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Notes on Heartbreak by Annie Lord
Journalist and Vogue columnist Annie Lord’s first book is an unflinching and raw exploration of a relationship and its ending, taking in all the joy, pain and messiness of being in love. Notes on Heartbreak is a love story told in reverse, starting with a devastating break-up. As Lord deals with her broken heart, the book constantly revisits the past, from the moment she first fell in love, to the months that saw the slow erosion of a bond five years in the making. Readers feel her pain with her, join her as she begins to heal, and cringe or laugh in recognition of personal experiences as Lord charts her attempts to move on, from disastrous rebound sex to sending ill-advised nudes, stalking her ex's new girlfriend on Instagram and the sharp indignity of being ghosted.
The Poet by Louisa Reid
Bright, promising Emma is entangled in a toxic romance with her former professor – and she's losing control. Cruel, charming Tom is idolised by his students and peers, confident he holds all the cards. In their shared Oxford home, he manipulates and undermines her every thought and act. Soon, he will push her to the limit and she must decide: to remain quiet and submit, or to take her revenge. Written in verse and charged with passion and anger, The Poet is a portrait of a deeply dysfunctional relationship, one that explores coercive control, class and privilege. It is also a page-turning tale of female solidarity and survival, written by a Cambridge English teacher and former Oxford student.
Paper Cup by Karen Campbell
Karen Campbell’s new novel follows a broken woman's path back to the small Scottish town from which she once fled. Rocked by a terrible accident, homeless Kelly needs to escape the streets of Glasgow, when a rare moment of kindness and a lost engagement ring conspire to call her home. As Kelly vows to reunite the lost ring with its owner, she must return to the small town she fled so many years ago. On her journey to the south-west tip of Scotland, she encounters ancient pilgrim routes, hostile humans, hippies, book lovers and a friendly dog, as memories stir and the people she thought she'd left behind forever move closer with every step. Full of compassion and hope, Paper Cup is a novel about how easy it can be to fall through the cracks, and what it takes to turn around a life that has run off course.
Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Inviting the reader into the world of an utterly unforgettable protagonist, Meredith, Alone is a moving tale of finding courage. Meredith Maggs hasn't left her house in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn't alone. She has her cat Fred. Her friend Sadie visits when she can. There's her online support group, StrengthInNumbers. She has her jigsaws, favourite recipes, books by her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the Tesco delivery man and her treacherous memories for company. But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?
Ghost Lover by Lisa Taddeo
Following her visceral debut novel Animal with a searing collection of short stories, the bestselling author of Three Women has created a series of sharp vignettes. Behind anonymous screens, an army of cool and beautiful girls manage the dating service Ghost Lover, a forwarding system for text messages that promises to spare you the anguish of trying to stay composed while communicating with your crush. At a star-studded political fundraiser in a LA mansion, a trio of women compete to win the heart of the slick guest of honour. In a tense hospital waiting room, an inseparable pair of hard-partying friends crash into life's responsibilities, but the magic of their glory days comes alive again at the moment they least expect it. In these nine riveting stories, Lisa Taddeo brings to life the fever of obsession, the blindness of love and the mania of grief.
Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh
This is a thrilling dissection of illusion and reality from the bestselling author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation. In a medieval village buffeted by natural disasters, a motherless shepherd boy finds himself the unlikely pivot of a power struggle that puts all manner of faith to a savage test. One of life's few consolations for Marek is his enduring bond with the blind village midwife, Ina. Ina's gifts extend beyond childcare: she possesses a unique ability to communicate with the natural world. For some, Ina's home in the woods outside the village is a place to fear and to avoid, a godless place. Among their number is Father Barnabas, the town priest and lackey for the depraved lord and governor, Villiam, whose hilltop manor contains a secret embarrassment of riches. In a year of record drought and famine, the people's desperate need to believe that the powers-that-be have their best interests at heart is put to a cruel test by Villiam and the priest. But when fate brings Marek into violent proximity to the lord's family, new forces upset the old order. By year's end, the veil between blindness and sight, life and death, the natural world and the spirit world will prove to be very thin indeed.
The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
Cristabel Seagrave has always wanted her life to be a story, but there are no girls in the books in her dusty family library. For an unwanted orphan who grows into an unmarriable young woman, there is no place at all for her in a traditional English manor. But from the day a whale washes up on the beach at the Chilcombe Estate in Dorset, and 12-year-old Cristabel plants her flag and claims it as her own, she is determined to do things differently. With her step-parents distracted by their endless party guests, Cristabel and her siblings, Flossie and Digby, scratch together an education from the plays they read in their freezing attic, drunken conversations eavesdropped through oak-panelled doors, and the esoteric lessons of Maudie their maid. But as the children grow to adulthood and war approaches, jolting their lives on to very different tracks, it becomes clear the roles they are expected to play are no longer those they want. As they find themselves drawn into the conflict, they must each find a way to write their own story.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
Emma Straub is the New York Times-bestselling author of four novels: All Adults Here, The Vacationers, Modern Lovers and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. With her celebrated humour, insight and heart, her fifth novel is a twist on traditional time travel tropes and a different kind of love story. On the eve of her 40th birthday, Alice’s life isn’t terrible. She likes her job, even if it isn’t exactly the one she expected. She’s happy with her apartment, her romantic status, her independence, and she adores her lifelong best friend. But her father is ailing, and it feels to her as if something is missing. When she wakes up the next morning she finds herself back in 1996, reliving her 16th birthday. But it isn’t just her adolescent body that shocks her, or seeing her high school crush, it’s her dad: the vital, charming, 40-something version of her father with whom she is reunited. Now armed with a new perspective on her own life and his, some past events take on new meaning. Is there anything that she would change if she could?
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Leila Mottley’s debut is an unforgettable novel about young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world. Kiara Johnson does not know what it is to live as a normal 17-year-old. With her mother in a rehab facility and an older brother who devotes his time and money to a recording studio, she fends for herself – and for nine-year-old Trevor, whose own mother is prone to disappearing for days at a time. As the landlord of their apartment block threatens to raise their rent, Kiara finds herself walking the streets after dark, determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her. Then one night Kiara is picked up by two police officers, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation and endanger everyone she loves.
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