NEW BOOKS FOR AUGUST 2017
THE MISSING GIRL by Jeny Quintana
Anna Flores was just a child when her adored teenage sister disappeared. Unable to deal with the pain, Anna took the first opportunity she had to run from her fractured family, eventually building a life for herself abroad. Now, thirty years on, her mother has died, and Anna must return home to sort through her possessions. In doing so, she has to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in their lives, leaving just one question unanswered: what really happened to Gabriella?
I’LL KEEP YOU SAFE by Peter May
Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft. Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh. As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.
THE LOVE LETTER by Lucinda Riley
When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, so devastating that it could rock the English establishment to its core . . . Joanna Haslam is an ambitious young journalist, assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral. The great and the good of the celebrity world are there. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind, the contents of which others have been desperate to conceal for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that there are other forces attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.
MY ABSOLUTE DARLING by Gabriel Tallent
At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall. She knows how to snare a rabbit, sharpen a blade and splint a bone. She knows that her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him. But she doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school; why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see. Or why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done. Sometimes the people you’re supposed to trust are the ones who do most harm. And what you’ve been taught to fear is the very thing that will save you …
RECORD OF A SPACE BORN FEW: WAYFARERS 3
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into the galactic community, but while this has opened doors for many, those who have not yet left for alien cities fear that their carefully cultivated way of life is under threat. Tessa chose to stay home when her brother Ashby left for the stars, but has to question that decision when her position in the Fleet is threatened. Kip, a reluctant young apprentice, itches for change but doesn’t know where to find it. Sawyer, a lost and lonely newcomer, is just looking for a place to belong. And when a disaster rocks this already fragile community, those Exodans who still call the Fleet their home can no longer avoid the inescapable question:
CLOCK DANCE by Anne Tyler
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was eleven and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at twenty-one, the accident that would make her a widow at forty-one. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others. So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman – and her nine-year-old daughter, and her dog – will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community, and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.
SPITFIRE: A VERY BRITISH LOVE STORY by Jon Nichol
A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them – and us – a valuable service’
MRS OSMOND by John Barrick
Having fled Rome and a stultifying marriage, Isabel Osmond is in London, brooding on the recent disclosure of her husband’s shocking, years-long betrayal of her. What should she do now, and which way should she turn, in the emotional labyrinth where she has been trapped for so long? Reawakened by grief and the knowledge of having been grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence. Soon Isabel must return to Italy and confront her husband, and seek to break his powerful hold on her. But will she succeed in outwitting him, and securing her revenge?
TELLING TALES: THE FABULOUS LIVES OF ANITA LESLIE by Penny Perrick
Anita Leslie (1914-85), best known for popular biographies of her relatives including Jennie Churchill, Winston’s mother, was also an unlikely war heroine. In 1940, Anita volunteered as an ambulance driver. By the end of the war, she was the only woman to have been awarded both the Africa Star and the Croix de Guerre, alongside the other medals for her service across all four fronts of WWII, as recounted in her remarkable memoir Train to Nowhere. In this revealing biography, Penny Perrick brings Anita to life: her complicated early years, her love for her children, her passion for Ireland, her career as a writer, and the ongoing family drama about Castle Leslie. Telling Tales is a scintillating and poignant account of this flamboyant woman.
THE BUTCHERS DAUGHTER by Victoria Glendenning
It is 1535 and Agnes Peppin, daughter of a West-country butcher, leaves her family home in disgrace to live out the rest of her life cloistered behind the walls of the Shaftesbury Abbey. Blessed with a sharp mind, she quickly rises through the ranks of the sisterhood to become the Abbess’s assistant. While Agnes grapples with the complex rules and hierarchies of her new world, King Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England. Religious houses are being formally subjugated, monasteries dissolved, and the great Abbey is no exception to the purge. With her place of refuge razed and the sisterhood disbanded, she is free at last to be the master of her own fate. But freedom comes at a price as Agnes descends into a world she knows little about, using her wits and testing her moral convictions against her need to survive by any means necessary…
THERE THERE by Tommy Orange
Jacquie Red Feather and her sister Opal grew up together, relying on each other during their unsettled childhood. As adults they were driven apart, but Jacquie is newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. That’s why she is there.
Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death. Edwin is looking for his true father. Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are connected by bonds they may not yet understand. All of them are there for the cultural celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powwow with darker intentions.
WTF; A TIMES BEST SELLER by Robert Peston
As with his previous bestsellers, WHO RUNS BRITAIN? and HOW DO WE FIX THIS MESS?, in Robert Peston’s WTF? he draws on his years of experience as a political, economics and business journalist to show us what has gone bad and gives us a manifesto to put at least some of it right. Framed by two letters to his father (who died in early 2016) WTF? is Robert Peston’s highly personal account of what those who have ruled us for years got so badly wrong, and what we need to do to mend the terrible fractures in our society. With characteristic passion and clarity he looks at what must happen to prevent democracy being subverted by technocratic geniuses with the ability to manipulate social media, how and whether it is possible to make a success of leaving the EU, what the lessons should be of the appalling Grenfell Tower tragedy, whether robots can be stopped from taking our work, what can be done to staunch the widening gap between rich and poor, and how to raise living standards for all.
LIFE 3.0: BEING HUMAN IN THE AGE OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE by Max Tegmark
AI is the future – but what will that future look like? Will superhuman intelligence be our slave, or become our god? Taking us to the heart of the latest thinking about AI, Max Tegmark, the MIT professor whose work has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial, separates myths from reality, utopias from dystopias, to explore the next phase of our existence. How can we grow our prosperity through automation, without leaving people lacking income or purpose? How can we ensure that future AI systems do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will AI help life flourish as never before, or will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, and even, perhaps, replace us altogether?
FIRST PERSON by Richard Flanaghan
Young and penniless, Kif Kehlmann, is rung in the middle of the night by notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl proposes a deal: $10,000 for Kehlmann to ghostwrite his memoir in six weeks. Kehlmann accepts but soon begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. Is he ghostwriting a memoir, or is Heidl is rewriting him? As the deadline draws closer everything that is certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: who is Ziggy Heidl – and who is Kif Kehlmann?
RED SKY AT NOON by Simon Montefiore
Imprisoned in the Gulags for a crime he did not commit, Benya Golden joins a penal battalion made up of Cossacks and convicts to fight the Nazis. He enrols in the Russian cavalry, and on a hot summer day in July 1942, he and his band of brothers are sent on a desperate mission behind enemy lines. Switching between Benya’s war in the grasslands of Southern Russia, and Stalin’s plans in the Kremlin, between Benya’s intense affair with an Italian nurse and a romance between Stalin’s daughter and a journalist also on the Eastern Front, this is a sweeping story of passion, bravery and human survival where personal betrayal is a constant companion, and death just a heartbeat away.
THE SINGLES GAME by Lauren Weisberger
Sweeping from Wimbledon to the Caribbean, from LA to mega yachts in the Med, The Singles Game is a brilliantly entertaining romp through a world where the stakes are high – and no-one plays by the rules. When Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Silver makes a pact with the devil, infamously brutal tennis coach Todd Feltner, she finds herself catapulted into a world of stylists, private parties and secret dates with Hollywood royalty. Under Todd it’s no more good-girl attitude: he wants warrior princess Charlie all the way. After all, no-one ever won by being nice. Celebrity mags and gossip blogs go wild for Charlie, chasing scandal as she jets around the globe. But as the warrior princess’s star rises, both on and off the court, it comes at a high price. Is the real Charlie Silver still inside?
THE IBERIAN FLAMES by Julian Stockwin
1808. With the Peninsula in turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte signs a treaty to dismember Portugal and put his brother, Joseph, on the throne of Spain. Meanwhile, Nicholas Renzi, the Lord Farndon, undertakes a deadly mission to stir up partisan unrest to disrupt this Napoleonic alliance with Spain. Thrust into the crucible of the uprising, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is dismayed to come up against an old foe from his past – now his superior and commander – who is determined to break him. Kydd will soon face the greatest decision of his professional career. Bonaparte, incensed by the reverses suffered to his honour, gathers together a crushing force and marches at speed into Spain. After several bloody encounters the greatly outnumbered British expedition have no option other than make a fighting retreat to the coast. Only the Navy can save them.
THE SUMMER OF IMPOSSIBLE THINGS by Rowan Coleman
How far would you go to save the person you love?
Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother’s life.
Even if it means sacrificing her own.
THE MAN I THINK I KNOW by Mike Gayle
Ever since The Incident, James DeWitt has stayed on the safe side. He likes to know what happens next. Danny Allen is not on the safe side. He is more past the point of no return. The past is about to catch up with both of them in a way that which will change their lives forever, unexpectedly. But redemption can come in the most unlikely ways.
OLD BAGGAGE by Lisa Evans
It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade. Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.
BOOKS NEW FOR JUNE 2018
THE CLIFF HOUSE by Amanda Jennings
The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home. If only her life was as perfect as theirs. If only Edie Davenport would be her friend. If only she lived at The Cliff House…Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.
NIGHTFALL BERLIN by Jack Grimwood
For British intelligence officer Major Tom Fox, however, it is business as usual. Ordered to arrange the smooth repatriation of a defector, Fox is smuggled into East Berlin. But it soon becomes clear that there is more to this than an old man wishing to return home to die – a fact cruelly confirmed when Fox’s mission is fatally compromised. Trapped in East Berlin, hunted by an army of Stasi agents and wanted for murder by those on both sides of the Wall, Fox must somehow elude capture and get out alive. But to do so he must discover who sabotaged his mission and why…
WRONG WAY HOME by Isabelle Grey
The same night a local hero saved two people from the burning Marineland resort in Southend, a young woman was raped and murdered minutes from the scene of the fire, the culmination of a series of brutal rapes in the town. The killer was never found. Twenty-five years on, new DNA techniques have blown the cold case open. DI Grace Fisher relishes the prospect of finally catching the culprit, but when the evidence doesn’t point to one clear suspect, she must reconstruct the original investigation. Any suggestion that the Essex force was less than thorough at the time could alienate her colleagues and destroy her chances of reaching the truth. Grace finds her investigation shadowed by a young true-crime podcaster backed by veteran crime reporter Ivo Sweatman. As pressure mounts she cannot afford to be distracted. She knows that a cold-blooded killer is slowly being backed into a corner, and a cornered predator is often the most dangerous of all…
THE END WE START FROM by Megan Hunter
Megan Hunter’s honed and spare prose paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. Though the country is falling apart around them and its people are forced to become refugees, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love. In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as the baby’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.
IF WE WERE VILLAINS by M L Rio
Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago.As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI by Joanne Harris
Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .
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?
CLASH OF EMPIRES by Ben Kane
After sixteen years of bloody war, Hannibal Barca is on the verge of defeat. On the plains of Zama, Felix and his brother Antonius stand in the formidable Roman legions, ready to deliver the decisive blow. Victory will establish Rome as the pre-eminent power in the ancient world. Meanwhile, young senator Flamininus is set on becoming one of the Republic’s greatest military commanders with his eyes on the as-yet-unconquered Macedon and Greece. But in the north of Greece, Philip V of Macedon has his own agenda. He is determined to restore his kingdom to its former glory but needs a strong army to help him do it. Young Demetrios dreams of fighting in the phalanx but is just a poor oarsman. Thirsty, hungry, burnt by the unforgiving Mediterranean sun, dreams are his only sustenance, until a chance encounter changes everything.
WARLIGHT by Michael Odatjee
Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.
GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER by Shoba Rao
An electrifying debut novel – the story of the unbreakable bond between two girls driven apart, and their journeys across continents to find each other again. Poornima and Savitha, born in poverty, have known little kindness in their lives until they meet as teenagers. When an act of devastating cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves behind everything she has ever known to find her friend. Alternating between the girls’ perspectives as they face apparently insurmountable obstacles on their travels through the darkest corners of India’s underworld and across an ocean, Girls Burn Brighter introduces two heroines who refuse to lose the hope that burns within.
ROCK AND ROLL IS LIFE by D J Taylor
You may remember the Helium Kids. Back in their late ’60s and early ’70s heyday they appeared on Top of the Tops on 27 separate occasions, released five Billboard-certified platinum albums, played sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and were nearly, but not quite, as big as the Beatles and the Stones. Three decades later, in the big house on the outskirts of Norwich, Nick Du Pont is looking back on the rollercoaster years he spent as their publicist in a world of licensed excess and lurking tragedy.
OUR KIND OF CRUELTY by Gillian Flynn and Lisa Jewell
Mike and Verity have a special game. The Crave. They play it to prove what they already know: that Verity loves Mike. That she needs Mike. Even though she’s marrying another man. Now Mike knows that the stakes of their private game are rising.
This time, someone has to die…
THE WATERS AND THE WILD by Harrison DeSales
The death of Jessica Burke was easy to explain: a history of depression, a heroin habit, a girl alone in her bathtub. But when her psychoanalyst, Daniel Abend, receives an ominous, handwritten poem, he quickly realizes that this was not just an overdose. As a second and third missive arrive from the same mysterious source, and his daughter abruptly disappears, Daniel finds himself the subject of an elaborate and calculated torment, one that reaches back decades, crosses oceans, and begins with a chance encounter with a beguiling girl in a Paris stairwell.