2023 is shaping up to be an incredible year for books and there are an abundance of exciting debuts on the horizon. So, I’ve put together my list of the ones I’m most looking forward to and created my list of most anticipated debuts for 2023.
The Witches of Vardo by Anya Bergman
‘A passionate indictment of the patriarchy … a vibrant exaltation of the resilience of women … In The Witches of Vardø, Anya Bergman summons a historic witch trial with breathtaking detail and immediacy’ Hannah Kent
They will have justice. They will show their power. They will not burn.
Norway, 1662. A dangerous time to be a woman, when even dancing can lead to accusations of witchcraft. After recently widowed Zigri’s affair with the local merchant is discovered, she is sent to the fortress at Vardø to be tried as a witch.
Zigri’s daughter Ingeborg sets off into the wilderness to try to bring her mother back home. Accompanying her on this quest is Maren – herself the daughter of a witch – whose wild nature and unconquerable spirit gives Ingeborg the courage to venture into the unknown, and to risk all she has to save her family.
Also captive in the fortress is Anna Rhodius, once the King of Denmark’s mistress, who has been sent in disgrace to the island of Vardø. What will she do – and who will she betray – to return to her privileged life at court?
These Witches of Vardø are stronger than even the King. In an age weighted against them, they refuse to be victims. They will have their justice. All they need do is show their power.
Published January 5th by Manilla Press.
The Circus Train by Amita Parikh
THE MAGICAL INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
Brought together by magic.
Torn apart by war.
Europe, 1938. Even as the daughter of the extraordinary headlining illusionist, Lena Papadopoulos has never quite found her place within the World of Wonders – a travelling circus that traverses the continent in a luxury steam engine. Brilliant and curious, Lena yearns for the real-world magic of science and medicine, despite the limitations she feels in her wheelchair. But when a young French orphan, Alexandre, comes aboard the circus train, Lena’s life is infused with magic and wonder for the first time.
But outside the bright lights of the circus, darkness is descending on Europe. War is about to shatter Lena’s world, and take away everything she holds dear. And to recover what she has lost, Lena will have to believe in the impossible.
A must-read for fans of Water for Elephants, The Circus Train will take readers on a heart-wrenching two-decade journey across a continent in which great beauty and unimaginable horror live side by side.
Published January 12th by Sphere
Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
One of the most hotly anticipated, hilarious and addictive debut novels of 2023, from Schitt’s Creek screenwriter and electric new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.
I feel like when you get a divorce everyone’s wondering how you ruined it all, what made you so unbearable to be with. If your husband dies, at least people feel bad for you.
Maggie’s marriage has ended just 608 days after it started, but she’s fine – she’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s alone for the first time in her life, can’t afford her rent and her obscure PhD is going nowhere . . . but at the age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new status as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.
Soon she’s taking up ‘sadness hobbies’ and getting back out there, sex-wise, oversharing in the group chat and drinking with her high-intensity new divorced friend Amy. As Maggie throws herself headlong into the chaos of her first year of divorce, she finds herself questioning everything, including: Why do we still get married? Did I fail before I even got started? How many Night Burgers until I’m happy?
Laugh-out-loud funny, razor sharp and painfully relatable, Really Good, Actually is an irresistible debut novel about the uncertainties of modern love, friendship and happiness from a stunning new voice in fiction, Monica Heisey.
Published January 17th by Fourth Estate
So Pretty by Ronnie Turner
A young man arrives in a small town, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A chillingly hypnotic modern-gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.
When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.
Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man, and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.
Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely, and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.
As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.
Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.
Published January 19th by Orenda Books
The Clositers by Katy Hays
The Secret History meets Ninth House in this sinister, atmospheric novel . . . the discovery of a mysterious deck of tarot cards lays bare shocking secrets within a close-knit circle of researchers at New York’s famed Met Cloisters museum.
Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, hoping to spend her summer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she is assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval and Renaissance collections.
There she is drawn into a small circle of charismatic but enigmatic researchers, each with their own secrets and desires, including the museum’s curator, Patrick Roland, who is convinced that the history of Tarot holds the key to unlocking contemporary fortune telling.
Relieved to have left her troubled past behind and eager for the approval of her new colleagues, Ann is only too happy to indulge some of Patrick’s more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a mysterious, once-thought lost deck of 15th-century Italian tarot cards she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a dangerous game of power, toxic friendship and ambition.
And as the game being played within the Cloisters spirals out of control, Ann must decide whether she is truly able to defy the cards and shape her own future . . .
Bringing together the modern and the arcane, The Cloisters is a rich, thrillingly-told tale of obsession and the ruthless pursuit of power.
Published January 19th by Bantam Press
Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood
‘Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .’
Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.
One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.
She doesn’t scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons her car and walks away.
But not from her life – towards it. To the daughter who won’t live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .
Today she’ll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten. But Grace is about to remind them …
Amazing Grace Adams tells the story of a life, a marriage, a family, set against a single north-London day. A rollercoaster ride of redemption and discovery, it’s a powerful celebration of womanhood.
Published January 19th by Michael Joseph
River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer
Powerful, moving and redemptive, RIVER SING ME HOME tells of a mother’s desperate search to find her stolen children and her freedom.
We whisper the names of the ones we love like the words of a song. That was the taste of freedom to us, those names on our lips.
Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy. These are the names of her children. The five who survived, only to be sold to other plantations. The faces Rachel cannot forget. It’s 1834, and the law says her people are now free. But for Rachel freedom means finding her children, even if the truth is more than she can bear. With fear snapping at her heels, Rachel keeps moving. From sunrise to sunset, through the cane fields of Barbados to the forests of British Guiana and on to Trinidad, to the dangerous river and the open sea. Only once she knows their stories can she rest. Only then can she finally find home.
Published January 19th by Headline
For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie
An astounding debut, both epic and intimate, about grief, trauma, revelation, and the hidden lives of women – by a major new talent
‘The best first novel I’ve read in years … So full and so vivid; it is amazing’ RODDY DOYLE
‘Moving and unexpected … I tore through this’ JULIA ARMFIELD
In the year of 1413, two women meet for the first time in the city of Norwich.
Margery has left her fourteen children and husband behind to make her journey. Her visions of Christ – which have long alienated her from her family and neighbours, and incurred her husband’s abuse – have placed her in danger with the men of the Church, who have begun to hound her as a heretic.
Julian, an anchoress, has not left Norwich, nor the cell to which she has been confined, for twenty-three years. She has told no one of her own visions – and knows that time is running out for her to do so.
The two women have stories to tell one another. Stories about girlhood, motherhood, sickness, loss, doubt and belief; revelations more the powerful than the world is ready to hear. Their meeting will change everything.
Sensual, vivid and humane, For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain cracks history open to reveal the lives of two extraordinary women.
Published January 19th by Bloomsbury Publishing
Godkiller by Hanah Kaner
You are not welcome here, godkiller
Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.
Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.
Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.
Published January 19th by Harper Voyager UK
Home by Cailean Steed
Someone has broken into Zoe’s flat. A man she thought she’d never have to see again.
They call him the Hand of God.
He knows about her job in the cafe, her life in Dublin, her ex-girlfriend, even the knife she’s hidden under the mattress.
She thought she’d left him far behind, along with the cult of the Children and their isolated compound Home – but now he’s found her, and Zoe realises she must go back with him if she’s to rescue the sister who helped her escape originally. But returning to Home means going back to the enforced worship and strict gender roles Zoe has long since moved beyond; back to the abuse and indoctrination she’s fought desperately to overcome…
Going back will make her question everything she believed about her past – but could also risk her hard-won freedom. Can she break free a second time?
Published January 19th by Raven Books
In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan
‘THE MOST ORIGINAL CRIME NOVEL YOU’LL READ THIS YEAR’ CLARE MACKINTOSH
‘THIS HAS TO BE A STRONG CONTENDER FOR CRIME DEBUT OF THE YEAR’ T. M. LOGAN
In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.
Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye.
DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat’s instincts come up against Lock’s logic. But when the two missing person’s cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal.
AI versus human experience.
Logic versus instinct.
With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic?
In the Blink of an Eye is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what we think it means to be human.
Published January 19th by Simon & Schuster
Weyward by Emilia Hart
THEY TRIED TO CAGE US.
BUT A WEYWARD WOMAN BELONGS TO THE WILD.
WE CANNOT BE TAMED.
Kate flees London – and her abusive partner – for Cumbria and Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great-aunt. There, a secret lurks in the bones of the house, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.
Violet is more interested in collecting insects and climbing trees than in becoming a proper young lady. Until a chain of shocking events changes her life forever.
Altha is on trial for witchcraft, accused of killing a local man. Known for her uncanny connection with nature and animals, she is a threat that must be eliminated…
UNIQUE. ORIGINAL. UNFORGETTABLE.
Discover the power of being Weyward in 2023’s biggest debut
Published Februrary 2nd by The Borough Press
Clara & Olivia by Lucy Ashe
“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”
Sadler’s Wells, 1933.
I would kill to dance like her.
Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match identical twin Clara’s charm.
I would kill to be with her.
As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly like they are being watched. And, as infatuation turns to obsession, everything begins to unravel.
Published February 2nd by Magpie
The Heroines by Laura Shepperson
In Athens, crowds flock to witness the most shocking trial of the ancient world. The royal family is mired in scandal. Phaedra, young bride of King Theseus, has accused her stepson, Hippolytus of rape.
He’s a prince, a talented horseman, a promising young man with his whole life ahead of him. She’s a young and neglected wife, the youngest in a long line of Cretan women with less than savoury reputations.
The men of Athens must determine the truth. Who is guilty, and who is innocent?
But the women know truth is a slippery thing. After all, this is the age of heroes and the age of monsters. There are two sides to every story, and theirs has gone unheard.
Published February 9th by Sphere
The Silence Project by Carole Hailey
Monster. Martyr. Mother.
On Emilia Morris’s thirteenth birthday, her mother Rachel moves into a tent at the bottom of their garden. From that day on, she never says another word. Inspired by her vow of silence, other women join her and together they build the Community. Eight years later, Rachel and thousands of her followers around the world burn themselves to death.
In the aftermath of what comes to be known as the Event, the Community’s global influence quickly grows. As a result, the whole world has an opinion about Rachel – whether they see her as a callous monster or a heroic martyr – but Emilia has never voiced hers publicly. Until now.
When she publishes her own account of her mother’s life in a memoir called The Silence Project, Emilia also decides to reveal just how sinister the Community has become. In the process, she steps out of Rachel’s shadow once and for all, so that her own voice may finally be heard.
Published February 9th by Corvus
Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu
Soon you will become the thing all other beasts fear.
Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.
Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.
But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?
Published February 16th by Wildfire
House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
This is the story of a house.
The cabin lies deep in the woods, where the trees are so dense it’s easy to miss. On the outside it might look like it’s crumbling, crawling with weeds, but on the inside it’s warm and cosy. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Dinner simmers on the stove.
Maya once saw this cabin as an idyllic place, like a cottage from a fairy tale, but now she knows the danger that lurks beneath. The summer she visited the cabin was the summer her best friend Aubrey died.
Now, another woman from Maya’s hometown has died in the same strange, unexplained way, and Maya believes only she can save the next innocent girl.
Guided by her fractured memory and a mysterious, unfinished book by her late father, Maya returns home to face the house in the pines and the man who waits there – the man she’s tried so hard to forget . . .
Published: February 16th by Constable
Maame by Jessica George
*THE MOST POWERFUL DEBUT OF 2023*
Maame (ma-meh) has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.
All her life, she’s been told who she is. To her Ghanaian parents, she’s Maame: the one who takes care of the family. Her mum’s stand-in. The primary carer for her father, who suffers from Parkinson’s. She’s the responsible sister, the quiet friend. The one who keeps the peace – and the secrets.
It’s time for her to speak up.
Maddie knows what kind of woman she wants to be. One who wears a bright yellow suit, dates men who definitely aren’t on her mum’s list of prospective husbands, and stands up to her boss’s microaggressions. Someone who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table.
But will it take losing everything to find her voice?
Unique, unfiltered and unforgettable, Maame is a deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.
Published February 16th by Hodder & Stoughton
The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore
A brilliant debut and powerful tale of sisterhood and home, set on the beautiful beaches of the Isle of Wight…
‘Love makes you do things you never thought you were capable of.’
Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.
When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.
Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.
Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.
Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fiancé, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.
And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core…
The Garnett Girls, the captivating debut from Georgina Moore, asks whether children can ever be free of the mistakes of their parents.
Published February 16th by HQ
Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler
Power. History. Love. Hate. Vengeance.
She will be Queen. Whatever it takes…
Daughter of an ousted king, descendant of ancient druids, as a child it is prophesied that one day Gruoch will be queen of Alba.
When she is betrothed to Duncan, heir elect, this appears to confirm the prophecy. She leaves behind her home, her family and her close friend MacBethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to embrace her new position.
But nothing is as Gruoch anticipates. Duncan’s court is filled with sly words and unfriendly faces, women desperate to usurp her position, and others whose motives are shrouded in mystery. As her coronation approaches, a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee Duncan and the capital, finding herself alone, vulnerable and at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, vowing that one day she will fulfill her destiny and take up the future owed to her. Whatever it may take.
A suspenseful, sweeping historical epic, Lady MacBethad is the origin story of the woman who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters
Published March 2nd by Raven Books
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best . . .
Perfect for fans of ARIADNE and THE SONG OF ACHILLES, pre-order this extraordinary retelling of history’s most infamous heroine.
Mother. Monarch. Murderer. Magnificent.
You are born to a king, but marry a tyrant. You stand helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore and comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own.
You play the part, fooling enemies who deny you justice. Slowly, you plot.
You are Clytemnestra.
But when the husband who owns you returns in triumph, what then?
Acceptance or vengeance – infamy follows both. So you bide your time and wait, until you might force the gods’ hands and take revenge. Until you rise. For you understood something that the others don’t. If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.
A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece and told through the eyes of its greatest heroine, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.
Published March 2nd by Michael Joseph.
Mother’s Day by Abigail Burdess
She gave you life. What if she wants it back?
Perfect for fans of MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER, MAGPIE and HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY.
The last thing Anna needs is a baby. Abandoned, adopted and living hand to mouth, she never dreamt of having a real family.
But when she meets her birth mother, everything changes – because the same day, she learns she’s going to be a mother too.
Marlene is eccentric, generous with her considerable fortune and overjoyed to become a grandmother. Anna’s living the dream. But is it her dream, or someone else’s?
Now she will have to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice for a real family – her future, her freedom, even her unborn child.
Published March 2nd by Wildfire
All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow
I lived for and loved a bird-heart that summer; I only knew it afterwards.
Sunday Forrester lives with her sixteen-year-old daughter, Dolly, in the house she grew up in. She does things more carefully than most people. On quiet days, she must eat only white foods. Her etiquette handbook guides her through confusing social situations, and to escape, she turns to her treasury of Sicilian folklore. The one thing very much out of her control is Dolly – her clever, headstrong daughter, now on the cusp of leaving home.
Into this carefully ordered world step Vita and Rollo, a couple who move in next door, disarm Sunday with their charm, and proceed to deliciously break just about every rule in Sunday’s book. Soon they are in and out of each others’ homes, and Sunday feels loved and accepted like never before. But beneath Vita and Rollo’s polish lies something else, something darker. For Sunday has precisely what Vita has always wanted for herself: a daughter of her own.
Published March 2nd by Tinder Press.
No Life For A Lady by Hannah Dolby
The most joyful book of 2023!
Violet Hamilton is a woman who knows her own mind. Which, in 1896, can make things a little complicated…
At 28, Violet’s father is beginning to worry she will never find a husband. But every suitor he presents, Violet finds a new and inventive means of rebuffing.
Because Violet does not want to marry. She wants to work, and make her own way in the world. But more than anything, she wants to find her mother Lily, who disappeared from Hastings Pier 10 years earlier.
Finding the missing is no job for a lady, but when Violet hires a seaside detective to help, she sets off a chain of events that will put more than just her reputation at risk.
Can Violet solve the mystery of Lily Hamilton’s vanishing before it’s too late?
A delightfully quirky and clever book club read, perfect for fans of Dear Mrs Bird, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry.
Published March 2nd by Aria.
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
The dark, atmospheric, feminist offspring of Squid Game, The Hunting Party and Misery
A book deal to die for.
Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.
Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.
But then the women begin to die.
Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.
This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…
Published March 2nd by Magpie.
Lies We Sing to the Sea by Sarah Underwood
A fantasy romance, by dazzling new talent Sarah Underwood, inspired by Greek mythology and the tale of Penelope’s twelve hanged maids.
In the cursed kingdom of Ithaca, each spring brings the hanging of twelve maidens, a gift to the vengeful Poseidon. But when Leto awakens from her death on the shore of a long-forgotten island, its enigmatic keeper Melantho tells her that there’s only one way the curse can be broken. Leto must kill the last prince of Ithaca . . .
In Lies We Sing to the Sea, debut author Sarah Underwood delivers a thrilling and breathtaking tale that will enthral readers from the very first page as they are transported to the cursed shores of Ithaca.
A reclamation of a story from thousands of years ago, Lies We Sing to the Sea is about love and fate, grief and sacrifice, and, ultimately, the power we must find within.
Published March 16th by Electric Monkey
Her by Mira V Shah
YOU WANT TO BE JUST LIKE HER. BUT DO YOU REALLY KNOW HER?
Rani has always felt like an outsider. First growing up among her white, wealthy peers. And now next to her successful, child-free friends. From the tiny rented flat she lives in with her family, she imagines being the kind of woman who owns the beautiful house across the street.
Then Natalie moves in. With her expensive clothes, adoring husband and high-powered job, she has everything Rani wants, and Rani can’t help but be drawn to her new neighbour.
But as the two women strike up a friendship and begin open up, Rani wonders – is Natalie’s perfect-seeming life too good to be true?
Published March 23rd by Hodder & Stoughton
The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
It’s 1852 and Margaret Lennox, a young widow, is offered a position as governess at Hartwood Hall. She quickly accepts, hoping this isolated country house will allow her to leave her past behind.
Cut off from the village, Margaret soon starts to feel there’s something odd about her new home, despite her growing fondness for her bright, affectionate pupil, Louis. There are strange figures in the dark, tensions between servants and an abandoned east wing. Even stranger is the local gossip surrounding Mrs Eversham, Louis’s widowed mother, who is deeply distrusted in the village.
Margaret finds distraction in a forbidden relationship with the gardener, Paul. But despite his efforts to reassure her, Margaret is certain that everyone here has something hide. And as Margaret’s own past threatens to catch up with her, she must learn to trust her instincts before it’s too late…
The Secrets of Hartwood Hall is a chilling gothic mystery, and an authentic and atmospheric love letter to Victorian fiction.
Published Marhch 30th by Michael Joseph
Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose
A deliciously scandalous story about the dark side of suburbia, DIRTY LAUNDRY bristles with lies, desire and the secrets that can make or break a marriage.
Ciara, Lauren and Mishti are three mothers, friends, wives. But, underneath the perfectly managed routines of their lives, they are not the women you expect – and neither are the secrets they keep. We all have our dirty laundry to air, but when their carefully curated world is threatened, the devastation goes beyond scandal – it leads to murder . . .
Thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful, DIRTY LAUNDRY tackles the impossibility of who we fall in love with and the innate urge to create better versions of ourselves in our children.
Published March 30th by Viking.
Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley
First in a series: A Martha Strangeways Investigation
An investigative reporter gives up her job when her young twins are killed in a fire, but when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager, she’s thrust into a chilling investigation that will leave no one unscathed…
Strathban, Scotland. A village steeped in folklore and impenetrable mists and a horrifying mystery…
Martha Strangeways is struggling to find purpose in her life, after giving up her career as an investigative reporter when her young twins died in a house fire. Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, she carries their teeth in a matchbox wherever she goes…
But her life changes when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager – a tragedy that turns even more sinister when a poem about crows is discovered inked onto his back…
When another teenager goes missing in the remote landscape, Martha is drawn into the investigation, teaming up with DI Derek Summers, as malevolent rumours begin to spread and paranoia grows.
As darkness descends on the village of Strathban, it soon becomes clear that no one is safe, including Martha…
Both a nerve-shattering, enthralling and atmospheric thriller and a moving tale of grief and psychological damage, Crow Moon is a staggeringly accomplished debut and the start of an addictive, unforgettable series.
Published April 13th by Orenda Books
Go As A River by Shelley Read
A MESMERIZING READ FOR FANS OF WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, GREAT CIRCLE AND THE PAPER PALACE
I’ve come to understand how the exceptional lurks beneath the ordinary like the deep and mysterious world beneath the sea.
On a cool autumn morning, Torie Nash heads into her village pulling a rickety wagon filled with late-season peaches. As she nears an intersection, a mysterious drifter with grimy thumbs and smudged cheeks stops to ask her the way.
She could turn left or cross over. But she does not. ‘Go as a river,’ he tells her.
So begins a mezmerising story that unfolds over a tumultuous lifetime as Torie begins to absorb and follow his words.
Gathering all the pieces of her small and extraordinary life, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, she will arrive at a single rocky decision that will change her life for ever.
Published April 13th by Doubleday.
The Grief Nurse by Angie Spoto
Imagine you could be rid of your sadness, your anxiety, your heartache, your fear.
Imagine you could take those feelings from others and turn them into something beautiful.
Lynx is a Grief Nurse. Kept by the Asters, a wealthy, influential family, to ensure they’re never troubled by negative emotions, she knows no other life.
When news arrives that the Asters’ eldest son is dead, Lynx does what she can to alleviate their Sorrow. As guests flock to the Asters’ private island for the wake, bringing their own secrets, lies and grief, tensions rise.
Then the bodies start to pile up.
With romance, intrigue and spectacular gothic world-building, this spellbinding debut novel is immersive and unforgettable.
Published April 13th by Sandstone Press
Love & Other Scams by PJ Ellis
There’s no thrill like breaking the rules…
Cat has a dangerously dwindling bank balance. She also has:
· a month before her landlord kicks her out
· a surprise wedding invitation from rich mean girl, Louisa
· a secret talent for con artistry
A priceless jewel the size of a cocktail olive is glinting on Louisa’s finger.
And when Cat meets her ideal plus one, Jake – who’s gifted at hustling and posing as the perfect boyfriend – this wedding becomes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After all,
How hard can a diamond heist be?
THE MOST RIOTOUSLY ESCAPIST NOVEL OF 2023
PERFECT FOR FANS OF HOW TO KILL YOUR FAMILY, CRAZY RICH ASIANS AND PORTRAIT OF A THIEF
Published April 13th by HarperNorth
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
This unputdownable debut follows three women in an old Brooklyn Heights clan: one who was born with money, one who married into it, and one who wants to give it all away.
Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected, carefully guarded Stockton family, has never had to worry about money. She followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood, sacrificing more of herself than she ever intended. Sasha, Darley’s new sister-in-law, has come from more humble origins, and her hesitancy about signing a pre-nup has everyone worried about her intentions. And Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can’t (and really shouldn’t) have, and must confront the kind of person she wants to be.
Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York’s one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognisable, loveable – if fallible – characters, it’s about the peculiar unknowability of someone else’s family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love – all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.
Published April 13th by Hutchinson Heinemann
The Consultant by Im Seong-Sun
Sometimes work can be murder…
The Consultant is very good at his job. He creates simple, elegant, effective solutions for. restructuring. Nothing obvious or messy. Certainly nothing anyone would ever suspect as murder.
The ‘natural deaths’ he plans have always gone well: a medicine replaced here, a mechanism jammed there. His performance reviews are excellent. And it’s not as though he knows these people.
Until his next ‘customer’ turns out to be someone he not only knows but cares about, and for the first time, he begins to question the role he plays in the vast, anonymous Company. And as he slowly begins to understand the real scope of their work, he realises just how easy it would be for the Company to arrange one more perfect murder…
But how far will he go to escape The Company? And how far will they go to stop him?
The electrifying first novel from award-winning Korean thriller-writer Im Seong-Sun – now in English for the first time – combines the tension of the best crime fiction with searing social criticism to present a searing take-down of global corporate life.
Published April 13th by Raven
Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater
A BOOKSHOP. A TRUE CRIME CASE. A DEADLY FRIENDSHIP.
Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.
That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.
Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.
As Roach’s curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.
Published April 27th by Hodder & Stoughton
The Maiden by Kate Foster
Inspired by a real-life case and winner of the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect Award, Kate Foster’s The Maiden is a remarkable story witha feminist revisionist twist, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.
“In the end, it did not matter what I said at my trial. No one believed me.”
Edinburgh, October 1679. Lady Christian Nimmo is arrested and charged with the murder of her lover, James Forrester. News of her imprisonment and subsequent trial is splashed across the broadsides, with headlines that leave little room for doubt: Adulteress. Whore. Murderess.
Only a year before, Christian was leading a life of privilege and respectability. So, what led her to risk everything for an affair? And does that make her guilty of murder? She wasn’t the only woman in Forrester’s life, and certainly not the only one who might have had cause to wish him dead . . .
Published April 27th by Mantle
The Daughters of Madurai by Rajasree Variyar
‘A girl is a burdern A girl is a curse.’
Madurai, 1992. A young mother in a poor family, Janani is told she is useless if she can’t produce a son – or worse, bears daughters. They let her keep her first baby girl, but the rest are taken away as soon as they are born – murdered before they have a chance to live. The fate of her children has never been in her hands. But Janani can’t forget the daughters she was never allowed to love.
Sydney, 2019. Nila has a secret, one she’s been keeping from her parents for far too long. Before she can say anything, her grandfather in India falls ill and she agrees to join her parents on a trip to Madurai – the first in over ten years. Growing up in Australia, Nila knows very little about where she or her family came from, or who they left behind. What she’s about to learn will change her forever…
Perfect for fans of Christy Lefteri and Delia Owens, The Daughters of Madurai is a moving and powerful debut from an unforgettable new voice.
Published April 27th by Orion
Orphia and Eurydicius by Elyse John
A stunning, enthralling story about unconventional love, the power of creativity and the courage of women who struggle to make their voices heard – for fans of Jennifer Saint, Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.
Their love transcends every boundary. Can it cheat death?
Orphia dreams of something more than the warrior crafts she’s been forced to learn. Hidden away on a far-flung island, her blood sings with poetry and her words can move flowers to bloom and forests to grow … but her father, the sun god Apollo, has forbidden her this art.
A chance meeting with a young shield-maker, Eurydicius, gives her the courage to use her voice. After wielding all her gifts to defeat one final champion, Orphia draws the scrutiny of the gods. Performing her poetry, she wins the protection of the goddesses of the arts: the powerful Muses, who welcome her to their sanctuary on Mount Parnassus. Orphia learns to hone her talents, crafting words of magic infused with history, love and tragedy.
When Eurydicius joins her, Orphia struggles with her desire for fame and her budding love. As her bond with the gentle shield-maker grows, she joins the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece. Facing dragons, sirens and ruthless warriors on the voyage, Orphia earns unparalleled fame, but she longs to return to Eurydicius.
Yet she has a darker journey to make – one which will see her fight for her love with all the power of her poetry.
Published May 3rd by Harper Collins Australia
The Dive by Sara Ochs
Escape to paradise.
Scuba diving instructor Cass leads her students out for their first dive off the beautiful coast of Koh Sang, Thailand’s world-famous party island. It’s supposed to be a life-changing experience, but things quickly spiral out of control…
Leave your secrets behind.
By the time she gets back to the shore, one of her students is dead, another badly injured, and she knows that her idyllic life is about to be smashed to pieces on the rocks.
But don’t get lost for ever…
Someone has discovered Cass’s secret, and on an island as remote as this, accidents happen. Plenty of backpackers choose to stay here for ever – but some are never heard from again…
Published May 11th by Bantam Press
Fyneshade by Kate Griffin
I have come to Fyneshade to take up a position as governess. Many would find much to fear in its dark and crumbling corridors, its unseen master and silent servants. But not I. For they have far more to fear from me…
On the day of her grandmother’s funeral, Marta discovers that she is to be sent away from the only home she has ever known. Away from her aunt who despises her, and the man she has been forbidden to marry. She is to be governess at Fyneshade, her charge the young daughter of the owner, Sir William Pritchard.
All is not well at Fyneshade. Sir William is mysteriously absent, and his son and heir Vaughan Pritchard is forbidden to enter the house. Marta finds herself drawn to him, despite the warnings of the housekeeper, Mrs Petrie, that Vaughan is a danger to all around him. But Marta is no innocent to be preyed upon. Guided by the dark gift taught to her by her grandmother, she has made her own plans. It will take more than a family riven by murderous secrets to stop her…
Perfect for readers of Laura Purcell, Jessie Burton and Stacey Halls, Fyneshade is a dark and twisted gothic novel unlike any you’ve read before…
Published May 18th by Viper Books
The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop
Destined to be THE dark book-club debut of 2023. A compulsive and timely exploration of the complicated nature of memory and trauma, power and consent, victimhood and shame.
Rachel has loved Alistair since she was seventeen.
Even though she hasn’t seen him for sixteen years and she’s now married to someone else.
Even though she was a teenager when they met.
Even though he is almost twenty years older than her.
Now in her thirties, Rachel has never been able to forget their golden summer together on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island. But as dark and deeply suppressed memories rise to the surface, Rachel begins to understand that Alistair – and the enigmatic, wealthy man he worked for – controlled much more than she ever realized.
Rachel has never once considered herself a victim – until now.
Published May 25th by Bantam Press
Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara
A stunning, exciting and hotly-anticipated feminist retelling of one of the greatest love stories in Greek mythology!
The greatest love story ever told…
Born into an era of heroes, a prophecy claims that Psyche – Princess of Mycenae – will defeat a monster feared even by the gods themselves. Rebelling against society’s traditions, she spends her youth mastering blade and bow, preparing to fulfil her destiny.
But she is soon caught up in powers beyond her control, when the jealous Aphrodite sends the God of Desire, Eros, to deliver a fatal love-curse. The last thing Eros wants is to become involved in the chaos of the mortal world, but when he is pricked by the very arrow intended for Psyche, he is doomed to love a woman who will be torn from him the moment their eyes meet.
Thrown together by fate, headstrong Psyche and world-weary Eros will face challenges greater than they could have ever imagined. And as the Trojan War begins and the whole of the heavens try to keep them apart, will they find their way back to each other… before it’s too late?
Published May 25th by Orion.
Savage Beasts by Rani Selvarajah
A propulsive retelling of the Greek myth, Medea, like you’ve never seen her before.
A woman wronged will shake an empire
Bengal is on the brink of war. The East India Company, led by the fearsome Sir Peter Chilcott, are advancing and nobody is safe. Meena, the Nawab’s neglected and abused daughter, finds herself falling under the spell of James Chilcott, nephew of Sir Peter, who claims he wants to betray the company . . . for a price.
Caught between friend and foe, Meena and James escape Calcutta, their hands stained in blood and pockets filled with gold. In Ceylon, they’re cleansed of their sins by Meena’s beloved aunt Kiran, before the young lovers set sail for the Dutch controlled Cape of Good Hope, with the promise of a new life.
Yet past resentments and present betrayals begin to pile up as they struggle to overcome their differences. And as Meena yet again finds herself in a foreign land without anyone to turn to, she is forced to find out what she is willing to sacrifice when love turns to hate.
The perfect read for fans of The Song of Achilles, Ariadne and Pandora
Published May 25th by One More Chapter
The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges
Audrey Burges The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart, woven across multiple periods and perspectives, about a mystical dolls’ house.
Once upon a time there was a house . . .
From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four-year-old recluse Myra Malone blogs about a miniature mansion – a dolls’ house – which captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by a strange magic she can’t understand – there are rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.
Across the country, Alex Rakes, the thirty-four-year-old heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room. Alex is shocked to recognize his own bedroom in minute scale. The Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds – big and small – and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.
Published June 1st by Pan Macmillan
The Interpreter by Brooke Robinson
INNOCENT OR GUILTY. IT’S ALL A MATTER OF INTERPRETATION…
A clever, compulsive thriller for readers of Louise Candlish, Harriet Tyce and Sarah Vaughn, Launching 2023
A childhood spent moving around the world left Revelle Lee with an unusual gift – the ability to fluently speak 11 languages. Now, Revelle spends her days translating for witnesses, victims, and the accused across London crime scenes and courtrooms. It’s a stressful job, though not as stressful as the process she is currently going through to adopt little boy, Elliot. She is determined to be the mother to him that she never had, and to make up for her own past mistakes.
But when it seems a murderer will go free, Revelle puts the adoption and her job at risk, deliberately mis-translating the alibi to ensure he is found guilty. No one can ever find out that she interfered or she will lose her son and her livelihood.
The problem is someone already knows what she’s done… and they want justice of their own.
IF YOU LIKED THE SILENT PATIENT, YOU’LL LOVE THE INTERPRETER
Published June 8th by Harvill Secker
The Burnings by Naomi Kelsey
Nothing scares men like witchcraft . . .
1589. Scottish housemaid Geillis and Danish courtier Margareta lead opposite lives, but they both know one thing: when a man cries “witch”, no woman is safe.
Yet when the marriage of King James VI and Princess Anna of Denmark brings Geillis and Margareta together, everything they supposed about good, evil, men, and women, is cast in a strange and brilliant new light.
For the first time in history, could black magic – or rumours of it – be a very real tool for women’s political gain?
As the North Berwick witch trials whip Scotland – and her king – into a frenzy of paranoia, the clock is ticking. Can Margareta and Geillis keep each other safe? And once the burnings are over, in whose hands will power truly lie?
Inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight, The Burnings is 2023’s most bewitching debut novel, by a multi-awardwinning new star of historical fiction.
Published June 8th by Harper North
Speak of the Devil by Rose Wilding
All of us knew him. One of us killed him…
Seven women stand in shock in a seedy hotel room; a man’s severed head sits in the centre of the floor. Each of the women – the wife, the teenager, the ex, the journalist, the colleague, the friend, and the woman who raised him – has a very good reason to have done it, yet each swears she did not. In order to protect each other, they must figure out who is responsible, all while staying one step ahead of the police.
Against the ticking clock of a murder investigation, each woman’s secret is brought to light as the connections between them converge to reveal a killer.
A dark and nuanced portrait of love, loyalty, and manipulation, Speak of the Devil explores the roles in which women are cast in the lives of terrible men…and the fallout when they refuse to stay silent for one moment longer.
Published June 22nd by Baskerville
The Other Side of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker
The irresistible historical comedy about two rival mediums in Victorian London
Mrs Wood is London’s most celebrated medium. She’s managed to survive decades in the competitive world of contacting the Other Side, has avoided the dreaded slips that revealed others as frauds and is still hosting packed-out séances for Victorian high society.
Yet, some of her patrons have recently cancelled their appointments. There are reports of American mediums nearly materialising full spirits and audiences are no longer satisfied with the knocking on tables and candle theatrics of years gone by. And then, at one of Mrs Wood’s routine gatherings, she hears something terrifying – faint, but unmistakable: a yawn.
Mrs Wood needs to spice up her brand. She decides to take on Emmie, a young protégé, to join her show. But is Emmie Finch the naïve ingenue she seems to be? Or does she pose more of a threat to Mrs Wood’s reign and, more horrifyingly, her reputation than Mrs Wood could ever have imagined?
Published June 22md by Fourth Estate
The Housekeepers by Alex Hay
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE MOST AUDACIOUS LAUNCH OF 2023…
Mayfair, 1905. The grandest house on Park Lane has just dismissed its housekeeper.
All manner of treasures lie behind the pillared doors – and scandalous secrets too. With the event of the season looming, nothing must go wrong.
But what no one knows is that Mrs King will be back at Park Lane on the night of the ball. She has an audacious plan in mind… and knows just who to recruit to help her clean up.
Housekeeper. Sewing maid. Kitchen girl. Thief.
Never underestimate the women downstairs.
IT’S YOUR HOUSE. BUT IT’S THEIR RULES.
Dazzling, stylish and wildly entertaining, The Housekeepers lets loose an outlandish alliance of women you’ll never forget.
Published July 6th by Headline
House Woman by Adorah Nworah
My name is Ikemefuna Nwosu, and I am your wife.
One day in Lagos, young dancer Ikemefuna is put on a plane to Houston to meet her new husband, Nna. Promises are made to her – about her education, about the man she will marry, about her freedom.
None of them are kept.
A few months later, self-professed feminist Nna finds a beautiful woman cooking in his parents’ kitchen. They tell him Ikemefuna is his wife, there to give them the grandson they’ve been waiting for. She appears obedient, malleable.
But she is no ordinary wife.
In the Texas heat, patience runs on short supply and the atmosphere in the house becomes increasingly strained, increasingly violent. Desperation makes people do strange things…
Unpredictable and unsettling, HOUSE WOMAN is a delicious thriller you will never be able to forget.
Published July 6th by The Borough Press
The Witching Tide by Margaret Meyer
THERE IS POWER IN SILENCE
East Anglia, 1645. Martha Hallybread, a midwife, healer and servant, has lived peacefully for more than four decades in her beloved Cleftwater. Everyone in the village knows Martha, but no one has ever heard her speak.
One bright morning, Martha becomes a silent witness to a witch hunt, led by sinister new arrival Silas Makepeace. As a trusted member of the community, she is enlisted to search the bodies of the accused women for evidence. But whilst she wants to help her friends, she also harbours a dark secret that could cost her own freedom.
In desperation, Martha revives a wax witching doll that she inherited from her mother, in the hope that it will bring protection. But the doll’s true powers are unknowable, the tide is turning, and time is running out . . .
A spellbinding and intoxicating novel inspired by true events, The Witching Tide is a magnificent debut from a writer to watch.
Published July 6th by Phoenix
My Murder by Katie Williams
SOMETIMES THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN SOLVE YOUR MURDER IS YOU.
‘Completely absorbing. A smart, speculative twist on domestic suspense.’ – Ashley Audrain, bestselling author of The Push
Lou has been murdered.
She was the fifth victim of the serial killer Edward Early. A young wife and new mother, Lou’s death outraged a public breathlessly following the story of the serial murders.
Lou has been cloned.
Along with Early’s other four victims, Lou has been brought back to life by the government-funded replication commission. The women gather at a weekly support group, helping each other to navigate a society obsessed with their very existence.
Lou has been lied to.
But when Lou agrees to help fellow murder victim Fern secure a visit with Edward Early, a shocking revelation causes Lou to investigate the events around her death and question everything she thought she knew about her murder.
Can she finally uncover the truth?
Published July 6th by Wildfire
The List by Yomi Adegoke
From award-winning journalist and bestselling co-author of Slay in Your Lane, Yomi Adegoke, comes The List, a sensational, page-turning debut novel about secrets, lies and our lives online.
Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is marrying the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, successful – she and her fiancé Michael are the ‘couple goals’ of their social networks and seem to have it all.
That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message:
‘Oh my god, have you seen The List?’
Compulsively page-turning, wildly entertaining and piercing with fearless insight, The List is perfect for fans of Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid and Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You. The List by Yomi Adegoke is set to be the most hotly debated debut novel of 2023.
Published July 6th by Fourth Estate
Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs
Some books should never be opened.
A spellbinding, edge-of your seat thriller, Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organisation that will do anything to get them back . . . even murder.
Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic.
Her estranged older sister Esther moves between countries and jobs, constantly changing, never staying anywhere longer than a year, desperate to avoid the deadly magic that killed her mother. Currently working on a research base in Antarctica, she has found love and perhaps a sort of happiness.
But when she finds spots of blood on the mirrors in the research base, she knows someone is coming for her, and that Joanna and her collection are in danger.
If they are to survive, she and Joanna must unravel the secrets their parents kept hidden from them – secrets that span centuries and continents, and could cost them their lives …
Published July 6th by Century
You’d Look Better as a Ghost by Joanna Wallace
I have a gift. I see people as ghosts before they die.
Of course, it helps that I’m the one killing them.
The night after her father’s funeral, Claire meets Lucas in a bar. Lucas doesn’t know it, but it’s not a chance meeting. One thoughtless mistyped email has put him in the crosshairs of an extremely put-out serial killer. But before they make eye contact, before Claire lets him buy her a drink, even before she takes him home and carves him up into little pieces, something about that night is very wrong. Because someone is watching Claire. Someone who is about to discover her murderous little hobby.
The thing is, it’s not sensible to tangle with a part-time serial killer, even one who is distracted by attending a weekly bereavement support group and trying to get her art career off the ground. Let the games begin…
Dexter meets Killing Eve in this superb thriller, perfect for fans of How To Kill Your Family and My Sister the Serial Killer.
Published September 7th by Viper
What do you think of my choices? Are any of these on your TBR for 2023? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx
*Theses purchase links are affiliate links