Happy almost-publication day to this outstanding and original book. Thank you to Karen at Orenda for the gifted ARC.
Everything stays the same for the tenants of The Beresford, a grand old apartment building just outside the city … until the doorbell rings… Will Carver returns with an eerie, deliciously and uncomfortably dark standalone thriller.
Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.
There’s a routine at The Beresford.
For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.
Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate, Sythe, no longer does. Because Abe just killed him.
In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends. Perhaps lovers.
And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.
Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell rings…
Eerie, dark, superbly twisted and majestically plotted, The Beresford is the stunning standalone thriller from one of crime fiction’s most exciting names.
“The Beresford was old. It was grand. It evolved with the people who inhabited its rooms and apartments. It was dark and elephantine and it breathed with its people. Paint peeled and there were cracks in places. It was bricks and mortar and plaster and wood. And it was alive.”
Will Carver has done it again! The Beresford is another outstanding and original novel from one of the most unique voices in fiction. The striking, eerie and trippy cover matches what’s between it’s pages: a strange, sinister and twisted tale that is both gloriously absurd and totally plausible.
The story opens with a murder. Sixty seconds later the doorbell rings. Thus begins a dark chain of events that many of those involved won’t survive, propelling the reader straight into the action, not letting go until the final page. I devoured this book, unable to put it down once I’d started. I was hypnotised by the dark, claustrophobic and haunting world of The Beresford and its doomed residents.
“We all go a little mad sometimes.”
His characters are ordinary and familiar but also quirky, richly drawn and compelling. Abe Schwartz is an unassuming and unremarkable geek who is lonely and aches to be loved. You can’t help but feel for him despite knowing that beneath his façade of normality is a deeply disturbed individual hiding a dark secret. It’s this juxtaposition that makes him so fascinating and frightening. He really could be anyone and you would never expect him to be a killer.
Blair Conroy is trying to escape her small town life and has come in search of the excitement of the city. It is she who Abe greets just seconds after committing murder, not realising she may have just sealed her fate. I liked Blair and could relate to her in many ways. I even liked her blossoming relationship with Abe and was rooting for her not to end up in the same position as the previous resident.
Then we have Mrs. May, the lady who oversees everything that happens at The Beresford. She is a bit of an enigma, a complex character with many layers that are slowly peeled away as the story progresses. Deeply religious, she has suffered a lot of trauma and seems to genuinely care for her tenants. But she also seems terrified of the house itself. Just what does she know? And what power does this place have over her? I enjoyed trying to figure out this mysterious lady and her secrets and found her surprisingly likeable.
“The Beresford was a halfway house for the disenchanted and disenfranchised, whose focus was to become. To be. To discover and make their impact. The inhabitants were not necessarily the outsiders, but were certainly the ones found on the periphery. The wallflowers at society’s ball.”
The house is a character in itself that feels as if it lives and breathes as much as any of the human characters. It oozes malevolence and foreboding and is hiding secrets so dark and terrifying they will send shivers down your spine. It is a place that changes those who live there, feasting on them from the inside before moving onto another unsuspecting victim.
Will Carver has quickly become one of my favourite authors. His distinctive style is like nothing else out there and when you pick up his books they are instantly recognisable as his. With his sharp, choppy prose that is both tongue in cheek and deadly serious, his bold topics, scathing and unapologetic social commentary and dark humour he creates an atmosphere of mystery and foreboding, a chill that runs through your veins and builds the tension and dread till you are on the edge of your seat with your heart pounding.
The Beresford is one of my favourite books so far this year and my favourite book by the author to date, so it was an easy five stars from me. A seductive and unsettling read that you will love while also questioning why. When it’s over you will wonder what on earth you just read and find it impossible to forget.
Just remember: DON’T RING THE DOORBELL.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series and the critically acclaimed, mind-blowingly original Detective Pace series that includes Good Samaritans (2018), Nothing Important Happened Today (2019) and Hinton Hollow Death Trip (2020), all of which were ebook bestsellers and selected as books of the year in the mainstream international press. Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for both the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2020 and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his children.
Published: July 8th, 2021 Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Suspense Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
From the bestselling author of The House Guest comes a chilling story set deep in the woods…
With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.
From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place―strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest―but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.
It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.
“We are the scary ones. And these woods are ours.”
Mark Edwards is the king of psychological suspense. And any book he releases is an absolute must-read for me. But I was especially excited to read The Hollows as he mixes psychological suspense with true crime, which is one of my favourite genres.
With that now familiar mix of apprehension, malevolence and humour, Edwards slowly weaves the ominous tale, transporting us to Hollow Falls, Maine; a camping ground with a dark history that Tom Anderson knew nothing about when he arrived there with his daughter Frankie. Strange things soon begin to occur and journalist Tom can’t resist digging deeper into the mysterious tale of an unsolved double homicide that occurred there twenty years ago. But the more he learns, the stranger things become. And soon Tom must choose between solving the crime and getting out of Hollow Falls while he still can…
“Tonight marks the new moon. A new phase – not only in the lunar cycle, but in the history of the Hollows. A beginning, and an end.”
Sinister, suspenseful and spectacular, The Hollows exceeded my already high expectations. It is so expertly written that you forget it is fiction. It is all just so flawless and authentic that you buy it, and I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t a true crime book, that these murders are fictional, and that there was no point searching for David and Connie’s podcast as it doesn’t exist. Hollow Falls had an ominous and eerie presence that loomed over everything. It feels alive. And Edwards’ evocative imagery makes it leap from the page. I was hooked from beginning to end and found it impossible to put down.
I really liked Tom. He and Frankie were great narrators and their complex relationship made the story even more interesting. While reading from a teenage point of view made me feel old, the author has got the feeling and lingo down perfectly. As always he filled the book with a cast of equally fascinating and memorable characters. Buddy and Darlene were especially creepy, giving me chills every time they appeared on the page. One of my favourite tropes in a thriller is when an author includes a mystery narrator that we assume is the killer, so I loved that he included the enigmatic third narrator. These chapters, which were told in flashbacks that led up to the infamous crime, not only gave us an insight into the killer’s mind and motivations, but increased the tension.
“Why was this slaying so notorious? Why had it brought all these dark tourists flocking to this place?”
I loved that Edwards uses this book to not only send shivers down your spine, but also to explore our fascination with true crime. As an avid true crime reader I admit to feeling called out a few times, but not in a judgmental or negative way. It is more like a commentary on the culture of true crime, exploring why so many of us are fascinated with the subject and examines the impact that a famous case has on the place where the crime was committed, its residents and those directly affected by the crime. He explores the phenomenon of dark tourism, and this is where I learned a lot as I had no idea just how big and lucrative an industry it has become. It is clear he’s spent a lot of time researching from how vast his knowledge is and how authentically the book reads.
Cryptic, eerie and addictive, this is without a doubt his best book yet. And that ending? Omg! This book is the perfect example of why everyone who enjoys this genre needs to read his books. I am going to need a follow up, Mr. Edwards.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers about ordinary people who encounter terrifying events. He has been described as ‘a can’t-miss king of psychological suspense’ by thriller author Brad Parks and ‘a natural born storyteller with the darkest of imaginations’ by crime writer Fiona Cummins.
He has sold more than three million copies of his books and topped the bestseller lists numerous times since his first solo novel, The Magpies, was published in 2013.
Published: June 10th, 2021 Publisher: Orenda Genre: Psychological Fiction, Urban Fiction, Coming-of-Age Story Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this truly remarkable and unforgettable novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Karen at Orenda Books for the gifted eBook ARC.
When the mother of an autistic young man hires a call girl to make him happy, three lives collide in unexpected and moving ways … changing everything. A devastatingly beautiful, rich and thought-provoking novel that will warm and break your heart…
Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.
Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.
Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.
When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.
A topical and moving drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family … to survive … This Is How We Are Human is a searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core that will warm and break your heart.
“This is how we are human. We learn from one another.”
This Is How We Are Human is a truly astonishing novel from the incomparable Louise Beech. I need to begin this review by saying that nothing I write will do justice to this work of art. This is a story about the nuances and complexities of being human. A story full of heart, warmth and wisdom that is beautifully crafted and achingly real. It is unflinchingly honest, not shying away from the awkward, difficult or embarrassing topics and questions, instead putting them at the heart of the story and exploring them in detail. I found myself stopping frequently to discuss things with my partner, read him excerpts or laugh hysterically. The author has crafted something magnificent and special that has gone right to my soul and will stay there forever.
For a story like this you need great characters. And these are ones I will not forget. Sebastian, Veronica and Isabelle are compelling, multilayered, richly drawn and real . They each narrate their own chapters, offering three unique perspectives and getting to the heart of their stories while also allowing the reader to follow on their journeys of self-discovery. You can imagine them being you, your family or your friends. And that is what pulls you in, makes you connect to them, feel with them and fully invest in their story. And while I loved them all, Sebastian was truly the star.
“Everyone thinks autistic people can’t understand expressions, but we have to look at the strangest ones anyone can make and, and then work out what they mean. That is called irony, you know.
It is impossible not to fall in love with Sebastian. He is just the most wonderful young man; so wise and full of kindness, honesty and love. He is hilarious but also made my heart break. But what I loved most about him was that while autism is obviously part of him, it isn’t who he is. He is a nuanced character who is as individual as anyone else. He isn’t a bunch of traits or symptoms, but a human being with his own thoughts, feelings and dreams.
I am the mother of a son with autism. He is now sixteen and beginning to face similar challenges to those Sebastian faces in the book, though my son doesn’t struggle as much with social interaction and cues as Sebastian does. I am often frustrated by the clichés we see in stories featuring autism so I was a little apprehensive about how it would be represented, but I trust both Louise and Orenda, so I had faith it would be well written. And what is vividly clear from the start is not just the depth of research and commitment to authenticity Louise has taken to represent people with autism and the things they and their families go through, but also the compassion, empathy and sensitivity with which it is written. This reads like she’s lived it, though I know from her interviews she hasn’t. At the end of the book there is a note from the author about her research and it is a must read. She truly went above and beyond in her commitment to accurately represent autism. Louise, thank you.
“The small print tells us all the things we don’t really want to know, the things we should know.”
I was already a fan of her work after reading the fantastic I Am Dust last year. I loved it’s haunting gothic vibes and her exceptional storytelling. I knew from other people and interviews that Louise doesn’t really have a genre, she creates them; simply writing from her heart and brilliant imagination to give the reader something different each time. So I was excited to read another of her books, though I had a feeling this would be emotional (spoiler: I wasn’t wrong). But she also makes it side-splittingly funny, which stops the book from feeling heavy or overwhelming. And that ending; sheer perfection *chef’s kiss*.
This Is How We Are Human is a masterpiece. Enthralling, thought-provoking, powerful and heart-rending, I could have read this book forever. I loved the characters and story so much that I felt bereft when I had to leave them behind. I can always count on Orenda to publish quality fiction and this story is yet another example of why I will always recommend their books.
Louise Beech has given a voice to a story that needed to be told and characters who needed to be heard. I believe this book will help create more awareness, compassion and understanding of autism and help people with the condition to be seen for who they are, not the condition they were born with. Thank you Louise for writing it. And thank you Karen for publishing it.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
Do you take any notice of publishers? Before becoming a book blogger I never really paid attention to who published a book or what kinds of books certain publishers put out. Obviously I’d heard of companies such as Penguin or Bloomsbury, but I never gave it deeper thought. But now I find that I pay close attention to publishers and the kind of books they put out.
I love all the publishers I’m lucky enough to work with, but today I wanted to highlight an independent publisher that I absolutely adore: Orenda Books.
With Orenda I not only know I’m going to get a book that’s well written, I also know I’m probably going to get something a bit different. They work with a wide range of authors, including many in other countries, and I’m yet to read a book from this publisher that I didn’t like. The blog tours for this publisher fill up fast and I’m really excited about the three Orenda books I’ll be reviewing for tours in June.
I love these books so much that this year I even started a subscription with Bert’s Books to receive a book from Orenda each month so I can grow my collection. It’s a great way to support an independent bookshop and under publisher at the same time. Bert even emails you each month to make sure you’re happy with the selection, offering an earlier book if it’s part of series you’re not up to date on or an alternative title if you’d prefer.
Here are some links to some of my reviews of books that are published by Orenda:
The call comes on an ordinary Sunday afternoon to say your sister has been admitted to hospital with a serious head injury. But you don’t have a sister… do you?
You’ve never doubted your parents. You’ve loved them without question your whole life. But your stepmother is uncharacteristically speechless, and your father isn’t well enough to understand.
So you get in your car.
Turn the key in the ignition.
Knowing everything behind you is a lie.
Not knowing what lies ahead: the truth… or something far darker?
A deliciously dark and twisty tale of deception, secrets and family ties, The Liar’s Daughter is perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train,The Woman in the Window and The Family Upstairs.
Rona Halsall is one of my must-read thriller authors. So anytime I hear she has a new book coming out I jump at the chance to read it and be part of the blog tour. This latest book sounded as intriguing and entertaining as her others so I was excited to start reading.
She had me hooked with the intriguing prologue as Eva’s life is torn apart on that ordinary Sunday afternoon when she finds out she has a sister her parents never mentioned. A sister who is now in hospital with a serious head injury and needs taking care of. Feeling betrayed, Eva rushes to her side, reeling from the betrayal and searching for answers she feels only the mysterious Nancy might be willing to give.
This readable page-turner was so expertly written that it lulled me into a false sense of security. I should have known better than to get comfortable and think I had it all figured out. But I did. And then out of the blue she delivered one of her trademark twists that revealed a skillfully crafted hall of mirrors and turned everything I thought I knew on its head. I couldn’t read fast enough and was flying through the pages as the author took me on a wild ride packed with sizzling suspense. I’ll never underestimate Rona again!
The story is filled with compelling characters that may or may not be reliable. I don’t want to ruin the surprises in store for those yet to read the book, so I’m only going to talk about Eva. She was a likeable character that I found it easy to root for. Most of us have experienced that gut wrenching feeling when we discover someone we trusted implicitly has lied to us for a long time. I can only imagine how much more painful that is when it was your parents. Eva’s heartbreak, loss, confusion and sense of betrayal is palpable, Halsall putting us in her shoes as her whole world crumbles and she tries to rebuild it with the broken pieces of lies and truths that she never imagined.
Riveting, unexpected and tense, The Liar’s Daughter is another morally complex and emotional story from a sensational author.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Rona lives on the Isle of Man with her husband, two dogs and three guinea pigs. She has been a bookworm since she was a child and now she’s actually creating stories of her own, which still feels like a dream come true.
She is an outdoorsy person and loves stomping up a mountain, walking the coastal paths and exploring the wonderful beaches on the Island while she’s plotting how to kill off her next victim. She also makes sure she deletes her Google history on a regular basis, because… well, you can’t be too careful when you spend your life researching new and ingenious ways for people to die.
She has three children and two step-children who are now grown up and leading varied and interesting lives, which provides plenty of ideas for new stories!
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer Published: February 1st, 2022 Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio Genre: Thriller, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Crime Series
Happy Publication Day Carol!
I am thrilled to be opening the blog tour for this first book in a new crime series by the wonderful Ms. Wyer. Thank you to Emma at Damppebbles for the invitation to take part.
A killer running rings around the police. A detective spiralling out of control.
DI Kate Young is on leave. She’s the force’s best detective, but her bosses know she’s under pressure, on medication and overcoming trauma. So after her bad judgement call leads to a narrowly averted public disaster, they’re sure all she needs is a rest.
But when Staffordshire Police summon her back to work on a murder case, it’s a harder, more suspicious Kate Young who returns. With a new ruthlessness, she sets about tracking down a clinical, calculating serial killer who is torturing victims and leaving clues to taunt the police. Spurred on by her reporter husband, Young begins to suspect that the murderer might be closer than she ever imagined.
As she works to uncover the truth, Young unravels a network of secrets and lies, with even those closest to her having something to hide. But with her own competence—and her grip on reality—called into question, can she unmask the killer before they strike again?
She’s done it again! When one of my favourite crime writers announced a new series I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was thrilled to be one of the lucky people who first received a copy and to then learn I’d be one of the bloggers opening the tour in publication day. Expectations were high and, as always, Ms. Wyer did not disappoint. An Eye for an Eye is a gripping, twisty, pacy and gritty thriller that had me hooked from the start. I couldn’t put it down and was up until 5am the first night as I didn’t want to stop reading!
Detective Kate Young is off work after a traumatic incident earlier in the year that led to PTSD. She is still struggling to get through each day when one of her bosses asks her to come back to work on a sensitive case. She isn’t sure she’s ready to go back, but her boss convinces her that he needs his best detective, so she returns.
Supported by her husband, Chris, and her handpicked team, Kate finds returning even more difficult than she imagined. But she’s determined to crack the case, particularly after finding clues that seem to point to the killer being uncomfortably close to home.
This book has everything you expect when you pick up a Carol Wyer book: great writing that is gritty and compelling, grizzly murders, a layered plot full of shocking twists, and interesting characters.
Once again Carol has created a protagonist who is a feisty, flawed and strong-willed woman with an interesting backstory. When we meet Kate she’s on leave from work and struggling with PTSD after a traumatic incident earlier in the year. She is suffering from flashbacks, nightmares and disassociation and using pills to try and cope with her feelings. When she returns to work she must battle against not only her symptoms but the doubts and insecurities of herself and those around her. Everyone is watching and some are counting on her to fail, but Kate is determined to overcome her challenges to bring a killer to justice. As someone with PTSD following trauma I appreciate Carol portraying the condition in such a raw and accurate way. Despite these things I will admit it took me a little while to warm to Kate, though I found her compelling and was rooting for her from start to finish.
As much as I love her Natalie Ward books I am glad that Carol decided to write a new series as I loved this thrilling page-turner. And, after that ending, I can’t wait for book two!
So if you’re a crime fiction fan, don’t miss the first in what I believe will be another unmissable series from the incomparable Ms. Wyer. READ THIS NOW.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
A former teacher and linguist, Carol began writing full-time in 2009 and enjoyed much success with several comedies and humorous non-fiction books, one of which, Grumpy Old Menopause won her the People’s Book Prize Award in 2015.
January 2017, saw her move into police procedurals withLittle Girl Lost, the first in the DI Robyn Carter series, that featured in USA Today Top 150 best selling books and became the #2 best-selling book on Amazon. The books, set in Staffordshire where Carol has lived for over 30 years, earned her acclaim as a crime writer and in 2018, a new team lead by DI Natalie Ward was introduced to her readers.
Carol’s crime novels have since sold over half a million copies and been translated worldwide.
As well as writing crime, Kindle top 5 best-seller Carol also still writes comedies because as the ex-stand-up comedian claims, “Laughter is the best medicine”.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’ featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post.
Published: January 7th, 2021 Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio Genre: Historical Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Welcome to my stop on the tour for the outstanding debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Simon & Schuster UK for the gifted ARC of the book.
‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’
A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll Factory, The Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.
My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.
The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.
They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.
Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.
“It’s been quite a life, the one I’ve had; I was there when they turned the world upside down, and I was there, right at the heart of it all, during the turbulent times that led us down the road to that day. So I got to thinking that I should write it all down, because there’s been a lot said about those times, and not all of it’s right.”
This book is a truly magnificent tale. In her outstanding debut, Frances Quinn takes you on an adventure alongside Nat Davey, a fictional character based on Jeffrey Hudson, court dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria. Seamlessly merging fact with fiction, she weaves together historical events and moments from the lives of real people with those of her fictional characters and imagination. It’s so expertly done that I would have believed the entire book to be biographical is it wasn’t for her author’s note saying otherwise.
This was a glorious novel. Immersive and absorbing, I was lost in Nat’s world and could see it all happening like it was on a movie screen – which it really does belong on, in my opinion. I loved that it is told like Nat is telling the reader his story, with him addressing us at times. It made it feel personal and added to the authentic feel.
“Because the way I look at it now, if we’d been just like other folks, what kind of lives would we have had?”
For a book to be truly memorable, you need memorable characters. And Nat is one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across. It is impossible not to love and root for this pint-sized man. His size alone in a time where being born different made you a freak makes him someone you can’t help but feel for. He faces judgement, ridicule and rejection from birth; even being sold by his father and given to the queen as a human pet. But what is one of the worst things to happen to him ultimately becomes the thing that leads to happiness in his life as he finds a home and even friendship in the queen’s service. His story is unforgettable and will stay with me.
While Nat is undoubtedly the star of the book, the cast of characters around him are equally as fascinating, richly drawn and memorable. There are some beautiful friendships and great life lessons hidden in this story.
I could wax lyrical about this for a very long time. Instead, I’m going to say: READ THIS BOOK! You won’t regret it. The Smallest Man will be on my list of top reads of 2020 and I have no doubt it is the start of a fantastic career for the talented Ms Quinn.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Frances Quinn read English at Cambridge, and is a journalist and copy-editor. She completed the Curtis Brown Creative Course in 2015. The Smallest Man is her debut novel.
“I am writing this account, in another man’s book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still.”
Today’s First Line Friday comes from The Swallowed Man, one of my most highly anticipated books this year. The author’s last book, Little, was one of my favourite reads of 2019, so I am thrilled to have received this gorgeous proof from Gallic Books and can’t wait to read it.
From the acclaimed author of Little comes this beautiful and haunting imagining of the years Geppetto spends within the belly of a sea beast.
Drawing upon the Pinocchio story while creating something entirely his own, Carey tells an unforgettable tale of fatherly love and loss, pride and regret, and of the sustaining power of art and imagination.
Published November 3rd, 2020
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Edward Carey was born in Norfolk, England, during an April snowstorm. A novelist, visual artist and playwright, he is the author of three acclaimed novels – Observatory Mansions, Alva & Irva and Little. His YA series The Iremonger Trilogy has been published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. Edward teaches at the University of Austin in Texas.
I can’t quite believe we’re so far into the year that I’m doing September’s Anticipated Treasures. September is packed full of wonderful sounding books and picking these wasn’t easy. It was made harder than ever this month thanks to September 3rd, also known as Fiction the third – the day when 590 Hardbacks and an unknown number of Paperbacks are released. I’ll be posting two blogs about the books out that day nearer to the time so keep an eye out for those.
So, here are the twenty books I’m most excited about in September:
SYNOPSIS: A lyrical and atmospheric homage to the strange and extraordinary, perfect for fans of Angela Carter and Erin Morgenstern.
This is the story of The Greatest Funambulist Who Ever Lived…
Born into a post-war circus family, our nameless star was unwanted and forgotten, abandoned in the shadows of the big top. Until the bright light of Serendipity Wilson threw her into focus.
Now an adult, haunted by an incident in which a child was lost from the circus, our narrator, a tightrope artiste, weaves together her spellbinding tales of circus legends, earthy magic and folklore, all in the hope of finding the child… But will her story be enough to bring the pair together again?
Beautiful and intoxicating, A Girl Made of Air brings the circus to life in all of its grime and glory; Marina, Manu, Serendipity Wilson, Fausto, Big Gen and Mouse will live long in the hearts of readers. As will this story of loss and reconciliation, of storytelling and truth.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: As soon as I took part in the cover reveal for this beautiful book I was in love. It helps that the book sounds as beautiful inside as it looks on the outside. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Lucy and Jake live in a house by a field where the sun burns like a ball of fire. Lucy works from home but devotes her life to the children, to their finely tuned routine, and to the house itself, which comforts her like an old, sly friend. But then a man calls one afternoon with a shattering message: his wife has been having an affair with Lucy’s husband, he wants her to know.
The revelation marks a turning point: Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but in a special arrangement designed to even the score and save their marriage, she will hurt him three times. Jake will not know when the hurt is coming, nor what form it will take.
As the couple submit to a delicate game of crime and punishment, Lucy herself begins to change, surrendering to a transformation of both mind and body from which there is no return.
Told in dazzling, musical prose, The Harpy by Megan Hunter is a dark, staggering fairy tale, at once mythical and otherworldly and fiercely contemporary. It is a novel of love, marriage and its failures, of power and revenge, of metamorphosis and renewal.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book first came on my radar when I heard Amanda talking about it at the beginning of the year. It immediately piqued my interest and I’ve been counting down to it’s release ever since. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: It’s no secret how much a love a good thriller book, and this one sounds like a doozy, I am part of the blog tour for this one and my review will be posted on September 20th. Pre-order here
The Heatwave by Kate Riordan
Published: Septermber 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Michael Joseph Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Historical Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Holiday Fiction
SYNOPSIS: The Heatwave is coming . . . This summer’s perfect poolside reading – a captivating story of a long-buried family secret.
In Provence, under a sweltering sun, Sylvie returns to the crumbling family home of La Reverie. In her hand is the letter that summoned her, and by her side is Emma, her youngest daughter.
Yet every corner of the house is haunted by the spectre of Elodie, her first child. Beautiful, manipulative Elodie, whose long-ago death the villagers still whisper about.
Sylvie has tried to put the past behind her. But like the spreading forest fires, memories of Elodie seem to be creeping ever closer.Because there’s a secret Sylvie has concealed about what happened to Elodie all those summers ago . . .
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book just sounds amazing; like it has everything I want in a great thriller. This is another book I’m on the blog tour for so check out my review on September 1st Pre-Order here
Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publihser: HQ Genre: Crime Fiction, Legal Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Political Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: ARE YOU READY TO START THIS CONVERSATION?
Kamran Hadid feels invincible. He attends Hampton school, an elite all-boys boarding school in London, he comes from a wealthy family, and he has a place at Oxford next year. The world is at his feet. And then a night of revelry leads to a drunken encounter and he must ask himself a horrific question.
With the help of assault counsellor, Zara Kaleel, Kamran reports the incident in the hopes that will be the end of it. But it’s only the beginning…
Powerful, explosive and important, Truth Be Told is a contemporary courtroom drama that vividly captures today’s society. You will not stop thinking about it for a long time to come.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I loved Kia Abdullah’s debut novel and have been eagerly anticipating this follow up. I’m excited that it again features Zara Kaleel as I love a good series and she was a great character. My review will be posted as part of the blog tour on September 3rd. Pre-order here
House of Correction by Nicci French
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Police Procedural
SYNOPOSIS: THE NEW THRILLER FROM THE MASTER OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE
She’s a murderer.
Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed? So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.
Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.
That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.
And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself. So she must fight. Against the odds.
For her life.
Beautifully written about prejudice, loneliness and fighting spirit, this new book by Nicci French is shocking, twisty and utterly compelling.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I’ve been a big fan of Nicci French for many years and anything they write is an auto-buy for me. Pre-order here
After The Silence by Louise O’Neill
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Riverrun Genre: Suspense, Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Nessa Crowley’s murderer has been protected by silence for ten years. Until a team of documentary makers decide to find out the truth.
On the day of Henry and Keelin Kinsella’s wild party at their big house a violent storm engulfed the island of Inisrun, cutting it off from the mainland. When morning broke Nessa Crowley’s lifeless body lay in the garden, her last breath silenced by the music and the thunder.
The killer couldn’t have escaped Inisrun, but no-one was charged with the murder. The mystery that surrounded the death of Nessa remained hidden. But the islanders knew who to blame for the crime that changed them forever.
Ten years later a documentary crew arrives, there to lift the lid off the Kinsella’s carefully constructed lives, determined to find evidence that will prove Henry’s guilt and Keelin’s complicity in the murder of beautiful Nessa.
In this bold, brilliant, disturbing new novel Louise O’Neill shows that deadly secrets are devastating to those who hold them close.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: September seems to be filled with fantastic thrillers and this is one of the thrillers I’m most excited about. I’m taking part in a readalong of this one with Tandem Collective UK starting next week. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: An extraordinary debut novel by Natasha Randall, exposing the seam of secrets within an American family, from beneath the plastic surfaces of their new ‘smart’ home. Love Orange charts the gentle absurdities of their lives, and the devastating consequences of casual choices.
While Hank struggles with his lack of professional success, his wife Jenny, feeling stuck and beset by an urge to do good, becomes ensnared in a dangerous correspondence with a prison inmate called John. Letter by letter, John pinches Jenny awake from the “marshmallow numbness” of her life. The children, meanwhile, unwittingly disturb the foundations of their home life with forays into the dark net and strange geological experiments.
Jenny’s bid for freedom takes a sour turn when she becomes the go-between for John and his wife, and develops an unnatural obsession for the orange glue that seals his letters…
Love Orange throws open the blinds of American life, showing a family facing up to the modern age, from the ascendancy of technology, the predicaments of masculinity, the pathologising of children, the epidemic of opioid addiction and the tyranny of the WhatsApp Gods. The first novel by the acclaimed translator is a comic cocktail, an exuberant skewering of contemporary anxieties and prejudices.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This one has only come on my radar the past week and now I can’t wait to read it! It sounds like a timely and utterly compelling debut. Pre-order here
Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris
Published: September 3rd, 2020 Publisher: Gollancz Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: When you can find me an acre of land, Every sage grows merry in time, Between the ocean and the sand Then will you be united again. (Inspired by The Child Ballads 2 & 19)
So begins a beautiful and tragic quest as a heartbroken mother sets out to save her lost daughter, through the realms of the real, of dream, and even into the underworld itself.
But determination alone is not enough. For to save something precious, she must give up something precious, be it a song, a memory, or herfreedom itself . . .
Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: While I’ve never read anything by this author, I have heard great things and love the movie Chocolat. This book i s the third Fantasy/Fairy Tale book on this list which I think shows how much my tastes have expanded towards that genre since reading A Court of Thorns and Roses Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: For fans of Longbourn and The Other Bennet Sister, this beautifully told story of marriage, duty and friendship follows Charlotte’s story from where Pride and Prejudice ends.
Everybody believes that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is unmarried, plain, poor and reaching a dangerous age.
But when she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her fortunes change. Her best friend Lizzy Bennet is appalled by her decision, yet Charlotte knows this is the only way to provide for her future.
What she doesn’t know is that her married life will propel her into a new world: not only of duty and longed-for children, but secrets, grief, unexpected love and friendship, and a kind of freedom.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I love a good classic and I love books that are either retellings or pertain to a much loved classic, so this is right up my street. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Because there’s never enough time to say goodbye…
Sylvia knows that she’s running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she’s left behind.
So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she’s gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday – it’s everything she should have told him before it was too late.
But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she’s saved until the very last pages. And it’s a moment in her past that could change everything…
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This one sounds like a beautiful, but emotional, read. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: She was ‘The Angel of the Baths’, the one woman whose touch everybody yearned for. Yet she would do more. She was certain of that.
In the city of Bath, in the year 1865, an extraordinary young woman renowned for her nursing skills is convinced that some other destiny will one day show itself to her. But when she finds herself torn between a dangerous affair with a female lover and the promise of a conventional marriage to an apparently respectable doctor, her desires begin to lead her towards a future she had never imagined.
Meanwhile, on the wild island of Borneo, an eccentric British ‘rajah’, Sir Ralph Savage, overflowing with philanthropy but compromised by his passions, sees his schemes relentlessly undermined by his own fragility, by man’s innate greed and by the invasive power of the forest itself.
Jane’s quest for an altered life and Sir Ralph’s endeavours become locked together as the story journeys across the globe – from the confines of an English tearoom to the rainforests of a tropical island via the slums of Dublin and the transgressive fancy-dress boutiques of Paris.
Islands of Mercy is a novel that ignites the senses, and is a bold exploration of the human urge to seek places of sanctuary in a pitiless world.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I love historical fiction. It’s one of my favourite genres and this one has ‘must-read’ written all over it. It sounds atmospheric, absorbing and intriguing. Like one I won’t be able to put down. Pre-order here
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Published: September 15th, 2020 Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Genre: Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: Piranesi lives in the House. Perhaps he always has?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell transported over four million readers into its mysterious world. It became an instant classic and has been hailed as one of the finest works of fiction of the twenty-first century.
Fifteen years later, it is finally time to enter the House and meet Piranesi.
May your Paths be safe, your Floors unbroken and may the House fill your eyes with Beauty.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This book instantly screamed BUY ME and READ ME when I saw it on Twitter recently. There isn’t a lot in the description, but I am intrigued enough for this to be one of the books at the top of my wishlist. Pre-order here
Where The Edge Is by Grainne Murphy
Published: September 15th, 2020 Publisher; Legend Press Genre: Literary Fiction
SYNOPSIS: As a sleepy town in rural Ireland starts to wake, a road subsides, trapping an early-morning bus and five passengers inside. Rescue teams struggle and as two are eventually saved, the bus falls deeper into the hole.
Under the watchful eyes of the media, the lives of three people are teetering on the edge. And for those on the outside, from Nina, the reporter covering the story, to rescue liaison, Tim, and Richie, the driver pulled from the wreckage, each are made to look at themselves under the glare of the spotlight.
When their world crumbles beneath their feet, they are forced to choose between what they cling to and what they must let go of.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I only heard about this book two days ago, but it instantly became a must-read book when I read the compelling synopsis. It sounds like a book that will have me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Pre-order here
The Minders by John Marrs
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: Del Rey Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Science Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Five strangers guard our secrets. Only four can be trusted…
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.
But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: It’s no secret that John Marrs is one of my favourite authors and his books are all must-reads for me. I love the sound of his latest novel as it sounds so unique and riveting. I’ve heard great things so I’m looking forward to picking it up myself. Pre-order here
SYNOPSIS: Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated a child trying to make sense of an adult world.
Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives in an instant.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: Orenda is one of my favourite publishers and I have heard nothing but praise for Michael J. Malone. I am looking forward to finally reading one of his books and will be posting my review on September 11th as par of the blog tour. Pre-order here
Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: HQ Genre: Bildungsroman, Coming-of-Age Fiction, LGBT Literature
SYNOPSIS: Named a most anticipated book of 2020 by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Time, People, BuzzFeed, Bustle, and more. Perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag
Great inventiveness, unfailing intelligence and empathy, and best of all a rare and shimmering wit’ Richard Ford
Eighteen years old, pregnant, and working as a pizza delivery girl, our dysfunctional heroine is deeply lost and in complete denial about it all. She’s grieving the death of her father, avoiding her loving boyfriend, and flagrantly ignoring her future.
Her world is further upended when she becomes obsessed with Jenny, a stay-at-home mother new to the neighbourhood, who comes to depend on weekly deliveries of pickle-covered pizzas for her son’s happiness.
As one woman looks toward motherhood and the other toward middle age, the relationship between the two begins to blur in strange, complicated, and ultimately heartbreaking ways.
Bold, tender, and unexpected, Pizza Girl is a moving and funny portrait of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she tries to find her place in the world.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This just sounds like a book that is right up my street in every way. I love a flawed dysfunctional heroine and stories with heart and humour, which it sounds like this one has. My review will be posted on September 18th as part of the blog tour. Pre-order here
D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michael Faber
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: Doubleday Genre: Modern Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: ‘If ever a book like this was needed, it is now. Dhikilo is a splendid heroine for our time: She stands for kindness, honesty and humanity. Her triumph will have readers rejoicing’ DIANE SETTERFIELD __________________________
A modern-day Dickensian fable and a celebration of friendship and humanity, by the acclaimed author of The Crimson Petal and the White.
It all starts on the morning the letter D disappears from the language. First, it vanishes from her parents’ conversation at breakfast, then from the road signs outside. Soon the local dentist and the neighbour’s Dalmatian are missing, and even the Donkey Derby has been called off.
Though she doesn’t know why, Dhikilo is summoned to the home of her old history teacher Professor Dodderfield and his faithful Labrador, Nelly Robinson. And this is where our story begins.
Set between England and the wintry land of Liminus, a world enslaved by the monstrous Gamp and populated by fearsome, enchanting creatures, D (Tale of Two Worlds) is a mesmerising tale of friendship and bravery in an uncertain world. Told with simple beauty and warmth, its celebration of moral courage and freethinking is a powerful reminder of our human capacity for strength, hope and justice.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: A book described as ‘a modern-day Dickensien fable’? Sold! This book sounds absolutely mesemerising, delightful and uplifting; like it has the potential to be a modern-day clasic Pre-order here
Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
Published: September 17th, 2020 Publisher: One More Chapter Genre: Historical Fiction, Humorous Fiction, Domestic Fiction, Coming-of-Age Fiction
SYNOPSIS: Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.
But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: This sounds like a charming and heartwarming read; one of those books that just makes you smile while reading. And anything that is compared to Eleanor Oliphant is a must-read for me. Pre-order here
The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
Published: September 29th, 2020 Publisher: Pan Macmillan Genre: Autobiography, Biography
SYNOPSIS: It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.
This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.
Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.
WHY I’M ANTICIPATING THIS BOOK: I have been a huge fan of Mariah Carey for 27 years so there was no question that her memoir would be on my most anticipated list. I can’t wait to read the truth about her life from the woman herself. Pre-order here
Are any of these on your wishlist? Which ones are you planning to read? Let me know in the comments.
Published: August 13th, 2020 Publisher: Canongate Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel Fiction
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this truly exceptional novel. Thank you to Canongate for the invitation to take part and the gifted book.
Between life and death there is a library.
When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.
Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?
‘Between life and death there is a library,’ she said. ‘And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’
Despite reading the synopsis, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I had heard nothing but praise which made me apprehensive: what if I was the one who didn’t love this book as much as everybody else did? I needn’t have worried.
The Midnight Library is an exceptional book. Who hasn’t wondered how their life might have turned out if they’d made different choices? I know I have. I loved the idea of getting to live the different lives you might have had. I don’t want to say too much about the plot or the lives Nora lives as I think it would ruin the joy of the journey that it takes you on as you discover this intelligent and thought-provoking story for yourself.
“The only way to learn is to live.”
I loved Nora. She is a great character who has been fantastically written. Haig has made no secret of his own mental health struggles and has written two non-fiction books about it, so it isn’t a surprise to me that he wrote Nora with such emotion, depth, sensitivity and raw truth. A lot of the time, reading her was like looking in a mirror. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my adult life and have had periods of being suicidal, so I felt like I ‘got’ Nora completely. One major difference between us though is I try not to look at life with regret, so it was interesting to read her regrets and the way they shaped her and how they changed as she moved through her various lives.
“It is so easy, while trapped in just the one life, to imagine that times of sadness or tragedy or failure are a result of that particular existence. That it is a by-product of living a certain way, rather than simply living. I mean, it would have made things a lot easier if we understood there was no way of living that can immunise you against sadness. And that sadness is intrinsically a part of happiness. You can’t have one without the other.”
I loved the prevailing message and deeper themes that are at the heart of this beautifully written story. I am in awe of how themes of anxiety, depression and suicide were delicately woven into this atmospheric, poignant and enchating story. It somehow avoids feeling dark and is instead a real balm for the soul. It made me look at my own life and how I handle my darkest times. It is a book that will stay with me forever.
Emotionally resonant, powerful, hopeful and utterly immersive, The Midnight Library is a glorious novel that I never wanted to end. Everyone needs to read this book. It is something truly special and one that you will never forget. It may even change your life. I only wish I could experience it for the first time all over again.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Matt Haig is an author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 40 languages. It is being made into a film by Studio Canal and The Guardian called it an ‘instant classic’. His novels for adults include the award-winning How To Stop Time, The Radleys and The Humans.
He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.