Welcome to my first book haul of 2019! I started this year the same way I ended last year, with a huge haul, and just like December’s haul, I’m splitting this one over two posts. So, for the first time this year, here’s a look at the newest additions to my shelves…
Annelies by David Gillham (Fig Tree)
A breathtaking new novel that asks the question: what if Anne Frank survived the Holocaust?
It is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghost of her sister, Margot, and the atrocities they experienced. Her beloved diary is gone, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now.
As Anne struggles to build a new life for herself, she grapples with overwhelming grief, heartbreak, and ultimately forgiveness. In this masterful story of trauma and redemption, David Gillham explores with breath-taking empathy the woman – and the writer – Anne Frank might have become.
Elsey Come Home by Susan Conley (Knopf)
When Elsey’s husband, Lukas, hands her a brochure for a weeklong mountain retreat, she knows he is really giving her an ultimatum: Go, or we’re done. Once a successful painter, Elsey set down roots in China after falling passionately for Lukas, the tall, Danish MC at a warehouse rave in downtown Beijing. Now, with two young daughters and unable to find a balance between her identities as painter, mother, and, especially, wife, Elsey fills her days worrying, drinking, and descending into desperate unhappiness. So, brochure in hand, she agrees to go and confront the ghosts of her past.
There, she meets a group of men and women who will forever alter the way she understands herself: from Tasmin, another (much richer) expat, to Hunter, a young man whose courage endangers them all, and, most important, Mei–wife of one of China’s most famous artists and a renowned painter herself–with whom Elsey quickly forges a fierce friendship and whose candidness about her pain helps Elsey understand her own. But Elsey must risk tearing herself and Lukas further apart when she decides she must return to her childhood home–the center of her deepest pain–before she can find her way back to him. Written in a voice at once wry, sensual, blunt, and hypnotic, Elsey Come Home is a modern odyssey and a quietly dynamic portrait of contemporary womanhood.
Old Newgate Road by Keith Scribner (Knopf)
Old Newgate Road runs through the tobacco fields of northern Connecticut that once drove the local economy. It’s where Cole Callahan spent his youth, in a historic white colonial that his family was devoted to restoring–painstakingly, relentlessly, pointlessly. But the famous claim that you can’t go home again falls far short in this instance. Cole has not come back to this house, to this street, in thirty years–not since he was a teenager, when one night his father murdered his mother in a fit of rage. Now, however, he finally dares to risk it, ostensibly to collect precious material for his construction business on the west coast, and is shocked to discover his elderly father, freed from prison, living alone in their old home, and succumbing to dementia. Compelled by a sense of responsibility to a man he hates, and confronted in middle age by everything he’d left unfinished when he fled this place in his aborted childhood, he finds that the time for a reckoning has at last come.
Matters grow even more complicated when his estranged wife calls to say their ultra-progressive, rabble-rousing son has run up against the law and been expelled from high school. And so Cole summons Daniel to East Granby to work in the tobacco fields–his own job growing up–and soon their lives are enmeshed with the family legacy, and with Cole’s boyhood sweetheart as well as his nemesis. What unfolds over this summer surprises and challenges them all, as they contend with the sinister history they share and desperately try to invent a future that isn’t doomed by it.
Moving, insightful, and suspenseful, Old Newgate Road is a masterful portrait of a haunted family and successive generations of men struggling against all odds and often violent impulses to truly know one another and their loved ones, and to somehow come to terms with themselves.
Asylum by Marcus Low (Legend Press)
Barry James is detained in a quarantine facility in the blistering heat of the Great Karoo. Here he exists in two worlds: the unforgiving reality of his incarceration and the lyrical landscapes of his dreams. He has cut all ties with his previous life, his health is failing, and he has given up all hope. All he has to cling to are the meanderings of his restless mind, the daily round of pills and the journals he reluctantly keeps as testimony to a life once lived.
And then there’s an opportunity to escape.
Skin by Liam Brown (Legend Press)
A strange virus is sweeping the globe. Humans have become allergic to one another. Simply standing next to somebody could be a death sentence. A kiss could be fatal.
Angela is a woman trying to get by in this bewildering new world. Though she still lives with her husband and children, they lead separate lives. Confined to their rooms, they communicate via their computers and phones. In some ways, very little has changed.
That is, until she spots a mysterious stranger walking through town without even a face mask for protection. A man, it seems, immune to this disease. A man unlike anyone else she knows. A man it might just be safe to touch…
The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney (HarperCollins)
A city torn apart.
It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.
A detective with everything to prove.
Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.
A killer who hunts in the shadows.
Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…
Schoolgirl Missing by Sue Fontin (HarperCollins)
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?
When fourteen-year-old Poppy vanishes on a family boating trip, suspicion soon turns close to home – to the two people who should do everything to keep her safe, her parents, Kit and Neve.
Neve has a secret. Kit is lying.
Everyone is watching.
Who do you believe?
They Called Me Wyatt by Natasha Tynes (from the author)
When Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt’s parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.
Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar’s death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can’t explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death. Will Siwar get justice after all?
Marked for Death by Tony Kent (Elliot & Thompson)
When London’s legal establishment is shaken to its foundation by the grisly crucifixion of a retired Lord Chief Justice, Detective Chief Inspector Joelle Levy is tasked with finding his killer. With fifty years of potential enemies to choose from, only the identical murder of former solicitor Adam Blunt offers a ray of hope: what is it that connects these victims who met such a gruesome end?
Assigned to the story from the start, news reporter Sarah Truman sets out to investigate on her own, not suspecting that the trail will lead straight back to her own front door and her fiancé Michael Devlin. A criminal barrister determined to prove the innocence of his own client, Michael is at first oblivious to the return of the murderous figure from his past – until tragedy strikes closer to home.
Struggling with his grief and guilt, and now caught up in a madman’s terrible quest for revenge, Michael must race to bring the killer to justice – before it’s too late.
Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood (Penguin)
Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart.
The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.
When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.
What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Orion)
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (Michael Joseph)
An isolated, windswept land haunted by witch trials and steeped in the ancient sagas . . .
Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not speak of it.
The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .
The Passengers by John Marrs (Ebury Publishing)
Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.
When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.
The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?
I opted out of this months Goldsboro BOTM, so decided to treat myself to this gorgeous edition instead!
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child.
Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes and breath and returns to life.
Is it a miracle? Is it magic?
And who does the little girl belong to?
An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.
Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.
Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .
The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Soon the first snow will come
A young boy wakes to find his mother missing. Outside, he sees her favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.
And then he will appear again
Detective Harry Hole soon discovers that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.
And when the snow is gone…
When a second woman disappears, Harry’s worst suspicion is confirmed: a serial killer is operating on his home turf.
…he will have taken someone else
The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola
A thrilling debut based based on the real case of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother sentenced to hang for her alleged role in a shocking murder, bringing together the accused with an idealistic young lawyer assigned to investigate whether she is a guilty murderer or an unfortunate victim.
Something is keeping Sarah Gale silent despite the risk of a death sentence. Is it guilt? Fear? Love?
Sentenced to hang for her alleged role in a shocking murder, Sarah confronts the young lawyer asked to examine her guilty verdict. She says she is innocent, but she refuses to explain the evidence given in court — the evidence that convicted her. Battling his own demons, Edmund Fleetwood is determined to find the truth — and to uncover why Sarah won’t talk.
Firestarter by Stephen King
‘You’re a firestarter honey….just one big zippo lighter’
A year ago, he was an upstanding instructor of English at Harrison State College. Now Andy is on the run with his daughter. A pigtailed girl named Charlie. A girl with an unimaginably terrifying gift.
A gift which could be useful to corrupt authorities. Soon Charlie will be caught up in the menace of a fateful drug experiment and a sinister government ploy . . .
Framed by Ronnie O’Sullivan
WHEN THE GAME IS MURDER, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE.
An innocent man.
Frankie James is a young man with a lot on his shoulders. His mother disappeared when he was sixteen; his father’s in jail for armed robbery; and he owes rent on the Soho snooker club he inherited to one of London’s toughest gangsters.
A brutal murder.
And things are about to get a whole lot worse when Frankie’s brother Jack is accused of killing a bride-to-be. He needs to find out who framed Jack and why; but that means entering the sordid world of bent coppers, ruthless mobsters and twisted killers.
But in the dog-eat-dog underworld of 1990s Soho, is he tough enough, and smart enough to come out on top?
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Thirteen-year-old Leni is coming of age in a tumultuous time. Caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, she dares to hope that Alaska will lead to a better future for her family, and a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
As Leni grows up in the shadow of her parents’ increasingly volatile marriage, she meets Matthew. And Matthew – thoughtful, kind, brave – makes her believe in the possibility of a better life . . .
Did we haul any of the same books?
Join me tomorrow for a continuation of all the books I’ve purchased this month!