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I take the titles for these monthly posts from a number of sources, including the highlighted books on The Bookseller, my own knowledge of authors to watch, and various lists around the web, and while I can’t claim to have read them, they definitely seem to have merit — or, at least, buzz. Unless indicated otherwise, descriptions are taken from Goodreads, Amazon, or the publisher’s site.
The most reliable place to find UK books in the original British English and at the date at which they come out in the UK is bookdepository.com, though you may also have some luck with wordery.com and bookwitty.com.
Behind Closed Doors, by Miriam Halahmy (UK, 1st June, YA)
Fifteen-year-olds Tasha and Josie are near-neighbours who never thought they had anything in common. But when their families let them down, they find themselves unlikely allies in a battle for survival. On the margins of adulthood, these two girls also find themselves also on the margins of society. And where do you go for safety when there is no security at home?
Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson (UK and US, 5th June, literary fiction)
A small city in western France. The early twentieth century. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy 17-year-old with a rare talent for drawing, is entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, the daughter of a Jewish newspaper magnate, and the two young women embark on a clandestine love affair. Stifled by provincial convention and a society that is overtly patriarchal, they reinvent themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore and move to Paris, where they are swept up in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dalí to André Breton, and produce photographic work of great originality and strangeness. As World War Two looms, they leave for Jersey, and it is here that they confront their destiny, dreaming up a campaign of propaganda against Hitler’s occupying forces.
Love Will Tear Us Apart, by Holly Seddon (UK, 7th June, psychological thriller)
Sometimes a promise becomes a prison. Fearing eternal singledom, childhood friends Kate and Paul make the age-old vow that if they don’t find love by thirty, they will marry each other. Years later, with the deadline of their 30th birthdays approaching, the unlikely couple decide to keep their teenage promise. After all, they are such good friends. Surely that’s enough to make a marriage? Now, on the eve of their 10th wedding anniversary, they will discover that love between men and women is more complex, and more precarious, than they could ever have imagined. As Kate struggles with a secret that reaches far into their past, will the couple’s vow become the very thing that threatens their future? Love Will Tear Us Apart is a moving and heart-breaking exploration of modern love and friendship, from the bestselling author of Try Not to Breathe.
Promising Young Women, by Caroline O’ Donoghue (UK, 7th June, contemporary fiction)
Jane Peters is an adrift twenty-something by day, and a world-weary agony aunt by night. But when an office party goes too far, Jane dissolves into the high-stakes world of being the Other Woman: a role she has the right advice for, but not the smarts to follow through on. What starts out as a drunken mistake quickly unravels as Jane discovers that sex and power go hand-in-hand, and that it’s hard to keep your head when you’ve become someone else’s dirty little secret. A promotion and a pay rise aren’t the only changes that Jane’s faced with: as her physical and mental stability start to falter, her career, her friendships and even her life are put in jeopardy.
The Incurable Romantic, by Frank Tallis (UK, 7th June, US, 18th September, non-fiction)
Love is a great leveller. Everyone wants love, everyone falls in love, everyone loses love, and everyone knows something of love’s madness. But the experience of obsessive love is no trivial matter. In the course of his career psychologist Dr Frank Tallis has treated many unusual patients, whose stories have lessons for all of us. A barristers’ clerk becomes convinced that her dentist has fallen in love with her and they are destined to be together for eternity; a widow is visited by the ghost of her dead husband; an academic is besotted with his own reflection; a beautiful woman searches jealously for a rival who isn’t there; and a night porter is possessed by a lascivious demon. These are just some of the people whom we meet in an extraordinary and original book that explores the conditions of longing and desire – true accounts of psychotherapy that take the reader on a journey through the darker realms of the amorous mind. Drawing on the latest scientific research into the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying romance and emotional attachment, The Incurable Romantic demonstrates that ultimately love dissolves the divide between what we judge to be normal and abnormal.
Bookshop Girl, by Chloe Coles (UK, 14th June, YA)
Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money. But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat. Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?
How to Rob a Bank, by Tom Mitchell (UK, 14th June, YA)When fifteen-year-old Dylan accidentally burns down the house of the girl he’s trying to impress, he feels that only a bold gesture can make it up to her. A gesture like robbing a bank to pay for her new home. Only an unwanted Saturday job, a tyrannical bank manager, and his unfinished history homework lie between Dylan and the heist of century. And really, what’s the worst that could happen?
Run, Riot, by Nikesh Shukla (UK, 14th June, YA)Aspiring MC Taran and her twin brother Hari never wanted to move to Firestone House. But when the rent was doubled overnight and Dad’s chemo meant he couldn’t work, they had to make this tower block their home. It’s good now though; they feel part of something here. When they start noticing boarded-up flats and glossy fliers for expensive apartments, they don’t think much of it – until Hari is caught up in a tragedy, and they are forced to go on the run. It’s up to these teenagers to uncover the sinister truth behind what’s going on in the block, before it blows their world apart.
How Do You Like Me Now?, by Holly Bourne (UK, 14th June, contemporary fiction)
There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. She’s inspired millions of women to stick two fingers up at convention with her bestselling memoir, and she has the perfect relationship to boot. But Tori Bailey has been living a lie. Everyone around her is getting married and having babies, but her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about getting engaged. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind. When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path. It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?
The Hour of Separation, by Katharine McMahon (UK, 14th June, historical fiction)
March 1939. Estelle is the headstrong daughter of Fleur, a Resistance legend who disappeared during the Great War, supposedly killed while helping Allied soldiers to escape. Christa, an only child, longs to break free from the constraints of London suburbia, and fantasises about the ethereal Belgian heroine who saved her father. When Estelle comes looking for the truth about the mother she believes deserted her, an intense friendship grows between the two young women. Estelle invites Christa to De Eikenhoeve, her family’s idyllic country estate. There, Christa encounters Estelle’s two brothers – brooding, tempestuous Robbe and dependable, golden-haired Pieter – and during that long hot summer, passions run high. When war breaks out Christa is forced to return home, but not before she has done something she will regret for the rest of her life. Christa arrives back in England a changed woman, while Estelle decides to follow in her mother’s footsteps and join the Resistance. Little do they dream that Fleur was betrayed by someone close to them, and that the legacy of this betrayal will have heartbreaking consequences for them all.
Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call. Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence. What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason — and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other? The truth.
One in a Million, by Lindsey Kelk (UK, 14th June, contemporary fiction)
Annie Higgins has given up on love: she’s too busy trying to get her own business off the ground. Infuriated by the advertising agency across the hall making fun of her job, Annie accepts their crazy challenge – to make a random stranger Instagram-famous in just 30 days. And even when they choose Dr Samuel Page PhD, historian and hater of social media, as her target, Annie’s determined to win the bet – whether Sam likes it or not. But getting to know Sam means getting to know more about herself. And before the 30 days are out, Annie has to make a decision about what’s really important… Funny, real and heart-meltingly romantic, Annie and Sam’s story is My Fair Lady for the social media age – and the perfect summer read.
The Publishing Game: Adventures in Books: 150 years of Hodder & Stoughton, by Edward Stourton (UK and US, 14th June, non-fiction)
A new history of Hodder and Stoughton, published to celebrate the publisher’s 150th birthday. Author, journalist and BBC presenter Ed Stourton delves into the Hodder and Stoughton archives to tell the human story of 150 years of publishing. From the day in June 1868 when Matthew Henry Hodder and Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton first founded the company, through numerous encounters with authors from John le Carre to Jodi Picoult, and several staff sports days – this will be an entertaining and enlightening read for any book lover.
Somewhere Beyond the Sea, by Miranda Dickinson (UK, 14th June, US ebook and audio only, 14th June, contemporary fiction)
Seren MacArthur is living a life she never intended. Trying to save the Cornish seaside business her late father built – while grieving for his loss – she has put her own dreams on hold and is struggling. Until she discovers a half-finished seaglass star on her favourite beach during an early morning walk. When she completes the star, she sets into motion a chain of events that will steal her heart and challenge everything she believes. Jack Dixon is trying to secure a better life for daughter Nessie and himself. Left a widower and homeless when his wife died, he’s just about keeping their heads above water. Finding seaglass stars completed on Gwithian beach is a bright spark that slowly rekindles his hope. Seren and Jack are searching for their missing pieces. But when they meet in real life, it’s on the opposing sides of a battle. Jack is managing the redevelopment of a local landmark, and Seren is leading the community campaign to save it. Both have reason to fight – Seren for the cause her father believed in, Jack for his livelihood. But only one can win. With so much at stake, will they ever find what they are really looking for?
Girl, Balancing & Other Stories, by Helen Dunmore (UK, 28th June, literary short stories)
A girl alone, stretching her meagre budget to feed herself, becomes aware that the young man who has come to see her may not be as friendly as he seems. Two women from very different backgrounds enjoy an unusual night out, finding solace in laughter and an unexpected friendship. A young man picks up his infant son and goes outside into a starlit night as he makes a decision that will inform the rest of his life. A woman imprisoned for her religion examines her faith in a seemingly literal and quietly original way. This brilliant collection of Helen Dunmore’s short fiction, replete with her penetrating insight into the human condition, is certain to delight and move all her readers.
How to be Famous, by Caitlin Moran (UK, 28th June, US, 3rd July, contemporary fiction)
I’m Johanna Morrigan, and I live in London in 1995, at the epicentre of Britpop. I might only be nineteen, but I’m wise enough to know that everyone around me is handling fame very, very badly. My unrequited love, John Kite, has scored an unexpected Number One album, then exploded into a Booze And Drugs HellTM – as rockstars do. And my new best friend – the maverick feminist Suzanne Banks, of The Branks – has amazing hair, but writer’s block and a rampant pill problem. So I’ve decided I should become a Fame Doctor. I’m going to use my new monthly column for The Face to write about every ridiculous, surreal, amazing aspect of a million people knowing your name. But when my two-night-stand with edgy comedian Jerry Sharp goes wrong, people start to know my name for all the wrong reasons. ‘He’s a vampire. He destroys bright young girls. Also, he’s a total dick’ Suzanne warned me. But by that point, I’d already had sex with him. Bad sex. Now I’m one of the girls he’s trying to destroy. He needs to be stopped. But how can one woman stop a bad, famous, powerful man?
Crudo, by Oliva Laing (UK, 28th June, US, 11st September, literary fiction)
From a Tuscan hotel for the super-rich to a Brexit-paralysed UK, Kathy spends the first summer of her 40s trying to adjust to making a lifelong commitment just as Trump is tweeting the world into nuclear war. But it’s not only Kathy who’s changing. Political, social and natural landscapes are all in peril. Fascism is on the rise, truth is dead, the planet is hotting up. Is it really worth learning to love when the end of the world is nigh? And how do you make art, let alone a life, when one rogue tweet could end it all?
Three Little Lies, by Laura Marshall (UK, 28th June, US, 4th September, thriller)
Sasha North has gone missing. Everyone says she’s run away, but I know better. We’ve been best friends since we were teenagers, since Sasha swept into the neighbourhood and brought colour to my life. Until a brutal attack changed both our lives forever. I know what happened that night. I know who wants revenge. And if Sasha has been taken, does that mean I’m next?
A Shot in the Dark, by Lynne Truss (UK, 28th June, US, 6th November)
After the notorious ‘Middle Street Massacre’ of 1951, when the majority of Brighton’s criminals wiped one another out in a vicious battle as the local police force enjoyed a brief stop en route for an ice cream, Inspector Steine rather enjoys life as a policeman. No criminals, no crime, no stress. He just wishes Sergeant Brunswick would stop insisting that perhaps not every criminal was wiped out that fateful day. So it’s really rather annoying when an ambitious – not to mention irritating – new constable shows up to work and starts investigating a series of burglaries. And it’s even more annoying when, after Constable Twitten is despatched to the theatre for the night, he sits next to a vicious theatre critic who is promptly shot dead part way through the opening night of a new play. It seems Brighton may be in need of a police force after all.
A Summer Scandal, by Kat French (UK, 28th June, US, 28th June ebook, 14th August paperback)
When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how? When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops? Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?
The NHS at 70: A Living History, by Ellen Welch (UK, 30th June, US, 3rd October, non-fiction)
At midnight on 5th July 1948, the National Health Service was born with the founding principal to be free at the point of use and based on clinical need rather than on a person s ability to pay. Seventy years since its formation, these core principals still hold true, although the world we now live in is a very different place to the post war era in which it was formed, and the long term sustainability of the service in its current form is questionable. This book traces the history of our health service, from Victorian healthcare in the early 20th century, through a timeline of change to the current day, comparing the problems and illnesses of 1948 to those we face seventy years later. Politics, funding, and healthcare systems around the world are demystified and we present case studies, views and snapshots from history from people who have experienced our changing NHS.