The time has come to either buy another bookcase, a bigger house or be ruthless and part company with some books. I haven’t read anywhere near half of several hundred physical books and I’ve no idea of how many more are waiting on my kindle. Another few hundred, I’m sure. I never keep count for fear of a meltdown 😉 So, in 2020 I’m going to make a conscious effort to read more of my own books.
Anyway, I thought I’d have a quick look through the bookshelves and choose just a small selection of the books I’m really looking forward to reading this coming year. There are so many more…
The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
Edinburgh, 1849. Despite Edinburgh being at the forefront of modern medicine, hordes of patients are dying all across the city, with doctors finding their remedies powerless. But it is not just the deaths that dismay the esteemed Dr James Simpson. A whispering campaign seeks to blame him for the death of a patient in suspicious circumstances.
Simpson’s protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher are determined to clear their patron’s name. But with Raven battling against the dark side of his own nature, and Sarah endeavouring to expand her own medical knowledge beyond what society deems acceptable for a woman, the pair struggle to understand the cause of the deaths.
I read the first book, The Way Of All Flesh, and really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to this one.
The Cuckoo’s Calling: Cormoran Strike Book 1 by Robert Galbraith
When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.
Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .
After watching the televised series I’m interested to read the books to see how they compare.
The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech
Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes he hadn’t…
Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…
Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?
I loved Call Me Star Girl, my first book by this author, and am looking forward to reading more of her back catalogue.
None So Blind by Alis Hawkins
West Wales, 1850.
When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery. He knows exactly whose bones they are.
Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty, but the investigation turns up more questions than answers.
The search for the truth will prove costly. Will Harry and John be the ones to pay the highest price?
This book really appeals to me and since I believe the third in the series is out soon, I’d better get a move on!
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
Inspired by true events, the New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.
Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America.
Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.
After having enjoyed The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter so much, with the mix of fact and fiction, this book found its way on the bookshelf immediately after.
The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag
The Cambridge University witches have been meeting for as long as the university has been around – over 900 years – they meet mainly to discuss books, though they do so on the roofs of the colleges and they drink hot chocolate while up there. The members are limited and selective, only those invited can join. In 2014 this includes Kat (a great spell-caster and professor of mathematics), George (a professor of Classics & all-round witch who seems to have no special skills), Amandine (retired French Literature professor and psychic, Kat’s mother) and Noa (student of history – who sees people’s secrets and can’t help but say them). Cosima, Kat’s sister, is the chef/owner of Gustare, the best cafe in Cambridge, where they group meets every month.
The thread of magical realism drew me to Menna van Praag’s books and I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read very much.
Deadland by William Shaw
The two boys never fitted in. Seventeen, the worst age, nothing to do but smoke weed; at least they have each other. The day they speed off on a moped with a stolen mobile, they’re ready to celebrate their luck at last. Until their victim comes looking for what’s his – and ready to kill for it.
YOU CAN HIDE
On the other side of Kent’s wealth divide, DS Alexandra Cupidi faces the strangest murder investigation of her career. A severed limb, hidden inside a modern sculpture in Margate’s Turner Contemporary. No one takes it seriously – not even the artwork’s owners, celebrity dealers who act like they’re above the law.
YOU CAN DIE
But as Cupidi’s case becomes ever more sinister, as she wrangles with police politics and personal dilemmas, she can’t help worrying about those runaway boys. Seventeen, the same age as her own headstrong daughter. Alone, on the marshes, they’re pawns in someone else’s game. Two worlds are about to collide.
This author is an auto buy for me after reading The Birdwatcher and Salt Lane. I have high hopes for this one.
A Tap On The Window by Linwood Barclay
When Cal Weaver stops at a red light on a rainy night while driving home, he ignores the bedraggled-looking teenage girl trying to hitch a ride – even when she starts tapping on his window. But when he realises she’s one of his son’s classmates, he knows he can’t really leave her, alone, on the street.
But nothing prepares him for the consequences of trying to help her out. The next morning he’s gone from Good Samaritan to Murder Suspect, and with one girl dead and another missing, he’s suddenly at the centre of a deadly puzzle that reaches right to the heart of the town – from its bullying police force to its strangely furtive mayor – and finally to one family’s shocking secret.
The description sold me on this one, and the fact the protagonist is from the Promise Falls series.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
There was such a good buzz about this book, and I was intrigued enough by the description to go for it.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
On 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.
Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. But instead of his usual suite, he must now live in an attic room while Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval.