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Emma’s Anticipated Treasures, Most Anticipated 2023 – Historic & Gothic Delights

Historical and gothic fiction is, for me, a joint favourite genre with thrillers. So I’m very excited about the books on today’s list. What do you think of my choices?

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A Marriage of Fortune by Anne O’Brien

SYNOPSIS:
England. 1469.

A fortunate marriage will change history.
A scandal could destroy everything…

Margaret Paston, matriarch of the Paston family, knows that a favourable match for one of her unruly daughters is the only way to survive the loss of their recently acquired Caister Castle. But as the War of the Roses rages on, dangerous enemies will threaten even her best laid plans.

Margery Paston, her eldest daughter, has always strived to uphold the Paston name and do her mother proud. But when she loses her heart to a man below her station, she must make a terrible choice: will she betray her family and risk everything for a chance at true love?

Anne Haute, first cousin to the Queen, is embroiled in a longstanding betrothal to Sir John Paston, the eldest son and heir to the Paston seat. But despite his promises, Anne can’t help but doubt that he will ever keep his word and make her his wife…

In the midst of civil war, each of these women must decide: Head or heart? Love or duty? Reputation- or scandal?

Published January 19th by Orion
Pre-order here*

The Whispering Muse by Larua Purcell

SYNOPSIS:
Be careful what you wish for… it may just come true.

At The Mercury Theatre in London’s West End, rumours are circulating of a curse.

It is said that the lead actress Lilith has made a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse of Greek mythology, to become the greatest actress to ever grace the stage. Suspicious of Lilith, the jealous wife of the theatre owner sends dresser Jenny to spy on her, and desperate for the money to help her family, Jenny agrees.

What Jenny finds is a woman as astonishing in her performance as she is provocative in nature. On stage, it’s as though Lilith is possessed by the characters she plays, yet off stage she is as tragic as the Muse who inspires her, and Jenny, sorry for her, befriends the troubled actress. But when strange events begin to take place around the theatre, Jenny wonders if the rumours are true, and fears that when the Muse comes calling for payment, the cost will be too high.

Published February 2nd by Raven
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The Snow Hare by Paula Lichtarowicz

SYNOPSIS:
Lena has her life mapped out. While her sister obsesses about fortune-telling gypsies and marriage, Lena studies the way the heart works. She isn’t going to let being a girl stop her from becoming one of Poland’s first female doctors. But the world has other plans for Lena. Instead of university she finds herself a reluctant army wife, lonely and unmoored by the emotions of motherhood. And as she tries to accept a different future from the one she wanted, the threat of global war becomes reality. Lena must face just how unpredictable life can be.

Deemed Enemies of State by the invading Soviets, she and her family are exiled from their Polish village to a work camp in the freezing hell of Siberia. It’s here, despite the hunger and back-breaking work, Lena learns something remarkable; it is possible to fall in love even at the edge of life. And for that love, Lena must make a decision, the consequences of which will haunt her for ever.

Tender, brutal and passionate, The Snow Hare is about living with impossible choices and our incredible ability to cultivate hope in the darkest places.

Published February 2nd by John Murray Press
Pre-order here*

A Gift of Poison by Bella Ellis (The Bronte Mysteries 4)

SYNOPSIS:
Haworth 1847 – Anne and Emily Brontë have had their books accepted for publication, while Charlotte’s has been rejected everywhere, creating a strained atmosphere at the parsonage.

At the same time, a shocking court case has recently concluded, acquitting a workhouse master of murdering his wife by poison. Everyone thinks this famously odious and abusive man is guilty. However, he insists he is many bad things but not a murderer. When an attempt is made on his life, he believes it to be the same person who killed his wife and applies to the detecting sisters for their help.

Despite reservations, they decide that perhaps, as before, it is only they who can get to the truth and prove him innocent – or guilty – without a shadow of doubt.

Published February 9th by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Shadow of Perseus by Claire Heywood

SYNOPSIS:
The myth of Perseus, told through the story of the three women who knew him best – his mother Danae, his wife Andromeda, and his victim, Medusa.

History remembers him as a hero. But the women who knew him best remember a different man…

Perseus grows up wanting to be a hero, but he cannot become one if his mother Danae still sees him as a boy. When his stepfather Polydektes casts him away on a voyage across the sea, Perseus is determined to fulfil the great destiny of the son of a god and the grandson of a king. But the line between heroism and monstrosity is thin, and when Perseus attempts to seduce first gentle Medusa and then beautiful Andromeda, before finally reuniting with Danae, they each learn of the dangers of resisting a boy prepared to risk it all for greatness . . .

Published February 21st by Hodder & Stoughton
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The Book of Eve by Meg Clothier

SYNOPSIS:
In the name of the Father, not a word of this. Her letters are forbidden.

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?

Published March 2nd by Wildfire
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The Londonn Seance Society by Sarah Penner

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…

Published March 21st by Legend Press
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The Lodger by Helen Scarlett

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.

Published March 23rd by Quercus
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The Valkyrie by Kate Heartfield

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.

Kate Heartfield’s book ‘The Embroidered Book’ was a Sunday Times bestseller w/c 14-02-2022.

Published March 30th by HarperVoyager
Pre-order here*

The House of Whispers by Anna Mazzola

SYNOPSIS:
A creepy, chilling story – another Anna Mazzola triumph!’ JENNIFER SAINT

Sometimes the secrets of the past are more dangerous than the present…

Rome, 1938.

As the world teeters on the brink of war, talented pianist Eva Valenti enters the house of widower Dante Cavallera to become his new wife.

On the outside, the forces of Fascism are accelerating, but in her new home, Eva fears that something else is at work, whispering in the walls and leaving mysterious marks on Dante’s young daughter.

Soon she starts to wonder whether the house itself is trying to give up the secrets of its mysterious past – secrets that Dante seems so determined to keep hidden.

However, Eva must also conceal the truth of her own identity, for if she is discovered, she will be in greater danger than she could ever have imagined…

Published April 6th by Orion
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Atalanta by Jennifer Saint

SYNOPSIS:
The mesmerising story of the only female Argonaut, told by Jennifer Saint, the bestselling author of ELEKTRA and ARIADNE .

When a daughter is born to the King of Arcadia, she brings only disappointment.

Left exposed on a mountainside, the defenceless infant Atalanta is left to the mercy of a passing mother bear and raised alongside the cubs under the protective eye of the goddess Artemis.

Swearing that she will prove her worth alongside the famed heroes of Greece, Atalanta leaves her forest to join Jason’s band of Argonauts. But can she carve out her own place in the legends in a world made for men?

Published April 13th by Widlfire
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Homecoming by Kate Morton

SYNOPSIS:
From the bestselling author of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Kate Morton, comes a breathtaking mystery of love, lies and a cold case come back to life, told with her trademark intricacy and beauty.

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959.

At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tumbilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.

Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.

At a loose end in Nora’s house, Jess does some digging into her past. In Nora’s bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime – a crime that has never been truly solved. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find . . .

An epic novel that spans generations, Homecoming asks what we would do for those we love, and how we protect the lies we tell. It explores the power of motherhood, the corrosive effects of tightly held secrets, and the healing nature of truth.

Published April 13th by Mantle
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Prize Women by Caroline Lea

SYNOPSIS:
The gripping and unforgettable new novel from Caroline Lea, based on one of history’s most shocking but largely untold scandals

‘Gorgeous. Prize Women . . . took my breath away. I haven’t stopped thinking about it’ 
JENNIFER SAINT, bestselling author of ARIADNE

Masterful. Caroline Lea is a superb storyteller, and Prize Women deserves a huge readership. So good, I had to pull myself away’ ELIZABETH MACNEAL, bestselling author of THE DOLL FACTORY
___________

Toronto, Canada, 1926

Best friends Lily di Marco and Mae Thebault were once inseparable. They lived under the same roof and cared for each other’s children. But with mouths to feeds and demanding husbands to keep happy, both women are forced into terrible decisions as the Great Depression tightens its grip.

When lawyer Charles Vance Miller’s will promises a handsome sum of money to the woman who can produce the most babies in the next ten years, it is initially dismissed as a vanity project. But as the Great Depression worsens, and times get increasingly tough across the world, for the most desperate in society this contest known as The Great Stork Derby suddenly seems like a way out.

Ten years later, Lily and Mae couldn’t be further apart. And as The Great Stork Derby continues to make headlines, for all the wrong reasons, both these women must face up to their part in it, and the consequences…

Published April 27th by Michael Joseph
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The Woman on the Bridge by Sheila O’Flanagan

SYNOPSIS:
A stunning historical novel from multi-million-copy bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan

Dublin. The 1920s. As war tears Ireland apart, two young people are caught up in events that will bring love, tragedy – and the hardest of choices.


In a country fighting for freedom, it’s hard to live a normal life. Winnie O’Leary supports the cause, but she doesn’t go looking for trouble. Then rebel Joseph Burke steps into her workplace. Winnie is furious with him about a broken window. She’s not interested in romance. But love comes when you least expect it.

Joseph’s family shelter fugitives and transport weapons. Joseph would never ask Winnie to join the fight; but his mother and sisters demand commitment. Will Winnie choose Joseph, and put her own loved ones in deadly danger? Or wait for a time of peace that may never come?

Ireland’s tumultuous independence struggle is the backdrop for an unforgettable story of courage and heartbreak, in which heroes are made of ordinary people. Inspired by the story of Sheila O’Flanagan’s grandmother, The Woman on the Bridge is the unmissable, compulsive new novel from a bestselling author.

Published April 27th by Headline Review
Pre-order here*

A Lady’s Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin

SYNOPSIS:
The captivating new historical novel from the author of the Sunday Times bestseller A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting

Pre-order the most delightful, escapist historical of the year from the Sunday Times bestselling author!

Recently widowed from her marriage of convenience, Eliza, now Dowager Countess of Somerset, is bequeathed a fortune, hers to keep as long as she can steer clear of scandal.

It should be simple – Eliza has spent a lifetime following the rules – but now that she is rich, titled and independent, misbehaviour is much more tempting…

Published May 11th by Harper Collins
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The Ghost Theatre by Mat Osman

SYNOPSIS:
TO LOVE IS TO FALL . . .

On a rooftop in Elizabethan London two worlds collide. Shay is a messenger-girl and trainer of hawks who sees the future in the patterns of birds. Nonesuch is the dark star of the city’s fabled child theatre scene, as famous as royalty yet lowly as a beggar.

Together they create The Ghost Theatre: a troupe staging magical plays in London’s hidden corners. As their hallucinatory performances incite rebellion among the city’s outcasts, the pair’s relationship sparks and burns against a backdrop of the plague and a London in flames. Their growing fame sweeps them up into the black web of the Elizabethan court, where Shay and Nonesuch discover that if they fly too high, a fall is sure to come.

Fantastical and captivating, The Ghost Theatre charts the rise and dramatic destruction of a dream born from love and torn apart by betrayal.

Published May 11th by Bloomsbury
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Stealing by Margaret Verble

SYNOPSIS:
A gripping, gut-punch of a novel about a Cherokee child removed from her family and sent to a Christian boarding school in the 1950s—an ambitious, eye-opening reckoning of history and small-town prejudices from Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble. 

Since her mother’s death, Kit Crockett has lived with her grief-stricken father, spending lonely days far out in the country tending the garden, fishing in a local stream, and reading Nancy Drew mysteries from the library bookmobile.  One day when Kit discovers a mysterious and beautiful woman has moved in just down the road, she is intrigued.

Kit and her new neighbor Bella become fast friends. Both outsiders, they take comfort in each other’s company. But malice lurks near their quiet bayou and Kit suddenly finds herself at the center of tragic, fatal crime.  Soon, Kit is ripped from her home and Cherokee family and sent to Ashley Lordard, a religious boarding school. Along with the other Native students, Kit is stripped of her heritage, force-fed Christian indoctrination, and is sexually abused by the director. But Kit, as strong-willed and shrewd as ever, secretly keeps a journal recounting what she remembers—and revealing just what she has forgotten. Over the course of Stealing, she slowly unravels the truth of how she ended up at the school—and plots a way out. 

In swift, sharp, and stunning prose, Margaret Verble spins a powerful coming-of age tale and reaffirms her place as an indelible storyteller and chronicler of history.

Published May 11th by Harper Collins
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Vita and the Birds by Polly Crosby

SYNOPSIS:
A haunting mystery for fans of Eve Chase, Kate Morton and Kate Mosse.

1938: Lady Vita Goldsborough lives in the shadow of her controlling older brother, Aubrey. Trapped and isolated on the East Anglian coast, Vita takes solace in watching the birds that fly over the marshes. But then she meets local artist Dodie Blakeney. The two women form a close bond, and Vita finally glimpses a chance to escape Aubrey’s grasp and be as free as the birds she loves.

1997: Decades later and in the wake of her mother’s death, Eve Blakeney returns to the coast where she spent childhood summers with her beloved grandmother, Dodie. Eve hopes the visit will help make sense of her grief. The last thing she expects to find is a bundle of letters that hint at the heart-breaking story of Dodie’s relationship with a woman named Vita.

Eve and Vita’s stories are linked by a shattering secret that echoes through the decades, and when Eve discovers the truth, it will overturn everything she thought she knew about her family – and change her life forever.

Published May 25th by HQ
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Mrs Porter Calling by AJ Pearce (The Emmy Lake Chronicles)

SYNOPSIS:
The heartwarming, moving and uplifting new story of friendship, love and finding courage when all seems lost from AJ Pearce, TheSunday Times bestselling author of Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully.

London, April 1943.


Emmy Lake is an agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine, doing all she can to help readers as they face the challenges of wartime life. With her column thriving and a team of women behind her, Emmy finally feels she is Doing Her Bit.

But when the glamourous new owner arrives, everything changes. Charming her way around editor Guy Collins, Emmy quickly realises the Honourable Mrs Cressida Porter plans to destroy everything readers love about the magazine.

With her best friends by her side, Emmy must work out how she can bring everyone together and save Woman’s Friend before it’s too late.

Published May 25th by Picador
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Hokey Pokey by Kate Mascarenhas

SYNOPSIS:
A grand hotel, a famous opera star and a psychoanalyst with a hidden agenda. Kate Mascarenhas’s third novel offers her readers a glamorous, thrilling ride through murder, madness and the darkest recesses of the mind.

February, 1929. The Regent Hotel in Birmingham is a place of deception and glamour. Behind its six-storeyed façade, guests sip absinthe cocktails on velvet banquettes, while the hotel’s red-jacketed staff scurry through its lavish corridors to ensure the finest service is always at hand.

In the early evening, a psychoanalyst checks in under a pseudonym: Nora Dickinson. Nora is young, diligent and ambitious. Though she doesn’t see herself as a liar, she is travelling with an agenda. Having followed the famous opera singer, Berenice Oxbow, from Zurich to Birmingham, she’s determined not to let her out of her sight.

But when a terrible snow storm isolates the hotel – and its guests – from the outside world, the lines between nightmare and reality begin to blur…

Published June 8th by Apollo
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The Good Liars by Anita Frank

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of stunning historical fiction books comes a new story of crime, deceit, and murder, set in the early 1920s…

In the hot summer of 1914 a boy vanishes, never to be seen again.

Now, in 1920, the once esteemed Stilwell family of Darkacre Hall find their already troubled lives thrown into disarray when new evidence leads to the boy’s case being reopened – and this time they themselves are under police scrutiny.

As the dead return to haunt the living, old resentments resurface and loyalties are tested, while secrets risk being unearthed that could destroy them all.

Published June 8th by HQ
Pre-order here*

The Fascination by Essie Fox

SYNOPSIS:
Exploring universal themes of love and loss, the power of redemption and what it means to be unique,The Fascination is an evocative,glittering and bewitching gothic novel that brings alive Victorian London and darkness and deception that lies beneath…

Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions…
 
Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn’t grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father’s quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’.
 
Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind.  Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his name.
 
Unable to train to be a doctor as he’d hoped, Theo finds employment in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, and here he meets Captain and his theatrical ‘family’ of performers, freaks and outcasts.
 
But it is Theo’s fascination with Tilly and Keziah that will lead all of them into a web of dark deceits, exposing the darkest secrets and threatening everything they know…
 
Exploring universal themes of love and loss, the power of redemption and what it means to be unique, The Fascination is an evocative, glittering and bewitching gothic novel that brings alive Victorian London and darkness and deception that lies beneath…

Published June 22nd by Orenda Books
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The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

SYNOPSIS:
‘The queen of the historical crime novel’ – CJ Tudor

My father had spelt it out to me. Choice was a luxury I couldn’t afford. This is your story, Red. You must tell it well . . .

A girl known only as Red, the daughter of a Cornish fortune-teller, travels with her father making a living predicting fortunes using the ancient method: the Square of Sevens. When her father suddenly dies, Red becomes the ward of a gentleman scholar.

Now raised as a lady amidst the Georgian splendour of Bath, her fortune-telling is a delight to high society, but she cannot ignore the questions that gnaw at her soul: who was her mother? How did she die? And who are the mysterious enemies her father was always terrified would find him?

The pursuit of these mysteries takes her from Cornwall and Bath to London and Devon, from the rough ribaldry of the Bartholemew Fair to the grand houses of two of the most powerful families in England. And while Red’s quest brings her the possibility of great reward, it also leads into her grave danger . . .

Laura Shepherd-Robinson’s The Square of Sevens is an epic and sweeping novel set in Georgian high society, a dazzling story offering up mystery, intrigue, heartbreak, and audacious twists.

Published June 22nd by Mantle
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The Birdcage Library by Freya Berry

SYNOPSIS:
A mystery lies hidden within an old book… Unlock the secrets of The Birdcage Library.

‘Gothic, gorgeous and vividly atmospheric; an immersive literary page-turner to be swept up in’ Ellery Lloyd, New York Times bestselling author
_________

A rich, beguiling story of long-buried secrets and dark obsession, The Birdcage Library is the dazzling new novel from Freya Berry, author of The Dictator’s Wife, as seen on BBC2 Between the Covers.

Dear Reader, the man I love is trying to kill me…

Emily Blackwood, adventuress and plant hunter, travels north for a curious new commission. A gentleman has written to request she catalogue his vast collection of taxidermied creatures before sale.

On arrival, Emily finds a ruined castle, its owner haunted by a woman who vanished years before. And when she discovers the ripped pages of a diary, crammed into the walls, she realises dark secrets lie here, waiting to entrap her too….

Discover a mystery within a mystery in The Birdcage Library, a novel that will hold you in its spell until the final page.

Published June 22nd by Headline
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The Illusions by Liz Hyder

SYNOPSIS:
At a time of extraordinary change, two women must harness their talents to take control of their own destiny . . .

Bristol, 1896. Used to scraping a living as the young assistant to an ageing con artist, Cecily Marsden’s life is turned upside down when her master suddenly dies. Believing herself to blame, could young Cec somehow have powers she little understands?

Meanwhile Eadie Carleton, a pioneering early film-maker, struggles for her talent to be taken seriously in a male-dominated world, and a brilliant young magician, George Perris, begins to see the potential in moving pictures. George believes that if he can harness this new technology, it will revolutionise the world of magic forever – but in order to achieve his dreams, he must first win over Miss Carleton . . .

As a group of illusionists prepare for a grand spectacle, Cec, Eadie and George’s worlds collide. But as Cec falls in love with the bustling realm of theatre and magic, she faces the fight of her life to save the performance from sabotage and harness the element of real magic held deep within her.

THE ILLUSIONS is the captivating new novel from the much-lauded author of THE GIFTS. Inspired by real-life illusionists and early film pioneers, this astonishing story of women and talent, magic and power, sweeps you into a world where anything is possible and nothing is quite as it seems . . .

Published June 22nd by Manilla Press
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73 Dove Street by Julie Owen Moylan

SYNOPSIS:
When Edie Budd arrives at a shabby West London boarding house in October 1958, carrying nothing except a broken suitcase and an envelope full of cash, it’s clear she’s hiding a terrible secret. And she’s not the only one; the other women of 73 Dove Street have secrets of their own . . .

Tommie, who lives on the second floor, waits on the eccentric Mrs Vee by day. After dark, she harbours an addiction to seedy Soho nightlife – and a man she can’t quit.

Phyllis, 73 Dove Street’s formidable landlady, has set fire to her husband’s belongings after discovering a heart-breaking betrayal – yet her fierce bravado hides a past she doesn’t want to talk about.

At first, the three women keep to themselves. But as Edie’s past catches up with her, Tommie becomes caught in her web of lies – forcing her to make a decision that will change everything . . .

Published July 20th by Michael Joseph
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The Only One Left by Riley Sager

SYNOPSIS:
Bestselling author Riley Sager returns with a Gothic chiller about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a Lizzie Borden-like massacre decades earlier.

At seventeen, Lenora Hope
Hung her sister with a rope

Now reduced to a schoolyard chant, the Hope family murders shocked the Maine coast one bloody night in 1929. While most people assume seventeen-year-old Lenora was responsible, the police were never able to prove it. Other than her denial after the killings, she has never spoken publicly about that night, nor has she set foot outside Hope’s End, the cliffside mansion where the massacre occurred.

Stabbed her father with a knife
Took her mother’s happy life

It’s now 1983, and home-health aide Kit McDeere arrives at a decaying Hope’s End to care for Lenora after her previous nurse fled in the middle of the night. In her seventies and confined to a wheelchair, Lenora was rendered mute by a series of strokes and can only communicate with Kit by tapping out sentences on an old typewriter. One night, Lenora uses it to make a tantalizing offer–I want to tell you everything.

Published July 20th by Dutton
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Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons

SYNOPSIS:
BEFORE ROMEO LOVED JULIET, HE LOVED FAIR ROSALINE . . .

Was the greatest ever love story
really a lie?

Romeo Montague is handsome and charming and the first time he sees young Rosaline Capulet, who has secretly snuck into his family’s masquerade summer ball, he falls instantly in love.

At first Rosaline is unsure of Romeo’s attentions but with her father determined that she join the nunnery, Romeo offers her the chance of a different life. Gradually he convinces her that only true love could make him feel this way, that he is enraptured by her beauty. Indeed, he cannot live without her!

And so begins the story of Romeo and Rosaline. These star-crossed lovers must keep everything hidden from Rosaline’s family, at least until they are wed. But when a destitute young girl appears, claiming to be carrying Romeo’s child, Rosaline starts to doubt all that she has been told. And as whispers of more girls reach her ears, what once felt like a courtship begins to feel more like a pursuit.

As Rosaline recognises Romeo for the villain he truly is, his gaze turns suddenly towards Rosaline’s adored and beautiful cousin, thirteen-year old Juliet.

Can Rosaline save Juliet from her Romeo? Or can this story only ever end one way . . ?

Hamnet meets My Dark Vanessa in this fierce, feminist, intensely gripping, unmissable novel; captivating and chillingly relevant, FAIR ROSALINE takes everything you thought you knew about Romeo and Juliet and turns it on its head . . .

Published August 3rd by Manilla Press
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House of Odysseus by Claire North

SYNOPSIS:
‘CLAIRE NORTH BRINGS A POWERFUL, FRESH AND UNFLINCHING VOICE TO ANCIENT MYTH’ Jennifer Saint, author of Sunday Times bestseller Ariadne

Following the critically acclaimed Ithaca comes House of Odysseus, the second novel in Claire North’s Songs of Penelope trilogy – an exquisite, gripping tale that breathes life into ancient myth. This is the story of Penelope of Ithaca, famed wife of Odysseus, as it has never been told before.

On the island of Ithaca, queen Penelope maintains a delicate balance of power. Many years ago, her husband Odysseus sailed to war with Troy and never returned. In his absence, Penelope uses all her cunning to keep the peace – but this is shattered with the arrival of Orestes, King of Mycenae.

Orestes, son of Agamemnon, is mad. Wracked with guilt for putting his own mother to death, he grows ever more unhinged. But a king cannot be seen to be weak. To keep him safe from the ambitious men of Mycenae, his sister Elektra brings him to Ithaca to recover under the protection of Penelope. But no sooner has Orestes arrived then his uncle Menelaus, the blood-soaked king of Sparta, comes looking for him. Menelaus hungers for Orestes’ throne – and if he can seize it, no one will be safe from his violent whims.

Caught between Sparta and Mycenae, Penelope must protect Ithaca from two mad kings on the edge of war. Her only allies are Elektra, desperate to protect her brother, and Helen of Troy, Menelaus’ wife. Each woman has a secret, and their secrets will shape the world . . .

Published August 24th by Orbit
Pre-order here*

Learned by Heart by Emma Donoghue

SYNOPSIS:
Inspired by the real-life diaries of Eliza Raine and Anne Lister – ‘the first modern lesbian,’ also known as Gentleman Jack – Donoghue’s mesmerising historical novel is a tour de force of rich characterisation and period detail.

Published August 24th by Pan Macmillan
Pre-order here*

The Black Feathers by Rebecca Netley

SYNOPSIS:
PRE ORDER THE NEXT CHILLING AND TWISTY GHOST STORY FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WHISTLING

Where ghosts tread, black feathers fall . . .

When Annie marries widower Edward Stonehouse and arrives at Guardbridge, his estate on the Yorkshire moors, she thinks she has finally put darkness behind her.

She is mistaken.

Edward’s sister, Iris, still lives in the family home. A taxidermist and medium, she urges Annie to watch out for black feathers – claiming that they mark the spot where a spirt has visited.

At first, Annie dismisses her warnings. But, before long, she begins to feel haunted.

What exactly happened to Edward’s first wife? Why is Iris so disturbed?

And should Annie really be watching for signs from the dead – or is she the one being watched?

SET ON THE YORKSHIRE MOORS IN THE 1800S, THE BLACK FEATHERS IS A GHOSTLY TALE OF MAGIC AND WICKEDNESS.

Published October 12th by Michael Joseph
Pre-order here*

The Temple of Fortuna by Elodie Harper (The Wolf Den Triolgy 3)

SYNOPSIS:
The final instalment in Elodie Harper’s Sunday Times bestselling Wolf Den Trilogy

‘Beautiful, moving, captivating.’ Jennifer Saint
‘Vivid, unsentimental and compelling.’ The Times

Amara’s journey has taken her far; from a slave in Pompeii’s wolf den to a high-powered courtesan in Rome… though her story is not over yet.

While Amara plays for power in Rome’s imperial palace, those dearest to her remain in Pompeii. But it is AD 79, and mighty Mount Vesuvius is about to make itself known…

Published November 23rd by Apollo
Pre-order here*

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures: Most Anticipated in 2022 – Back Again

We aren’t even out of 2021 yet, but 2022 is overflowing with so many exciting books that I have had to create three lists to share the ones I’m most anticipating: Back Again, The Debuts and Next in Series.

I’m starting by sharing my list of books by authors I love or who have already had a book published, the ones who are back again – hence the title. There are a lot of books on this list, 47 in total even after narrowing it down as much as possible. And doing that was no simple task. It took me days!

So, without further ado, here are the books I’m most looking forward to being released in 2022:

The Unravelling by Polly Crosby

SYNOPSIS:
A darkly beautiful dual-timeline novel with a captivating mystery, for fans of Diane Setterfield and Kiran Millwood Hargrave

When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history.

Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne’s research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape.

Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets.

As Tartelin pieces together Marianne’s connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past?

Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.

Published January 6th by HQ. Buy here*

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of the modern classic A Little Life, a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

‘To Paradise is a transcendent, visionary novel of stunning scope and depth. A novel so layered, so rich, so relevant, so full of the joys and terrors – the pure mystery – of human life, is not only rare, it’s revolutionary.’ – Michael Cunningham

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a findesiecle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

Published January 11th by Picador. Buy here*

The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett

SYNOPSIS:
It’s time to solve the murder of the century…

Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced that the book was the key to solving a puzzle, and that a message in secret code ran through all Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Iles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven has no memory of what happened to her.

Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Iles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today?

Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Iles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn’t the only one trying to solve it…

Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Alex Pavesi and S.J. Bennett, The Twyford Code will keep you up puzzling late into the night.

Published January 13th by Viper. Buy here*

The Key in the Lock by Beth Underdown

SYNOPSIS:
I still dream, every night, of Polneath on fire. Smoke unravelling from an upper window, and the terrace bathed in a hectic orange light . . . Now I see that the decision I made at Polneath was the only decision of my life. Everything marred in that one dark minute.

By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still.

For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

But once you open a door to the past, can you ever truly close it again?

From the award-winning author of The Witchfinder’s Sister comes a captivating story of burning secrets and buried shame, and of the loyalty and love that rises from the ashes.

Published January 13th by Viking. Buy here*

Violeta by Isabel Allende

SYNOPSIS:
One extraordinary woman.
One hundred years of history.
One unforgettable story.

Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first daughter in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.

Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.

In a letter to someone she loves above all others, Violeta recounts devastating heartbreak and passionate affairs, times of both poverty and wealth, terrible loss and immense joy, and a life shaped by some of the most important events of history: the fight for women’s rights, the rise and fall of tyrants and, ultimately, not one but two pandemics. Through the eyes of a woman whose unforgettable passion, determination, and sense of humour will carry her through a lifetime of upheaval, Isabel Allende once more brings us an epic that is both fiercely inspiring and deeply emotional.

Published January 25th by Bloomsbury Publishing. Buy here*

The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah

SYNOPSIS:
You’re on your honeymoon at an exclusive couples-only resort.

You receive a note warning you to ‘Beware of the couple at the table nearest to yours’. At dinner that night, five other couples are present, and none of their tables is any nearer or further away than any of the others. It’s as if someone has set the scene in order to make the warning note meaningless – but why would anyone do that?

You have no idea.

You also don’t know that you’re about to be murdered, or that once you’re dead, all the evidence will suggest that no one there that night could possibly have committed the crime.

So who might be trying to warn you? And who might be about to commit the perfect impossible murder?

Published January 27th by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*

Em and Me by Beth Morrey

SYNOPSIS:
A mother.
A daughter.
A secret waiting to be discovered.

‘Glorious! A wonderful book, such a joy!’ Clare Pooley

For too long – since the sudden death of her mother as a teenager, since the birth of her daughter, Em, when she was just seventeen – Delphine has been unable to let go of the past, obsessed with protecting Em and clinging to a secret that could ruin everything. She’s been living life in safe shades of grey.

The day that Delphine finally stands up for herself is the day that changes everything.

Delphine begins to remember what it’s like to want more: rediscovering her singing voice, opening herself to friendship, and reviving not only her mother’s roots, but her mother’s memories. As her life begins to fill with colour, can she be brave for herself and for Em? And what would happen if she finally told the truth?

A big-hearted, hopeful novel about finding second chances – and taking them.

Published February 3rd by Harper Collins. Buy here*

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn

SYNOPSIS:
It is 1665 and the women of Eyam keep many secrets.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So she tells nobody her fears about Wulfric, the pious, reclusive apothecary.

Mae, Wulfric’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him. Like her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or that she studies from Wulfric’s forbidden books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unspeakable peril.

And meanwhile another danger is on its way from London. One that threatens to engulf them all . . .

Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.

Published February 10th by Sphere. Buy here*

Off Target by Eve Smith

SYNOPSIS:
When a one-night stand leads to a long-desired pregnancy, Susan will do anything to ensure her husband won’t find out … including the unthinkable. But when something horrendous is unleashed around the globe, her secret isn’t the only thing that is no longer safe…

––––––––––––––––––––––––

A longed-for baby
An unthinkable decision
A deadly mistake

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, not just crops, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect … altering genes that may cause illness, and more…

Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.

But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…

Bestselling author of The Waiting Rooms, Eve Smith returns with an authentic, startlingly thought-provoking, disturbing blockbuster of a thriller that provides a chilling glimpse of a future that’s just one modification away…

Published February 17th by Orenda. Buy here

Breathless by Amy McCullock

SYNOPSIS:
IT’S ICE COLD. YOU’RE MILES FROM HELP. AND ONE OF YOU WILL BE NEXT . . . Pre-order next year’s most gripping thriller now, and ensure you’re the first to read the book that everyone will be talking about

‘A high-altitude, high-stakes thriller that combines fascinating, authentic mountaineering experience with pure thriller entertainment
I loved it’ MATT HAIG, Sunday Times bestselling author of THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY
________

When struggling journalist Cecily Wong is invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains, it seems like the chance of a lifetime.

She doesn’t realise how deadly the climb will be.

As their small team starts to climb, things start to go wrong. There’s a theft. Then an accident. Then a mysterious note, pinned to her tent: there’s a murderer on the mountain.

The higher they get, the more dangerous the climb becomes, and the more they need to trust one another.

And that’s when Cecily finds the first body . . .

Published February 17th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*

The Gifts by Liz Hyder

SYNOPSIS:
The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory

In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .

October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.

Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .

THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.

Published February 17th by Manilla Press. Buy here*

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

SYNOPSIS:
Deadly storms. An ancient curse. Will her sacrifice save them all?

For generations, deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curse them with death and despair. To appease him, each year a maiden is thrown into the sea, in the hopes that one day the ‘true bride’ will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe Shim Cheong – Mina’s brother’s beloved – to be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is sacrificed, Mina’s brother follows her, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina finds the Sea God, trapped in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man and a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits, Mina sets out to wake him and bring an end to the storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: a human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking . . .

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a magical feminist retelling of a classic Korean legend, perfect for fans of Uprooted and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

Published February 22nd by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*

Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker

SYNOPSIS:
WHO WILL SURVIVE THE NIGHT?

A nightmare jolts Debs awake. She leaves the kids tucked up in their beds and goes downstairs. There’s a man in her kitchen, holding a knife. But it’s not an intruder. This is her husband Marc, the father of her children. A man she no longer recognises.

Once their differences were what drew them together, what turned them on. Him, the ex-army officer from a good family. Her, the fitness instructor who grew up over a pub. But now these differences grate to the point of drawing blood. Marc screams in his sleep. And Debs hardly knows the person she’s become, or why she lets him hurt her.

Neither of them is completely innocent. Neither is totally guilty. Marc is taller, stronger, and more vicious, haunted by a war he can’t forget. But he has no idea what Debs is capable of when her children’s lives are at stake…

A powerful exploration of a relationship built on passion, poisoned by secrets and violence. Perfect for readers of Blood Orange and Big Little Lies.

Published February 24th by Viper. Buy here*

The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola

SYNOPSIS:
Paris, 1750.

In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.

Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.

For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.

And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…

A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.

Published March 3rd by Orion. Buy here*

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

SYNOPSIS:
Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants

A beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine.

Where nothing goes unseen.
And everyone has a story to unlock.

The watchful concierge
The scorned lover
The prying journalist
The naïve student
The unwanted guest

Something terrible happened here last night.
A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.

Only you – and the killer – hold the key . . .

Published March 3rd by Harper Collins. Buy here*

The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville

SYNOPSIS:
Part ghost story, part novel of suspense The Marsh House is the haunting second novel from the author of The Night of the Flood where two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by one, mysterious house on the North Norfolk coast.

December, 1962. Desperate to create a happy Christmas for her young daughter, Franny, after a disastrous year, Malorie rents a remote house on the Norfolk coast. But once there, the strained silence between them feels louder than ever. As Malorie digs for decorations in the attic, she comes across the notebooks of the teenaged Rosemary, who lived in the house thirty years before. Trapped inside by a blizzard, and with long days and nights ahead of her, Malorie begins to read. Though she knows she needs to focus on the present, she finds herself inexorably drawn into the past…

July, 1931. Rosemary lives in the Marsh House with her austere father, surrounded by unspoken truths and rumours. So when the glamorous Lafferty family move to the village, she succumbs easily to their charm. Dazzled by the beautiful Hilda and her dashing brother, Franklin, Rosemary fails to see the danger that lurks beneath their bright façades…

As Malorie reads Rosemary’s diary, past and present begin to merge in this moving story of mothers and daughters, family obligation and deeply buried secrets.

Published March 3rd by Apollo. Buy here*

Sundial by Catriona Ward

SYNOPSIS:
You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.

Published March 10th by Viper. Buy here*

The Awakenings by Sarah Maine

SYNOPSIS:
An immersive and compelling novel that explores the struggle by two women, divided across centuries, for control over their lives, set against a beautiful historical backdrop.

‘An echo of Daphne du Maurier’ Independent

Yorkshire, 1890. Having lost her father and brothers in tragic circumstances, Olwen Malkon is forced to leave her childhood home to live with her uncle’s family. In his chill vicarage, however, she fears that she is also losing her mind, as strange dreams take her into the life of Ælfwyn, a woman from a distant past whose fate is overshadowed by menace and betrayal.

In the grip of these afflictions, Olwen finds sympathy with the local doctor, John Osbourne, who is intrigued by her case. Suspecting darker undercurrents are at work, John comes into conflict with Olwen’s family, who dismiss her as a hysteric and, when he seeks to protect her, with the law.

As the dreams intensify, danger awaits them both. But when they begin to mirror reality, she and John start to suspect that it is these visions of the past which hold the answers . . .

Published March 17th by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*

First Born by Will Dean

SYNOPSIS:
THE LAST THING A TWIN EXPECTS IS TO BE ALONE …

Molly
 lives a quiet, contained life in London. Naturally risk averse, she gains comfort from security and structure. Every day the same.

Her identical twin Katie is her exact opposite: gregarious and spontaneous. They used to be inseparable, until Katie moved to New York a year ago. Molly still speaks to her daily without fail.

But when Molly learns that Katie has died suddenly in New York, she is thrown into unfamiliar territory. Katie is part of her DNA. As terrifying as it is, she must go there and find out what happened. As she tracks her twin’s last movements, cracks begin to emerge. Nothing is what it seems. And a web of deceit is closing around her.

Delivering the same intensity of pace and storytelling that made THE LAST THING TO BURN a word-of-mouth sensation, FIRST BORN will surprise, shock and enthral.

Published April 14th by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*

Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

SYNOPSIS:
Into the Dark is the new dark and gripping crime thriller from Fiona Cummins about revenge, greed, ambition and the true cost of friendship.

THE PLACE: Seawings, a beautiful Art Deco home overlooking the sweep of the bay in Midtown-on-Sea.

THE CRIME: The gilded Holden family – Piper and Gray and their two teenage children, Riva and Artie – has vanished from the house without a trace.

THE DETECTIVE: DS Saul Anguish, brilliant but with a dark past, treads the narrow line between light and shade.

One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage. But the house is deserted.

In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:

Make
Them
Stop.

What happens next?

Published April 14th by Pan Macmillan. Buy here*

Elektra by Jennifer Saint

SYNOPSIS:
An exciting and equally lyrical new retelling from Jennifer Saint, the Sunday Times bestselling author of ARIADNE

‘Saint’s immersive novel thrusts the reader straight into the heart of Greek mythology’ ipaper on Ariadne

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?

Published April 28th by Wildfire. Buy here*

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

SYNOPSIS:
The funny, heart-breaking and uplifting new novel from the bestselling author of The Flatshare

Three women. Three dates. One missing man…

8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he?

2.43 p.m. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up?

6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here…

Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.

The No-Show is the brilliantly funny, heart-breaking and joyful new novel from Beth O’Leary about dating, and waiting, and the ways love can find us. An utterly extraordinary tearjerker of a book, this is O’Leary’s most ambitious novel yet.

Published April 28th by Quercus. Buy here*

The Birdcage by Eve Chase

SYNOPSIS:
Some secrets need to be set free . . .

When half-sisters Kat, Flora and Lauren are unexpectedly summoned to Rock Point, the remote Cornish house where they spent their childhood summers, it is the first time they have been there together since their artist father painted them in the celebrated Girls and Birdcage.

Since then they have drifted apart into wildly different lives, each one determined to forget the fateful summer of twenty years ago.

But when they arrive at Rock Point it is clear they are not alone.

Someone is lurking in the shadows, watching their every move. Someone who remembers what they did, and has been waiting for their return.

As the events of that summer rise closer to the surface, will the three sisters escape unscathed for a second time? Or are some secrets too powerful to remain under lock and key?

An emotional mystery full of dark secrets and twists, transporting the reader to the rugged remote landscape of north Cornwall.

Published April 28th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

SYNOPSIS:
From the author of This Lovely City comes a new historical murder mystery, this time set on board the Queen Mary

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

MURDER

Miss Aldridge Regrets is the exquisite new novel from Louise Hare, the author of This Lovely City. A brilliant murder mystery, it also explores class, race and pre-WWII politics, and will leave readers reeling from the beauty and power of it.

Published April 28th by HQ. Buy here*

Beggar’s Abbey by V.L. Valentine

SYNOPSIS:
A dark house filled with darker secrets…

Winter 1954, and in a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn, Sam Cooper realises that she has nothing left. Her mother is dead, she has no prospects, and she cannot afford the rent. But as she goes through her mother’s things, Sam finds a stack of hidden letters that reveal a family and an inheritance that she never knew she had, three thousand miles away in Yorkshire.

Begars Abbey is a crumbling pile, inhabited only by Sam’s crippled grandmother, Lady Cooper, a housekeeper and a handful of servants. Sam cannot understand why her mother kept its very existence a secret, but her diaries offer a glimpse of a young girl growing increasingly terrified. As is Sam herself.

Built on the foundations of an old convent, Begars moves and sings with the biting wind. Her grandmother cannot speak, and a shadowy woman moves along the corridors at night. For there are dark places in the hidden tunnels beneath Begars. And they will not give up their secrets easily…

Perfect for readers of Laura Purcell and Natasha Pulley, Begars Abbey will keep you up at night.

Published April 28th by Viper. Buy here*

Idol by Louise O’Neill

SYNOPSIS:
‘Follow your heart and speak your truth.’

For Samantha Miller’s young fans – her ‘girls’ – she’s everything they want to be. She’s an oracle, telling them how to live their lives, how to be happy, how to find and honour their ‘truth’.

And her career is booming: she’s just hit three million followers, her new book Chaste has gone straight to the top of the bestseller lists and she’s appearing at sell-out events.

Determined to speak her truth and bare all to her adoring fans, she’s written an essay about her sexual awakening as a teenager, with her female best friend, Lisa. She’s never told a soul but now she’s telling the world. The essay goes viral.

But then – years since they last spoke – Lisa gets in touch to say that she doesn’t remember it that way at all. Her memory of that night is far darker. It’s Sam’s word against Lisa’s – so who gets to tell the story? Whose ‘truth’ is really a lie?

‘You put yourself on that pedestal, Samantha. You only have yourself to blame.’

Riveting, compulsive and bold, IDOL interrogates our relationship with our heroes and explores the world of online influencers, asking how well we can ever really know those whose carefully curated profiles we follow online. And it asks us to consider how two memories of the same event can differ, and how effortlessly we choose which stories to believe.

Published May 12th by Bantam Press. Buy here*

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

SYNOPSIS:
Can you stop a murder after it’s already happened?

It’s every parent’s nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost.

That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . .

. . . and it is yesterday.

Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers,and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .

Published May 12th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

SYNOPSIS:
‘Shot through with spirit and hope, it’s one hell of a book’ Stylist, Books You Can’t Miss in 2022

A nurse at the Family Planning Clinic in Montgomery Alabama, Civil Townsend is passionate about putting choice into women’s hands. She brings the option of birth control to their doorsteps, and with it the right to determine their own destinies. Or so she believes.

When she is assigned to administer birth control to two school-age Black girls, the Williams sisters, who live off an old unpaved road in a shack without running water, Civil can’t help but feel uneasy. She grows close to the family and becomes fiercely invested in their well-being. And then she makes a shocking discovery: the girls have been involuntarily sterilized. Civil is horrified that such a terrible mistake could have taken place, and vows to get to the bottom of it. She soon learns that this is no isolated event but a pattern, far more serious than she could ever have imagined, targeting poor Black women. Could her clinic be responsible? Had she and her fellow Black nurses been complicit? No matter how ugly, Civil is determined for the truth to be brought to light.

Based on true events, Take My Hand brims with hope, compassion, and the burning pursuit of justice.

Published May 12th by Phoenix. Buy here*

The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave

SYNOPSIS:
In Strasbourg, in the boiling hot summer of 1518, a plague strikes the women of the city. First it is just one – a lone figure, dancing in the main square – but she is joined by more and more and the city authorities declare an emergency. Musicians will be brought in. The devil will be danced out of these women.

Just beyond the city’s limits, pregnant Lisbet lives with her mother-in-law and husband, tending the bees that are their livelihood. Her best friend Ida visits regularly and Lisbet is so looking forward to sharing life and motherhood with her. And then, just as the first woman begins to dance in the city, Lisbet’s sister-in-law Nethe returns from six years’ penance in the mountains for an unknown crime. No one – not even Ida – will tell Lisbet what Nethe did all those years ago, and Nethe herself will not speak a word about it.

It is the beginning of a few weeks that will change everything for Lisbet – her understanding of what it is to love and be loved, and her determination to survive at all costs for the baby she is carrying. Lisbet and Nethe and Ida soon find themselves pushing at the boundaries of their existence – but they’re dancing to a dangerous tune . . .

From Kiran Millwood Hargrave, the bestselling author of The MerciesThe Dance Tree is a heart-stopping story of family secrets, forbidden love and women pushed to the edge.

Published May 12th by Picador. Buy here*

Do No Harm by Jack Jordan

SYNOPSIS:
My son has been taken. And I’ve been given a choice…
Kill a patient on the operating table. Or never see him again.

The man lies on the table in front of me.
As a surgeon, it’s my job to save him.
As a mother, I know I must kill him.
You might think that I’m a monster.
But there really is only one choice.
I must get away with murder.
Or I will never see my son again.

I’VE SAVED MANY LIVES.
WOULD YOU TRUST ME WITH YOURS?

DON’T MISS THE HEART-STOPPING THRILLER OF 2022
#DONOHARM

Published May 26th by Simon and Schuster. Buy here*

Madwoman by Louisa Treger

SYNOPSIS:
In 1887 young Nellie Bly sets out for New York and a career in journalism, determined to make her way as a serious reporter, whatever that may take.

But life in the city is tougher than she imagined. Down to her last dime and desperate to prove her worth, she comes up with a dangerous plan: to fake insanity and have herself committed to the asylum that looms on Blackwell’s Island. There, she will work undercover to document – and expose – the wretched conditions faced by the patients.

But when the asylum door swings shut behind her, she finds herself in a place of horrors, governed by a harshness and cruelty she could never have imagined. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will – but will she ever get out?

An extraordinary portrait of a woman way ahead of her time, Madwoman is the story of a quest for the truth that changed the world.

Published by Bloomsbury. Buy here*

The Set-Up by Lizzie Dent

SYNOPSIS:
He thinks it’s fate.
She set the whole thing up.

Mara wants to believe in fate – she’s just never had a good reason to. Until now…

After a case of mistaken identity, and the appearance of Joe – a gorgeous Austrian cellist – Mara has the chance to set up her own destiny. But life is complicated… The lido where she works is under threat and her new housemate, Mike, proves to be more than she bargained for.

Will Mara manage to arrange her own happiness? And what if true love is closer to home than she thinks?

Published June 9th by Viking. Buy here*

No Place To Run by Mark Edwards

SYNOPSIS:
No synopsis available.

Published June 21st by Thomas & Mercer. Buy here*

The Bay by Allie Reynolds

SYNOPSIS:
There’s a darkness inside all of us and The Bay has a way of bringing it out. Everyone here has their secrets but we don’t go looking for them. Because sometimes it’s better not to know.

The waves are to die for at The Bay. It’s a paradise they would kill to keep. The Beach meets Point Break in the thriller of the summer by Allie Reynolds.

Kenna arrives in Sydney to surprise her best friend, shocked to hear she’s going to marry a guy she’s only just met. But Mikki and her fiancé Jack are about to head away on a trip, so Kenna finds herself tagging along for the ride.

Sorrow Bay is beautiful, wild and dangerous. A remote surfing spot with waves to die for, cut off from the rest of the world. Here Kenna meets the mysterious group of people who will do anything to keep their paradise a secret. Sky, Ryan, Clemente and Victor have come to ride the waves and disappear from life. How will they feel about Kenna turning up unannounced?

As Kenna gets drawn into their world, she sees the extremes they are prepared to go to for the next thrill. And everyone seems to be hiding something. What has her best friend got involved in and how can she get her away? But one thing is rapidly becoming clear about The Bay: nobody ever leaves.

Published June 23rd by Headline. Buy here*

The Guest House by Ronin Morga-Bentley

SYNOPSIS:
KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE.
WHATEVER THE COST…

Jamie and Victoria are expecting their first baby.

With a few weeks to go, they head off for a final weekend break in a remote part of the North Pennines. The small and peaceful guesthouse is the ideal location to unwind together before becoming parents. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Barry and Fiona, the older couple who run the guesthouse. They cook them dinner and show them to their room before retreating to bed themselves.

The next morning, Jamie and Victoria wake to find the house deserted. Barry and Fiona are nowhere to be seen. All the doors are locked. Both their mobile phones and car keys have disappeared. Even though it’s a few weeks early, Victoria knows the contractions are starting.

The baby is coming, and there’s no way out.

Published June 23rd by Orion. Buy here*

The Guilty Couple by C.L. Taylor

SYNOPSIS:
The Sunday Times and million copy bestseller returns with her most pulse-pounding, page-turning book yet.

Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was wrongfully convicted of plotting to murder her husband.

Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals: repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, clear her name, and bring down her husband – the man who framed her. 

Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her? Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…

Published June 23rd by Avon. Buy here*

The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

SYNOPSIS:
Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a poignant, thought-provoking but ultimately uplifting story of memory and love, grief, loss and the things we leave behind. It is another brilliant novel from an author who seems to have the absolute knack of writing topical, engaging, heartwarming stories which really connect with readers.

Published July 7th by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*

My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson

SYNOPSIS:
What if your murderous fantasies start to come true?

Someone is trying to frame me for murder.

They’re hurting people in the ways I write about – and making sure I’m the prime suspect.

I think I know why.

But I can’t tell the police or even use my rock-solid alibi . . .

Because then I’d have to confess about my other husband.

A series of terrifying murders. A set of complex lies.

And a woman with no way to clear her name.

My Other Husband is the latest gripping thriller from the Queen of The Big Reveal.

Published July 7th by Headline. Buy here*

Truly Darkly Deeply by Victoria Selman

SYNOPSIS:
12-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 murders, 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?

Published July 7th by Quercus. Buy here*

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

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.

Published July 19th by Minotaur Books. Buy here*

The Retreat by Sarah Pearse

SYNOPSIS:
Most are here to recharge and refresh.
But someone’s here for revenge . . .

The addictive new thriller from the global bestselling author of The Sanatorium.
___________________________________

An eco-wellness retreat has opened on an island off the coast of Devon, promising rest and relaxation – but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumoured to be cursed. DS Elin Warner is called to the retreat when a young woman’s body is found on the rocks below the yoga pavilion, in what seems to be a tragic fall. But the victim wasn’t a guest – she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

When a man drowns in a diving incident the following day, Elin starts to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the retreat – and who else is in danger?

Elin must find the killer – before the island’s history starts to repeat itself . . .

Published July 21st by Bantam Press. Buy here*

That Bonesetter Woman by Frances Quinn

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…

Published August 4th by Simon and Schuster. Buy here*

The Last Party by Clare Macintosh

SYNOPSIS:
On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests.

His lakeside holiday homes are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbours. This will be the party to end all parties.

But not everyone is there to celebrate. By midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake.

On New Year’s Day, DC Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects.

The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbours, friends and family – and Ffion has her own secrets to protect.

With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead . . . but who finally killed him.

In a village with this many secrets, a murder is just the beginning.

Published August 4th by Sphere. Buy here*

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

SYNOPSIS:
Daisy Darker is an all-consuming tale of psychological suspense with a spectacular twist from the internationally bestselling author Alice Feeney

Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see . . .

Daisy Darker is arriving at her grandmother’s house for her eightieth birthday. It is Halloween, and Seaglass – the crumbling Cornish house perched upon its own tiny private island – is at one with the granite rocks it sits on. The Darker family haven’t all been in the same place for over a decade, and when the tide comes in they’ll be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours. When the tide goes back out, nothing will ever be the same again, because one of them is a killer . . .

Published August 18th by Pan MacMillan. Buy here*

Something Wicked by Laura Purcell

SYNOPSIS:
From the Sunday Times bestselling author comes a gripping tale of obsession, superstition and ambition, set against the atmospheric backdrop of Victorian London. Be careful what you wish for… it may just come true.

By the pricking of my thumbs…

At The Mercury Theatre in London’s West End, rumours are circulating of a curse.

It is said that the lead actress Lilith has made a pact with Melpomene, the tragic muse of Greek mythology, to become the greatest actress to ever grace the stage. Suspicious of Lilith, the jealous wife of the theatre owner sends dresser Jenny to spy on her, and desperate for the money to help her family, Jenny agrees.

What Jenny finds is a woman as astonishing in her performance as she is provocative in nature. On stage, it’s as though Lilith is possessed by the characters she plays, yet off stage she is as tragic as the Muse who inspires her, and Jenny, sorry for her, befriends the troubled actress. But when strange events begin to take place around the theatre, Jenny wonders if the rumours are true, and fears that when the Muse comes calling for payment, the cost will be too high.

…Something Wicked this way comes

Published August 25th by Raven Books. Buy here*

The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson

SYNOPSIS:
When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her.

Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away.

More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.

A beautifully uplifting novel about how one chance meeting can change the course of your life

Published September 8th by Zaffre. Buy here*

**********

So what do you think? Will you be adding any of these to your tbr? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx


Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Uncategorised

Blog Tour: The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Publisher: Raven Books
Published: January 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Gothic Fiction, Romance Fiction

Happy Publication Day to one of my favourite authors. I’m thrilled to be taking part in the tour for this novel on release day. Thank you to Raven Books for my gifted ARC and to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the blog tour.

SYNOPSIS:

Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness…

A struggling silhouette artist in Victorian Bath seeks out a renowned child spirit medium in order to speak to the dead – and to try and identify their killers – in this beguiling new tale from Laura Purcell.

Silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another…

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…

What secrets lie hidden in the darkness?

MY REVIEW:

“Wicked deeds require the cover of darkness.” 

A clever mix of whodunnit and ghost story, The Shape of Darkness is told with Purcell’s signature flair of haunting, gothic prose against a chilling and beautiful historic backdrop with richly drawn and memorable characters. 

Agnes is a silhouette artist struggling to make ends meet thanks to advancements in the field that have made her craft almost obsolete. When the few customers she does have start to turn up viciously murdered, she becomes the police’s prime suspect and sets out to find a way to prove her innocence; determined to both clear her name and save her business. 

Eleven-year-old Pearl is a spirit medium who lives with her sister and gravely ill father. She is the main attraction at the seances she and her sister hold, with people coming far and wide to see her in hope of connecting with a loved one they’ve lost. She is the person that Agnes turns to in hope of finding out who has killed her clients. But they soon learn that when you lift the veil to welcome the other side, you might get more than you bargained for. 

“The ghosts are coming. Her arms are glowing, her breath is glowing. She’s being swallowed.” 

Laura Purcell is one of my favourite authors so I was giddy with excitement when I received a stunning proof copy of her latest novel. Atmospheric and chilling, the vivid imagery and descriptions transported me back to 1854, making me feel like I was walking the streets of Bath beside Agnes or cowering in the dark beside Pearl. As always, the book is well researched and includes fascinating historical facts that will both thrill and horrify you (phossy jaw, I’m looking at you). 

Ms. Purcell has a great recipe for the eerie ambience that lingers throughout this book. First, she sets the book in Victorian Bath and its large, gothic houses. Next, she adds a lonely woman mourning a lost love and an albino child whose mother died in childbirth and father hovers on the edge of death. Then, she includes a generous helping of mesmerism, seances, dark shadows, ghostly happenings and murder. Finally, with a sprinkle she includes the mysterious appearance of notes in the handwriting of someone gone from this world that Anges is trying to forget and a pinch of things from beyond the veil that linger when they should have left, you have a deliciously menacing and gothic read. 

Sinister, spooky and mysterious, this book keeps you guessing right until the end. Are Agnes and Pearl really communicating with the dead? Is Agnes really seeing ghosts? Could she be the murderer? 

There were times I found this book a bit slow and, for me, it didn’t quite live up to the glory of her first two books (I am yet to read Bone China), but overall this was a gripping gothic read I would recommend to those who love the genre.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Laura Purcell is a former bookseller living in Colchester, Essex with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

She began her career with two historical novels about the Hanoverian monarchs, Queen of Bedlam and Mistress of the Court.

Her first Gothic novel for Raven Books, The Silent Companions, was a Radio 2 Book Club pick, was selected for the Zoe Ball ITV Book Club and was the winner of the Thumping Good Read Award. Her other Gothic titles include The Corset, Bone China and the upcoming The Shape of Darkness.

In the USA Laura is published by Penguin Books, where The Corset is titled The Poison Thread and Bone China is called The House of Whispers.

Additionally, Laura’s short stories have been published in a number of collections. These include Cameo, featured in Phantoms, Vanitas in the Audible Original Homeless Bodies and Other Stories and Creeping Ivy, coming October 2020 in After Sundown.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Bookshop.org*|Waterstones |Amazon*|Google Books |Apple Books |Kobo
*Links to Bookshop.org and Amazon are affiliate links

Categories
book reviews

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Publisher: Raven
Published: October 5th, 2017
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Ghost Story, Horror

I read this book at the start of 2019 and I have not got around to posting it until now as it took a long time to do the book justice and then have the space in my calendar to post this.

The Silent Companions was one of my favourite books of not just 2019, but the decade too.

SYNOPSIS:

When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting…

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure — a silent companion — that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition — that is until she notices the figures eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect — much like the silent companions themselves.

MY REVIEW:

“There is something about these things. Something wrong.” 

Eerie, atmospheric, terrifying and astounding, this magnificent debut instantly became one of my favourite books ever. But despite how amazing as this book was, I have been at a loss as to how to write this review, and it’s taken months, so I’m thrilled to finally be sharing it.

This book more than lived up to the hype. I was so transfixed that I devoured it, my head full of questions that I needed the answer to. Laura Purcell is a masterful storyteller and exceptional talent. It’s a little unnerving the kind of horror that lies inside her mind. 

I loved the characters in this book such as vacant and naive Sarah, impertinent Mabel, haughty Edna, kind and well-meaning Dr Shepherd, and self-conscious, tempered and scared Elsie. Both Sarah and Elsie grow whilst at The Bridge but it is Elsie in particular who we see the biggest changes in over the course of the book. When we meet the youngest version of Elsie she is newly widowed in a strange house so she’s unsure of herself and feeling lost. But as time goes on she finds more confidence and we see a strong and determined woman emerge. In the asylum she is terrified and simply surviving each day any way she can. It was a heartbreaking decline of a character I became particularly fond of. It also meant never knew what to believe – was Elsie was imagining things or were they actually happening? It seemed the further I got into the story, the more questions and uncertainty I had. 

I did not expect this book to be so chilling and have never been so unnerved by a book. I would vacillate between being so captivated I didn’t want to sleep and then being so terrified that I didn’t dare try. There was an eerie atmosphere at The Bridge in particular. It was like there was a sinister infestation that lingered, echoed in the night, and played tricks on those who lived there. There were numerous times I felt like my heart was pounding out of my chest and I had to take a break. As for the companions, they may have been wooden, but they felt anything but lifeless and there was a sinister malevolence to them that sent shivers down my spine. While I had my theories about who or what the companions were and how it might end, I could never have guessed the breathtaking finale and shocking surprises the author had in store. 

The Silent Companions is an unforgettable and deliciously creepy novel about family, secrets, suspicion, tragedy and terror. If you love well-written books, gothic fiction, and don’t mind being scared witless, then you should read this book. Just make sure you read it with the lights on.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Purcell is a former bookseller and lives in Colchester with her husband and pet guinea pigs.

Her first novel for Raven Books The Silent Companions won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award 2018 and featured in both the Zoe Ball and Radio 2 Book Clubs. Other Gothic novels include The Corset (US title The Poison Thread), Bone China and The Shape of Darkness (2020),

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
BUY THE BOOK:
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Categories
book reviews Uncategorised

May Wrap Up

That’s another month wrapped! We’re now almost half way through the year and Summer is nearly here.

So how has May been for everyone? I’ve had a great month and managed to read 14books. Also this month I went to my first author event and book signing since joining bookstagram. I still plan to do a blog post about it but as with some of the reviews I’m a little behind so please bear with me.

So let’s take a look at what I read in May:

  1. ‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain? This is what Dorothea Truelove doesn’t know when she begins to visit the alleged murderess in prison. A dark, haunting, atmospheric and chilling gothic novel this book was impossible to put down. While telling a great story the author also highlights important issues and takes an interesting look at mental health and women’s roles in society in Victorian times. With this book Laura Purcell has solidified her place in my top authors list.                                      Out Now
  2. ‘The Au Pair’ by Emma Rous ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This family saga that echoes the writing style of V. C. Andrews and combines it with the mysteries of Gillian Flynn. Twins Seraphine and Danny Mayes are the first twins born on their family’s estate in years. But the same day they’re born their mother plunges to her death and the au pair disappears. Ever since, whispers of folklore have followed the twins and left Seraphine feeling like she doesn’t belong. Who is she? And what exactly happened the day she and her brother were born? My review for this novel will be published closer to the release date but I will say that this is a book full of surprising twists that kept me guessing throughout.                                                                                  Published July 11th
  3. ‘The Flat Share’ by Beth O’Leary ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 – This was a refreshing, witty novel that wasn’t your average chic lit. Full of soul, heart, courage and spirit, this is a book that not only deals with romance but also the heavier topics of toxic relationships and PTSD. It perfectly balances the whimsical and the darker sides making it relatable and uplifting. This book has been everywhere and actually lives up to all the hype.                                                                                                                                  Out Now
  4. ‘After The End’ by Clare Macintosh ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A heartbreaking and impossible dilemma is handled in a beautiful, sensitive and original way in this emotional novel. This isn’t the kind of book you expect from this Ms Macintosh but it could be her best yet. My review will be posted on publication day.                              Published June 25th
  5. ‘The Neighbour’ by Fiona Cummins ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – FOR SALE: A lovely family home with a good-sized garden and trees occupying a plot close to woodland. Perfect for kids, fitness enthusiasts, dog-walkers…And, it seems, a perfect hunting ground for a serial killer. This tense, gripping thriller is one I’m behind on the review for.             Out Now
  6. ‘For The Love Of Books’ by Graham Tarrant ⭐⭐⭐.5 – A book about books! This is a light-hearted and quick read that biblophiles will enjoy. While I did find some parts a little tedious, this was overall a fun read.                                                           Published June 4th
  7. ‘Hello My Name Is May’ by Rosalind Stopps ⭐⭐⭐⭐- This book was not what I expected, but in a good way. Told in dual timelines, present-day May is sharp, witty, scathing and frustrated at the loss of her ability to speak and control her body after a stroke. Back in the late ‘70s young May is a woman living in fear who feels trapped in her life and too terrified to change it. This is a book that is enjoyable but also hard to read as it tackles domestic and elder abuse in a raw and honest way. A gripping and touching read with a ending that shook me to the core.Out now
  8. ‘Someone You Know’ by Olivia Isaac-Henry ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – When the body of Tess’s twin sister, Edie is found two decades after she disappeared Tess decides it’s finally time to discover the truth about what happened to her beloved sister. A captivating thriller full of twists and turns.                                                                                            Out Now
  9. ‘The Missing Years’ by Lexie Elliott ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – The eerie and bizarre is woven throughout this tale about family and self-discovery from the outset. Atmospheric, haunting, creepy and macabre with shocking twists and an ending that I wasn’t prepared for. This is a steady-paced and engrossing read that’s perfect for anyone who loves a good thriller.Published June 6th  
  10. ‘Lying Next To You’ by Gregg Olsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 – I devoured this addictive, fast-paced novel and would have read it in one sitting if not for that pesky thing called sleep…The bombshell finale had my jaw on the floor and it is a testament to the writing how I can instantly recall lines that now have a completely different meaning and were a subtle foreshadowing of the truth. Lying Next To Me is a story about family, love, lust, sex, secrets, betrayal, desperation and revenge. I highly recommend this dramatic, layered, tense and twisty thriller. Just make sure you have plenty of time spare as you won’t want to put it down.                                            Out Now
  11. ‘The Queen of Hearts’ by Kimmery Martin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I loved this book so  much that I could read it every day and it would bring me joy. This debut novel is not just a pretty book, it’s a spectacular novel that had me savouring every word and completely immersed in the pages. The author has created the perfect amalgamation of her two loves: medicine and literature. Intelligent, funny, mesmerising and at times gut-wrenching, I highly recommend this to everyone.   Out Now.
  12. ‘Before She Was Found’ by Heather Gudenkauf ⭐⭐⭐.5 – Three twelve year old girls walked into a train yard and two come out unscathed… Having your child attacked and almost killed is every parents worst nightmare. Or is it? What if your child was suspected of attempting to kill their friend? This was a twisty, readable thriller that opens with a chilling first chapter and keeps it’s secrets right up until the final pages.                                                                                                          Published  June 13th 
  13. ‘The Confessions of Frannie Langton’ by Sara Collins ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve yet to publish my review for this novel but this could have easily been my book of the month. This is one of those books that reaches into your soul. It tells the story of Frances Langton, a former slave who is awaiting trial for the murder of her Master and Mistress. Frannie says she couldn’t have done it because she loved her Mistress. This book deals with important issues from the era , some of which are still relevant today. A spectacular debut novel that I highly recommend. The review will be up on the blog soon.                                                                                                                          Out Now
  14. ‘The Last Widow’ by Karin Slaughter ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – An exciting, absorbing, and frighteningly real thriller, this novel is an example of why Ms Slaughter is one of the world’s most acclaimed authors. The story begins with an abduction in a shopping centre car park and then jumps forward to a month later. The rest of the story takes place over a tense three days. I’m currently in the process of writing the review for this book and it should be up on the blog in the next few days, but trust me when I say this is a thriller you don’t want to miss.                                      Published June 13th

My favourite book this month was The Queen of Hearts, although The Confessions of Frannie Langton is so good they almost tie as my favourites.

Have you read any of these books or are they in your TBR pile? What was your favourite book in May? Comment below.

Thank you to Kimmery Martin, Atlantic Books, Corvus Books, Quercus Books, Harper Collins UK, Little Brown Book Group UK, Thomas & Mercer, HQ, Avon Books UK, Skyhorse Publishing and NetGalley for my copies of these novels in exchange for an honest review.