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
Breaking by Amanda Cassidy
It’s every mother’s worst fear
On a sun-hazed afternoon in the Florida Keys, a child goes missing from the beach. Dr Mirren Fitzpatrick appeals to the world to help find her eight-year-old adopted daughter. The family are on holiday from Ireland, far from home and desperate to return there as they arrived – together.
Yet the police are immediately suspicious of Mirren. She was drinking at a bar – alone – shortly before reporting that her youngest child had disappeared. As rumours abound about Mirren’s past a trial-by-media ensues, and she is turned from a figure of pity to the villain of the piece.
And then a small body is found dumped in the ocean. Is Mirren a heartbroken mother, or the architect of her daughter’s fate?
The Tattoo Murder by Akimitsu Takagi
Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs discovered in a room locked from the inside. Gone is the part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who was first to discover the crime scene, feels compelled to assist his detective brother, who is in charge of the case. But Kenzo has a secret: he was Kinue’s lover, and soon his involvement in the investigation becomes as twisted and complex as the writhing snakes that once adorned Kinue’s torso.
Wolf Pack by Will Dean
When there’s a pack on the hunt, nobody’s safe
A closed community
Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, completely cut off from the outside world. Until now.
A missing person
A young woman goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound. Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her story?
A frantic search
As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon she finds herself in danger of the pack turning against her – will she make her way back to safety so she can expose the truth?
The Winners by Fredrik Backman
‘It’s often said that winners write history, but there are no winners here’
This is a small story about big questions.
It’s a story about family, community, life.
It starts with a storm – and a death.
But how does it end?
Two years have passed since the events that no one wants to think about. Everyone has tried to move on, but there’s something about this place that prevents it. The residents continue to grapple with life’s big questions: What is a family? What is a community? And what, if anything, are we willing to sacrifice in order to protect them?
As the locals of Beartown struggle to overcome the past, great change is on the horizon. Someone is coming home after a long time away. Someone will be laid to rest. Someone will fall in love, someone will try to fix their marriage, and someone will do anything to save their children. Someone will submit to hate, someone will fight, and someone will grab a gun and walk towards the ice rink.
So what are the residents of Beartown willing to sacrifice for their home?
Bad Girl Reputation by Elle Kennedy
Return to Avalon Bay in this sexy second chance story about two exes who can’t stay away from each other . . .
When former bad girl Genevieve West returns home for her mother’s funeral, she’s prepared to keep her distance from her ex-boyfriend, Evan Hartley. Their history is rife with turbulence. And passion. A heck of a lot of passion . . . which she’s trying desperately to forget.
But it’s impossible not to run into Evan in the small coastal town where they once ran wild. And the moment she sees her gorgeous ex again, it’s clear to Gen that Evan is still as unruly, sexy and irresistible as ever. This time around, however, she’s resolved to walk a new path. No more partying. No more foolish mistakes. Her plan is to temporarily remain in town to help her father run his business, but the second he finds somebody else, she’s out of there.
Evan has other ideas. He knows they can be good together, but he just has to convince Genevieve of that, even if it means turning over a new leaf himself. But can a bad reputation ever truly be shed? Do second chances really work? Genevieve and Evan are about to find out.
Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
‘It is a gift in this life that we do not know what awaits us’
In March 2020 Lucy’s ex-husband William pleads with her to leave New York and escape to a coastal house he has rented in Maine. Lucy reluctantly agrees, leaving the washing-up in the sink, expecting to be back in a week or two. Weeks turn into months, and it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the sea.
Rich with empathy and a searing clarity, Lucy by the Sea evokes the fragility and uncertainty of the recent past, as well as the possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this miraculous novel are the deep human connections that sustain us, even as the world seems to be falling apart.
The Christmas Spirit by Debbie Macomber
Will they find their happy-ever-after this Christmas?
Peter and Hank are lifelong friends, but when it comes to their jobs they couldn’t be more different. Peter is a small-town pastor and is devoted to helping the community, while Hank runs the local pub and is never too far from a party. But this Christmas, everything is about to change . . .
Having never settled down, Peter and Hank believe their demanding jobs are keeping them from finding love. Convinced that the other has it easier, they hatch a plan to swap places the week before Christmas to put their theories to the test and find time for themselves.
But as Hank quickly becomes overwhelmed by nativity plans, and Peter struggles to control the rowdy festive pub-goers, they each begin to worry they’re in over their heads. Luckily, church assistant Grace is on hand to help Hank navigate a church/life balance, and a young woman seeking shelter at the pub might be exactly what Peter needs to realise there’s more than one way to help his community . . .
This Christmas, will Peter and Hank’s stunt fall flat, or will it open their eyes to the possibility of love at last?
Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese
A captivating imagined tale of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine of The Scarlet Letter, mining the legacy of the Salem witch trials
Edinburgh, early 1800s: Isobel, a seamstress, and her husband Edward set sail for New England, in flight from his opium addiction and mounting debts. But, arriving in Salem, Isobel soon finds herself penniless and alone.
When she meets the young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows – while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are dark storyteller and muse; enchanter and enchanted. But which is which?
Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatious Sancho by Paterson Joseph
MEET CHARLES IGNATIUS SANCHO: HIS EXTRAORDINARY STORY, HIDDEN FOR THREE HUNDRED YEARS, IS ABOUT TO BE TOLD. DISCOVER GEORGIAN LONDON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.
I had little right to live, born on a slave ship where my parents both died. But I survived, and indeed, you might say I did more…
It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho is utterly alone. The man he hoped would help is dying. Sancho is desperate.
And yet this same Sancho will go on to tread the boards of London’s theatres, become a highly acclaimed musician and composer, lead the fight to end slavery, meet the King and become the very first Black person to vote in Britain . . .
It’s time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean, and ends at the very centre of London life. And through it all, he must ask: born amongst death, how much can you achieve in one short life?
A Diamond in the Dust by Michael Dean
A Diamond in the Dust is a fictionalised account of the life of Charles I from his birth to the age of twenty-eight. It shows England’s most maligned monarch, Charles I, as he really was. Dominated by his debauched father, James I, he grew up a diffident, stuttering, dreamy figure, wracked by a crippling disease – rickets. But he was lifted and defined by his passion for all the arts, especially theatre and painting. Brutal real-life caught up with him, however, spinning him at the centre of a whirlwind of love, art, war and even murder, as he struggled unsuccessfully to keep control of his life and his kingdom. This first novel in the trilogy The Stuarts: Love, Art, War, shows Charles I growing up and finding love. It puts the vilified king in a different light. Under the wing of his precocious sister Elizabeth he blossoms and his interest in culture and the arts grows into a passion or some would say an obsession.
The Romantic by William Boyd
Soldier. Farmer. Felon. Writer. Father. Lover.
One man, many lives.
Born in 1799, Cashel Greville Ross experiences myriad lives: joyous and devastating, years of luck and unexpected loss. Moving from County Cork to London, from Waterloo to Zanzibar, Cashel seeks his fortune across continents in war and in peace. He faces a terrible moral choice in a village in Sri Lanka as part of the East Indian Army. He enters the world of the Romantic Poets in Pisa. In Ravenna he meets a woman who will live in his heart for the rest of his days. As he travels the world as a soldier, a farmer, a felon, a writer, a father, a lover, he experiences all the vicissitudes of life and, through the accelerating turbulence of the nineteenth century, he discovers who he truly is. This is the romance of life itself, and the beating heart of The Romantic.
So that’s all for this week.