Each year, I like to look ahead to all the wonderful, exciting books that we have to look forward to and I normally select ten that I’m particularly excited about. I wasn’t sure whether to put this post together this year, but Eva at Novel Deelights (do give Eva a follow if you aren’t already – you won’t regret it!) gave me the nudge I needed to stop dithering and crack on!
I am taking a slightly different approach this year. Rather than just selecting ten, I’ve decided to pick one book per month. However, I’m not sure what’s coming out in December, and so I’ve included a wild card instead to keep it to a nice, round twelve books. It’s been difficult to narrow it down, and I’m sure that there will be books published this year that I’m not even aware of yet, but here is my list based on what I know right now. Also, publication dates are correct at time of writing but may change.
January: The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
It’s time to solve the murder of the century…
Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. Wanting to know more, he took it to his English teacher Miss Iles, not realising the chain of events that he was setting in motion. Miss Iles became convinced that the book was the key to solving a puzzle, and that a message in secret code ran through all Twyford’s novels. Then Miss Iles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven has no memory of what happened to her.
Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Steven decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. Was Miss Iles murdered? Was she deluded? Or was she right about the code? And is it still in use today?
Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened to Miss Iles, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn’t the only one trying to solve it…
Perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Alex Pavesi and S.J. Bennett, The Twyford Code will keep you up puzzling late into the night.
February: The Dictator’s Wife by Freya Berry
I learned early in life how to survive. A skill that became vital in my position.
I was given no power, yet I was expected to hold my own with the most powerful man in the country.
MOTHER OF THE NATION
My people were my children. I stood between him and them.
I am not the person they say I am.
I am not my husband.
I am innocent.
Do you believe me?
Visceral and thought provoking, haunting and heartbreaking, The Dictator’s Wife will hold you in its grip until its powerful conclusion and keep you turning the pages long into the night.
March: The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola
In the midst of an icy winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, chambermaid Madeleine Chastel arrives at the home of the city’s celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter.
Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose: to discover the truth of the clockmaker’s experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom.
For as children quietly vanish from the Parisian streets, rumours are swirling that the clockmaker’s intricate mechanical creations, bejewelled birds and silver spiders, are more than they seem.
And soon Madeleine fears that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might reach to the very heart of Versailles…
A intoxicating story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom.
April: A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon
A NICE, NORMAL HOUSE
Linda has lived around here ever since she fled the dark events of her childhood in Wales. Now she sits in her kitchen, wondering if this is all there is – pushing the Hoover round and cooking fish fingers for tea is a far cry from the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the glossy catalogues coming through the door for the house’s previous occupant.
A NICE, NORMAL HUSBAND
Terry isn’t perfect – he picks his teeth, tracks dirt through the house and spends most of his time in front of the TV. But that seems fairly standard – until he starts keeping odd hours at work, at around the same time young women start to go missing in the neighbourhood.
A NICE, NORMAL LIFE…
If Linda could just track down Rebecca, who lived in the house before them, maybe some of that perfection would rub off on her. But the grass isn’t always greener: you can’t change who you really are, and there’s something nasty lurking behind the net curtains on Cavendish Avenue…
May: Young Women by Jessica Moor
Everyone’s got that history, I guess. Everyone’s got a story.
When Emily meets the enigmatic and dazzling actress Tamsin, her life changes. Drawn into Tamsin’s world of Soho living, boozy dinners, and cocktails at impossibly expensive bars, Emily’s life shifts from black and white to technicolour and the two women become inseparable.
Tamsin is the friend Emily has always longed for; beautiful, fun, intelligent and mysterious and soon Emily is neglecting her previous life – her work assisting vulnerable women, her old friend Lucy – to bask in her glow. But when a bombshell news article about a decades-old sexual assault case breaks, Emily realises that Tamsin has been hiding a secret about her own past. Something that threatens to unravel everything…
Young Women is a razor sharp novel that slices to the heart of our most important relationships, and asks how complicit we all are in this world built for men.
June: The Box by Dan Malakin
Open The Box to save your child
Ed Truman’s family is falling apart. His daughter Ally is being targeted by an alt-right incel organisation, Men Together. His house is being picketed, former clients are accusing him of sexual assault, his son won’t speak to him. And then Ally disappears.
Frantic, Ed suspects that Men Together have abducted her. But before he can go to the police, his DNA is found on the body of a young woman. Suddenly he’s the subject of a nationwide manhunt, led by the tenacious DCI Jackie Rose. Ed finds himself on the run with Ally’s friend, Phoenix, who claims to know where Ally is. But what is the truth? Is Ed a violent sexual predator? Or is he the victim of a ruthless conspiracy? The answers are in The Box. But not everyone who goes in, comes out alive…
July: The Ends by James Smythe
Years ago, a vast object called the Anomaly was discovered moving through space. Missions were sent to explore it – they found that anyone entering the Anomaly was unable to die. Now, the Anomaly has enveloped Earth.
On the West Coast of the US, Theo hears that his wife, who disappeared from their home without a word, has been sighted – in London. He sets out on a huge journey to find her.
Making his way through a transformed world, Theo will encounter bandits, artists, and cultists, see humanity at its best and its worst, and develop a unique bond with a teenage girl, just returned from death and discovering this world anew.
August: Red Side Story by Jasper Fforde
Imagine a world where your position in society depended on what bit of the colour spectrum you could see. This is the world inhabited by Eddie Russett (red, middle-level) and Jane Grey (monochromatic, lowest in society). Eddie and Jane must negotiate the delicate Chromatic politics of society to find out what the ‘Something that Happened’ actually was, how society got to be this way, and crucially, is there Somewhere Else beyond their borders – and if there is, could there be Someone Else, too, someone whose unseen hand has been guiding the fortunes and misfortunes of the nation for the past 500 years?
It’s a tale of a young couple’s thirst for justice and answers in an implacably rigid society, where the prisoners are also the guards, and cages of convention bind the citizens to only one way of thinking – or suffer the consequences…
September: Black Lake Manor by Guy Morpuss
A locked room. A brutal murder.
And a killer who can turn back time…
In the former mining town of Black Lake on the west coast of Canada, there is a story about a shipwreck. All those aboard died, except an unnamed man who staggered ashore. His descendants have a unique ability: once in their lives – and only once – they can unwind the events of the previous six hours.
More than two hundred years later, Ella Manning, marine biologist and part-time police constable, is attending a party at Black Lake Manor, the cliff-top mansion of the town’s divisive local billionaire. With a raging storm coming in from the Pacific, she and several other guests find themselves trapped. And when their host is discovered brutally murdered in a locked room, they turn to her to solve the crime.
Against the odds, Ella is sure she has identified the killer… but then time is unwound. With no memory of what she discovered before, her investigation begins again, with very different results. Someone is willing to use their gift to protect a killer, and everyone is a suspect…
October: The Winners by Fredrik Backman
This is a little story about big questions: What is a family? What is a hockey club? What is a society? And what are we willing to sacrifice to protect them?
It has been two years since everything that no one wants to think about happened, everyone has tried to move on but something with this part of the forest never really allows us to do it. We are a city with sadness in our hearts and violence in the air, we love fairy tales with happy endings, but deep down we probably always knew that this was not the case. It starts with a storm, this time, and ends with a fire. Someone who has been away for a long time is on his way home. Someone was buried. Someone falls in love, someone dreams of the NHL and someone dreams of revenge. Someone is sleeping back to back with their best friend, someone is trying to fix their marriage and someone is trying to save their children. Someone hates, someone fights, someone takes a firearm and walks towards an ice rink. Everything we fought for will not survive, all we love will not grow old.
So what is a family? A hockey club? A community? They are the sum of our choices. What are we willing to sacrifice to protect them?
All. Just everything.
This is the last part of Fredrik Backman’s beloved trilogy about Björnstad. The first two books, Beartown and Us Against You, reached the New York Times bestseller list and became a television series on HBO. The Winners is a striking, violent and deeply loving ending to the history of the hockey city and its people.
November: Scarlet by Genevieve Cogman
A thrilling reinvention of the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel with the addition of magic and even more mayhem.
In Revolutionary France, the aristocrats are vampires – and they face the guillotine. However, the Scarlet Pimpernel, a disguised British noble, is determined to rescue them. These predators are being offered sanctuary by their aristocratic British kin, but at great cost to London’s ordinary people. Then an English maid discovers the only power that could stop them. Assuming she survives.
Scarlet is the first book in the trilogy, set during the turbulent French Revolution, and featuring all of Genevieve Cogman’s trademark wit and fast-paced plotting. It’s perfect for fans of The Invisible Library series, Kim Newman and Gail Carriger.
Wild Card: The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
I’m always incredibly excited about a new Jess Kidd novel, but I haven’t been able to find a date for the UK publication (another reason that it’s my wild card choice!) – Amazon has the US date / publisher / cover only. I believe it due around August, but don’t quote me on that!
Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island.
1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks.
1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck…
With her trademark “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.
What books are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments! ❤️