed again and again as she witnesses (and sometimes partners with) the colorful characters in the ballroom: the arrogant youngster Youlin from a dancing dynasty; the talented Grace who wants nothing but an ordinary life; and the petite Meixin, forever at war with her fiance/partner. There is of course Donny, the gay dancer ferociously committed to competition and every bit as traditional as most straight men.
As Summer continues her pursuit for Mr Right, she is forced to confront the dark memories of her past: the slut-shaming from her control-freak mother, the attempted suicide of her cousin, and the painful humiliation of sex with a classmate. She dreams of the perfect dancing body, yet dreads her own sexuality.
The Choice by Penny Hancock
An estranged daughter. A missing grandson. A mother faced with an impossible choice.
Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast, a successful career as a relationship therapist, three grown-up children, and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But then Xavier vanishes after Renee fails to pick him up from school, and the repercussions are manifold.
Renee is wracked with remorse; the local community question her priorities, clients abandon her; and, as long-held grievances surface, her daughter Mia offers her a heartbreaking ultimatum. Amid recriminations, misunderstandings and lies, can Renee find a way to reunite her family?
Under the Same Stars by Alexandra Heminsley
Clara Seymour is trying to find her feet in London, living away from home for the first time. Brought up by her domineering mother, treasuring time any time with her adoring father, Clara’s world is brought to a standstill when her dad abruptly dies.
Then, a mystery comes to light in a letter from him.
I am sure you are aware that before I met your mother I had a previous marriage. But what we never discussed is that we had a daughter.
So begins a journey of discovery that takes Clara to remote Norway and a landscape as brutal as it is bewitching, a voyage fraught with personal and emotional danger to reveal who her father really was – and find the sister she’s never met.
The Wedding Party by Cathy Kelly
Four sisters. Decades of secrets. One week they’ll never forget…
For the first time in years, the beautiful Robicheaux sisters are returning to their childhood home. Decades after they first met, their parents are getting married again – to each other, in a week’s time!
Indy is used to high-stress situations in her job as a midwife – but she knows that keeping the peace in her family of big personalities is a different matter entirely…
Eden is on the brink of political success and a surprise family wedding is the last thing she needs. Especially when a long-buried secret is threatening to destroy everything.
Savannah might look like she has it all, but she’s spent her whole married life hiding the truth. It’s a fragile façade that’s unlikely to withstand a week spent with her sisters.
Rory lives with her gorgeous girlfriend and tends to avoid family gatherings. Particularly now, as her new book might just reveal more than her sisters or parents would like…
A big wedding party is sure to throw up a few surprises – but one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a week that the Robicheaux family will never forget…
The Hotel on the Riveria by Carol Kirkwood
By the sapphire blue waters of the French Riviera, a decades-long secret is about to be revealed…
Wayward Greek heiress, Ariana Theodosis, inherits the Hotel du Soleil as part of a mysterious legacy. Captivated by its faded glamour, she hopes it offers her the chance to start again.
Hotelier Gabriel du Lac’s family have owned the hotel for decades – and he has no intention of giving it up for a beautiful stranger.
Madame du Lac has watched the rich and famous pass through the doors of the hotel for almost half a century, and she has kept its secrets too.
As the past finally catches up with them all, will this summer reveal a forgotten secret, and change their lives forever…?
Other People’s Husbands by Elizabeth Noble
Sometimes friendship crosses a line . . .
A group of close friends, their bonds forged at the nursery gates two decades ago, have celebrated, commiserated and grown together: they thought they all knew each other so well.
Until the affair.
Now a crack appears in everything.
Could one betrayal really destroy it all?
Waiting for Sunshine by Jane Sanderson
‘Who would name a child Sunshine, then give her away?’
Chrissie has always wanted to be a mother. After months of trying to adopt, she and her husband Stuart finally get the news that a little girl named Sunshine is waiting for them.
Abandoned at a young age, the child comes to them without a family history, and it feels like a fresh start for all of them. But when fragments from Sunshine’s previous life start to intrude on her new one, the little girl’s mysterious past quickly becomes Chrissie’s greatest fear…
Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave
Wendy is lonely but coping.
All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.
And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.
Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.
But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…
All About Evie by Matson Taylor
1972. Ten years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth and Evie is settled in London working for the BBC. She has everything she’s ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving Princess Anne and a Hornsea Pottery mug, she finds herself having to rethink her life and piece together work, love, grief and multiple pairs of cork-soled platform sandals.
Ghosts from the past and the spirit of the future collide in a joyous adventure that sees Evie navigate the choppy waters of her messy twenties. Can a 1960s miseducation prepare her for the growing pains of the 1970s?
Forever Yours by Debbie Johnson
A love to last a lifetime…
Gemma knows perfectly well how one moment can change your life forever. That’s why, for two decades, she’s lived life by the rulebook.
But this year, everything is different. The beloved daughter she gave up for adoption all those years ago is about to turn eighteen – and that means, there’s a chance of being found.
For the first time in her life, Gemma can no longer run from her secrets. And she begins to realise that when everything is falling apart, love can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
Because sometimes your true family is the one you pick for yourself…
Livesaving for Beginners by Josie Lloyd
In life’s stormy waters, it’s your friends who keep you afloat…
Maddy Wolfe’s life has just capsized. After her twenty-year marriage suddenly implodes, she heads to Brighton to search for her estranged son, Jamie. But he’s nowhere to be found and for the first time, she’s totally alone. That is, until she meets the Salty Sea-Gals, a group of feisty sea-swimmers.
Seventy-two-year old Helga is determined not to slow down, while thirty-something Tor is still figuring out who she is. Bereaved Dominica is trying to find a reason to carry on, and busy mum Claire is learning to put herself first for a change.
As their regular cold-water plunges become a lifeline for them all, Maddy starts to realise that these brave women might just help her find both Jamie and herself. Together, will they turn the tide?
Blind Dates by Gordon Macmillan
Is true love just a few dates away…or even closer than you think?
Tom has always been a hopeless romantic: but now he’s just hopeless. After lockdown in particular made the millennial a reclusive introvert, it was finally time to get back ‘out there’ – at least according to his best friends Adam, Allison and sister Sarah.
As the group sets up 10 dates to rejuvenate Tom’s love life, he soon realises how difficult the dating scene has become, along with juggling his Shakespearean-themed cafe and a hobby of romantic mixtape making.
As some of the dates turn into disasters, an old flame keeps reappearing in Tom’s sight – along with bitter-sweet memories. Fearing it may be too little too late, Tom must decide whether he can date his way to happiness, or find his true match was under his nose the whole time…
The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery
Can a holiday heal her heart
Robyn Caldwell needs a life plan. Fast. So when her beloved Aunt Lillian asks her to come to Santa Barbara for an overdue visit Robyn jumps at the chance.
In the sunshine Robyn begins to see her life with a bit more clarity and the more time she spends with free-spirited Lillian, and mysterious author Mason Bishop, the man destined to inherit her aunt’s mansion, the more she sees the appeal in taking chances on dreams, and love. Life is meant to be lived with purpose. But when Robyn’s past catches up with her, can she muster the courage to take a chance on herself?
Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara
Meteorologist Sky Matthews does not like surprises.
Sky monitors her life like she does the weather, carefully and with a scientific eye. So, when she misses out on her dream job abroad and finds herself with no choice but to take a position on a tidal island off the Cornish harbour town of St Felix instead, she feels completely at sea. Worse still, she has to work alongside TV weatherman Sonny Samuels, who barely knows his storms from his tsunamis.
It doesn’t take long for Sky to become enchanted by the strange weather patterns over St Felix. Sonny is convinced they link to local folklore, but Sky knows her science too well to fall for that. Until she meets Walter, a local weather watcher with no qualifications beyond a lifetime of experience and Sky is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the weather, herself… and Sonny.
A Wedding at Sandy Cove by Bella Osborne
Escape to Sandy Cove, where the scent of summer and the sound of wedding bells is in the air!
Ella is in the business of making brides’ dreams come true with yards of white tulle, delicate lace and sparkly sequins.
But Ella’s own love life couldn’t be further from a fairy tale. Recently dumped by her boyfriend and with her best friend’s wedding only months away, Ella feels more alone than ever so she finally accepts her friends’ offers to set her up on a blind date.
But a mix up on the night throws her into the path of Kit, instead.
Kit is most definitely not the man she was supposed to meet, but he could end up changing her life in ways she never thought possible…
A Scottish Highland Surprise by Julie Shackman
When wedding planner Sophie Harkness refuses to move a friend’s wedding to accommodate a spoilt bridezilla, she finds herself out of a job. That is until she discovers her late grandma has purchased a local shop for her in the pretty Scottish town of Briar Glen.
Surprised and delighted, Sophie opens her own porcelain shop in honour of her grandmother. But when an unusual tea set is left with Sophie, along with a mysterious letter, she can’t help but be intrigued by the story behind the antique.
And when the handsome but aloof art critic Xander North comes knocking on her door, Sophie is about to find out the true colourful past of her latest treasure.
Little Dancer by Melanie Leschallas
Paris, 1878. Ballet dancer Marie van Goethem is chosen by the unknown artist Edgar Degas to model for his new sculpture: Little Dancer, aged fourteen years.
But Marie is much more than she seems. By day she’s a ‘little rat’ of the opera, contorting her starving body to entertain the bourgeoisie. By night she’s plotting to overthrow the government and reinstate the Paris Commune, to keep a promise she made to her father, a leading Communard who died in the street massacres of 1871.
As Marie watches the troubling sculpture of herself come to life in Degas’ hands, she falls further into the intoxicating world of bohemian, Impressionist Paris, a world at odds with the socialist principles she has vowed to uphold.
With the fifth Impressionist Exhibition looming, a devastating family secret is uncovered which changes everything for both Marie and Degas. As Degas struggles to finish his sculpture and the police close in on Marie, she must decide where her loyalties lie and act to save herself, her family and the Little Dancer.
That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn
It’s usual, they say, for a young person coming to London for the first time to arrive with a head full of dreams. Well, Endurance Proudfoot did not. When she stepped off the coach from Sussex, on a warm and sticky afternoon in the summer of 1757, it never occurred to her that the city would be the place where she’d make her fortune; she was just very annoyed to be arriving there at all.
Meet Endurance Proudfoot, the bonesetter’s daughter: clumsy as a carthorse, with a tactless tongue and a face she’s sure only a mother could love. Durie only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.
But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling.
So, when she is banished to London with her sister, who is pretty, delicate and exactly the opposite to Durie in every way, Durie will not let it stop her realising her dreams. And while her sister will become one of the first ever Georgian celebrities, Durie will become England’s first and most celebrated female bonesetter. But what goes up must come down, and Durie’s elevated status may well become her undoing…
The Last Summer by Karen Swan
Summer on St Kilda – a wild, remote Scottish island.
Two strangers from drastically different worlds meet . . .
Wild-spirited Effie Gillies has lived all her life on the small island of St Kilda but when Lord Sholto, heir to the Earl of Dumfries, visits, the attraction between them is instant. For one glorious week she guides the handsome young visitor around the isle, falling in love for the first time – until a storm hits and her world falls apart.
Three months later, St Kilda falls silent as the islanders are evacuated for a better life on the mainland. With her friends and family scattered, Effie is surprised to be offered a position working on the Earl’s estate. Sholto is back in her life but their differences now seem insurmountable, even as the simmering tension between them grows. And when a shocking discovery is made back on St Kilda, all her dreams for this bright new life are threatened by the dark secrets Effie and her friends thought they had left behind.
The Letter Home by Rachael English
When journalist Jessie Daly loses everything she holds dear, she travels home to Ireland’s west coast, and helps an old friend researching life during the famine. Jessie becomes drawn into the heartbreaking story of a brave young mother, Bridget Moloney, and her daughter, Norah.
On the other side of the ocean, in Boston, Kaitlin Wilson is researching her family tree. She unearths a fascinating story, but her research forces her to confront uncomfortable truths about the past, as she uncovers an unexpected connection to Ireland in famine times.
Generations before, in the small town of Boherbreen, a young mother faced a heart-wrenching choice: to watch her baby girl perish with hunger, or to start out for a new life in America, alone, in order to protect the one she loves most…
So that’s all for this week.