Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler, £9.99 paperback
Through every family run memories which bind it together – despite everything. The Tulls of Baltimore are no exception. Abandoned by her salesman husband, Pearl is left to bring up her three children alone – Cody, a flawed devil, Ezra, a flawed saint, and Jenny, errant and passionate. Now, as Pearl lies dying, stiffly encased in her pride and solitude, the past is unlocked and with it its secrets.
The Queen of Dirt Island – Donal Ryan, £9.99 paperback
This is a story about family, about all of the things it should be – and sometimes isn’t. In Nenagh, County Tipperary, four generations of Aylward women live and love. The head of the family, Nana, is a woman who has buried two sons and whose life has been the family farm. Her daughter-in-law, Eileen, is estranged from her own parents, having ‘shamed’ them and given birth to Saoirse. And then there’s Saoirse herself, eavesdropping on lives she cannot comprehend. It is only when they must battle for the inheritance of Dirt Island – a narrow strip of land adjacent to Eileen’s childhood home – that they truly understand the roots that bind their lives together.
Voices in Summer – Rosamunde Pilcher, £8.99 paperback
Laura, newly married and ever conscious she may be living in the shadow of her husband Alec’s first wife, decides to take a holiday with his family in Cornwall. Through the long hot summer days she is slowly charmed by the beautiful old house and the people she learns to know and love. In time her uneasy spirit is soothed by the sparkling, brilliant sea, and her restless heart finally calmed. But is this new-found tranquility too good to be true? For with the arrival of an anonymous letter, one accusing her of having an affair, Laura’s world is thrown into turmoil.
The Glass Hotel – Emily St John Mandel, £9.99 paperback
The Glass Hotel is the story of the lives caught up in two very different tragedies: a woman disappearing from a container ship, and a massive Ponzi scheme imploding in New York. Vincent is the beautiful bartender at the exclusive Hotel Caiette. When New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis walks into the hotel and hands her his card, it is the beginning of their life together. That same night, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: ‘Why don’t you swallow broken glass.’ Leon Prevant, a shipping executive, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. When Alkaitis’s investment fund is revealed to be a Ponzi scheme, Leon loses his retirement savings in the fallout, but Vincent seemingly walks away unscathed. Until, a decade later, she disappears from the deck of one of Leon’s ships.
The Birdcatcher – Gayl Jones, £9.99 paperback
‘I am living on the white-washed island of Ibiza with my friend Catherine Shuger, a sculptor who has been declared legally insane, and her husband, Ernest. Standing on the terrace, sheltered in the smell of oranges and eucalyptus, washed in sunlight, you’d swear this was a paradise. But to tell the truth the place is full of dangers. You see, Catherine sometimes tries to kill her husband. It has been this way for years. My name’s Amanda Wordlaw. Wonderful name for a writer, isn’t it? I guess I’m sort of a choice companion for the Shugers – professional watcher and listener that I am. It’s like they need someone else to witness the spectacle they make of themselves.’ A novel that is part mystery, part thriller, and wholly captivating.
The Blackbird – Tim Weaver, £8.99 paperback
CCTV footage captures Cate and Aiden Gascoigne driving home seconds before their car plunges into a ravine and explodes. When fire crews arrive, the vehicle is empty. Cate and Aiden have vanished. Missing persons investigator David Raker has solved too many impossible cases. He knows that behind every disappearance lies a dark tale waiting to be uncovered. What he doesn’t know is how dark this one is – or how close it will get to him.
Real Tigers – Mick Herron, £8.99 paperback
Catherine Standish, one of their number, worked in Regent’s Park long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing and stabbing in the back, and she’s known Jackson Lamb long enough to have learned that old sins cast long shadows. And she also knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks, even recovering drunks whose careers have crashed and burned. What she doesn’t know is why anyone would target her. So whoever’s holding her hostage, it can’t be personal. It must be about Slough House. Most likely, it’s about Jackson Lamb. And say what you like about Lamb, he’ll never leave a joe in the lurch. He might even be someone you could trust with your life.
When We Were Birds – Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, £9.99 paperback
Darwin is a down-on-his-luck gravedigger, newly arrived in the Trinidadian city of Port Angeles to seek his fortune, young and beautiful and lost. Estranged from his mother and the Rastafari faith she taught him, he is convinced that the father he never met may be waiting for him somewhere amid these bustling streets.
Meanwhile in an old house on a hill, where the city meets the rainforest, Yejide’s mother is dying. And she is leaving behind a legacy that now passes to Yejide: the power to talk to the dead. The women of Yejide’s family are human but also not – descended from corbeau, the black birds that fly east at sunset, taking with them the souls of the dead. Darwin and Yejide both have something that the other needs.
Their destinies are intertwined, and they will find one another in the sprawling, ancient cemetery at the heart of the island, where trouble is brewing. Rich with magic and wisdom, When We Were Birds is an exuberant masterpiece that conjures and mesmerises on every line.