It’s set to be an exciting year for new books releases.
Here’s your heads-up on must-read new book releases from Woman&Home’s Books Editor Zoe West...
New book releases for 2020
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Released: 21st Jan
There’s a huge buzz around this timely novel. Stephen King, among its many other fans, has declared it ‘extraordinary’, which we can confirm. This is the first novel to explore the experience of attempting to illegally cross the US-Mexico border and it is every bit as emotional and gruelling as you’d expect. Following a mother and son on this journey, expect heart-stopping moments. This is a book everyone should read.
The Foundling by Stacey Halls
Released: 6th Feb
From the bestselling author of The Familiars, comes another beguiling story. Set in Georgian London, Bess Bright returns to a foundling hospital to claim the daughter she’d left there six years before. But, what she discovers will leave her bereft. Exploring families, secrets and the meaning of motherhood – it looks like another hit for one of the biggest debut authors of 2019.
Saving Missy by Beth Morrey
Meet prickly Millicent (Missy). She is 79, and quite honestly, a little lost. Grieving for her husband, a son living in Australia and a daughter she hasn’t spoken to for a year, she finds herself rattling around a big house alone. That is until she meets two very different women, who along with Bobby the adoring dog, help her realise it doesn’t have to be that way. Featuring a cast of flawed but loveable characters, this is a story of friendship and the importance of not giving up on a second chance at life. Believe us when we say, you will want to savour every moment of it.
The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Out: 6th Feb
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm in Norway and the 1620 witch trials, this immersive book continues the current trend for magical reads. When all men are wiped out on the remote island of Vardø the women must fend for themselves – and that they do. Until Absalom Cornet arrives three years later seeing only evil. A breathtaking read.
The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey
It is the beginning of World War 2 when Hetty Cartwright, a young female museum curator and evacuee, arrives at Lockwood Manor with a large part of the Natural History Museum’s collection of mammals. As animals start to disappear, or seemingly move, the novel takes an unsettling turn. Hetty manages to strike up a relationship with Lord Lockwood’s daughter, but when she feels she is being stalked through the dark corridors the book takes on a ghostly and gothic turn. Part love story and part-mystery, this hypnotic tale will keep you emotionally invested right to the end.
This Lovely City by Louise Hare
Released: 12th March
Centred around the Windrush generation in post-war London, this thought-provoking and important novel follows Laurie – musician by night and postman by day. When Laurie makes a terrible discovery on his morning round, fingers of blame are pointed. It seems not everyone is as welcome in London as it first seems. Taking in the music halls of Soho, this atmospheric novel is a triumphant debut.
The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel
Released: 5th March
Regarded by many as the queen of historical fiction, it is no wonder that Mantel’s next novel is eagerly awaited. Following her prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, this is the third and final book in the trilogy. Eight years in the making, this completes the story of Thomas Cromwell from self-made man to an incredibly influential figure. Exquisitely written, it’s another sweeping historical extravaganza.
Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks
Sometimes a book comes along that really does makes you think, and this story of two individuals who end up at an anger management class together does just that. Emily (who is on self-destruct) and Jake (who is hoping to save his marriage and relationship with son, Alfie) both think they shouldn’t be there. But when Alfie strikes up a friendship with Emily, everything changes. In this clever and engaging read that shows easily how people, and children can be misunderstood, weaves a very important message that every child is individual – and that’s a good thing. Heartbreaking and hopeful, this book is a keeper.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
It’s the old-age question, but Manhattan lawyer, Dannie Kohan knows exactly where she’ll be in five years - because she has seen it. On the day she nails an important job interview and gets engaged to the perfect man she falls asleep and has an extraordinary vision of where she’ll be on December 15th 2025. And it’s in a very different apartment with a very different man – who she meets four and a half years later standing on the corner of a street. All we can say is expect the unexpected, anticipate more than a few tears and get ready to call your closest friends.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
In her first historical novel, Maggie O’Farrell outdoes herself with this compelling, atmospheric and heartbreaking story of Hamnet; son of William Shakespeare. It is 1596 when a girl takes to her bed with a fever, while her twin brother, Hamnet takes off in search of help. Their father is working in London and Agnes (Anne) Hathaway is over a mile away tending to her garden. Why is nobody home? What follows is a truly epic tale of grief and a marriage pushed to the edge over the loss of a beloved child. In this tender novel about the boy who inspired one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, we also re-discover Agnes Hathaway – another character time has almost forgotten.
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
Released: 2nd April
Clare Pooley, author of the successful The Sober Diaries, has written her first novel. It centres on six strangers, none of whom are as they appear. In his bid to be authentic, eccentric artist Julian Jessop shares his truth in a green notebook and leaves it for someone to find. Those who discover it also share their truths, connecting a quirky cast of characters you can’t help but root for.
Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughn
Released: 2nd April
On the back of her runaway success, Anatomy Of A Scandal, comes Vaughan’s highly anticipated second novel following two lifelong friends. When Jess arrives at a hospital where Liz works as a doctor, her story doesn’t add up and Liz soon finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her friend, and herself. Believable characters make this psychological thriller utterly compelling.
The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
It’s been six months since Frank last spoke to his wife, and now Maggie is critically ill in hospital. When Frank goes to visit her, we are drawn into a story of heartbreak, untold truths and deep-buried emotions behind a 40-year marriage that has led to this moment. Beautifully written in Greaves’ unique voice, we slowly begin to learn what bought them to this point and how the complexities of life play out in a marriage - and indeed family. Poignant, heart-breaking and insightful, it’s a skilled debut.
What’s Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott
When Satō hires Kaitarō to seduce his wife, Rina, so he can gain the advantage in divorce proceedings, he assumes is will be a quick and easy case, but it turns out Rina isn’t quite the simple woman he thought she was. Inspired by a real life situation, this spellbinding story set against the marriage break-up industry in Japan has devastating consequences you almost forget about, so immersed are you in the character’s lives. Told from alternating points of view, including Rina’s daughter who is in search of the truth, it’s an exquisitely crafted masterpiece you’ll be pressing into the hands of others.
Q by Christina Dalcher
If you already think we may be putting too much pressure on our children to perform, you may find this dystopian novel disturbing – albeit brilliant! In a future world where every child’s potential is regularly determined by a standardised measurement: their quotient (Q), those children who aren’t quite performing are pushed further and further to the edges of society. And when Dr Elena Fairchild’s daughter doesn’t quite measure up and is sent away on a ‘yellow’ school bus, Elena goes in search of answers. This shocking and powerful novel will frustrate you, astound you and ultimately move you – because actually, it’s not that unbelievable…
When The Lights Go Out by Carys Bray
Emma and her husband Chris have very different ways of coping with their belief that the world is going to end in a novel that delicately explores the impact climate change can have on a person’s mental health – and a marriage. While Emma prepares for Christmas, Chris frets about the collapse of civilisation. He’s turned off the heating and filled the garage with rice and beans. But, in preparing for disaster, will he actually bring it about? In exploring this timely subject Carys Bray not only shines a light on climate anxiety, but also takes a sensitive look at a marriage that may also be unravelling.
Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth
Released: 28th May
One for the summer - and not just because of the title, this debut novel is bound to create a buzz. It begins with 15-year old Lucy disappearing at the beginning of a long, hot summer, but it soon becomes about three women – one of whom is Lily’s teacher. A thought-provoking novel that explores relationships, early motherhood, power and betrayal.
The Curator by M. W. Craven
Released 4th June
It’s Christmas, and though for many that may be a time for loving and giving, there’s a sadistic serial killer who has other things on his mind. As he begins to leave body parts across Cumbria, The National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw face a case that is as disturbing as it is difficult to unravel.
Some of the victims were anaesthetised, some were subject to excruciating pain and all of them took the same two weeks off three years prior to their deaths. A revelation comes to light that somewhere out there is a man known only as the curator and he is playing a very dangerous game… Jaw-droppingly shocking and intense, there’s no escaping this novel’s tense narrative and tightly woven mystery.
The Sight Of You by Holly Miller
Would you choose love if you knew how it would end? That’s the big question in this clever, poignant and very special book. Joel has sworn off falling in love, but when he meets Callie he feels he deserves a second chance. Joel has a secret though; he dreams about the people he loves, which then come true. When he dreams about Callie he has a very big decision to make. This life-affirming novel twists and turns its way through their romance, acknowledging the bravery it takes to love. It’s a unique book you’ll want to hug and not let go.
Cut To the Bone by Roz Watkins
Released 25th June
Social media star, Violet Armstrong, has gone missing on one of the hottest days of the year, and there are many who are delighted. But, DCI Meg Dalton isn’t one of them. She is convinced something is very wrong in this isolated rural community as the blood and hair of a young woman are found at the local abbatoir.
Dalton holds out hope Violet is alive, but exactly what do local superstitions and old unexplained deaths have to do with it? And if she can get to the bottom of these local mysteries, will she be able to find the missing teenager? Hard-hitting and perfectly paced, this really captures a sense of a community bound by dark secrets.
The New Girl by Harriet Walker
Released 9th July
As the fashion editor at glamorous women’s magazine, Haute, Margot Jones has the job of most women’s dreams - and all the trappings that go with it.
But, when Margot goes on maternity leave, things start to unravel. As her lifelong friend, Winnie, loses her newborn boy - dashing their dreams of bringing up their babies together - and her maternity cover, Maggie seems to like covering her job a little too much, she is sent into a spiral of suspicion and paranoia.
A harsh look at the deep insecurities of women in an intriguing debut from The Times fashion editor.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
Released 23rd July
An unlikely friendship forms when Enid Pretty accompanies Margery Benson on a trip to New Caledonia in search of a rare golden beetle that may or may not exist. Although Enid may not be the companion Margery had in mind for this trip, as they embark on this tumultuous journey of self-discovery they may just realise they’re exactly what each other needs.
A beautiful and tender adventure from the much-loved author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
Us Three by Ruth Jones
Released 3rd September
In this moving and uplifting novel from the Gavin & Stacey writer we are transported back to the 70s where we meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school, they swore an oath on a curly wurly wrapper that they’d always be there for each other.
But, of course, life gets in the way and after the trip of a lifetime an unexpected turn of events changes everything. As the girl’s lives take very different paths, can they ever find their way back to each other?
An epic tale that feels so real, Ruth Jones guides us deftly through the decades as the friends work their way through tragedy, love, careers and of course, their relationships with each other – and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve made three new friends.