Good to a Fault – Marina Endicott, £12.99 paperback
Absorbed in her own failings, 43-year-old Clara Purdy crashes her life into a sharp left turn, taking the young family in the other car along with her. When bruises on the mother, Lorraine, prove to be late-stage cancer, Clara moves the three children and their terrible grandmother into her own house while Lorraine undergoes treatment at the local hospital. We know what is good, but we don’t do it. In Good to a Fault, Clara decides to give it a try, and then has to cope with the consequences : exhaustion, fury, hilarity, and unexpected love. But she questions her own motives. Is she acting out of true goodness, or out of guilt? And most shamefully, has she taken the family over simply because she wants one of her own? In Good to a Fault, award-winning writer Marina Endicott examines what we owe in this life and what we deserve.
The Rabbit Hutch – Tess Gunty, £9.99 paperback
Vacca Vale, Indiana: recently voted number 1 on Newsweek’s list of dying American cities. According to the developers, however, it’s a city with a whole history of reinvention, one that ‘buzzes with the American spirit.’Not everyone agrees though – certainly not the residents of the Rabbit Hutch, a low-cost housing complex in the once bustling industrial centre, populated by a cast of unforgettable, disenfranchised characters. There’s an online obituary writer, a woman waging a solo campaign against rodents and, most notably, eighteen-year-old Blandine, recently released from foster care and determined to stop the developers whatever the cost. Set over one sweltering week in July, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America. Bold, experimental and brilliantly written, it will live in the memory long after the final page.
Icebound – Andrea Pitzer, £9.99 paperback
A dramatic and compelling account of survival against the odds from the golden Age of Exploration. The human story has always been one of perseverance – often against remarkable odds. The most astonishing survival tale of all might be that of sixteenth-century Dutch explorer William Barents and his crew, who ventured further North than any Europeans before and, on their third polar expedition, lost their ship off the frozen coast of Nova Zembla to unforgiving ice. The men would spend the next year fighting off ravenous polar bears, gnawing hunger and endless winter. In Icebound, Andrea Pitzer masterfully combines a gripping tale of survival with a sweeping history of the great age of Exploration – a time of hope, adventure and seemingly unlimited geographic frontiers.
Learned By Heart – Emma Donoghue, £16.99 hardback
The heartbreaking story of the love of two women – Anne Lister, the real-life inspiration behind Gentleman Jack, and her first love, Eliza Raine. In 1805, at a boarding school in York, two fourteen-year-old girls first meet. Eliza Raine, the orphan daughter of an Indian mother, keeps herself apart from the other girls, tired of being picked out for being different. Anne Lister, a gifted troublemaker, is determined to conquer the world, refusing to bow to society’s expectations of what a woman can do. As they fall in love, the connection they forge will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Full of passion and heartbreak – evocative and wholly unique.
Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver, £9.99 paperback
Demon Copperhead is a once-in-a-generation novel that breaks and mends your heart in the way only the best fiction can. Demon’s story begins with his traumatic birth to a single mother in a single-wide trailer, looking ‘like a little blue prizefighter.’ For the life ahead of him he would need all of that fighting spirit, along with buckets of charm, a quick wit, and some unexpected talents, legal and otherwise.
In the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, poverty isn’t an idea, it’s as natural as the grass grows. For a generation growing up in this world, at the heart of the modern opioid crisis, addiction isn’t an abstraction, it’s neighbours, parents, and friends. ‘Family’ could mean love, or reluctant foster care. For Demon, born on the wrong side of luck, the affection and safety he craves is as remote as the ocean he dreams of seeing one day. The wonder is in how far he’s willing to travel to try and get there. Suffused with truth, anger and compassion, this is an epic tale of love, loss and everything in between.