New book releases June 2018

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

Once there was a mermaid trapped in the net of a fisherman. She evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore and for many years they lived as husband and wife. Stories of this strange and unusual woman travelled, until they reached the ears of a man whose business was in selling the strange and unusual. His name was P.T. Barnum, and he’d been looking for a mermaid.

Last year I read Christina Henry’s Lost Boy and fell in love with her thrilling, atmospheric style of writing. Her newest release is a historical fairy tale based on the ‘real’ Fiji Mermaid of Barnum’s American Museum.

Release date: 19th June

The Poison Bed by E.C. Fremantle

In the autumn of 1615, scandal rocks the Jacobean court when a celebrated couple are imprisoned on suspicion of murder. Some believe she is innocent; others think her insane. He claims no knowledge of the murder. The king suspects them both, though it is his secret at stake.

This new novel by historical fiction author E.C. Fremantle has been described as ‘a Jacobean Gone Girl’ – what more do you need to know?

Release date: 14th June

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny.

This portrait of life inside a women’s prison sounds both fascinating and funny, and is sure to appeal to fans of Orange is the New Black.

Release date: 7th June

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Two years after people’s shadows start disappearing – and with them, their memories – Ory and his wife Max have escaped by hiding deep in the woods. They have settled into their new reality, until Max loses her shadow. Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up.

This science fiction book from debut author Peng Shepherd has been called ‘exciting, imaginative, unique and beautiful’ by bestselling author Darin Strauss.

Release date: 28th June

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

Louise is struggling to survive in New York. Juggling a series of poorly paid jobs, she dreams of being a writer. And then one day she meets Lavinia. Lavinia invites Louise into her charmed circle, takes her to the opera, shares her clothes, her drugs, her Uber account. Louise knows this can’t last forever, but how far is she prepared to go to have this life?

This kind of idea has been done a thousand times before by different authors with varying degrees of success, but Social Creature has been described as ‘a Ripley story for the Instagram age’ and I just can’t resist the sound of that.

Release date: 14th June

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The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

When Harriet Westaway receives a letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. There’s just one problem – her real grandparents died more than 20 years ago. But she knows the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. Once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back.

This new psychological thriller from the author of The Lying Game and The Woman in Cabin 10 sounds deliciously dark and creepy.

Release date: 28th June

Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon and agent provocateur in the LA art scene. Her ground-breaking new exhibition is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women. As the city’s richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum’s opening night, all the staff hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution’s flailing finances. Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.

This intriguing novel asks important questions about art and representation, and how society objectifies and victimises women.

Release date: 5th June

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life – wife of a respected judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. A secret Lydia’s son, Laurence, is about to discover.

From the bestselling author of Unravelling Oliver, this novel about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed sounds like the perfect read to get caught up in this summer.

Release date: 12th June

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

1945. London is still reeling from the Blitz. 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 more convinced as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends. But are they really what and who they claim to be?

From the author of The English Patient comes this thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire, set against the backdrop of World War II.

Release date: 7th June

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

The President is missing. The world is in shock. But the reason he’s missing is much worse than anyone can imagine.

This unusual new book is said to contain details only a President could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver. Expect to see it being read on beaches all over the world.

Release date: 4th June

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Harrowing novel explores slavery in America

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Liberty was reserved for other people, for the citizens of the City of Pennsylvania bustling a thousand miles to the north. Since the night she was kidnapped she had been appraised and reappraised, each day waking upon the pan of a new scale. Know your value and you know your place in the order.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

I’m aware I’m a little late in reading The Underground Railroad. In 2016, it was the book on everyone’s lips. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. So to say that my expectations were quite high is an understatement.

It starts off very well, plunging you into the hellish world of the plantation on which Cora lives and works and where violence and rape are a matter of everyday life. The portrayal of violence is truly shocking, but their power lies in the fact that these kinds of things did happen in real life rather than the fact that we care for any of the characters. Each secondary character is no more than a brief sketch, so even though we wince at their pain, we’re not as emotionally invested in their journey as we should be.

Cora starts off with great potential; an incident involving her wielding a hatchet in the early chapters bodes well for her as a character. But after her and Caesar’s escape I still didn’t know enough about her to really care about her as a character. Caesar has nothing but his name to make him memorable; we know so little about him as a person that it hardly matters when he disappears from the narrative.

We are further put at a distance to the characters by the flitting between different characters’ points of view and the overly formal style of writing. Some sentences I had read over two or three times, they were so dense with language.

In Whitehead’s novel, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Some reviewers have complained that this tipping over of the book into fantasy territory takes away from the true experience of slaves. But I personally enjoyed Whitehead’s clever metaphor for the darkness of the journey through America for people of colour. After all, this is fiction, not a history lesson.

I enjoyed the first three-quarters of this book, but towards the end Cora’s journey began to feel very repetitive. She travels somewhere new, things seem okay for a while, something terrible happens, and she is forced to flee again. By the end I was glad to finish the book as I was starting to become bored.

Despite its faults, The Underground Railroad is a book worth reading if only for its astonishing, harrowing portrayal of a horrendous time in American history, and the shocking parallels with the world today.

New book releases May 2018

The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris

Synaesthesia paints the sounds of Jasper’s world in a kaleidoscope of colours that no one else can see. But on Friday, he discovered a new colour – the colour of murder. He’s sure something has happened to his neighbour, Bee Larkham, but no one else seems to be taking it as seriously as they should be.

This debut novel examines themes of isolation, bravery and morality, and has already been touted as one of the best books of summer 2018.

Release date: 3rd May

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse

Carcassonne, 1562. Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop, containing the words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE. Before Minou can decipher the message, a chance encounter with a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon, changes her destiny forever.

Mosse returns to the Languedoc setting of her bestselling trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre, Citadel) with this first book in a new series. Promising adventure, conspiracies and betrayal, it sounds like the perfect beach read.

Release date: 3rd May

The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve

Leo Stanhope is an avid chess player, assistant to a London coroner, in love with Maria, and hiding a very big secret. For Leo was born Charlotte, the daughter of a reverend. He fled his family home at 15 and has been living as a man ever since. But when Maria is found dead, Leo is accused of her murder.

This is the first in a new historical series set in Victorian London and has been described as ‘wonderfully atmospheric’.

Release date: 3rd May

Snap by Belinda Bauer

On a stifling summer’s day, 11-year-old Jack is left in charge of his two sisters in a broken down car while his mother goes to get help. But she doesn’t come back. Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, and of finding the truth about what happened to his mother.

As C.L. Taylor says, ‘no one writes crime novels like Belinda Bauer’, and her latest offering promises to be a gripping, terrifying thriller.

Release date: 17th May

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molley

They call themselves the May Mothers – a group of new mums whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together for some much-needed adult time. When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighbourhood bar, they are looking for a fun break from their daily routine. But something goes wrong, and one of the babies is taken from his crib.

This is another of the most anticipated books of the summer and there is already a film in the works starring Kerry Washington.

Release date: 1st May

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The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them.

This literary debut has been compared to Hot Milk and The Girls, and has been called ‘eerie, electric, beautiful’ by author Daisy Johnson.

Release date: 24th May

The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

The king’s three daughters know the only chance of resurrection for the struggling nation of Innis Lear is to crown a new sovereign. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align. Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war.

Even in 2018 it’s still rare to find a fantasy novel that centres on female characters, so I have high hopes for this epic, blood-soaked debut.

Release date: 17th May

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

War orphan Fang Runin grew up with poppy. Her adopted family smuggles it, making a living on the misfortune of those addicted to its smoke. But when Rin’s parents force her into an arranged marriage, Rin refuses to accept her fate and fights her way to a prestigious military academy.

This powerful epic fantasy novel has its roots in the 20th century history of China, and Booknest has raised expectations by calling it ‘one of the best grimdark/military fantasy debuts of all time’.

Release date: 3rd May

The Outsider by Stephen King

When an 11-year-old boy is found murdered in a town park, reliable eyewitnesses point to the town’s popular Little League coach, Terry Maitland, as the culprit. DNA evidence confirms the crime was committed by this well-loved family man. But Maitland has an air-tight alibi. A man cannot be in two places at the same time. Can he?

Stephen King’s latest offering has been called ‘a compelling and chilling suspense novel’ – just what King does best.

Release date: 22nd May

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

This sequel to Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister sees Nona Grey struggling with the choice of which path to take: the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor.

Although the first in this fantasy series, Red Sister, had its flaws, I’m still looking forward to the sequel to see where Nona’s path takes her next.

Release date: 17th May

Gritty epic fantasy lacks depth and detail

Blackwing by Ed McDonald

‘Somebody warned them that we were coming. The sympathisers left nothing behind but an empty apartment and a few volumes of illegal verse. A half-eaten meal, ransacked drawers. They’d scrambled together what little they could carry and fled east into the Misery. Back when I wore the uniform the marshal told me only three kinds of people willingly enter the Misery: the desperate, the stupid and the greedy.’

The republic faces annihilation. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel, and far across the wasteland known as the Misery a vast army is on the move.

I was sucked into the world of this story from the first page, but unfortunately, after the thrilling opening this book started to let me down. The more I read, the more bored I became and the less concerned I felt about what was going to happen.

This is a gritty epic fantasy that starts off well. There’s a lot of jargon thrown at you in the first couple of pages but the action is so exciting that it doesn’t matter at the time. But this world doesn’t have enough depth and the writing is strangely lacking in detail for a fantasy novel, so I had trouble visualising the world.

There are plenty of interesting concepts in this book; I particularly liked the Spinners, people who can spin energy from moonlight and use it to unleash powerful blasts of magic, and the Misery, a desert wasteland inhabited by horrible creatures warped by magic. But all the clever concepts in the world won’t save a book if you don’t care about the characters, and that was my main problem with Blackwing.

Our protagonist is Ryhalt Galharrow: fighter, alcoholic and cliché. I understand what McDonald was trying to do and, don’t get me wrong, I love a story with an antihero protagonist. But Galharrow is an awful person. He goes on about how much he hates fat people and judges many of the other characters based on their appearance. McDonald seems to think that having a character swagger around is enough to make up for an absence of personality.

Even if you didn’t know the name of the author of this book, you would still be able to tell it was written by a man, because the female characters are walking mouthpieces saying whatever the author wants them to say, rather than acting like real people. This is particularly true of Ezabeth, the ‘mysterious noblewoman’ mentioned in the blurb, who is a plot device rather than a character (she could have been replaced by a powerful magical object and it wouldn’t have made much difference). This is a prevalent problem in fantasy; why is it some authors can conjure fantastical worlds that stretch the boundaries of imagination, but they can’t imagine that women are people too?

My other main problem is the writing. McDonald writes with very strange pacing, so events that should have been major moments were rushed over in a few sentences. Subplots were left hanging or else resolved without any explanation. The style also swung wildly between melodrama (particularly in the romance scenes) and gritty realism. As a reader it was hard to know where I stood.

From all the reviews I’ve read I seem to be in the minority here. Unfortunately, this is a book that fails to live up to the hype. It’s the first in a new trilogy, but I won’t be reading the rest in the series.

New book releases for April 2018

Circe by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

This is the highly anticipated novel from the Orange Prize-winning author of the brilliant novel The Song of Achilles, and is inspired by Homer’s Odyssey.

Release date: 19th April

Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

When a drug bust turns into a bloodbath it’s up to Inspector Macbeth and his team to clean up the mess. He’s rewarded for his success with power, money and respect. But, plagued by hallucinations and paranoia, Macbeth starts to unravel.

This book is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Series, which sees Shakespeare’s works told by bestselling novelists of today. Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play, so I’m looking forward to reading this new interpretation.

Release date: 5th April

Just Before I Died by S.K. Tremayne

Kath lives with her husband Adam and daughter Lyla in a desolate stone longhouse deep in Dartmoor National Park. One day Kath wakes up from a coma, with a vague memory of a near-fatal car accident. She hugs her daughter and husband close. Then Kath learns that the car crash wasn’t an accident.

This is the new release from the author of Sunday Times bestseller The Ice Twins, a fantastic psychological thriller, and promises the same tense exploration of family dynamics.

Release date: 5th April

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Greer is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at 63, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades. Astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of her directionless sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life.

This new release has been called ‘the perfect feminist blockbuster for our times’ by Kirkus Reviews and examines themes of friendship, ambition and power.

Release date: 3rd April

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer

The period from 1660 to 1700 is one of most exciting times in history. It is the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London; bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II; Christopher Wren in architecture, Henry Purcell in music and Isaac Newton in science. The civil wars are over and a magnificent new era has begun. But what would it really be like to live in Restoration Britain?

I’ve already read Ian Mortimer’s time traveller’s guides to Elizabethan England and Medieval England, and marvelled at the way he brings the past to life, so I’m very much looking forward to the next in this series.

Release date: 6th April

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Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam

When Bea Hanlon follows her preacher husband Max to a remote island in the Pacific, she soon sees that their mission will bring anything but salvation. For Advent Island is a place beyond the reaches of even her most fitful imaginings. Bea gradually adapts to life on the island, but the arrival of an unexpected guest threatens their already tentative peace.

Named a Stylist must-read book of 2018, this story of religious mania set on a remote island promises to be both ‘darkly humorous and atmospheric’ (Book Riot).

Release date: 5th April

I Still Dream by James Smythe

17-year-old Laura Bow has invented a rudimentary artificial intelligence, and named it Organon. At first it’s intended to be a surrogate best friend, but as she grows older, Organon grows with her. As the world becomes a very different place, and technology changes the way we live, love and die, Laura is forced to decide whether to share her creation with the world.

This novel has been called ‘the best fictional treatment of the possibilities and horrors of artificial intelligence that I’ve read’ by the Guardian, and sounds like it would be perfect for fans of Black Mirror.

Release date: 21st April

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

Veronica’s grasp on the world is slipping. Her latest round of fertility treatments not only failed but left her on edge and unbalanced. And her three-year-old daughter has a new imaginary friend, who seems much more devilish than playful. So when Veronica’s husband fails to return home from a business trip, what’s left of her stability begins to crumble.

This sinister psychological suspense novel follows a young mother’s quest to find her missing husband, and the dangerous path she will walk to uncover the truth.

Release date: 1st April

Never Greener by Ruth Jones

When Kate was 22, she had a passionate affair with a married man, Callum, which ended in heartbreak. 17 years later, life has moved on. Kate has a successful career, a husband and a baby daughter. Callum is also happily married. But then Kate meets Callum again. And they are faced with a choice: to walk away, or risk finding out what might have been.

The debut novel from Gavin & Stacey actress and writer Ruth Jones examines second chances, messy relationships and why we make the mistakes we do.

Release date: 5th April

The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones, and Other Victorian Scandals by Michelle Morgan

A grisly book dedicated to the crimes, perversions and outrages of Victorian England, covering high profile offences – such as the murder of actor William Terriss, whose stabbing at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre in 1897 filled the front pages for weeks – as well as lesser-known transgressions that scandalised the Victorian era.

It seems we can’t get enough of Victorian crime, and this latest offering in the genre promises to examine the gruesome crimes that both shocked and delighted the Victorians.

Release date: 12th April

New book releases March 2018

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Among the bustling markets of 18th century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Nahri knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes… be careful what you wish for.

This debut fantasy novel has been called ‘stunning and complex and consuming and fantastic’ by bestselling author Sabaa Tahir, and is easily one of the most anticipated fantasy novels of 2018.

Release date: 8th March

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

After the death of her mother, Poornima is left to care for her siblings until her father can find her a suitable marriage match. So when Savitha enters their household, Poornima is intrigued by this joyful, independent-minded girl. But when a devastating act of cruelty drives Savitha away, Poornima leaves everything behind to find her friend.

This story of ambition and the strength of female friendship explores the darkest corners of India’s underworld and takes the reader on a harrowing cross-continental journey.

Release date: 6th March

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

Abortion is once again illegal in America, in vitro fertilisation is banned, and the Personhead Amendment grants rights of life, liberty and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers.

This book has been highly hyped and, with its strong feminist slant, could be the next The Handmaid’s Tale.

Release date: 8th March

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

In 1969 the four Gold children sneak into a grimy building in New York’s Lower East Side to visit a travelling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the date they will die. Over the years that follow, the siblings must choose how to live with the prophecies given to them that day.

Karen Joy Fowler (author of the fantastic We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves) has said ‘The Immortalists is about as good as it gets’ – what more incentive do you need to pick up this book?

Release date: 8th March

The Two Houses by Fran Cooper

Recovering from a breakdown, Jay and her husband Simon move to Two Houses in the north of England: a crumbling property whose central rooms were supposedly so haunted that a previous owner had them cut out from the building entirely. But Jay and Simon soon discover it’s not only the Two Houses that seems to be haunted by an obscure past.

Following the hugely successful novel These Dividing Walls, Cooper’s next offering is all about buried secrets and the people who hide them.

Release date: 22nd March

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Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh

One year ago, Caroline chose to end her life in a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since. Now with a baby of her own, Anna starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths, but in doing so may be putting her own future at risk.

I absolutely loved Mackintosh’s last novel, I See You, and I can’t wait to read her next twisty-turny psychological thriller.

Release date: 8th March

Neighbourly by Ellie Monago

Kat and Doug have settled down in the perfect community of Aurora Village with their infant daughter. But everything changes overnight when Kat finds a scrawled note outside their front door: That wasn’t very neighbourly of you. As increasingly sinister notes arrive, each one stabs deeper into the heart of Kat’s insecurities.

This suspenseful thriller plays on the question of how well you ever really know your neighbours, and what happens when things really are too good to be true.

Release date: 1st March

The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

In a tiny village in 15th century Somerset, a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday. An explanation must be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim?

I love books set in medieval times, especially when they have an element of mystery to them, and this one apparently has an ‘unforgettable’ narrator.

Release date: 1st March

The Parentations by Kate Mayfield

In 18th century London, the lives of sisters Constance and Verity become entwined with the nearby Fowler household, charged with providing a safe place for a mysterious baby from far away. In 2015, the lives of sisters Constance and Verity are consumed by the wait for this boy, who may or may not be dead.

This intriguing novel about the dark side of immortality has been described as ‘epic, gothic, magic’ by Jane Harris.

Release date: 29th March

Love After Love by Alex Hourston

She is the centre around whom many lives turn. Mother. Therapist. Daughter. Sister. Wife. But Nancy has a new role: lover. Everybody can be happy, Nancy believes, so long as they can be kept apart. But when these lives start to overlap, collision becomes inevitable.

This psychological thriller examines the bonds between parents and children, and the emotional costs of adultery.

Release date: 1st March

New book releases February 2018

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Five colleagues set out on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, but only four return. And each tells a slightly different story about what happened. Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker, and in his investigation he will discover a tangled web of friendship, suspicion and betrayal.

Harper’s debut, The Dry, was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel.

Release date: 8th February

The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Out of the shadows of Victorian London’s slums comes Hester White, a young woman who is desperate to escape poverty. When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent Rebekah Brock. But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life.

This debut novel has already received lots of praise and sounds just like the kind of dark historical novels I love.

Release date: 1st February

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

It is 1917, and while war rages across Europe, in the heart of London there is a place of hope and enchantment. The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own.

Billed for fans of The Miniaturist and The Night Circus, this novel promises to be both dark and enchanting.

Release date: 8th February

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

It is meant to be a celebration but ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to the house for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again.

We’ve all seen this concept done before with varying degrees of success, but this book has been described as ‘Agatha Christie on time-bending substances’ (Eva Dolan), so it’s definitely grabbed my attention.

Release date: 8th February

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

Maybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up there, something evil. Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her.

I love ghost stories, and this one sounds both atmospheric and terrifying – the perfect combination.

Release date: 8th February

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The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

Six university students from Oxford travelled to France for what was supposed to be an idyllic week together. It was perfect, until they met Severine, the girl next door. For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence. And after an altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same.

It’s been a long time since I read a thriller that really blew my socks off, so here’s hoping this debut – described as ‘addictive’ and ‘gripping’ – will be the one to do just that.

Release date: 20th February

The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

In 1627 Barbary pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted some 400 of its people. Among the captives sold into slavery in Algiers were the island pastor, his wife and their three children. Although the raid itself is well-documented, little is known about what happened to the women and children afterwards.

In this reimagining of true events, Magnusson gives voice to women in a time in which they were forced into silence.

Release date: 8th February

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Kathryn Harkup

Frankenstein has become an indelible part of popular culture. But how did a teenager with no formal education write such an extraordinary novel? Making the Monster explores the scientific background behind Shelley’s book, charting her possible influences.

I love Frankenstein, both the novel and the various permutations it has taken in popular culture, and 2018 marks 200 years since Frankenstein was first published.

Release date: 8th February

Rise Up Women! The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes by Diane Atkinson

Between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the First World War, the campaign for women’s suffrage was fought with great flair and imagination in the public arena. Led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, the suffragettes and their actions would come to define protest movements for generations to come.

2018 marks 100 years since (some) women were allowed to vote in the UK, so you can expect plenty of books, like this one, exploring how suffragettes brought about the change – and also how far we still have to go before equal rights.

Release date: 8th February

The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

In 1928, an expedition was launched to Antarctica, the planet’s final frontier. Everyone wanted in on the adventure. The night before the expedition’s flagship set off, New York high schooler Billy Gawronski jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard.

This intriguing non-fiction story of a scrappy New York teenager who sneaks aboard a ship bound for Antarctica sounds like it will be full of adventure and historical intrigue.

Release date: 22nd February