George is a recently widowed seventy-nine-year-old. He nearly made it as a rock star in the 1960s and he’s not happy. Tara is his teenage granddaughter and she’s taken refuge from her bickering parents by living with George. Toby is George’s son-in-law and he wants George in a care home.
George has two secrets. 1) He’s never revealed why his music career stalled. And 2) No-one knows just how much the disappointment of opportunities missed still gnaw at him. He craves one last chance, even at his age. When it presents itself, through the appearance of a long-lost distant relative – whose chequered past should set alarm bells ringing – he can’t resist.
For Tara, living with her grandfather is a way to find her own path and develop her own musical ambitions. She isn’t prepared for the clash between different generations and living in a strange house full of her grandfather’s memories – and vinyl records.
They get off to a shaky start. George takes an instant dislike to the sounds from her bedroom that seem more suited to Guantanamo Bay than anything he would call musical. But as time plays out, they find there are more similarities – neither know how to operate a dishwasher – than differences, and parallels across the generations slowly bring them to recognise their shared strengths. But when Toby inadvertently sets in motion a chain of events, it leaves Tara with the same dilemma her grandfather faced five decades before with the same life-changing choice to make.
Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.
He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.
Everyone knows that I love an older character in a book so when the chance to be on this tour popped into my inbox I grabbed it and I am so glad I did!
This is a truly lovely story about family, old age and never giving up on your dreams. I really enjoyed the interactions between George and his Granddaughter, Tara, but felt that this was more of a story on the whole family rather than the pair of them as the blurb describes. That being said I enjoyed the whole family, all characters were well written and I loved that they were a realistic portrayal rather than a romanticised perfect family who could do no wrong. The only character flaw I found was that Tara’s character did come across as a little young for the age she was written (which 18 year-old do you know who would be caught dead reading a magazine called ‘Teen Tips”).
The musical element was a great addition to the book as really gave a feel of George’s era and his sense of character, I may have to make myself a new playlist!
Thank you to @rararesources @RichardWrites2 & @matadorbooks for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti- drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.
f I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is an all-consuming novel about loneliness, obsession and how far we go for the ones we love.
Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for.
Happiness, at last.
Then you left me.
And now I am alone.
Everyone I love leaves in the end.
But not this time.
I’m not giving up on us.
I’m not giving up on you.
When you love someone, you never let them go.
That’s why for me, this is just beginning.
If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is published on 9th July by Mantle, priced £14.99 in hardback.
This is the story of Constance Little, a woman who has lost her mother and moved to a new city. She falls hard for a new Doctor at the practise she has been working at and we follow their relationship.
This was a very detailed and character driven plot build up. It shows how a normal relationship can quickly escalate to an unhealthy obsession.
I did like the ending and I can definitely see why lots of people are loving this one as it’s well written and leaves you with that creepy uncomfortable feeling so effortlessly, but for me it just felt a little slow & flat, with quiet a predictable story line.
Thank you to @ed_pr @Panmacmillan and @MantleBooks for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
A beautifully haunting and atmospheric historical novel about three brave women with unspeakable truths – perfect for fans of The Binding, Once Upon A River and The Familiars.
Three women carry unspeakable truths in their heart. At what cost will they find their freedom?
In Victorian England, Viola is an amateur photographer struggling with the grief of her father’s death and the sterile atmosphere of her marriage to her childhood friend, Jonah. When she discovers a talent for capturing ghostly images on camera, Viola comes to the attention of a spirit medium, and a powerful attraction between the two women is sparked… As each woman puts herself at risk, secrets are brought to light that will change their lives forever.
Driven by passionate, courageous female characters Cohen exploresthemes of sexuality, gender and prejudice, firmly establishing her as one of our best storytellers.
This story follows the lives of three individuals who are lonely and lost and takes us on a journey of finding love and acceptance.
Recently married, childhood sweethearts, Violet and Jonah have recently moved to the country to try and get over the loss of her father. Before they were married Jonah spent time in India and Violet feels he has come back changed and now feels lonelier than ever with her father gone and her husband acting like a stranger.
Then a well know spirit medium arrives in town and she sees that Jonah is hiding something from his new wife.
I was initially unsure about the spiritual element but I actually really enjoyed it and ended up flying through this book. The women in it were both strong and capable and so perfect for each other.
This is great piece of historical fiction that I really felt immersed in and I really liked the pieces of old text at the end of the chapters. If your a fan of historical fiction reads like the familiars then this is definitely one you are going to want to pick up!
Thank you to @orionbooks and @randomttours for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
Julie Cohen grew up in the western mountains of Maine. Her house was just up the hill from the library and she spent many hours walking back and forth, her nose in a book. She studied English Literature at Brown University and Cambridge University and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing, including classes for the Guardian and Literature Wales. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold over a million copies; DEAR THING and TOGETHER were Richard and Judy Book Club picks. Her most recent novel is the critically acclaimed LOUIS & LOUISE. Julie lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and a terrier of dubious origin.
Everyone knows the story of the girl from Widow Hills.
When Arden Maynor was six years old, she was swept away in terrifying storm and went missing for days. Against all odds, she was found alive, clinging to a storm drain. A living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book, and fame followed. But so did fans, creeps and stalkers. It was all too much, and as soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and left Widow Hills behind.
Now, a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden is known as Olivia. With the twentieth anniversary of her rescue looming, media interest in the girl who survived is increasing. Where is she now? The stress brings back the night terrors of Olivia’s youth. Often, she finds herself out of bed in the middle of the night, sometimes outside her home, even streets away. Then one evening she jolts awake in her yard, with the corpse of a man at her feet.
The girl from Widow Hills is about to become the centre of the story, once again.
I have read all the missing girls by this author and still have the last house guest on my tbr so I knew I wanted to give this a try when it was offered for reviewers and I am very glad I did.
This was a fantastic thriller that kept me guessing right the way through. Every time I thought I knew what was coming something threw me off the trail! The short sharp chapters really had me on edge and I loved the addition of the transcription at the end of each chapter that revealed what happened all those years ago.
I also really enjoyed that this was two mystery’s to solve in one, the past when the younger Olivia going missing in the storm and the present question of who has killed the person Olivia finds.
Thanks to @randomttours and @coverus for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
Megan Miranda is the author of All The Missing Girls, The Perfect Stranger, and The Last House Guest, which was the August 2019 Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick. She grew up in New Jersey, graduated from MIT, and lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children. Follow @MeganLMiranda on Twitter and Instagram, or @AuthorMeganMiranda on Facebook.
Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year.
Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).
Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo- and-set drudgery at the local salon. Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.
Published by Scribner on July 23rd 2020, 361 Pages
I really enjoyed this light, fun, coming of age tale set in the 60’s. I quickly fell in love with Evie as, I too, am a bracket-loving, celery hater! (read the book and it will make sense). Taylor really manged to capture the characters essence as you fall in love with Evie, feel sorry for her Farther and strongly dislike Christine.
I really enjoyed the small interludes that gave us quick snippets into the past and felt they worked really well to give us the parts of the story we were missing with it being in first person narration. I loved Taylor’s style of writing and will definitely look out for his future work!
Also I cant not say it, I LOVE THE COVER!!
The only thing that I didn’t buy into was how old Evie was, she came across as very young for her age, had I not been told she was 16 I would have put her at 12. This may have been done purposefully by the author to give us a sense of how grown up our teenagers are now or may just be that I feel teenagers are older, either way it didn’t take any enjoyment away from the book, was merely a feeling I had whilst reading.
Thank you to @ScribnerBooks @matson_taylor_ and @randomttours for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.
Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academic- writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also Camden Market, an Italian TV and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan worked on appeared commercial, in opera singers.
Every cloudhas a silver lining… doesn’t it? Anna is thirteen years old, lives in London withher father, and has Asperger’s syndrome.
When her father dies, she moves to Scotland to live with her estranged, reclusive mother. With little support to help her, she must use every coping strategy her father taught her—especially her ‘Happy Game’—as she tries to connect with her mother, discover her past, and deal with the challenges of being thrown into a brand new life along the way.
This is the story of 13 year old Anna who’s has lost her father and so has to move to Scotland to live with her estranged mother. Anna has Aspergers* and finds very little support in her new home as she tries to fit in and understand her past. What can I say other than I love this book! Anna was so so sweet and loving and I absolutely love that. I think a lot of the time in literature characters with Aspergers* are shown as quiet cold and hard to get on with and I loved that it wasn’t the case in this book. There were quiet a few parts that reminded me of Pollyanna and I enjoyed meeting the grumpy bed bound old woman and the old man who had skeletons in his closet and all in between. This is a fantastic debut from Laura Guthrie and I can’t wait to see what she writes in the future.
*I am aware the term Aspergers was changed to Autistic Spectrum Disorder in 2013, as is the author but the character, Anna, was diagnosed pre-change and thus uses the older term and is why I have used it in my review.
Thank you so much to @lovebookstours and @cranachanbooks for my #gifted copy in exchanged for a review (please put me down for any future books by this author 🤣)
Laura Guthrie grew up in the rural Scottish Highlands (“I come from where the planes don’t fly”). Her creative influences include Nessie and the elusive ‘Caiplich Beast’, as well as some choice authors and their works.
She has an honours degree in biological sciences from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Glasgow.
Harrogate, Thursday 18 June 2020: The undisputed ‘Queen of Crime’ Val McDermid has unveiled the hotly tipped ‘New Blood’ authors for 2020, showcasing the year’s best breakout crime writing talent:
– Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
– Elizabeth Kay – Seven Lies (Sphere)
– Jessica Moor – Keeper (Penguin)
– Trevor Wood – The Man on the Street (Quercus)
Since 2004, the best-selling Scottish author of the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series has curated an annual celebration of the most formidable debuts taking the crime and thriller genre by storm, with an invitation to join the line-up of the world’s largest and most prestigious crime fiction festival: Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
This year, Deepa Anappara has been selected for her part coming-of-age, part detective mystery Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a heart-breaking and thought-provoking social commentary of modern India’s slums that has been recognised for the Women’s Prize. Elizabeth Kay is on the list for her explosive Seven Lies, taking domestic noir to a whole new level in a deliciously dark blurring of truth and lies, and Jessica Moore is recognised for her brutal and beautiful Keeper, the addictive literary thriller that has had everyone talking. Concluding this year’s New Blood contingent is Trevor Wood and his debut The Man on the Street, a gritty thriller set on the streets of Newcastle.
Val McDermid said: “I have been hosting the New Blood showcase since the festival began in 2003 and, in my book, discovering and sharing new talent with an eager audience is the best job in crime fiction. I know exactly what I’m looking for on my quest: fresh and distinctive voices, a well-told, convincing story and the almost indefinable sense that these authors all have much more to say. Deepa, Elizabeth, Jessica and Trevor tick all of these boxes and more, and if this year’s debuts share a theme, it is the irresistible and devastating way in which crime fiction shines a light on our times: homelessness, domestic violence, child trafficking and mental health are all dissected with an unflinching gaze. Whilst we can’t gather en masse at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate this year, I hope that readers will enjoy our virtual introduction to these brilliant new writers.”
The unveiling of McDermid’s selection has become one of the most anticipated moments of the publishing calendar, with readers on the lookout to uncover their new favourite author and add the ‘next big thing’ to their bookshelves.
Former ‘New Blood’ alumni include Clare Mackintosh, SJ Watson, Stuart MacBride, Liam McIlvanney and Belinda Bauer, as well as three authors on this year’s shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious crime writing award – Theakston Old Peculier: Abir Mukherjee, Jane Harper and Oyinkan Braithwaite, who was chosen just last year for her Booker longlisted My Sister, the Serial Killer.
As part Harrogate International Festivals’ year round programme of events, each year the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival welcomes the world’s famous authors each year to Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel – the scene of Agatha Christie’s mysterious disappearance in 1926 – for a celebration of the crime genre like no other.
This year’s instalment – which formed part of Harrogate International Festival Summer Season – was cancelled, with much sadness, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and so the 2020 ‘New Blood’ showcase will be streamed on the festival’s HIF Player on what would have been the legendary weekender on Saturday 25 July 2020.
Val McDermid will also interviewed by Mark Lawson about the legacy of the New Blood panel, discussing the vital role of the showcase in giving a platform to new writers in the industry and the crime community, and giving a peek behind the scenes into how and why she chooses the books.
Trevor Wood said: “As a kid I dreamt of playing in the cup final. I’m a fraction older now but being chosen for Harrogate’s New Blood panel feels exactly like that did.”
Jessica Moor said: “To have been chosen for this panel, which has included some of my favourite new authors of the last decade, and to have been chosen by the legendary Val McDermid, is a such an honour.”
Deepa Anappara said: “I am thrilled and honoured to be picked for the New Blood panel, and grateful to Val McDermid for her immense generosity and support of debut novelists.”
Elizabeth Kay said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for such a prestigious event. The ‘New Blood’ panel has an incredible history, and I’m delighted to be participating this year alongside three really exciting other authors.”
Deepa Anappara – Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus)
In a basti on the outskirts of a sprawling Indian city, nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows in the house he shares with his family. Jai thinks he’s smarter than his friend Pari (even though she always gets top marks) and considers himself to be a better boss than his hardworking friend Faiz (even though he has a job). When their classmate from school goes missing, the Djinn Patrol ventures out, wielding their detective skills into the bustling city to investigate; through the rattle-tattle energy and mouth-watering smells of the bazaar, to the dangerous rubbish ground and as far as the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. But children continue to vanish, and the trio must confront terrified parents, an unsympathetic police force and soul-snatching djinns in order to uncover the truth. As the disappearances edge ever closer to home, the lives of Jai and his friends will be altered forever.
Deepa Anappara grew up in Kerala, southern India, and worked as a journalist in cities including Mumbai and Delhi. Her reports on the impact of poverty and religious violence on the education of children won the Developing Asia Journalism Awards, the Every Human has Rights Media Awards, and the Sanskriti-Prabha Dutt Fellowship in Journalism. A partial of her debut novel, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, won the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, the Bridport/Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award and the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and is currently studying for a PhD on a CHASE doctoral fellowship. Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line will be publised in America, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden. deepa-anappara.com
Elizabeth Kay – Seven Lies (Sphere)
Only you know the truth: Jane and Marnie have been inseparable since they were eleven years old. In their twenties, they both married handsome young men. Years later, Jane and Marnie are still best friends – and both men are dead. But if Jane had been honest from the start – if she hadn’t told that first little white lie – then perhaps the person she loves most would still love her too. Perhaps everything would be different. This is Jane’s opportunity to tell the real story – if you can believe her. As Jane narrates hers and Marnie’s shared history and unpicks each of seven increasingly catastrophic lies, she reveals the pockets of darkness that have infiltrated their friendship; the toxic secrets still bubbling beneath; and a tale of obsession, of grief, and the real meaning of truth.
Elizabeth Kay (@AnyOtherLizzy) started her career as an assistant at Penguin Random House. She is now a commissioning editor and is simultaneously pursuing her passion for writing. Her debut novel, Seven Lies, will be published in 2020. Elizabeth lives in London with her husband. @AnyOtherLizzy
Jessica Moor – Keeper (Penguin)
He’s been looking in the windows again. Messing with cameras. Leaving notes. Supposed to be a refuge. But death got inside. When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide. But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder. Will you listen to them?
Jessica Moor (@jessicammoor) studied English at Cambridge before completing a Creative Writing MA at Manchester University. Prior to this she spent a year working in the violence against women and girls sector and this experience inspired her first novel, KEEPER.
Trevor Wood – The Man on the Street (Quercus)
It started with a splash. Jimmy, a homeless veteran grappling with PTSD, did his best to pretend he hadn’t heard it – the sound of something heavy falling into the Tyne at the height of an argument between two men on the riverbank. Not his fight. Maybe it was another of his vivid nightmares? Since he found himself living on the streets, avoiding other people’s fights has helped him to survive. Trouble finds him easily enough without looking for it. Then a newspaper headline catches his eye: GIRL IN MISSING DAD PLEA. The girl, Carrie, reminds him of someone he lost. This makes his mind up: it’s time to stop hiding from his past. But telling Carrie, what he heard – or thought he heard – turns out to be just the beginning of the story. The police don’t believe him. Who believes a homeless man? But Carrie is adamant that something awful has happened to her dad and Jimmy agrees to help her, putting himself at risk from enemies old and new. But Jimmy has one big advantage: when you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Trevor Wood (@TrevorWoodWrite) has lived in Newcastle for twenty-five years and considers himself an adopted Geordie. He’s a successful playwright who has also worked as a journalist and spin-doctor for the City Council. Prior to that he served in the Royal Navy for sixteen years. Trevor holds an MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) from UEA. The Man on the Street is his first novel.
About Harrogate International Festivals
‘Harrogate International Festivals’ is a charitable organisation with a mission to present a diverse year-long programme of live events that bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible. Delivering artistic work of national importance, the Festival curates and produces over 300 unique and surprising performances each year, celebrating world-renowned artists and championing new and up-coming talent across music, literature, science, philosophy and psychology. The HIF+ ongoing education outreach programme engages schools, young people and the local community with workshops, talks, projects and inspiring activities, ensuring everyone can experience the Festival’s world class programme and the transformative power of the arts.
Established in 1966, Harrogate International Festivals are an artistic force to be reckoned with and a key cultural provider for the North of England.
Bad Love – as well as being released by Audible – is a title published by Jacaranda Books and is part of Jacaranda’s #Twentyin2020 campaign, publishing twenty titles by Black British writers this year.
Bad Love tells the story of Ekuah Danquah, a London-born Ghanaian who is 18 years old when she falls in love for the first time. As both narrator and protagonist now in her 30s, she delves into her memories of angst and confusion that dismantled her experience of that first, impactful romantic relationship.
It meets none of her rigid expectations and instead shines a light on other significant relationships in her life, especially the marriage of her parents, something she had long considered an unhappy pairing.
BAD LOVE by MAAME BLUE, Narrated by Vivienne Acheampong. Audible Original.
Released on 18th June 2020
About Bad Love
Maame Blue is a Ghanaian Londoner, writer, and project manager for not-for- profit organisations. As well as co-hosting Headscarves and Carry-ons – a podcast about black girls living abroad – she regularly runs social media campaigns for www.bmeprpros.co.uk and sporadically blogs over at www.maamebluewrites.com. In 2018 she won the Africa Writes x AFREADA flash fiction competition for her story Black Sky. She has since been published in AFREADA, Afribuku, and Memoir Magazine; with stories forthcoming in Storm Cellar Quarterly and Litro Magazine.
About Vivienne Acheampong
Vivienne Acheampong is an actress and comedian, best known for featuring in Death in Paradise (2011), The Trap (2015) and Turn Up Charlie (2019).
Among the acclaimed performers who have narrated works of literature for Audible are Zachary Quinto, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lily Collins, Emma Thompson and Jesse Eisenberg. Audible Studios has won a Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and has also been recognised with the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Audible invented and commercialised the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. On average, Audible members listen to Audible content for 2 hours a day. In 2018, Audible customers downloaded nearly 3 billion hours of content.
Thank you to @midaspr for my my #gifted audio version
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
This was the story of January, a romance writer who has lost her father and found out a terrible secret leaving her unable to write the love stories that used to come to her so easily. She moves to her fathers second house to empty it ready to sell it and with the hope of getting some writing done. She does not expect to be living next door to her old college rival, the guy who constantly criticised her work and never kept a girl for longer than a few weeks.
Although on the surface this is a fun romance it touches on so much more, it looks at grief, self acceptance, miscommunication and of course love! I really enjoyed how the story unfolded, the characters were well written, believable and I completely got lost in the story. I can see it being made into a movie!
This book was the perfect summer read, it had everything I didn’t know I needed in a beach read and I will definitely be picking up a copy of the authors next book
Thank you to @viking for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.