Finding love, hope and joy in even the darkest moments. In Lucy Diamond’s The Promise, a young man whose brother has just died is on a mission … a project to help pick up the pieces and support his grieving sister-in-law Zoe, plus her young children. This is his promise – to ensure his family’s happiness, and to try and live up to the man his brother was. But tying up loose ends brings a shocking secret to light, and calls into question everything he knew about his older brother, and he’s faced with an ultimatum – should he tell the truth and risk his family’s fragile happiness, or will his brother’s secrets end up becoming his own? Pan Macmillan.
Oh dear. Get the tissues out. Pippo and Clara by Diana Rosie is set in Italy in 1938. Mussolini is in power, and war isn’t far off. Clara and Pippo are children, their family new to the city. One morning, their mamma goes missing, and 10-year-old Clara needs to find her. She doesn’t know which way to turn. A little later, her younger brother goes out, looking for his mum and sister. Clara’s turned one way, he turns the other. And so their lives are changed forever. In a country torn apart by war, siblings are divided by fate. But there’s an invisible bond that connects us to those we love, no matter which way we turn. A chilly weekend, a fireplace and soft sofa and a copy of this heart-warming novel … heaven. Mantle
Not Dark Yet is Peter Robinson’s latest Alan Banks crime novel, which opens with a gruesome double murder at a property developer’s luxury home. With a clear link to the notoriously vicious Albanian mafia, it should be an open-and-shut case for Superintendent Banks and his team. But when they find a cache of spy-cam videos in the house, the investigation pivots to the rape of a young girl, and the murders are cast in an entirely different light. Hodder and Stoughton.
Lies. Mistakes. And missing children. Doesn’t get more nerve-shredding than this. When They Find Her – an emotional debut by Lia Middleton – is about a desperate mother, a tragic accident, and a terrible lie that spirals out of control. It’s the story of Naomi, who after making a dreadful mistake, lost custody of her only child, a daughter who’s come home for a visit, giving Naomi a chance to rebuild her family. But the night
ends in a terrible accident, and Naomi reports her daughter missing. Which is a lie. But worse than the lie is the truth … which is she has no memory of what really happened. Penguin Random House.
Middelvlei Wines winemaker Tinnie Momberg describes this Free-Run Pinotage 2019 as a wine with complex flavours of raspberries, mulberries and elegant oak spices, adding that the gentle tannins are perfectly balanced by the fruit weight with creamy vanilla flavours that linger on the palate. It’s lovely with a braai, and you’ll find it for R150 a bottle from middelvlei.co.za
When no one knows you exist, you don’t have to play by the rules. In Tom Marcus’ Defend or Die, former MI5 officer Matt Logan is part of a totally deniable government organisation, with full license to do whatever it takes to neutralise threats to the UK’s national security. License he takes full advantage of when intelligence comes through about plans by the Kremlin to launch a terror attack in London, one which could tear the nation apart. Marcus – not his real name – writes with complete authority … in his day job, he was hand-picked from the army to be a surveillance officer for MI5, where he spent a decade on the front line protecting his country before leaving due to PTSD. His debut book, Soldier Spy, was the first true ground-level account to be told about the fight on the streets – and had to be vetted and cleared for publication by MI5. Due to continuing threats, his identity is hidden, and he continues to work with the security service and other agencies to ensure he stays safe. Macmillan
There’s never been a David Baldacci we haven’t loved … so oh joy … a new one’s just hit the bookshelves. A Gambling Man is set in the late 1940s. Aloysius Archer’s heading west to California. Not yet 30, and fresh out of prison for a crime he didn’t commit, his wants are fairly simple … a roof over his head, three meals a day and a steady supply of Lucky Strikes. Oh … and a profession. Intrigued by a sign as the bus passes in Reno (the biggest little city in the world), he jumps off, and later that evening, visits a casino, where he meets aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Off they go, on a journey that’s filled with more danger and surprises they could have imagined … corruption, murder in a burlesque club, truth mixed with lies and massive amounts of small-town-with-tight-lipped-community intrigue. The era’s perfectly captured, the book thrilling. Macmillan.
BOOK OF THE MONTH …
Mother-to-be Helen has it all. Daniel – the perfect husband. Rory – the perfect brother. Serena – the perfect sister-in-law. And Rachel – the perfect nightmare. When Helen attends her first antenatal class, she is expecting her loving husband to arrive, along with charming Rory and his also pregnant wife, the effortlessly beautiful Serena. What she is not expecting is Rachel. Extroverted, brash, unsettling single mother-to-be Rachel, who just wants to be Helen’s friend. Who just wants to get know Helen and her friends and her family. Who manages to cleverly find out all the information she needs … the question is, why does she need it?
Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner is a psychological thriller which really is, in a month full of exceptional reads, a stand-out. You think you know what’s going to happen. You don’t. And you won’t put it down. Bloomsbury, available from Exclusive Books.
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