We would like to continue to recommend some of our favourite reads to you, for future reading lists or for right now, available from our libraries or to download from our eBooks and eAudiobooks app, Borrowbox.
73 Dove Street by Julie Owen Moylan
When Edie Budd arrives at a shabby West London boarding house in October 1958, carrying nothing except a broken suitcase and an envelope full of cash, it’s clear she’s hiding a terrible secret. And she’s not the only one; the other women of 73 Dove Street have secrets of their own.
Tommie, who lives on the second floor, waits on the eccentric Mrs Vee by day. After dark, she harbours an addiction to seedy Soho nightlife – and a man she can’t quit.
Phyllis, 73 Dove Street’s formidable landlady, has set fire to her husband’s belongings after discovering a heart-breaking betrayal – yet her fierce bravado hides a past she doesn’t want to talk about.
At first, the three women keep to themselves. But as Edie’s past catches up with her, Tommie becomes caught in her web of lies – forcing her to make a decision that will change everything.
Available from your library
So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan
After an uneventful Friday at the Dublin office, Cathal faces into the long weekend and takes the bus home. There, his mind agitates over a woman named Sabine with whom he could have spent his life, had he acted differently. All evening, with only the television and a bottle of champagne for company, thoughts of this woman and others intrude – and the true significance of this particular date is revealed.
The Last Dance by Mark Billingham
He’s a detective, a dancer, he has no respect for authority — and he’s the best hope Blackpool has for keeping criminals off the streets. Meet Detective Declan Miller.
A double murder in a seaside hotel sees a grieving Miller return to work to solve what appears to be a case of mistaken identity. Just why were two completely unconnected men taken out?
Despite a somewhat dubious relationship with both reality and his new partner, can the eccentric, offbeat Miller find answers where his colleagues have found only an impossible puzzle?
Available from your library
Cheri by Jo Ann Beard
Cheri has been living with cancer for many years. Now, she is dying. As she navigates the final weeks of her life, and takes charge of the manner of her death, she is flooded with childhood memories, and returns to the present with a renewed appreciation for the brilliance of life around her: the autumn has never been so beautiful, her daughters never as radiant. Brave, incredibly strong and deeply loved, Cheri makes one last nerve-wracking journey across the country with her girls and her friends, knowing relief waits welcoming as a frozen lake on the other side.
Available from your library
The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright
Nell – funny, brave and so much loved – is a young woman with adventure on her mind. As she sets out into the world, she finds her family history hard to escape. For her mother, Carmel, Nell’s leaving home opens a space in her heart, where the turmoil of a lifetime begins to churn. And across the generations falls the long shadow of Carmel’s famous father, an Irish poet of beautiful words and brutal actions. This is a meditation on love: spiritual, romantic, darkly sexual or genetic. A generational saga that traces the inheritance not just of trauma but also of wonder, it is a testament to the glorious resilience of women in the face of promises false and true. Above all, it is an exploration of the love between mother and daughter – sometimes fierce, often painful, but always transcendent.
Available from your library
A Winter Grave by Peter May
It is the year 2051. Warnings of climate catastrophe have been ignored, and vast areas of the planet are under water, or uninhabitably hot. A quarter of the world’s population has been displaced by hunger and flooding, and immigration wars are breaking out around the globe as refugees pour into neighbouring countries. By contrast, melting ice sheets have brought the Gulf Stream to a halt and northern latitudes, including Scotland, are being hit by snow and ice storms. It is against this backdrop that Addie, a young meteorologist checking a mountain top weather station, discovers the body of a man entombed in ice. The dead man is investigative reporter, George Younger, missing for three months after vanishing during what he claimed was a hill-walking holiday. But Younger was no hill walker, and his discovery on a mountain-top near the Highland village of Kinlochleven, is inexplicable.
Available from your library
How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney
Jamie O’Neill loves the colour red. He also loves tall trees, patterns, rain that comes with wind, the curvature of many objects, books with dust jackets, cats, rivers and Edgar Allan Poe.
At age thirteen there are two things he especially wants in life: to build a Perpetual Motion Machine, and to connect with his mother Noelle, who died when he was born. In his mind these things are intimately linked. And at his new school, where all else is disorientating and overwhelming, he finds two people who might just be able to help him.
Available from your library
Lazy City by Rachel Connolly
Following the death of her best friend, Erin has to get out of London. Returning home to Belfast, an au pair job provides a partial refuge from her grief and her volatile relationship with her mother. She spends late nights at the bar where her old friend Declan works, and there Erin meets an American academic who is also looking to get lost. Her unlikely, secretive relationship with religion offers a different kind of sanctuary altogether. ‘Lazy City’ explores coming of age in a place where everyone is picking up the pieces and belongs to a generation that, at the precipice of climate crisis, isn’t going to get the future it was expecting.
Available from your library
The Years That Followed by Catherine Dunne
It is 1966. Calista is seventeen, beautiful and headstrong. She meets the handsome Alexandros, and in an instant her whole life changes. Alexandros is magnetic, much older – and rich. He sweeps Calista off her feet. She leaves her safe, affluent Dublin home for a different life in Cyprus alongside her new husband. But his family treat her with suspicion.
Meanwhile, Pilar is desperate to leave the grinding poverty of her life in rural Extremadura, so she moves to Madrid. There, she meets a man who offers her excitement and opportunity. Petros charms Pilar, and she begins to imagine a future with him – although she knows it’s impossible for them to be together.
Unknown to both women, tragic events are unfolding that will inextricably link their lives in a way that neither could have imagined – events that will change them and their families forever.
Tell Me What I Am by Una Mannion
Deena Garvey disappeared in 2004. She left behind a daughter and a sister. Deena’s daughter grows up in the country. She learns how to hunt, when to seed the garden, how to avoid making her father angry. Never to ask about her absent mother. Deena’s sister stays stuck in the city, getting desperate. She knows the man responsible for her sister’s disappearance, but she can’t prove it. Not yet. Over fourteen years, four hundred miles apart, these two women slowly begin to unearth the secrets and lies at the heart of their family, and the history of power and control that has shaped them both.
Juno Loves Legs by Karl Geary
Juno loves Legs. She’s loved him since their first encounter at school in Dublin, the time she fought the playground bullies for him. Her bright spirit makes his courage flare; his tenderness makes her safe.
The two find their way from the backstreets and city’s pubs to its underground parties and squats, where, on the verge of adulthood, they find a breathing space to begin their real lives. Only Legs’s might be taking him somewhere Juno can’t follow.
Available from your library
Isabelle in the Afternoon by Douglas Kennedy
Before Isabelle I knew nothing of sex. Before Isabelle I knew nothing of freedom. Before Isabelle I knew nothing of life.
Paris in the early Seventies. Sam, an American student, meets a woman in a bookshop. Isabelle is enigmatic, beautiful, older and, unlike Sam, experienced in love’s many contradictions. Sam is instantly smitten – but wary of the wedding ring on her finger. What begins as a regular arrangement in Isabelle’s tiny Parisian apartment transforms into a true affair of the heart, and one which lasts for decades to come.
Available from your library
Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan
It’s 1990 in London and Tom Hargreaves has it all – a burgeoning career as a reporter, fierce ambition and a brisk disregard for the ‘peasants’ – ordinary people, his readers, easy tabloid fodder. His star looks set to rise when he stumbles across a scoop – a dead child on a London estate, grieving parents loved across the neighbourhood, and the finger of suspicion pointing at one reclusive family of Irish immigrants and ‘bad apples’ – the Greens.
At their heart sits Carmel – beautiful, otherworldly, broken, and once destined for a future beyond her circumstances until life – and love – got in her way. Crushed by failure and surrounded by disappointment, there’s no chance of escape. Now, with the police closing in on a suspect and the tabloids hunting their monster, she must confront the secrets and silences that have trapped her family for so many generations.
Kala by Colin Walsh
In the seaside village of Kinlough, on Ireland’s west coast, three old friends meet for the first time in years. They – Helen, Joe and Mush – were part of an original group of six inseparable teenagers in the summer of 2003, with motherless, reckless Kala Lanann at its white-hot centre. But later that year, Kala disappeared without a trace. Now human remains have been discovered in the woods – including a skull with a Polaroid photo tucked inside – and the town is both aghast and titillated at the reopening of such an old wound.
On the eve of this gruesome discovery, Helen had reluctantly returned for her father’s wedding; the world-famous musician Joe had come home to dry out and reconnect with something authentic; and Mush had never left. But when two more girls go missing, they are forced to confront their own complicity in the events that led to Kala’s disappearance.
Slant by Katherine O’Donnell
Ro McCarthy, single in her fifties and working a quiet job, is sustained by her love of books and her deep friendships. Although she still doesn’t approve of marriage – not even for the straights – she is canvassing for yes in the 2015 marriage equality referendum. But, as the ghosts of her activist past join her on the campaign trail and her eagerness to confront a familiar discrimination turns to obsession and fury, Ro must finally face the long-buried trauma and loss of her youth.
Thirty years earlier, Ro is a young Cork woman living her best life in Boston, undocumented and working multiple jobs, making life-long friends, and falling in love with Jenny. Soon, however, the young gay men who have become Ro’s new family – from Ireland and elsewhere – begin to die. Shocked and grieving, she finds purpose in AIDS activism and a community that is loving and living against all odds. In the wake of this macabre heyday which Ro just about survives, her charged entanglement with Jenny will bear witness to the resistance and survival of an invisible generation of warriors.
No One Saw A Thing by Andrea Mara
No one saw it happen.
You stand on a crowded tube platform in London. Your two little girls jump on the train ahead of you. As you try to join them, the doors slide shut and the train moves away, leaving you behind.
Everyone is lying.
By the time you get to the next stop, you’ve convinced yourself that everything will be fine. But you soon start to panic, because there aren’t two children waiting for you on the platform. There’s only one.
Someone is to blame.
Has your other daughter got lost? Been taken by a passing stranger? Or perhaps the culprit is closer to home than you think? No one is telling the truth, and the longer the search continues, the harder she will be to find…
Empty Bed Blues by William Wall
When Kate Holohan’s husband dies suddenly, the extent of his disastrous financial speculation is revealed – together with a mistress and a secret love-nest in the small Italian fishing port of Camogli.
Unwilling to take on the ocean of debt and deceit she has inherited, Kate abandons her home and teaching job and flees to Italy in the hope of making a new life.
Her new neighbour, Anna Ferrara, is a formidable and mysterious older lady who takes Kate under her wing, teaching her Italian, finding her work and offering her friendship and more. But it will be Anna’s past – as a journalist, writer, former Resistance fighter and a committed communist – that will also challenge
This Could Be Us by Claire McGowan
Kate has done the unthinkable. She’d worked hard to build a perfect life for herself, while ignoring her growing unhappiness. But when her second child was born profoundly disabled, reality hit. Unable to cope, Kate left – disappearing without a trace.
She ends up in LA, with a glittering career and a new family of sorts, but the guilt is still suffocating. Husband Andrew was left to pick up the pieces and care for their disabled daughter and angry, confused son. Bereft and broken, he leaned on Olivia, Kate’s best friend. She’s been by his side ever since, ignoring her own needs to meet his. Years later, Andrew has written a memoir about his daughter learning to communicate against all odds. But when Kate’s new producer husband decides he wants to make a film of it, their worlds collide once again. Now, Kate must return to the life she abandoned and reckon with what she did.
Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth
It’s the early 1990s, and in the Irish village of Crossmore, Lucy feels out of place. Despite her fierce friendships, she’s always felt this way, and the conventional path of marriage and motherhood doesn’t appeal to her at all. Not even with handsome and doting Martin, her closest childhood friend.
Lucy begins to make sense of herself during a long hot summer, when a spark with her school friend Susannah escalates to an all-consuming infatuation, and, very quickly, to a desperate and devastating love.
Fearful of rejection from her small and conservative community, Lucy begins living a double life, hiding the most honest parts of herself in stolen moments with Susannah. But with the end of school and the opportunity to leave Crossmore looming, Lucy must choose between two places, two people and two futures, each as terrifying as the other. Neither will be easy, but only one will offer her happiness.
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie’s once-lucrative car business is going under – but rather than face the music, he’s spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife Imelda is selling off her jewellery on eBay while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way to her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home.
Where did it all go wrong? A patch of ice on the tarmac, a casual favour to a charming stranger, a bee caught beneath a bridal veil – can a single moment of bad luck change the direction of a life? And if the story has already been written – is there still time to find a happy ending?
In a Thousand Different Ways by Cecelia Ahern
Alice sees the worst in people. She also sees the best. She sees a thousand different emotions and knows exactly what everyone around her is feeling. Every single day. But it’s the dark thoughts. The sadness. The rage. These are the things she can’t get out of her head. The things that overwhelm her. Where will the journey to find herself begin?
The Lock Up by John Banville
1950s Dublin, in a lock-up garage in the city, the body of a young woman is discovered, an apparent suicide. But pathologist Dr Quirke and Detective Inspector Strafford soon suspect foul play.
The victim’s sister, a newspaper reporter from London, returns to Dublin to join the two men in their quest to uncover the truth. But, as they explore her links to a wealthy German family in County Wicklow, and to investigative work she may have been doing in Israel, they are confronted with an ever-deepening mystery.
With relations between the two men increasingly strained, and their investigation taking them back to the final days of the Second World War, can they join the pieces of a hidden puzzle?
Prize Women by Caroline Lea
In 1920s Toronto, best friends Lily di Marco and Mae Thebault used to be inseparable. They lived under the same roof and cared for each other’s children – in a world where men held all the power, they looked out for one another. But then the Great Depression hits, changing their relationship forever, as both women are forced to make impossible decisions to save themselves – and their families – from ruin.
As times get increasingly desperate, the fever of the Great Stork Derby grips the nation, where the woman who bears the most children is in line for a cash prize. The derby is both a cruel game and a welcome distraction, but for Lily and Mae, what bond will prove most sacred? That of family, or that of unimaginable wealth?
Available from your library
Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane
In the summer of 1974, a heatwave blankets Boston and Mary Pat Fennessey is trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors. Mary Pat has lived her entire life in the housing projects of ‘Southie’, the Irish American enclave that stubbornly adheres to old tradition and stands proudly apart.
One night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter Jules stays out late and doesn’t come home. That same evening, a young Black man is found dead, struck by a subway train under mysterious circumstances.
The two events seem unconnected. But Mary Pat, propelled by a desperate search for her missing daughter, begins turning over stones best left untouched – asking questions that bother Marty Butler, chieftain of the Irish mob, and the men who work for him, men who don’t take kindly to any threat to their business.
Available from your library
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
With a series of heartbreaks under her belt, Sally Milz – successful script writer for a legendary late-night TV comedy show – has long abandoned the search for love.
But when her friend and fellow writer begins to date a glamorous actress, he joins the growing club of interesting but average-looking men who get romantically involved with accomplished, beautiful women. Sally channels her annoyance into a sketch, poking fun at this ‘social rule’. The reverse never happens for a woman.
Then Sally meets Noah, a pop idol with a reputation for dating models. But this isn’t a romantic comedy – it’s real life. Would someone like him ever date someone like her?
Available from your library
The Broken Places by Russell Franklin
In 1931, Gregory Hemingway’s life begins in Kansas City, Missouri. The third and favourite child of an overbearing father, Greg is a paragon: a star athlete, a crack shot, bright and handsome and built like a pocket battleship.
In 2001, Gloria Hemingway’s life ends in a Miami women’s correctional institution. Complex and contradictory, radiant and resilient, it is a life that has flourished against the odds and been lived to the full.
Available from your library
Dirty Laundry by Disha Bose
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.
Available from your library
Cult by Camilla Lackberg
A young child is snatched in broad daylight outside his nursery. Nobody in charge sees a thing, but the other children say a woman is the culprit.
Detective Mina Dabiri calls on her close friend Vincent to untangle the puzzle that surrounds the kidnapped boy. As he finds a link between the boy and other others who have gone missing, it becomes clear that time is running out for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, Mina’s estranged daughter gets caught up in the secretive world of Epicura, a shadowy organisation that claims to be a centre for leadership development. Can Mina protect her child—a child who doesn’t even know she exists?
Available from your library
Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey
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 Divorcé.
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?
Nonfiction by Julie Myerson
Two parents stand by powerlessly as their only child seems intent on destroying herself. Meanwhile the mother – a novelist – attempts to understand her uneasy, unresolved relationship with her own mother.
Weaving between childhoods past and present, as well as a current narrative laced with temptation and betrayal, this is the delicate journey of a mother, daughter, wife and author struggling to make sense of her world.
But can a writer ever be trusted with the truth of her own story?
Available from your library
Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery
New York City, 1966. Seventeen-year-old Mae lives in a run-down apartment with her alcoholic mother and her mother’s sometimes-boyfriend, Mikey. She is turned off by the petty girls at her high school, and the sleazy men she typically meets. When she drops out, she is presented with a job offer that will remake her world entirely: she is hired as a typist for the artist Andy Warhol.
Warhol is composing an unconventional novel by recording the conversations and experiences of his many famous and alluring friends. Tasked with transcribing these tapes alongside several other girls, Mae quickly befriends Shelley and the two of them embark on a surreal adventure at the fringes of the countercultural movement. Going to parties together, exploring their womanhood and sexuality, should be the most enlivening experience of Mae’s life. But as she grows increasingly obsessed with the tapes and numb to her own reality, Mae must grapple with the thin line between art and voyeurism and determine how she can remain her own person as the tide of the sixties sweeps over her.
The Favour by Nicci French
When Jude’s first love Liam turns up in her life after ten years of no contact, asking her for a favour, she just can’t say no. He will always be someone special to her.
But does she really know what she is getting herself into?
After she does the favour, Jude is contacted by the police. Liam has been found dead, and suddenly she is caught up in a murder investigation.
She realises this one decision could cost her everything – even her life…
The Close by Jane Casey
At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbours chatting over garden fences, children playing together. But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.
It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the Close, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before. And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.
Queen Bee by Ciara Geraghty
She’s earned her stripes. But the hive’s misbehaving . . .
Insomnia How do I have three extra adult males – and a small yappy dog – living in my house when I need to grow into a graceful and sexual midlife woman?
Rage Am furious.
Anxiety What’s going to happen to my career if I can’t get out of this rut?
Feel invisible. What is happening to me?
Fifty-year-old Agatha Doyle loves her empty nest – until hot flushes, a pair of killer heels and an overbearing man who won’t stop talking conspire to change her life. In one moment of madness, she unwittingly becomes a heroine to women everywhere.
But can she become the heroine of her own life?
Sometimes you just have to wing it.
Love & Virtue by Diana Reid
Michaela and Eve are two bright, bold women who befriend each other in their first year at a residential college at university, where they live in adjacent rooms. They could not be more different; one assured and popular – the other uncertain and eager-to-please.
But something happens one night in Orientation week – a drunken encounter, a foggy memory that will force them to confront the realities of consent and wrestle with the dynamics of power.
Initially bonded by their wit and sharp eye for the colleges’ mix of material wealth and moral poverty, Michaela and Eve soon discover how fragile friendship is, and how capable of betrayal they both are.
Available from your library
Other People’s Husbands by Elizabeth Noble
Sometimes friendship crosses a line . . .
A group of close friends, their bonds forged at the nursery gates two decades ago, have celebrated, commiserated and grown together: they thought they all knew each other so well.
Until the affair.
Now a crack appears in everything.
Could one betrayal really destroy it all?
We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman
Edi and Ash have been best friends for over forty years. Since childhood they have seen each other through life’s milestones: stealing vodka from their parents, the Madonna phase, REM concerts, unexpected wakes, marriages, infertility, children. As Ash notes, ‘Edi’s memory is like the back-up hard drive for mine.’
So when Edi is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Ash’s world reshapes around the rhythms of Edi’s care, from chipped ice and watermelon cubes to music therapy; from snack smuggling to impromptu excursions into the frozen winter night. Because life is about squeezing the joy out of every moment, about building a powerhouse of memories, about learning when to hold on, and when to let go.
Other Women by Emma Flint
It is 1923 and a country is in mourning. Thousands of husbands, fathers, sons and sweethearts were lost in the war, millions more returned home wounded and forever changed.
Beatrice Cade is an orphan, unmarried and childless. London is full of invisible women who struggle to find somewhere to work through their grief. But Bea is determined to make a new life for herself. She takes a room in a Bloomsbury ladies’ club and a job in the City. Just when her new world is taking shape, a fleeting encounter threatens to ruin everything.
Kate Ryan is an ordinary wife and mother. Following the end of the war, she has managed to build an enviable life with her husband and young daughter. To anyone looking in from the outside, they seem like a normal, happy family. But when two policemen knock on her door one morning and threaten to destroy the façade Kate has created, she knows what she has to do to protect the people she loves. And suddenly, two women who never should have met are connected for ever . .
Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan
Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently.
Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman has got his love life planned out. He knows exactly who he wants, but is it who he needs?
Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman.
A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner.
Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos.
But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling? . . .
The Prisoner by B A Paris
She wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is.
Why has she been taken? Who can she hear talking? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband, Jed? Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London.
Then she meets Carolyn and is soon swept up in a glamorous London lifestyle. Until it starts to go wrong.
Available from you library
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (Short Stories) by Deesha Philyaw
The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.
There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who nurses a crush on the preacher’s wife; the mother who bakes a sublime peach cobbler every Monday for her date with the married Pastor; and Eula and Caroletta, single childhood friends who seek solace in each other’s arms every New Year’s Eve.
With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be – and as free as they deserve to be.
The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
The Cleverley family live a gilded life, little realising how precarious their privilege is, just one tweet away from disaster. George, the patriarch, is a stalwart of television interviewing, a ‘national treasure’ (his words), his wife Beverley, a celebrated novelist (although not as celebrated as she would like), and their children, Nelson, Elizabeth, Achilles, various degrees of catastrophe waiting to happen.
Together they will go on a journey of discovery through the Hogarthian jungle of the modern living where past presumptions count for nothing and carefully curated reputations can be destroyed in an instant. Along the way they will learn how volatile, how outraged, how unforgiving the world can be when you step from the proscribed path.
The Only Suspect by Louise Candlish
Alex lives a comfortable life with his wife Beth in the leafy suburb of Silver Vale. Fine, so he’s not the most extrovert guy on the street, he prefers to keep himself to himself, but he’s a good husband and an easy-going neighbour.
That’s until Beth announces the creation of a nature trail on a local site that’s been disused for decades and suddenly Alex is a changed man. Now he’s always watching. Questioning. Struggling to hide his dread . . .
As the landscapers get to work, a secret threatens to surface from years ago, back in Alex’s twenties when he got entangled with a seductive young woman called Marina, who threw both their lives into turmoil.
And who sparked a police hunt for a murder suspect that was never quite what it seemed.
It still isn’t.
A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
It’s spring and Three Pines is re-emerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should re-emerge.
As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.
Available from your Library
The Young Accomplice by Benjamin Wood
In a quiet Surrey village sits Leventree, an architectural practice set up by idealistic couple Florence and Arthur Mayhood, offering apprenticeships to young offenders after their release.
Motivated by his own memories of Borstal, Arthur aims to mentor young adults with a troubled upbringing and give them opportunities to succeed. Their first protégées are siblings, Joyce and Charlie Savigear, who quickly settle in; but when a dangerous figure from Joyce’s past comes knocking, the Mayhoods’ earnest hopes of doing good turn tragic.
Forced into betrayal, Joyce must make a decision that will change her brother’s life and threaten everything the Mayhoods have been trying to build.
Available from your Library
The Twins by L V Matthews
Margo is a solitary live-in nanny for an upper-class Kensingon family. Cora is a promiscuous dancer on the cusp of a big break, living hand-to-mouth in a run-down London flat.
Different though they are, an unspeakable incident from childhood haunts them both. When the terrible secret comes to light, their fragile existences shatter, pitting them against each other in a race for survival.
But can there be a winner when a secret is so dark?
Available from your library
Fight Night by Miriam Toews
Swiv has taken her grandmother’s advice too literally. Now she’s at home, suspended from school. Mom is pregnant and preoccupied – and so Swiv is in the older woman’s charge, receiving a very different form of education from a teacher with a style all her own.
Grandma likes her stories fast, troublesome and funny. She’s known the very worst that life can throw at you – and has met it every time with a wild, unnameable spirit, fighting for joy and independence every step of the way. But will maths lessons based on Amish jigsaws and classes on How to Dig a Winter Grave inspire the same fire in Swiv, and ensure it never goes out?
Time is running short. Grandma’s health is failing, the baby is on the way, as a family of three extraordinary women prepare to face life’s great changes together.
Available from your Library
Breaking Point by Edel Coffey
Susannah has two beautiful daughters, a high-flying medical career, a successful husband and an enviable life. Her hair is glossy, her clothes are expensive; she truly has it all.
But when – on the hottest day of the year – her strict morning routine is disrupted, Susannah finds herself running on autopilot. It is hours before she realises she has made a devastating mistake. Her baby, Louise, is still in the backseat of the car and it is too late to save her.
As the press close in around her, Susannah is put on trial for negligence. It is plain to see that this is not a trial, it’s a witch hunt. But what will the court say?
Available from your Library
The Antarctica of Love by Sara Stridsberg
Inni lives her life on the margins, but it is a life that is full and complex, filled with different shades of dark and light… Until she is brutally murdered one summer’s day, on a lake shore at the heart of a distant, rain-washed forest.
On the surface, this is the story of the moment her life is violently extinguished – a moment that will never end, not ever – but it is also about the time before, and about the lives that carry on afterwards. It’s about her children, her parents, her childhood of neglect, her volatile adolescence, and the chain of choices, tragedies and accidents that lead her to a life on the streets and take her into the wrong crowd, the wrong places and, finally, the wrong car with the wrong person.
Available from your library
Wolf Pack by Will Dean
Rose Farm is home to a group of survivalists, completely cut off from the outside world. Until now.
A young woman goes missing within the perimeter of the farm compound. Can Tuva talk her way inside the tight-knit group to find her story?
As Tuva attempts to unmask the culprit, she gains unique access to the residents. But soon she finds herself in danger of the pack turning against her – will she make her way back to safety so she can expose the truth?
Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler
Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting, Tony and his cousin Mia are killed in an accident.
A shell shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s 5-year-old daughter, Angela. Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when her secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened, and everything may fall apart.
Available from your library
The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion. Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now. But with the tide rising, secrets long hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible.
Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates
In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together, with tragic consequences.
There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on an unexpected mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit.
As Babysitter continues his rampage of killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.
Spies in Canaan by David Park
Michael has travelled a long way from his boyhood under the endless skies of the Midwest. His retirement is peaceful, if solitary. But one day there is a visitation: a mysterious car on the seafront, and a package delivered. From its contents, Michael understands that he has been commissioned to undertake a final journey. As Michael makes his way deep into a distant desert – a strange and liminal landscape that lies between hell and redemption – he undertakes another journey, into long-suppressed memories: of Vietnam and the dying days of war, and to face a final accounting for what was done. Taut, atmospheric and moving, Spies in Canaan is a powerful elegy to the pain of love, the guilt of old age, and the grace of atonement.
The Road Home by Rose Tremain
Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife, his beloved young daughter and his outrageous friend Rudi who – dreaming of the wealthy West – lives largely for his battered Chevrolet.
Ahead of Lev lies the deep strangeness of the British: their hostile streets, their clannish pubs, their obsession with celebrity. London holds out the alluring possibility of friendship, sex, money and a new career and, if Lev is lucky, a new sense of belonging…
There’s Been A Little Incident by Alice Ryan
Molly Black has disappeared. She’s been flighty since her parents died, but this time – or so says her hastily written note – she’s gone for good.
That’s why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.
Former model Lady V presumes Molly’s just off taking drugs and sleeping with strangers – which is fine by her. Cousin Anne, tired of living in Molly’s shadow, is keeping quiet, and cousin Bobby is distracted by his own issues.
But Molly’s disappearance is eerily familiar to Uncle John. He is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.
Available from your library
Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins
One late autumn morning, Piper’s best friend arrives at Seawings to discover an eerie scene – the kettle is still warm, all the family’s phones are charging on the worktop, the cars are in the garage.
But the house is deserted.
In fifteen-year-old Riva Holden’s bedroom, scrawled across the mirror in blood, are three words:
Make Them Stop.
What happens next?
A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce.
After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland. Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans… Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts.
Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.
Cunning Women by Elizabeth Lee
Seventeenth-century Lancashire is a dark and mistrustful place. Ten years after the notorious Pendle witch trials saw ten accused witches hanged, young Sarah Haworth and her family live as outcasts in a ruined hamlet. The inhabitants of the nearby village despise ‘cunning folk’ like them, but their services – healing balms, herbal remedies – will always be in demand, and they have a way of coming to know all the village’s secrets.
A chance meeting sees Sarah become acquainted with Daniel, a young man from the village. In him, she sees a clever, caring man; in her, he sees not the strange, dirty outcast he knows he should, but rather the strong young woman coming into her own.
As they are drawn closer together, a new magistrate arrives in the area to investigate a spate of strange deaths befalling the villagers. Inevitably, his eye falls on Sarah’s family, and his hand carries a burning torch. In the face of persecution, something as fragile as love seems impossible…
Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard’s library. He knows not to ask too many questions, stand out too much, stray too far.
For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve ‘American culture’ in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic – including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her.
Available from your library
A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin
John Rebus had been in court plenty of times, but this was his first time in the dock…
John Rebus stands accused: on trial for a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Although it’s not the first time the legendary detective has taken the law into his own hands, it might be the last.
What drove a good man to cross the line? Or have times changed, and the rules with them?
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke faces Edinburgh’s most explosive case in years, as a corrupt cop goes missing after claiming to harbour secrets that could sink the city’s police force.
But in this investigation, it seems all roads lead to Rebus – and Clarke’s twin loyalties to the public and the police will be tested to their limit.
A reckoning is coming – and John Rebus may be hearing the call for last orders…
Available from your library
Secrets in the Snow by Emma Heatherington
As the winter snow falls on the small Irish village of Ballybray, Roisin O’Connor and her young son, Ben, are saying goodbye to their beloved neighbour Mabel Murphy. Mabel lived a bold and colourful life, but the arrival of her brooding nephew, ‘blow-in’ Aidan Murphy, just makes life more complicated for Roisin.
However, in one final act of love, a message arrives from Mabel that changes everything. And as winter turns to spring and the cold snow melts, the secrets both Roisin and Aidan are hiding must be revealed at last…
Nights of Plague by Orphan Pamuk
1901. Night draws in. With the stealth of a spy vessel, the royal ship Azizye approaches the famous vistas of Mingheria. ‘An emerald build of pink stone’. The 29th state of the ailing Ottoman Empire.
The ship carries Princess Pakize, the daughter of a deposed sultan, her doctor husband, and the Royal Chemist, Bonkowski Pasha. Each of them holds a separate mission. Not all of them will survive the weeks ahead. Because Mingheria is on the cusp of catastrophe.
There are rumours of plague – rumours some in power will try to suppress. Plague is not the only killer. Soon, the eyes of the world will turn to this ancient island, where the future of a fragile empire is at stake, in a rich and epic mystery of passion, fear, scandal and murder.
Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.
He knows what he’s done, and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls, years ago. Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.
But this is not his story.
As the clock ticks down, three women uncover the history of a tragedy and the long shadow it casts. Lavender, Ansel’s mother, is a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation. Hazel, twin sister to his wife, is forced to watch helplessly as the relationship threatens to devour them all. And Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, is devoted to bringing bad men to justice but struggling to see her own life clearly.
This is the story of the women left behind.
Available from your library
At the Table by Claire Powell
To Nicole and Jamie Maguire, their parents seem the ideal couple – a suburban double act, happily married for more than thirty years. So when Linda and Gerry announce that they’ve decided to separate, the news sends shockwaves through the siblings’ lives, forcing them to confront their own expectations and desires.
Hardworking – and hard-drinking – Nicole pursues the ex she unceremoniously dumped six years ago, while people-pleasing Jamie fears he’s sleepwalking into a marriage he doesn’t actually want. But as the sibling’s grapple with the pressures of thirtysomething life, their parents struggle to protect the fragile façade of their own relationship, and the secrets they’ve both been keeping.
Available from your library
Anna Travis — Book 1 – Above Suspicion by Lynda La Plante
Young Anna Travis has been assigned to her first murder case – a series of killings that has shocked even the most hardened of detectives. They started eight years ago – now the body count is up to six. The method of killing is identical, the backgrounds of the girls identical – all drug-users and prostitutes. Then a seventh body is found. The modus operandi is the same – but the victim is a young student with the ‘face of an angel’. The profile of the murderer has changed dramatically.
Anna is determined to earn the respect of her male colleagues, and find justice for the victims, but when a vital piece of information links a high-profile suspect to the killings she is faced with a difficult choice. As a figure in the public eye, his arrest would cause a media frenzy. But if he is innocent, Anna’s hard-fought-for reputation would be destroyed once and for all.
Annie Stanley All At Sea by Sue Teddern
Annie is single, unemployed and just a bit stuck when her beloved father dies unexpectedly. Furious at his partner’s plans to scatter his ashes somewhere of no emotional significance, Annie seizes the urn and, on a whim, decides to take it on a tour of the thirty-one sea areas that make up the shipping forecast, which her father loved listening to, despite living in landlocked St Albans.
Travelling around the coastline of Britain searching for the perfect place to say goodbye, she starts to wonder if it might be time to rethink some of the relationships in her life – but is it too late for second chances?
Cat & Mouse by M. J. Arlidge
A scratching at the window.
A tap on the door.
What if, this time, someone is out there?
A silent killer stalks the city, targeting those home alone at night, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the victims.
As panic spreads, Detective Inspector Helen Grace leads the investigation, but is herself a hunted woman, her every step shadowed by a ruthless psychopath bent on revenge.
As she tracks the murderer, Grace begins to suspect there is a truly shocking home truth that connects these brutal crimes.
But what she will find is something more twisted than she could ever suspect…
A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe
Tonight nineteen-year-old William Lavery is dressed for success, his first black-tie do. It’s the Midlands Chapter of the Institute of Embalmers Ladies’ Night Dinner Dance, and William is taking Gloria in her sequined evening gown. He can barely believe his luck.
But as the guests sip their drinks and smoke their post-dinner cigarettes a telegram delivers news of a tragedy. An event so terrible it will shake the nation. It is October 1966 and a landslide at a coal mine has buried a school: Aberfan.
William decides he must act, so he stands and volunteers to attend. It will be his first job, and will be – although he’s yet to know it – a choice that threatens to sacrifice his own happiness. His work that night will force him to think about the little boy he was, and the losses he has worked so hard to bury. But compassion can have surprising consequences, because – as William discovers – giving so much to others can sometimes help us heal ourselves.
Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau
In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.
Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy).
Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be.
Reputation by Sarah Vaughan
Reputation: it takes a lifetime to build and just one moment to destroy.
Emma Webster is a respectable MP.
Emma Webster is a devoted mother.
Emma Webster is innocent of the murder of a tabloid journalist.
Emma Webster is a liar.
‘Reputation’ is the story you tell about yourself. And the lies others choose to believe.
Free Love by Tessa Hadley
1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their children are Colette, a bookish teenager, and Hugh, the golden boy.
But when the twenty-something son of an old friend pays the Fischer’s a visit one hot summer evening, and kisses Phyllis in the dark garden after dinner, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations of her as a wife and a mother.
The Island by Adrian McKinty
After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.
When they discover a remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.
But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.
Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.
Available from your library
A Tidy Ending by Joanne Cannon
Linda has lived around here ever since she fled the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is – pushing the Hoover round and cooking fish fingers for tea is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy catalogues coming through the door for the house’s previous occupant.
Terry isn’t perfect – he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard – until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women start to go missing in the neighbourhood.
If Linda could just track down Rebecca, who lived in the house before them, maybe some of that perfection would rub off on her. But the grass isn’t always greener: you can’t change who you really are, and there’s something nasty lurking behind the net curtains on Cavendish Avenue.
The Guilty Couple by C. L. Taylor
What would you do if your husband framed you for murder?
Five years ago, Olivia Sutherland was convicted of plotting to murder her husband.
Now she’s finally free, Olivia has three goals. Repair her relationship with her daughter. Clear her name. And bring down her husband – the man who framed her.
Just how far is she willing to go to get what she wants? And how far will her husband go to stop her?
Because his lies run deeper than Olivia could ever have imagined – and this time it’s not her freedom that’s in jeopardy, but her life…
Loved and Missed by Susie Boyt
When your beloved daughter is lost in the fog of addiction and you make off with her baby in order to save the day, can willpower and a daring creative zeal carry you through?
Examining the limits, disappointments and excesses of love in all its forms, this marvellously absorbing novel, full of insight and compassion, delights as much as it disturbs.
Available from your library
The Interview by C. M. Ewan
It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday.
You have been called to an interview for your dream job.
In a stunning office thirteen floors above the city below, you are all alone with the man interviewing you.
Everyone else has gone home for the weekend.
The interview gets more and more disturbing.
You’re feeling scared.
Your only way out is to answer a seemingly impossible question.
If you can’t . . . what happens next?
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.
But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.
Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
What Eden Did Next by Sheila O’Flanagan
Five years after the death of her firefighter husband, Eden knows better than anyone that life can change in an instant. Now, instead of the future she had planned with Andy, she has Lila – the daughter he never got the chance to meet. And instead of Andy, she has his family.
Then Eden meets someone. Someone she knew before Andy, before Lila, before the tragedy. Someone who reminds her of how she used to be. But Andy’s mother has other plans. And Eden is facing an impossible choice. One that could tear a family apart . . .
Available from your library
Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale
Laura, a laundress, meets her young husband when they are both placed in service in Teignmouth in 1914. They have a baby, Charles, but his father returns home from the trenches a damaged man, already ill with the tuberculosis that will soon leave Laura a widow.
As a new war looms, Charles signs up for the navy as a coder. His escape from the tight, gossipy confines of Launceston to a more colourful life in action sees him blossom, as he experiences the possibility of death, and the excitement – even terror – of a love that is as clandestine as his work.
Available from your library
Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton
Elise King moves into the sleepy seaside town of Ebbing. Illness has thrown her career as a successful detective into doubt, but no matter how hard she tries to relax and recuperate, she knows that something isn’t right.
Tensions are running high beneath the surface of this idyllic community: the weekenders in their fancy clothes, renovating old bungalows into luxury homes, and the locals resentful of the changes. A town divided, with the threat of violence only a heartbeat away.
This peaceful world is shattered when two teenagers end up in hospital and a local man vanishes without trace. Elise starts digging for answers, but the community closes ranks, and the truth begins to slip through her fingers. Because in a small town like this, the locals are good at keeping secrets…
Available from your library
The Amusements by Aingeala Flannery
In the resort town of Tramore, County Waterford, visitors arrive in waves with the tourist season, reliving the best days of their childhoods at the seaside amusements.
Local teenager Helen is indifferent to the charm of her surroundings; infatuated with her glamorous classmate Stella, she yearns to escape with her to art college, and from there, the world. But leaving is easier said than done. With an alcoholic father and an unsympathetic mother, Helen’s free-falling family may wreck her dream, just as it seems to be within reach.
As it follows Helen, Stella and their families’ and neighbours’ lives over two decades ‘The Amusements’ is an unforgettable story about roads taken and not taken. It is a brilliantly observed portrait of life in a small town, echoing with truth and compassion.
Available from your library
The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
Adrift in a raft after a terrible shipwreck, ten strangers try to survive while they wait for rescue. After three days, short on water, food and hope, they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him on board – and the survivor claims he can save them.
But should they put their trust in him? Will any of them see home again? And why did the ship really sink?
The Stranger in the Lifeboat is not only a deeply moving novel about the power of love and hope in the face of danger, but also a mystery that will keep you guessing to the very end.
Available from your library
A Very Nice Girl by Imogen Crimp
Anna is struggling to afford life in London as she trains to be a singer. During the day, she vies to succeed against her course mates with their discreet but inexhaustible streams of cultural capital and money, and in the evening she sings jazz at a bar in the City to make ends meet.
It’s there that she meets Max, a financier fourteen years older than her. Over the course of one winter, Anna’s intoxication oscillates between her hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nights spent with Max in his glass-walled flat overlooking the city.
But Anna’s fledgling career demands her undivided attention and increasingly – whether he necessarily wills it or not – so does Max…
The Good, The Bad and the Little Bit Stupid by Marina Lewycka
George Pantis is in a pickle. After walking out on his wife Rosie on Referendum night 2016 to shack up with hairdresser ‘Brexit Brenda’ next door, he thinks he’s got it made – especially when he wins millions on a Kosovan lottery he only vaguely remembers entering.
Unfortunately, he’s forgotten his password and can’t get at his money. Which is a problem because he suddenly has to contend with lots of forceful new friends desperate to know his mother’s maiden name.
As things quickly get out of hand, George must make a mad dash from Sheffield to the Adriatic – and into the arms of organized crime gangs who specialize in illegal kidney transplants and heroin smuggling. George is in need of rescue – both from this pickle and from himself. But will his son, Sensible Sid, Brenda and Rosie put aside their differences long enough to help? And might the journey bring this dysfunctional family back together?
The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka
Up above there are wildfires, smog alerts, epic droughts, paper jams, teachers’ strikes, insurrections, revolutions, record-breaking summers of unendurable heat, but down below, at the pool, it is always a comfortable eighty-one degrees .
Alice is one of a group of obsessed recreational swimmers for whom their local swimming pool has become the centre of their lives – a place of unexpected kinship, freedom, and ritual. Until one day a crack appears beneath its surface .
As cracks also begin to appear in Alice’s memory, her husband and daughter are faced with the dilemma of how best to care for her. As Alice clings to the tethers of her past in a home she feels certain is not her home, her daughter must navigate the newly fractured landscape of their relationship.
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy
There is nothing special about the day Cushla meets Michael, a married man from Belfast, in the pub owned by her family. But here, love is never far from violence, and this encounter will change both of their lives forever.
As people get up each morning and go to work, school, church or the pub, the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploded, another man beaten, killed or left for dead. In the class Cushla teaches, the vocabulary of seven-year-old children now includes phrases like ‘petrol bomb’ and ‘rubber bullets’. And as she is forced to tread lines she never thought she would cross, tensions in the town are escalating, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.
Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.
Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl.
But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib.
Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?
Available from your library
The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue
When Louisa arrives at Temple House, an elite catholic boarding school, she quickly finds herself drawn to sophisticated fellow pupil Victoria and their young bohemian art teacher, Mr Lavelle. The three of them from a bond that seems to offer an escape from the repressive regime of the nuns who run the cloistered school. Until Louisa and Mr Lavelle suddenly disappear without trace.
Years later, a journalist with a childhood connection to Louisa determines to resolve the mystery. Her search for the truth will uncover a tragic, mercurial tale of suppressed desire and long-buried secrets. It will shatter lives and lay a lost soul to rest.
The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright
Cornelia Blackwood lives a quiet life. When she goes to the corner shop to buy milk, people whisper behind her back.
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends. Everyone knows her name. But no one will speak to her now.
Her one constant, her rock, is her husband. But when he doesn’t come home from a work conference, she is left alone to try to pick up the pieces. And before long, the secret he has hidden from her for all these years is laid bare.
Available from your library
City on Fire by Don Winslow
Providence, Rhode Island, 1986.
Twenty-nine-year-old Danny Ryan is a hard-working longshoreman, loving husband, loyal friend, and occasional “muscle” for the Irish crime syndicate that oversees much of the city. He yearns for something more and dreams of starting over fresh, someplace far away.
But when a modern-day Helen of Troy triggers a war between rival mob factions, Danny is embroiled in a conflict he can’t escape. Now it is up to him to step into the breach to protect his family, the friends who are closer to him than brothers, and the only home he’s ever known.
The End of the World is a Cul De Sac by Louise Kennedy
In these visceral, stunningly crafted stories, people are effortlessly cruel to one another, and the natural world is a primitive salve.
These sharp shocks of stories offer flashes of beauty, and even humour, amidst the harshest of truths.
Summer water by Sarah Moss
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.
A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally falls.
Nine Lives by Peter Swanson
The envelope is unremarkable. There is no return address. It contains a single, folded, sheet of white paper.
The envelope drops through the mail slot like any other piece of post. But for the nine complete strangers who receive it – each of them recognising just one name, their own, on the enclosed list – it will be the most life altering letter they ever receive. It could also be the last, as one by one, they start to meet their end.
The Needle’s Eye by Margaret Drabble
Simon Camish, a resentful insecure barrister in a stifling marriage, would not have particularly noticed Rose Vassiliou had he not been asked to drive her home one night after a dinner party. Now, separated from her Greek husband, Rose lives alone with her three children.
Despite all the efforts and sneers of her friends, she refuses to move from her crumbling house in a decaying neighbourhood to which she has become attached. Gradually drawn further and further into her affairs, Simon becomes aware that Rose is a woman of remarkable integrity and courage.
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin
Meet Gilda. She cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local church and finds herself abruptly hired to replace the deceased receptionist Grace.
It’s not the most obvious job – she’s queer and an atheist for starters – and so in between trying to learn mass, hiding her new maybe-girlfriend and conducting an amateur investigation into Grace’s death, Gilda must avoid revealing the truth of her mortifying existence.
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .
Inspired by real events, The Lamplighters is an intoxicating and suspenseful mystery, an unforgettable story of love and grief that explores the way our fears blur the line between the real and the imagined.
Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso
For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known.
Once home to the country’s oldest and most illustrious families—the Cabots, the Lowells: the “first, best people”—by the tail end of the twentieth century, it is an unforgiving place awash with secrets.
Forged in this frigid landscape Ruthie has been dogged by feelings of inadequacy her whole life. Hers is no picturesque New England childhood but one of swap meets and factory seconds and powdered milk. Shame blankets her like the thick snow that regularly buries nearly everything in Waitsfield.
As she grows older, Ruthie slowly learns how the town’s prim facade conceals a deeper, darker history, and how silence often masks a legacy of harm—from the violence that runs down the family line to the horrors endured by her high school friends, each suffering a fate worse than the last. For Ruthie, Waitsfield is a place to be survived, and a girl like her would be lucky to get out alive.
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Welcome to No.12 rue des Amants, a beautiful old apartment block, far from the glittering lights of the Eiffel Tower and the bustling banks of the Seine. Where nothing goes unseen and everyone has a story to unlock.
The watchful concierge. The scorned lover. The prying journalist. The naïve student. The unwanted guest.
There was a murder here last night. A mystery lies behind the door of apartment three.
Who holds the key?
Love Marriage by Monica Ali
Yasmin Ghorami is twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father), and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose formidable mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist. The gulf between families is vast. So, too, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe.
As the wedding day draws near, misunderstandings, infidelities, and long-held secrets upend both Yasmin’s relationship and that of her parents, a “love marriage,” according to the family lore that Yasmin has believed all her life.
Available from your Library
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in a hyper-masculine world. They are caught between two of Glasgow’s housing estates where young working-class men divide themselves along sectarian lines, and fight territorial battles for the sake of reputation.
They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the doocot that James has built for his prize racing pigeons.
As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold.
Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Ganzalez
It’s 2017, and Olga and her brother, Pedro “Prieto” Acevedo, are bold-faced names in their hometown of New York.
Twenty-seven years ago, their mother, Blanca, a Young Lord-turned-radical, abandoned her children to advance a militant political cause, leaving them to be raised by their grandmother.
Set against the backdrop of New York City in the months surrounding the most devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history, Olga Dies Dreaming is a story that examines political corruption, familial strife and the very notion of the American dream.
Available from your Library
The All-Night Sun A Novel by Diane Zinna
Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, well liked by her students and colleagues. But in her personal life, Lauren is troubled and isolated, still grappling with the sudden death of her parents ten years earlier. She seems to exist at a remove from everyone around her until a new student joins her class: charming, magnetic Siri, who appears to be everything Lauren wishes she could be. They fall headlong into an all-consuming friendship that makes Lauren feel as though she is reclaiming her lost adolescence.
When Siri invites her on a trip home to Sweden for the summer, Lauren impulsively accepts, once there, Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic, brooding brother, Magnus. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On their last night together, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsummer’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.
The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas
The Salpêtrière asylum, 1885. All of Paris is in thrall to Doctor Charcot and his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad or hysterical, outcasts from society. But the truth is much more complicated – for these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives or strong-willed daughters.
Once a year a grand ball is held at the hospital. For the Parisian elite, the Mad Women’s Ball is the highlight of the social season; for the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.
Available from your Library
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants while trying to protect the ones she loves. But who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
These Days by Lucy Caldwell
Two sisters, four nights, one city.
April, 1941. Belfast has escaped the worst of the war – so far. Over the next two months, it’s going to be destroyed from above, so that people will say, in horror, My God, Belfast is finished.
Many won’t make it through, and no one who does will remain unchanged.
Following the lives of sisters Emma and Audrey – one engaged to be married, the other in a secret relationship with another woman – as they try to survive the horrors of the four nights of bombing which were the Belfast Blitz, These Days is a timeless and heart-breaking novel about living under duress, about family, and about how we try to stay true to ourselves.
The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé
Ivan and Ivana are twins with a bond so strong they become afraid of their feelings for one another. When their mother sends them off to live with their father in Mali they begin to grow apart, until, as young adults in Paris, Ivana’s youthful altruism compels her to join the police academy, while Ivan, stunted by early experiences of rejection and exploitation, walks the path of radicalization. The twins, unable to live either with or without each other, become perpetrator and victim in a wave of violent attacks.
One For Sorrow by Helen Fields
Edinburgh is gripped by the greatest terror it has ever known. A lone bomber is targeting victims across the city and no one is safe.
DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach face death every day – and not just the deaths of the people being taken hostage by the killer.
When it becomes clear that with every tip-off they are walking into a trap designed to kill them too, Ava and Luc know that finding the truth could mean paying the ultimate price.
But with the threat – and body count – rising daily, and no clue as to who’s behind it, neither Ava nor Luc know whether they will live long enough to tell the tale…
Precious You by Helen Monks Takhar
When Katherine first meets her new intern Lily, she’s captivated. Young, beautiful and confident, Lily reminds Katherine of everything she once was – and it’s not long before she develops a dark fascination with her new colleague.
But is Lily as perfect as she seems, or does she have a sinister hidden agenda? As Katherine is drawn into an obsessive power struggle with the intern, a disturbing picture emerges of two women hiding dark secrets – and who are desperate enough to do anything to come out on top…
Available from you Library
It Could Never Happen Here by Eithne Shortall
Beverley Franklin will do whatever it takes to protect her local school’s reputation.
So when a scandal involving her own daughter threatens to derail the annual school musical’s appearance on national television, Beverley goes into overdrive.
But in her efforts to protect her daughter and keep the musical on track, she misses what’s really going, both in her own house and in the insular Glass Lake community – with dramatic consequences.
Glass Lake primary school’s reputation is about to be shattered…
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta’s family did not learn of her ‘immortality’ until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences . . .
Rebecca Skloot’s fascinating account is the story of the life, and afterlife, of one woman who changed the medical world forever. Balancing the beauty and drama of scientific discovery with dark questions about who owns the stuff our bodies are made of, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an extraordinary journey in search of the soul and story of a real woman, whose cells live on today in all four corners of the world.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.
Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.
This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.
Send Nudes by Saba Sams
In ten dazzling stories, Saba Sams dives into the world of girlhood and immerses us in its contradictions and complexities: growing up too quickly, yet not quickly enough; taking possession of what one can, while being taken possession of; succumbing to societal pressure but also orchestrating that pressure. These young women are feral yet attentive, fierce yet vulnerable, exploited yet exploitative.
Threading between clubs at closing time, pub toilets, drenched music festivals and beach holidays, these unforgettable short stories deftly chart the treacherous terrain of growing up – of intense friendships, of ambivalent mothers, of uneasily blended families, and of learning to truly live in your own body.
With striking wit, originality and tenderness, Send Nudes celebrates the small victories in a world that tries to claim each young woman as its own.
Broken Prey by John Sandford
The first corpse is found on the riverbank. The second in an isolated farmhouse. Both have been savagely beaten, the skin flayed from their bodies, their throats cut.
For both victims, there’s a DNA match. Charlie Pope, a convicted sex offender, has cut himself free from his court-imposed ankle bracelet and disappeared. Now all Davenport has to do is find him.
But something doesn’t smell right. The killings were calculated and methodical. Pope is of low mental intelligence, incapable of careful forethought and planning.
All the evidence points to Pope – but Davenport has his doubts. To find the answers, he must track down his key suspect. And to do that, he’ll need the help of the Big Three: three vicious serial killers locked up in the state security hospital.
The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnston
Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.
Hex by Jenni Fagan
IT’S THE 4TH OF DECEMBER 1591.
On this, the last night of her life, in a prison cell several floors below Edinburgh’s High Street, convicted witch Geillis Duncan receives a mysterious visitor – Iris, who says she comes from a future where women are still persecuted for who they are and what they believe.
As the hours pass and dawn approaches, Geillis recounts the circumstances of her arrest, brutal torture, confession and trial, while Iris offers support, solace – and the tantalising prospect of escape.
Hex is a visceral depiction of what happens when a society is consumed by fear and superstition, exploring how the terrible force of a king’s violent crusade against ordinary women can still be felt, right up to the present day.
Checkout 19 by Claire – Louise Bennett
With fierce imagination, a woman revisits the moments that shape her life; from crushes on teachers to navigating relationships in a fast-paced world; from overhearing her grandmothers’ peculiar stories to nurturing her own personal freedom and a boundless love of literature.
Fusing fantasy with lived experience, Checkout 19 is a vivid and mesmerising journey through the small traumas and triumphs that define us – as readers, as writers, as human beings.
Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan
A young woman comes of age in the shadow of her family’s tragic past
When Beth Crowe starts university, she is shadowed by the ghost of her potential as a competitive swimmer. Free to create a fresh identity for herself, she finds herself among people who adore the poetry of her grandfather, Benjamin Crowe, who died tragically before she was born. She embarks on a secret relationship – and on a quest to discover the truth about Benjamin and his widow, her beloved grandmother Lydia. The quest brings her into an archive that no scholar has ever seen, and to a person who knows things about her family that nobody else knows.
The Maid by Nita Prose
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanour has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heart warming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane
1960s Rural Ireland. Greta Cahill must abandon her deserted village to follow her fearless sister Johanna on a ship bound for New York.
It’s here that she steps out of her sister’s shadow and into a life of her own, rich with love, work and family.
As the years pass, Greta longs to revisit the past – to see her mother, to show her what she has made of herself.
But she must protect a family secret, decades old.
So when her children conspire to unite the worlds she’s kept so carefully apart, Greta fears she could lose it all . . .
Life without Children by Roddy Doyle
In these ten, beautifully moving short stories mostly written over the last year, Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle paints a collective portrait of our strange times. A man abroad wanders the stag-and-hen-strewn streets of Newcastle, as news of the virus at home asks him to question his next move. An exhausted nurse struggles to let go, having lost a much-loved patient in isolation. A middle-aged son, barred from his mother’s funeral, wakes to an oncoming hangover of regret.
Told with Doyle’s signature warmth, wit and extraordinary eye for the richness that underpins the quiet of our lives, Life Without Children cuts to the heart of how we are all navigating loss, loneliness, and the shifting of history underneath our feet.
Afraid of the Light by Douglas Kennedy
Brendan has always lived a careful, constrained life. A salesman who never liked the work, he’s a man who has stayed in his marriage and his faith because it was what was expected of him. But now, having lost his job after corporate downsizing and on the cusp of sixty, he finds himself scrambling to somehow stay afloat in the only Los Angeles work on offer to a man his age – driving for Uber.
When one of his rides, a retired professor named Elise, asks to be dropped off outside an abortion clinic where she now volunteers, Brendan finds himself literally driving right into the virulent epicentre of one of the major issues of our time, engulfing his life in the process.
A novel of high suspense and considerable moral complexity, Afraid of the Light is a tough, affecting social thriller that speaks volumes about the corrosive divisions of our troubled times.
The Quiet People by Paul Cleave
Suspicion is cast on two successful crime writers, when their seven-year-old son goes missing. Are they trying to show that they can commit the perfect crime? A memserisingly twisty, dark thriller from number-one bestselling author Paul Cleave…
Cameron and Lisa Murdoch are successful New Zealand crime writers, happily married and topping bestseller lists worldwide. They have been on the promotional circuit for years, joking that no one knows how to get away with crime like they do. After all, they write about it for a living.
So when their challenging seven-year-old son Zach disappears, the police and the public naturally wonder if they have finally decided to prove what they have been saying all this time…
Are they trying to show how they can commit the perfect crime?
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious freshwater pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ — the gently decaying summer camp in the back woods of Cape Cod where her family has spent every summer for generations.
As she passes the house, Elle glances through the screen porch at the uncleared table from the dinner the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the tablecloth, echoes of laughter of family and friends. Then she dives beneath the surface of the freezing water to the shocking memory of the sudden passionate encounter she had the night before, up against the wall behind the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the guests inside.
Love and Other Puzzles by Kimberley Allsopp
Rory’s life is perfectly predictable, ordered and on track – just the way she likes it. She walks her 12,000 steps a day, writes her to-do list and each night she prepares her breakfast chia pods and lays out her clothes for the next day. She’s doing everything right. So why does everything feel so wrong?
Deep down, she knows her life and career – not to mention her relationship – are going nowhere, and so Rory, in a moment of desperation, takes an uncharacteristic step: letting the clues of The New York Times crossword puzzle dictate all her decisions for a week. Just for a week, she reasons. Just to shake things up a bit. What’s the worst that could happen?
Violeta by Isabel Allende
Violeta comes into the world on a stormy day in 1920, the first daughter in a family of five boisterous sons. From the start, her life is marked by extraordinary events, for the ripples of the Great War are still being felt, even as the Spanish flu arrives on the shores of her South American homeland almost at the moment of her birth.
Through her father’s prescience, the family will come through that crisis unscathed, only to face a new one as the Great Depression transforms the genteel city life she has known. Her family loses all and is forced to retreat to a wild and beautiful but remote part of the country. There, she will come of age, and her first suitor will come calling.
How To Fail by Elizabeth Day
This is a book for anyone who has ever failed. Which means it’s a book for everyone.
Part memoir, part manifesto, and including chapters on dating, work, sport, babies, families, anger and friendship, it is based on the simple premise that understanding why we fail ultimately makes us stronger. It’s a book about learning from our mistakes and about not being afraid.
Uplifting, inspiring and rich in stories from Elizabeth’s own life, How to Fail reveals that failure is not what defines us; rather it is how we respond to it that shapes us as individuals. Because learning how to fail is actually learning how to succeed better. And everyone needs a bit of that.
The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont
London, 1925: In a world of town homes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O’Dea became Archie Christie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie.
The question is, why? Why destroy another woman’s marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O’Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing?
A Line To Kill by Anthony Horowitz
There has never been a murder on Alderney.
It’s a tiny island, just three miles long and a mile and a half wide. The perfect location for a brand-new literary festival. Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne has been invited to talk about his new book. The writer, Anthony Horowitz, travels with him.
Very soon they discover that all is not as it should be. Alderney is in turmoil over a planned power line that will cut through it, desecrating a war cemetery and turning neighbour against neighbour.
The visiting authors – including a blind medium, a French performance poet and a celebrity chef – seem to be harbouring any number of unpleasant secrets.
When the festival’s wealthy sponsor is found brutally killed, Alderney goes into lockdown and Hawthorne knows that he doesn’t have to look too far for suspects.
There’s no escape. The killer is still on the island. And there’s about to be a second death…
Freckles by Cecelia Ahern
Allegra Bird’s arms are scattered with freckles, a gift from her beloved father. But despite her nickname, Freckles has never been able to join all the dots. So when a stranger tells her that everyone is the average of the five people they spend the most time with, it opens up something deep inside.
The trouble is, Freckles doesn’t know if she has five people. And if not, what does that say about her? She’s left her unconventional father and her friends behind for a bold new life in Dublin, but she’s still an outsider.
Now, in a quest to understand, she must find not one but five people who shape her – and who will determine her future.
Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from modern Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and of growing into your own skin.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Two young people meet at a pub in South East London. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists – he a photographer, she a dancer – trying to make their mark in a city that by turns celebrates and rejects them. Tentatively, tenderly, they fall in love. But two people who seem destined to be together can still be torn apart by fear and violence.
At once an achingly beautiful love story and a potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it.
Nora by Nuala O’Connor
When Nora Barnacle, a twenty-year-old from Galway working as a maid at Finn’s Hotel, meets young James Joyce on a summer’s day in Dublin, she is instantly attracted to him, natural and daring in his company. But she cannot yet imagine the extraordinary life they will share together. All Nora knows is she likes her Jim enough to leave behind family and home, in search of a bigger, more exciting life.
As their family grows, they ricochet from European city to city, and are brought high and low by Jim’s ferocious ambition. So, while Jim writes and drinks his way to literary acclaim, Nora provides unflinching support and inspiration, sometimes at the expense of her own happiness, and especially at that of their children, Giorgio and Lucia. Eventually, together, they achieve some longed-for security and stability, but it is hard-won and imperfect to the end.
A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde
Lizzy has just arrived in London and is determined to make the best of her new life.
Her mother may be keen that she should meet a Suitable Man and have a nice wedding in the country, but Lizzy is determined to have some fun first.
It is 1963 and London is beginning to swing as Lizzie cuts her hair, buys a new dress with a fashionably short hemline, and moves to a grand but rundown house in Belgravia with two of her best friends.
Soon Lizzie’s life is so exciting that she has forgotten all about her mother’s marriage plans for her.
All she can think about is that the young man she is falling in love with appears to be engaged to someone else…
The Girl who Died by Ragnar Jónasson
After her father’s tragic suicide, Una is desperate to get away from Reykjavik.
So when an advert appears for a teaching position in a remote, northern Icelandic village, she seizes her chance.
But with unfriendly residents, bleak weather and a population of just ten, it is far from what Una knows.
And then, just before midwinter, a young girl from the village is found dead.
Now there are only nine villagers left.
And Una fears that one of them has blood on their hands . . .
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Bound together by a single ancient text, the unforgettable characters of Cloud Cuckoo Land are dreamers and outsiders figuring out the world around them: thirteen-year-old Anna and Omeir, an orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy, on opposite sides of the formidable city walls during the 1453 siege of Constantinople; teenage idealist Seymour and octogenarian Zeno in an attack on a public library in present-day Idaho; and Konstance, decades from now, who turns to the oldest stories to guide her community in peril.
A Quiet Tide by Marianne Lee
At the time of her death in 1815, twenty-nine-year-old Ellen Hutchins had catalogued over a thousand species of seaweed and plants from her native Bantry Bay. Ireland’s first female botanist, Ellen was a major contributor to nineteenth-century scientific discovery. And yet, like so many brilliant women lost in history, it is her personal story that will resonate today.
In her remarkable debut novel, Marianne Lee fuses fact with fiction to imagine Ellen’s rich but tormented inner life, repressed by the gender and class confines of her time. Unmarried, childless and sickly, Ellen is considered an ‘unsuccessful’ woman, dutifully bound to her family’s once grand and isolated estate, Ballylickey House. Still, she glimpses a happiness and autonomy she can never quite articulate as she reaches for meaning and expression, until the eruption of a long-simmering family feud and the rise of Ellen’s own darkness – her ‘quiet tide’ – will conspire to destroy her fragile future.
Available from your library
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
The unforgettable, inspiring story of a teenage girl growing up in a rural Nigerian village who longs to get an education so that she can find her “louding voice” and speak up for herself, The Girl with the Louding Voice is a simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant tale about the power of fighting for your dreams.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path, Adunni never loses sight of her goal of escaping the life of poverty she was born into so that she can build the future she chooses for herself – and help other girls like her do the same.
Available from your library
The Gilded Cage by Camilla Lackberg
People would kill to have Faye Adelheim’s life. She lives in an ultra-swanky apartment in the most exclusive area of Stockholm, she has a gorgeous husband who gives her everything she’s ever wanted, and she has an adorable daughter who lights up her world. Faye’s life is perfect.
So how is it, then, that she now finds herself in a police station?
The truth is that Faye’s life is far from what it seems. The truth is that Faye isn’t even her real name. And now she’s been caught out. There’s no way she’s going to go down without a fight. The only question is – who will escape with their life?
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
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.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless— unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh-graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Mrs March by Virginia Feito
George March’s latest novel is a smash hit. None could be prouder than Mrs. March, his dutiful wife, who revels in his accolades and relishes the lifestyle and status his success brings.
A creature of routine and decorum, Mrs. March lives an exquisitely controlled existence on the Upper East Side. Every morning begins the same way, with a visit to her favourite patisserie to buy a loaf of olive bread, but her latest trip proves to be her last when she suffers an indignity from which she may never recover: an assumption by the shopkeeper that the protagonist in George March’s new book – a pathetic sex worker, more a figure of derision than desire – is based on Mrs. March.
One casual remark robs Mrs. March not only of her beloved olive bread but of the belief that she knew everything about her husband – and herself – sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey, one that starts within the pages of a book but may very well uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of Mrs. March’s past.
All Her Fault by Andrea Mara
Marissa Irvine arrives at 14 Tudor Grove, expecting to pick up her young son Milo from his first playdate with a boy at his new school. But the woman who answers the door isn’t a mother she recognises. She isn’t the nanny. She doesn’t have Milo. And so begins every parent’s worst nightmare.
As news of the disappearance filters through the quiet Dublin suburb and an unexpected suspect is named, whispers start to spread about the women most closely connected to the shocking event. Because only one of them may have taken Milo – but they could all be blamed . . .
The Girl from Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl
1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…
Present day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…
The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney & Ian Rankin
Lawyer Bobby Carter did a lot of work for the wrong type of people. Now he’s dead and it was no accident. Besides a distraught family and a heap of powerful friends, Carter’s left behind his share of enemies. So, who dealt the fatal blow?
DC Jack Laidlaw’s reputation precedes him. He’s not a team player, but he’s got a sixth sense for what’s happening on the streets. His boss chalks the violence up to the usual rivalries, but is it that simple? As two Glasgow gangs go to war, Laidlaw needs to find out who got Carter before the whole city explodes.
William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw books changed the face of crime fiction. When he died in 2015, he left half a handwritten manuscript of Laidlaw’s first case. Now, Ian Rankin is back to finish what McIlvanney started. In The Dark Remains, these two iconic authors bring to life the criminal world of 1970s Glasgow, and Laidlaw’s relentless quest for truth.
Being Britney Pieces of a Modern icon. A Biography by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike
A mother, an entrepreneur; a victim, a fighter; an entertainer, an enigma – Britney’s life is as multi-faceted as the very contradictions, pressures and expectations that helped create her. Yet, beyond the eye-catching headlines and front-page fodder, an almost indecipherable question remains: who is the real Britney?
Part biography, part social history, Being Britney pieces together a collage of vignettes, stories, interviews, legends and fan experiences to construct a definitive portrait of the artist and her complex, far-reaching orbit. Written by acclaimed music author Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, this unique narrative is the first to provide a sympathetic yet objective re-examination of Britney’s cultural impact in the wake of major collective shifts surrounding feminism, celebrity and mental health.
The Night Always Comes by Willy Vlautin
Between looking after her brother, working two low-paid jobs, and trying to take part-time college classes, Lynette is dangerously tired. Every penny she’s earned for years, she’s put into savings, trying to scrape together enough to take out a mortgage on the house she rents with her mother. Finally becoming a homeowner in their rapidly gentrifying Portland neighbourhood could offer Lynette the kind of freedoms she’s never had. But, when the plan is derailed, Lynette must embark on a desperate odyssey of hope and anguish.
Written with all Willy Vlautin’s characteristic and heart-wrenching empathy, The Night Always Comes holds up a mirror to a society which leaves too many people only a step away from falling between the cracks.
Dinner Party A Tragedy by Sarah Gilmartin
Kate has taught herself to be careful, to be meticulous.
To mark the anniversary of a death in the family, she plans a dinner party – from the fancy table settings to the perfect Baked Alaska waiting in the freezer. Yet by the end of the night, old tensions have flared, the guests have fled, and Kate is spinning out of control.
But all we have is ourselves, her father once said, all we have is family.
Set between the 1990s and the present day, from a farmhouse in Carlow to Trinity College, Dublin, Dinner Party is a dark, sharply observed debut that thrillingly unravels into family secrets and tragedy.
As the past catches up with the present, Kate learns why, despite everything, we can’t help returning home.
When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were murdered in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.
Ten-year-old Sara Carter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.
Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister Shannon Carter, compelling her to break two decades of silence.
Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.
For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened on that blood-soaked night – with devastating consequences for them all.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man faces into his busiest season.
Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.
Magpie by Elizabeth Day
Sometimes Marisa gets the fanciful notion that Kate has visited the house before. She makes herself at home without any self-consciousness. She puts her toothbrush right there in the master bathroom, on the shelf next to theirs.
In Jake, Marisa has found everything she’s ever wanted. Then their new lodger Kate arrives. Something about Kate isn’t right. Is it the way she looks at Marisa’s boyfriend? Sits too close on the sofa? Constantly asks about the baby they are trying for? Or is it all just in Marisa’s head? After all, that’s what her Jake keeps telling her. And she trusts him – doesn’t she? But Marisa knows something is wrong. That the woman sleeping in their house will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Marisa just doesn’t know why. How far will she go to find the answer – and how much is she willing to lose?
The Lonely Ones by Hakan Nesser
A trip behind the Iron Curtain would change their lives forever . . .
It begins in 1969. Six young people arrive in Uppsala, Sweden. Different circumstances push the three young couples together and, over the course of a few years, they become friends. But a summer trip through Eastern Europe changes everything, and when their time at Uppsala University is over it also signals the end of something else.
Years later, a lecturer at Lund University is found dead at the bottom of a cliff in the woods close to Kymlinge. And chillingly, it is the very same spot where one of the Uppsala students died thirty-five years before.
Detective Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti takes on this ominous case of history repeating itself, and is forced to confront an increasingly grave reality.
The Lonely Ones is the fourth novel of Håkan Nesser’s quintet about Inspector Gunnar Barbarotti.
Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor
Sinéad O’Connor’s voice and trademark shaved head made her famous by the age of twenty-one. Her recording of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U made her a global icon. She outraged millions when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II on American television.
O’Connor was unapologetic and impossible to ignore, calling out hypocrisy wherever she saw it.
She has remained that way for three decades.
Now, in Rememberings, O’Connor tells her story – the heartache of growing up in a family falling apart; her early forays into the Dublin music scene; her adventures and misadventures in the world of sex, drugs and Rock’n’Roll; the fulfilment of being a mother; her ongoing spiritual quest – and through it all, her abiding passion for music.
The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey
In the summer of 1973, teenage Ruth and her four friends are obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings, and a little bit obsessed with each other. They spend the scorching summer days in the river by Ruth’s grand family home, pretending to be the drowning Ophelia and recreating tableaus of other tragic mythical heroines. But by the end of the summer, real tragedy has found them.
Twenty-four years later, Ruth is a wife and mother of three children, and moves her family into her still-grand, but now somewhat dilapidated, childhood home following the death of her father. Her seventeen-year-old daughter, Maeve, is officially in remission and having been discharged from hospital can finally start acting like a ‘normal’ teenager with the whole summer ahead of her. It’s just the five of them until Stuart, a handsome photographer and old friend of her parents, comes to stay. And there’s something about Stuart that makes Maeve feel more alive than all of her life-saving treatments put together . . .
As the heat of the summer burns, how long can the family go before long-held secrets threaten to burst their banks and drown them all?
Set between two fateful summers, The Ophelia Girls is a visceral, heady exploration of illicit desire, infatuation and the perils and power of being a young woman.
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother, Billy, and head to California where they can start their lives anew.
But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm—the wily, charismatic Duchess and earnest, offbeat Woolly—have stowed away in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction to the city of New York.
Available from your library
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young – but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
The Holiday by T. M. Logan
Seven days. Three families. One killer.
It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Provence.
But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends.
One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.
Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.
The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury
When Juliette takes the métro to her loathed office job each morning, her only escape is in books – she avidly reads on her journey and imagines what her fellow commuters’ choices might say about them. But when, one day, she decides to alight the train a few stops early and meets Soliman – the mysterious owner of the most enchanting bookshop Juliette has ever seen – she is sure her life will never be the same again . . .
For Soliman also believes in the power of books to change the course of a life – entrusting his passeurs with the task of giving each book to the person who needs it most – and he thinks Juliette is perfect for the job.
And so, leaving her old life behind, Juliette will discover the true power a book can have . . .
One Good Deed by David Baldacci
In 1949, Aloysius Archer arrives in the dusty Southern town of Poca City. He has nothing but a handful of dollars, the clothes he’s wearing and an appointment with his new parole officer. After his wartime experiences in Italy and a prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit, Archer is looking for a fresh start and a peaceful life.
On his first night of freedom, Archer meets local business tycoon Hank Pittleman, who promises Archer handsome compensation to work as his debt collector. Yet Archer takes on more than he bargains for, as he becomes embroiled in a long-running feud between the drought-struck town’s most dangerous residents. When one of them dies, the authorities label Archer as their number one suspect.
A bloody game is being played above and below the law. Everybody playing has a deeply buried secret, and Archer must uncover them all – if he’s to avoid going back behind bars.
Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
How can a woman who never existed come back to haunt you?
Gerry Anderson has been having trouble sleeping. He’s unwell – bed-bound – and has only his night nurse and his personal assistant for company. But what’s really troubling him are the phone calls. Phone calls from a woman claiming to be the ‘real’ Aubrey.
But that can’t be. Aubrey’s just a character Gerry made up in a book, years ago.
Can Gerry see past the ever-blurring lines of fact and fiction and figure out who is threatening him, or has his long-overdue moment of reckoning finally arrived?
Mrs England by Stacey Halls
‘Something’s not right here.’
I was aware of Mr Booth’s eyes on me, and he seemed to hold his breath. ‘What do you mean?’
‘In the house. With the family.’
West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there’s something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.
Distant and withdrawn, Lilian shows little interest in her children or charming husband, and is far from the ‘angel of the house’ Ruby was expecting. As the warm, vivacious Charles welcomes Ruby into the family, a series of strange events forces her to question everything she thought she knew. Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby must face her demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there’s no such thing as the perfect family – and she should know.
Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception. Set against the atmospheric West Yorkshire landscape, Stacey Halls’ third novel proves her one of the most exciting and compelling new storytellers of our times.
Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Sun always has ways to reach us.’
From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
In Klara And The Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly-changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
A Daughters Return by Josephine Cox
Florence Stanville is a woman with a past. When she moves to Guisethorpe on the east coast of England, the townsfolk are intrigued by the glamorous and mysterious stranger, with her flame-red hair and abrupt manners.
Florence doesn’t care about the gossips – she’s drawn to the peaceful seaside town by the pull of her childhood, when she lived for a brief but happy time with her beloved late mother. The riddle of those days remains and now Florence can only snatch at half-remembered memories and shadowy figures in her dreams.
As Florence is reluctantly drawn into the lives of her new neighbours, the layers of her own life are revealed, though it’s clear not everyone wishes her well. Far from finding peace, Florence has found instead turmoil and secrets. Can she put the pieces of her past together, or will it remain a closed book forever…?
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.
And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.
But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and the micro-aggressions, she’s thrilled when Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events cause Nella to become Public Enemy Number One and Hazel, the Office Darling.
Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.
It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realises that there is a lot more at stake than her career.
The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams
ONE CANCELLED WEDDING
When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong.
ONE UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER
After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on.
ONE SPARE TICKET FOR THE HONEYMOON
Could a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s not her husband…
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.
Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Awkward local girl Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles beneath her shy exterior.1947.
As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together…As the nation prepares for the royal wedding they must race against the clock to save one of their own.
A Crooked Tree by Una Mannion
This is the story of Libby and her siblings over one long hot summer, and how one decision can have terrible unintended consequences..
Rage. That’s the feeling engulfing the car as Ellen’s mother swerves over to the hard-shoulder and orders her daughter out onto the roadside. Ignoring the protests of her other children, she accelerates away, leaving Ellen standing on the gravel verge in her school pinafore and knee socks as the light fades.
What would you do as you watch your little sister getting smaller in the rear view window? How far would you be willing to go to help her? The Gallagher children are going to find out. This moment is the beginning of a summer that will change everything.
Snowflake by Louise Nealon
Eighteen-year-old Debbie White lives on a dairy farm with her mother, Maeve, and her uncle, Billy. Billy sleeps out in a caravan in the garden with a bottle of whiskey and the stars overhead for company. Maeve spends her days recording her dreams, which she believes to be prophecies.
This world is Debbie’s normal, but she is about to step into life as a student at Trinity College in Dublin. As she navigates between sophisticated new friends and the family bubble, things begin to unravel. Maeve’s eccentricity tilts into something darker, while Billy’s drinking gets worse. Debbie struggles to cope with the weirdest, most difficult parts of herself, her family and her small life. But the fierce love of the White family is never in doubt, and Debbie discovers that even the oddest of families are places of safety.
A startling, honest, laugh and cry novel about growing up and leaving home, only to find that you’ve taken it with you, Snowflake is a novel for a generation, and for everyone who’s taken those first, terrifying steps towards adulthood.
The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley
The Missing Sister is the seventh instalment in the multimillion-copy epic series The Seven Sisters.
They’ll search the world to find her.
The six D’Aplièse sisters have each been on their own incredible journey to discover their heritage, but they still have one question left unanswered: who and where is the seventh sister?
They only have one clue – an image of a star-shaped emerald ring. The search to find the missing sister will take them across the globe – from New Zealand to Canada, England, France and Ireland – uniting them all in their mission to complete their family at last.
In doing so, they will slowly unearth a story of love, strength and sacrifice that began almost one hundred years ago, as other brave young women risk everything to change the world around them.
My Pear-Shaped Life by Carmel Harrington
Meet Greta. She’s funny. She’s flawed. She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is. But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being you.
Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right? Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.
But with her world feeling like it’s falling down around her, Greta is about to discover she’s stronger than she feels. And that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.
Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.
Still Life by Sarah Winman
Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood… and the ghost of E.M. Forster.
It’s 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together. Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.
These two unlikely people find kindred spirits in each other and Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.
One By One by Ruth Ware
Snow is falling in the exclusive alpine ski resort of Saint Antoine
The shareholders and directors of Snoop, the hottest new music app, gather for a make or break corporate retreat to decide the future of the company. At stake is a billion-dollar dot com buyout that could make them all millionaires, or leave some of them out in the cold.
The clock is ticking on the offer, and with the group irrevocably split, tensions are running high. When an avalanche cuts the chalet off from help, and one board member goes missing in the snow, the group is forced to ask – would someone resort to murder, to get what they want?2
Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
Beatrice Kizza, a woman in flight from a homeland that condemned her for daring to love, flees to London. There, she shields her sorrow from the indifference of her adopted city, and navigates a night-time world of shift-work and bedsits.
Howard Pink is a self-made millionaire who has risen from Petticoat Lane to the mansions of Kensington on a tide of determination and bluster. Yet self-doubt still snaps at his heels and his life is shadowed by the terrible loss that has shaken him to his foundations.
Carol Hetherington, recently widowed, is living the quiet life in Wandsworth with her cat and The Jeremy Kyle Show for company. As she tries to come to terms with the absence her husband has left on the other side of the bed, she frets over her daughter’s prospects and wonders if she’ll ever be happy again.
Esme Reade is a young journalist learning to muck-rake and doorstep in pursuit of the elusive scoop, even as she longs to find some greater meaning and leave her imprint on the world.
Four strangers, each inhabitants of the same city, where the gulf between those who have too much and those who will never have enough is impossibly vast. But when the glass that separates Howard’s and Beatrice’s worlds is shattered by an inexcusable act, they discover that the capital has connected them in ways they could never have imagined.
The High Moments by Sara – Ella Ozbek
She’s not perfect, she has a tricky relationship with her mother and is desperate for people to like her.
She repeatedly goes back to the people that hurt her, no matter how badly.
She moves to London with no plan (of course), but manages to land a job at a modelling agency. Finally, she’s getting her life on track, but the fashion industry is a murkier place than she had imagined.
She changes herself to please others.
Just as she starts to find her place, Scarlett’s life begins to spiral. But at least people know her, she is starting to become someone. And surely it’s better to be someone – even if it’s someone you hate?
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
Grace Park and Shawn Mathews share a city – Los Angeles – but seemingly little else. Coming from different generations and very different communities, their paths wouldn’t normally cross at all. As Grace battles confusion over her elder sister’s estrangement from their Korean-immigrant parents, Shawn tries to help his cousin Ray readjust to city life after years spent in prison.
But something in their past links these two families. As the city around them threatens to erupt into violence, echoing the worst days of the early 1990s, the lives of Grace and Shawn are set to collide in ways which will change them all forever.
Nothing but Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage?
David thought so. But when his wife Mary Rose dies suddenly he has to think again. In reliving their twenty years together David sees that the ground beneath them had shifted and he simply hadn’t noticed. Or had chosen not to.
Figuring out who Mary Rose really was and the secrets that she kept – some of these hidden in plain sight – makes David wonder if he really knew her. Did he even know himself?
War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Shortly before his death, Stefan Hertmans’ grandfather Urbain Martien gave his grandson a set of notebooks containing the detailed memories of his life. He grew up in poverty around 1900, the son of a struggling church painter who died young, and went to work in an iron foundry at only 13. Afternoons spent with his father at work on a church fresco were Urbain’s heaven; the iron foundry an inferno.
During the First World War, Urbain was on the front line confronting the invading Germans, and ever after he is haunted by events he can never forget. The war ends and he marries his great love, Maria Emelia, but she dies tragically in the 1919 flu epidemic. Urbain mourns her bitterly for the rest of his life but, like the obedient soldier he is, he marries her sister at her parents’ bidding. The rest is not quite silence, but a marriage with a sad secret at its heart, and the consolations found in art and painting. War and Turpentine is the imaginative reconstruction of a damaged life across the tumultuous decades of the twentieth century; a deeply moving portrayal of family, grief, love and war.
A Bicycle Built for Sue by Daisy Tate
Sue Young has never asked for much apart from a quiet life. She’s always been happy with her call centre job and dinner on the table at six o clock; that was until her husband’s suicide tore her tranquility into little shreds.
With the script of her life in tatters, Sue is persuaded to join a charity cycle ride led by Morning TV’s Kath Fuller, who is having a crisis of her own ─ stay married to her famous (and controlling) husband, or dare to follow her own dream?
Sue’s self-appointed support crew are struggling with their own issues. Pensioner Flo Wilson is refusing to grow old, gracefully or otherwise, and Raven Chakrabarti, a teenaged goth, is determined to dodge the path her family have mapped out for her.
Can saddle sores and chaffed thighs give them validation, or will pushing themselves to the limit prove harder than they thought?
My Crazy World (The Autobiography) by Christy Dignam
Growing up in Finglas, Dublin, there was only one thing Christy Dignam ever wanted to do – and that was sing. By the early 1980s, he had formed the band Aslan, part of a new wave of acts coming out of Ireland. Repeatedly chewed up and spat out in the feeding frenzy to sign ‘the next U2’, they stuck to their principles. developed a loyal following, and their first album Feel No Shame went to No 1 in their home country, showcased by the song ‘This Is’, which Christy proudly acknowledges has become ‘part of Ireland’s DNA’.
But just as America seemed ready to fall for Aslan, Dignam was battling with heroin addiction, perhaps caused by having been sexually abused as a child, and so he was kicked out of the band. In 1993, after five years in the wilderness, he rejoined Aslan, leading the outfit to a triumphant second coming, despite struggling with further drug problems and serious illness. In this compelling memoir, Dignam looks back over his long career, vividly bringing to life the good times and the bad, but always remembering that at the heart of it all are his songs and his family.
I Follow You by Peter James
To the outside world, suave, charming and confident doctor Marcus Valentine has it all. A loving wife, three kids, a great job. But there’s something missing, there always has been. . . . or rather, someone . . .
Driving to work one morning, his mind elsewhere and not on the road, he almost mows down a female jogger on a crossing. As she runs on, Marcus is transfixed. Infatuated. She is the spitting image of a girl he was crazy about in his teens. A girl he has never been able to get out of his mind.
Lynette had dumped him harshly. For years he has fantasized about seeing her again and rekindling their flame. Might that jogger possibly be her all these years later? Could this be the most incredible coincidence?
Despite all his attempts to resist, he is consumed by cravings for this woman. And when events take a tragically unexpected turn, his obsession threatens to destroy both their worlds. But still he won’t stop. Can’t stop.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, How Beautiful We Were tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made – and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest only. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But their fight will come at a steep price . . . one which generation after generation will have to pay.
Told through the perspective of a generation of children and the family of a girl named Thula, How Beautiful We Were is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghost of colonialism, comes up against one community’s determination to hold onto its ancestral land and a young woman’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people’s freedom.
The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen
On an island off the west coast of Ireland, the Moone family are shattered by tragedy.
Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet – being a mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that tragic night.
We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. And as the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the Moones could predict . . .
Except perhaps Maeve herself.
When You See Me by Lisa Gardner
In a small town in the Deep South, Flora Dane is part of a task force committed to hunting down every last trace of notorious serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. As his last victim, imprisoned by Ness in a small box for over a year, she knew him better than most. Even after his death, his evil still lingers.
But this is the kind of town that doesn’t take kindly to strangers asking questions.
The kind of town where dark secrets lurk just beneath the surface.
Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski
Poland, 1980. Anxious, disillusioned Ludwik Glowacki, soon to graduate university, has been sent along with the rest of his class to an agricultural camp. Here he meets Janusz – and together, they spend a dreamlike summer swimming in secluded lakes, reading forbidden books – and falling in love.
But with summer over, the two are sent back to Warsaw, and to the harsh realities of life under the Party. Exiled from paradise, Ludwik and Janusz must decide how they will survive; and in their different choices, find themselves torn apart.
Swimming in the Dark is an unforgettable debut about youth, love, and loss – and the sacrifices we make to live lives with meaning.
Expectation by Anna Hope
Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.
Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?
The Weight of Love by Hilary Fannin
London, 1996. Robin and Ruth meet in the staff room of an East London school. Robin, desperate for a real connection, instantly falls in love. Ruth, recently bereaved and fragile, is tentative.
When Robin introduces Ruth to his childhood friend, Joseph, a tortured and talented artist, their attraction is instant. Powerless, Robin watches on as the girl he loves and his best friend begin a passionate and turbulent affair.
Dublin 2017. Robin and Ruth are married and have a son, Sid, who is about to emigrate to Berlin. Theirs is a marriage haunted by the ghost of Joseph and as the distance between them grows, Robin makes a choice that could have potentially devastating consequences.
The Weight of Love is a beautiful exploration of how we manage life when the notes and beats of our existence, so carefully arranged, begin to slip off the stave. An intimate and moving account of the intricacies of marriage and the myriad ways in which we can love and be loved.
Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
Sparkling cocktails, poisonous secrets …
1939, Europe on the brink of war. Lily Shepherd leaves England on an ocean liner for Australia, escaping her life of drudgery for new horizons. She is instantly seduced by the world onboard: cocktails, black-tie balls and beautiful sunsets. Suddenly, Lily finds herself mingling with people who would otherwise never give her the time of day.
But soon she realizes her glamorous new friends are not what they seem. The rich and hedonistic Max and Eliza Campbell, mysterious and flirtatious Edward, and fascist George are all running away from tragedy and scandal even greater than her own.
By the time the ship docks, two passengers are dead, war has been declared, and life will never be the same again.
Below the Big Blue Sky by Anna McPartlin
How do you pick up the pieces when the person that held them together is gone?
When forty-year-old Rabbit Hayes dies, she leaves behind a family broken by grief. Her mother Molly is distraught and in danger of losing her faith. Her father Jack spends hour upon hour in the family attic, poring over his old diaries, losing himself in the past.
Rabbit’s brother Davey finds himself suddenly guardian to her twelve-year-old daughter Juliet. Juliet might be able to fill a hole in Davey’s heart – but how can he help Juliet through her grief when he can barely cope with his own?
Meanwhile, Rabbit’s sister Grace is struggling with the knowledge that she carries the same gene that made her sister ill, and Rabbit’s best friend Marjorie is lost, struggling to remain a part of a family she has always wished was her own now that her link to them is gone.
From the bestselling author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes comes a huge-hearted novel about death, family and finding laughter in the most unexpected of places.
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
The Other Woman by debut author Sandie Jones, is a gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Michelle Frances’s The Girlfriend and B A Paris’s Behind Closed Doors.
When Emily meets Adam she knows he is the One.
That together they can deal with anything that is thrown at them.
But lurking in the shadows is another woman, Pammie. Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother.
There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants…
An Ark of Light by Dermot Bolger
Having surrendered her happiness to raise her children, Eva Fitzgerald defies convention in 1950s Ireland by leaving a failed marriage to embark on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery. It takes her from teeming Moroccan streets and being flour-bombed in radical marches in London to living in old age in a caravan that becomes an ark for all those whom she befriends amid the fields of Mayo.
An indefatigable idealist, Eva strives to forge her identity while entangled in the fault-lines of her children’s unravelling lives. An Ark of Light is a devastating portrayal of a mother’s anxiety for her gay son in a world where homosexuality is illegal and explores a terse relationship between a mother and daughter with nothing in common beyond love.
Remarkably affecting and gorgeously rendered, this standalone novel completes the real-life story of the unforgettable heroine of Bolger’s bestselling novel, The Family on Paradise Pier, in following a free spirit trying to hold her family together while striving to be happy. This struggle is often heartbreakingly lost, but Eva never loses her indomitable spirit. A towering achievement by one of Ireland’s best-loved authors about the unshakeable bonds of family, the indestructability of love and the price a woman pays for the right to be herself.
The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood
Eccentric and alluring, the more time Paul spends with his new friends the closer they become, and the deeper he falls in love with the mesmerising Charlotte. But Paul is not the only one vying for her affections, and soon an insidious rivalry takes root.
As political tensions escalate in Germany, the Bauhaus finds itself under threat, and the group begins to disintegrate under the pressure of its own betrayals and love affairs. Decades later, in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Paul is haunted by a secret. When an old friend from the Bauhaus resurfaces, he must finally break his silence.
Beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful, Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game is a novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past.
Forgive Me by Susan Lewis
This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.
But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.
Tense, emotional and gripping, Susan Lewis’s latest novel is a spellbinding story of love, family, and the price of forgiveness.
The Narrow Land by Christine Dwyer Hickey
1950: late summer season on Cape Cod. Michael, a ten-year-old boy, is spending the summer with Richie and his glamorous but troubled mother.
Left to their own devices, the boys meet a couple living nearby – the artists Jo and Edward Hopper – and an unlikely friendship is forged. She, volatile, passionate and often irrational, suffers bouts of obsessive sexual jealousy. He, withdrawn and unwell, depressed by his inability to work, becomes besotted by Richie’s frail and beautiful Aunt Katherine who has not long to live – an infatuation he shares with young Michael.
A novel of loneliness and regret, the legacy of World War II and the ever-changing concept of the American Dream.
Spy by Danielle Steel
It is 1939 and although she doesn’t know it, it will be the last normal summer Alexandra Wickham will spend for more than thirty years. Alexandra is a young woman who sees her brothers fight and die for their country, and, inspired by their heroism, she is determined to do what she can for the war effort.
As a volunteer for the First Aid Corps, her courage, intelligence and talent for languages do not go unnoticed. Before long, she is approached by MI6 to go undercover and work as a spy. Undertaking some of the most dangerous missions of the war in France, she falls in love with a young soldier, who leaves the army behind for the relative security of the diplomatic corps. They marry, but her identity is a secret, even to her husband.
Over the next thirty years – as she raises a family – Alexandra continues to work undercover in some of the most dangerous trouble spots in the world under the perfect guise of a diplomat’s wife. From India to Hong Kong, Morocco to Moscow, she puts her life on the line serving her country, whilst never receiving recognition.
It starts with a shocking accusation . . .
Stephanie and Patrick are recently married, with new-born twins. While Stephanie struggles with the disorienting effects of sleep deprivation, there’s one thing she knows for certain – she has everything she ever wanted.
Then a woman from his past arrives and makes a horrifying allegation about his first wife. He always claimed her death was an accident – but she says it was murder.
He insists he’s innocent, that this is nothing but a blackmail attempt. But is Patrick telling the truth? Or has Stephanie made a terrible mistake?
How will it end?
The Nesting Dolls by Alina Adams
Spanning nearly a century, from 1930s Siberia to contemporary Brighton Beach, a page turning, epic family saga centring on three generations of women in one Russian Jewish family—each striving to break free of fate and history, each yearning for love and personal fulfilment—and how the consequences of their choices ripple through time.
Odessa, 1931. Marrying the handsome, wealthy Edward Gordon, Daria—born Dvora Kaganovitch—has fulfilled her mother’s dreams. But a woman’s plans are no match for the crushing power of Stalin’s repressive Soviet state. To survive, Daria is forced to rely on the kindness of a man who takes pride in his own coarseness.
Odessa, 1970. Brilliant young Natasha Crystal is determined to study mathematics. But the Soviets do not allow Jewish students—even those as brilliant as Natasha—to attend an institute as prestigious as Odessa University. With her hopes for the future dashed, Natasha must find a new purpose—one that leads her into the path of a dangerous young man.
Brighton Beach, 2019. Zoe Venakovsky, known to her family as Zoya, has worked hard to leave the suffocating streets and small minds of Brighton Beach behind her—only to find that what she’s tried to outrun might just hold her true happiness.
Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler
Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years – almost a lifetime – and happily so, for the most part.
All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.
When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution – one that could change Marinela’s life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.
Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler’s Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.
Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys
Canwood, Saskatchewan, 1947. Leonard Flint, a lonely boy in a small farming town befriends the local tramp, a man known as Rabbit Foot Bill. Bill doesn’t talk much, but he allows Leonard to accompany him as he sets rabbit snares and to visit his small, secluded dwelling.
Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard—an escape from school, bullies and a hard father. So his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison.
Fifteen years on, as a newly graduated doctor of psychiatry, Leonard arrives at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, both excited and intimidated by the massive institution known for its experimental LSD trials. To Leonard’s great surprise, at the Weyburn he is reunited with Bill and soon becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day in 1947.
House on Fire by Joseph Finder
Nick Heller, private spy, exposes secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.
At the funeral of his good friend Sean, an army buddy who struggled with opioid addiction, a stranger approaches Nick with a job. The woman is a member of the Kimball family, whose immense fortune was built on opiates. Now she wants to become a whistleblower, exposing evidence that Kimball Pharmaceutical knew its biggest money-maker was dangerously addictive.
Nick agrees instantly – but he soon realizes the sins of the Kimball patriarch are just the beginning. Beneath the surface are the barely concealed cabals and conspiracies: a twisting story of family intrigue and lethal corporate machinations.
We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
‘You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Welcome to The Farm.
Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules…
Ambitious businesswoman Mae Yu runs Golden Oaks – a luxury retreat transforming the fertility industry. There, women get the very best of everything: organic meals, fitness trainers, daily massages and big money. Provided they dedicate themselves to producing the perfect baby. For someone else.
Jane is a young immigrant in search of a better future. Stuck living in a cramped dorm with her baby daughter and her shrewd aunt Ate, she sees an unmissable chance to change her life. But at what cost?
The Women of Waterloo Bridge by Jan Casey
After her fiancé breaks off their engagement, Evelyn decides to do her part for the war effort by signing up for construction work on Waterloo Bridge. Enjoying the physical work and her newfound purpose, she begins to realise that there could be so much more to her life than anything she’d ever dared to dream of.
Grieving after her little boy dies in an air raid, Gwen is completely lost when her husband sends their younger children to the countryside for safety. Enlisting as a construction worker, she is partnered with cheerful Evelyn. Despite Gwen’s initial reticence, the two women strike up a heart warming friendship – but will it be enough to save Gwen from her sorrow?
Musical prodigy Joan’s life has always been dictated by her controlling mother. When an affair nearly ends in scandal, Joan finally takes her life into her own hands. Determined never to touch a violin again, she soon finds work at Waterloo Bridge. Yet there are other troubles for her to overcome…
For these three women, only one thing is certain: the Second World War will change their lives forever.
Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars. by Joyce Carol Oates
The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our society Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all.
Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates’s latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author’s bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
I Love the Bones of You by Christopher Eccleston
My Life, My Family, My Father
Drawing on his memories, Chris will describe a vivid life of growing up in a Salford, working-class household in the 1970s with his siblings, a loving mother, and the totemic figure of his hardworking, serious-minded and socialist father – Ronnie. How his life changed from a potential future as ‘factory fodder’ in his native Northwest, to a deep-rooted desire to perform on stage, and what developed into a burgeoning acting career – from his stunning film debut Let Him Have It; to the BBC’s landmark drama miniseries Our Friends in the North; his remarkable relaunch of the iconic Doctor Who franchise; and many more BAFTA-nominated roles over the past three decades such as starring in the current production of Macbeth for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford; and, playing the role of the grandfather in the BBC1 hit drama series The A Word.
Along this path of fame and fortune also lay a man still bonded to his home city of Salford, his politics, his family, and especially his beloved parents. Chris will discuss openly the loss of his father and his family’s struggle to cope with his condition over the past decade of his life as they watched his health deteriorate.
The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley
Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday. Still living in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, set in the glorious Suffolk countryside where she spent her own idyllic childhood catching butterflies with her beloved father, and raised her own children, Posy knows she must make an agonizing decision. Despite the memories the house holds, and the exquisite garden she has spent twenty-five years creating, the house is crumbling around her, and Posy knows the time has come to sell it.
Then a face appears from the past – Freddie, her first love, who abandoned her and left her heartbroken fifty years ago. Already struggling to cope with her son Sam’s inept business dealings, and the sudden reappearance of her younger son Nick after ten years in Australia, Posy is reluctant to trust in Freddie’s renewed affection. And unbeknown to Posy, Freddie – and Admiral House – have a devastating secret to reveal . . .
The Butchers by Ruth Gilligan
A photograph is hung on a gallery wall for the very first time since it was taken two decades before. It shows a slaughter house in rural Ireland, a painting of the Virgin Mary on the wall, a meat hook suspended from the ceiling – and, from its sharp point, the lifeless body of a man hanging by his feet.
The story of who he is and how he got there casts back into Irish folklore, of widows cursing the land and of the men who slaughter its cattle by hand. But modern Ireland is distrustful of ancient traditions, and as the BSE crisis in England presents get-rich opportunities in Ireland, few care about The Butchers, the eight men who roam the country, slaughtering the cows of those who still have faith in the old ways. Few care, that is, except for Fionn, the husband of a dying woman who still believes; their son Davey, who has fallen in love with the youngest of the Butchers; Gra, the lonely wife of one of the eight; and her 12-year-old daughter, Una, a girl who will grow up to carry a knife like her father, and who will be the one finally to avenge the man in the photograph.
The Second Chance Tea Shop by Fay Keenan
Following the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie, move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.
But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto to the new life she has built.
This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson
‘They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.’
When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they’re relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighborhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. Turns out they live in the Dutch Colonial immediately next door.
When they’re invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn when Hen thinks she sees something suspicious in Matthew’s study. Could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? Lloyd certainly doesn’t seem to believe her, and so, forced together, Hen and Matthew start to form an unlikely bond. But who, if anyone, is really in danger?
From its deeply unsettling opening, Peter Swanson, the master of contemporary domestic thrillers, fashions a novel as brilliant, dark, coruscating and surprising as Patricia Highsmith and Ira Levin at their very best.
My Name Is Why a memoir by Lemn Sissay
At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in a fostered family followed by six years in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was not Norman. It was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.
Here Sissay recounts his life story. It is a story of neglect and determination. Misfortune and hope. Cruelty and triumph.
Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home. Written with all the lyricism and power you would expect from one of the nation’s best-loved poets, this moving, frank and timely memoir is the result of a life spent asking questions, and a celebration of the redemptive power of creativity.
The White Girl by Tony Birch
Odette Brown has lived her whole life on the fringes of a small country town. After her daughter disappeared and left her with her granddaughter Sissy to raise on her own, Odette has managed to stay under the radar of the welfare authorities who are removing fair-skinned Aboriginal children from their families. When a new policeman arrives in town, determined to enforce the law, Odette must risk everything to save Sissy and protect everything she loves. In The White Girl, Miles-Franklin-shortlisted author Tony Birch shines a spotlight on the 1960s and the devastating government policy of taking Indigenous children from their families.
Need You Dead by Peter James
Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.
Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.
When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.
This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik
Everyone has a place they call home. But who gets to decide where you belong?
For years Bilal Hasham and his wife Mariam have lived contented, quiet lives in the sleepy rural village of Babbel’s End. Now all that is about to change.
On her deathbed, Bilal’s mother reaches for his hand. Instead of whispering her final prayers, she gives him a task: build a mosque in his country village.
Mariam is horrified by Bilal’s plan. His friends and neighbours are unnerved. As outrage sweeps Babbel’s End, battle lines are drawn. His mother’s dying wish reveals deeper divisions in their village than Bilal had ever imagined.
Soon Bilal is forced to choose between community and identity, between faith and friendship, between honouring his beloved mother’s last wish and preserving what is held dear in the place that he calls home.
February 2021 Ireland Reads
Clear My Name by Paula Daly
When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.
Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.
Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.
But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide . . .
Long Bright River by Liz Moore
Mickey Fitzpatrick has been patrolling the 24th District for years. She knows most of the working women by name. She knows what desperation looks like and what people will do when they need a fix. She’s become used to finding overdose victims: their numbers are growing every year. But every time she sees someone sprawled out, slumped over, cold to the touch, she has to pray it’s not her sister, Kacey.
When the bodies of murdered sex workers start turning up on the Ave, the Chief of Police is keen to bury the news. They’re not the kind of victims that generate a whole lot of press anyway. But Mickey is obsessed, dangerously so, with finding the perpetrator – before Kacey becomes the next victim.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.
Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.
As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?
Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.
Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
Widely regarded as D. H. Lawrence’s greatest novel, Women in Love is both a lucid account of English society before the First World War, and a brilliant evocation of the inexorable power of human desire.
Women in Love continues where The Rainbow left off, with the third generation of Brangwens: Ursula Brangwen, now a teacher at Beldover, a mining town in the Midlands, and her sister Gudrun, who has returned from art school in London. The focus of the novel is primarily on their relationships, Ursula’s with Rupert Birkin, a school inspector, and Gudrun’s with industrialist Gerald Crich, and later with a sculptor, Loerke.
Quintessentially modernist, Women in Love is one of Lawrence’s most extraordinary, innovative and unsettling works.
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park
I am entering the frozen land, although to which country it belongs I cannot say.
The world is shrouded in snow. Transport has ground to a halt. Tom must venture out into a transformed and treacherous landscape to collect his son, sick and stranded in student lodgings.
But on this solitary drive from Belfast to Sunderland, Tom will be drawn into another journey, one without map or guide, and is forced to chart pathways of family history haunted by memory and clouded in regret.
Written in spare, crystalline prose by one of the most important voices in contemporary Irish writing, Travelling in a Strange Land is a work of exquisite loss and transformative grace. It is a novel about fathers and sons, grief, memory, family and love; about the gulfs that lie between us and those we love, and the wrong turns that we take on our way to find them.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
‘If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats,’ Sarah thought, ‘she would be more careful not to tramp through muddy fields.’
It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea.
The Visitor by Lee Child
Jack Reacher – Book 4
Sergeant Amy Callan and Lieutenant Caroline Cooke have a lot in common.
Both were army high-flyers. Both were aquainted with Jack Reacher. Both were forced to resign from the service.
Now they’re both dead.
Found in their own homes, naked, in a bath full of paint.
Apparent victims of an army man. A loner, a smart guy with a score to settle, a ruthless vigilante.
A man just like Jack Reacher.
Baghlan Boy by Michael Crowley
His brother sells the family sheep to pay an ‘agent’ to take Farood to the West, not knowing when he will be back but being hopeful that he’ll one day return with liberating wealth.
Farood’s journey is one of pain and endurance across Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, in the boots of cars at border crossings and waiting with others in basements and trailers, afraid and confused.
We skip forward eight years to a prison where nineteen-year-old Farood is beginning a life sentence for a crime he says he didn’t commit. He can fight better than most, but it’s not easy negotiating a way through hierarchies and alliances on the wing.
Forever a captive, despite his will to escape, can Farood Abdali break the mould and forge a better life?
29 Seconds by T. M. Logan
What if a single 29 second phonecall could change your life forever? ‘Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . .’
When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.
He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.
No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.
All it takes is a 29 second phone call.
BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A NAME TO GIVE. DON’T THEY?
The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Claire Gradidge
Everyone has secrets, some are just more deadly than others . . .
April 1941, Romsey, England.
Josephine ‘Josy’ Fox hasn’t set foot in Romsey in over twenty years. As an illegitimate child, her family – headed by her controlling grandfather – found her an embarrassment. Now, she wants to return to what was once her home and uncover the secret of her parentage. Who was her father and why would her mother never talk about him?
Josy arrives the day after the Luftwaffe have bombed the town. The local pub, The Cricketers’ Arms, has been completely destroyed and rescue teams are searching for the remains of the seven people known to be in the pub at the time the bomb hit. They are shocked, however, to uncover eight bodies, not seven. The eighth, unidentified, body is that of a teenage girl, who no one in the town claims to know. Who is she, how did she get there, but most importantly – who killed her?
Teaming up with local coroner and old friend, Bram Nash, Josy sets out to establish the identity of the girl and solve the riddle of her death. In doing so, she also uncovers her own personal mystery.
As You Were by Elaine Feeney
Sinéad Hynes is a tough, driven, funny young property developer with a terrifying secret.
No-one knows it: not her fellow patients in a failing hospital, and certainly not her family. She has confided only in Google and a shiny magpie.
But she can’t go on like this, tirelessly trying to outstrip her past and in mortal fear of her future. Across the ward, Margaret Rose is running her chaotic family from her rose-gold Nokia. In the neighbouring bed, Jane, rarely but piercingly lucid, is searching for a decent bra and for someone to listen. Sinéad needs them both.
As You Were is about intimate histories, institutional failures, the kindness of strangers, and the darkly present past of modern Ireland. It is about women’s stories and women’s struggles. It is about seizing the moment to be free.
Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
In 1973, twenty-year-old Moll Gladney takes a morning bus from her rural home and disappears.
Bewildered and distraught, Paddy and Kit must confront an unbearable prospect: that they will never see their daughter again.
Five years later, Moll returns. What – and who – she brings with her will change the course of her family’s life forever.
Actress by Anne Enright
This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London’s West End. Katherine’s life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings.
But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine’s past, or the world’s damage. As Norah uncovers her mother’s secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Then, fame turns to infamy when Katherine decides to commit a bizarre crime.
Actress is about a daughter’s search for the truth: the dark secret in the bright star, and what drove Katherine finally mad.
Brilliantly capturing the glamour of post-war America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, Actress is an intensely moving, disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the men in their lives. A scintillating examination of the corrosive nature of celebrity, it is also a sad and triumphant tale of freedom from bad love, and from the avid gaze of the crowd.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England, this is Ken Follett’s classic historical masterpiece.
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect – a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the post-war, post-siege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin’s merciless Ministry for State security. So when Andrei is asked to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are fearful. Trapped in an impossible, maybe unwinnable game, can they avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves?
The Betrayal is a powerful and touching novel of ordinary people in the grip of a terrible and sinister regime, and a moving portrait of a love that will not be extinguished.
Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin
Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home; food on the table; a high school he can attend for more than part of a year; and some structure to his life. But as the son of a single father working at warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, he’s been pretty much on his own for some time.
Lean on Pete opens as he and his father arrive in Portland, Oregon and Charley takes a stables job, illegally, at the local race track. Once part of a vibrant racing network, Portland Meadows is now seemingly the last haven for washed up jockeys and knackered horses, but it’s there that Charley meets Pete, an old horse who becomes his companion as he’s forced to try to make his own way in the world.
A portrait of a journey – populated by a vivid cast of characters against a harsh landscape – Lean on Pete is also the unforgettable story of a friendship and of hope in dark times.
Roads Ends by Mary Lawson
On a perfect August morning in 1967, above a river just outside a small town in the north of Canada, a young man meets his death. And so begins the unravelling of his best friend Tom’s already precarious family…
Eighteen months on, and the town of Struan is in the grip of winter. Still reeling from his friend’s death, Tom has dropped out and spends his days driving a snow plough. His mother has yet another new baby and is nesting upstairs, increasingly lost in her own world. His father, Edward, retreats to his study and his diaries, unable to cope with his growing, unruly family. There are so many brothers in the house that Tom has almost lost count, but Adam, who is only four, somehow can’t be ignored… Their one sister – capable, dependable, formidable Megan – who used to run the show, has escaped to London and is finally living her own life. But then come disturbing letters from home…
In this masterful, enthralling, and tender novel, which takes us from the silver rush in Northern Ontario in the early 1900s to London in the 60s, Mary Lawson gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy and, in time, hope to start again.
Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams
Nicholas Coughlan and Isabel Gore are meant for each other – they just don’t know it yet. Though each has found both heartache and joy in the wild Irish landscape, their paths are yet to cross. But as God, ghosts, fate and the sheer power of true love pull Nicholas and Isabel together, so too does life threaten to tear them apart. . .
Magical, lyrical and deeply romantic, Niall Williams’ Four Letters of Love moved readers the world over and became an international bestseller. It is a life-affirming paean to human folly, to fate, and to the miracle of love.
Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent
Three brothers are at the funeral. One lies in the coffin.
Will, Brian and Luke grow up competing for their mother’s unequal love. As men, the competition continues – for status, money, fame, women …..
They each betray each other, over and over, until one of them is dead.
But which brother killed him?
The Heights by Parker Bilal
The discovery of a severed head on a London Tube leads private investigators Crane and Drake on a dark journey into the past – and a personal quest for retribution.
In this second title in the London-based Crane and Drake mystery series, Cal Drake has left the police force and is now working as a private detective, having teamed up with the motorcycle-riding Dr Rayhana Crane.
The chilling discovery of a severed head on the Tube draws Calil Drake back to the case he failed to solve four years ago which left his police career in tatters. Crane and Drake investigate while also searching for Howeida Almanara – a young international student from the Gulf and the missing girlfriend of a Crane family friend. Could her disappearance be linked to Cal’s past and the gruesome discovery on the Tube? Crane and Drake are plunged into the dark underworld of London and international crime, and must risk their lives to uncover the truth.
Under a Wartime Sky by Liz Trenow
1936: The dark clouds of war are gathering across Europe and the brightest minds in Britain have been brought together in a grand manor on the Suffolk coast. These select few have been tasked by Churchill to develop, in utmost secrecy, an invention that will help win the war and alter the course of history.
In this tense atmosphere, an unlikely friendship develops between Vic, a brilliant but shy physicist, and Kathleen, a cheerful local girl helping her mother in the kitchens. Following the news that her brother intends to join the RAF, Kath yearns to do her bit for the war effort. So when Vic tells her they are recruiting women to operate his top secret system, she makes a choice that will change her life forever.
As war is declared, the manor finds itself on the front line of a ferocious battle being fought in the skies as waves of German bombers set their sights on Britain. With the ever-present threat above them, Vic fights to solve problems that threaten to endanger the country, and Kath is forced to make a desperate, life-or-death decision . . .
The Art of the Glimpse 100 Irish Short Stories selected by Sinéad Gleeson
There have been many anthologies of the short story as it developed in Ireland, but never a collection like this.
The Art of the Glimpse is a radical revision of the canon of the Irish story, uniting classic works with neglected writers and marginalised voices – women, LGBT writers, Traveller folk-tales, neglected 19th-century authors and the first wave of ‘new Irish’ writers from all over the world now making a life in Ireland. Sinéad Gleeson brings together stories that range from the most sublime realism to the downright bizarre and transgressive, some from established literary figures and some that have not yet been published in book form.
The collection draws on a tremendous spectrum of experience: the story of a prank come good by Bram Stoker; Sally Rooney on the love languages of the new generation; Donal Ryan on the pains of ageing; Edna O’Brien on the things we betray for love; James Joyce on a young woman torn between the familiar burdens and oppression of her home and the dangerous lure of romance and escape; and the internal monologue of a woman in a coma by Marian Keyes. Here too are vivid and less familiar stories by Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Oein De Bharduin, Blindboy Boatclub and Melatu Uche Okorie.
Sinead Gleeson’s anthology is a marvellous representation of a rich literary tradition renewing itself in the 21st century.
The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.
So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head.
But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again.
Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness?
And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….
Black Light stories by Kimberly King Parsons
A black light illuminates that which the eye doesn’t see, uncovering what is hidden in plain sight.
In this raw, compassionate, debut collection Kimberly King Parsons casts light onto the weird, the intimate, the eerie and the sublimely beautiful with unflinching gaze and ferocious eloquence. Over twelve crackling stories, each a glorious escape hatch, she captures the bright ache of first love, the claustrophobic shadows of desire, the obsessive nature of friendship and the rapturous pull of taboo. Filled with a frenetic longing for connection, her reckless yet resilient heroines exhilarate and charm as they pursue the promise of elsewhere.
With psychedelic energy and deep humanity, Black Light chews over the messiness of being alive, the unsteadiness of hope and the ecstasies of coming of age.
The Spinster Diaries by Gina Fattore
Our heroine, a moderately successful TV writer in L.A., wants her life to be as sunny and perfect as a Hollywood rom-com: a cool job, a wacky best friend, and lots of age-appropriate hot guys just dying to date her. Instead, she’s a self-described spinster who is swimming in anxiety and just might have a tiny little brain tumor. So she turns to an unlikely source for inspiration: the eighteenth-century novelist and diarist Frances Burney, who pretty much invented the chick-lit novel.
A semi-autobiographical unromantic comedy, The Spinster Diaries is a laugh-out-loud satire of both the TV business and the well-worn conventions of chick lit—as well as the true tale of the forgotten writer who inspired Jane Austen to greatness. It’s an endearing and refreshingly honest testament to how one person’s life can reach out across the centuries to touch another’s.
Between Two Evils by Eva Dolan
As the country bakes under the relentless summer sun, a young doctor is found brutally murdered at his home in a picturesque Cambridgeshire village.
Is his death connected to his private life – or his professional one?
Dr Joshua Ainsworth worked at an all-female detention centre, one still recovering from a major scandal a few years before. Was he the whistle-blower – or an instigator?
As Detective Sergeant Ferreira and Detective Inspector Zigic begin to painstakingly reconstruct Dr Ainsworth’s last days, they uncover yet more secrets and more suspects. But this isn’t the only case that’s demanding their attention – a violent criminal has been released on a technicality and the police force know he will strike again: the only question is who will be his first victim…
The Convert by Stefan Hertmans
In the small village in Provence where Stefan Hertmans has made his home, people have long spoken of an ancient pogrom and hidden treasure. Then, at the end of the nineteenth century, an extraordinary collection of Jewish documents was found in a synagogue in Cairo.
Hertmans has based The Convert on these historical sources, tracing the life of a young Christian noblewoman who abandoned everything for the love of a rabbi’s son. In this startlingly contemporary novel, Hertmans follows in her footsteps as the lovers flee through France together, pursued by crusading knights, and recounts her dazzling journey full of love and hardship, courage and hate, as she journeys on towards Jerusalem alone.
The Convert brings the chaos of the Middle Ages to life with boundless imagination and stylistic ingenuity, portraying the tragic love story of a woman in exile and a world in flux.
Against The Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa
Nahr has been confined to the Cube: nine square metres of glossy grey cinderblock, devoid of time, its patterns of light and dark nothing to do with day and night. Journalists visit her, but get nowhere; because Nahr is not going to share her story with them.
The world outside calls Nahr a terrorist, and a whore; some might call her a revolutionary, or a hero. But the truth is, Nahr has always been many things, and had many names.
She was named for the river her pregnant mother crossed when she fled from Palestine, but her feckless father called her Yaqoot, Ruby. For a time when she came of age she was Almas, Diamond, a girl who went to hidden parties in Kuwait with powerful men, who sold off parts of herself to keep her family together. She was a girl who learned, early and painfully, that when you are a second class citizen love is a kind of desperation; she learned, above all else, to survive.
She was a girl who went to Palestine in the wrong shoes, and without looking for it found what she had always lacked in the basement of a battered beauty parlour: purpose, politics, friends. She found a dark-eyed man called Bilal, who taught her to resist; who tried to save her when it was already too late.
Nahr sits in the Cube, and tells her story to Bilal. Bilal, who isn’t there; Bilal, who may not even be alive, but who is her only reason to get out.
Red/Black by Rachel Atherton-Charvat
Sarah Hughes. Wife, mother, secret gambler.
Her life is one of stability and security. Settled in Cheltenham, married for over twenty years, lovely children… but her inner trauma of losing a child in a car accident in which she was driving is reopened when her husband accepts a full-time posting to a military camp in Germany. Upon arriving in Germany, her underlying depression returns and she starts gambling online. The isolated posting and pressures of army life exacerbates her struggle and exposes the frailties of her marriage.
The stakes rise as her gambling escalates and she starts to realise her husband is not all she believed…
Red/ Black is a carefully constructed story that deals with very modern themes of mental health and gambling.
The Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
When Jessica signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money and leave. But as the questions grow more and more invasive, she begins to feel as though they know what she’s thinking . . . and what she’s hiding.
As Jessica’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and what is one of Dr Shields’s manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.
The Shelf by Helly Acton
What starts as a frenzied look at a bizarre new reality show, where women are dumped live on air and have to compete to prove their eligibility to the public of the UK, moves to a more considered look at female friendships and confidence. The sometimes foolish, sometimes symbolic activities of the reality show and the selfishness of ex partners offers comedic enjoyment as lead character Amy goes reluctantly on a journey of self exploration where she realises her strengths, her dissatisfaction with her life and the strength of the women that surround her. Fresh, funny and light, this is thought provoking enough to keep you pondering and kind enough that its never mean spirited.
The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Catherine Ryan Howard is bringing serial killer novels to an Irish setting in a realistic way. Eve Black, one of the only survivors of 1990’s killer and rapist, the Nothing Man, named as the police had nothing on him and no leads. Eve’s modern day research has shed some light on the Nothing Man and her True Crime memoir causes a big splash in Ireland, especially in her native Cork where security guard Jim Doyle seethes and sweats about the details of the case’s Eve has written about, and considers how the Nothing Man can put the facts straight.
The definition of a psychological thriller, Jim and Eve narrate alternate chapters as they circle around each other and approach the real truth of what happened twenty years ago.
The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary
A smart, modern story about Tiffy and Leon who move in as strangers to a one bedroom flat to save money. Tiffy works 9 – 5 in a quirky publishing house that doesn’t pay much and needs an affordable London home since her relationship break up, and Leon a hardworking nurse on the night shift, needs someone to help share the expenses on his apartment so he can support his mother and brother. The solution they come up over the phone is to share the bed as their lifestyles don’t overlap. But as they reach out to each other in notes and kindnesses, both start yearning to meet their new friend. A slow burn love story with lots of humour of two damaged people finding each other in the same flat, and working to connect.
Little Sister by Lucy Dawson
Sisters Kate and Anya have suffered tragedy together and grown up supporting each other as their parents pulled apart, leaving the girls to be family for each other. Kate is devastated to get a late night phone call from Mexico, saying her sister never returned from a diving trip – a trip Kate never knew Anya went on, that Anya hid from her. What else has Anya hidden? Kate’s frantic journey to impel Mexican police to search for Anya while working through her own guilt from their youth is emphasised by the time ticking away on Anya – is she alive and can she be found in time?
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
The first novel by pod caster and journalist Dolly Alderton, this book is careful not to update Bridget Jones for a new generation. Food writer Nina is starting dating again after spending two years getting a book deal and buying her first home. Her peers are marriage focused, sometimes to the detriment of their independence and good sense but Nina remains realistic and focused on what she’s looking for.
Her first relationship blossoms and turns into something real, just as Nina is getting her head around her dad’s health and his age-related memory loss. But how much can you trust someone else? Nina recognises in herself as in the failing memories of her father, that we carry the ghosts of everyone we’ve ever loved, whether they deserve it or not. A touching and illuminating novel of love and maturity with a confident and self-assured heroine.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
The gritty follow up to bestseller Tattooist of Auschwitz, Cilka’s Journey follows Auschwitz survivor Cilka Klein, liberated but not yet free as the tortured politics of post-war Europe forces her into a Siberian Gulag as punishment for colluding with Nazis to survive. Distrusted, defamed and disempowered, her survival instinct rises once again and she forms a community within her fellow prisoners, unified by her strength, generosity and loyalty. Through kind staff she trains in the Gulag hospital, makes solid friends, exhorts change within the camp, and finds love. But the Gulag’s crushing injustice is always close by to remind her of human frailty.
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore
A suspenseful historical story about a tense and distrusting marriage. Set in 18th century Bristol, reeling from shocking events in revolutionary France, Lizzie Fawkes is the new wife of a Bolshy developer building impressive houses in the rapidly growing city.
Her mother is a philosopher and writer,who inspires Lizzie’s curiosity and independence of thought, as her husband’s business failing drive him to greater paranoia and cruelty.
The Chain by Adrian McKinty
A terrible action by a desperate couple – the chain continues. What if you were forced into a pyramid scheme by a stranger, told to pay an impossible amount to stay in the chain, with your child kidnapped as collateral? Rachel Klein is fighting breast cancer and crippling debts after her divorce when her teen daughter Kylie is snatched and a phone call tells her about the Chain. The Chain is administered by shadowy overloads who can see Rachel’s, calls, emails and movements and threaten annihilation if the Chain is broken. But is it really unbreakable, if you have nothing left to lose?
The Chain is a fast paced thriller with twists and clues to help plot our way to the Chain’s masterminds.
If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Solicitor Laurie is stunned when her partner of 16 years leaves her, effective immediately. To add insult, he is still the golden boy of the law firm where they both work and Laurie is cast as the pathetic ex when he announces his new girlfriend’s pregnancy. Striking up a friendship with office bad boy Jamie, Laurie agrees to pretend to date Jamie to help Jamie get a promotion and Laurie keep her dignity.
A typical romance novel set-up but this novel is full of charm, realistic humour and chemistry and realistic repercussions for Laurie and Jamie’s social media-conducted hoax romance. Hilarious and heart-breakingly real on the pain of break-ups and realising you’re stronger for them.
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
The story of two couples raising families in suburban New York in the 1980’s. Francis and Lena are hard working, friendly parents of three girls; Brian and Anne raise their son in a atmosphere of tension and secrets. When their children form a devoted and lifelong friendship, both families will be joined together for decades, through tragedy and forgiveness. A study of family dynamics and the work that goes into making marriage more than romance.
An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope
A light but thoughtful novel following divorced Rose, mid sixties and rediscovering what makes her happy after her marriage break up, falling in love with old flame Tyler, who seems to offer her all the romance and devotion she was denied by her first husband. Her adult children are divided when Tyler proposes to Rose and work to delay the wedding – uncovering revelations about their own life choices as they struggle to control their mother’s choices. Privileged and well drawn characters move from complacency to light conflict in this enjoyable family drama.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
A modern update of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Kate is a blunt, cranky teacher’s assistant who’s workaholic scientist father uses her as a housekeeper and to help raise her young sister Bunny. Then he asks her to marry his research assistant Pyotr to get him a Green Card and Kate is furious. But Pyotr seems to be the only person who appreciates her personality and Kate starts to recognise him as a method of escaping her father’s house.
Light and funny, this family comedy has fun with family dynamics and reinvents a well known tale.
Adults by Emma Jane Unsworth
30 something Jenny is falling apart, deserted by her shallow boyfriend, harried by her flaky mum and disregarded by her best friend who doesn’t want to help Jenny fact check her Instagram posts anymore. Jenny, a journalist for a zeitgeisty woman’s magazine, has lost herself in social media and shallow longings.
A witty and sensitive look at modern life and the ways we can distract ourselves from what we really want by listening to what everyone else wants for us.
One Perfect Christmas and other Stories by Paige Toon
In this irresistible collection, Paige Toon reunites a much-loved cast from across her sixteen bestselling novels. Catch up with Johnny Be Good’s rockstar Johnny Jefferson and his wife Meg as a shocking family secret is revealed; see what happens when Pictures of Lily’s leading lady gets the exclusive chance to photograph Hollywood’s hottest new couple; and find out whether Bronte from Thirteen Weddings chose the right man to spend her life with after all . . .
This Christmas, Paige Toon brings you nine witty and heartfelt romantic stories PUBLISHED IN PRINT FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, as readers are whisked across the globe from movie premieres in LA to frosty Christmases in England.
Christmas for the District Nurses by Annie Groves
The East End of London has been devastated by the Blitz and the people are struggling to come to terms with their ravaged city. Rationing bites ever deeper and and everything that makes life better is in short supply.
For the district nurses, the challenges are tougher than ever. Gladys loves her work in the Civil Nursing Reserve, but just when she needs to rely on her sister at home to help out with the chores, she turns into a handful of trouble. Edith is learning to cope with her boyfriend’s injuries after Dunkirk but will she have to choose between her love for him and her career?
With no end in sight, the war reaches its darkest moment … Can the nurses – and the families and patients that rely on them – find the strength to carry on?
Christmas in The Snow by Karen Swan
No secret stays buried forever . . .
In London, the snow is falling and Christmas is just around the corner – but Allegra Fisher barely has time to notice. She’s pitching for the biggest deal of her career and can’t afford to fail. And when she meets attractive stranger, Sam Kemp, on the plane to the meeting, she can’t afford to lose her focus either. She learned to shut off her emotions long ago and only her sister and best friend Isobel knows why. But when Allegra finds herself up against Sam for the bid, their passion quickly turns sour.
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to LA in time for Christmas.
Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight ‘misunderstanding’ at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic.
He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, where he will rediscover people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it’s the culmination of years of yearning to be reunited with Cicely, her oldest friend and secret love, who left home years before for the ‘land of opportunity’. Patsy’s plans do not include her young daughter, Tru, whom she leaves behind in a bittersweet trail of sadness and relief. But Brooklyn is not at all what Cicely described in her letters, and to survive as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy is forced to work as a bathroom attendant, and ironically, as a nanny. Meanwhile, back in Jamaica, Tru struggles with her own questions of identity and sexuality, grappling every day with what it means to be abandoned by a mother who has no intention of returning.
Passionate, moving, and fiercely urgent, Patsy is a haunting depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the silent threads of love stretching across years and oceans.
Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healy
Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days. When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and the police think the case is closed.
The once-happy, loving family returns to London, where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: refusing to go to school, and sleeping with the light on.
With her daughter increasingly becoming a stranger, Jen is sure the answer lies in those four missing days. But will Lana ever reveal what happened?
HARVESTING BY LISA HARDING
Sometimes it feels as if three minutes has passed when it’s been three days, and three nights pass like a shiver of wind through the trees.
Sammy is a spiky, quick-witted and sharp teenager living in Dublin; Nico is a warm and conscientious girl from Moldova.
This is a novel about a flourishing but hidden world, thinly concealed beneath a veneer of normality. It’s about the failings of polite society, the cruelty that can exist in apparently homely surroundings, the bluster of youth and the often appalling weakness of adults.
Harvesting is heartbreaking and funny, gritty, raw and breathtakingly beautiful, where redemption is found in friendship and unexpected acts of kindness.
Harvesting was inspired by Harding’s involvement with a campaign against sex trafficking run by the Children’s Rights Alliance. Although it is a fictionalised account, the text has been read and approved of by representatives for NGOs in both Moldova and Dublin.
Available from BorrowBox as an eBook
BITTER ORANGE BY CLAIRE FULLER
From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them – Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden for the absent American owner. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours’ private lives.
But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up – and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.
A WOMAN IS NO MAN BY ETAF RUM
‘Where I come from, we’ve learned to silence ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence will save us. Where I come from, we keep these stories to ourselves. To tell them to the outside world is unheard of – dangerous, the ultimate shame.’
Three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn are torn between individual desire and the strict mores of Arab culture in this heart-wrenching story of love, intrigue and courage.
Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.
Available on BorrowBox as an eBook
PLATFORM SEVEN by Louise Doughty
Platform Seven at 4am:
Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.
What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.
Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?
Available on BorrowBox as an eBook
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
The Man Booker Prize Winner 2020
The sensational Dutch bestseller: Marieke Lucas Rijneveld’s extraordinary portrait of a Dutch farming family distorted by grief, translated by Michele Hutchison.
Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns. As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.
The Discomfort of Evening is a radical reading experience that will leave you changed forever.
Available on BorrowBox as an eBook
Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler
Micah Mortimer isn’t the most polished person you’ll ever meet. His numerous sisters and in-laws regard him oddly but very fondly, but he has his ways and means of navigating the world.
Redhead by the Side of the Road is an intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who sometimes finds those around him just out of reach – and a love story about the differences that make us all unique.