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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.
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 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.