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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – March 2023

The third month of the year is almost upon us, and it’s a month bursting with books I want to read. It’s no wonder my TBR never gets any smaller with my most anticipated releases for March alone being a whopping thirty-seven books! Lord help me. And my bank account.

So, what’s on my list? There’s some exciting new releases from favourite authors such as Helen Fields, Margaret Atwood and Louise Swanson (Beech), as well as releases from debut and new-to-me authors.

Here are are the books I’m most looking forward to next month:

The Institution by Helen Fields

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
They’re locked up for your safety.
Now, you’re locked in with them.

Dr Connie Woolwine has five days to catch a killer.

On a locked ward in the world’s highest-security prison hospital, a scream shatters the night. The next morning, a nurse’s body is found and her daughter has been taken. A ransom must be paid, and the clock is ticking.

Forensic profiler Dr Connie Woolwine is renowned for her ability to get inside the mind of a murderer. Now, she must go deep undercover among the most deranged and dangerous men on earth and use her unique skills to find the girl – before it’s too late.

But as the walls close in around her, can Connie get the killer before The Institution gets her?

A claustrophobic, haunting crime thriller that will keep you up at night, perfect for those who couldn’t put down The Sanatorium and Amy McCulloch’s Breathless.

Pre-order here*

Clytemnestra by Costanza Castai

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology, Fairy Tale

SYNOPSIS:
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best . . .

‘Vivid with fury, passion and strength, this is a fabulous myth retelling’
 JENNIFER SAINT

‘A powerhouse of a novel. Clytemnestra’s rage, heartbreak and determination radiate off the page’ ELODIE HARPER

‘A thrilling tale of power and prophecies, and the fierce Queen who fought back at those who wronged her’ COSMOPOLITAN, ‘The best books to look forward to in 2023’

‘A heroine of fierce spirit. With the fire and spark of Madeline Miller and the depths of Mary Renault, Clytemnestra will keep you reading well into the small hours’ MANDA SCOTT

Perfect for fans of ARIADNE and THE SONG OF ACHILLES, pre-order this extraordinary retelling of history’s most infamous heroine.

Pre-order here*

The Book of Eve by Meg Clothier

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Wildfire
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Binding meets The Handmaid’s Tale – Discovering a book of dark and ancient power, a convent librarian must defend it with her life. Perfect for fans of dark academia and historical feminist fiction.

‘A wonderfully rich and absorbing tale’ Observer
‘Expertly crafted and beautifully told’ Jennifer Saint
‘All so good. I read it in two days flat, and wish I had spaced it out more’ 
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ READER REVIEW

Beatrice is the convent’s librarian. For years, she has shunned the company of her sisters, finding solace only with her manuscripts.

Then, one carnival night, two women, bleeding and stricken, are abandoned outside the convent’s walls. Moments from death, one of them presses something into Beatrice’s hands: a bewitching book whose pages have a dangerous life of their own.

But men of the faith want the book destroyed, and a zealous preacher has tracked it to her door. Her sisters’ lives – or her obsession. Beatrice must decide.

The book’s voice is growing stronger.

An ancient power uncoils.

Will she dare to listen?

Pre-order here*

Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Raven Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Power. History. Love. Hate. Vengeance.

She will be Queen. Whatever it takes…


Daughter of an ousted king, descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.

When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy. She leaves behind her home, her family and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.

But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates. Duncan’s court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position, and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery. As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable and at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfill her destiny and take up the future owed to her. Whatever it may take.

A suspenseful, sweeping historical epic, Lady MacBethad is the origin story of the woman who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters.

Pre-order here*

Mother’s Day by Abigail Burdess

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Wildfire
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological Fiction, Suspense, Humour

SYNOPSIS:
She gave you life. What if she wants it back?
Perfect for fans of MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER, MAGPIE and HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY.

Mother’s Day is terrific. So dark, so twisted’

HARRIET TYCE, AUTHOR OF BLOOD ORANGE

‘Superbly written and darkly funny. I simply couldn’t look away.’
JANICE HALLETT, AUTHOR OF THE APPEAL AND THE TWYFORD CODE

The last thing Anna needs is a baby. Abandoned, adopted and living hand to mouth, she never dreamt of having a real family.

But when she meets her birth mother, everything changes – because the same day, she learns she’s going to be a mother too.

Marlene is eccentric, generous with her considerable fortune and overjoyed to become a grandmother. Anna’s living the dream. But is it her dream, or someone else’s?

Now she will have to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for a real family – her future, her freedom, even her unborn child.

Pre-order here*

A Good House For Children by Kate Collins

Published: March 2nd
Publisher: Serpent’s Tail
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The perfect place to destroy a family…

The Reeve stands on the edge of the Dorset cliffs, awaiting its next inhabitants. Despite Orla’s misgivings, her husband insists this house will be the perfect place to raise their two children.

In 1976, Lydia moves to Dorset as a nanny for a family grieving their patriarch. She soon starts to hear and feel things that cannot be real, but her bereaved employer does not listen when Lydia tells her something is wrong.

Separated by forty years, both Lydia and Orla realise that the longer they stay at the Reeve, the more deadly certain their need to keep the children safe from whatever lurks inside it…

Nothing is quite what it seems at the Reeve, and with its pervasive atmosphere of claustrophobia and dread, Kate Collins’ gothic creation will chill you to the core.

Pre-order here*

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping, darkly comic tale of searing loss, coercive control and the consequences of taking the wrong path.

Every morning Janet Brown goes to work cleaning offices. It calms her, cleanliness, neatness. All the things she’s unable to do with her soul can be achieved with a damp cloth and a splash of bleach. However, the guilt she still carries about a devastating loss that happened eleven years ago, cannot be erased.

Then, Janet finds herself involved in a train crash and, recognising the chance to do what she couldn’t all those years ago, she makes a decision. As news spreads of Janet’s actions, her story inspires everyone around her, and for the first time her life has purpose and the future is filled with hope.

But Janet’s story isn’t quite what it seems, and as events spiral out of control, she soon discovers that coming clean isn’t an option. Because if Janet washes away the lies, what long-buried truths will she finally have to face.

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin is a deeply moving and gripping portrayal of a woman coming to terms with loss.

Pre-order here*

All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Tinder Press
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘Glorious. Unforgettable’ Melissa Harrison
‘Funny, lyrical, deft and devastating’ Amy Sackville
‘A distinct and poetic new voice’ Clare Pollard

I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards.

Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.

Pre-order here*

No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Aria
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Novel, Historical Romance, Satire, Historical Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
The most joyful book of 2023!

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.

Pre-order here*

Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the Booker Prize-nominated author of The Water Cure comes a chilling new feminist fable based on the true story of an unsolved mystery…

A recommended read for 2023 in The Times, Guardian, Irish Times, Scotsman, iD, Good Housekeeping, Big Issue and Our Culture

‘Sensual, luminous, transcendent. It confirms Mackintosh as one of our finest young writers’ The Bookseller


If you eat the bread, you’ll die, he said. The statement made no sense, but it filled me with an electric dread.


Elodie is the baker’s wife. A plain, unremarkable woman, ignored by her husband and underestimated by her neighbours, she burns with the secret desire to be extraordinary. One day a charismatic new couple appear in town – the ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet – and Elodie quickly falls under their spell. All summer long she stalks them through the shining streets: inviting herself into their home, eavesdropping on their coded conversations, longing to be part of their world.

Meanwhile, beneath the tranquil surface of daily life, strange things are happening. Six horses are found dead in a sun-drenched field, laid out neatly on the ground like an offering. Widows see their lost husbands walking up the moonlit river, coming back to claim them. A teenage boy throws himself into the bonfire at the midsummer feast. A dark intoxication is spreading through the town, and when Elodie finally understands her role in it, it will be too late to stop.

Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory’s hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.

Pre-order here*

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Sandycove
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the Number 1 bestselling author of Our Little Cruelties and Skin Deep

Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.

Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and police detectives, but also a sinister voice from a past she cannot remember. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends and big decisions, and learning that people don’t always mean what they say.

But who is the man observing Sally from the other side of the world? And why does her neighbour seem to be obsessed with her? Sally’s trust issues are about to be severely challenged . . .

Pre-order here*

Freeze by Kate Simants

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
ON THE TOUGHEST REALITY SHOW ON TELEVISION
A KILLER IS HIDING OUT OF SHOT

Frozen Out is set to be a TV sensation. On a small ship off the coast of Greenland, eight contestants will push themselves to breaking point for a £100,000 prize.

The show is Tori Matsuka’s baby. After years working her way up the ladder, she’s finally launching her own production company with Frozen Out, and the late nights, the debts, the strain on her relationship will all be worthwhile. Everything is riding on the next twelve days. For camerawoman Dee, it’s a chance to start again after the tragedy that tanked her undercover journalism career. Not even Tori, her oldest friend, knows the full truth of why Dee left her previous job, and she plans to keep it that way.

But as errors and mishaps mount on set, tempers among the cast and crew start to fray. And when one of the contestants is found dead, only Dee realises the death wasn’t natural – and from what she’s seen from behind the camera, it won’t be the last. As the Arctic ice closes in around them and all chance of escape is cut off, it becomes clear that although the world outside wants them dead, it’s the secrets inside the ship that might cost them their lives.

Packed with suspense from the first page to the last, Freeze is a must-read for fans of Shiver, The Sanatorium and One By One. This thriller isn’t just chilling: it’s sub-zero.

Pre-order here*

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Magpie
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
The dark, atmospheric, feminist offspring of Squid GameThe Hunting Party and Misery

A book deal to die for.

Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.

Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.

But then the women begin to die.

Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.

This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…

Pre-order here*

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A Best Book of 2023 in VogueAnOther Magazinei-DIndependentEvening Standard and Huffington Post

An extraordinary, original and heartbreaking debut novel about the bonds that connect people even when separated by seas or death itself, from a thrilling new voice.

There are the goodbyes and then the fishing out of the bodies – everything in between is speculation.

One night, not long after the last American troops leave Vietnam, siblings Anh, Thanh and Minh flee their village and embark on a perilous boat journey to Hong Kong. Their parents and four younger siblings make the crossing in another vessel but as weeks go by it becomes clear that only one party has survived the voyage.

Anh, Thanh and Minh suddenly find themselves alone in the world, without family or home. They travel on, navigating refugee camps and resettlement centres until, by a twist of fate, they arrive in Thatcher’s Britain. Here they must somehow build new lives with only each other to turn to, but will that be enough in a place that doesn’t seem to want them?

In this piercing debut, the siblings’ faltering journey is deftly interwoven with the voice of their lost younger brother, Dao, following them from a place between the living and the dead, and the records of an unknown researcher intent on gathering together the strands of their story. Revelatory and inventive, Wandering Souls paints a heart-wrenching portrait of a family in unimaginable adversity while exploring the power of stories to heal generational wounds. It heralds the arrival of an essential new voice in fiction.

Pre-order here*

One Moment by Becky Hunter

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Urban Fiction, Ghost Story

SYNOPSIS:
‘An emotional read about love and trust, with an OMG ending’ Jill Mansell

One moment in time can change everything…

The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn’t feel fair that she’ll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams. And now, she’s still … here – wherever here is – watching the ripple effect of her death on the lives of those she loved the most.

Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend’s death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie’s life in directions she’d never let herself imagine possible. Ways, perhaps, even those closest to her had long since given up on.

If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of that one moment in time, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?

Pre-order here*

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genre: Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
***A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick 2023***

‘A radically feel-good story about the murder of no-good husbands by a cast of unsinkable women’ – New York Times


‘Original, memorable, and endearing’ Charmaine Wilkerson, author of BLACK CAKE


________________


For Geeta, life as a widow is more peaceful than life as a wife…

Until the other women in her village decide they want to be widows, too.

Geeta is believed to have killed her vanished husband – a rumour she hasn’t bothered trying to correct, because a reputation like that can keep a single woman safe in rural India. But when she’s approached for help in ridding another wife of her abusive drunk of a husband, her reluctant agreement sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of all the women in the village….

A darkly irreverent and fresh take on a feminist revenge thriller, perfect for readers of My Sister the Serial Killer, How To Kidnap The Rich and the Sharon Horgan series Bad Sisters.

Pre-order here*

The Purgatory Poisoning by Rebecca Rogers

Published: March 2nd, 2023
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: Mystery, Dark Comedy, Humorous Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Supernatural Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Horror Fiction, Fantasy Comedy

SYNOPSIS:
Winner of the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Prize!

How do you solve your own murder when you’re already dead?

Purgatory (noun):
1. Where the dead are sent to atone.
2. A place of suffering or torment.
3. A youth hostel where the occupants play Scrabble and the mattresses are paper thin.

When Dave wakes up in his own personal purgatory (St Ives Youth Hostel circa 1992), he’s shocked to discover he’s dead. And worse – he was murdered.

Heaven doesn’t know who did it so with the help of two rogue angels, Dave must uncover the truth.

As divine forces from both sides start to play the game, can Dave get out of this alive? Or at the very least, with his soul intact?

Pre-order here*

The Curator by Owen King

Published: March 7th, 2023
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Suspense, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Half fairy tale and half historical account of a revolution that never was, Owen King’s The Curator is full of sly humor, sensuality, and strangeness – Holly Black

From Sunday Times bestselling author Owen King comes a Dickensian fantasy of illusion and charm where cats are revered as religious figures, thieves are noble, scholars are revolutionaries, and conjurers the most wonderful criminals.


At first glance, the world has not changed: the trams on the boulevards, the grand hotels, the cafes abuzz with conversation. The street kids still play on the two great bridges that divide the city, and the smart set still venture down to the Morgue Ship for an evening’s entertainment.

Yet it only takes a spark to ignite a revolution.

For young Dora, a maid at the university, the moment brings liberation. She finds herself walking out with one of the student radicals, Robert, free to investigate what her brother Ambrose may have seen at the Institute for Psykical Research before he died.

But it is another establishment that Dora is given to look after, The Museum of the Worker. This strange, forgotten edifice is occupied by waxwork tableaux of miners, nurses, shopkeepers and other disturbingly lifelike figures.

As the revolution and counter-revolution outside unleash forces of love, betrayal, magic and terrifying darkness, Dora’s search for the truth behind a mystery that she has long concealed will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the very edge of worlds.

In The Curator, Owen King has created an extraordinary time and place – historical, fantastical, yet compellingly real, and a heroine who is courageous, curious and utterly memorable.

Pre-order here*

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

Published: March 7th, 2023
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories

SYNOPSIS:
Margaret Atwood is celebrated as one of the most gifted storytellers in the world. This new collection showcases her many talents — and the return of her beloved characters Nell & Tig

They explore the full warp and weft of experience, from two best friends disagreeing about their shared past, to the right way to stop someone from choking; from a daughter determining if her mother really is a witch, to what to do with inherited relics such as World War II parade swords.

They feature beloved cats, a confused snail, Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell, philosopher-astronomer-mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria, a cabal of elderly female academics, and an alien tasked with retelling human fairy tales.

At the heart of the collection is a stunning sequence that follows a married couple as they travel the road together, the moments big and small that make up a long life of love — and what comes after.

The glorious range of Atwood’s creativity and humanity is on full beam in these tales, which by turns delight, illuminate and quietly devastate.

Pre-order here*

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

Published: March 9th, 2023
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, War Story, LGBT Literature, Gay Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping, heart-shattering love story between two soldiers in the First World War – available for pre-order now

‘Assured, affecting and moving. Alice Winn has written a devastating love story between two young men . . . Gaunt and Ellwood will live in your mind long after you’ve closed the final pages’ Maggie O’Farrell

It’s 1914, and talk of war feels far away to Henry Gaunt, Sidney Ellwood and the rest of their classmates, safely ensconced in their idyllic boarding school in the English countryside. At seventeen, they’re too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle – an all-consuming infatuation with his best friend, the dreamy, poetic Ellwood – not having a clue that Ellwood is in love with him, always has been. When Gaunt’s German mother asks him to enlist as an officer in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, Gaunt signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings for Ellwood.

The front is horrific, of course, and though Gaunt tries to dissuade Ellwood from joining him on the battlefield, Ellwood soon rushes to join him, spurred on by his love of Greek heroes and romantic poetry. Before long, their classmates have followed suit. Once in the trenches, Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, but their friends are all dying, right in front of them, and at any moment they could be next.

An epic tale of both the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip, In Memoriam is a breathtaking debut.

Pre-order here*

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley

Published: March 9th, 2023
Publisher: Gollancz
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Mariel Spark knows not to trust a demon, especially one that wants her soul, but what’s a witch to do when he won’t leave her side – and she kind of doesn’t want him to?

Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon – one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.

Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry – if he can strike a deal with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).

But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle to maintain a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions – including love – which will only spell disaster for them both.

Pre-order here*

Lies We Sing To The Sea by Sarah Underwood

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQ+ Literature

SYNOPSIS:
A fantasy romance, by dazzling new talent Sarah Underwood, inspired by Greek mythology and the tale of Penelope’s twelve hanged maids.

”A lovely, lyrical fantasy which takes the fate of the hanged maids of the Odyssey and weaves something brand new. A story overflowing with emotion and full of magic.”
Jennifer Saint, bestselling author of Ariadne and Elektra

In the cursed kingdom of Ithaca, each spring brings the hanging of twelve maidens, a gift to the vengeful Poseidon. But when Leto awakens from her death on the shore of a long-forgotten island, its enigmatic keeper Melantho tells her that there’s only one way the curse can be broken. Leto must kill the last prince of Ithaca . . .

In Lies We Sing to the Sea, debut author Sarah Underwood delivers a thrilling and breathtaking tale that will enthral readers from the very first page as they are transported to the cursed shores of Ithaca.

A reclamation of a story from thousands of years ago, Lies We Sing to the Sea is about love and fate, grief and sacrifice, and, ultimately, the power we must find within.

Pre-order here*

The Ugly Truth by L.C. North

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Epistolary Novel

SYNOPSIS:
Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?
#SaveMelanie
#HelpPeter

Told via interviews, transcripts and diary entries, The Ugly Truth is a shocking and addictive thriller about fame, power and the truth behind the headlines.

‘#FreeBritney meets The Appeal in this addictively unique thriller. Get ready to be utterly hooked’ Jack Jordan, author of Do No Harm

Pre-order here*

The Half-Burnt House by Alex North

Published: March 16th, 2023
Published: Michael Joseph
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
ARE YOU READY TO ENTER THE HALF BURNT HOUSE?

The spine-tingling new thriller from the internationally bestselling author of THE WHISPER MAN, a Richard and Judy pick.

*****

Katie always looked after her beloved younger brother Chris – until she left him alone for one selfish afternoon, and their picture-perfect family fell apart. Although Chris survived the attack, the scars ran deeper than the ones left across his face. Now they’re adults, and they haven’t spoken in years. Then she gets a call, from Detective Laurence Page.

Page is facing an unusually disturbing crime scene. Alan Hobbes, a distinguished and wealthy philosophy professor, has been brutally murdered. Hobbes was living in a sprawling mansion – but one that remains half-ruined by a decades-old fire, wind and rain howling through the gaping, creaking roof.

Page only has one suspect: Chris, caught on CCTV at the house. But he has plenty of questions. What could cause a man as wealthy as Hobbes not to repair his home? Why did he seem to know his death was coming, yet do nothing to stop it? And why was he obsessed with a legendary local serial killer?

But Katie only has one thing on her mind. She knows this is her last, best chance to finally save her brother, and make up for her negligence all those years ago.

But she can’t possibly imagine just how much danger he’s in…

Pre-order here*

Beautiful Shining People by Michael Grothaus

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Literary Fiction. Contemporary Fiction, Science Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A damaged young man meets an enigmatic waitress in a Tokyo café, and they embark on a journey that will change everything … an emotive speculative literary novel set in a near-future Japan
 
It’s our world, but decades into the future … an ordinary world, where cars drive themselves, drones glide across the sky, and robots work in burger shops. There are two superpowers and a digital Cold War, but all conflicts are safely oceans away. People get up, work, and have dinner. Everything is as it should be…
 
Except for seventeen-year-old John, a tech prodigy from a damaged family, who hides a deeply personal secret. But everything starts to change for him when he enters a tiny café on a cold Tokyo night. A café run by a disgraced sumo wrestler, where a peculiar dog with a spherical head lives, alongside its owner, enigmatic waitress Neotnia…
 
But Neotnia hides a secret of her own – a secret that will turn John’s unhappy life upside down. A secret that will take them from the neon streets of Tokyo to Hiroshima’s tragic past to the snowy mountains of Nagano. 
 
A secret that reveals that this world is anything ordinary – and it’s about to change forever…

Pre-order here

The Company by J.M. Varese

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Baskerville
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Company is diabolically good . . . J.M. Varese’s gothic tale is sinuously elegant and claustrophobic as deadly Victorian wallpaper’ Kate Griffin, author of Fyneshade

London, 1870.

Lucy Braithwhite lives a privileged existence as heir to the fortune of Braithwhite & Company – the most successful purveyor of English luxury wallpapers the world over. The company’s formulas have been respected for nearly a century, but have always remained cloaked in mystery. No one has been able to explain the originality of design, or the brilliance of their colours, leaving many to wonder if the mysterious spell-like effect of their wallpapers is due simply to artistry, or something more sinister.

When Mr Luckhurst, the company’s manager, and the man who has acted as surrogate father to Lucy and her invalid brother John since they were children, suddenly dies, Lucy is shocked to discover that there is no succession plan in place. Who will ensure that the company and her family continue to thrive?

The answer soon arrives in the form of the young and alluring Julian Rivers, who, unbeknownst to Lucy and John, has been essential to the company’s operations for some time. At first, he seems like the answer to their prayers, but as Lucy begins piecing together Julian’s true intentions, and John begins seeing spectral visions in the house’s wallpaper, it becomes clear to Lucy that she must do everything within her power to oppose the diabolic forces that have risen up to destroy her family.

Set against the backdrop of the real-life arsenic wallpaper controversy of the late 19th century, The Company is a dark and haunting slice of gothic Victoriana, following one woman’s fight to preserve all that she holds dear.

Pre-order here*

The Walled Garden by Sarah Hardy

Published: March 16th, 2023
Publisher: Manilla Press
Genre: Mystery, Romance Novel, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Coming-of-Age Story, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A luminous debut novel about love, the trauma of war and the miracle of human resilience, for readers of Anna Hope, Sadie Jones and Elizabeth Jane Howard.

No one survives war unscathed. But even in the darkest days, seeds of hope can grow.

It is 1946 and in the village of Oakbourne the men are home from the war. Their bodies are healing but their psychological wounds run deep. Everyone is scarred – those who fought and those left behind.

Alice Rayne is married to Stephen, heir to crumbling Oakbourne Hall. Once a sweet, gentle man, he has returned a bitter and angry stranger, destroyed by what he has seen and done, tormented by secrets Alice can only guess at.

Lonely and increasingly afraid of the man her husband has become, Alice must try to pick up the pieces of her marriage and save Oakbourne Hall from total collapse. She begins with the walled garden and, as it starts to bear fruit, she finds herself drawn into a new, forbidden love.

Set in the Suffolk countryside as it moves from winter to spring, The Walled Garden is a captivating love story and a timeless, moving exploration of trauma and the miracle of human resilience.

Pre-order here*

The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner

Published: March 21st, 2023
Publisher: Legend Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Supernatural Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of the intoxicating bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes an entrancing exploration of the blurred lines between truth and illusion and the grave risks women take to avenge the ones they love.

May mercy be upon the man who finds himself the enemy of a vengeful medium…

1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.

Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…

Pre-order here*

End of Story by Louise Swanson

Published: March 23rd, 2023
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Too much imagination can be a dangerous thing

It has been five years since writing fiction was banned by the government.

Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.

But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding?

And who can be trusted?

Pre-order here*

The Lodger by Helen Scarlett

Published: March 23rd, 2023
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Thriller, Historical Romance

SYNOPSIS:
This second novel from the author of The Deception of Harriet Fleet takes us back to the aftermath of the Great War in another haunting, atmospheric Gothic tale.

London in 1919 was a city of ghosts and absences, haunted by the men who marched away but never came back from ‘the war to end all wars.’

Grace Armstrong believes that she has come to terms with her own loss, the death of her fiancé, the brilliant and dazzling best friend of her brother. He was declared Missing in Action during the Battle of the Somme, but he starts to reappear both in her waking life and dreams.

Grace is appalled when a body, dragged from the Thames, is identified as Elizabeth Smith, who has lodged with Grace and her family for the last eight years before suddenly disappearing.

Elizabeth had been more than a lodger; she had become a close friend to Grace, who feels compelled to find out what happened. In doing so she is drawn reluctantly into the sordid and dangerous underbelly of London and a scandal that rocked Edwardian society. Soon Grace finds herself under threat, and the only person prepared to listen is the brooding Tom Monaghan. But Tom has dark shadows of his own to navigate before being able to put his past behind him to help Grace in her quest for the truth.

Pre-order here*

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Pre-order Katie Lumsden’s mysterious and atmospheric debut novel NOW, for fans of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Stacey Halls and Bridget Collins

‘I loved this fresh take on the gothic genre. Vivid, haunting, surprising’ STACEY HALLS, author of Sunday Times bestsellers The Familiars, The Foundling and Mrs England

It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, is offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She quickly accepts, hoping this isolated country house will allow her to leave her past behind.

Cut off from the village, Margaret soon starts to feel there’s something odd about her new home, despite her growing fondness for her bright, affectionate pupil, Louis. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.

Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But despite his efforts to reassure her, she is certain that everyone here has something to hide. And as Margaret’s own past threatens to catch up with her, she must learn to trust her instincts before it’s too late…

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is an authentic and atmospheric love letter to Victorian fiction.

Pre-order here*

The Valkyrie by Kate Heartfield

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HarperVoyager UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fiction, High Fantasy, Fairy Tale

SYNOPSIS:
From SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Kate Heartfield comes a glorious, lyrical retelling of one of Norse mythology’s greatest epics

Brynhild is a Valkyrie: shieldmaiden of the Allfather, chooser of the slain. But now she too has fallen, flightless in her exile.

Gudrun is a princess of Burgundy, a daughter of the Rhine, a prize for an invading king – a king whose brother Attila has other plans, and a dragon to call upon.

And in the songs to be sung, there is another hero: Sigurd, a warrior with a sword sharper than the new moon.

As the legends tell, these names are destined to be lovers, fated as enemies. But here on Midgard, legends can be lies…

For not all heroes are heroic, nor all monsters monstrous. And a shieldmaiden may yet find that love is the greatest weapon of all.

Pre-order here*

The Favour by Nicci French

Published: March 30th, 2023
Published: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
A good deed
Can turn deadly…
 
When Liam unexpectedly turns up in Jude’s life after ten years of no contact, asking her for a favour, she just can’t say no. He was her first love, and even though she is now a successful doctor and about to get married, he will always be someone special to her.
But after she does the favour, she is contacted by the police, informing her that Liam has been found dead, and suddenly she is caught up in a murder investigation.
 
And she realises this one decision could cost her everything – even her life…

Pre-order here*

Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance

SYNOPSIS:
SECRETS, DESIRE, BLOOD… It all comes out in the wash

————-

Keep your friends close and your neighbours closer…

Ciara has it all – a loving husband, well-behaved children and an immaculate home. But behind the filters, her reality is far from what it seems.

Mishti is stuck in a loveless marriage, raising her daughter in a country that is too cold, among children who look nothing like her.

Lauren is mostly happy, despite being judged for letting her kids run naked, wild and free.

Then Ciara is found murdered in her pristine home and suddenly everyone is a suspect.

Hushed whispers, secret rendezvous and bloody betrayals . . .

Everyone has their dirty laundry, but this goes beyond gossip.

This is all-out war.

A deliciously scandalous page-turner about the dark side of suburbia that peels back the layers of Ciara’s insta-perfect life to reveal friendships gone rotten, manipulation masquerading as love and families riddled with lies . . .

Pre-order here*

Every Happy Family by Sarah Stovell

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The closer you are, the more damage they do.

Minnie and Bert are over the moon to have their three grown-up children home for the first time in a decade. But having Lizzie, Jess, Owen and the grandchildren under one roof isn’t without its dramas.

Lizzie is off the alcohol (although emergency gin doesn’t count), Jess is juggling a toddler and a newborn, but it’s Owen who has the power to throw a grenade into everything.

It all stems from an incident that happened years ago. And it involves Nora Skelly – a name you don’t mention in front of Minnie.

With Nora also back in town, the past is about to come crashing into the present. And what better time to revisit old secrets and resentments than around the family dinner table?

Pre-order here*

Mother Hens by Sophie McCartney

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: HarperNorth
Genre: Mystery, Humorous Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to a hen do where the cocktails aren’t Sex on the Beach, but Revenge Served Cold …

A story of secrets, payback and finding out it’s never too late to break the rules, MOTHER HENS is hilarious, scandalous and a battle-cry for everyone who’s ever wanted to see what life is like when we stop trying to please other people.

Cara Carmichael’s bestie is finally getting hitched, and she’s over the moon because it means one thing and one thing only… Whoah, they’re going to Ibiza! Swapping the school run for old skool club classics; four friends are leaving behind their kids, partners and better judgement for a mini-break filled with sun, sea, and sex…y Spanx. Mums on Tour: What could possibly go ‘Pete Tong’?

Lazy days, crazy nights and child-free hangovers might seem like hedonistic heaven – but it turns out you can get into a hell of a lot of trouble, very fast, on the party island where rules are meant to be broken.

For Cara, it’s her first holiday post-divorce, and a chance to forget about an explosive family feud with her stardom-seeking sister and Pina-Colada-pickled mother. With emotional baggage squeezed into her 10kg hand luggage, ultimate escapism and a chance to spread her wings beckons, or so she thinks… Even on holiday, the darkness of your past has an alarming way of catching up with you.

When a twist of fate causes sparks, and feathers, to fly – a dangerous opportunity for divine retribution arises. Faced with secrets, lies, and betrayal – does it pay to be a good egg, or do bad chicks reign supreme? Ibiza may have Amnesia, but one thing’s for certain: a woman scorned may forgive, but she’ll never forget.

Four friends, three nights, two murders – one heck of an adventure. A rollocking rollercoaster ride from Ibiza to Vegas, via Cheshire, Mother Hens will make you laugh, wince, and wonder what any of us are really capable of when push comes to shove…

Pre-order here*

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling

Published: March 30th, 2023
Publisher: John Murray Press
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘A cold, hungry adventure story about the power of choice and the strength of solidarity’ SEAN MICHAELS

America, 2049: Summer temperatures are intolerably high, the fossil fuel industry has shut down, and humans are implanted with a ‘Flick’ at birth, which allows them to remain perpetually online. The wealthy live in the newly created Floating City off the coast, while people on the mainland struggle to get by. For Rose, a job as a hostess in the city’s elite club feels like her best hope for a better future.

At a Cold War-era research station, a group of highly trained women with the code name White Alice are engaged in climate surveillance. But the terms of their employment become increasingly uncertain.

And in a former oil town in northern Canada called Dominion Lake, a camp is being built-Camp Zero. A rare source of fresh, clean air and cooler temperatures, it will be the beginning of a new community and a new way of life. Grant believes it will be the perfect place to atone for his family’s dark legacy.

Everyone has an agenda. So who can you trust? Could falling in love be most the radical act of all?

Thrilling, immersive and disturbingly prescient, Camp Zero is about the world we’ve built and where we go from here.

Pre-order here*

********

Are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures, Most Anticipated 2023: The Debuts

2023 is shaping up to be an incredible year for books and there are an abundance of exciting debuts on the horizon. So, I’ve put together my list of the ones I’m most looking forward to and created my list of most anticipated debuts for 2023.

The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman

SYNOPSIS:
‘A passionate indictment of the patriarchy … a vibrant exaltation of the resilience of women … In The Witches of Vardø, Anya Bergman summons a historic witch trial with breathtaking detail and immediacy’ Hannah Kent

They will have justice. They will show their power. They will not burn.

Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. After recently widowed Zigri’s affair with the local merchant is discovered, she is sent to the fortress at Vardø to be tried as a witch.

Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch – whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.

Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent in disgrace to the island of Vardø. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?

These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King. In an age weighted against them, they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.

Published January 5th by Manilla Press.
Pre-order here*

The Circus Train by Amita Parikh

SYNOPSIS:
THE MAGICAL INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

Brought together by magic.

Torn apart by war.

_________

Europe, 1938. Even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the World of Wonders – a travelling circus that traverses the continent in a luxury steam engine. Brilliant and curious, Lena yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, despite the limitations she feels in her wheelchair. But when a young French orphan, Alexandre, comes aboard the circus train, Lena’s life is infused with magic and wonder for the first time.

But outside the bright lights of the circus, darkness is descending on Europe. War is about to shatter Lena’s world, and take away everything she holds dear. And to recover what she has lost, Lena will have to believe in the impossible.

A must-read for fans of Water for Elephants, The Circus Train will take readers on a heart-wrenching two-decade journey across a continent in which great beauty and unimaginable horror live side by side.

Published January 12th by Sphere
Buy here*

Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey

SYNOPSIS:
One of the most hotly anticipated, hilarious and addictive debut novels of 2023, from Schitt’s Creek screenwriter and electric new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.

I feel like when you get a divorce everyone’s wondering how you ruined it all, what made you so unbearable to be with. If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you.

Maggie’s marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she’s fine – she’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s alone for the first time in her life, can’t afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere . . . but at the age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.

Soon she’s taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex-wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything, including: Why do we still get married? Did I fail before I even got started? How many Night Burgers until I’m happy?

Laugh-out-loud funny, razor sharp and painfully relatable, Really Good, Actually is an irresistible debut novel about the uncertainties of modern love, friendship and happiness from a stunning new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.

Published January 17th by Fourth Estate
Buy here*

So Pretty by Ronnie Turner

SYNOPSIS:
A young man arrives in a small town, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A chillingly hypnotic modern-gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.
 
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end. 
 
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
 
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it. 
 
As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge. 
 
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

Published January 19th by Orenda Books
Pre-order here

The Clositers by Katy Hays

SYNOPSIS:
The Secret History meets Ninth House in this sinister, atmospheric novel . . . the discovery of a mysterious deck of tarot cards lays bare shocking secrets within a close-knit circle of researchers at New York’s famed Met Cloisters museum.

**********

Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, hoping to spend her summer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she is assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval and Renaissance collections.

There she is drawn into a small circle of charismatic but enigmatic researchers, each with their own secrets and desires, including the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling.

Relieved to have left her troubled past behind and eager for the approval of her new colleagues, Ann is only too happy to indulge some of Patrick’s more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a mysterious, once-thought lost deck of 15th-century Italian tarot cards she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a dangerous game of power, toxic friendship and ambition.

And as the game being played within the Cloisters spirals out of control, Ann must decide whether she is truly able to defy the cards and shape her own future . . .

Bringing together the modern and the arcane, The Cloisters is a rich, thrillingly-told tale of obsession and the ruthless pursuit of power.

Published January 19th by Bantam Press
Buy here*

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood

SYNOPSIS:
‘Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .’
________

Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.

One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.

She doesn’t scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons her car and walks away.

But not from her life – towards it. To the daughter who won’t live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .

Today she’ll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten. But Grace is about to remind them …

Amazing Grace Adams tells the story of a life, a marriage, a family, set against a single north-London day. A rollercoaster ride of redemption and discovery, it’s a powerful celebration of womanhood.

Published January 19th by Michael Joseph
Buy here*

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

SYNOPSIS:
Powerful, moving and redemptive, RIVER SING ME HOME tells of a mother’s desperate search to find her stolen children and her freedom.

—————————-

We whisper the names of the ones we love like the words of a song. That was the taste of freedom to us, those names on our lips.

Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy. These are the names of her children. The five who survived, only to be sold to other plantations. The faces Rachel cannot forget. It’s 1834, and the law says her people are now free. But for Rachel freedom means finding her children, even if the truth is more than she can bear. With fear snapping at her heels, Rachel keeps moving. From sunrise to sunset, through the cane fields of Barbados to the forests of British Guiana and on to Trinidad, to the dangerous river and the open sea. Only once she knows their stories can she rest. Only then can she finally find home.

Published January 19th by Headline
Buy here*

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie

SYNOPSIS:
An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women – by a major new talent

‘The best first novel I’ve read in years … So full and so vivid; it is amazing’ RODDY DOYLE
‘Moving and unexpected … I tore through this’ JULIA ARMFIELD

In the year of 1413, two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich.

Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband’s abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic.

Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-­three years. She has told no one of her own visions – and knows that time is running out for her to do so.

The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything.

Sensual, vivid and humane, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women.

Published January 19th by Bloomsbury Publishing
Pre-order here*

Godkiller by Hanah Kaner

SYNOPSIS:
You are not welcome here, godkiller

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.

Published January 19th by Harper Voyager UK
Pre-order here*

Home by Cailean Steed

SYNOPSIS:
Someone has broken into Zoe’s flat. A man she thought she’d never have to see again.
They call him the Hand of God.

He knows about her job in the cafe, her life in Dublin, her ex-girlfriend, even the knife she’s hidden under the mattress.

She thought she’d left him far behind, along with the cult of the Children and their isolated compound Home – but now he’s found her, and Zoe realises she must go back with him if she’s to rescue the sister who helped her escape originally. But returning to Home means going back to the enforced worship and strict gender roles Zoe has long since moved beyond; back to the abuse and indoctrination she’s fought desperately to overcome…

Going back will make her question everything she believed about her past – but could also risk her hard-won freedom. Can she break free a second time?

Published January 19th by Raven Books
Pre-order here*

In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan

SYNOPSIS:
‘THE MOST ORIGINAL CRIME NOVEL YOU’LL READ THIS YEAR’ CLARE MACKINTOSH 
‘THIS HAS TO BE A STRONG CONTENDER FOR CRIME DEBUT OF THE YEAR’ T. M. LOGAN
In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.
Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye. 


DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat’s instincts come up against Lock’s logic. But when the two missing person’s cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal. 

AI versus human experience. 
Logic versus instinct.
With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic? 

In the Blink of an Eye is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what we think it means to be human

Published January 19th by Simon & Schuster
Pre-order here*

Weyward by Emilia Hart

SYNOPSIS:
THEY TRIED TO CAGE US.

BUT A WEYWARD WOMAN BELONGS TO THE WILD.

WE CANNOT BE TAMED.
________________________________________________________

KATE, 2019
Kate flees London – and her abusive partner – for Cumbria and Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great-aunt. There, a secret lurks in the bones of the house, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.

VIOLET, 1942
Violet is more interested in collecting insects and climbing trees than in becoming a proper young lady. Until a chain of shocking events changes her life forever.

ALTHA, 1619
Altha is on trial for witchcraft, accused of killing a local man. Known for her uncanny connection with nature and animals, she is a threat that must be eliminated…

UNIQUE. ORIGINAL. UNFORGETTABLE.
Discover the power of being Weyward in 2023’s biggest debut

Published Februrary 2nd by The Borough Press
Buy here*

Clara & Olivia by Lucy Ashe

SYNOPSIS:
“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”

Sadler’s Wells, 1933.

I would kill to dance like her.

Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match identical twin Clara’s charm. 

I would kill to be with her.

As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly like they are being watched. And, as infatuation turns to obsession, everything begins to unravel.

Published February 2nd by Magpie
Buy here*

The Heroines by Laura Shepperson

SYNOPSIS:
In Athens, crowds flock to witness the most shocking trial of the ancient world. The royal family is mired in scandal. Phaedra, young bride of King Theseus, has accused her stepson, Hippolytus of rape.

He’s a prince, a talented horseman, a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him. She’s a young and neglected wife, the youngest in a long line of Cretan women with less than savoury reputations.

The men of Athens must determine the truth. Who is guilty, and who is innocent?

But the women know truth is a slippery thing. After all, this is the age of heroes and the age of monsters. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard.

Until now.

Published February 9th by Sphere
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The Silence Project by Carole Hailey

SYNOPSIS:
Monster. Martyr. Mother.

On Emilia Morris’s thirteenth birthday, her mother Rachel moves into a tent at the bottom of their garden. From that day on, she never says another word. Inspired by her vow of silence, other women join her and together they build the Community. Eight years later, Rachel and thousands of her followers around the world burn themselves to death.

In the aftermath of what comes to be known as the Event, the Community’s global influence quickly grows. As a result, the whole world has an opinion about Rachel – whether they see her as a callous monster or a heroic martyr – but Emilia has never voiced hers publicly. Until now.

When she publishes her own account of her mother’s life in a memoir called The Silence Project, Emilia also decides to reveal just how sinister the Community has become. In the process, she steps out of Rachel’s shadow once and for all, so that her own voice may finally be heard.

Published February 9th by Corvus
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Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

SYNOPSIS:
Soon you will become the thing all other beasts fear.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Published February 16th by Wildfire
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House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

SYNOPSIS:
This is the story of a house.

The cabin lies deep in the woods, where the trees are so dense it’s easy to miss. On the outside it might look like it’s crumbling, crawling with weeds, but on the inside it’s warm and cosy. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Dinner simmers on the stove.

Maya once saw this cabin as an idyllic place, like a cottage from a fairy tale, but now she knows the danger that lurks beneath. The summer she visited the cabin was the summer her best friend Aubrey died.

Now, another woman from Maya’s hometown has died in the same strange, unexplained way, and Maya believes only she can save the next innocent girl.

Guided by her fractured memory and a mysterious, unfinished book by her late father, Maya returns home to face the house in the pines and the man who waits there – the man she’s tried so hard to forget . . .

Published: February 16th by Constable
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Maame by Jessica George

SYNOPSIS:
*THE MOST POWERFUL DEBUT OF 2023*

Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.

Meet Maddie.

All her life, she’s been told who she is. To her Ghanaian parents, she’s Maame: the one who takes care of the family. Her mum’s stand-in. The primary carer for her father, who suffers from Parkinson’s. She’s the responsible sister, the quiet friend. The one who keeps the peace – and the secrets.

It’s time for her to speak up.

Maddie knows what kind of woman she wants to be. One who wears a bright yellow suit, dates men who definitely aren’t on her mum’s list of prospective husbands, and stands up to her boss’s microaggressions. Someone who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table.

But will it take losing everything to find her voice?

Unique, unfiltered and unforgettable, Maame is a deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.

Published February 16th by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore

SYNOPSIS:
A brilliant debut and powerful tale of sisterhood and home, set on the beautiful beaches of the Isle of Wight…

‘Love makes you do things you never thought you were capable of.’

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…

The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.

Published February 16th by HQ
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Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler

SYNOPSIS:
Power. History. Love. Hate. Vengeance.

She will be Queen. Whatever it takes…


Daughter of an ousted king, descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.

When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy. She leaves behind her home, her family and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.

But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates. Duncan’s court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position, and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery. As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable and at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfill her destiny and take up the future owed to her. Whatever it may take.

A suspenseful, sweeping historical epic, Lady MacBethad is the origin story of the woman who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters

Published March 2nd by Raven Books
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Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

SYNOPSIS:
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best . . .

Perfect for fans of ARIADNE and THE SONG OF ACHILLES, pre-order this extraordinary retelling of history’s most infamous heroine.
_______

Mother. Monarch. Murderer. Magnificent.

You are born to a king, but marry a tyrant. You stand helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore and comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own.

You play the part, fooling enemies who deny you justice. Slowly, you plot.

You are Clytemnestra.

But when the husband who owns you returns in triumph, what then?

Acceptance or vengeance – infamy follows both. So you bide your time and wait, until you might force the gods’ hands and take revenge. Until you rise. For you understood something that the others don’t. If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.

A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece and told through the eyes of its greatest heroine, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.

Published March 2nd by Michael Joseph.
Pre-order here*

Mother’s Day by Abigail Burdess

SYNOPSIS:
She gave you life. What if she wants it back?
Perfect for fans of MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER, MAGPIE and HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY.

The last thing Anna needs is a baby. Abandoned, adopted and living hand to mouth, she never dreamt of having a real family.

But when she meets her birth mother, everything changes – because the same day, she learns she’s going to be a mother too.

Marlene is eccentric, generous with her considerable fortune and overjoyed to become a grandmother. Anna’s living the dream. But is it her dream, or someone else’s?

Now she will have to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for a real family – her future, her freedom, even her unborn child.

Published March 2nd by Wildfire
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All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

SYNOPSIS:
I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards.

Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.

Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.

Published March 2nd by Tinder Press.
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No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby

SYNOPSIS:
The most joyful book of 2023!

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.

Published March 2nd by Aria.
Pre-order here*

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

SYNOPSIS:
The dark, atmospheric, feminist offspring of Squid GameThe Hunting Party and Misery

A book deal to die for.

Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.

Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.

But then the women begin to die.

Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.

This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…

Published March 2nd by Magpie.
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Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood

SYNOPSIS:
A fantasy romance, by dazzling new talent Sarah Underwood, inspired by Greek mythology and the tale of Penelope’s twelve hanged maids.

In the cursed kingdom of Ithaca, each spring brings the hanging of twelve maidens, a gift to the vengeful Poseidon. But when Leto awakens from her death on the shore of a long-forgotten island, its enigmatic keeper Melantho tells her that there’s only one way the curse can be broken. Leto must kill the last prince of Ithaca . . .

In Lies We Sing to the Sea, debut author Sarah Underwood delivers a thrilling and breathtaking tale that will enthral readers from the very first page as they are transported to the cursed shores of Ithaca.

A reclamation of a story from thousands of years ago, Lies We Sing to the Sea is about love and fate, grief and sacrifice, and, ultimately, the power we must find within.

Published March 16th by Electric Monkey
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Her by Mira V Shah

SYNOPSIS:
YOU WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HER. BUT DO YOU REALLY KNOW HER?

Rani has always felt like an outsider. First growing up among her white, wealthy peers. And now next to her successful, child-free friends. From the tiny rented flat she lives in with her family, she imagines being the kind of woman who owns the beautiful house across the street.

Then Natalie moves in. With her expensive clothes, adoring husband and high-powered job, she has everything Rani wants, and Rani can’t help but be drawn to her new neighbour.

But as the two women strike up a friendship and begin open up, Rani wonders – is Natalie’s perfect-seeming life too good to be true?

Published March 23rd by Hodder & Stoughton
Pre-order here*

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden

SYNOPSIS:
It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, is offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She quickly accepts, hoping this isolated country house will allow her to leave her past behind.

Cut off from the village, Margaret soon starts to feel there’s something odd about her new home, despite her growing fondness for her bright, affectionate pupil, Louis. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.

Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But despite his efforts to reassure her, Margaret is certain that everyone here has something hide. And as Margaret’s own past threatens to catch up with her, she must learn to trust her instincts before it’s too late…

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is a chilling gothic mystery, and an authentic and atmospheric love letter to Victorian fiction.

Published Marhch 30th by Michael Joseph
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Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose

SYNOPSIS:
A deliciously scandalous story about the dark side of suburbia, DIRTY LAUNDRY bristles with lies, desire and the secrets that can make or break a marriage.

————-

Ciara, Lauren and Mishti are three mothers, friends, wives. But, underneath the perfectly managed routines of their lives, they are not the women you expect – and neither are the secrets they keep. We all have our dirty laundry to air, but when their carefully curated world is threatened, the devastation goes beyond scandal – it leads to murder . . .

Thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful, DIRTY LAUNDRY tackles the impossibility of who we fall in love with and the innate urge to create better versions of ourselves in our children.

Published March 30th by Viking.
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Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley

SYNOPSIS:
First in a series: A Martha Strangeways Investigation
 
An investigative reporter gives up her job when her young twins are killed in a fire, but when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager, she’s thrust into a chilling investigation that will leave no one unscathed…
 
Strathban, Scotland. A village steeped in folklore and impenetrable mists and a horrifying mystery…
 
Martha Strangeways is struggling to find purpose in her life, after giving up her career as an investigative reporter when her young twins died in a house fire. Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, she carries their teeth in a matchbox wherever she goes…
 
But her life changes when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager – a tragedy that turns even more sinister when a poem about crows is discovered inked onto his back… 
 
When another teenager goes missing in the remote landscape, Martha is drawn into the investigation, teaming up with DI Derek Summers, as malevolent rumours begin to spread and paranoia grows. 
 
As darkness descends on the village of Strathban, it soon becomes clear that no one is safe, including Martha…
 
Both a nerve-shattering, enthralling and atmospheric thriller and a moving tale of grief and psychological damage, Crow Moon is a staggeringly accomplished debut and the start of an addictive, unforgettable series.

Published April 13th by Orenda Books
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Go As A River by Shelley Read

SYNOPSIS:
A MESMERIZING READ FOR FANS OF WHERE THE CRAWDADS SINGGREAT CIRCLE AND THE PAPER PALACE
____________________

I’ve come to understand how the exceptional lurks beneath the ordinary like the deep and mysterious world beneath the sea.


On a cool autumn morning, Torie Nash heads into her village pulling a rickety wagon filled with late-season peaches. As she nears an intersection, a mysterious drifter with grimy thumbs and smudged cheeks stops to ask her the way.

She could turn left or cross over. But she does not. ‘Go as a river,’ he tells her.

So begins a mezmerising story that unfolds over a tumultuous lifetime as Torie begins to absorb and follow his words.

Gathering all the pieces of her small and extraordinary life, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, she will arrive at a single rocky decision that will change her life for ever.

Published April 13th by Doubleday.
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The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto

SYNOPSIS:
Imagine you could be rid of your sadness, your anxiety, your heartache, your fear.

Imagine you could take those feelings from others and turn them into something beautiful.

Lynx is a Grief Nurse. Kept by the Asters, a wealthy, influential family, to ensure they’re never troubled by negative emotions, she knows no other life.

When news arrives that the Asters’ eldest son is dead, Lynx does what she can to alleviate their Sorrow. As guests flock to the Asters’ private island for the wake, bringing their own secrets, lies and grief, tensions rise.

Then the bodies start to pile up.

With romance, intrigue and spectacular gothic world-building, this spellbinding debut novel is immersive and unforgettable.

Published April 13th by Sandstone Press
Pre-order here*

Love & Other Scams by PJ Ellis

SYNOPSIS:
There’s no thrill like breaking the rules…

******

Cat has a dangerously dwindling bank balance. She also has:

· a month before her landlord kicks her out
· a surprise wedding invitation from rich mean girl, Louisa
· a secret talent for con artistry

A priceless jewel the size of a cocktail olive is glinting on Louisa’s finger.

And when Cat meets her ideal plus one, Jake – who’s gifted at hustling and posing as the perfect boyfriend – this wedding becomes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all,

How hard can a diamond heist be?

******

THE MOST RIOTOUSLY ESCAPIST NOVEL OF 2023

PERFECT FOR FANS OF HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILYCRAZY RICH ASIANS AND PORTRAIT OF A THIEF

Published April 13th by HarperNorth
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Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

SYNOPSIS:
This unputdownable debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one who wants to give it all away.

Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded Stockton family, has never had to worry about money. She followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, Darley’s new sister-in-law, has come from more humble origins, and her hesitancy about signing a pre-nup has everyone worried about her intentions. And Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have, and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.

Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognisable, loveable – if fallible – characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love – all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.

Published April 13th by Hutchinson Heinemann
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The Consultant by Im Seong-Sun

SYNOPSIS:
Sometimes work can be murder…

The Consultant is very good at his job. He creates simple, elegant, effective solutions for. restructuring. Nothing obvious or messy. Certainly nothing anyone would ever suspect as murder.

The ‘natural deaths’ he plans have always gone well: a medicine replaced here, a mechanism jammed there. His performance reviews are excellent. And it’s not as though he knows these people.

Until his next ‘customer’ turns out to be someone he not only knows but cares about, and for the first time, he begins to question the role he plays in the vast, anonymous Company. And as he slowly begins to understand the real scope of their work, he realises just how easy it would be for the Company to arrange one more perfect murder…

But how far will he go to escape The Company? And how far will they go to stop him?

The electrifying first novel from award-winning Korean thriller-writer Im Seong-Sun – now in English for the first time – combines the tension of the best crime fiction with searing social criticism to present a searing take-down of global corporate life.

Published April 13th by Raven
Pre-order here*

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

SYNOPSIS:
A BOOKSHOP. A TRUE CRIME CASE. A DEADLY FRIENDSHIP.

Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.

That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As Roach’s curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.

Published April 27th by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Maiden by Kate Foster

SYNOPSIS:
Inspired by a real-life case and winner of the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect Award, Kate Foster’s The Maiden is a remarkable story witha feminist revisionist twist, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.

“In the end, it did not matter what I said at my trial. No one believed me.”

Edinburgh, October 1679. Lady Christian Nimmo is arrested and charged with the murder of her lover, James Forrester. News of her imprisonment and subsequent trial is splashed across the broadsides, with headlines that leave little room for doubt: Adulteress. Whore. Murderess.

Only a year before, Christian was leading a life of privilege and respectability. So, what led her to risk everything for an affair? And does that make her guilty of murder? She wasn’t the only woman in Forrester’s life, and certainly not the only one who might have had cause to wish him dead . . .

Published April 27th by Mantle
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The Daughters of Madurai by Rajasree Variyar

SYNOPSIS:
‘A girl is a burdern A girl is a curse.’

Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can’t produce a son – or worse, bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born – murdered before they have a chance to live. The fate of her children has never been in her hands. But Janani can’t forget the daughters she was never allowed to love.

Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret, one she’s been keeping from her parents for far too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill and she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai – the first in over ten years. Growing up in Australia, Nila knows very little about where she or her family came from, or who they left behind. What she’s about to learn will change her forever…

Perfect for fans of Christy Lefteri and Delia Owens, The Daughters of Madurai is a moving and powerful debut from an unforgettable new voice.

Published April 27th by Orion
Pre-order here*

Orphia and Eurydicius by Elyse John

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning, enthralling story about unconventional love, the power of creativity and the courage of women who struggle to make their voices heard – for fans of Jennifer Saint, Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.

Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death?

Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she’s been forced to learn. Hidden away on a far-flung island, her blood sings with poetry and her words can move flowers to bloom and forests to grow … but her father, the sun god Apollo, has forbidden her this art.

A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. After wielding all her gifts to defeat one final champion, Orphia draws the scrutiny of the gods. Performing her poetry, she wins the protection of the goddesses of the arts: the powerful Muses, who welcome her to their sanctuary on Mount Parnassus. Orphia learns to hone her talents, crafting words of magic infused with history, love and tragedy.

When Eurydicius joins her, Orphia struggles with her desire for fame and her budding love. As her bond with the gentle shield-maker grows, she joins the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Facing dragons, sirens and ruthless warriors on the voyage, Orphia earns unparalleled fame, but she longs to return to Eurydicius.

Yet she has a darker journey to make – one which will see her fight for her love with all the power of her poetry.

Published May 3rd by Harper Collins Australia
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The Dive by Sara Ochs

SYNOPSIS:
Escape to paradise.
Scuba diving instructor Cass leads her students out for their first dive off the beautiful coast of Koh Sang, Thailand’s world-famous party island. It’s supposed to be a life-changing experience, but things quickly spiral out of control…

Leave your secrets behind.
By the time she gets back to the shore, one of her students is dead, another badly injured, and she knows that her idyllic life is about to be smashed to pieces on the rocks.

But don’t get lost for ever…
Someone has discovered Cass’s secret, and on an island as remote as this, accidents happen. Plenty of backpackers choose to stay here for ever – but some are never heard from again…

Published May 11th by Bantam Press
Pre-order here*

Fyneshade by Kate Griffin

SYNOPSIS:
I have come to Fyneshade to take up a position as governess. Many would find much to fear in its dark and crumbling corridors, its unseen master and silent servants. But not I. For they have far more to fear from me…

On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to be sent away from the only home she has ever known. Away from her aunt who despises her, and the man she has been forbidden to marry. She is to be governess at Fyneshade, her charge the young daughter of the owner, Sir William Pritchard.

All is not well at Fyneshade. Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan Pritchard is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to him, despite the warnings of the housekeeper, Mrs Petrie, that Vaughan is a danger to all around him. But Marta is no innocent to be preyed upon. Guided by the dark gift taught to her by her grandmother, she has made her own plans. It will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…

Perfect for readers of Laura Purcell, Jessie Burton and Stacey Halls, Fyneshade is a dark and twisted gothic novel unlike any you’ve read before…

Published May 18th by Viper Books
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The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

SYNOPSIS:
Destined to be THE dark book-club debut of 2023. A compulsive and timely exploration of the complicated nature of memory and trauma, power and consent, victimhood and shame.

**********

Rachel has loved Alistair since she was seventeen.

Even though she hasn’t seen him for sixteen years and she’s now married to someone else.

Even though she was a teenager when they met.

Even though he is almost twenty years older than her.

Now in her thirties, Rachel has never been able to forget their golden summer together on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island. But as dark and deeply suppressed memories rise to the surface, Rachel begins to understand that Alistair – and the enigmatic, wealthy man he worked for – controlled much more than she ever realized.

Rachel has never once considered herself a victim – until now.

Published May 25th by Bantam Press
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Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning, exciting and hotly-anticipated feminist retelling of one of the greatest love stories in Greek mythology!

The greatest love story ever told…

Born into an era of heroes, a prophecy claims that Psyche – Princess of Mycenae – will defeat a monster feared even by the gods themselves. Rebelling against society’s traditions, she spends her youth mastering blade and bow, preparing to fulfil her destiny.

But she is soon caught up in powers beyond her control, when the jealous Aphrodite sends the God of Desire, Eros, to deliver a fatal love-curse. The last thing Eros wants is to become involved in the chaos of the mortal world, but when he is pricked by the very arrow intended for Psyche, he is doomed to love a woman who will be torn from him the moment their eyes meet.

Thrown together by fate, headstrong Psyche and world-weary Eros will face challenges greater than they could have ever imagined. And as the Trojan War begins and the whole of the heavens try to keep them apart, will they find their way back to each other… before it’s too late?

Published May 25th by Orion.
Buy here*

Savage Beasts by Rani Selvarajah

SYNOPSIS:
A propulsive retelling of the Greek myth, Medea, like you’ve never seen her before.

A woman wronged will shake an empire

Calcutta, 1757.

Bengal is on the brink of war. The East India Company, led by the fearsome Sir Peter Chilcott, are advancing and nobody is safe. Meena, the Nawab’s neglected and abused daughter, finds herself falling under the spell of James Chilcott, nephew of Sir Peter, who claims he wants to betray the company . . . for a price.

Caught between friend and foe, Meena and James escape Calcutta, their hands stained in blood and pockets filled with gold. In Ceylon, they’re cleansed of their sins by Meena’s beloved aunt Kiran, before the young lovers set sail for the Dutch controlled Cape of Good Hope, with the promise of a new life.

Yet past resentments and present betrayals begin to pile up as they struggle to overcome their differences. And as Meena yet again finds herself in a foreign land without anyone to turn to, she is forced to find out what she is willing to sacrifice when love turns to hate.

The perfect read for fans of The Song of Achilles, Ariadne and Pandora

Published May 25th by One More Chapter
Pre-order here*

The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

SYNOPSIS:
Audrey Burges The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart, woven across multiple periods and perspectives, about a mystical dolls’ house.

Once upon a time there was a house . . .

From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four-year-old recluse Myra Malone blogs about a miniature mansion – a dolls’ house – which captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by a strange magic she can’t understand – there are rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.

Across the country, Alex Rakes, the thirty-four-year-old heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room. Alex is shocked to recognize his own bedroom in minute scale. The Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds – big and small – and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.

Published June 1st by Pan Macmillan
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The Interpreter by Brooke Robinson

SYNOPSIS:
INNOCENT OR GUILTY. IT’S ALL A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION…

A clever, compulsive thriller for readers of Louise Candlish, Harriet Tyce and Sarah Vaughn, Launching 2023

A childhood spent moving around the world left Revelle Lee with an unusual gift – the ability to fluently speak 11 languages. Now, Revelle spends her days translating for witnesses, victims, and the accused across London crime scenes and courtrooms. It’s a stressful job, though not as stressful as the process she is currently going through to adopt little boy, Elliot. She is determined to be the mother to him that she never had, and to make up for her own past mistakes.

But when it seems a murderer will go free, Revelle puts the adoption and her job at risk, deliberately mis-translating the alibi to ensure he is found guilty. No one can ever find out that she interfered or she will lose her son and her livelihood.

The problem is someone already knows what she’s done… and they want justice of their own.

IF YOU LIKED THE SILENT PATIENT, YOU’LL LOVE THE INTERPRETER

Published June 8th by Harvill Secker
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The Burnings by Naomi Kelsey

SYNOPSIS:
Nothing scares men like witchcraft . . .

1589. Scottish housemaid Geillis and Danish courtier Margareta lead opposite lives, but they both know one thing: when a man cries “witch”, no woman is safe.

Yet when the marriage of King James VI and Princess Anna of Denmark brings Geillis and Margareta together, everything they supposed about good, evil, men, and women, is cast in a strange and brilliant new light.

For the first time in history, could black magic – or rumours of it – be a very real tool for women’s political gain?

As the North Berwick witch trials whip Scotland – and her king – into a frenzy of paranoia, the clock is ticking. Can Margareta and Geillis keep each other safe? And once the burnings are over, in whose hands will power truly lie?

Inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight, The Burnings is 2023’s most bewitching debut novel, by a multi-awardwinning new star of historical fiction.

Published June 8th by Harper North
Pre-order here*

Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding

SYNOPSIS:
All of us knew him. One of us killed him…

Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man’s severed head sits in the centre of the floor. Each of the women – the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him – has a very good reason to have done it, yet each swears she did not. In order to protect each other, they must figure out who is responsible, all while staying one step ahead of the police.

Against the ticking clock of a murder investigation, each woman’s secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer.

A dark and nuanced portrait of love, loyalty, and manipulation, Speak of the Devil explores the roles in which women are cast in the lives of terrible men…and the fallout when they refuse to stay silent for one moment longer.

Published June 22nd by Baskerville
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The Other Side of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker

SYNOPSIS:
The irresistible historical comedy about two rival mediums in Victorian London

Mrs Wood is London’s most celebrated medium. She’s managed to survive decades in the competitive world of contacting the Other Side, has avoided the dreaded slips that revealed others as frauds and is still hosting packed-out séances for Victorian high society.

Yet, some of her patrons have recently cancelled their appointments. There are reports of American mediums nearly materialising full spirits and audiences are no longer satisfied with the knocking on tables and candle theatrics of years gone by. And then, at one of Mrs Wood’s routine gatherings, she hears something terrifying – faint, but unmistakable: a yawn.

Mrs Wood needs to spice up her brand. She decides to take on Emmie, a young protégé, to join her show. But is Emmie Finch the naïve ingenue she seems to be? Or does she pose more of a threat to Mrs Wood’s reign and, more horrifyingly, her reputation than Mrs Wood could ever have imagined?

Published June 22md by Fourth Estate
Pre-order here*

The Housekeepers by Alex Hay

SYNOPSIS:
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE MOST AUDACIOUS LAUNCH OF 2023…



Mayfair, 1905. The grandest house on Park Lane has just dismissed its housekeeper.

All manner of treasures lie behind the pillared doors – and scandalous secrets too. With the event of the season looming, nothing must go wrong.

But what no one knows is that Mrs King will be back at Park Lane on the night of the ball. She has an audacious plan in mind… and knows just who to recruit to help her clean up.

Housekeeper. Sewing maid. Kitchen girl. Thief.

Never underestimate the women downstairs.

IT’S YOUR HOUSE. BUT IT’S THEIR RULES.

Dazzling, stylish and wildly entertaining, The Housekeepers lets loose an outlandish alliance of women you’ll never forget.

Published July 6th by Headline
Buy here*

House Woman by Adorah Nworah

SYNOPSIS:
My name is Ikemefuna Nwosu, and I am your wife.

One day in Lagos, young dancer Ikemefuna is put on a plane to Houston to meet her new husband, Nna. Promises are made to her – about her education, about the man she will marry, about her freedom.

None of them are kept.

A few months later, self-professed feminist Nna finds a beautiful woman cooking in his parents’ kitchen. They tell him Ikemefuna is his wife, there to give them the grandson they’ve been waiting for. She appears obedient, malleable.

But she is no ordinary wife.

In the Texas heat, patience runs on short supply and the atmosphere in the house becomes increasingly strained, increasingly violent. Desperation makes people do strange things…

Unpredictable and unsettling, HOUSE WOMAN is a delicious thriller you will never be able to forget.

Published July 6th by The Borough Press
Buy here*

The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer

SYNOPSIS:
THERE IS POWER IN SILENCE

East Anglia, 1645. Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer and servant, has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved Cleftwater. Everyone in the village knows Martha, but no one has ever heard her speak.

One bright morning, Martha becomes a silent witness to a witch hunt, led by sinister new arrival Silas Makepeace. As a trusted member of the community, she is enlisted to search the bodies of the accused women for evidence. But whilst she wants to help her friends, she also harbours a dark secret that could cost her own freedom.

In desperation, Martha revives a wax witching doll that she inherited from her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, the tide is turning, and time is running out . . .

A spellbinding and intoxicating novel inspired by true events, The Witching Tide is a magnificent debut from a writer to watch.

Published July 6th by Phoenix
Buy here*

My Murder by Katie Williams

SYNOPSIS:
SOMETIMES THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN SOLVE YOUR MURDER IS YOU.

‘Completely absorbing. A smart, speculative twist on domestic suspense.’ – Ashley Audrain, bestselling author of The Push

Lou has been murdered.


She was the fifth victim of the serial killer Edward Early. A young wife and new mother, Lou’s death outraged a public breathlessly following the story of the serial murders.

Lou has been cloned.

Along with Early’s other four victims, Lou has been brought back to life by the government-funded replication commission. The women gather at a weekly support group, helping each other to navigate a society obsessed with their very existence.

Lou has been lied to.

But when Lou agrees to help fellow murder victim Fern secure a visit with Edward Early, a shocking revelation causes Lou to investigate the events around her death and question everything she thought she knew about her murder.

Can she finally uncover the truth?

Published July 6th by Wildfire
Pre-order here*

The List by Yomi Adegoke

SYNOPSIS:
From award-winning journalist and bestselling co-author of Slay in Your Lane, Yomi Adegoke, comes The List, a sensational, page-turning debut novel about secrets, lies and our lives online.

Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is marrying the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, successful – she and her fiancé Michael are the ‘couple goals’ of their social networks and seem to have it all.

That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message:

‘Oh my god, have you seen The List?’

Compulsively page-turning, wildly entertaining and piercing with fearless insight, The List is perfect for fans of Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid and Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy YouThe List by Yomi Adegoke is set to be the most hotly debated debut novel of 2023.

Published July 6th by Fourth Estate
Pre-order here*

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs

SYNOPSIS:
Some books should never be opened.

A spellbinding, edge-of your seat thriller, Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organisation that will do anything to get them back . . . even murder.
____________

Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic.

Her estranged older sister Esther moves between countries and jobs, constantly changing, never staying anywhere longer than a year, desperate to avoid the deadly magic that killed her mother. Currently working on a research base in Antarctica, she has found love and perhaps a sort of happiness.

But when she finds spots of blood on the mirrors in the research base, she knows someone is coming for her, and that Joanna and her collection are in danger.

If they are to survive, she and Joanna must unravel the secrets their parents kept hidden from them – secrets that span centuries and continents, and could cost them their lives …

Published July 6th by Century
Pre-order here*

You’d Look Better as a Ghost by Joanna Wallace

SYNOPSIS:
I have a gift. I see people as ghosts before they die.
Of course, it helps that I’m the one killing them.

The night after her father’s funeral, Claire meets Lucas in a bar. Lucas doesn’t know it, but it’s not a chance meeting. One thoughtless mistyped email has put him in the crosshairs of an extremely put-out serial killer. But before they make eye contact, before Claire lets him buy her a drink, even before she takes him home and carves him up into little pieces, something about that night is very wrong. Because someone is watching Claire. Someone who is about to discover her murderous little hobby.

The thing is, it’s not sensible to tangle with a part-time serial killer, even one who is distracted by attending a weekly bereavement support group and trying to get her art career off the ground. Let the games begin…

Dexter meets Killing Eve in this superb thriller, perfect for fans of How To Kill Your Family and My Sister the Serial Killer.

Published September 7th by Viper
Pre-order here*

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What do you think of my choices? Are any of these on your TBR for 2023? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2023 Support Debuts Tandem Readalong

REVIEW: No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Published: Mach 2nd, 2023
Publisher: Aria
Genre: Satire, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Romance Novel
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my review for No Life For A Lady. Thank you to the Tandem Collective for my place on the VIP readalong and Head of Zeus for the gifted proof.

********

SYNOPSIS:

The most joyful book of 2023!

Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…

At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.

Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.

Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.

Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?

A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs BirdThe Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.

********

MY REVIEW:

“Detective work is no life for a lady.”

A joyous romp with lashings of humour, No Life For A Lady is an original and uplifting debut. It follows Violet, a delightful new heroine who I absolutely adored. She isn’t your typical Victorian woman, going against social conventions by not wanting to get married and pursuing a career instead. But more than anything else, what Violet wants is to find her mother, Lily, who vanished 10 years ago. But there is no such thing as a lady detective, so Violet hires a professional to help, sparking a chain of events that risk not only Violet’s reputation, but unearths shocking secrets that some people will do anything to keep hidden. 

I’m a big fan of historical fiction, mysteries and uplift, so this was the perfect mix of genres for me. It was an absolute joy to read and I couldn’t get enough of Violet and her antics. The mystery unravels slowly, with some twists and surprises along the way, but what I particularly liked was that this is also the story of Violet’s journey of self-discovery, author Hannah Dolby weaving the two storylines together so they are inextricably linked. I loved how Dolby injected so much heart, humour and joy into the book, making a story that could have been very dark into one that radiates fun and hopefulness. 

Violet is a great protagonist. Inquisitive, tenacious and full of charisma, she was easy to like and root for, though I would sometimes cringe at her naivete that is a product of both her sheltered upbringing and the times they lived in. Violet lives in a time where autonomy for women is still an alien concept and there strict moral and societal codes she is expected to adhere to. But Violet rails against this, wanting to make her own way in life and pursue a career, rather than making marriage her priority and only goal in life. At 28 she is deemed pretty much over the hill and the idea she might not actually want a husband is unthinkable to most. She is a new favourite heroine of mine and I can’t imagine anyone not loving her. 

Funny, quirky and addictive, this marvellous debut is one you all need on your TBR. I’m hoping Ms. Dolby will turn this into a series so I can return to Violet and her antics again and again. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Hannah’s first job was in the circus and she has aimed to keep life as interesting since. She trained as a journalist in Hastings and has worked in PR for many years, promoting museums, galleries, palaces, gardens and even Dolly the sheep.

She completed the Curtis Brown selective three-month novel writing course, and she won runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Awards for this novel with the price of a place on an MA in Comedy Writing at the University of Falmouth. She lives in London and her debut novel, No Life for a Lady, will be published in Spring 2023.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones | Amazon | Bookshop.org

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

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Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – July 2022

Welcome to another month packed with exciting new releases. I’ve been counting down to July all year as there are a few of my most anticipated books of the year being released: The House of Fortune, All About Evie, The Museum of Ordinary People, The Family Remains and That Bonesetter Woman.

So here’s the books I’m most anticipating in July:

Joan by Katherine J. Chen

Published: July 5th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning feminist reimagining of the life of Joan of Arc – perfect for fans of CecilyAriadne and Matrix.
***
Girl. Warrior. Heretic. Saint?

France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. Yet out of the chaos, an unlikely heroine emerges.

Reckless, steel-willed and brilliant, Joan has survived a childhood steeped in both joy and violence to claim an extraordinary – and fragile – position at the head of the French army. The battlefield and the royal court are full of dangers and Joan finds herself under suspicion from all sides – as well as under threat from her own ambition.

With unforgettably vivid characters and propulsive storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, and a feminist celebration of one remarkable – and remarkably real – woman who left an indelible mark on history.

Buy here*

The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
The sequel to Jessie Burton’s million-copy bestseller The Miniaturist.

In the golden city of Amsterdam, in 1705, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen, and she is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms. At the city’s theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well – her father Otto and Aunt Nella argue endlessly, and the Brandt family are selling their furniture in order to eat. On Thea’s birthday, also the day that her mother Marin died, the secrets from the past begin to overwhelm the present.

Nella is desperate to save the family and maintain appearances, to find Thea a husband who will guarantee her future, and when they receive an invitation to Amsterdam’s most exclusive ball, she is overjoyed – perhaps this will set their fortunes straight.

And indeed, the ball does set things spinning: new figures enter their life, promising new futures. But their fates are still unclear, and when Nella feels a strange prickling sensation on the back of her neck, she remembers the miniaturist who entered her life and toyed with her fortunes eighteen years ago. Perhaps, now, she has returned for her . . .

The House of Fortune is a glorious, sweeping story of fate and ambition, secrets and dreams, and one young woman’s determination to rule her own destiny.

Buy here*

The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Romance Novel

SYNOPSIS:
The superb new novel from the bestselling author of Half A World Away and All the Lonely People.

Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.

But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.

As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.

Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind.

Buy here*

Grace by Victoria Scott

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Aria
Genre: Literary Fiction, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The gripping and heartbreaking second novel by the author of BA Book of the Month and LoveReading Debut of the Month Patience.

She gave you her baby. Now she wants her back.

Nineteen-year-old Michelle has had a tough life, to say the least. Then she gets pregnant. She is convinced she would be a terrible mother but having grown up in care, she cannot bring herself to subject her child to the same fate.

Amelia and her husband have dreamed of having a family for years, but have lost all hope after the worst kind of tragedy. Then they are offered the chance to adopt baby Grace, and it feels like they finally have everything they’ve ever wanted.

But then Michelle decides she wants her daughter back, and it’s up to the courts to decide. What is best for Grace – a mother’s love, or a stable home? Whatever the ruling, one thing is certain: neither woman’s life will ever be the same again…

Buy here*

Listen To Me by Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli & Isles 13)

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
Rizzoli & Isles return, in the nail-biting new thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.

The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret — a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.

Meanwhile, Jane’s watchful mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a grandmother, not a police detective, but she’s savvy enough to know there’s something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.

Immersed in the hunt for Sofia’s killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela’s fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own…

Buy here*

The Ruins by Phoebe Wynne

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Quercus Books
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Literary Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
Amidst the glamour of the French Riviera lies the crumbling façade of Chateau de Sètes, a small slice of France still held by the British aristocracy. But this long since abandoned chateau is now up for sale, and two people are desperate to get their hands on it despite its terrible history.

Summer, 1985: Ruby has stayed at the chateau with her family every summer of her twelve years. It was her favourite place to be, away from the strictures of her formal childhood, but this year uninvited guests have descended, and everything is about to change…

As the intense August heat cloaks the chateau, the adults within start to lose sight of themselves. Old disputes are thrown back and forth, tempers rise, morals loosen, and darkness begins to creep around them all. Ruby and her two young friends soon discover it is best not to be seen or heard as the summer spirals down to one fateful night and an incident that can never be undone…

Summer, 2010: One of the three young girls, now grown and newly widowed, returns to the chateau, and in her fight to free herself from its grip, she uncovers what truly happened that long, dark summer.

With riveting psychological complexity, The Ruins captures the glittering allure of the Mediterranean, and the dark shadows that wait beneath the surface.

Buy here*

Truly, Darkly, Deeply by Victoria Selman

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Quercus Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A mind-blowing, unputdownable serial killer thriller of a very different kind – perfect for all fans of Mindhunter and Girl A

Twelve-year-old Sophie and her mother, Amelia-Rose, move to London from Massachusetts where they meet the charismatic Matty Melgren, who quickly becomes an intrinsic part of their lives. But as the relationship between the two adults fractures, a serial killer begins targeting young women with a striking resemblance to Amelia-Rose.

When Matty is eventually sent down for multiple murder, questions remain as to his guilt — questions which ultimately destroy both women. Nearly twenty years later, Sophie receives a letter from Battlemouth Prison informing her Matty is dying and wants to meet. It looks like Sophie might finally get the answers she craves. But will the truth set her free — or bury her deeper?

Buy here*

Deep Water by Emma Bamford

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Suspense, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Lies can be buried… Secrets always come to the surface

Amarante is paradise…
An uninhabited, unspoilt island somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Only those who know it exists can find it.
 
But paradise comes with a price…
Virginie and Jake sail to Amarante for their honeymoon, but they are not alone.
They have to adjust to life on the island with five strangers.
 
And not everyone will live to tell the tale…
Dark secrets surface and their dream abruptly turns into a nightmare.
Removed from society, they find out what they’re truly capable of.

Buy here*

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

Published: July 7th
Publisher: The Borough Press
Genre: Literary Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Your fate arrives in a box on your doorstep. Do you open it?

It seems like just another morning.

You make a cup of tea. Check the news. Open the front door.

On your doorstep is a box.

Inside the box is the exact number of years you have left to live.

The same box appears on every doorstep across the world.

Do you open yours?

THE MEASURE

IT’S THE DECISION OF A LIFETIME.

Buy here*

The Halfways by Nilopar Uddin

Published: July 7th
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A breathtaking debut novel from an exciting new voice in fiction – coming July 2022!

Nasrin and Sabrina are two sisters, who on the face of things live successful and enviable lives in London and New York.  When their father, Shamsur suddenly dies, they rush to be with their mother at the family home and restaurant in Wales, but reluctantly step back into the stifling world of their childhood.

When Shamsur’s will is read, a devastating secret is revealed that challenges all that people thought and loved about him. It also profoundly changes the lives and identities of the sisters, and creates an irreparable family rift…

Moving between London, Wales, New York and Bangladesh, this is an epic family drama that spans over four decades. A story of mothers and daughters, of fathers and daughters, of sisterhood, it is a tale that explores belonging, family and what makes forgiveness and redemption possible.

Buy here*

I’m Sorry You Feel That Way by Rebecca Wait

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Riverrun
Genre: Literary Fiction, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
For Alice and Hanna, saint and sinner, growing up is a trial. There is their mother, who takes a divide-and-conquer approach to child-rearing, and their father, who takes an absent one. There is also their older brother Michael, whose disapproval is a force to be reckoned with. There is the catastrophe that is never spoken of, but which has shaped everything.

As adults, Alice and Hanna must deal with disappointments in work and in love as well as increasingly complicated family tensions, and lives that look dismayingly dissimilar to what they’d intended. They must look for a way to repair their own fractured relationship, and they must finally choose their own approach to their dominant mother: submit or burn the house down. And they must decide at last whether life is really anything more than (as Hanna would have it) a tragedy with a few hilarious moments.

From the author of the Waterstones Book of the Month Our Fathers comes a compelling domestic comedy about complex family dynamics, mental health and the intricacies of sibling relationships.

Buy here*

The Key To My Heart by Lia Louis

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Can you ever really find the one after ‘the one’?

Some people spend their whole lives trying to find the one. But Natalie had found him – and married him. And then Russ died.

Two years ago, her whole world was shattered. Still now, she feels like she’s trying to piece her broken heart back together, one day at a time.

But then she finds a sheet of music – one that only Russ would know – in the piano stool in St. Pancras station where she’s secretly been playing for the last few months.

For the first time, Natalie realizes that maybe life does still hold a little magic. And with every note she plays, she feels as if she’s unlocking another fragment of her heart…

But will she ever truly find love again after she’d already found forever?

Buy here*

The Bewitching by Jill Dawson

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Sceptre
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A dazzling, shocking novel that speaks to our times, drawing on the 16th-century case of the witches of Warboys.

Alice Samuel might be old and sharp-tongued, but she’s no fool. Visiting her new neighbours in her Fenland village, she suspects Squire Throckmorton’s household is not as God-fearing as it seems and finds the children troubled. Yet when one of the daughters accuses her of witchcraft, Alice has no inkling of how quickly matters will escalate and fails to grasp the danger she is in.

As evidence mounts against Alice, soon the entire village is swept up in the frenzied persecution of one of their own community.

Exploring a neglected episode of English history to powerful effect, The Bewitching vividly conveys the brutal tribalism that can erupt in a closed society and how victims can be made to believe in their own wickedness.

Buy here*

The Hedgewitch: A Threadneedle Novella by Cari Thomas

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Horror Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story,

SYNOPSIS:
An enchanting new novella set in the magical world of Sunday Times bestseller Threadneedle.

Set in the Welsh countryside, Rowan is visiting her aunt – Winne the hedge witch – to get back to nature and hone her skills, as well as taking a break from her annoying sisters and enjoying some peace and quiet. However, Rowan soon comes to realise that hedges are a serious business and this isn’t quite the opportunity to rest and escape she thought it might be.

Not only that, but mysterious events around the town are causing panic in the secret magical community and cowans – non magical folk – are starting to take notice.

Can Rowan hone her hedge craft, try to make some friends and solve the riddle of the mysterious goings on, or is magic about to be revealed to the world … or at least Wales?

Buy here*

To Fill a Yellow House by Sussie Anie

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Phoenix
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
When Kwasi and his family move abruptly from one side of London to the other, he sets out to explore his new home. Escaping the watchful eyes of Ma and Da and his irrepressible Aunties, he discovers the local high street and a hidden river. Back at the yellow house, he spends hours drawing, distracting himself from thoughts of the new school that awaits.

As the years pass, the high street remains a source of fascination for Kwasi. But behind the ever-changing shopfronts, it’s a different story. Business is slow and times are getting tougher. Widower Rupert has been trying to hold on to the dreams he and his wife poured into their eclectic charity shop, The Chest of Small Wonders, but now he is close to giving up.

One October night, Kwasi finds himself in trouble and takes refuge in the Chest, and an unexpected friendship begins. As he and Rupert unite to save the shop, they each find a sense of belonging. But old patterns are hard to change, and as tensions around them escalate, difficult choices lie ahead.

Lyrical, witty, moving and timely, To Fill a Yellow House is a story of community, friendship and the power of creativity and connection. It is as vibrant and surprising as the city it is set in and marks the arrival of a bright and bold new talent.

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The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Recently widowed actress Casey Fletcher has escaped to her family’s lake house for peace and quiet. She’s been happily losing herself in her thoughts and several bottles of bourbon, until the glamorous couple across the lake catch her attention. They look so perfect – just like Casey and her husband used to be.
But is anyone what they seem?

Casey has a detective sat at her kitchen table.

She has a man bound and gagged upstairs.

Casey will uncover dark truths so life-changing that nothing will ever be the same again.

International bestselling sensation Riley Sager is back with his most ambitious thriller yet. With his trademark blend of sharp characters, psychological suspense and gasp-worthy twists, The House Across the Lake will shock readers from the first page to the last.

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Dark Objects by Simon Toyne

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural

SYNOPSIS:
‘Count to three,’ her mother told her, the last words she would ever speak.

An Impossible Crime Scene
A wealthy woman is found brutally murdered in the locked fortress of her London mansion. Surrounding her are four mysterious objects, including a book on forensics by Dr Laughton Rees.
 
An Inescapable Past
As a teenager, Laughton’s life was destroyed after witnessing her mother’s brutal murder. Now a mother herself and forensic analyst, she is an expert on how to read crime scenes – but never works live cases.
 
An Uncatchable Killer
Pressured by the lead detective to help with the investigation, Laughton begins to realise that the objects left by the body are not just about the victim, they’re also about her. Her childhood was destroyed by one killer. Now she must catch another before her daughter’s is destroyed too.

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More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez

Published: July 7th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
LORE RIVERA LOVED TWO MEN. UNTIL ONE OF THEM SHOT THE OTHER . . . A stunning, gripping debut of love, marriage and murder
_______

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder.

That’s the story the world knows.

It’s not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all: Lore.

And to her surprise, Lore is willing to talk – about how a dance became an affair; how a marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can’t help but confess her own darkest secrets.

But when it becomes clear that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone realised, can either woman face up to the thing they’ve been hiding from . . . the truth?

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Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Published: July 14th
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Genre: Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
This is not a romance, but it is about love

Two kids meet in a hospital gaming room in 1987. One is visiting her sister, the other is recovering from a car crash. The days and months are long there. Their love of video games becomes a shared world — of joy, escape and fierce competition. But all too soon that time is over, fades from view.

When the pair spot each other eight years later in a crowded train station, they are catapulted back to that moment. The spark is immediate, and together they get to work on what they love – making games to delight, challenge and immerse players, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives. Their collaborations make them superstars.

This is the story of the perfect worlds Sadie and Sam build, the imperfect world they live in, and of everything that comes after success: Money. Fame. Duplicity. Tragedy.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow takes us on a dazzling imaginative quest as it examines the nature of identity, creativity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play and, above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love.

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Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

Published: July 19th
Publisher: St Martins Press
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Things We Do in the Dark is a brilliant new thriller from Jennifer Hillier, the award-winning author of the breakout novels Little Secrets and Jar of Hearts. Paris Peralta is suspected of killing her celebrity husband, and her long-hidden past now threatens to destroy her future.

When Paris Peralta is arrested in her own bathroom–covered in blood, holding a straight razor, her celebrity husband dead in the bathtub behind her–she knows she’ll be charged with murder. But as bad as this looks, it’s not what worries her the most. With the unwanted media attention now surrounding her, it’s only a matter of time before someone from her long hidden past recognizes her and destroys the new life she’s worked so hard to build, along with any chance of a future.

Twenty-five years earlier, Ruby Reyes, known as the Ice Queen, was convicted of a similar murder in a trial that riveted Canada in the early nineties. Reyes knows who Paris really is, and when she’s unexpectedly released from prison, she threatens to expose all of Paris’s secrets. Left with no other choice, Paris must finally confront the dark past she escaped, once and for all.

Because the only thing worse than a murder charge are two murder charges.

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All About Evie by Matson Taylor

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Saga, Domestic Fiction, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
EVIE EPWORTH IS TEN YEARS OLDER. BUT IS SHE ANY WISER?!

Ten years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

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That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
It’s usual, they say, for a young person coming to London for the first time to arrive with a head full of dreams. Well, Endurance Proudfoot did not. When she stepped off the coach from Sussex, on a warm and sticky afternoon in the summer of 1757, it never occurred to her that the city would be the place where she’d make her fortune; she was just very annoyed to be arriving there at all.
 
Meet Endurance Proudfoot, the bonesetter’s daughter: clumsy as a carthorse, with a tactless tongue and a face she’s sure only a mother could love. Durie only wants one thing in life – to follow her father and grandfather into the family business of bonesetting. It’s a physically demanding job, requiring strength, nerves of steel and discretion – and not the job for a woman.
 
But Durie isn’t like other women. She’s strong and stubborn and determined to get her own way. And she finds that she has a talent at bonesetting – her big hands and lack of grace have finally found their natural calling. 
 
So, when she is banished to London with her sister, who is pretty, delicate and exactly the opposite to Durie in every way, Durie will not let it stop her realising her dreams. And while her sister will become one of the first ever Georgian celebrities, Durie will become England’s first and most celebrated female bonesetter. But what goes up must come down, and Durie’s elevated status may well become her undoing…

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The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Century
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
**Loved THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS? Find out what happened next …**

LONDON. Early morning, June 2019: on the foreshore of the river Thames, a bag of bones is discovered. Human bones.

DCI Samuel Owusu is called to the scene and quickly sends the bag for forensic examination. The bones are those of a young woman, killed by a blow to the head many years ago.

Also inside the bag is a trail of clues, in particular the seeds of a rare tree which lead DCI Owusu back to a mansion in Chelsea where, nearly thirty years previously, three people lay dead in a kitchen, and a baby waited upstairs for someone to pick her up.

The clues point forward too to a brother and sister in Chicago searching for the only person who can make sense of their pasts.

Four deaths. An unsolved mystery. A family whose secrets can’t stay buried for ever …

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The Daves Next Door by Will Carver

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Orenda
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction, Political Fiction, Religious Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The lives of five strangers collide on a London train carriage, as they become involved in an incident that will change them all forever. A shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original new thriller from Will Carver…
 
A disillusioned nurse suddenly learns how to care.
 
An injured young sportsman wakes up find that he can see only in black and white.
 
A desperate old widower takes too many pills and believes that two angels have arrived to usher him through purgatory.
 
Two agoraphobic men called Dave share the symptoms of a brain tumour, and frequently waken their neighbour with their ongoing rows.
 
Separate lives, running in parallel, destined to collide and then explode.
 
Like the suicide bomber, riding the Circle Line, day after day, waiting for the right time to detonate, waiting for answers to his questions: Am I God? Am I dead? Will I blow up this train?
 
Shocking, intensely emotive and wildly original, Will Carver’s The Daves Next Door is an explosive existential thriller and a piercing examination of what it means to be human … or not.

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The Retreat (Detective Elin Warner Series 2) by Sarah Pearse

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime Fiction, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Gothic Fiction, Police Procedural, Crime Series, Holiday Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
This is a warning for all our guests at the wellness retreat.

A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of the cliff beneath the yoga pavilion.

We believe her death was a tragic accident, though DS Elin Warner has arrived on the island to investigate.

A storm has been forecast, but do not panic. Stick together and please ignore any rumours you might have heard about the island and its history.

As soon as the weather clears, we will arrange boats to take you back to the mainland.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy your stay.

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Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave

Published: July 21st
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Mystery, Dark Comedy, Humorous Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
The debut novel from the winner of the Primadonna Prize – a part-coming of age and part-mystery novel perfect for bookclubs and fans of Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble With Goats and Sheep and Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing

Wendy is nineteen and living alone.
All she wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and to just be ok. After her mum passed away, there’s no one to remind Wendy to eat, what to do each day and most importantly to love herself. Every week Wendy proudly shows her social worker Saanvi the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she does forget to offer her a cup of tea.

But Wendy is ready to put herself out there and really live.
She joins a writer’s group to share stories she writes including the one about a bullied schoolboy who goes to Mars. The other writers are total amateurs, unlike Diane Weston – a famous local author who likes and sometimes even comments on Wendy’s tweets.

Everything changes on a rainy day when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if her life would be simpler if she hadn’t met Ginger. And that’s before she realises just how much of a mess Ginger is about to get them in…

My Name is Leon meets Thelma and Louise in this part-coming of age and part-mystery from the winner of the Primadonna Prize 2020.

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Cat Brushing by Jane Campbell

Published: July 21st
Publisher: Riverrun
Genre: Literary Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Short Stories

SYNOPSIS:
I was told of an older woman who was asked by her granddaughter, ‘Granny, when was the happiest time of your life?’
‘I don’t know,’ she replied, ‘I may not have had it yet.’

The stories found in this collection explore the sensual worlds of thirteen older women, reframing their intellectual and emotional lives in intimate vignettes that will shock and comfort in equal measure.
Susan finds she is attracted to her beautiful young carer, Miffy, and embarks on an intense emotional relationship with her. Nell discovers a cut on her leg, which leads her on to reflections on her past and a young girl in distress she encountered on her honeymoon. Linda perversely seeks out her former lover, Malik, on the banks of the Victoria Falls, despite having left him years ago to return to her settled marriage to Bill. Daisy, who, by a curious stroke of fate, finds herself at the funeral of her former husband, Tim, relives their early life together, his betrayal of her and the anguish of that time. The narrator of ‘Lockdown Fantasm’ enjoys the cool fingers of her government-authorised Fantasm on week one hundred and ninety-three of the long lockdown. In ‘Schopenhauer and I’, Martha, mourning her little dog whom she believes has been killed by the care home staff, works out how to manage a robot designed to monitor her behaviour, and to get her revenge. The narrator of ‘Cat Brushing’ communes with her elegant, soft Siamese cat, reflecting on the sexual pleasures of her past.

In spiky, elegant prose, Jane Campbell ignites the voices of women who are fighting to live on their own terms, energised by their desires and passions, freedoms, integrity and sense of self. Cat Brushing confronts the tragic misconceptions of aging and presents a vivid and transgressive peek into older women’s lives.

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The Night Whispers (A Slayton Thriller Book 2) by Caroline Mitchell

Published: July 28th
Publisher: Embla Books
Genre: Thriller, Crime Fiction, Crime Series, Police Procedural

SYNOPSIS:
Don’t miss this gripping Slayton thriller from #1 bestselling crime author Caroline Mitchell.

It began with the whispers. In the woods, in the park, and always at night. Then they came into town, down dark alleys, and in the shadows. Before long, the black-eyed children were moving closer, until finally there was a knock on the door.

When the couple were found dead with their faces frozen in horror, the children were nowhere to be seen. Until it happened again.

Join Detective Sarah Noble as she investigates another dark case in the town of Slayton.

Perfect for fans of Alex North, Cara Hunter and Stephen King.

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Delphi by Clare Pollard

Published: July 28th
Publisher: Fig Tree
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Fiction,

SYNOPSIS:
It is 2020 and in a time more turbulent than any of us could have ever imagined, a woman is attempting to write a book about prophecy in the ancient world.

Navigating the tightening grip of lockdown, a marriage in crisis, and a ten-year-old son who seems increasingly unreachable, she becomes fixated on our many forms of divination and prediction: on oracles, tarot cards and tea leaves and the questions we have always asked as we scroll and click and rage against our fates.

But in doing so she fails to notice the future creeping into the heart of her own home. For despite our best intentions – our sacrifices and our bargains with the gods – time, certainty and, sometimes, those we love, can still slip away …

Heartbreakingly relatable and achingly funny Delphi is both a snapshot and a time capsule, deftly capturing our pasts, our presents, and how we keep on going in a world that is ever more uncertain and absurd.

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Are any of these in your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊Emma xxxx

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