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book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Year In Review

21 Favourites of 21

It’s that time of year where we look back on the books we’ve loved most this year.

In 2021 I’ve read a total of 170 books (well, I will have by the end of tomorrow lol) so you can imagine that narrowing it down to just 21 was no easy task. I went back and forth over this list for weeks, struggling to get it down from 30 and then 25.

Thirteen of these book are by new-to-me authors, eleven are debuts and two are part of a series. Three of the author, Stacey Halls, Ellen Alpsten and Jessica Ryn, have had all of their books in my list of favourites in the year each was released and were all in my list of 20 favourites of 2020.

I plan to do a stack of the books that almost made it in the coming days so keep an eye on my social media for that. But for now, here are the 21 books I loved most in 2021:

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters is a truly accomplished debut. Haunting, mesmerising and atmospheric, it tells the story of the disappearance of three men and their warring widows. Drenched in mystery and with a hint of the paranormal, it is a vividly told and addictive read that I devoured quickly. I loved that it was based on a true story, adding even more intrigue to this already fascinating tale.

Published March 4th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

This crazy psychological thriller still vividly lives rent free in my mind almost a year after reading. Like the author herself, this is a vivacious, darkly funny and compelling debut that I loved. It tells the story of every parents’ worst nightmare come true, of how longing can become twisted into evil, and the ripple effects of trauma and pain. Mummy remains one of the most terrifying creations I’ve read, mostly because I understand her and why she became who she is. If you love a well-written thriller then read this book.

Published February 25th 2021 by Viper Books. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

I’m a sucker for a multi-generational friendship so I was immediately on board for a story about a seventeen-year-old girl and eight-three-year-old woman. Lenni and Margot are residents of the hospital’s terminal ward and build a friendship in the art room, telling their stories through paintings that illustrate the many highs and lows of their shared one hundred years. Hypnotic, mesmerising and heart-rending, this is a book that reaches into your soul and changes you forever. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between.

Published February 18th 2021 by Doubleday. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Asylum by Karen Coles

Claustrophobic, haunting and addictive, The Asylum is a spectacular debut that doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Exquisitely written, it transports you to the bleak, shadowy rooms of the asylum and the anguished recesses of Maud’s mind. Fans of historical and Gothic fiction will not want to miss this book.

Published April 1st 2021 by Welbeck. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

Once again Elizabeth Macneal has created a masterpiece. Captivating, illuminating and consuming, I was under the spell of this story from start to finish. This is a story about the outcasts, about finding your place in the world and what it is to be human. Circus of Wonders is dazzling piece of historical fiction that is not to be missed.

Published May 13th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Oh, my heart. When I think of this book that is my first thought. A story about love, sacrifice, fear and survival set against the backdrop of a remote Scottish island during World War II, The Metal Heart is a breathtakingly beautiful story that I will never forget.

Published April 29th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Atmospheric, lush and evocative, Ariadne is a rich tapestry that swept me away. In this glorious debut, Jennifer Saint brings to life many of the familiar Greek myths through a new lens, tells them from the perspective of the women who were previously relegated to the sidelines. And it is utterly spectacular, sparking my obsession with Greek mythology. I loved it so much that I not only bought the beautiful hardback, but also the Waterstones special edition. This is a book that I recommend to everyone, whether you’ve previously been interested in Greek myths or not.

Published April 29th by Wildfire. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper

If Ariadne ignited my obsession with Greek mythology, The Wolf Den solidified it. The first in an exciting new trilogy, it tells the story of Amara, a former Doctor’s daughter sold into slavery and now one of the she-wolves at Pompeii’s infamous brothel. Lush, evocative and atmospheric I was transported to the doomed city’s dusty streets and immersed in Amara’s fight for survival and freedom. I am counting down to book two in May so I can find out what happens next.

Published May 13th by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

The Stranding is a story about the end of the world. About humanity, love, hope and survival. Imaginative, original and utterly magnificent, it surpassed all my expectations. I still find it hard to believe this is a debut. Exquisitely written and beautifully observed, this was a masterclass in storytelling. I will certainly be buying anything Ms. Sawyer writes in the future.

Published June 24th 2021 by Coronet. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

This is the book that I always recommend when anyone asks for a 2021 book they might not have read. A truly astonishing novel from an extraordinary talent, I think this book deserves to be on everyone’s reading list. It is a story about the nuances and complexities of being human that is full of heart, warmth and wisdom. A story that is unflinchingly honest and achingly real. I have a son with autism and am so thankful to Louise for writing a book that doesn’t show us a cliché, but a real person who is as individual as anyone else. Please read this book.

Published June 24th by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten

Another masterpiece in the Tsarina series by Ellen Alpsten. Her debut novel, Tsarina, was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I am not surprised that the follow up was every bit as good. This time she tells the story of Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, following her highs and lows after Russia is torn apart and her fortunes drastically change. The Tsarina’s Daughter is dazzling piece of historical fiction that I couldn’t put down and left me eagerly awaiting book three.

Published July 8th 2021 by Bloomsbury. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bulbitz

A murder mystery with a twist, this startling debut tells the story from the perspective of the victim rather than those investigating the case. And this creative author goes even further, also highlighting what it is like to be the person who discovers the body, a person we rarely hear more than a passing sentence or two about in most thrillers. Timely, brave and thought-provoking, it stands out from the crowd of other thrillers. A must read for fans of the genre.

Published July 15th 2021 by Sphere. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls once again shows why she is a Queen of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors with this slow-burning novel. Atmospheric, eerie and full of menace, it follows Ruby, a Norlander Nurse, on her latest job caring for the four England children is West Yorkshire. But all is not quite what it seems with Mr. and Mrs. England, and secrets are slowly revealed in this haunting and twisty novel.

Published June10th by Manilla Press. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Beresford by Will Carver

Will Carver is an author with a quirky, twisted and original style that is all his own. And The Beresford is another outstanding example of his creative genius. It opens with a murder then follows the residents of The Beresford, a halfway house for the disillusioned and vulnerable that has a life of its own, living and breathing as much as the physical characters of the story. Seductive and unsettling, The Beresford is my favourite Will Carver book to date.

Published July 22nd 2021 by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Last Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Library is my favourite uplit of 2021. A bibliophile’s dream, this is a hug in book form and is now one of my favourite books of all time. It follows a varied cast of characters as they fight to save their beloved local library from closure. It is a celebration of books and the power of stories, but also of community, friendship, kindness and courage. A charming, funny and uplifting story that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Published September 2nd by Zaffre. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

A perfect family is fractured and torn apart when illness invades their lives and not only tests their strength, but makes them question their core beliefs and values in this extraordinary piece of historical fiction.  Powerful, moving and thought-provoking, this beautifully written story is one you won’t forget.

Published September 2nd by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Maid by Nita Prose

I was lucky to be selected as a VIP for the Tandem Collective readalong of this highly anticipated debut. A murder mystery that was also a balm for my soul, this book exceeded all expectations and was like nothing I’ve read before. I adored Molly, the heroine of this wonderful story. Quirky and endearing, the world would be a better place if we were all a little more like her. Nita Prose is an author with a bright future ahead and I have no doubt that this book will be a sensation when it’s released next year and I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation that is already in the works.

Published January 20th 2022 by Harper Collins UK. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

A book about the pandemic doesn’t sound like something that would be on my list of top books, but Jodi Picoult has added her magical touch to make that so. A story about resilience, hope and survival that explores the fear and trauma of the pandemic and the limitless potential of the human mind. Beautiful, heartwarming and absorbing, I got lost in this book. I thought I knew what I was getting when I started reading, but I had no idea. When that twist comes it blows your mind and shakes you to the core. This is one of Ms. Picoult’s best books to date.

Published November 25th 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn

Sometimes you pick up a book and it is exactly what you need.  That was the case when I decided to read this book on a whim. Uplifting, heartwarming and hopeful, this is a beautiful story of friendship, community and forgiveness. Just as she did with her debut novel, Jessica Ryn has given us another everyday heroine to root for and I was behind Violet every step of the way. Ms. Ryn has solidified her place on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t recommend her books highly enough.

Published November 25th by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington

One of those books that is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, A Girl Made of Air is a mesmerising and magical tale. It tells the story of an nameless and unwanted protagonist, following her from the days as a neglected child living in a circus in England then all the way to New York, where she found fame as the greatest Funambulist of all time. For this dazzling debut, Nydia Hetherington merged Manx folklore, fairy tales, circus freaks and fiction to create a story about the strange and the extraordinary. My only regret is that I left it to languish on my shelf for so long. Pick it up now.

Published September 3rd 2020 by Quercus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Midnight in Everwood by M. A. Kuzniar

I am so glad that I saved this spellbinding story to read over Christmas as it is on Christmas Eve that most of the magic happens in Everwood. Marietta dreams of being a ballerina but her high society family have another path for her life that she must follow. As she prepares for final performance, Marietta discovers a hidden magical world full of wonder hidden in the scenery.  But this enchanting place holds magic darker than she ever imagined and Marietta soon finds herself fighting to find a way to break free of Everwood’s hold and return home.  A mesmerising debut sprinkled with magic, this is the perfect winter read.

Published October 28th 2021 by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

********

BOOK OF THE YEAR

I have agonised for weeks over what book should be given the title of Book of the Year. I had two main contenders: Ariadne and This Is How We Are Human. It was only now, while writing this post and putting together my thoughts about the books, that it became clear which book would get the title. It is a book that lives in my heart and soul, one that I am passion about having other people read and that I truly believe has the power to educate and change minds. That book is This Is How We Are Human by the incomparable Louise Beech. If you’ve not read it, please do. And let me know your thoughts.

********

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles Happy New Year and I will see you in 2022. Emma xxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – September 2021

Welcome to my most anticipated books of September. Like last year’s Third of September, the second of this month is overflowing with exciting new releases. Thanks to that, and the multitude of other incredible books finally being released next month, I have twenty-four books on this month’s list. And it was hard to narrow down even this far, believe me!

So here are the books that I’m most anticipating in September:

The Last Library by Freya Sampson

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Zaffre
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow

Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum – the beloved local librarian – passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village’s memory of her mum. Instead, she’s retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home.

When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There’s gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause?

If June wants to save the library, she finally has to make some changes to her life: opening up her heart to friendship, opportunities and maybe even more . . .

Buy here*

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Legal Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Political Fiction, Legal Story

SYNOPSIS:
ON AN ORDINARY WORKING DAY…

Leila Syed receives a call that cleaves her life in two. Her brother-in-law’s voice is filled with panic. His son’s nursery has called to ask where little Max is.

YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE…

Leila was supposed to drop Max off that morning. But she forgot.

Racing to the carpark, she grasps the horror of what she has done.

IS ABOUT TO COME TRUE…

What follows is an explosive, high-profile trial that will tear the family apart. But as the case progresses it becomes clear there’s more to this incident than meets the eye…

A gripping, brave and tense courtroom drama, Next of Kin will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final, heart-stopping page.

Buy here*

Freckles by Cecelia Ahern

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
Five people.
Five chances.
One woman’s search for happiness.

Allegra Bird’s arms are scattered with freckles, a gift from her beloved father. But despite her nickname, Freckles has never been able to join all the dots. So when a stranger tells her that everyone is the average of the five people they spend the most time with, it opens up something deep inside.

The trouble is, Freckles doesn’t know if she has five people. And if not, what does that say about her? She’s left her unconventional father and her friends behind for a bold new life in Dublin, but she’s still an outsider.

Now, in a quest to understand, she must find not one but five people who shape her – and who will determine her future.

Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from modern Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and of growing into your own skin.

Buy here*

Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain by Amy Jeffs

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Riverrun
Genre: Fairy Tale, Folklore

SYNOPSIS:
Soaked in mist and old magic, Storyland is a new illustrated mythology of Britain, set in its wildest landscapes.

It begins between the Creation and Noah’s Flood, follows the footsteps of the earliest generation of giants from an age when the children of Cain and the progeny of fallen angels walked the earth, to the founding of Britain, England, Wales and Scotland, the birth of Christ, the wars between Britons, Saxons and Vikings, and closes with the arrival of the Normans.

These are retellings of medieval tales of legend, landscape and the yearning to belong, inhabited with characters now half-remembered: Brutus, Albina, Scota, Arthur and Bladud among them. Told with narrative flair, embellished in stunning artworks and glossed with a rich and erudite commentary. We visit beautiful, sacred places that include prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge and Wayland’s Smithy, spanning the length of Britain from the archipelago of Orkney to as far south as Cornwall; mountains and lakes such as Snowdon and Loch Etive and rivers including the Ness, the Soar and the story-silted Thames in a vivid, beautiful tale of our land steeped in myth. It Illuminates a collective memory that still informs the identity and political ambition of these places.

In Storyland, Jeffs reimagines these myths of homeland, exile and migration, kinship, loyalty, betrayal, love and loss in a landscape brimming with wonder.

Buy here*

Five Minds by Guy Morpuss

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Viper
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Science Fiction, Cyberpunk

SYNOPSIS:
SHARING A BODY CAN BE MURDER

The Earth’s spiralling population has finally been controlled. Lifespans are limited to eighty years, except for those who make an extreme choice: to become a commune. Five minds sharing one body, each living for four hours at a time. But with a combined lifespan of nearly 150 years.

Alex, Kate, Mike, Sierra and Ben have already spent twenty-five years together in what was once Mike’s body, their frequent personality clashes leading to endless bickering, countless arguments, and getting themselves stranded on a Russian Artic freighter. Wanting to buy upgrades for their next host body, they decide to travel to a Death Park where time can be gambled like money. But things go very wrong when Kate accepts a dangerous offer, and one of them disappears.

Someone is trying to kill off members of the commune. But why? Is one of them responsible? Or is an outsider playing a deadly game? It’s hard enough to catch a murderer. It’s almost impossible when you might be sharing a body with them…

This brilliant murder mystery blends classic crime with speculative fiction in a stunning debut.

Buy here*

Payday by Celia Walden

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Sphere
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Political Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Can YOU guess who killed Jamie Lawrence? Discover the brand new thriller EVERYBODY is talking about . . .

Late one night, three women share secrets.

They barely know each other, but they all know Jamie Lawrence. They know what he’s guilty of. And they agree something must be done.

But as their plan spirals out of control, they begin to doubt themselves . . . and each other. Then Jamie is found dead. And suddenly everything is at stake. As lies are unravelled and truths exposed, two urgent questions emerge:

Who is really guilty?

And who will have to pay?

Buy here*

How To Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
The perfect getaway – to get away with murder…

Georgie, Lissa and Bronwyn have been best friends since they met on their college swimming team. Now Lissa is dead – drowned off the coast of the remote island where her second husband owns a luxury resort. But could a star open-water swimmer really have drowned? Or is something more sinister going on?

Brought together for Lissa’s memorial, Georgie, Bron, Lissa’s grieving husband and their friends find themselves questioning the circumstances around Lissa’s death – and each other. As the weather turns ominous, trapping the guests on the island, it slowly dawns on them that Lissa’s death was only the beginning. Nobody knows who they can trust. Or if they’ll make it off the island alive…

Buy here*

The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Romance Novel, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the outside, Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have the perfect life, but they’re harbouring a secret that threatens to fracture their entire world.

London, 1929.

Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and an adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a pioneer in the eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.

When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, they have to face an uncomfortable truth: Mabel has epilepsy – one of the ‘undesirable’ conditions that Edward campaigns against.

Forced to hide their daughter away so as to not jeopardise Edward’s life’s work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.

Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?

Buy here*

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Published: September 2nd, 20201
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Thriller, Suspense

SYNOPSIS:
Sometimes Marisa gets the fanciful notion that Kate has visited the house before. She makes herself at home without any self-consciousness. She puts her toothbrush right there in the master bathroom, on the shelf next to theirs.

In Jake, Marisa has found everything she’s ever wanted. Then their new lodger Kate arrives.
 
Something about Kate isn’t right. Is it the way she looks at Marisa’s boyfriend? Sits too close on the sofa? Constantly asks about the baby they are trying for? Or is it all just in Marisa’s head?
 
After all, that’s what her Jake keeps telling her. And she trusts him – doesn’t she?
 
But Marisa knows something is wrong. That the woman sleeping in their house will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
 
Marisa just doesn’t know why.
  
How far will she go to find the answer – and how much is she willing to lose?

Buy here*

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller -10th Anniversary Edition

Published: September 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Genre: Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction, Romance Novel, War Story

SYNOPSIS:
A riveting tale of love, ambition and immortal fame, this special tenth anniversary edition of Madeleine Miller’s award-winning retelling of the story of Achilles comes housed in a beautiful hardback and with a foreword by the author.

A 10th anniversary special edition, featuring a new foreword by the author.

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Buy here*

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian

Published: September 9th, 2021
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Meet Chloe. First-year student, ordinary, legging-wearing, girl next door…and highly intelligent diagnosed psychopath.

Chloe is part of a secret clinical study of young psychopaths run by the university’s Psychology Department. Most psychopaths aren’t criminals, but when a string of murders on campus causes upheaval, Chloe’s private vendetta is sidelined. Partnered with fellow study participants she can’t trust – and distracted by typical university life – Chloe has to walk the line between hunter and prey.

Perfect for fans of My Sister the Serial Killer, Killing Eve and The Secret History, Never Saw Me coming is a sharp, electrifying and hugely entertaining thriller with an antiheroine who will work her manipulative magic on you.

Buy here*

Greek Myths: A New Retelling by Charlotte Higgins

Published: September 9th, 2021
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Genre: Greek Mythology, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Religious Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In this spellbinding new collection, Charlotte Higgins reinterprets some of the most enduring stories of all time.

Here are myths of the creation, of Heracles and Theseus and Perseus, the Trojan war and its origins and aftermaths, tales of Thebes and Argos and Athens. There are stories of love and desire, adventure and magic, destructive gods, helpless humans, fantastical creatures, resourceful witches and the origins of birds and animals.This is a world of extremes, and one that resonates deeply with our own: mysterious diseases devastate cities; environmental disasters tear lives apart; women habitually suffer violence at the hands of men.

Unlike in many previous collected myths, female characters take centre stage – Athena, Helen, Circe, Penelope and others weave these stories into elaborate imagined tapestries. In Charlotte Higgins’s thrilling new interpretation, their tales combine to form a dazzling, sweeping epic of storytelling, and a magnificent work of scholarship and imagination.

With a series of original drawings by Chris Ofili.

Buy here*

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Published: September 14th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Delaney family love one another dearly – it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

Joy Delaney and husband Stan have done well. Four wonderful grown-up children. A family business to envy. The golden years of retirement ahead of them.

So when Joy Delaney vanishes – no note, no calls, her bike missing – it’s natural that tongues will wag.

How did Stan scratch his face? And who was the stranger who entered and suddenly left their lives? What are they all hiding?

But for the Delaney children there is a much more terrifying question: did they ever know their parents at all?

Buy here*

The Man Who Died Twice (The Thursday Murder Club Book 2) by Richard Osman

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Cozy Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
THE SECOND NOVEL IN THE RECORD-BREAKING, MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING THURSDAY MURDER CLUB SERIES BY RICHARD OSMAN

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

Buy here*

The Unheard by Nicci French

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘He did killKill and kill and kill.’
 
Tess’s number one priority has always been her three-year-old daughter Poppy. But splitting up with Poppy’s father Jason means that she cannot always be there to keep her daughter safe.
 
When she finds a disturbing drawing, dark and menacing, among her daughter’s brightly coloured paintings, Tess is convinced that Poppy has witnessed something terrible. Something that her young mind is struggling to put into words.
 
But no one will listen. It’s only a child’s drawing, isn’t it?
 
Tess will protect Poppy, whatever the price. But when she doesn’t know what, or who, she is protecting her from, how can she possibly know who to trust . . . ?  

Buy here*

The Shadowing by Rhiannon Ward

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Trapeze
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Ghost Story, Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fantasy, Romance Novel

SYNOPSIS:
When well-to-do Hester learns of her sister Mercy’s death at a Nottinghamshire workhouse, she travels to Southwell to find out how her sister ended up at such a place.

Haunted by her sister’s ghost, Hester sets out to uncover the truth, when the official story reported by the workhouse master proves to be untrue. Mercy was pregnant – both her and the baby are said to be dead of cholera, but the workhouse hasn’t had an outbreak for years.

Hester discovers a strange trend in the workhouse of children going missing. One woman tells her about the Pale Lady, a ghostly figure that steals babies in the night. Is this lady a myth or is something more sinister afoot at the Southwell poorhouse?

As Hester investigates, she uncovers a conspiracy, one that someone is determined to keep a secret, no matter the cost…

Buy here*

My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
A girl in a new country.

A dark secret left behind.

A dead body which might tell all.

Ever since she was adopted from an orphanage in Sri Lanka, Paloma has led a privileged Californian life: the best schools, a generous allowance and parents so perfect that Paloma fears she’ll never live up to them.

Now at thirty, Paloma has managed to disappoint her parents so thoroughly that their relationship will never recover. Unemployed and friendless, the only person still talking to her is Arun – the Indian man subletting her spare room. That is until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her fragile place in this country, and the next day is found face down in a pool of blood.

On finding Arun’s body Paloma flees her apartment. But by the time the police arrive, there’s no body to be found or signs of struggle – and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.

The police may be quick to dismiss everything, but Paloma knows what she saw. Is this tangled up in her childhood in Sri Lanka and the desperate actions she took to leave so many years ago? And did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

Buy here

Dinner Party: A Tragedy by Sarah Gilmartin

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
SET TO BE A MAJOR 2021 DEBUT FICTION LAUNCH, THIS REMARKABLE IRISH NOVEL ABOUT THE MESSINESS OF MODERN FAMILY LIFE COMES WITH PRAISE FROM MEG MASON TO ANNE ENRIGHT

__________

Kate has taught herself to be careful, to be meticulous.

To mark the anniversary of a death in the family, she plans a dinner party – from the fancy table settings to the perfect Baked Alaska waiting in the freezer. Yet by the end of the night, old tensions have flared, the guests have fled, and Kate is spinning out of control.

But all we have is ourselves, her father once said, all we have is family.

Set between the 1990s and the present day, from a farmhouse in Carlow to Trinity College, Dublin, Dinner Party is a dark, sharply observed debut that thrillingly unravels into family secrets and tragedy.

As the past catches up with the present, Kate learns why, despite everything, we can’t help returning home.

A brilliant coming-of-age page-turner about the complications of sibling relationships and the trauma of family secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson, Maggie O’Farrell and Anne Enright

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
Interactive (MinaLima Edition)

Published: September 16th, 2021
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Children’s Literature, Fantasy Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A deluxe gift edition of L. Frank Baum’s cherished children’s classic, vividly reimagined with beautiful four-color artwork and nine interactive features created by MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise.

Hailed as “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale” by the Library of Congress, L. Frank Baum’s classic story has been enjoyed by generations of young readers since its publication in 1900. One of the most-read children’s books, it is a staple of American literature and the inspiration for the beloved 1939 Academy Award-winning movie (widely acclaimed as one of the greatest films of all time), as well as stage plays and musicals.

When a tornado strikes the Kansas prairie, young orphan Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are blown away to Oz, a magical place filled with witches, munchkins, winged monkeys, and other unusual inhabitants. Lost and afraid, all Dorothy wants is to return to her Uncle Henry and Auntie Em. But to do so, the Good Witch of the North tells her, she must follow the Yellow Brick Road that leads to the Emerald City. There, she will find the fearsome Wizard of Oz who can help her find her way home. 

Along the way, Dorothy encounters three unforgettable characters—the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion—who join her in her quest. Their journey to the Emerald City, fraught with peril and adventure, teaches them the true meaning of friendship and reminds us all that there is no place like home. 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Interactive reimagines the novel’s iconic imagery and highlights phrases from the original book in a unique and delightful style that will enchant readers of all ages. Sure to become a collector’s item, this deluxe illustrated edition contains specially commissioned artwork and nine exclusive interactive features, including:

A cyclone map that opens up to reveal the Land of Oz
A pop-up Yellow Brick Road
Oz glasses that provide a different look at the world
Fighting trees with branches that move
Dorothy’s silver shoes that can be clicked together

This marvelous edition will enchant young and adult readers and is a thoughtful gift for any occasion.

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What She Did by Carla Kovach

Published: September 20th. 2021
Publisher: Bookouture
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Noir Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Marissa lives alone in her tiny one-bed apartment. It’s quiet and safe; all she’s ever wanted since the night her mother was killed in front of her. But when the police knock on her door with the news that her last remaining family member has been murdered, she comes face to face with the trauma she has spent a lifetime running from.

A witness saw her car outside his house that day, but Marissa knows she’s innocent. She hasn’t seen her uncle in years and remembers going to bed in her own home that night. But she’s had blackouts before and can’t always trust her memory.

Days later, Marissa’s neighbour is found dead in his home with stab wounds all over his body, exactly like her uncle. It was no secret that Marissa didn’t get on with her neighbour, but she’d never want to see him hurt. How can she convince the police that she isn’t a killer? And, as the secrets from her past take hold of her present, is there anyone in her small world she can trust?

As you read, you’ll believe every word Marissa says. You’ll think you know where to draw the line between innocence and guilt. But blame is a dangerous thing, and nothing is ever what it seems…

Perfect for fans of C.L. Taylor, Teresa Driscoll and Lisa Jewell, What She Did is a dark and twisty crime thriller that will keep you up all night!

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Matrix by Lauren Groff

Published: September 23rd, 2021
Publisher: William Heinemann
Genre: Historical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Seventeen-year-old Marie, too wild for courtly life, is thrown to the dogs one winter morning, expelled from the royal court to become the prioress of an abbey. Marie is strange – tall, a giantess, her elbows and knees stick out, ungainly.

At first taken aback by life at the abbey, Marie finds purpose and passion among her mercurial sisters. Yet she deeply misses her secret lover Cecily and queen Eleanor.

Born last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, women who flew across the countryside with their sword fighting and dagger work, Marie decides to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. She will bring herself, and her sisters, out of the darkness, into riches and power.

MATRIX is a bold vision of female love, devotion and desire from one of the most adventurous writers at work today.

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Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Published: September 30th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Magical Realism, Romantic Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:
From the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Caraval series, the first book in a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in happily ever after. Until she learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, and her dreams are shattered.

Desperate to stop the wedding, and heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game – and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy . . .

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The Lighthouse Witches by C. J. Cooke

Published: September 30th, 2021
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Fairy Tale, Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

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Once There Was A Bear (The Official 95th Anniversary Prequel) by Jane Riordan

Published: September 30th, 2021
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Children’s Book

SYNOPSIS:
Help celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh’s anniversary with Winnie-the-Pooh: Once There Was a Bear (the Official 95th Anniversary Prequel)

We all have a place in our hearts for the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, as told by A.A.Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. In honour of the 95th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, highly talented author Jane Riordan has created a wonderful collection of stories, written in the style of A.A.Milne, that take us back to where it all began, when Winnie-the-Pooh was first purchased for baby Christopher Robin.

These brand-new stories are decorated with beautiful illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends created by Mark Burgess in the style of E.H.Shepard. He is uniquely suited to this having also illustrated The Return to the Hundred Acre Wood and The Best Bear in All the World. Jane Riordan has a strong pedigree in writing in the style of A.A.Milne, having also created Winnie-the-Pooh Meets the Queen and the re-issue edition Winnie-the-Pooh Goes to London.

This timeless story collection is a real tribute to the world’s most famous bear and the perfect opportunity for everyone to revisit these favourite friends and find out how they become the larger than life characters that we all know and love.

Buy here*

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What books out next month are you most anticipating? Are any of them on this list? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Until next month, Emma xxx