This Lovely City by Louise Hare
With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London and fallen in love with the girl next door. Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery. As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. A brilliant debut.
“Full to the brim with such complete joys and heart-aching tragedies… you can feel the warmth and colour emanating from the pages.” – Magic Radio Book Club
Broken Greek by Pete Paphides
When respected music journo – and Caitlin Moran’s husband – Pete Paphides' parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 60s, they had no money and only a slight grasp on the English language. Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age four to seven and found refuge instead in the embrace of pop songs, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc. From ABBA to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life. But with every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British. And the engine of that realisation? 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart', 'Tragedy', 'Come On Eileen', and every other chart hit blaring out of his parents’ chip shop radio. A must for music fans.
“An exceptional coming-of-age story. Pete Paphides may very well have the biggest heart in Britain.” – Marina Hyde
The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
With The Mirror & The Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, and between royal will and a common man’s vision. It begins in May 1536 – Anne Boleyn is dead. Cromwell emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles into short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour. At 800-pages long, this one’s guaranteed to keep you going through March…
“It is a book not read, but lived.” – Telegraph
Losing Eden by Lucy Jones
What happens, asks acclaimed journalist Lucy Jones, as we lose our bond with the natural world – might we also be losing part of ourselves? Delicately observed and rigorously researched, Losing Eden is an enthralling journey through new research, exploring how and why connecting with the living world can so drastically affect our health. Travelling from forest schools in east London, to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, via Poland's primeval woodlands, Californian laboratories and eco-therapists' couches, Jones takes us to the cutting edge of human biology, neuroscience and psychology, and discovers new ways of understanding our increasingly dysfunctional relationship with the earth.
“By the time I'd read the first chapter, I'd resolved to take my son into the woods every afternoon over winter.” – Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun
My Wild & Sleepless Nights by Clover Stroud
Mother to five children, writer and former SL columnist Clover Stroud has navigated family life across two decades, both losing and finding herself. In this touching book, she captures a sense of what motherhood really feels like – how intense, sensuous, joyful, boring, profound and dark it can be. My Wild & Sleepless Nights examines what it means to be a mother, and reveals with unflinching honesty the many conflicting emotions that this entails: the joy and the wonder, the loneliness and despair. Charting the course of one year, the first in her youngest child’s life, Clover searches for answers to questions that many of us would be too afraid to admit to – not only about motherhood, but also about female sexuality and identity.
“This is quite simply the best book about motherhood I have ever read.” – Eleanor Mills, Sunday Times
Things I Learned From Falling by Claire Nelson
In 2018, Claire Nelson made international headlines. She was in her 30s and was beginning to burn out. And although she was surrounded by people all the time, she felt increasingly lonely. When the anxiety she felt brought her to breaking point, Claire decided to take some time off and travelled to Joshua Tree Park in California to hike and clear her head. But during the hike, Claire fell 25ft, gravely injuring herself while alone in the desert – mistakenly miles off any trail, without phone signal and fighting for her life. She lay exposed to the elements for four days until she was miraculously found. In Things I Learned From Falling Claire tells her incredible story and what it taught her about loneliness, anxiety and transformation and how to survive it all.
“Uplifting and brave.” – Stylist
Anna K by Jenny Lee
Korean-American Anna K is the golden girl of New York high society. She's beautiful, kind, unbelievably rich and has the perfect boyfriend. Until she meets Alexi Vronsky. He's a notorious playboy, gorgeous and he only has eyes for Anna. Despite everyone who matters in NYC talking about her, Anna still just can't resist Vronsky. But when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all. Perfect for fans of Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl, this is an addictive and subversive reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story Anna Karenina.
“A fresh and wickedly smart take on a classic story. Anna is even more scandalously fun now, in the age of stilettos and social media.” – Katharine McGee, author of American Royals
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon has a fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. But their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs and their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written. Nominated for the Women’s Prize For Fiction, this is a must-read.
“Miraculous.” – Observer
Lift As You Climb by Viv Groskop
Part self-help guide, part master class in survival skills for life and work, comedian and writer Viv Groskop’s newest book examines what sisterhood looks like these days, asks what you can do to make things better for other women and considers how to do that without disadvantaging yourself. This is a confidence bible for women who want to plan a career in a fast-moving world, but without leaving anyone else behind, and it addresses one of the biggest issues women face in the workplace – how to be ambitious without losing your sense of self. Full of tips, takeaways and invaluable insights, this is everything you need to know about making life better for yourself – without making it worse for others.
“Empowers, enlightens and entertains with every sentence.” – Elizabeth Day, author of How To Fail