Welcome to the first monthly wrap up of 2022. It has been a slow month for me and I’ve only read 9 books, but quality is more important than quantity and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read. I’ve also enjoyed having less pressure, being able to really savour books, and felt able to take a break from reading to rest when needed because of chronic illness flares a few times this month.
I started my reading year with Demon, the latest installment in one of my favourite series, the Six Stories Series by Matt Wesolowski. It follows Scott King who hosts a podcast called Six Stories that investigate crimes with an element of the strange and mysterious, looking at them six different ways as he tries to discover what really happened. In Demon Scott investigates a heinous crime: the brutal, senseless murder of a child by two other children, two boys mired in grief and trauma, in a rural Yorkshire village. Can he sift through the rumours and folklore and discover what really happened that summer day? Unsettling, dark, haunting and addictive, Demon has all of Wesolowski’s signature flair and style, ensuring this is a book you won’t forget.
Wahala was one of my most anticipated debuts of the year and it did not disappoint. A story of friendship, family, identity, race and secrets it lives up to it’s name (Wahala is a Nigerian Pidgin word meaning trouble). The characters are flawed, fascinating and fabulous, the food makes you want to eat, and the author has filled the book with humour, chaos and tension that keeps you hooked. This is a book that everyone will be talking about and I can’t wait to binge on the series that is already in development.
Published: January 6th, 2022 Publisher: HQ Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Magical Realism, Fairy Tale
The Unravelling is a beautiful novel. Polly Crosby is a masterful storyteller who expertly weaves intricate and mutlilayered stories that are impossible to put down. I had been eagerly anticipating this book ever since reading her debut at the end of 2019 and it was worth the wait. A story of grief, mystery and metamorphosis set on an isolated island, this hypnotic, haunting and atmospheric tale is one not to be missed.
Mesmerising, beguiling and darkly atmospheric, The Key in the Lock is gothic fiction at its finest. I quickly devoured this captivating story that follows Ivy Boscawen, a mother struggling to come to terms with the loss of her son who is also still haunted by events that took place three decades earlier. The evocative imagery sets an eerie, haunting scene and sent shivers down my spine, making this hard to read at night in places. The plot is clever and intricately woven, keeping you guessing right until the very end. It was my first time reading this author and I have now bumped her debut higher up my TBR.
Intriguing, mysterious and surprising, The Twyford Code is like nothing I’ve read before. As a puzzle lover, I was intrigued by the idea of a book that contained a hidden code, and it’s no secret that I enjoy a good mystery. The author tells the story in a unique way, using transcriptions of audio files instead of traditional narration. Though I loved this novel way of narrating, it also won’t be for everyone and was tricky to read in places. An original mystery that stands out from the crowd, it is cleverly plotted and full of surprising twists, keeping me guessing from beginning to end.
Wow! What a rollercoaster ride! Crazy, heart-stopping and unputdownable, All For You has everything you could want in a thriller and more. Louise Jensen has knocked it out of the park with this one, crafting a story that is twisty and hard to predict. There’s heartache, trauma, secrets and mystery alongside an exploration of family dynamics, friendship, love, loss and tragedy. Expertly written, this jaw-dropping and addictive thriller is a must read for anyone who enjoys the genre.
Rona Halsall is the queen of the twisty, morally complex thriller, and she’s delivered another knock-out with The Guest Room. This gripping tale will pull you in, mess with your mind and then spit you out when it’s done. I thought I could predict where this was going but I was totally wrong, once again fooled by Ms. Halsall’s skillfully written red herrings. If you love thrillers and this author isn’t on your TBR, then you need ot change that now!
You can read my review on February 1st as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
Published: January 20th, 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction
The Gosling Girl is another debut that was on my list of most anticipated debuts this year. Thought-provoking, poignant and totally riveting, this is a story that will linger long after you close it’s pages. The author examines some heavy topics such as the nature of evil, childhood crime and racism in this powerful story, asking difficult questions and unnerving you with some of the emotions you will feel. It follows a young woman who is fresh out of prison and trying to adjust to life on the outside. It’s a life that she has never really known after being imprisoned aged just ten after murdering a four-year-old in one of the country’s most shocking murders. She has had to change her identity to prevent vigilante justice and lives in fear of people finding out who she really is. The Gosling Girl is a powerful and piercing novel that I think everyone should read.
You can read my review on February 3rd as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs
Published: February 3rd, 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
It’s probably no surprise that the gorgeous cover of this book is what first made me want to pick it up, but I was delighted to discover that this is one of those times where what is on the inside is just as beautiful as what is on the outside. A story of food, poetry, strength, endurance and friendship, the author merges fact and fiction to tell the story of how Eliza Acton wrote what would become the greatest British cookbook of all time. Told in alternating chapters by Eliza and her assistant Ann Kirby, this spectacular and immersive novel made me fall in love. Read it now!
You can read my review on February 4th as part of the blog tour. Buy the book*
Despite only reading nine books, it has been so hard to choose a book of the month. Five of the books could have taken the title with The Unravelling, The Key in the Lock, All For You, The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food all being contenders. After a lot of deliberation, I have decided that my book of the month is…
Ok, technically it’s books of the month. I just couldn’t choose between The Gosling Girl and The Language of Food, two spectacular books that I think will be in my top books of 2022.
Did we read any of the same books this month? Or are any of these on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this crazy, heart-stopping thriller. Thank you to HQ for the invitation to take part and to Louise Jensen for my signed copy of the book.
MEET THE WALSH FAMILY
Lucy: Loving mother. Devoted wife. And falling to pieces. Aidan: Dedicated father. Faithful husband. And in too deep. Connor:Hardworking son. Loyal friend. But can never tell the truth.
Everyone in this family is hiding something, but one secret will turn out to be the deadliest of all . . .
Can this family ever recover when the truth finally comes out?
“The hands of the clock tick out their warning as they march from the present into the future. More than anything I wish I could wind them back and step into the past. Rewrite history. Keep us safe.”
Wow! What a rollercoaster ride this was! All For You has everything you could want in a thriller and more. Heart-pounding, tense and unputdownable it gets its hooks into you at the start and doesn’t let go. And I suggest you simply hold on and enjoy the ride.
I knew Louise Jensen wrote a good psychological thriller, but this time she really knocked it out of the park. Fast-paced and vividly written, this book was crazy! In the best way. Cleverly and intricately plotted, this is a layered, complex and nuanced story with so much beneath the surface waiting to be revealed. You feel the foreboding, mystery and dark secrets looming from the first page and the pain and torment flow from every pore as the author explores the dynamics of family life, friendships, love, loss and tragedy, as well as the reality of living with someone with a chronic and potentially fatal illness alongside the mystery. I was desperate to know what this family was hiding and why they thought someone would want revenge. I loved how hard this was to predict and how the slight shift in part two brought something new and surprising to the story that ramps up the tension you already feel, leaving me flying through the remaining pages to discover the truth.
“Suddenly, he knew what madness looked like. He was staring it straight in the eyes.”
I love a well-written multiple pov story and this one pulls it off flawlessly.The narrators are richly drawn and intriguing characters. They are all hiding something, making them unreliable narrators, and I soon began to wonder if they are keeping the same secret or if there were multiple skeleton’s hidden in this family’s closet. The author writes them all so skillfully, really getting inside the tortured souls of this family and bringing them to life.
This book blew me away and I’m still reeling from the cascade of shocking revelations that came as we approached the finale. Jaw-dropping and addictive, this is a must read for thriller fans.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers ‘The Sister’, ‘The Gift’, ‘The Surrogate’, ‘The Date’, ‘The Family’ & ‘The Stolen Sisters’. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s seventh thriller, ‘All For You’, will be published in Autumn 2020 by Harper Collins.
Louise has been nominated for multiple awards including Goodreads Debut Author Of The Year, The Guardians ‘Not The Booker Prize’, best polish thriller of 2018 and she has also been listed for two CWA Dagger awards. All of Louise’s thrillers are currently under option for TV & film.
Louise also has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heart-breaking, high-concept love stories under the pen name Amelia Henley. ‘The Life We Almost Had’ was an international best seller. her latest release ‘The Art of Loving You’ is out now.
Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.
It’s the start of a new year and with all the Most Anticipated of 2022 lists I’m late sharing my first Emma’s Anticipated Treasures of 2022 and what January releases I’m most excited about.
January is a great month for new books. The 20th is particularly full of new releases that I’m excited for and it was tricky getting this list down to ‘just’ 26 books.
So without further ado, here are the books I’m looking forward to most that are released this month:
The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman
Published: January 4th Publisher: Hot Key Books Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Four siblings. A country in ruin. One quest to save them all.
Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic – a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict – she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.
Vira’s only hope is to find a mysterious object of legend: the Ivory Key, rumoured to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings, torn apart by broken relationships and the different paths their lives have taken. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key – and even more to lose if they fail. Ronak plans to sell it to the highest bidder in exchange for escape from his impending political and unwanted marriage. Kaleb, falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani, needs it to clear his name. And Riya, the runaway sibling who cut all family ties, wants the Key to prove her loyalty to the rebels who took her in.
They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harbouring secrets and their own conflicting agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family – and their world – for good.
First in a duology from an incredible new talent, this Indian-inspired fantasy debut is epic, fierce and magnetically addictive, taking you on a thrilling journey where magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war.
Published: January 6th Publisher: HQ Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Magical Realism, Fantasy Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A darkly beautiful dual-timeline novel with a captivating mystery, for fans of Diane Setterfield, Kate Morton, Kate Mosse 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 Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Psychological Fiction
SYNOPSIS: SEX AND THE CITY with a killer edge for fans of QUEENIE, EXPECTATION and MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER
SOON TO BE A MAJOR BBC TV SERIAL ————
Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English. Not all of them choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.
Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.
Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.
Published: January 6th Publisher: Zaffre Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Ghost Story, Historical Mystery, War Story
SYNOPSIS: A gripping, unsettling mystery with a classic feel, for fans of Agatha Christie
The drive leads past the gate house and through the trees towards the big house, visible through the winter-bared branches. Its windows stare down at Harkin and the sea beyond . . .
January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new, civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea-mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts – both real and imagined – the Prendevilles, the noble family within, co-existing only as the balance of their secrets is kept.
Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, eldest daughter of Lord Kilcolgan, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column insist they left her alive, that someone else must have been responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud’s former fiancé, is sent to investigate, becoming an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.
Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house’s secrets – and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, each family member’s allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find out the truth about Maud’s death before the past – and his strange, unnerving surroundings – overwhelm him?
A haunting, atmospheric mystery set against the raw Irish landscape in a country divided, The Winter Guest is the perfect chilling read.
For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.
Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…
Anything Could Happen is a warm, wise, funny and uplifting novel about love, second chances and the unexpected and extraordinary paths life can take us down.
Published: January 11th Publisher: Picador Genre: Historical Ficftion, Dystopian Fiction
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 becomes unputdownable . . . Amidst the worst travails and political pressures, the primacy of human bonds is irreducible, a truth that lies at the heart of this frightening and very beautiful novel.’ –Literary Review
‘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 fin–de–siecle 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.
SYNOPSIS: INSPIRED BY THE WOMAN WHO FOUNDED SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY
The captivating story of a trailblazing young woman who fought against incredible odds to bring one of the most important books of the twentieth century to the world. For readers of The Paris Library and The Paris Wife.
Young, bookish Sylvia Beach knows there is no greater city in the world than Paris. But when she opens an English-language bookshop on the bohemian Left Bank, Sylvia can’t yet know she is making history.
Many leading writers of the day, from Ernest Hemingway to Gertrude Stein, consider Shakespeare and Company a second home. Here some of the most profound literary friendships blossom – and none more so than between James Joyce and Sylvia herself.
When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Sylvia determines to publish it through Shakespeare and Company. But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous book of the century comes at deep personal cost as Sylvia risks ruin, reputation and her heart in the name of the life-changing power of books…
Published: January 13th Publisher: Viper Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction
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.
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.
SYNOPSIS: A ground-breaking debut novel that combines the investigatory pleasures of a legal drama with a provocative and literary exploration of the limits of empathy ‘I loved this highly original and compelling story’ Cathy Rentzenbrink
You are about to enter a novel formed of documents and evidence. Here is the blog of a nurse on a dialysis ward attempting to live in the aftermath of bringing a rape trial to court in which the defendant was exonerated. Here are the transcripts of the police interviews with her, and the accused, the emails and texts between them submitted for trial; his journal, his conversations on 4chan, his drama scripts, him, him, him. How will the nurse, Corina, ever get him out of her head?
This is a highly original debut novel that will win plaudits for its inventiveness at the same time as it compels the reader with the pleasures of suspense and family drama. Provocative, blackly funny and moving, it announces a new voice unlike any other.
Published: January 20th Publisher: Harper Collins UK Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: I am your maid. I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry. But what do you know about me?
Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice?
But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She’s just a maid – but what can she see that others overlook?
Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen. And how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .
Daughter of the Moon Goddess (The Celestial Kingdom Duology Book 1) by Sue Lynn Tan
Published: January 20th Publisher: Harper Voyager UK Genre: Fairy Tale, High Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.
A young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk…
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the powerful Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and her existence is discovered, Xingyin is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train in the Crown Prince’s service, learning to master archery and magic, despite the passion which flames between her and the emperor’s son.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies, across the earth and skies.
But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream —striking a dangerous bargain, where she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice — where love vies with honour, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.
Published: January 20th Publisher: Mantle Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
SYNOPSIS; In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I’m her husband’s mistress.
Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.
Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.
After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.
Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .
The Christie Affair is a stunning novel which reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.
SYNOPSIS: Scott King’s podcast investigates the 1995 cold case of a demon possession in a rural Yorkshire village, where a 12-year-old boy was murdered in cold blood by two children. Book six in the chilling, award-winning Six Stories series.
In 1995, the picture-perfect village of Ussalthwaite was the site of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, in a case that shocked the world.
Twelve-year-old Sidney Parsons was savagely murdered by two boys his own age. No reason was ever given for this terrible crime, and the ‘Demonic Duo’ who killed him were imprisoned until their release in 2002, when they were given new identities and lifetime anonymity.
Elusive online journalist Scott King investigates the lead-up and aftermath of the killing, uncovering dark stories of demonic possession, and encountering a village torn apart by this unspeakable act.
And, as episodes of his Six Stories podcast begin to air, and King himself becomes a target of media scrutiny and the public’s ire, it becomes clear that whatever drove those two boys to kill is still there, lurking, and the campaign of horror has just begun…
Published: January 20th Publisher: Century Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
SYNOPSIS: November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail to New York with 2,000 passengers – and a killer – on board . . .
When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship’s officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.
Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the dead man.
With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.
And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst . . .
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
Published: January 20th Publisher: Riverrun Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A darkly funny, soul-rending novel of love in an epoch of collapse-one woman’s furious revisiting of family, marriage, work, sex, and motherhood.
Since my baby was born, I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things. a) As much as I ever did. b) Not quite as much now. c) Not so much now. d) Not at all. Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.
Bold, tender, and often hilarious, I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness reaffirms Watkins as one of the single writers of our time.
Published: January 20th Publisher: HQ Genre: Suspense, Crime Fiction, Domestic Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: They all have opinions. They all have secrets.
In a small town like West Burntridge, it should be impossible to keep a secret.
Rachel Saunders knows gossip is the price you pay for a rural lifestyle and outstanding schools. The latest town scandal is her divorce – and the fact that her new girlfriend has moved into the family home.
Laura Spence lives in a poky bedsit on the wrong side of town. She and her son Max don’t really belong, and his violent tantrums are threatening to expose the very thing she’s trying to hide.
When the local school introduces a new inclusive curriculum, Rachel and Laura find themselves on opposite sides of a fearsome debate.
But the problem with having your nose in everyone else’s business is that you often miss what is happening in your own home.
SYNOPSIS: 1965. A young white female student becomes involved in the fight for civil rights in North Carolina, falling in love with one of her fellow activists, a Black man, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden from family, friends and especially the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be.
2010. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed, heartbroken that he will never cross the threshold. But when disturbing things begin to happen, it’s clear that someone is sending her a warning. Who is trying to frighten her away, and why?
Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street…
WINNER OF THE 2020 PRIX GONCOURT. 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD. AN INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON.
What do you do if your life is no longer your own?
When flight Air France 006 enters a terrifying storm, the plane – inexplicably – duplicates. For every passenger on board that day, there are now two – a double with the same mind, body and memories.
Just one thing sets them apart. One plane leaves the storm in March. The other doesn’t land until June. For world leaders, the emergence of the June flight raises serious alarms. No science, faith, or protocol can explain this unprecedented event.
But for the passengers, a bigger question is at stake. What happens to them, now that their life is shared? What happens to those who land in June, when their March doubles make decisions that will change their lives forever?
And as the doubles prepare to meet, they have an extraordinary decision to make.
If there are two of them, and just one life . . . who gets to live it?
Published: January 20th Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: ‘A tour de force of engaged storytelling. With heart-wrenching pathos, The Gosling Girl delineates the bleak aftermath for all concerned when one child kills another’ Peter Kalu
Michelle Cameron’s name is associated with the most abhorrent of crimes. A child who lured a younger child away from her parents and to her death, she is known as the black girl who murdered a little white girl; evil incarnate according to the media. As the book opens, she has done her time, and has been released as a young woman with a new identity to start her life again.
When another shocking death occurs, Michelle is the first in the frame. Brought into the police station to answer questions around a suspicious death, it is only a matter of time until the press find out who she is now and where she lives and set about destroying her all over again.
Natalie Tyler is the officer brought in to investigate the murder. A black detective constable, she has been ostracised from her family and often feels she is in the wrong job. But when she meets Michelle, she feels a complicated need to protect her, whatever she might have done.
The Gosling Girl is a moving, powerful account of systemic, institutional and internalised racism, and of how the marginalised fight back. It delves into the psychological after-effects of a crime committed in childhood, exploring intersections between race and class as Michelle’s story is co-opted and controlled by those around her. Jacqueline writes with a cool restraint and The Gosling Girl is a raw and powerful novel that will stay with the reader long after they have turned the last page.
SYNOPSIS: When we go through something impossible, someone, or something, will help us, if we let them . . .
It is October 1966 and William Lavery is having the night of his life at his first black-tie do. But, as the evening unfolds, news hits of a landslide at a coal mine. It has buried a school: Aberfan.
William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job as an embalmer, and it will be one he never forgets.
His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to forget. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves
Published: January 25th Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
SYNOPSIS: ‘Weaves together Ancient Greek myth with suspenseful mystery and beguiling romance…utterly irresistible’ Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.
Perfect for readers who loved The Binding and The Essex Serpent.
London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.
But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.
Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.
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?
How amazing do these sound? I’m fortunate to have already read The Maid and will be a VIP host during Tandem’s 100-strong readalong. It’s going to be a big hit! I am also on the blog tours for a number of these books. So keep an eye out for those reviews.
Are any of these on your tbr? Let me know in the comments.
October is almost upon us, so it’s time for the books I’m most excited about being released. Thanks to October 1st having even more releases than Fiction the Third, this was another month that was difficult to decide, which is why I’m so late posting this month.
So, without further ado, here are my most anticipated books for October:
SYNOPSIS: A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.
It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage.
A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered. And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board…
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: As a big fan of historical fiction and mysteries, this synopsis sings to be. I’ve also heard great things about this author. I’m lucky to have a proof so will be diving in ASAP. Pre-order here
People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Historical Mystery, Medical Thriller
SYNOPSIS: He is my husband. To honour and obey. Until murder do us part.
London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.
Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time her husband stays out late, another victim is found dead.
Is it coincidence? Or is he the man they call Jack the Ripper?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Murder, one of my favourite historical eras, medical fiction and based on a true crime that’s one of the most enduring unsolved murder mysteries in history. This ticks all my boxes. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: For one young girl, discovering what it means to become a woman in a family, a community and a country determined to silence her will take all the courage she has.
Growing up in a small Ugandan village, Kirabo is surrounded by powerful women. Her grandmother, her aunts, her friends and cousins are all desperate for her to conform, but Kirabo is inquisitive, headstrong and determined. Up until now, she has been perfectly content with her life at the heart of this prosperous extended family, but as she enters her teenage years, she begins to feel the absence of the mother she has never known. The First Woman follows Kirabo on her journey to becoming a young woman and finding her place in the world, as her country is transformed by the bloody dictatorship of Idi Amin.
Jennifer Makumbi has written a sweeping tale of longing and rebellion, at once epic and deeply personal, steeped in an intoxicating mix of ancient Ugandan folklore and modern feminism, that will linger in the memory long after the final page.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: The striking cover and fascinating synopsis made this an immediate addition to this list. I’ve been seeing great reviews for it too, so I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. Pre-order here
Mother Mother by Jessica O’Dwyer
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Apprentice House Press Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A married couple in California grapples with race, betrayal, love, and loss when their son comes home from a Guatemalan orphanage.
Contemporary art museum curator Julie Cowan achieves her dream of motherhood through adoption, but her life is far from perfect. Her pathologist husband, Mark, is distracted by his gorgeous, young intern, while her hotshot new museum director boss doubts Julie’s curatorial chops. And Julie’s six-year-old son, Jack (born Juan), may never recover from trauma inflicted by early life spent in a Guatemalan orphanage.
Then Jack suffers a major health crisis, and everything pales next to saving his life. As much as Julie clings to being Jack’s “only” mother, she needs to find his Guatemalan mother to unlock his medical history. Julie hires a professional searcher, and what she learns turns her world upside down. At the same time, Jack’s birth mother, an indigenous Ixil Maya, navigates her own tumultuous path, beginning with surviving a horrific massacre.
In this gripping tale told from alternating perspectives, both mothers must draw on fierce inner strength to reckon with their life choices.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This sounds like an emotional read and I was excited to see it was available to ‘read now’ on Netgalley. So of course I broke my self-imposed request ban to download it. Pre-order here
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Sumnerscale
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Bloomsbury Genre: Biography, True Crime
SYNOPSIS: London, 1938. In the suburbs of the city, an ordinary young housewife has become the eye in a storm of chaos.
In Alma Fielding’s modest home, china flies off the shelves, eggs fly through the air; stolen jewellery appears on her fingers, white mice crawl out of her handbag, beetles appear from under her gloves; in the middle of a car journey, a terrapin materialises on her lap.
Nandor Fodor – a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical Research – reads of the case, and hastens to the scene of the haunting. But when Fodor starts his scrupulous investigation, he discovers that the case is even stranger than it seems.
By unravelling Alma’s peculiar history, he finds a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss – and the foreshadowing of a nation’s worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor’s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.
With rigour, daring and insight, the award-winning pioneer of non-fiction writing Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor’s enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: As I’ve already said, I love history and true stories, so this so this immediately jumped out at me. Pre-order here
What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Virago Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A woman visits a friend who is dying of cancer. Brilliant and stubborn, her friend makes a momentous request. She wishes to end her life on her own terms – and she wants the narrator’s help. Stricken, she agrees. ‘I promise,’ says the friend, ‘to make it as much fun as possible.’
What follows is an extraordinary tale of a friendship put to the greatest test: to witness, unflinching, its end. It is also a portrait of the way we live now, in a world endlessly troubled by crises, and the dramatically changing nature of human relationships in our time.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: As someone living with chronic pain, the question of assisted dying is one that fascinates me. And the idea of examining that issue through not only the eyes of someone who wants to die, but the person they ask to help them, is one I knew I had to read. Pre-order here.
Present day: Thea Rust arrives at an exclusive boarding school in the British countryside, only to find that she is not only having to look after the first intake of girls in its 150-year history, but that she is to stay with them in Silk House. A converted silk factory from the 18th century, where the shadows hide more mysteries than she could ever imagine…
1700s, Oxleigh: Leaving her village to work in the home of an English silk merchant Rowan Caswell finds herself thrust into a new and dangerous world, where she must hide her secret even more than ever before.
1700s, London: Mary-Louise Stephenson lives amid the clatter of the weaving trade and dreams of becoming a silk designer. Arriving in Oxleigh she brings with her a length of fabric woven with a pattern of deadly plants, that will have far-reaching consequences for all who dwell in the silk house.
Intoxicating, haunting and inspired by the author’s background, The Silk House is the exceptional new gothic mystery by Kayte Nunn.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This is another book that ticks so many of my favourite boxes. It also helps that I’ve been meaning to read a book by this author for a long time. Pre-order here.
SYNOPSIS: Sisterhood binds them. Trauma defines them. Will secrets tear them apart?
Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago.Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe.
Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth…?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I loved Louise Jensen’s last novel so as soon as she announced this one I knew it would be on this list. Pre-order here.
Mr. Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Canongate Genre: Thriller, Mystery
SYNOPSIS: Two apparently harmless women reside in cottages one building apart in the idyllic English village of Little Camborne. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when a mysterious foreigner, Theodore Cadmus – from Caldera, a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of – moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered.
The fates of the two cousins and Mr Cadmus, and those of Little Camborne and Caldera, become inextricably enmeshed. Long-hidden secrets and long-held grudges threaten to surface, drawing all into a vortex of subterfuge, theft, violence, mayhem . . . and murder.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’ll admit, it was the gorgeous, purple cover that first caught my attention. But it is the synopsis that had made it one of my most anticipated reads. I’m a sucker for a mystery. Pre-order here
Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes
Published: October 1st, 2020 Publisher: Picador Genre: Fairy Tale, Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Sisterhood binds them. Trauma defines them. Will secrets tear them apart?
Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago. Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe.
Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth…?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’ve been seeing rave reviews for this online. And the combination of fairy tale and an exploration of how they are affected by trauma is intoxicating to me. Pre-order here
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab
Published: October 6th, 2020 Publisher: Titan Genre: Historical Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: For someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality. Neil Gaiman In the vein of The Time Traveler s Wife and Life After Life, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab s genre-defying tour de force.
When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there’s always a price – the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.
Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.
Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.
Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: The synopsis of this book immediately piqued my interest; but it was when I saw the comparison to The Time Traveller’s Wife – one of my favourite books of all time – I knew I had to read it. Pre-order here
The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan
Published: October 8th, 2020 Publisher: Scribe Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman.
Miwako Sumida is dead.
Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity ― but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.
Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’m guilty of another cover-love addition here. But, in my defence, it sounds like a fantastic story. I first saw this recommended on a friend’s Instagram stories and knew that if she loved it, so would I. Pre-order here
Deputy Stuart Kofer is a protected man. Though he’s turned his drunken rages on his girlfriend, Josie, and her children many times before, the police code of silence has always shielded him.
But one night he goes too far, leaving Josie for dead on the floor before passing out. Her son, sixteen-year-old Drew, knows he only has this one chance to save them. He picks up a gun and takes the law into his own hands.
In Clanton, Mississippi, there is no one more hated than a cop killer – but a cop killer’s defence lawyer comes close. Jake Brigance doesn’t want this impossible case but he’s the only one with enough experience to defend the boy.
As the trial begins, it seems there is only one outcome: the gas chamber for Drew. But, as the town of Clanton discovers once again, when Jake Brigance takes on an impossible case, anything is possible.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: John Grisham is one of my favourite authors. I’ve loved his book ever since I read A Time To Kill, my favourite of the many he’s written, over two decades ago. So as soon as the author announced a follow up it became one of my most anticipated books this year. Pre-order here.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Published: October 13th, 2020 Publisher: Little Brown Book Group Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Alternative Fiction, Occult Fiction
SYNOPSIS: In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the three Eastwood sisters join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote – and perhaps not even to live – the sisters must delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Gorgeous cover ✔️ Historical Fiction ✔️ Creepy ✔️ This sounds like just the kind of book I will love and a perfect Autumn read. Pre-order here.
SYNOPSIS: It was like something out of a fairytale… The grieving widower. The motherless daughters. A beautiful house in the woods.
Deep in a remote Norwegian forest, Lexi has found a new home with architect Tom and his two young daughters. With snow underfoot and the sound of the nearby fjord in her ears, it’s as if Lexi has stepped into a fairy tale
But this family has a history – and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build their beautiful new house. And those ancient, whispering woods have a long memory.
Lexi begins to hear things, see things that don’t make sense. She used to think this place heavenly, but in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks.
With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.
But protect them from what?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Again, this has so many elements I love. I’m lucky to be on the blog tour for this one. My review will be posted on October 26th. Pre-order here.
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
Published: October 15th, 2020 Publisher: Penguin UK Genre: Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.
A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.
Dolly Alderton’s debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Dolly Alderson is an author I’ve seen all over bookstagram, and her first fiction novel sounds like a great, lighthearted read. Pre-order here.
SYNOPSIS: Who would you be, if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are now?
Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully.
But when the plane she’s on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago – when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved.
Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to – but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain.
As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she’s never truly asked: What does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us?
Two possible futures. One impossible choice.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’m a total Jodi fan-girl and anything she publishes is one of my most anticipated books of that year. I’m taking part in a Tandem Collective readalong for this one, which begins on October 6th. Pre-order here.
SYNOPSIS: Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.
When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.
In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…
The Illustrated Child is the unforgettable, beguiling debut from Polly Crosby.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I first heard about this book early this year and it instantly became one I was desperate to read. I’ve unsuccessfully tried to get my hands on a proof but was accepted on the blog tour, so I’ll finally be reading it soon. My review will be published on October 27th. Pre-order here.
One August Night by Victioria Hislop
Published: October 29th, 2020 Publisher: Headline Genre: Contemporary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: 25th August 1957. The island of Spinalonga closes its leper colony. And a moment of violence has devastating consequences.
When time stops dead for Maria Petrakis and her sister, Anna, two families splinter apart and, for the people of Plaka, the closure of Spinalonga is forever coloured with tragedy.
In the aftermath, the question of how to resume life looms large. Stigma and scandal need to be confronted and somehow, for those impacted, a future built from the ruins of the past.
Number one bestselling author Victoria Hislop returns to the world and characters she created in The Island – the award-winning novel that remains one of the biggest selling reading group novels of the century. It is finally time to be reunited with Anna, Maria, Manolis and Andreas in the weeks leading up to the evacuation of the island… and beyond.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I only heard about this book a few weeks ago (I know, I must have been living under a rock) and I immediately added it to this list. The Island is a book I fell in love with when I read it many years ago and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the story next. Pre-order here.
Starve Acre by Andrew Muchael Hurley
Published: October 29th, 2020 Publisher: John Murray Press Genre: FaHorror, Ghost Story
SYNOPSIS: The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.
Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.
Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This sounds like a fantastic and haunting read. I’ve also heard great things about this author and I’m excited to read his work for myself. Pre-order here
Are any of these on your tbr or wishlist? What book out next month are you most looking forward to?
Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.
But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave, but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader Alex, refuses to go.
Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers.and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave.
Family. Secrets. Lies. Cults. Death. Revenge.
As soon as I read the chilling synopsis and saw the eerie cover I knew I HAD to read this book. Shadowy, sinister, claustrophobic, and dripping with suspense, this was an intoxicating and involving read.
Louise Jensen is an author who’s been on my radar for a while, but somehow I’ve never quite got around to reading one of her books. I am so glad I finally did and that it was this book. The Family is a sharp, well plotted and twisty novel, and a cunning hall of mirrors experience that I couldn’t put down. Right up until the final page she had me guessing and on the edge of my seat.
I read a lot of thrillers and I always think that reading a story where the characters are trapped in a situation or place elevates the tension. Laura and Tilly are slowly lured into their new “family” and imprisoned in the community. It happens with such subtlety that it takes them a while to see the warning signs, and some they don’t see at all.
The story is told from multiple points of view which is something I always enjoy. I love getting a glimpse into the minds of the characters and trying to ascertain if they are reliable in what they’re saying. I also find it fascinating to read the same event from different points of view and in this book I particularly enjoyed doing so from a mother and daughter perspective as there viewpoints were inevitably very unalike. As a mother of teenagers these glaring contrasts were thought provoking and a great reminder of the fact that how we intend things is not always how it comes across or is received.
The believability of this story is a testament to the author’s talent. All the characters had depth and I thought she chose her narrators perfectly. Laura is vulnerable, helpless and desperate and her daughter is both her weakness and her strength. She’s only there for a short-term fix and never fully buys into what they’re selling her. Tilly is feeling isolated, confused and angry. Her pain is palpable and her fierce need for acceptance sees her drinking the kool-aid quickly while also falling under Alex’s spell. Alex is the perfect cult leader and villain. He’s magnetic, charming and affable but the readers also get to see his inner turmoil and flagitious nature. Together they are a perfect storm.
So, if you’re looking for something creepy and dark to read on a cold autumn night, I would highly recommend this jaw-dropping and unnerving thriller.
Thank you to HQ for my invitation to take part in the blog tour and gifted copy of this novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, will be published in Autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.
The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.
Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.