Published: June 23rd, 2022 Publisher: Orion Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Medical Thriller Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this tense and twisty thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Orion for the gifted copy of the book.
KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE. WHATEVER THE COST…
Jamie and Victoria are expecting their first baby.
With a few weeks to go, they head off for a final weekend break in a remote part of the North Pennines. The small and peaceful guesthouse is the ideal location to unwind together before becoming parents. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Barry and Fiona, the older couple who run the guesthouse. They cook them dinner and show them to their room before retreating to bed themselves.
The next morning, Jamie and Victoria wake to find the house deserted. Barry and Fiona are nowhere to be seen. All the doors are locked. Both their mobile phones and car keys have disappeared. Even though it’s a few weeks early, Victoria knows the contractions are starting.
The baby is coming, and there’s no way out.
“Every time, after each scan of the nursery, I find myself on the verge of surrender… My hand hovers over the nine. Just press it three times, Jamie. Take the risk. Tell them what happened in the guest house.”
The Guest House is a thriller that packs a punch from the start. It opens with Jamie and Victoria enjoying a last weekend away in a remote guest house a few weeks before their longed for first baby arrives. But on their first night Victoria wakes up with labour pains and they find the guest house is deserted, the doors locked and their mobile phones and car keys missing. Leaving us on tenterhooks, the story then jumps forward. Jamie and Victoria are now home but we have no idea what happened that day at the guest house. Is their baby ok? Why is someone sending them anonymous veiled threats? And what is the secret that they are so scared will be revealed?
Robin Morgan-Bentley has done it again. Deceptively layered and complex, this perfectly executed psychological thriller takes you on a twist-filled rollercoaster ride that exceeded my already high expectations. It is deceptively layered and complex, a perfectly executed psychological thriller takes you on a twist-filled rollercoaster ride that I absolutely loved. The story moves between timelines as Jamie and Victoria tell their story piece by piece, slowly revealing the true horror of what happened that fateful day. Drenched in atmosphere, sizzling with suspense and charged with adrenaline, the fear, heartache, guilt, regret and internal conflict leaps from the page and the scenes from the guest house are a ticking time bomb of sheer dread. It is one of those books that you clear your schedule for and I devoured it in under a day.
The characters are well written and intriguing, and I liked that both Jamie and Victoria narrated the story and that neither of them were what you’d typically expect. Victoria isn’t the sweet, demure new mother that we typically see and I actually found her quite cold, hard to like and difficult to connect with. On the other hand, Jamie is a very likeable, endearing character that I felt a strong connection with. Another thing I liked about Jamie is the representation of disability. As a disabled person it is great to see disability portrayed in such a realistic way, where it is simply part of his character and not a weakness or flaw. It doesn’t stop him doing normal or even heroic things, in fact it makes him even more determined to protect his family. I also liked that he was given the opportunity to address how other people’s perceptions and judgement make him feel, something I related to on a personal level. We need more characters like Jamie in fiction so that those without experience of living with disability see us as we are, not simply a token character to be pitied or seen as a burden.
Riveting, addictive and unbearably tense, this dark and twisted tale will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. A must read for any thriller lover.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Robin Morgan-Bentley was born and grew up in London. After studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University, he went on to work for Google before moving to Audible, where he has been working since 2014.
His debut thriller, The Wreckage, was nominated for the CWA Dagger John Creasey New Blood Award, the CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Award and Capital Crime’s Debut Book of the Year Award. His next thriller, The Guest House, will be released in the UK in June 2022 and in the US in September 2022.
Robin lives in Buckinghamshire with his husband and son.
Published: May 26th 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Medical Thriller, Medical Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Police Procedural
I’m finally getting around to sharing my review for this nerve-shredding thriller. Thank you to The Likely Suspects and Simon and Schuster UK for the gifted proof copies of this book.
MY CHILD HAS BEEN TAKEN. AND I’VE BEEN GIVEN A CHOICE . . . KILL A PATIENT ON THE OPERATING TABLE OR LOSE MY SON FOREVER.
The man lies on the table in front of me. As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him. As a mother, I know I must kill him. You might think that I’m a monster. But there really is only one choice. I must get away with murder. Or I will never see my son again.
I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES. WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?
DON’T MISS THE HEART-STOPPING THRILLER OF 2022 #DONOHARM
“Either I abide by my oath, and kill my son. Or I save Zack, and kill an innocent man.”
Renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Anna Jones is being forced to make a horrendous choice: the life of her patient or the life of her son. Eight-year-old Zack has been abducted and the kidnappers will only give him back if she kills a prestigious patient on the operating table and gets away with it. As parents we always say we’d do anything for our children. But does that include murder?
“We are all so blind, thinking that we know who we truly are. It is only pain like this that reveals what we are really capable of.”
Do No Harm is a book that just screams ‘read me’. I mean, look at that cover! And this nerve-shredding thriller was everything I hoped and more. The premise is every parent’s worst nightmare, blurring the lines of morality as the author examines the question of just how far a parent would go to save their child. It is an impossible dilemma, where whatever you choose you will lose, and the paralysing suspense and outright dread is omnipresent, making you feel everything Anna does. It is unbearably tense at times, particularly in the operating room, as you are kept on a knife-edge, waiting to see what Anna will do and if Zack can be saved.
I have long been a fan of Jack Jordan and will automatically read and buy anything he writes. His magnificent storytelling, perfect plotting and sizzling suspense always blow me away, and he is a must-read author for any thriller lover. But with Do No Harm Jordan has taken things to another level, crafting a dynamic thrillerthat is now one of my favourites of all time. It would make a fantastic movie or TV show so I hope someone snaps it up soon.The hype is real and this is going to be huge.
“I never used to think of myself as an angry person, but these men have clawed a rabid animal out of me. I want to kill them, slowly, painstakingly, until they are begging for their mothers.”
One of my favourite things about this book is that it’s so intricate and multilayered. As well as the moral dilemma there is a strong theme of motherhood woven into this book. Through each of the three narrators we explore different stages of motherhood and opposing arguments to the dilemma, making you confront the many shades of grey and exposing the motivations and biases of each of the characters. Each of them are deeply flawed and I liked that Jordan wasn’t scared to make even Anna unlikeable at times, instead focusing on making the characters complex, nuanced and layered. And while they are all richly drawn and compelling, Anna is the one that stood out strongest to me. I loved the dichotomy of her character: a Doctor who has taken the Hippocratic Oath and vowed to do no harm but also a mother who will do anything to keep her child safe. It is the kind of agonising choice that you would never want to be faced with but is so fascinating to read.
Nail-bitingly intense, and bingeable, Do No Harm is an absolute must-read. Just make sure that when you pick it up you’ve got nothing else to do as it will hold you captive from the first page until the last.
READ IT NOW.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Jack Jordan is the global number one bestselling author of Anything for Her (2015), My Girl (2016), A Woman Scorned (2018), Before Her Eyes (2018) and Night by Night (2019).
His latest thriller Do No Harm has been coined the thriller of the summer for 2022, described as “relentlessly tense” by Sunday Times Bestseller Lesley Kara, and “Chilling and perfectly paced” by New York Times Bestseller Sarah Pearse.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this spectacular debut. Thank you to Viking for the invitation to take part and gifted ARC.
Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.
She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…
When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?
What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?
MARIE CLAIRE ‘BEST BOOKS OF 2022’ AND FEBRUARY PICK FOR MALALA’S LITERATI BOOKCLUB
Let me just start by saying that everyone needs to read this book! Funny, heartwarming and addictive, Yina Where is Your Huzband? is feel-good fiction at its absolute best. This delightful debut is a balm for the soul and I inhaled it quickly, too hooked to put it down for long and unable to stop thinking about it whenever it wasn’t in my hands. Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a magnificent storyteller and I am an instant fan. I will pre-ordering anything she writes in future without hesitation.
The story centres around thirty-one year old Yinka. Yinka wants to find love but her interfering mum and aunties want to find it for her. They do this by attempting to set her up with any bachelor they come across that they deem suitable and publicly praying for God to deliver her from the curse of singledom. They see her love for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food as an obstacle and think she’s already over the hill. When her cousin announces her engagement Yinka decides it’s time to take matters into her own hands and launches Operation Wedding Date. Will she find love in time for the wedding? Or does she need to find herself first?
Yinka is a single-woman’s heroine for the modern age. Akind of spiritual, 21st Century Bridget Jones. And I absolutely adored her. She was easy to relate to and root for and I was cheering for her every step of the way as she tries to navigate not only societal and cultural expectations of who she is and what her life should look like, but the expectations of her well meaning, but interfering, family. I also loved the author’s realistic portrayal of complex family dynamics and friendships and the effect they can have on our behaviours. Just like Yinka, the other characters are fascinating, vibrant, memorable and leap from the pages. There is also a chaos and craziness to both the characters and the story that is part of their charm. It also helps to convey to the reader the feelings of mounting pressure that Yinka experiences, making my own heart pound with stress at times.
Yinka Where Is Your Huzband? was everything I’d hoped for and more. I never wanted it to end and actually hugged the book to my chest after reading. It is a story not only about the search for love, but also a journey of self-discovery and learning to love ourselves. Yinka and her story are perfect for the big screen and I truly hope to see them there soon. Does anyone have Reese Witherspoon’s number?
READ THIS BOOK NOW!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Lizzie Damilola Blackburn is a British-Nigerian writer, born in Peckham, who wants to tell the stories that she and her friends have longed for but never seen – romcoms ‘where Cinderella is Black and no-one bats an eyelid’. In 2019 she won the Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Writing Competition with the early draft of Yinka, Where is your Huzband?, which she had been writing alongside juggling her job at Carers UK. She has been at the receiving end of the question in the title of her novel many times, and now lives with her husband in Milton Keynes.
Welcome to April’s anticipated treasures. There are new releases from authors I love as well as excitingdebuts and some of my most anticipated of the year such as Elektra, Lessons in Chemistry, The No-Show, Nobody But Us, First Born and Theatre of Marvels. It’s an incredible month and I had a hard time narrowing it down to the twenty-eight on this list. Yes, twenty-eight books. I think that is the most I’ve included on an Anticipated Treasures list but I just couldn’t bring myself to take any of these off the list. So, without further ado, here are the thirty books I’m most excited about being released in April:
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Published: April 5th Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Humorous Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.
But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.
Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo. Meet the unconventional, uncompromising Elizabeth Zott.
Published: April 7th Publisher: Virago Genre: Biography, Autobiography
SYNOPSIS: I am in a bar in Brooklyn listening to two men, my friends, discuss whether or not my life was worth living.
So begins Chloé Cooper Jones’s bold account of moving through the world in a body that looks different than most. Born with a rare congenital condition called sacral agenesis, she must contend not only with her own physical pain, but the emotional discomfort of others.
It is only when she unexpectedly becomes a mother that she confronts the demand to live life fully, propelling her on a journey across the globe, reclaiming the spaces she’d been denied, and denied herself.
From Roman sculptures to a Beyoncé concert, from a tennis tournament to the Cambodian Killing Fields, Jones interrogates the myths of beauty with spiky intelligence, aesthetic philosophy, love and humor, inviting us to find a new way of seeing.
Published: April 12th Publisher: Quercus Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel
SYNOPSIS: The funny, heart-breaking and uplifting new novel from the bestselling author of The Flatshare
Three women. Three dates. One missing man…
8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?
2.43 p.m. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?
6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…
Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.
The No-Show is the brilliantly funny, heart-breaking and joyful new novel from Beth O’Leary about dating, and waiting, and the ways love can find us. An utterly extraordinary tearjerker of a book, this is O’Leary’s most ambitious novel yet.
SYNOPSIS: *** From the acclaimed author of THE LAST THING TO BURN comes a new thriller about identity, rivalry and deceit. ***
THE LAST THING A TWIN EXPECTS IS TO BE ALONE … Molly lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.
Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.
But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.
Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Domestic Fiction, Crime Fiction Police Procedural
SYNOPSIS: Into the Dark is the new dark and gripping crime thriller from Fiona Cummins about revenge, greed, ambition and the true cost of friendship.
THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.
THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.
THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.
One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.
In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:
Published: April 14th Publisher: The Borough Press Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
SYNOPSIS: THE AERIALISTS is a rich historical novel based on the true story of Louisa Maud Evans, a fourteen-year old girl who died during the Great Exhibition in Cardiff, 1896, and whose demise – tumbling 8,000 feet into the Bristol Channel – captured the imagination of the city.
Paris, 1891 Laura is living on the streets, far from the American Prairies where she was born. When aerialists Ena and August Gaudron, believing Laura to be English, decide to rescue her, she soon finds herself ensconced in the family hot air balloon business, and offered the chance to learn how to fly.
Cardiff, 1896 The Gaudrons accept an invitation to be part of the Cardiff Fine Art, Industrial and Maritime Exhibition, presenting a show of balloon ascents and parachute descents. Late one night, a young girl, Grace Parry, knocks on the door. She is desperate to fly, whatever the cost.
As Grace’s dreams begin to take wing, can Laura be the one to keep her grounded? Histories real and invented intertwine as the novel explores the many risky ways girls are expected to perform.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Trapeze Genre: New Adult Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story, Urban Fiction
SYNOPSIS: ‘This isn’t a book you read, but a book you step into . . . mesmerising’ Emma Gannon
Since the death of her best friend Grace, twenty-six-year-old Eve has learned to keep everything and everyone at arm’s length. Safe in her detachment, she scrapes along waiting tables and cleaning her shared flat in exchange for cheap rent, finding solace in her small routines.
But when a chance encounter at work brings her past thundering into her present, Eve becomes consumed by painful memories of Grace. And soon her precariously maintained life begins to unravel: she loses her job, gets thrown out of her flat, and risks pushing away the one decent man who cares about her.
Taking up life-modelling to pay the bills, Eve lays bare her body but keeps hidden the mounting chaos inside her head. When her self-destructive urges spiral out of control, she’s forced to confront the traumatic event that changed the course of her life, and to finally face her grief and guilt.
Perfect for fans of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, Raven Leilani’s Luster, and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson Genre: Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Lesbian Literature
SYNOPSIS: We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.
We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.
A story of desire and violence about a young woman who everyone forgot, VIOLETS is a captivating and sensual read, full of tragedy but also beauty in its lush, vibrant prose.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Orenda Genre: Mystery, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: Scarred by their pasts, Jenna and Luke fall in love, brimming with hope for a rosy future. But someone has been watching, with chilling plans for revenge … An emotive, twisty, disturbing new psychological thriller by the critically acclaimed author of A Suitable Lie and In the Absence of Miracles.
Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships.
Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy.
When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need.
And yet, someone is watching.
Someone who has been scarred by past events.
Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge…
Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…
Published: April 14th Publisher: HQ Genre: Romance Novel, Magical Realism, Fantasy Fiction, Contemporary Romance
SYNOPSIS: A brand new timeless romance with a sprinkling of magic from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author – coming April 2022
If you knew how your love story ends, would you dare to begin?
From the outside, Lorelai is an ordinary young woman with a normal life. She loves reading, she works at the local cinema and she adores living with her best friend. But she carries a painful burden, something she’s kept hidden for years; whenever she kisses someone on the lips, she sees how they are going to die.
Lorelai has never known if she’s seeing what was always meant to be, or if her kiss is the thing that decides their destiny. And so, she hasn’t kissed anyone since she was eighteen.
Then she meets Grayson. Sweet, clever, funny Grayson. And for the first time in years she yearns for a man’s kiss. But she can’t…or can she? And if she does, should she try to intervene and change what she sees?
Spellbinding, magical and utterly original, With This Kiss is one love story you will never forget.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel, Medical Fiction, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Jessica Jackson has hit all the milestones for turning 30 – the career, the loving boyfriend and a cosy London flat they share with their cat. But a shock diagnosis of breast cancer turns Jess’s world upside down, and her contented life implodes with it.
Around her, her friends’ lives continue to follow the script, with the big white weddings and the baby scans. With her own future so uncertain, the only thing Jess is sure of is that she’s being left behind.
In the midst of it all, she meets Annabel, an enigmatic twenty-seven year old with incurable cancer. But while Annabel may not have long left, she understands much more about living than anyone Jess has ever met. And she’s determined to show Jess how to make every day count . . .
Frank, funny and poignant, Single Bald Female by Laura Price is a completely unforgettable story of love and friendship.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: When a mother allows her thirty-something daughter to move into her apartment, she wants for her what many mothers might say they want for their child: a steady income, and, even better, a good husband with a good job with whom to start a family.
But when Green turns up with her girlfriend, Lane, in tow, her mother is unprepared and unwilling to welcome Lane into her home. In fact, she can barely bring herself to be civil. Having centred her life on her husband and child, her daughter’s definition of family is not one she can accept. Her daughter’s involvement in a case of unfair dismissal involving gay colleagues from the university where she works is similarly strange to her.
And yet when the care home where she works insists that she lower her standard of care for an elderly dementia patient who has no family, who travelled the world as a successful diplomat, who chose not to have children, Green’s mother cannot accept it. Why should not having chosen a traditional life mean that your life is worth nothing at all?
In Concerning My Daughter, translated from Korean by Jamie Chang, Kim Hye-jin lays bare our most universal fears on ageing, death, and isolation, to offer finally a paean to love in all its forms.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Bloomsbury Genre: Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: One by one, she undid each event, each decision, each choice. If Davy had remembered to put on a coat. If Seamie McGeown had not found himself alone on a dark street. If Michael Agnew had not walked through the door of the pub on a quiet night in February in his white shirt.
There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever.
As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead. In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like ‘petrol bomb’ and ‘rubber bullets’. And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.
Tender and shocking, Trespasses is an unforgettable debut of people trying to live ordinary lives in extraordinary times.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Welbeck Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: A young journalist embroiled in an international art scandal centred around a Nazi-looted masterpiece, forcing the ultimate showdown between passion and possession, lovers and liars, history and truth.
After talking her way into a job, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual assignment: locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier. The painting? None other than legendary artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, but Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying.
Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. Heir to her art collector family’s millions, Margaux is a cunning gallerist who gets everything she wants. The only thing standing in her way is Jules. Yet Jules has resources of her own, including Adam Baum, Ellis’s grandson. A recovering addict and artist in his own right, Adam was once in Margaux’s clutches, and he’ll do anything to help Jules locate the painting before Margaux.
A thrilling tale of secrets, love, and sacrifice, Woman on Fire tells the story of a remarkable woman and an exquisite work of art that burns bright, moving through hands, hearts, and history.
Published: April 14th Publisher: Oneworld Publications Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A Vulture ‘Book We Can’t Wait to Read in 2022’
From the 2014 Caine Prize winner comes an astonishing new novel, riven through with mystery and magic, about a daughter’s quest to save her mother
The Manor Mabel Brown looms high over Mapeli Town, its rickety gate flanked by stone angels with severed heads, its yard full of tangled thorns and wildflowers. Inside these ramshackle walls lives Ayosa, twelve years old and the loneliest girl in the world.
With her mother prone to frequent disappearances, Ayosa’s only companions are the ghosts and spirits who wander through her Kenyan village. She craves escape, but more than that she longs for the love of her fearsome mother, Nabumbo Promise.
When a new friend arrives in the shape of Mbiu, Ayosa is forced to choose between protecting her mama and seizing a life of her own.
Okwiri Oduor’s stunningly original debut novel sings with Kenyan folklore and myth as it traces the fragile, intoxicating bond between a mother and daughter like no other.
SYNOPSIS: An exciting and equally lyrical new retelling from Jennifer Saint, the Sunday Times bestselling author of ARIADNE
The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.
Clytemnestra The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them and determines to win, whatever the cost.
Cassandra Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.
Elektra The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?
SYNOPSIS: Behind the spectacle there are always secrets.
Unruly crowds descend on Crillick’s Variety Theatre. A black, British actress, Zillah, is headlining tonight. An orphan from the slums of St Giles, her rise to stardom is her ticket out – to be gawped and gazed at is a price she’s willing to pay.
Rising up the echelons of society is everything Zillah has ever dreamed of. But when a new stage act disappears, Zillah is haunted by a feeling that something is amiss. Is the woman in danger?
Her pursuit of the truth takes her into the underbelly of the city – from gas-lit streets to the sumptuous parlours of Mayfair – as she seeks the help of notorious criminals from her past and finds herself torn between two powerful admirers.
Caught in a labyrinth of dangerous truths, will Zillah face ruin – or will she be the maker of her fate?
A deliciously immersive tale, Theatre of Marvels whisks you on an unforgettable journey across Victorian London in this bold exploration of race, class and gothic spectacle.
Published: April 28th Publisher: Picador Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary Horror, Time Travel Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The award-winning author of Station Eleven returns with a story of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment . . .
In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core.
Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.
Published: April 28th Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Historical Thriller, Gothic Romance, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: Lauren, Kat and Flora are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.
Over the years they’ve lived wildly different lives, but their father has unexpectedly summoned them to Rock Point, the cliff house where they once sat for his most celebrated painting Girls and Birdcage.
Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets and electrically charged with the catastrophic events of a summer twenty years before, the day of the total solar eclipse. It’s the first time they’ve dared return.
When the sisters arrive, it is clear that someone is determined not to let the past lie. Someone who is watching their every move. Who remembers the girls in the painting, and what they did. . .
Set on the rugged Cornish coast, The Birdcage is a twisty, spellbinding novel with unforgettable characters who must piece together their family’s darkest secrets.
Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York.
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.
Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…
Miss Aldridge Regrets is the exquisite new novel from Louise Hare. A brilliant murder mystery, it also explores class, race and pre-WWII politics, and will leave readers reeling from the beauty and power of it.
SYNOPSIS: Award-winning historical novelist and playwright John Spurling draws on his lifelong love and knowledge of Classical Greek drama and poetry to reanimate, with vivid wit and zest, five great male–female pairings of Greek myth.
The Greek myths, refined by the great poets and playwrights of Ancient Greece, distil the essence of human life: its brief span, its pride, courage and insecurity, its anxious relationship with the natural world – earth, sea and sky, represented by powerful gods and monsters.
Taking inspiration from the incomparably beautiful and intense poetry of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, Spurling – a lifelong classicist and an award-winning playwright and historical novelist – spins five more myths for contemporary readers. These captivating tales centre on male-female pairs – Prometheus and Pandora, Jason and the sorceress Medea, Oedipus and his daughter Antigone, Achilles and his mother Thetis, Odysseus and Penelope – that destroyed dynasties, raised and felled heroes, and sealed the fates of men.
SYNOPSIS: A dark house filled with darker secrets…
Winter 1954, and in a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects, and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance that she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.
Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Lady Cooper, Sam’s ailing grandmother, and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her newly discovered diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.
Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind. Her grandmother cannot speak, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. There are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…
A chilling read that will keep you turning the pages late into the night, Begars Abbey is a must-read for fans of Laura Purcell and W.C. Ryan.
Published: April 28th Publisher: HarperCollins UK Genre: Crime Thriller, Erotic Suspense, Humorous Fiction
SYNOPSIS: “Guilty Women’s already stamped it’s razor sharp, blood stained stiletto heel firmly in the lead to be 2022’s ‘book of the year.” The Daily Mirror
Can they get away with murder?
On a beautiful island off the English coast, four TV actresses gather. Their fifth member is missing – and only they know why she was killed. As the secret between them threatens to come out, tensions on set run high. The women are determined that the show must go on – no matter what it costs. But one of them is on the edge of telling the truth – and no show in the world could survive this scandal…
All of the women have something to hide – but the question is, are they all guilty?
The cast of RUTHLESS WOMEN is back – but this time they’re in trouble…
Dimple Pennington knew of her half siblings, but she didn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues.
Dimple has bigger things to think about. She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone.
That is, until a catastrophic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of QUEENIE comes a propulsive story of heart, humour, homecoming, and about the truest meaning of family you can get when your dad loves his jeep more than he loves his children.
Published: April 18th Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Two children trapped in the same attic, almost a century apart, bound by a secret.
1907: Twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of his time locked in an attic room of a large house by the sea. Taken from his homeland and treated as an unpaid servant, he dreams of his family in Africa even if, as the years pass, he struggles to remember his mother’s face, and sometimes his real name . . .
Decades later, Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege, will find herself banished to the same attic. Lying under the floorboards of the room is an old porcelain doll, an unusual beaded claw necklace and, most curiously, a sentence etched on the wall behind an old cupboard, written in an unidentifiable language. Artefacts that will offer her a strange kind of comfort, and lead her to believe that she was not the first child to be imprisoned there . . .
Lola Jaye has created a hauntingly powerful, emotionally charged and unique dual-narrative novel about family secrets, love and loss, identity and belonging, seen through the lens of Black British History in The Attic Child.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this magnificent and haunting gothic mystery. Thank you to Alex at Orion for the invitation to take part and ARC.
In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.
Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.
For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.
And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…
A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.
“She knew then that the clockmaker might not be simply strange. He might well be something much worse.”
Paris, 1750. Madeleine Casteel arrives at the home of Doctor Maximillian Reinhart, a clockmaker who is the talk of the city thanks to his strange and unique creations. She has been tasked with spying on Reinhart’s every move in exchange for her own freedom. But Madeleine soon finds that she may have stumbled upon a secret much darker than she imagined. A secret that may go to the heart of Versailles and put her life in danger.
“She was tired of being told she was worth less than nothing by men who did nothing themselves.”
Macabre, haunting and suspenseful, this twisted gothic tale was everything I could have hoped for and more. A story cloaked in the syrupy blackness of a sinister mystery, this is a much darker tale than I expected. A story of a maid, a clockmaker, a King, a Courtesan and missing children. It has something for everyone: true crime mixed with historical fiction, a dash of mystery and a sprinkle of feminism. The addition of French language amongst the prose was a coupe de genie that perfected this magnificent and original tale.
My love for historical fiction is no secret and one of my favourite things about it is how much I learn while being entertained. I know relatively little about the time and place this story is set in but the author’s meticulous research and evocative imagery transported me back to the bleak streets of 18th Century Paris so vividly that I could see the buildings leaning into one another, and the beggars in the shadows, hear the horses as they pulled their carriages full of passengers and smell the filth. It was a time of corruption when humanity was forsaken in favour of wealth and power. Men would use their position to control women, a theme that runs throughout the story as we see our three female narrators at the mercy of men with power no matter their position in society and feel powerless to change it.
“Those things he makes, whatever it is he calls them – look at them closely. They’re impossible things, made with dark magic.”
I love when a talented author takes an outlandish idea and runs with it successfully, which is what Anna Mazzola has done with this book. Automata is a fascinating topic and through King Louis IV’s obsession with death, automata and reanimation and the fictitious Doctor Reinhart, the author explores how these astounding yet bizarre creations were both revered and feared, their ability to seemingly defy the laws of nature leading to whispers of witchcraft and black magic. Combined with the mention of how children are quietly vanishing from the streets of Paris that is slowly dripped into the story this creates a chilling air of suspicion, menace and fear that hovers over every page.
Richly drawn, exquisitely told and intricately woven, The Clockwork Girl kept me guessing until the final pages, giving up its twisted secrets slowly, my heart racing in breathless anticipation as I read. A spellbinding and unique story that I would highly recommend.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Anna is a writer of historical thrillers and Gothic fiction. Her novels explore the impact of crime and injustice.
Her debut novel, The Unseeing, is based on the life of a real woman called Sarah Gale who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837. It won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown in the UK.
Her second novel, The Story Keeper, is out now. It follows a folklorist’s assistant as she searches out dark fairytales and stolen girls on the Isle of Skye in 1857. The Story Keeper was nominated for the Highland Book Prize.
Her third novel, The Clockwork Girl, set in Paris in 1750 and based partly on the story of the vanishing children of Paris, will be published by Orion in March 2022. She is currently working on her fourth novel, a ghost story set in Fascist Italy.
As well as novels, Anna writes short stories. She is an accomplished public speaker and regularly speaks at and chairs literary events.
Anna is also a human rights and criminal justice solicitor, working with victims of crime. She lives in Camberwell, South London, with her family, a snake, a lizard and a cat.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this delightful and uplifting book. Thank you to Harper Collins for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
A mother. A daughter. A secret waiting to be discovered.
For too long – since the sudden death of her mother as a teenager, since the birth of her daughter, Em, when she was just seventeen – Delphine has been unable to let go of the past, obsessed with protecting Em and clinging to a secret that could ruin everything. She’s been living life in safe shades of grey.
The day that Delphine finally stands up for herself is the day that changes everything.
Delphine begins to remember what it’s like to want more: rediscovering her singing voice, opening herself to friendship, and reviving not only her mother’s roots, but her mother’s memories. As her life begins to fill with colour, can she be brave for herself and for Em? And what would happen if she finally told the truth?
A big-hearted, hopeful novel about finding second chances – and taking them.
“Was it better to unlock your mind like that, with the possibility of it being shuttered again, or was it preferable to stay in darkness? You could leave things exactly as they are or be bold enough to make a change, but I was wary of making that leap.”
When I picked up this book I was looking forward to something light. A bit of uplit after some darker reads. And this certainly delivered. Before the story even began I was in love thanks to the gorgeous letter to her readers from author Beth Morrey. It put a big smile on my face and set an upbeat tone that carried through to the rest of the book. As for the story itself, this was a balm for the soul that felt like getting a warm hug in book form. I was besotted. I was a big fan of Ms. Morrey’s charming debut, Saving Missy, but with Em & Me she took things to another level. Enthralling, captivating and addictive, I couldn’t put this down and was to the spot as I flew through the pages.
“We danced from story to dying and song to story until my thirteenth birthday, when the music stopped, and the stories ended, and from then on it vest just silence, me sitting on my bed with my arms around my knees, my father in his chair, both of us talking to the shadows.”
Em & Me explores the impact of the choices we make in life. Not just the defining and pivotal moments, but also the seemingly small choices we make in our lives every day and how the ripple effect of every choice shapes our lives for both good and bad. As the story moves between the past and present Delphine reflects on her past, looking back at the significant events that shaped her life and the decisions she made that led her to where she is today. For Delphine, motherhood is the thing that has had the greatest impact on her life. Becoming a mother at a young age meant shelving her dreams and the life she imagined for herself, while losing her own mother at such a young age meant a huge shift in her life and we see how this loss shaped her, her grief hovering over every page. But this is also a story about second chances, reminding us that it is never too late to chase our dreams and steer our life into another direction if only we can be brave enough to take that step.
“The only time I felt properly warm was deep in a book, escaping to another world where I wasn’t Delphine Jones.”
This is a love letter to books and literature. To the importance of them in our lives and the joy they bring. I loved that both Delphine and Em are book lovers and literature is one of their biggest forms of communication. There is so much joy to be found in books and the author really portrays this, highlighting the way they make you feel and allowing the characters to be a conduit for everything she had said in her letter at the start of the book. It was very relatable to this lifelong bookworm and added an extra layer of joy while reading.
Delphine is a very relatable and recognisable character. When we meet her she is frustrated, disenchanted and worn down by the daily grind of a life she didn’t plan. One where she feels stuck and unable to reach the dreams and ambitions she once had. She is a proud woman who doesn’t like to accept help from others and is practised in hiding the full, bleak truth of her life out of the fear of discovery. Her daughter Em is a bright, ambitious young girl full of potential. Delphine is determined she will soar where her own wings were clipped, willing to move heaven and earth to help her reach her dreams.
“You never forget a good teacher. They stay with you, kindly ghosts at your shoulder reminding you you’re worth something.”
While Delphine and Em are the story’s central characters, there are a number of background characters who are vital to the book. Delphine’s old English teacher, Miss. Challoner, who is now Em’s Headteacher, and Mrs. Gill, who is Em’s English teacher, are both central to their literary love. Their encouragement and support helps them to dream and, for Delphine, they help her realise that these dreams are not completely out of reach like she believed. My secondary school English teacher was an inspiration in my own life and someone who gave me so much support at the times I truly needed it. I don’t think she ever knew just how much it meant and I have never forgotten her. Miss Challoner and Mrs. Gill were my Mrs. Ball and it felt like my old teacher was back with me whenever these characters were on the page. But the background character who stole the show is Letty, the old lady who Delphine is hired to talk with in French, her mother’s native tongue. Letty is a cantankerous, no-nonsense kind of woman and I adored her. Her interactions with Delphine were funny, heartwarming and entertaining. What seems like a frustration to Delphine at the beginning, ends up being a gift that gives her back a link to her mother and is one of the pivotal instruments in helping her to realise it is never too late to change her life.
“Sometimes you’ve got to put yourself out there. Even if it all goes tits-up.”
Lyrically written with an intricately woven plot, great characterisation and perfectly paced Ms. Morey’s talent as a storyteller is on full display in this novel. She delicately weaves in themes such as teenage angst, family drama, grief and motherhood that allow us to feel for and connect with the characters and allow us to explore their deepest, most emotional memories.
Delightful, heartfelt, warm and uplifting, there is an understated brilliance to this book that makes it stay with you long after reading. It has that winning combination of never wanting it to end and yet needing to inhale it whole. I am jealous of those yet to read it as I wish I could go back and read it again for the first time. READ IT NOW!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
I’m a TV producer by trade. For a long time, I worked in development where I created quizzes, documentary formats and reality shows.
I’ve been trying to write a novel since my early 20s, when I wrote a spin-off of Mary Poppins, called Sister Suffragette, which was all about Winifred Banks’ adventures when she wasn’t at home singing. It’s probably for the best that it’s still in a drawer somewhere.
The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is my first full-length novel, and I wrote it on maternity leave, inspired by the people I met while I was walking my dog in the park.
In my spare time I enjoy running, cooking curries, and reading the entire internet when I should be sleeping.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this mesmerising and magical tale. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Manilla Press for the gifted ARC.
‘Haunting, thrilling, wonderful. I loved it’ Stacey Halls
The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory
In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .
October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.
Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .
THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.
In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are…
October, 1840. A scared young woman is fleeing from an unknown assailant, running for her life in a dark forest when the impossible happens: a huge pair of wings rip from her shoulders and she transforms into something extraordinary and impossible; she becomes an angel. A man finds the corpse of a woman in the Thames. But she is no ordinary woman, wings sprouting from her shoulders like an angel. The man seizes the opportunity and sells her to an ambitious surgeon who swears him to secrecy. But rumours are soon rife about ‘the Angel of the Thames’, spreading through the city like wildfire, though most dismiss it as folly. As tales of more impossible beings spread through the city, the surgeon seeks out these extraordinary women to add to his collection, seeing an opportunity to make his fortune and live in infamy. But he isn’t the only one on their trail, a would-be journalist is also seeking out these women, determined to find out the truth behind these rumours and further her writing career.
“It is an extraordinary story, he thinks, utterly fantastical and yet… could it really be that there is something to it?”
The Gifts is an enthralling gothic fairy tale. A story about girl power, self-belief and finding out who you really are set against a backdrop of the Victorian era with a little bit of magical realism woven into the narrative. Liz Hyder has crafted a novel that combines great storytelling, vivid imagery, compelling characters and authenticsocial history that lured me in from the first page and kept me guessing right until the last. The short, punchy chapters give the story fluidity and the five narrators: Etta, Annie, Mary, Natalya and Edward, add their own unique voices to the story as it explores themes of patriarchy, religion, science, power and social class.
“It is her first day with wings. It is also her first day as a prisoner.”
Told from multiple points of view, the varied cast of characters are richly drawn and entertaining. The four female narrators are each in a dark place and feeling marginalised when we meet them and we follow as they try to find out who they are and what their place is in a patriarchal society that doesn’t want their voices to be heard. It is a journey that will see these four strangers come together in the most unexpected of ways and I loved reading every one of them. Even in their darkest hours they are quietly determined, fierce and strong, showing a resilience that carries them through. Etta and Mary were women who pushed the envelope, going beyond what society tells them is acceptable for a woman to live the life they want, although they do this in very different ways. Natalya has a heartbreaking story but her strength still shines through as she refuses to give up time and time again. Annie is a woman who has given up her dreams for herself to be a wife and then found herself infertile, longing for a child she seems unable to have. My heart broke for her as I know that pain; though I did laugh at the idea that reading causes blood to drain from the uterus and therefore stops a woman getting pregnant. Though there were times I’d wish the author would allow them to push social boundaries and not rely on men even more, I did enjoy how each of these women were written. I particularly enjoyed watching Etta harnessing her rage into a power and using her intelligence to outwit the men who would try to hold her back or keep her captive.
“He smiles to himself as his lips run over the words. It will be outstanding, he thinks, and is greatly pleased – even overwhelmed – by his own magnificence.”
Though this is ultimately a story about women, it is Edward who is at the centre of the story. He is a truly fantastic villain, so brilliantly written that he made me incandescent with rage. I despised him. Edward is a man possessed by ambition, religious fanaticism and delusion; a dangerous combination that sets him on a path that merges with the four women with catastrophic consequences. After watching him mercilessly kill an animal early in the book I wasn’t surprised when he later showed no compassion towards ‘his angels’. He sees these women as merely tools to aid his ascension to greatness, possessions given to him to use in any way he desires and gives no thought for them as human beings with autonomy or feelings. He also sees his wife as an extension of himself, only there to further him socially, treating her with increasing disdain. It was disturbing to watch as his mania grew and he became more paranoid, unable to be reasoned with and only caring about his notoriety and God’s so-called plan. I was itching for him to meet his downfall.
“And perhaps the world is not ready for women such as us. Not yet.”
The Gifts is a mesmerising piece of historical and gothic fiction that will delight, enthral and enrage you. The author weaves an illuminating tale that builds to a dramatic climax as the women finally discover their power. I would recommend this book and can’t wait to read more by Ms. Hyder.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Liz Hyder is a writer, creative workshop leader and arts PR Consultant. Bearmouth, her debut for Young Adults, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers, the Branford Boase Award and was named Children’s Book of the Year in The Times. The Gifts, her debut book for grown-ups, is out in February 2022.
March is fast approaching so it’s time to look at what books are on the horizon. 2022 is proving to be an incredible year in the book world and every month it is getting harder to narrow down these list, even when I’m allowing myself twenty-five books on each list. It’s crazy! I will never finish my TBR at this rate lol.
March is filled with some of my most anticipated reads of the year, including the latest installments in two of my favourite crime series. Here are the twenty-five books out next month that I’m most anticipating…
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Published: March 1st Publisher: Quercus Genre: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mum, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and – of course – delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears, healthy and sun-tanned… and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how – all she can focus on is that somehow, impossibly, she has her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman who came before.
But can we ever truly know our parents? Soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and daughter. With her signature ‘heartbreaking and poignant’ (Glamour) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Apollo Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Psychological Fiction, Horror Thriller, Ghost Story, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Part ghost story, part novel of suspense The Marsh House is the haunting second novel from the author of The Night of the Flood where two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by one, mysterious house on the North Norfolk coast.
December, 1962. Desperate to create a happy Christmas for her young daughter, Franny, after a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast. But once there, the strained silence between them feels louder than ever. As Malorie digs for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Rosemary, who lived in the house thirty years before. Trapped inside by a blizzard, and with long days and nights ahead of her, Malorie begins to read. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, she finds herself inexorably drawn into the past…
July, 1931. Rosemary lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family moves to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Rosemary fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades…
As Malorie reads Rosemary’s diary, past and present begin to merge in this moving story of mothers and daughters, family obligation and deeply buried secrets.
One For Sorrow (DI Luc Callanach Book 6) by Helen Fields
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Avon Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: Bestselling crime author Helen Fields is back with her best book yet. A masterful crime thriller that is set to be the most memorable read of 2022.
One for sorrow, two for joy Edinburgh is gripped by the greatest terror it has ever known. A lone bomber is targeting victims across the city and no one is safe.
Three for a girl, four for a boy DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach face death every day – and not just the deaths of the people being taken hostage by the killer.
Five for silver, six for gold When it becomes clear that with every tip-off they are walking into a trap designed to kill them too, Ava and Luc know that finding the truth could mean paying the ultimate price.
Seven for a secret never to be told… But with the threat – and body count – rising daily, and no clue as to who’s behind it, neither Ava nor Luc know whether they will live long enough to tell the tale…
With twists and turns you’ll never see coming, prepare to be gripped by this devastatingly good thriller. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride and MJ Arlidge.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Legal Thriller, Political Thriller, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: From the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal, soon to be a major Netflix series… Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy. ‘Sarah Vaughan has done it again. Superb’ Shari Lapena
Emma Webster is a respectable MP.
Emma Webster is a devoted mother.
Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.
Emma Webster is a liar.
#Reputation: The story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe…
The laugh-out-loud new novel from the bestselling author of Dial A For Aunties, winner of the Comedy Women In Print Prize 2021
It’s supposed to be the perfect day… After getting away with literal murder, Meddy can’t wait to settle down and marry the love of her life, Nathan. She’s found the dress, got the dream venue at Christ Church College, Oxford, plus having a destination wedding comes with the added bonus of not having to invite her very large extended family.
…But is it even a wedding if nobody gets killed? Although when her meddling aunties get involved, Meddy knows her wedding is going to be anything but quiet. Even though there’s no dead body hidden in the freezer this time, for better or worse, it’s certainly going to be a day she’s never going to forget…
SYNOPSIS: Hornclaw is a sixty-five-year-old female contract killer who is considering retirement. A fighter who has experienced loss and grief early on in life, she lives in a state of self-imposed isolation, with just her dog, Deadweight, for company.
While on an assassination job for the ‘disease control’ company she works for, Hornclaw makes an uncharacteristic error, causing a sequence of events that brings her past well and truly into the present.
Threatened with sabotage by a young male upstart and battling new desires and urges when she least expects them, Hornclaw steels her resolve, demonstrating that no matter their age, the female of the species is always more deadly than the male.
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Natalie Collins always has a plan.
Her troubled younger sister Kit rarely does.
Until Kit finds Wisewood, a secretive self-help retreat on a secluded Maine island. It promises you’ll leave a better, braver version of yourself.
But why does it forbid contact with the outside world? Why are there no testimonies from previous guests? Natalie fears it is some kind of cult.
Then, after six months of silence, she receives an email from Wisewood:Would you like to come tell your sister what you did – or should we?Who is digging into the sisters’ past? How did they discover Natalie’s secret? A secret that will destroy Kit.
She has no choice but to go to Wisewood, to find out if this place of healing has more sinister motives.But as she’s about to discover, Wisewood is far easier to enter than to leave . . .
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Sphere Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Book Series
SYNOPSIS: Ben Harper’s life changed for ever the day his older brother Nick was murdered by two classmates. It was a crime that shocked the nation and catapulted Ben’s family and their idyllic hometown, Haddley, into the spotlight.
Twenty years on, Ben is one of the best investigative journalists in the country and settled back in Haddley, thanks to the support of its close-knit community. But then a fresh murder case shines new light on his brother’s death and throws suspicion on those closest to him.
Ben is about to discover that in Haddley no one is as they seem. Everyone has something to hide.
And someone will do anything to keep the truth buried . . .
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkenen
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Pan MacMillan Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
SYNOPSIS: From Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, the authors of the top ten bestseller The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl, comes The Golden Couple – a compelling page-turner that will keep you guessing to the very end.
If Avery Chambers can’t fix you in ten sessions, she won’t take you on as a client. She helps people overcome everything, from domineering parents to assault. Her successes almost help her absorb the emptiness she feels since her husband’s death.
Marissa and Mathew Bishop seem like the golden couple, until Marissa cheats. She wants to repair things, both because she loves her husband and for the sake of their 8-year-old son. After a friend forwards an article about Avery, Marissa takes a chance on this maverick therapist, who lost her license due to controversial methods.
When the Bishops glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
The Atlas Six (Atlas Series Book 1) by Olivie Blake
Published: March 3rd Publisher: Tor Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Series
SYNOPSIS: The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this.
Originally a self-published sensation, this edition has been fully edited and revised, including gorgeous new illustrations.
Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction. Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.
When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.
Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.
Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.
The story continues in The Atlas Paradox, the heart-stopping sequel.
SYNOPSIS: You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.
Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.
Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…
From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.
A Life for a Life (Detective Kate Young Book 3) by Carol Wyer
Published: March 15th Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Genre: Thriller, Police Procedural, Crime Series
SYNOPSIS: Nobody can get into the mind of an erratic killer―except an unpredictable detective.
When a young man is found lying on a station platform with a hole in his head, DI Kate Young is called in to investigate the grisly murder. But the killing is no one-off. As bodies start to pile up, she is faced with what might be an impossible task―to hunt down a ruthless killer on a seemingly random rampage.
Meanwhile, Kate has her own demons to battle as she struggles to come to terms with her husband’s death. And she is hell-bent on exposing corruption within the force and bringing Superintendent John Dickson to justice. But with the trail of deception running deeper―and closer to home―than she could ever have imagined, she no longer knows who she can trust.
With her grip on reality slipping, Kate realises that maybe she and the killer are not so different after all. But time is running out and Kate is low on options. Can she catch the killer before she loses everything?
Published: March 17th Publisher: Wildfire Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: With every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.
It is 1938 in China, and the Japanese are advancing. A young mother, Meilin, is forced to flee her burning city with her four-year-old son, Renshu, and embark on an epic journey across China. For comfort, they turn to their most treasured possession – a beautifully illustrated hand scroll. Its ancient fables offer solace and wisdom as they travel through their ravaged country, seeking refuge.
Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. His daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, but he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down?
Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the search for a place to call home.
SYNOPSIS: An immersive and compelling novel that explores the struggle by two women, divided across centuries, for control over their lives, set against a beautiful historical backdrop.
‘An echo of Daphne du Maurier‘ Independent
Yorkshire, 1890. Having lost her father and brothers in tragic circumstances, Olwen Malkon is forced to leave her childhood home to live with her uncle’s family. In his chill vicarage, however, she fears that she is also losing her mind, as strange dreams take her into the life of Ælfwyn, a woman from a distant past whose fate is overshadowed by menace and betrayal.
In the grip of these afflictions, Olwen finds sympathy with the local doctor, John Osbourne, who is intrigued by her case. Suspecting darker undercurrents are at work, John comes into conflict with Olwen’s family, who dismiss her as a hysteric and, when he seeks to protect her, with the law.
As the dreams intensify, danger awaits them both. But when they begin to mirror reality, she and John start to suspect that it is these visions of the past which hold the answers . . .
Published: March 17th Publisher: One More Chapter Genre: Romance Novel, Saga, Humorous Fiction
SYNOPSIS: She can’t recall what started her collection. Maybe it was in a fragment of conversation overheard as she cleaned a sink? Before long (as she dusted a sitting room or defrosted a fridge) she noticed people were telling her their stories. Perhaps they always had done, but now it is different, now the stories are reaching out to her and she gathers them to her…
When Janice starts cleaning for Mrs B – a shrewd and tricksy woman in her nineties – she meets someone who wants to hear her story. But Janice is clear: she is the keeper of stories, she doesn’t have a story to tell. At least, not one she can share.
Mrs B is no fool and knows there is more to Janice than meets the eye. What is she hiding? After all, doesn’t everyone have a story to tell?
SYNOPSIS: Deep rooted secrets. A twisted family history. And a house that will never let go.
Eleanor lives with prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face. It causes stress. Acute anxiety.
It can make you question what you think you know.
When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer–a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, the horror of having come so close to a murderer–and not knowing if they’d be back–overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.
Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house–a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a chilling past for over fifty years.
Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to uncovering the truth, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there.
SYNOPSIS: Yinka wants to find love. Her mum wants to find it for her.She also has too many aunties who frequently pray for her delivery from singledom, a preference for chicken and chips over traditional Nigerian food, and a bum she’s sure is far too small as a result. Oh, and the fact that she’s a thirty-one-year-old South-Londoner who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage is a bit of an obstacle too…
When her cousin gets engaged, Yinka commences ‘Operation Find A Date for Rachel’s Wedding’. Armed with a totally flawless, incredibly specific plan, will Yinka find herself a huzband?
What if the thing she really needs to find is herself?
MARIE CLAIRE ‘BEST BOOKS OF 2022’ AND FEBRUARY PICK FOR MALALA’S LITERATI BOOKCLUB
Published: March 31st Publisher: Orbit Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Gothic Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Lesbian Literature
SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of the First World War, a young woman gets swept into a glittering world filled with illicit magic, romance, blood debts and murder in this lush and decadent debut novel.
On Crow Island, people whispered, real magic lurked just below the surface. But Annie Mason never expected her enigmatic new neighbour to be a witch.
When she witnesses a confrontation between her best friend Bea and the infamous Emmeline Delacroix at one of Emmeline’s extravagantly illicit parties, Annie is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where magic can buy what money cannot; a world where the consequence of a forbidden blood bargain might be death.
Published: March 31st Publisher: Picador Genre: Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story
SYNOPSIS: Today I might trace the rungs of her larynx or tap at her trachea like the bones of a xylophone . . .
Something gleeful and malevolent is moving in Lia’s body, learning her life from the inside out. A shape-shifter. A disaster tourist. It’s travelling down the banks of her canals. It’s spreading.
When a sudden diagnosis upends Lia’s world, the boundaries between her past and her present begin to collapse. Deeply buried secrets stir awake. As the voice prowling in Lia takes hold of her story, and the landscape around becomes indistinguishable from the one within, Lia and her family are faced with some of the hardest questions of all: how can we move on from the events that have shaped us, when our bodies harbour everything? And what does it mean to die with grace, when you’re simply not ready to let go?
Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies is a story of coming-of-age at the end of a life. Utterly heart-breaking yet darkly funny, Maddie Mortimer’s astonishing debut is a symphonic journey through one woman’s body: a wild and lyrical celebration of desire, forgiveness, and the darkness within us all.
Published: March 31st Publisher: Mantle Genre: Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: From the author of R&J pick, People Like Her, and for fans of The White Lotus and Big Little Lies, Ellery Lloyd’s The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.
There’s no place like Home . . .
The Home Group is a collection of ultra-exclusive private members’ clubs and a global phenomenon, and the opening of its most ambitious project yet – Island Home, a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is billed as the celebrity event of the decade.
But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they’ll do anything to keep it.
If your name’s on the list, you’re not getting out . . .
Published: March 31st Publisher: Bloomsbury Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Not all that is hidden is lost.
For twelve years Aina and Whitney have been in exile on an island for a crime they committed together, tethered to a croft by pills they must take for survival every eight hours. They’ve kept busy – Aina with her garden, her jigsaw, her music; Whitney with his sculptures and maps – but something is not right.
Shipwrecks have begun washing up, and their supply drops have stopped. And on the day they’re meant to be collected for parole, the Warden does not come. Instead there’s a sheep. But sheep can’t swim.
As days pass, Aina begins to suspect that their prison is part of a peninsula, and that Whitney has been keeping secrets. And if he’s been keeping secrets, maybe she should too. Convinced they’ve been abandoned, she starts investigating ways she might escape. As she comes to grips with the decisions that haunt her past, she realises her biggest choice is yet to come.
Published: March 31st Publisher: HQ Genre: Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction
SYNOPSIS: It’s never too late to start a new chapter…
The utterly charming and feel-good new novel from the bestselling author of The Secrets of Sunshine and The Library of Lost and Found.
Liv Green loves losing herself in a good book. Her everyday reality is less romantic, cleaning houses for people who barely give her the time of day. But when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero and mega-bestselling author Essie Starling, she can’t believe her luck.
When Essie dies unexpectedly, Liv is left with an astonishing last wish: to complete Essie’s last ever novel. To do so, change-averse Liv will have to step away from the fictitious worlds in her head, and into Essie’s shoes. As she begins to write, she uncovers a surprising connection between the two women – and a secret that will change Liv’s life forever…
Heart-warming and uplifting, the new book from the author of The Library of Lost and Found is a reminder of how it’s never too late to change your own story – perfect for fans of All the Lonely People and The Authenticity Project.
Welcome to the first monthly wrap up of 2022. It has been a slow month for me and I’ve only read 9 books, but quality is more important than quantity and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. I’ve also enjoyed having less pressure, being able to really savour books, and felt able to take a break from reading to rest when needed because of chronic illness flares a few times this month.
I started my reading year with Demon, the latest installment in one of my favourite series, the Six Stories Series by Matt Wesolowski. It follows Scott King who hosts a podcast called Six Stories that investigate crimes with an element of the strange and mysterious, looking at them six different ways as he tries to discover what really happened. In Demon Scott investigates a heinous crime: the brutal, senseless murder of a child by two other children, two boys mired in grief and trauma, in a rural Yorkshire village. Can he sift through the rumours and folklore and discover what really happened that summer day? Unsettling, dark, haunting and addictive, Demon has all of Wesolowski’s signature flair and style, ensuring this is a book you won’t forget.
Wahala was one of my most anticipated debuts of the year and it did not disappoint. A story of friendship, family, identity, race and secrets it lives up to it’s name (Wahala is a Nigerian Pidgin word meaning trouble). The characters are flawed, fascinating and fabulous, the food makes you want to eat, and the author has filled the book with humour, chaos and tension that keeps you hooked. This is a book that everyone will be talking about and I can’t wait to binge on the series that is already in development.
Published: January 6th, 2022 Publisher: HQ Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, Fairy Tale
The Unravelling is a beautiful novel. Polly Crosby is a masterful storyteller who expertly weaves intricate and mutlilayered stories that are impossible to put down. I had been eagerly anticipating this book ever since reading her debut at the end of 2019 and it was worth the wait. A story of grief, mystery and metamorphosis set on an isolated island, this hypnotic, haunting and atmospheric tale is one not to be missed.
Mesmerising, beguiling and darkly atmospheric, The Key in the Lock is gothic fiction at its finest. I quickly devoured this captivating story that follows Ivy Boscawen, a mother struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son who is also still haunted by events that took place three decades earlier. The evocative imagery sets an eerie, haunting scene and sent shivers down my spine, making this hard to read at night in places. The plot is clever and intricately woven, keeping you guessing right until the very end. It was my first time reading this author and I have now bumped her debut higher up my TBR.
Intriguing, mysterious and surprising, The Twyford Code is like nothing I’ve read before. As a puzzle lover, I was intrigued by the idea of a book that contained a hidden code, and it’s no secret that I enjoy a good mystery. The author tells the story in a unique way, using transcriptions of audio files instead of traditional narration. Though I loved this novel way of narrating, it also won’t be for everyone and was tricky to read in places. An original mystery that stands out from the crowd, it is cleverly plotted and full of surprising twists, keeping me guessing from beginning to end.
Wow! What a rollercoaster ride! Crazy, heart-stopping and unputdownable, All For You has everything you could want in a thriller and more. Louise Jensen has knocked it out of the park with this one, crafting a story that is twisty and hard to predict. There’s heartache, trauma, secrets and mystery alongside an exploration of family dynamics, friendship, love, loss and tragedy. Expertly written, this jaw-dropping and addictive thriller is a must read for anyone who enjoys the genre.
Rona Halsall is the queen of the twisty, morally complex thriller, and she’s delivered another knock-out with The Guest Room. This gripping tale will pull you in, mess with your mind and then spit you out when it’s done. I thought I could predict where this was going but I was totally wrong, once again fooled by Ms. Halsall’s skillfully written red herrings. If you love thrillers and this author isn’t on your TBR, then you need ot change that now!
You can read my review on February 1st as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
Published: January 20th, 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction
The Gosling Girl is another debut that was on my list of most anticipated debuts this year. Thought-provoking, poignant and totally riveting, this is a story that will linger long after you close it’s pages. The author examines some heavy topics such as the nature of evil, childhood crime and racism in this powerful story, asking difficult questions and unnerving you with some of the emotions you will feel. It follows a young woman who is fresh out of prison and trying to adjust to life on the outside. It’s a life that she has never really known after being imprisoned aged just ten after murdering a four-year-old in one of the country’s most shocking murders. She has had to change her identity to prevent vigilante justice and lives in fear of people finding out who she really is. The Gosling Girl is a powerful and piercing novel that I think everyone should read.
You can read my review on February 3rd as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs
Published: February 3rd, 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
It’s probably no surprise that the gorgeous cover of this book is what first made me want to pick it up, but I was delighted to discover that this is one of those times where what is on the inside is just as beautiful as what is on the outside. A story of food, poetry, strength, endurance and friendship, the author merges fact and fiction to tell the story of how Eliza Acton wrote what would become the greatest British cookbook of all time. Told in alternating chapters by Eliza and her assistant Ann Kirby, this spectacular and immersive novel made me fall in love. Read it now!
You can read my review on February 4th as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
Despite only reading nine books, it has been so hard to choose a book of the month. Five of the books could have taken the title with The Unravelling, The Key in the Lock, All For You, The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food all being contenders. After a lot of deliberation, I have decided that my book of the month is…
Ok, technically it’s books of the month. I just couldn’t choose between The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food, two spectacular books that I think will be in my top books of 2022.
Did we read any of the same books this month? Or are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this mesmerising and beguiling piece of gothic fiction. Thank you to Ellie at Viking for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of this book.
THE PAGE-TURNING NEW NOVEL FROM THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THEWITCHFINDER’S SISTER
I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unravelling from an upper window, and the terrace bathed in a hectic orange light . . . Now I see that the decision I made at Polneath was the only decision of my life. Everything marred in that one dark minute.
By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.
For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.
But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again?
From the award-winning author of The Witchfinder’s Sister comes a captivating story of burning secrets and buried shame, and of the loyalty and love that rises from the ashes.
“I still dream, every night, of Ponleath on fire…”
This is gothic fiction at its finest. Hauntingly beautiful, darkly atmospheric and beguiling, I was captivated from the first page. A story of secrets, loss and lies filled with mystery and suspense that sends shivers down your spine.
Moving between dual timelines we follow Ivy Boscawen as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her son during the Great War, telling the story of her search for the truth about his death, the intense guilt she feels, and how she is still tormented by events that took place thirty years before. Ivy confesses the secrets she’s kept hidden for decades that still haunt her dreams each night, finally revealing the truth of what happened at Ponleath all those years ago.
This is an easy five stars from me. It is my first foray into Beth Underwood’s books and I am kicking myself for allowing her previous book to languish on my shelf unread for so long. Exquisitely written and intricately plotted, theevocative imagery sets an eerie scene and I felt like I could hear the ghosts whispering their secrets, waiting for their chance to finally be heard. I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish, my heart aching for these characters, particularly young William Tremain and all he must have gone through on that terrifying night.
Ivy was a great narrator. She is a fascinating character and I instantly felt an emotional connection to her over the death of her only child. But what could she have done that made not only his death, but marriage to a man she never wanted, to be with the price she deserved to pay for her transgressions? I never figured it out, the many twists and turns taking me by surprise as she finally lays the spirits of her past to rest with her confessions. In fact, I found myself so caught up in the story itself I almost forgot there was a mystery surrounding something she’d done as well as the one surrounding who was behind the fire that December night. What did Ivy know that no one else did?
Clever, absorbing and utterly mesmerising, The Key in the Lock is an accomplished piece of gothic fiction that keeps you guessing until the very end. Read it now.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Beth Underdown was born in Rochdale in 1987. She studied at the University of York and then the University of Manchester, where she is now a Lecturer in Creative Writing.
The Witchfinder’s Sister is her first novel, and is out with Viking in the UK and Ballantine in the US in Spring 2017. The book is based on the life of the 1640s witch finder Matthew Hopkins, whom she first came across while reading a book about seventeenth-century midwifery. As you do.