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New fiction for June 2021

by Brandon King


A bumper summer selection of historical fiction, romance and an all action thriller from an ex-president.

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

West Yorkshire, 1904. When newly graduated nurse Ruby May takes a position looking after the children of Charles and Lilian England, a wealthy couple from a powerful dynasty of mill owners, she hopes it will be the fresh start she needs. But as she adapts to life at the isolated Hardcastle House, it becomes clear there's something not quite right about the beautiful, mysterious Mrs England.

Ostracised by the servants and feeling increasingly uneasy, Ruby is forced to confront her own demons in order to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, there's no such thing as the perfect family - and she should know. Simmering with slow-burning menace, Mrs England is a portrait of an Edwardian marriage, weaving an enthralling story of men and women, power and control, courage, truth and the very darkest deception.

Reserve Mrs England.

Animal by Lisa Taddeo

I drove myself out of New York City where a man shot himself in front of me. He was a gluttonous man and when his blood came out it looked like the blood of a pig. That's a cruel thing to think, I know. He did it in a restaurant where I was having dinner with another man, another married man. Do you see how this is going? But I wasn't always that way. I am depraved. I hope you like me.

Reserve Animal by Lisa Taddeo.

The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEAL - and a past president - has always defended his family as staunchly as he has his country. Now those defences are under attack. A man abducts Keating's teenage daughter, Melanie - turning every parent’s deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches in real time, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

Reserve The President’s Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson.

Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan

Lottie Archer arrives in Rome excited to begin her new job as an archivist. When she discovers a valuable fifteenth-century painting, she is drawn to find out more about the woman who left it behind, Nina Lawrence.

Nina seems to have led a rewarding and useful life, restoring Italian gardens to their full glory following the destruction of World War Two. So why did no one attend her funeral in 1978? In exploring Nina's past, Lottie unravels a tragic love story beset by the political turmoil of post-war Italy. And as she edges closer to understanding Nina, she begins to confront the losses in her own life.

Reserve Two Women in Rome by Elizabeth Buchan.

The Cookbook of Common Prayer by Francesca Haig

When Gill and Gabe's elder son drowns overseas, they decide they must hide the truth from their desperately unwell teenaged daughter. But as Gill begins to send letters from her dead son to his sister, the increasingly elaborate lie threatens to prove more dangerous than the truth.

Reserve The Cookbook of Common Prayer by Francesca Haig.

Yours cheerfully by A.J. Pearce

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable editor, Henrietta Bird, from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy's best friend Bunty is still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, but bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to make a go of it.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain's women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty, and standing by her friends.

Reserve Yours cheerfully by A.J. Pearce.

The Blood Divide by A.A. Dhand

The last thing Jack Baxi expected when a detective rang his doorbell in the middle of the night was that he'd be tortured and left for dead, with a young woman he's never met before. Now, running for their lives, Jack and Aisha frantically try to discover why the detective was so convinced they both have information on a missing person.

Jack is a Sikh corner shopkeeper with a criminal record. Aisha is a Muslim medical student from a wealthy family. What could possibly connect them? Their desperate hunt for answers will take them on a perilous journey, from the sprawling underground markets and dangerous red-light district of Delhi all the way to the most militarized zone in India.

But little do they know, a dangerous organisation is watching their every move - and they'll do whatever it takes to stop Jack and Aisha learning the truth.

Reserve The Blood Divide by A.A. Dhand.

Truth or Dare by M.J. Arlidge

A crimewave sweeps through the city and no one is safe. A murderous arson attack at the docks. A brutal carjacking in a deserted car park. A fatal hammer attack in a lonely country park. Crimes without motive, without suspects, without leads.

Each crime is a piece of a puzzle - with many more pieces still to come. And as they gradually fall into place, Detective Inspector Helen Grace comes to realise just how twisted and devious this web of crime is - and how impossible it will be to stop it.

Reserve Truth or Dare by M.J. Arlidge.

Still life by Sarah Winman

Still Life is a beautiful, big-hearted, richly tapestried story of people brought together by love, war, art, flood - and the ghost of E.M. Forster.

We just need to know what the heart's capable of, Evelyn. And do you know what it's capable of? I do. Grace and fury.

It's 1944 and in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as the Allied troops advance and bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening together.

Ulysses Temper is a young British solider and one-time globe-maker, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and relive her memories of the time she encountered E.M. Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.

Reserve Still life by Sarah Winman.

Fragile by Sarah Hilary

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands.

But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees that he is hiding secrets of his own. But is Nell's arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be - and how easy they can be to break

Reserve Fragile by Sarah Hilary.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike. Particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated when one of The Maidens, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered. Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students?

Reserve The Maidens by Alex Michaelides.

The Promise by Damon Galgut

There is nothing unusual or remarkable about the Swart family, oh no, they resemble the family from the next farm and the one beyond that, just an ordinary bunch of white South Africans, and if you don't believe it then listen to us speak.

The many voices of The Promise tell a story in four snapshots, each one centred on a family funeral, each one happening in a different decade. In the background, a different president is in power, and a different spirit hangs over the country, while in the foreground the family fights over what they call their farm, on a worthless piece of land outside Pretoria.

Over large jumps in time, people get older, faces and laws and lives all change, while a brother and sister circle around a promise made long ago, and never kept.

Reserve The Promise by Damon Galgut.