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Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures: June 2022

I can’t believe that I’m already sharing my list of most anticipated books for June. Is it just me, or do the years go quicker every year?

June is another strong month for new releases, including some of my most anticipated books this year such as The Girl on the 88 Bus, Meredith Alone, Cat and Mouse, Madwomen, Nothing Else, The Guilty Couple and Just Got Real. It was incredibly hard to narrow my most anticipated books down to the 30 in this list but I finally managed it.

So, here are my most anticipated books being released in June.

Sun Damage by Sabine Durrant

Published: June 2nd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The heat is intense.
The secrets are stifling.
She just needs to escape . . .

Nine guests arrive at a remote villa in the south of France.

They know each other well. Or think they do.

But at least one of them has plenty to hide – and nowhere to run.

Under the relentless sun, loyalties will be tested, secrets revealed, and tensions pushed to the point of no return.

The sensational new novel from the universally acclaimed Sabine Durrant – destined to be the thriller of summer 2022.

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Black Mamba by William Friend

Published: June 2nd
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Genre: Thriller, Horror Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Daddy, there’s a man in our room…

This is the chilling announcement Alfie hears one night, when he wakes in his quiet, suburban house to find his twin daughters at the foot of his bed. It’s been nine months since Pippa – their mother – suddenly died and they’ve been unsettled ever since, so Alfie assumes they’ve probably had a nightmare. Still, he goes to check to reassure the girls. As expected he finds no man, but in the following days the girls begin to refer to someone called Black Mamba. What seemingly begins as an imaginary friend quickly develops into something darker, more obsessive, potentially violent. Alfie finds himself struggling to cope, and so he turns to Julia – Pippa’s twin and a psychotherapist – for help. But as Black Mamba’s coils tighten around the girls, Alfie and Julia must contend with their own unspoken sense of loss, their unacknowledged attraction to one another, and the true character of the presence poisoning the twins’ minds…

A darkling tale of tragedy, hauntings and sexual desire, Black Mamba is a novel of a father’s love for his struggling daughters, and a widower’s growing love for a woman after his wife’s death. With smart, gothicky touches and a large and generous challenge to our assumptions of what and who constitutes a modern family, it explores both the limits we’ll go to for our children and the sunken taboos of grief – of how erotics can still exist, and can even be life giving, after suffering loss.

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Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Published: June 7th
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk.

Kiara Johnson does not know what it is to live as a normal seventeen-year-old. With her mother in a rehab facility and an older brother who devotes his time and money to a recording studio, she fends for herself – and for nine-year-old Trevor, whose own mother is prone to disappearing for days at a time. As the landlord of their apartment block threatens to raise their rent, Kiara finds herself walking the streets after dark, determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her.

Then one night Kiara is picked up by two police officers, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.

Nightcrawling is an unforgettable novel about young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world, told with a humanity that is at once agonising and utterly mesmerising.

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Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro (The Talents Series Book 1)

Published: June 7th
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Fantasy Series

SYNOPSIS:
The first in a captivating new historical fantasy series, ORDINARY MONSTERS introduces the Talents with a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world, and the gifted, broken children who must save it.

There in the shadows was a figure in a cloak, at the bottom of the cobblestone stair, and it turned and stared up at them as still and unmoving as a pillar of darkness, but it had no face, only smoke . . .

1882. North of Edinburgh, on the edge of an isolated loch, lies an institution of crumbling stone, where a strange doctor collects orphans with unusual abilities. In London, two children with such powers are hunted by a figure of darkness – a man made of smoke.

Charlie Ovid discovers a gift for healing himself through a brutal upbringing in Mississippi, while Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight, glows with a strange bluish light. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are confronted by a sinister, dangerous force that threatens to upend the world as they know it.

What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London to the lochs of Scotland, where other gifted children – the Talents – have been gathered at Cairndale Institute, and the realms of the dead and the living collide. As secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.

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Cat and Mouse by M. J. Arlidge (Helen Grace 11)

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Police Procedural, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
When you think you’re safe,
When you think you’re all alone,
That’s when he’ll come for you…

A silent killer stalks the city, targeting those home alone at night – killing without pity or remorse.

As panic spreads, Detective Inspector Helen Grace leads the investigation, but is herself a hunted woman, her every step dogged by a ruthless killer bent on revenge.

As she tracks the murderer, Grace begins to suspect there is a truly shocking home truth that connects these brutal crimes…

Check the windows, lock the doors – this is a twisted page-turner that will prey on your darkest fears, in the way only M.J. Arlidge can.

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Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
All that stands between Meredith and the world is her own front door . . . but what will it take for her to open it?
________

Meredith Maggs hasn’t left her house in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn’t alone.

She has her cat Fred. Her friend Sadie visits when she can. There’s her online support group, StrengthInNumbers. She has her jigsaws, favourite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the Tesco delivery man and her treacherous memories for company.

But something’s about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door . . . Does she have the courage to overcome what’s been keeping her inside all this time?

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Madwoman by Louisa Treger

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biographical Fiction

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.

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The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Zaffre
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance

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

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The Setup by Lizzy Dent

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romance Novel, New Adult Fiction, Holiday Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
SHE HAS A PLAN . . .
FATE HAS OTHER IDEAS
——————————————————————–

There are two men in my life. But this is not a love triangle.

Mara Williams reads her horoscope every day – but she wasn’t expecting to be in a whole other country when destiny finally found her. Just as a fortune teller reveals that her true love is about to arrive, a gorgeous stranger literally walks into her life. And now Mara is determined to bring them together again . . . Surely even fate needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes?

But while Mara is getting ready for ‘the one’, the universe intervenes. Her new flatmate Ash is funny, and kind, and sexy as hell . . . There was no predicting this: it’s as if her destiny just arrived on her doorstep.

So will Mara put her destiny in fate’s hands – OR finally trust herself to reach for the stars?

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The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Fig Tree
Genre: Historical Fiction, Spy Fiction, War Story

SYNOPSIS:
‘Maudie, why are all the best characters men?’
Maudie closes the book with a clllump. ‘We haven’t read all the books yet, Miss Cristabel. I can’t believe that every story is the same’

Cristabel Seagrave has always wanted her life to be a story, but there are no girls in the books in her dusty family library. For an unwanted orphan who grows into an unmarriageable young woman, there is no place at all for her in a traditional English manor.

But from the day that a whale washes up on the beach at the Chilcombe estate in Dorset, and twelve-year-old Cristabel plants her flag and claims it as her own, she is determined to do things differently.

With her step-parents blithely distracted by their endless party guests, Cristabel and her siblings, Flossie and Digby, scratch together an education from the plays they read in their freezing attic, drunken conversations eavesdropped through oak-panelled doors, and the esoteric lessons of Maudie their maid.

But as the children grow to adulthood and war approaches, jolting their lives on to very different tracks, it becomes clear that the roles they are expected to play are no longer those they want. As they find themselves drawn into the conflict, they must each find a way to write their own story…

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Wake by Shelley Burr

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
EVERYBODY THINKS THEY KNOW MINA McCREERY.
EVERYONE HAS A THEORY ON WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SISTER.
NOW IT’S TIME TO FIND OUT THE TRUTH…

Mina McCreery’s sister Evelyn disappeared nineteen years ago. Her life has been defined by the intense public interest in the case. Now an anxious and reclusive adult, she lives alone on her family’s destocked sheep farm.

When Lane, a private investigator, approaches her with an offer to reinvestigate the case, she rejects him. The attention has had nothing but negative consequences for her and her family, and never brought them closer to an answer.

Lane wins her trust when his unconventional methods show promise, but he has his own motivations for wanting to solve the case, and his obsession with the answer will ultimately risk both their lives.

Superbly written, taut and compassionate, Wake looks at what can happen when people’s private tragedies become public property, and the ripples of trauma that follow violent crimes. Wake won the CWA Debut Dagger in 2019.

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Storm by Stephanie Merritt

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction, Romance Novel

SYNOPSIS:
A beautiful French chateau
Jo Lawless is still grieving her husband when his oldest friends invite her to a weekend houseparty in France. She’s always felt like an outsider in the group but she decides to go, hoping their shared loss will bring them closer together.

An unexpected guest
But the weekend is disrupted by the arrival of an unexpected guest, whose presence brings old tensions to the surface. Long-buried secrets begin to emerge, and it’s clear that at least one person is bent on revenge…

A night that will end in murder
The cold light of morning reveals a horrifying discovery. And the killer isn’t finished. A storm is coming, and no one at this party is safe…

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The Polish Girl by Malka Alder

Published: June 9th
Publisher: One More Chapter
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story Domestic Fiction, Religious Fiction, Jewish Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In the eye of the war
That tore the world apart
A mother wants a son
A daughter needs a mother

Winter 1939: Danusha and her family are forced to flee their home when the Nazis invade Poland. Danusha’s mother, Anna, changes her name and secures a position as a housekeeper in a German doctor’s mansion in Kraków where Gestapo meetings are hosted in the kitchen…

Her secret is their salvation, but what Danusha remembers most is the solitude, with only her baby brother and the girl in the mirror for company.

All Anna ever wanted was a firstborn son. All Danusha ever wanted was a mother who would love her like a firstborn son. Instead she got one who could look a Nazi straight in the eye but not into the eyes of her own daughter.

It is only years later, when their neighbours gather in the living room to hear Anna’s stories, that Danusha finally realises her mother was never a cold unknowable sea but a storm-wracked sky – sometimes bright, sometimes dark, and always watching over her.

The Polish Girl is a heartbreaking and unforgettable historical novel by the author of international bestseller The Brothers of Auschwitz – perfect for fans of Antonio Iturbe and Edith Eger.

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Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Published: June 9th
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Transgender Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Maria, a trans woman in her thirties, is going nowhere. She spends her aimless days working in a New York bookstore, trying to remain true to a punk ethos while drinking herself into a stupor and having a variety of listless and confusing sexual encounters.

After her girlfriend cheats on her, Maria steals her car and heads for the Pacific, embarking on her version of the Great American Road Trip.

Along the way she stops in Reno, Nevada, and meets James, a young man who works in the local Wal-Mart. Maria recognizes elements of her younger self in James and the pair quickly form an unlikely but powerful connection, one that will have big implications for them both.

This hilarious, groundbreaking cult classic inspired a whole literary movement, and is now published in the UK for the very first time.

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The Seawomen by Chloe Timms

Published: June 14th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Dark Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
An unsettling and lushly-written reimagining of witch trials. The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Shape of Water‘ KIRSTY LOGAN

Everyone on this island has a story. This is mine.

Esta has known nothing but Eden’s Isle her whole life. After a fire left her orphaned and badly scarred, Esta was raised by her grandmother in a deeply religious society who cut itself off from the mainland in the name of salvation. Here, fear rules: fear of damnation, fear of the outside world and fear of what lurks beneath the water – a corrupting evil the islanders call the Seawomen.

But Esta wants more than a life where touching the water risks corruption, where her every move is watched and women are controlled in every aspect of their lives. Married off, the women of the island must conceive a child within their appointed motheryear or be marked as cursed and cast into the sea as a sacrifice in an act called the Untethering.

When Esta witnesses a woman Untethered she sees a future to fear. Her fate awaits, a loveless marriage, her motheryear declared. And after a brief taste of freedom, the insular world Esta knows begins to unravel…

The Seawomen is a fiercely written and timely feminist novel about challenging the myths and ties that bind us, and suggesting that the true evils of the deep lie in the hearts of men.

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Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo

Published: June 14th
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a Los Angeles mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honor. On a quest to lose her virginity, a daughter tracks down her deceased mother’s old flame, the rugged, comically named Jon Deere.

In these twelve riveting stories, two of which have been awarded the Pushcart Prize, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love, and the mania of grief. Featuring Taddeo’s arresting prose that continues to thrill her legions of fans, Ghost Lover dares you to look away.

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No Place To Run by Mark Edwards

Published: June 21st
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
In this exhilarating thriller from four million copy bestselling author Mark Edwards, Aidan’s spent years looking for his sister. Will he ever find her?

Two years ago, on a trip to Seattle to visit her brother Aidan, fifteen-year-old Scarlett vanished into thin air. After years of false leads and dead ends, Aidan has almost given up hope. But then a woman sees a girl running for her life across a forest clearing in Northern California. She is convinced the girl is the missing Scarlett. But could it really be her?

Heading south, Aidan finds a fire-ravaged town covered in missing-teenager posters. The locals seem afraid, the police won’t answer any questions and it looks like another dead end―until a chance meeting with returned local Lana gives Aidan his first clue. But as they piece together what happened, Lana and Aidan make deadly enemies. Enemies willing to do anything to silence them.

Only one thing matters now: finding Scarlett―even if it kills him.

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Nothing Else by Louise Beech

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Psychological Fiction, Literary Fiction. Biographical Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
A professional pianist searches for her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood care records and a single song that continues to haunt her.
 
Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
 
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
 
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.
 
An exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma, about the unbreakable bond between sisters, Nothing Else is also a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.

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The Guilty Couple by C. L. Taylor

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
The Sunday Times, million-copy bestseller returns with her most pulse-pounding, page-turning book yet – pre-order now!

What would you do if your husband framed you for murder?

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

Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals. Repair her relationship with her 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…

The master of suspense is back. Prepare yourself for the latest heart-in-mouth rollercoaster ride from the Sunday Times bestseller.

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The Bay by Allie Reynolds

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Headline
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction

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.

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Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Police Procedural

SYNOPSIS:
A girl with a secret…
Longbill Beach, 1982. Emily Vaughn gets ready for prom night, the highlight of any high school experience. But Emily has a secret. And by the end of the evening, she will be dead.

A murder that remains a mystery…
Forty years later, Emily’s murder remains unsolved. Her friends closed ranks, her family retreated inwards, the community moved on. But all that’s about to change.

One final chance to uncover a killer…
Andrea Oliver arrives in town with a simple assignment: to protect a judge receiving death threats. But her assignment is a cover. Because, in reality, Andrea is here to find justice for Emily – and to uncover the truth before the killer decides to silence her too…

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The Guest House by Robin Morgan-Bentley

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Medical Thriller

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.

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The Loyal Friend by A. A. Chaudhuri

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Hera Books
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
She has your back.

And may stab you in it.

Wealthy, pampered Susan is living the perfect life in leafy Kingston. She’ll never let anyone see the darkness she’s concealing behind the diamonds and rosé.

Grace is new to the group, seemingly the perfect wife and mum. Yet no one knows the truth of what’s happening behind closed doors.

Loner Natalie hides the pain of her childhood behind a carefully ordered life. But how long can the past stay hidden?

Three unlikely friends, brought together for a weekly class run by beautiful, friendly, instructor, Jade.

But when Jade goes missing in mysterious circumstances, the group starts to unravel. And as their darkest secrets come to light, it seems that no one can be trusted. Even their closest friends…

A heart-in-your-mouth thriller that builds twist after twist, culminating in an unforgettable ending. This shocking, tense and gripping read will delight fans of T.M. Logan, B.A. Paris and Big Little Lies.

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Just Got Real by Jane Fallon

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Romance Novel, Contemporary Romance, Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
When happily divorced Joni is reluctantly talked into joining a dating app, she is surprised to quickly hit it off with Ant. Phone calls and texts soon evolve into a plan to meet up. Which is a problem, as Joni’s profile picture is of someone else.

Joni daren’t confess her lie. Yet unable to stop thinking about what might have been, she hatches a plan to ‘meet’ Ant in real life without revealing who she really is.

Once she and Ant are an item, however, it’s soon clear that the only thing Ant was honest about was his profile picture. He’s still online dating. And intimately texting other women.

So Joni contacts them: they need to know. And once they’re comparing notes on Ant, upset turns to thoughts of revenge.

But how do you get your own back on a truly heartless man?

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Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Durton. Dirt town. Dirt and hurt – that’s what others would remember about our town . . .

When twelve-year-old Esther Bianchi disappears on her way home from school in the small town of Durton in rural Australia, the local community is thrown into a state of grief and suspicion.

THE DETECTIVE

As Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels begins her investigation, she questions those who knew the girl, attempting to unpick the secrets which bind them together.

THE MOTHER

The girl’s mother, Constance, believes that her daughter going missing is the worst thing that can happen to her. But as the search for Esther develops, she learns that things can always get worse.

THE FRIENDS

Ronnie is Esther’s best friend and is determined to bring her home. So when her classmate Lewis tells her that he saw Esther with a strange man at the creek the afternoon she went missing, Ronnie feels she is one step closer to finding her. But why is Lewis refusing to speak to the police?

And who else is keeping quiet about what happened to Esther?

Dirt Town by Hayley Scrivenor is an atmospheric crime novel set in rural Australia, for fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry and Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End.

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Still Water by Rebecca Pert

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: The Borough Press
Genre: Saga, Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A beautifully written atmospheric story of trauma, grief and redemption, Still Water is a debut from a bright new voice in literary fiction.

When Jane Douglas returns to the Shetland Islands, she thinks she has escaped the dark shadows of her childhood. She carves out a simple life on the bleak, windswept island, working at the salmon fishery and spending quiet evenings at home. And for the first time in her life, she’s happy.

Then the body of Jane’s long-missing mother is found in a flooded quarry. Her mother disappeared when Jane was a teenager, following the death of Jane’s baby brother. Jane has spent her life running from her past, living in fear that she has inherited her mother’s demons. Now, Jane must face what actually happened on that fateful, tragic day twenty years ago…

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Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale, Historical Fantasy, Domestic Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
AD 500. An island in the Thames.

Isla has a secret: she has learned her father’s sophisticated sword-making skills at a time when even entering a forge is forbidden to women. Her sister, Blue, has a secret, too: at low tide on the night of each new moon, she visits the bones of the mud woman, drowned by the elders of her tribe who wanted to make a lesson of someone who wouldn’t hold her tongue. When the local Seax overlord discovers Isla’s secret there is nowhere for the sisters to hide, except across the water to the walled ghost city, Londinium. Here Blue and Isla find sanctuary in an underworld community of squatters, emigrants, travellers and looters, led by the mysterious Crowther, living in an abandoned brothel and bathhouse. But trouble pursues them even into the haunted city.

Dark Earth takes us back to the very founding of Britain to explore the experience of women trying to find kin in a world ruled by blood ties, feuds and men in quest of a nation.

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Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Literary Fiction, Family Saga

SYNOPSIS:
An anorexic teenager escapes from a clinic and forms an unlikely friendship with a farmer. The two damaged women slowly heal as they work the land, in an achingly beautiful debut.
 
Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace.
 
Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single-handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.
 
From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she expects nothing of Sally and simply accepts who she is, offering her a bed for the night with no questions asked.
 
That night becomes weeks and then months, as an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts  through their shared work on the land.

Achingly beautiful, profound, invigorating and uplifting, Tasting Sunlight is a story of friendship across generations, of love and acceptance, of the power of nature to heal and transform, and the goodness that surrounds us, if only we take time to see it…

Buy here

I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee

Published: June 23rd
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Biography

SYNOPSIS:
THE PHENOMENAL KOREAN BESTSELLER

PSYCHIATRIST: So how can I help you?


ME: I don’t know, I’m – what’s the word – depressed? Do I have to go into detail?

Baek Sehee is a successful young social media director at a publishing house when she begins seeing a psychiatrist about her – what to call it? – depression? She feels persistently low, anxious, endlessly self-doubting, but also highly judgemental of others. She hides her feelings well at work and with friends; adept at performing the calmness, even ease, her lifestyle demands. The effort is exhausting, overwhelming, and keeps her from forming deep relationships. This can’t be normal.

But if she’s so hopeless, why can she always summon a yen for her favourite street food, the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki? Is this just what life is like?

Recording her dialogues with her psychiatrist over a 12-week period, Baek begins to disentangle the feedback loops, knee-jerk reactions and harmful behaviours that keep her locked in a cycle of self-abuse. Part memoir, part self-help book, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a book to keep close and to reach for in times of darkness.

Buy here*

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

Published: June 28th
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Her gift can save . . . or it can kill.

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Buy here*

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

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles. See you next month for more anticipated treasures Emma xxx
 

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022

BLOG TOUR: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Published: May 12th 2022
Publisher: Phoenix
Genre: Historical Fiction, Medical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for for this astonishing, powerful and unforgettable novel. Thank you to Alex at Phoenix Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.

********

SYNOPSIS:

Montgomery, Alabama. 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend has big plans to make a difference in her community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help women make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But when her first week on the job takes her down a dusty country road to a tumbledown cabin, she’s surprised to find that her new patients are just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling their welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her new responsibilities, she takes India and Erica into her heart and comes to care for their family as though they were her own. But one day she arrives at their door to discover the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same.

Inspired by true events and a shocking chapter of American history, Take My Hand is a novel that will open your eyes and break your heart. An unforgettable story about love and courage, sisterhood and solidarity, it is also a timely and hopeful reminder that it only takes one person to change the world.

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MY REVIEW:

“How dare they?  Our bodies belonged to us. Poor, disabled, it didn’t matter.  These were our bodies, and we had the right to decide what to do with them.  It was as if they were just taking our bodies from us, as if we didn’t even belong to ourselves.” 

Of the many profound quotes in Dolen Perkin-Valdez’ astonishingly powerful Take My Hand, it is this one that I feel best sums up its message.   If the erosion of human and female reproductive rights matters to you, then this is probably the most key piece of literature you can read right now.  A story about poverty, race, eugenics and the fight for justice and equality, this mesmerising novel is a reminder that we must heed the mistakes made in our history to avoid repeating them once more.

“We thought we were doing something useful for society, but this is where the so-called good deed had gotten us. Right smack into a nightmare.” 

Set in Montgomery, Alabama in 1973, the story follows Civil Townsend, a newly qualified nurse working at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic.  Civil is a young woman who believes in the good work she’ll be doing at the clinic serving poor Black women.  She believes in the difference that can be made to their lives through contraception and good care and has a strong moral code that guides her.  But when she’s given her first case she is shocked to discover her patients are sisters aged just eleven and thirteen and that they are on the new Depo-provera shot.  What follows is a shocking tale based in fact that goes beyond these two innocent young girls and even Alabama, shocking the entire United States.  It will leave you outraged, appalled, heartbroken and determined never to allow such a tragedy to happen again. 

“History repeats what we don’t remember…”

I believe there are some books that come at the perfect time.  That you read them when you are meant to in order for them to have the greatest impact on you and change your life in some way.  That is what happened with this book.  It feels like fate that this book, set around the time of Roe vs Wade, is being released just as courts in America threaten to overturn it and take away the rights of women once again.  It feels like a call to arms to protect these rights and prevent the events of this story from ever happening again as they threaten to do if women’s rights are once again stripped away.

“I had never known that good intentions could be just as destructive as bad ones.” 

Though based on a true case, the characters and events are fiction, but Ms. Perkins-Valdez writes so exquisitely that you believe every word is real as she breathes such life into the richly drawn characters that they felt like flesh and blood that stood in front of me.  Her writing is hypnotic yet invigorating, both putting a spell on me so I was lost in its pages and filling me with a passion to ensure such evil never happens again.  It is a memorable masterclass in storytelling that made this book immediately take a place as one of my favourites of all time.

“A year never passes without me thinking of them. India. Erica.  Their names are stitched inside every white coat I have ever worn.  I tell this story to stitch their names inside your clothes too. A reminder to never forget.  Medicine taught me, really taught me, to accept the things I cannot change. A difficult-to-swallow serenity prayer. I’m not trying to change the past. I’m telling it in order to lay those ghosts to rest.” 

Civil is a remarkable heroine and I adored her.  Intelligent, strong, brave and kind, she only wants to do good in the world and is devastated to learn that good intentions don’t always mean a good outcome.  She is also still trying to come to terms with her own trauma that is portrayed in such a real, but sensitive way that really connects you to her pain.  
Erica and India, the sisters at the heart of this tragedy, are two girls that you can’t help but take into your heart just as Civil did.  From the start I was desperate to know what fate had befallen them but was unprepared for the shocking truth that tore my heart in two and made tears fall from my eyes.  I wanted to hold those sweet girls and undo everything that they were forced to endure.  I was thankful that they found a champion in Civil who would fight for them to her last instead of allowing them to remain a silent statistic like so many others before them.  She gave them a voice when no one else was willing to hear them and made an entire country listen to what they had to say.  

“There is no greater right for a woman than having a choice.”

Magnificent, timely, poignant and immersive, this unforgettable novel rocked me to my core and seared itself into my heart, mind and soul. A story that everyone needs to read, I can’t recommend it highly enough and will be putting it into the hands of everyone I possibly can. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel WENCH. In 2011, she was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction. In 2017, HarperCollins released Wench as one of eight “Olive Titles,” limited edition modern classics that included books by Edward P. Jones, Louise Erdrich, and Zora Neale Hurston.

Dolen received a DC Commission on the Arts Grant for her second novel BALM which was published by HarperCollins in 2015.  In 2013, Dolen wrote the introduction to a special edition of Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, published by Simon & Schuster, which became a New York Times bestseller. She followed that with an introduction to Elizabeth Keckly’s Behind the Scenes published in 2016.  Dolen is a 2020 nominee for a United States Artists Fellowship.

Her forthcoming novel TAKE MY HAND will be published April 2022 by Berkley/Penguin Random House.

Dolen is the current Chair of the Board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. On behalf of the foundation, she has visited nearly every public high school in the District of Columbia to talk about the importance of reading and writing.   She is currently Associate Professor in the Literature Department at American University and lives in Washington, DC with her family.

********

BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Amazon* | Bookshop.org*
*These are affiliate links

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

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Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

BLOG TOUR: The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola

Published: March 3rd 2022
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Adventure Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this magnificent and haunting gothic mystery. Thank you to Alex at Orion for the invitation to take part and ARC.

********

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.

********

MY REVIEW:

“She knew then that the clockmaker might not be simply strange. He might well be something much worse.”

Paris, 1750.  Madeleine Casteel arrives at the home of Doctor Maximillian Reinhart, a clockmaker who is the talk of the city thanks to his strange and unique creations.  She has been tasked with spying on Reinhart’s every move in exchange for her own freedom.  But Madeleine soon finds that she may have stumbled upon a secret much darker than she imagined.  A secret that may go to the heart of Versailles and put her life in danger.

“She was tired of being told she was worth less than nothing by men who did nothing themselves.”

Macabre, haunting and suspenseful, this twisted gothic tale was everything I could have hoped for and more.  A story cloaked in the syrupy blackness of a sinister mystery, this is a much darker tale than I expected.  A story of a maid, a clockmaker, a King, a Courtesan and missing children.  It has something for everyone: true crime mixed with historical fiction, a dash of mystery and a sprinkle of feminism.  The addition of French language amongst the prose was a coupe de genie that perfected this magnificent and original tale.  

My love for historical fiction is no secret and one of my favourite things about it is how much I learn while being entertained.  I know relatively little about the time and place this story is set in but the author’s meticulous research and evocative imagery transported me back to the bleak streets of 18th Century Paris so vividly that I could see the buildings leaning into one another, and the beggars in the shadows, hear the horses as they pulled their carriages full of passengers and smell the filth.  It was a time of corruption when humanity was forsaken in favour of wealth and power.  Men would use their position to control women, a theme that runs throughout the story as we see our three female narrators at the mercy of men with power no matter their position in society and feel powerless to change it.  

“Those things he makes, whatever it is he calls them – look at them closely. They’re impossible things, made with dark magic.” 

I love when a talented author takes an outlandish idea and runs with it successfully, which is what Anna Mazzola has done with this book.  Automata is a fascinating topic and through King Louis IV’s obsession with death, automata and reanimation and the fictitious Doctor Reinhart, the author explores how these astounding yet bizarre creations were both revered and feared, their ability to seemingly defy the laws of nature leading to whispers of witchcraft and black magic.  Combined with the mention of how children are quietly vanishing from the streets of Paris that is slowly dripped into the story this creates a chilling air of suspicion, menace and fear that hovers over every page.

Richly drawn, exquisitely told and intricately woven, The Clockwork Girl kept me guessing until the final pages, giving up its twisted secrets slowly, my heart racing in breathless anticipation as I read.  A spellbinding and unique story that I would highly recommend.

Rating:  ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Anna is a writer of historical thrillers and Gothic fiction. Her novels explore the impact of crime and injustice.

Her debut novel, The Unseeing, is based on the life of a real woman called Sarah Gale who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837. It won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown in the UK.

Her second novel, The Story Keeper, is out now. It follows a folklorist’s assistant as she searches out dark fairytales and stolen girls on the Isle of Skye in 1857. The Story Keeper  was nominated for the Highland Book Prize.

Her third novel, The Clockwork Girl, set in Paris in 1750 and based partly on the story of the vanishing children of Paris, will be published by Orion in March 2022. She is currently working on her fourth novel, a ghost story set in Fascist Italy.

As well as novels, Anna writes short stories. She is an accomplished public speaker and regularly speaks at and chairs literary events.

Anna is also a human rights and criminal justice solicitor, working with victims of crime. She lives in Camberwell, South London, with her family, a snake, a lizard and a cat.

********

BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Amazon* | Bookshop.org*
*This is an affiliate link

********

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

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Emma's Anticipated Treasures Most Anticipated 2022

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – February 2022

Welcome to my list of Emma’s Anticipated Treasures for February. It’s another fantastic month with so many books I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a long time finally being published. There’s books from authors I’ve loved before like Marian Keyes, Beth Morrey, Eve Smith and Linwood Barclay, as well as some amazing debuts such as The Leviathan, The Hemlock Cure and The Embroidered Book.

It was hard to narrow down my list, but here are the 25 books I’m most anticipating that are released next month:

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Raven Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Magical Realism, Crime Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Metaphysical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
SELECTED AS ONE OF THE OBSERVER’S 10 BEST DEBUT NOVELISTS OF 2022

A beguiling tale of superstition, myth and murder, perfect for fans of The Binding, The Essex Serpent and Once Upon a River.

SHE IS AWAKE…

Norfolk, 1643. With civil war tearing England apart, reluctant soldier Thomas Treadwater is summoned home by his sister, who accuses a new servant of improper conduct with their widowed father. By the time Thomas returns home, his father is insensible, felled by a stroke, and their new servant is in prison, facing charges of witchcraft.

Thomas prides himself on being a rational, modern man, but as he unravels the mystery of what has happened, he uncovers not a tale of superstition but something dark and ancient, linked to a shipwreck years before.

Something has awoken, and now it will not rest.

Richly researched, incredibly atmospheric, and deliciously unsettling, The Leviathan is set in England during a time of political and religious turbulence. It is a tale of family and loyalty, superstition and sacrifice, but most of all it is a spellbinding mystery and a story of impossible things.

Buy here*

Em & Me by Beth Morrey

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Humorous Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

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

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

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

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

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

Buy here*

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Genre: Historical Fiction, Saga, Romance Novel

SYNOPSIS:
An expansive epic spanning the turbulent decades of Korea’s fight for independence, perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko

Beasts take many shapes…

It is 1917, and Korea is yet to be divided into north and south. With the threat of famine looming, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school in cosmopolitan Pyongyang, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. But the city’s days as a haven are numbered. 

Jade flees to Seoul where she forms a deep friendship with an orphan boy called JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets. As Jade becomes a sought-after performer with unexpected romantic prospects, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence. Soon Jade must decide between following her own ambitions, or risking everything for the one she loves. 

From the perfumed chambers of the courtesan school to the glamorous cafes of a modernising Seoul, the unforgettable characters of Beasts of a Little Land unveil a world where friends become enemies and enemies become saviours, where heroes are persecuted and beasts take many shapes.

Buy here*

Devotion by Hannah Kent

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Historical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
1836, Prussia. Hanne is nearly fifteen and the domestic world of womanhood is quickly closing in on her. A child of nature, she yearns instead for the rush of the river, the wind dancing around her. Hanne finds little comfort in the local girls and friendship doesn’t come easily, until she meets Thea and she finds in her a kindred spirit and finally, acceptance.

Hanne’s family are Old Lutherans, and in her small village hushed worship is done secretly – this is a community under threat. But when they are granted safe passage to Australia, the community rejoices: at last a place they can pray without fear, a permanent home. Freedom.

It’s a promise of freedom that will have devastating consequences for Hanne and Thea, but, on that long and brutal journey, their bond proves too strong for even nature to break . . .

From the bestselling author of Burial Rites and The Good PeopleDevotion is a stunning story of girlhood and friendship, faith and suspicion, and the impossible lengths we go to for the ones we love.

Buy here*

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Phoenix
Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.

He knows what he’s done, and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.

But this is not his story.

As the clock ticks down, three women uncover the history of a tragedy and the long shadow it casts. Lavender, Ansel’s mother, is a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. Hazel, twin sister to his wife, is forced to watch helplessly as the relationship threatens to devour them all. And Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, is devoted to bringing bad men to justice but struggling to see her own life clearly.

This is the story of the women left behind.

Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes On An Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our cultural obsession with crime stories, and asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the minds of violent men.

Buy here*

The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Romance Novel

SYNOPSIS:
YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO STOP READING.
BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT . . .
________

When her husband Harry walks out after just six months, a girls’ weekend away with two friends seems like just what Sam needs.

But they aren’t even halfway to their destination when things start to go wrong: car trouble that just happens to leave them stranded in the town where Harry lives.

And that’s only the beginning.

Because there are three things Sam doesn’t yet know:

One of her friends is lying about what happened.
One is lying about who she is.
And one of them will never make it home . . .

Buy here*

Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A missing woman. A husband suspected.
The truth will … Take Your Breath Away

It’s always the husband, isn’t it? 

One weekend, while Andrew Mason was on a fishing trip, his wife, Brie, vanished without a trace. Most people assumed Andy had got away with murder, but the police couldn’t build a strong case against him. For a while, Andy hit rock bottom – he drank too much, was abandoned by his friends, nearly lost his business and became a pariah in the place he had once called home.

Now, six years later, Andy has put his life back together. He’s sold the house he shared with Brie and moved away for a fresh start. When he hears his old house has been bulldozed and a new house built in its place, he’s not bothered. He’s settled with a new partner, Jayne, and life is good.

But Andy’s peaceful world is about to shatter. One day, a woman shows up at his old address, screaming, ‘Where’s my house? What’s happened to my house?’ And then, just as suddenly as she appeared, the woman – who bears a striking resemblance to Brie – is gone. The police are notified and old questions – and dark suspicions – resurface.

Could Brie really be alive after all these years? If so, where has she been? It soon becomes clear that Andy’s future, and the lives of those closest to him, depends on discovering what the hell is going on. The trick will be whether he can stay alive long enough to unearth the answers…

Buy here*

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
She thought the murders had stopped. She was wrong.

Soon to be a major TV series, developed by Emma Stone

Chloe Davis’ father is a serial killer.
He was convicted and jailed when she was twelve but the bodies of the girls were never found, seemingly lost in the surrounding Louisiana swamps. The case became notorious and Chloe’s family was destroyed.

His crimes stalk her like a shadow.
Now Chloe has rebuilt her life. She’s a respected psychologist in Baton Rouge and has a loving fiancé.
But she just can’t shake a tick-tick-tick of paranoia that, at any moment, it might all come crashing down.

As does something darker.
It is the anniversary of her father’s crimes, and Chloe is about to see her worst fears come true –
a girl she knows goes missing.  

The nightmare has started again…

Buy here*

A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF 2022 BY VOGUE AND ESQUIRE

A bitingly honest, darkly funny debut about love, sex, power and desire, by a major new British talent

Anna is struggling to afford life in London as she trains to be a singer. During the day, she vies to succeed against her course mates with their discreet but inexhaustible streams of cultural capital and money, and in the evening she sings jazz at a bar in the City to make ends meet.

It’s there that she meets Max, a financier fourteen years older than her. Over the course of one winter, Anna’s intoxication oscillates between her hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nights spent with Max in his glass-walled flat overlooking the city.

But Anna’s fledgling career demands her undivided attention, and increasingly – whether he necessarily wills it or not – so does Max.

Buy here*

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Literature, Domestic Fiction, Saga, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
**A Grazia Instagram ‘IT’ book to watch out for**

________

‘We can’t go to the island, Bryon. We don’t really know what we’re getting into . . .’

Eleanor Bennett won’t let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children – Byron and Benny – reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.

First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that’s separated Byron and Benny.

Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past. Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother’s final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?

Will Eleanor’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

Buy here*

Nights of Demons and Saints by Menna van Praag

Published: February 3rd
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Fantasy Series

SYNOPSIS:
And then there were three . . .

Three years ago, the sisters confronted their demon father in that strange other-world called Everwhere. It was a battle that ended in a devastating loss, and the scars they carry seem to have slowly pushed the sisters apart . . .

One sister, still raw with grief, is now a near recluse but determined to use her powers to resurrect what she has lost.

Another has made the journey to learn more of her family, her culture and her roots.

And another seems to have turned her back on what she is and opted to lead a more normal life.

But now the sisters are about to be brought together once more. Because when the clock strikes midnight, when October ticks into November, when autumn wilts into winter, when All Hallows’ Eve becomes All Saints’ Day, the sisters Grimm will turn twenty-one and reach the zenith of their powers.

And on this night, at this time, in this place called Everwhere, anything is possible . . .

Buy here*

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn

Published: February 10th
Publisher: Sphere
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

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.

Buy here*

I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons

Published: February 10th
Publisher: Hutchinson Heinemann
Genre: Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Listen to my history. My adventures are worth hearing. I have lived many lifetimes and been loved by emperors, kings and thieves. I have survived kidnap and assault. Revolution and two world wars. But this is also a love story. And the story of what we will do for those we love.

In Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, bursting with genius imagination, towering commissions and needling patrons, as well as discontented muses, friends and rivals, sits the painting of the Mona Lisa. For five hundred tumultuous years, amid a whirlwind of power, money, intrigue, the portrait of Lisa del Giocondo is sought after and stolen.

Over the centuries, few could hear her voice, but now she is ready to tell her own story, in her own words – a tale of rivalry, murder and heartbreak. Weaving through the years, she takes us from the dazzling world of Florentine studios to the French courts at Fontainebleau and Versailles, and into the Twentieth Century.

I, Mona Lisa is a deliciously vivid, compulsive and illuminating story about the lost and forgotten women throughout history.

Buy here*

House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City 2) by Sarah J. Maas

Published: February 15th
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Romantic Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Series

SYNOPSIS:
Sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller. Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, groundbreaking CRESCENT CITY series continues with this second installment.

Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar have made a pact. As they process the events of the Spring they will keep things . platonic . until the Solstice. But can they resist when the crackling tension between them is enough to set the whole of Crescent City aflame?

And they are not out of danger yet. Dragged into a rebel movement they want no part of, Bryce, Hunt and their friends find themselves pitted against the terrifying Asteri – whose notice they must avoid at all costs. But as they learn more about the rebel cause, they face a choice: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent.

In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode – and the people who will do anything to save it.

Buy here*

Off Target by Eve Smith

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Fiction, Crime Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure Fiction

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…

Buy here

The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Romantic Fantasy, Coming-of-Age Story

SYNOPSIS:
Brimming with romance, betrayal, and enchantment, The Embroidered Book reveals and reimagines a dazzling period of history as you have never seen it before.

‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’

1768. Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette.

The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.

In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take control of their lives.

But every spell requires a sacrifice. And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.

Buy here*

The Gifts by Liz Hyder

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Manilla Press
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy

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.

Buy here*

Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
IT’S ICE COLD. YOU’RE MILES FROM HELP. AND ONE OF YOU WILL BE NEXT . . . 

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 . . .

Buy here*

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Domestic Ficiton

SYNOPSIS:
Twenty-five years after the iconic, 1.5 million-copy bestseller Rachel’s Holiday burst into our lives, Rachel’s BACK!

Pre-order Marian Keyes’ hilarious, heart-warming sequel, Again, Rachel, NOW.

Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.

But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.

But with the sudden reappearance of a man she’d once loved, her life wobbles.

She’d thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?

Is it time to think again, Rachel?

Buy here*

The Dictator’s Wife by Freya Berry

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Headline Review
Genre: Historical Fiction, Legal Story

SYNOPSIS:
‘I am not my husband. I am innocent. Do you believe me?’

The beautiful, enigmatic wife of a feared dictator stands trial for her late husband’s crimes against the people. The world will finally know the truth. But whose?

__________

WOMAN
I learned early in life how to survive. A skill that became vital in my position.

WIFE
I was given no power, yet I was expected to hold my own with the most powerful man in the country.

MOTHER OF THE NATION
My people were my children. I stood between him and them.

I am not the person they say I am.
I am not my husband.
I am innocent.
Do you believe me?

Visceral and thought provoking, haunting and heartbreaking, The Dictator’s Wife will hold you in its grip until its powerful conclusion and keep you turning the pages long into the night.

Buy here*

A Good Day to Die (Pretty Boy Thriller Bool 1) by Amen Alogne

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Quercus
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime Series

SYNOPSIS:
Meet Pretty Boy. Vengeance is on his mind.

His real name:
Unknown

His code of conduct:
Don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game.
Never underestimate the enemy.
Above all, survive. There is no glory in death.

His mission:
It’s been ten years since Pretty Boy left the big city – today he’s back. No one knows why, but it’s clear that revenge is on his mind: he is determined to make the person responsible for his exile from the London scene finally pay. But his plans seem derailed when he takes possession of a bracelet, unaware that its original owner has set a high price for its safe return. Suddenly, the hunter becomes the hunted and Pretty Boy will have to find out if it is indeed a ‘good day to die’.

Jam-packed with action, an unforgettable cast of characters and peppered with dry humour, A Good Day to Die marks the arrival of a fresh and exciting new voice in thriller writing.

Buy here*

The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine by Tilly Bagshawe

Published: February 17th
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Saga

SYNOPSIS:
Deep in the French countryside, inside the walls of a family chateau, a remarkable legacy awaits . . .

From the international bestselling author comes an escapist, glamorous tale spanning generations & sweeping from Burgundy to Greece and beyond . . .

ONE FAMILY
THREE GENERATIONS
SOME SECRETS NEVER DIE . . .

Elise would do anything to inherit Sainte Madeleine, the vineyard that’s been home to the Salignacs for generations. Only Laurent Senard, a distant cousin, is a rival for her heart – yet when a family rift sends her on a new and dangerous path, she risks losing them both . . .
 
Alexandre, Elise’s brother, can’t bear to see their capricious father put the vineyard – and Alex’s birthright – in jeopardy. He leaves to carve out his own fortune in the rich hills of Napa, California. But will turning his back on the chateau be his biggest mistake?
 
Laurent Senard’s love for Elise was planted at Sainte Madeleine long ago. But with the shadow of war sweeping over Europe, Laurent must leave France to fight. Through the years of longing, secrecy and tragedy that follow, he vows to find his way back – if only it isn’t too late . . .
 
Sweeping through the 1920s to WWII and beyond, this is the story of the Salignac family – the loves that bind them, the secrets that threaten to divide them, and the chateau that will always call them home.

Buy here*

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Published: February 22nd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, Fairy Tale, Myth and Legend

SYNOPSIS:
Don’t chase fate. Let fate chase you.

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.

Buy here*

Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Published: February 22nd
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From debut author Carolyn Tara O’Neil comes a thrilling alternate history set during the Russian Revolution.

Russia, 1918: With the execution of Tsar Nicholas, the empire crumbles and Russia is on the edge of civil war–the poor are devouring the rich. Anna, a bourgeois girl, narrowly escaped the massacre of her entire family in Yekaterinburg. Desperate to get away from the Bolsheviks, she offers a peasant girl a diamond to take her as far south as possible–not realizing that the girl is a communist herself. With her brother in desperate need of a doctor, Evgenia accepts Anna’s offer and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the war.

Anna is being hunted by the Bolsheviks, and now–regardless of her loyalties–Evgenia is too.

Daughters of a Dead Empire is a harrowing historical thriller about dangerous ideals, inequality, and the price we pay for change. An imaginative retelling of the Anastasia story.

Buy here*

Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker

Published: February 24th
Publisher: Viper Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime Fiction

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.

Buy here*

**********

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

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles 😊 Emma xxx

*These are affiliate links.

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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

Blog Tour: Mimic by Daniel Cole

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Trapeze
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this addictive and macabre thriller. Thank you to Orion for the invitation to take part and the gifted finished copy of the book.

********

SYNOPSIS:

1989
DS Benjamin Chambers and DC Adam Winter are on the trail of a twisted serial killer with a passion for recreating the world’s greatest works of art through the bodies of his victims. But after Chambers almost loses his life, the case goes cold – their killer lying dormant, his collection unfinished.

1996
Jordan Marshall has excelled within the Metropolitan Police Service, fuelled by a loss that defined her teenage years. Obsessed, she manages to obtain new evidence, convincing both Chambers and Winter to revisit the case. However, their resurrected investigation brings about a fresh reign of terror, the team treading a fine line between police officers and vigilantes in their pursuit of a monster far more dangerous and intelligent than any of them had anticipated…

********

MY REVIEW:

A brutal killer is recreating famous works of art through his victims. But when one of the officers chasing him almost becomes one of his grim statues, the killer stops and the trail goes cold. Seven years later, a trainee officer is determined to find the killer and get justice for someone she loved. But in doing so, she brings the killer out of hiding. Enlisting the help of the officers who originally investigated the case, can they catch him before he completes his macabre collection?

When a book starts with an eerie, sinister prologue titled ‘The Day Death Came Visiting’, you know you’re onto a winner. Jumping straight into the action, this book takes you on a terrifying rollercoaster ride: where you’re holding on for dear life, yet loving every minute. 

Mixing murder, art and mythology, the author has crafted something unique: a brutal yet elegant thriller that is completely addictive. This is a killer who has a reason behind everything. And it is only once we get deeper inside his psyche and learn his reasons, that we truly understand this killer. There is a sickening beauty to his statues, and as a reader I appreciated the depth of research that was done and the inclusion of drawings of the statues he was recreating as I’d never seen them for myself. He is a truly terrifying creation. Evil and disturbed, yet also strikingly human. And it is that realism that makes this story resonate so deeply with me. That chilled me to my core. 

The officers hunting the killer were great characters that I liked, found easy to root for and had a great dynamic, their differences working for them rather than against them. I also enjoyed that the story was set in 1989 and 1996. It was like going back to my youth as I read about them scrambling to find a phone box and being unable to contact people when they weren’t home. It definitely made finding a killer and communicating while on a case more difficult, but I liked the extra tension, and humour, that it brought to the story. 

This was my first foray into Daniel Cole’s books, though I’ve obviously read the rave reviews for his Ragdoll series, and I am an instant fan. The writing is sharp, tense, chilling and full of black humour. I was hooked! Reading in breathless anticipation and unable to turn the pages fast enough as they hunted the killer. 

Intelligent, gritty, and addictive, this thriller will have your heart racing. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a walk on the dark side…

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

******

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Daniel Cole is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Ragdoll trilogy, which has now been published in over thirty countries. A TV adaption is currently in the works and his fourth novel is due to be published late-summer 2021. He has worked as a paramedic, an animal protection officer, and with the beach lifeguards, but for the past five years has been describing himself on paperwork as a ‘full-time writer’.
He lives on the south coast of England and divides his time between the beach and the forest.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books | Kobo
*These are affiliate links

********

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews

Blog Tour: Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

Published: July 8th, 2021
Publisher: W&N
Genre: Humour, Domestic Fiction
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my review of Olympus, Texas. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and W&N for the gifted ARC.

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SYNOPSIS:

When March Briscoe returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother’s wife, the Briscoe family becomes once again the talk of the small town of Olympus. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms: her husband’s own past affairs have made her tired of being the long-suffering spouse. Is it, perhaps, time for a change?

But within days of March’s arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of alliances are shattered. In the end, the ties that hold the Briscoes together might be exactly what drag them all down.

An expansive tour de force, Olympus, Texas combines the archetypes of Greek and Roman mythology with the psychological complexity of a messy family. After all, at some point, we all wonder: what good is this destructive force we call love?

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MY REVIEW:

“Our reactions to most things are much muddier than we admit. Yours don’t have to be all good or evil. They just are what they are.” 

A steadily paced family saga that takes place over six days, Olympus, Texas overflows with tension, drama and emotion. It follows the Briscoe family, who are not only the wealthiest family of their smalltown, but possibly it’s most dysfunctional; their complex history woven into smalltown lore.

The Briscoes are a fractious, fractured and warring family. A labyrinthine entanglement of love, lies, pain, deception and regret. A family full of deep wounds they don’t know how to heal. Elegantly written, the author makes the emotions leap from the page and immerses you in their lives as she tells the story in the present day with flashbacks that explain their history in greater detail. These chapters have titles that begin with ‘The Origin of…’, offering a deeper glimpse into their family dynamics. It helped me understand their behaviours and sympathise with their perspectives.

The characters are richly drawn, nuanced and compelling, the author experly evoking feelings of sympathy and making me root for them, while also making me dislike them and even making me angry. No one is all good or all bad in this story, it is about the shades of grey that are much more uncomfortable to see. I felt like this was most evident in March, who is seen as the black sheep of the family. A role he partly deserves from his own bad choices and behaviour. But we also see the pain raging inside him, how he wants to be better but just doesn’t know how to change.

A fascinating and thought-provoking read, Olympus, Texas is an atmospheric, tense, engaging and emotional debut that explores family, flaws and forgiveness. I would definitely recommend adding this to your tbr.

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

STACEY SWANN holds an M.F.A. from Texas State University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Memorious, Versal, and other journals, and she is a contributing editor of American Short Fiction. She is a native Texan.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books| Apple Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

********

Please check out the reviews from other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles ☺️ Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Blog Tour: The Secret Life of Writers by Guillaume Musso

Published: July 22nd, 2021
Publisher: W&N
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Travel Literature
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this absolute masterpiece. Thank you to Alex Layt at Orion for the invitation to take part and the gifted copy of the book.

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SYNOPISIS:

In 1999, after publishing three cult novels, celebrated author Nathan Fawles announces the end of his writing career and withdraws to Beaumont, a wild and beautiful island off the Mediterranean coast.

Autumn 2018. As Fawles’ novels continue to captivate readers, Mathilde Monney, a young Swiss journalist, arrives on the island, determined to unlock the writer’s secrets and secure his first interview in twenty years.

That same day, a woman’s body is discovered on the beach and the island is cordoned off by the authorities.

And so, begins a dangerous face off between Mathilde and Nathan, in which the line between truth and fiction becomes increasingly blurred…

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MY REIVEW:

“I knew that fate had set me on a path towards a story that someone had to tell. A true story, more compelling than any work of fiction, and one which I sensed had only just begun.”

Books, murder and mystery. What more could I want in a novel? As soon as I read the synopsis I knew this was a book I HAD to read. It’s almost like it was written for me. And it was perfect. An absolute masterpiece that was so mesmerising and addictive that I never wanted it to end. 

The Secret Life of Writers reads like a book within a book. It starts when Raphael arrives on the Isle of Beaumont hoping to solve the ‘mystery of Nathan Fawles’, the reclusive writer who has isolated himself on the island since suddenly retiring from writing at the peak of his career almost twenty years before. But after the brutal murder of a young woman, the story widens to include a murder investigation and another mystery involving the incredible journey of a lost camera and and unspeakable secret that Fawles is hiding and journalist Mathilde claims to know. 

“A noose tightened around my chest. I was shaking all over. When I opened the freezer, I couldn’t hold back a scream. The inside had been repainted. With blood.” 

Guillaume Musso is known as the ‘French suspense king’, and after reading this book, I can see why. This novel is a masterclass in storytelling. Expertly written with a dash of finesse, it is hypnotic, and I was under its spell from the first pages. Every word is infused with an air of mystery, and there is a palpable tension that makes your heart race. Perfectly plotted, it is more intricate and complex than it first appears, and every time you think you’ve figured out what’s going on Musso throws in another curveball. He’s so good that you don’t see it coming; expertly luring you into that false sense of security where you think you know what’s next and then pulls the rug from under you. 

Told with breathtakingly beautiful imagery and prose, I found myself wanting to annotate almost every other sentence. The author not only does he bring the characters to life, but the place too. His descriptions of the Isle of Beaumont are so evocative that I felt like I could see the Provincial main square, the turquoise water and the colourful houses glinting in the sun. It felt real, just as the story felt like I was reading a true crime novel rather than a work of fiction.

“Books not only break walls down, they build them up too. More often than you’d think, they wound, and shatter, and kill. Books may dazzle and shine, but all that glitters is not gold. “

The characters are richly drawn and compelling. I loved how Nathan and Mathilde are both enigmatic characters and yet Raphael is more open. With Nathan especially you never know if you can trust what he’s telling you, and I enjoyed being kept guessing and the surprises this threw my way.  I loved how each of them were writers and the observations the author made about books, reading and writing. He captured so many of my own feelings about the topics which, along with having my favourite subject woven into the plot, made me feel like he had written this just for me. 

As the book is translated, I feel I need to also thank the translator for doing such a superb job of making it possible for those of us who don’t speak French to read this phenomenal novel. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort it took. Thank you. 

Sharp, stylish, intense, and utterly mind-blowing, this fast-paced thriller is so twisty it will make your head spin. So just hold on tight and enjoy the ride. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

From one novel to the next, Guillaume Musso has formed a unique bond with his readers. Born in 1974 in Antibes on the French Riviera, he fell in love with literature at an early age, spending all his free time devouring books at the public library where his mother worked. A short story competition organized by his French teacher led him to discover the joys of writing, and he has never stopped since then.

His studies, his extended trips to the United States, his encounters… All have contributed to enriching his imagination and his writing projects. A graduate in social economics, he became a teacher in the East and then the South of France. He published his first novel, Skidamarink, in 2001, but his next book Et Après…, is the one that truly won the public over. This story of love and suspense with supernatural undertones marked the beginning of a dazzling and unwavering success.

Translated into forty languages and adapted many times for film, each book of his is as hugely successful as the next in both France and around the world. The release of a new novel by Guillaume Musso has become, for his readers, an eagerly awaited rendezvous.

********

BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones*| Bookshop.org*| Amazon| Google Books | Apple Books | Kobo
*These are affiliate links

********

Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Emma's Anticipated Treasures

Emma’s Anticipated Treasures – August 2021

August is packed full of amazing books that are finally being released into the world. It was so hard to get my list down to the 21 books you see here.

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The Night Singer by Johanna Mo

Published: August 3rd, 2021
Publisher: Headline
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
You’ve got no idea what you’re dredging up. You’re going to ruin everything.

The past is not going to stay buried in this unputdownable crime novel, the first in a series featuring Detective Hanna Duncker. Fans of Ragnar Jonasson and Ann Cleeves will be gripped by this moving and atmospheric crime novel, already a bestseller in Sweden.

Hanna Duncker has returned to the remote island she spent her childhood on and to the past that saw her father convicted for murder. In a cruel twist of fate her new boss is the policeman who put him behind bars.

On her first day on the job as the new detective, Hanna is called to a crime scene. The fifteen-year-old son of her former best friend has been found dead and Hanna is thrown into a complex investigation set to stir up old ghosts.

Not everyone is happy to have the daughter of Lars Duncker back in town. Hanna soon realises that she will have to watch her back as she turns over every stone to find the person responsible…

Buy here*

In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead

Published: August 3rd, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to her southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent. Not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather Shelby’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession, and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is an addictive, propulsive read you won’t be able to put down.

Buy here*

A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris

Published: August 4th, 2021
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

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For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Teddy Crutcher won Teacher of the Year at Belmont Academy. Everyone thinks he’s brilliant.
Only you know the truth.

They all smile when he tells us his wife couldn’t be more proud.
But no-one has seen her in a while.

They’re impressed when the tragic death of a school parent doesn’t distract him.
Even when rumours start to say it was murder.

You’re sure Teddy is hiding something about what happened that day.

You’re sure you can prove it.

But you didn’t stop to think that when it comes to catching a killer, there’s no place more dangerous than just one step behind . . .

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Patience by Victoria Scott

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: Humorous Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
If you were offered a chance to cure your child’s disease, would you take it?

The Willows have been through a lot. Louise has devoted her life to caring for her disabled youngest daughter. Pete works abroad, almost never seeing his loved ones. And their eldest, Eliza, is burdened by all the secrets she’s trying to keep from her overloaded family.

Meanwhile, Patience observes the world while trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she has opinions and knows what she wants. But those who love her most – and make every decision about her life – will never know.

Or will they? When the Willows are offered the opportunity for Patience to take part in a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome, they face an impossible dilemma. Are the very real risks worth the chance of the reward, no matter how small?

Buy here*

Triflers Need Not Apply by Camilla Bruce

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Biographical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
THE DELICIOUSLY DARK REIMAGINING OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF HISTORY’S ORIGINAL FEMALE SERIAL KILLER

Bella Sorensen loves men. She loves them to death . . .

Early in life Bella Sorensen discovers the world is made only for men. They own everything: jobs, property, wives. But Bella understands what few others do: where women are concerned, men are weak.

A woman unhampered by scruples can take from them what she wants. And so Bella sets out to prove to the world that a woman can be just as ruthless, black-hearted and single-minded as any man.

Starting with her long suffering husband, Mads, Bella embarks on a killing spree the like of which has never been seen before nor since.

And through it all her kind, older sister Nellie can only watch in horror as Bella’s schemes to enrich herself and cut down the male population come to a glorious, dreadful fruition . . .

Based on the true story of Belle Gunness whose killing spree began in Chicago in 1900, Triflers Need Not Apply is a novelistic tour de force exploring one woman’s determination to pay men back for all they have taken.

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The Heights by Louise Candlish

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you. 

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him. 

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years.  You know this for a fact.  

Because you’re the one who killed him.  It’s time to confess what we did up there.

‘Kieran Watts has been dead for over two years when I see him standing on the roof of a building in Shad Thames…’

#CloseToTheEdge

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Mrs March by Virginia Feito

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Satire

SYNOPSIS:
Shirley Jackson meets Ottessa Moshfegh meets My Sister the Serial Killer in a brilliantly unsettling and darkly funny debut novel full of suspense and paranoia

George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.

A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of
olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book –
a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.

One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one
that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.

A razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity and the smothering weight of expectations, Mrs. March heralds the arrival of a wicked and wonderful new voice.

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Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Bantam Press
Genre: Suspense, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

Buy here*

The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Adventure Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event that only occurs once every few decades.

When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.

Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city . . .

And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences.

Buy here*

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Biography, Autobiography, Cookbook

SYNOPSIS:
From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, powerful, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity.

‘As good as everyone says it is and, yes, it will have you in tears. An essential read for anybody who has lost a loved one, as well as those who haven’t.’ MarieClaire

In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humour and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band – and meeting the man who would become her husband – her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

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A Passion For Poison by Carol Anne Lee

Published: August 5th, 2021
Publisher: John Blake
Genre: True Crime

SYNOPSIS:
‘The whole story is so terrible. You will be disgusted and amazed.’
Graham Young, confessing his crimes to detectives

There are few criminal cases more astonishing yet less well known than that of Graham Young. A quintessentially British crime story set in the post-war London suburbs, it involves two sensational trials, murders both certain and probable, a clutch of forgiving relatives, and scores of surviving victims.

Fourteen in the summer of 1962, Graham stood in the Old Bailey dock charged with poisoning a schoolfriend and family members by adding antimony to their packed lunches, Sunday roast and morning cups of tea. Diagnosed with multiple personality disorders, Graham’s trial resulted in his detainment at Broadmoor, where he was the youngest patient.

But it was on his release from Broadmoor that Graham caused the greatest harm. Finding employment in Hadlands, a photographic supplies firm, his role as junior storeman meant he was expected to make tea and coffee for his colleagues. And very soon, numerous members of staff began experiencing crippling stomach pains…

A psychologically astute insight into the mind of a complex and intriguing individual, A Passion for Poison is true crime at its best.

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Look What You Made Me Do by Elaine Murphy

Published: August 12th, 2021
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Suspense, Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
Carrie wants a normal life.
Carrie Lawrence doesn’t need a happily ever after. She’ll just settle for “after.” After a decade of helping her sister hide her victims. After a lifetime of lies. She just wants to be safe, boring, and not trekking through the woods at night with a dead body wrapped in a carpet.

Becca wants to get away with murder.
Becca Lawrence doesn’t believe in happily ever after because she’s already happy. She’s gotten away with murder for a decade and has blackmailed her sister into helping her hide the evidence-what more could a girl want?

But first they have to stop a serial killer.
When thirteen bodies are discovered in their small town, people are shocked. But not as shocked as Carrie, who thought she knew all the details of Becca’s sordid pastime. When Becca swears she’s not behind the grisly new crimes, they realize the town has a second serial killer who has the sisters in his sights, and what he wants is . . . Carrie.

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The Dark by Emma Haughton

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

SYNOPSIS:
ONE DEAD BODY. TWELVE SUSPECTS. TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR DARKNESS.

In the most inhospitable environment – cut off from the rest of the world – there’s a killer on the loose.

A&E doctor Kate North has been knocked out of her orbit by a personal tragedy. So when she’s offered the opportunity to be an emergency replacement at the UN research station in Antarctica, she jumps at the chance. The previous doctor, Jean-Luc, died in a tragic accident while out on the ice.

The move seems an ideal solution for Kate: no one knows about her past; no one is checking up on her. But as total darkness descends for the winter, she begins to suspect that Jean-Luc’s death wasn’t accidental at all.

And the more questions she asks, the more dangerous it becomes . . .

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Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Domestic Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
Soon to be a Netflix series from the producer of The Crown

The phenomenal new thriller from the bestselling author of Sometimes I Lie

‘Not just fiendish but positively Feeneyish – dark, ingenious and very clever’ Cara Hunter, author of Close to Home

Ten years of marriage.
Ten years of secrets.
An anniversary they’ll never forget.

Adam and Amelia are spending the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. The remote location is perfect for what they have planned.

But when their romantic trip takes a dark turn, they both start to wonder – can they trust the one they’re with?

Because every couple tells little white lies. Only for Adam and Amelia, the truth is far more dangerous.

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What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Picador
Genre: Political Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
From the widely acclaimed author of American War, Omar El Akkad, a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic and profoundly moving novel that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child’s eyes.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too-many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one had made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials, but of Vänna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vänna and Amir are complete strangers and don’t speak a common language, Vänna determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of Amir’s life and of how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the duo as they make their way towards a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. Omar El Akkad’s What Strange Paradise is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair – and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

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Emily Noble’s Disgrace by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Mantle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery

SYNOPSIS:
The case is unexceptional, that is what I know. A house full of stuff left behind by a dead woman, abandoned at the last . . .

When trauma cleaner Essie Pound makes a gruesome discovery in the derelict Edinburgh boarding house she is sent to clean, it brings her into contact with a young policewoman, Emily Noble, who has her own reasons to solve the case.

As the two women embark on a journey into the heart of a forgotten family, the investigation prompts fragmented memories of their own traumatic histories – something Emily has spent a lifetime attempting to bury, and Essie a lifetime trying to lay bare.

Emily Noble’s Disgrace is the third novel from Mary Paulson-Ellis, the bestselling author of The Other Mrs Walker, a Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year.

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No Honour by Awais Khan

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Political Fiction, Religious Fiction, Adventure Fiction, Urban Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.

Buy here*

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

Published: August 19th, 2021
Publisher: Corvus
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
No one even knew they were together. Now one of them is dead.

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin and start dating the same week COVID-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests they move in together. Ciara sees a unique opportunity for a relationship to flourish without the scrutiny of family and friends. Oliver sees a chance to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Can they determine what really happened, or has lockdown created an opportunity for someone to commit the perfect crime?

Buy here*

SYNOPSIS:
THE STANDALONE THRILLER FROM THE MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF RAGDOLL – SOON TO BE A MAJOR TV SERIES

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

Published: August 26th, 2021
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Historical Fiction, War Story

SYNOPSIS:
Following her bestselling, critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker continues her extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest myths.

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors – all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo – camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it.

The women of Troy.

Helen – poor Helen. All that beauty, all that grace – and she was just a mouldy old bone for feral dogs to fight over.

Cassandra, who has learned not to be too attached to her own prophecies. They have only ever been believed when she can get a man to deliver them.

Stubborn Amina, with her gaze still fixed on the ruined towers of Troy, determined to avenge the slaughter of her king.

Hecuba, howling and clawing her cheeks on the silent shore, as if she could make her cries heard in the gloomy halls of Hades. As if she could wake the dead.

And Briseis, carrying her future in her womb: the unborn child of the dead hero Achilles. Once again caught up in the disputes of violent men. Once again faced with the chance to shape history.

Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker’s extraordinary retelling of one of our greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.

Buy here*

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

Published: August 31st, 2021
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Literary Fiction

SYNOPSIS:
‘What is wrong with you?’

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.

THE SCORCHING NEW THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN and INTO THE WATER

Buy here*

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

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Thanks for reading this month’s anticipated treasures. See you next month for more exciting reads😊 Emma xxx

Categories
Blog Tours Book Features Extract

Blog Tour -Extract: A Summer at the Castle by Kate Lord Brown

Today I’m sharing with you an extract from A Summer at the Castle, the latest book by Kate Lord Brown.

Thank you to Kate for the invitation to take part and providing the extract.

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I’ve wanted to write a book set in the south west of Ireland since visiting Kenmare and
Dingle twenty years ago. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and I’ve never forgotten staying
at Dromquinna, where Diana’s fictional castle is set. Here we meet her for the first
time, and get a glimpse of her home, inspired by the real life magical location …

Kenmare

Diana Hughes strode across the gravel driveway of Castle Dromquinna, leading a scrawny black goat with amber eyes with her good arm. The hem of her orange kaftan rode up over Diana’s strong, tanned legs as the goat struggled. She tightened her grip on the cerise pashmina she had tied around its neck. ‘No you don’t, my friend. Let’s get you safely back in the field.’ She dragged the goat onwards, and looked up at the stone crest above the porchway carved with DH, her silver-grey hair blowing in the breeze. Storm clouds scudded across the sky, blocking the sun. Rain, she thought, longing blooming in her chest for golden, sunlit days in Italy. She was counting down the days to her annual holiday.

‘Let me take ’im Mrs Hughes,’ the gardener said, setting down his wheelbarrow. ‘Right handful this one is.’

‘That would be grand, thank you Seán. Check Mephistopheles’ fence again, would you please?’ The gardener scooped the goat up into his arms, and Diana untied her scarf from its neck. ‘You’re a rascal, so you are,’ she said, scratching the goat’s bony head, its ears quivering in pleasure. She adjusted the sling at the back of her neck, her eyes narrowing.

‘You’ve not been swimming, Mrs Hughes? Not with your arm?’

‘Just a paddle with this ruddy thing,’ she said, raising her arm in its plaster cast. ‘I haven’t missed a day since 1988 and I’m not going to start now. The water is gorgeous at this time of the year. Bracing.’ She picked a piece of reed from the goat’s back. ‘I found you down by the bay, didn’t I?’

On the porch she stamped her feet, and swung open the heavy mahogany door to the reception area. At once the familiar smells of the Castle embraced her: the open fire, beeswax polish, the rich incense perfume of the stargazer lilies on the circular table at the heart of the flagstoned hall. ‘Is Darcy here yet?’ she asked the girl behind the desk, pulling off her wellies, and tucking them behind a door marked ‘private’. A white cat with aquamarine eyes jumped down from the red velvet armchair by the fire and wound its way around her bare feet. ‘Hello Kato, have you had your breakfast?’ She slipped on a battered pair of black espadrilles and walked on.

‘Conor’s in the kitchen with your daughter,’ the girl said. ‘Mrs Hughes, someone was—’

‘Not now.’ Diana strode through the hall, stopping to adjust a skew-whiff painting of Kenmare Bay. She knew every inch of the Castle intimately, had chosen every lamp, every rug, every picture herself. The restaurant, and the few discreet rooms above for guests who wished to stay over before driving back to Dublin and beyond, still had the air of a private house. It was classic, artfully shabby. The antiques suited the eighteenth-century architecture and anything newer she had aged. From the derelict bones of an old people’s home awash with avocado bathrooms and safety handles, Diana’s creation had risen like a pop-up page in a glossy magazine. She had added to it over the years, replacing make-do with make-a-statement pieces bought at country house auctions to complement those her husband had collected. At the thought of Kavanagh, she smiled, and paused to look out across the formal garden, the gravel pathways flanked with topiary leading to the walled kitchen garden with its neat brick pathways and raised beds of herbs. We’re a good team, that’s what Kavanagh always used to say. You’ve got the taste and beauty, Di, I’ve got the balls and cheque book. A peacock cried out, stalking across the lawns. Diana brushed a tiny strand of cobweb from the grey-painted moulding of the window frame, blowing it free from her fingertip. She made a mental note to tell the housekeeper to brush down the hand-painted wallpaper, its vines snaking up to the ceiling. You have an eye, my girl, she thought, imagining her husband’s deep voice. You have an eye, for sure.

I feel old, she thought, walking on through the Castle. Her broken arm ached, and her ribs were still mending, bruised from the fall. What would you make of me now, Kavanagh? Where’s the girl you fell in love with in Porto Ercole? She thought of the rugged Tuscan coast, the deep green and peace of the vineyards and olive groves rolling down to the shimmering sea, of her simple whitewashed cottage in the hills. I’ll take a holiday, after this. Her expression softened and her eyes took on a faraway look. Italy was hers alone – there were no demanding customers, no arguing staff to discipline, no TV cameras, no calls from the accountant, no letters from the bank. Perhaps I shall treat myself, book into Il Pellicano for a few days before opening up the cottage. She thought of the hotel’s sunbathing terrace overlooking the endless blue sea, imagined the warmth of the sun easing her bones, the glittering light through her closed eyelids. But there’s work to be done first. Diana took a deep breath, and winced. God, I hope I’ve done the right thing asking Darcy to come home. She pushed open a baize-lined door marked ‘Private’ and strode along the flagstone corridor leading to the family kitchen in the old tower. She could hear laughter up ahead, the deep roll of Conor’s voice telling a story.

‘You didn’t?’ Darcy’s voice, her soft Irish accent melded with west coast American.

‘There you are,’ Diana said, pausing in the doorway. Her daughter stood beside the scrubbed pine table at the heart of the yellow kitchen. The flagstone floor was covered with worn Persian carpets, and faded Liberty print cushions littered the old blue sofa by the stove. The white-painted cabinets and dresser were battered rather than distressed, and littered with pots of utensils. It was a working, homely place, and Diana’s favourite room in the whole Castle. An oil painting of Diana in her prime, her arms full of fresh produce from the kitchen garden, dominated the room, gazing down from the wall between the two floor-to-ceiling sash windows. Darcy stepped towards her mother, her eyes betraying her nerves and joy. Diana tucked a strand of glossy dark hair behind Darcy’s ear, cupped her cheek in her thin, dry hand. ‘It’s good to see you.’ Darcy hugged her mother carefully. ‘There, now,’ Diana said, closing her eyes, breathing in the warm vanilla scent of her daughter. She pressed her lips to the top of Darcy’s head.

‘I was worried about you,’ Darcy said, her voice muffled.

‘It’ll take more than a few broken bones to finish me off,’ Diana said, straightening up as they stepped apart. ‘You do look well. You’ve cut your hair since I saw you last.’ You have the look of your father, she thought, his dark beauty.

‘It’s easier in the kitchen. How’s the arm?’ Darcy said.

‘And the ribs,’ Conor said.

‘I could scream, it’s so frustrating.’ Diana walked to the stove, holding her side. ‘Can’t swim, can’t cook. Shall we make a pot?’ She fumbled with the tea caddy.

‘Here, let me. Sit down, woman,’ Conor said, pulling out a wheelback kitchen chair for her. He filled the kettle, and set it on the stove. ‘Honestly, would it kill you to ask for help?’

‘Yes, probably. You know me,’ Diana said, wincing as she sat down.

‘I was so glad that you called me,’ Darcy said, sitting opposite her.

‘I didn’t want to bother you.’ Diana gestured at Conor, who was sorting through the morning papers. ‘He said it was time for the next generation to take over on the show.’

‘Young blood.’ Conor fished out the Irish Times and took down a pair of tortoiseshell glasses from his hair to read the front page. ‘People have had enough of looking at our faces.’

‘We’ve always assumed you’d take over running the Castle when I retire—’ Diana said.

‘But you’re not retiring yet, are you?’ Darcy said.

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SYNOPSIS:

Scandal, secrets and strawberries.
A recipe for disaster…

Every summer, Diana Hughes organises a famous baking competition at her beautiful castle in the south west of Ireland, to raise funds for its upkeep. But this year, amongst the bunting and scrumptious cakes, everything is turning out a little differently than planned!

First, her daughter Darcy arrives on the doorstep unexpectedly, after running away to the sunny hills of California with a broken heart a year ago. Then a mysterious stranger tries to sabotage the competition. Diana and Darcy soon find out that the past is quickly catching up with them – and it’s about to turn their lives upside down!…

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MEET THE AUTHOR:

Kate was a finalist in ITV’s The People’s Author contest, and her novel ‘The Perfume Garden’, which has been published in nine languages, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year 2014. She was regional winner of the BBC International Radio Playwriting competition this year, and she holds an MA in Creative Writing. Her books have been top ten bestsellers in the UK, Canada, and several European countries. In 2020 she was highly commended in the RNA Elizabeth Goudge Trophy.

Kate has also written editorial, reviews and regular columns for Traveller, Conde Nast, Good Housekeeping, Blueprint,  The Bookseller, Bookbag, Writers’ News, Arts Business, Gulf Times, Woman, Oryx, the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Express and others. She wrote the first book club column in the Middle East for two years, introducing a host of writers to the region through the pages of Ahlan! After many years living overseas, she has returned to the wild and beautiful south west of England, where she grew up. Kate has two books out in 2021, ‘A Season of Secrets‘ and ‘A Summer at the Castle‘ with Orion, and ‘Die Schritte zu deinem Herzen‘ (Silent Music) was published by Piper Dec 2020. Kate is working on her next novels.

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BUY THE BOOK:

Waterstones* | Bookshop.org*| Amazon*| Google Books| Kobo
*These are affiliate links

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Please check out the reviews from the other bloggers taking part in the tour.

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles😊 Emma xxx