All We Shall Know, Donal Ryan
This is another stunner from Donal Ryan, who is fast becoming one of my favourite writers. Melody Shee is pregnant and the child is not her husband’s. She’s struggling with morning sickness as well as the looming uncertainty of a future as a single mother, but her life changes in ways even she couldn’t imagine when she meets Mary Crothery. Told in the first person, All We Shall Know is vivid, painful and beautiful all at once. Highly recommended.
Beloved Poison, E.S. Thomson
A mystery set in the crumbling St Saviours Hospital in London where there are more secrets hidden than horrible diseases on the wards. During a crucial period in Britain’s history, science, technology and the industrial revolution are literally railroading the old ways and beliefs. Jem (disguising herself as a man to work as an apothecary), and new arrival to the city Will Quartermain make a grisly discovery in the hospital chapel, but who can they trust to help them solve the mystery? Beautifully written, evoking the sights and smells of a very different London, Beloved Poison is an excellent debut.
Gather, Gill Meller
Gill Meller first appeared on screen as part of Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s River Cottage team where as Head Chef he helped deliver recipes inspired by the beautiful landscapes that surrounded them. In Gather, his first book, he guides us through a year of recipes, taking us from moor to woodland and heaven in between. Using ingredients that are by and large found throughout Britain, it’s time to get your foraging gear on and get out there to gather.
The Secret Library, Oliver Tearle
In the same tradition as The History of the World in 100 Objects, this wonderful book charts the history of Western civilisation through what many (including me) consider to be its finest achievement, the book. Classics appear as well as long forgotten and neglected tomes and Dr Tearle makes some surprising connections – discover what connects Wisden’s cricket almanac to Arthur Conan Doyle for example. A beautifully presented gift edition, perfect for any bibliophile.
The Shipping Forecast, A Miscellany, Nic Compton
Is there anything more soothing than listening to the shipping forecast as you drift off to sleep? A cultural institution in the UK, the shipping forecast has been celebrated by poets, writers and composers for decades. This lovely miscellany is full of snippets and in-depth facts that will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered exactly where Rockall, Dogger and German Bight are and why they are included. Destined to become a perennial bestseller in the same vein as For the Love of Radio 4.
The Book of Beasts, Colour and Discover, Angela Rizza
With excitement about the new Harry Potter franchise hitting cinemas this Christmas, this stunning colouring book couldn’t come at a better time. Not just a great colouring book, each ‘beast’ comes with the origins of the myth. With creatures ranging from the Roc to the Kraken, there’s something here to entertain every beast hunter.
Cogheart, Peter Bunzl
Set in an alternative steampunk Victorian era, where airships are as common as trains and ‘mechanicals’ are as likely to be butlers as flower sellers, Peter Bunzl delivers a rip-roaring debut which will entertain hugely. Heroine Lily must race against the shadowy Hybrids to find the cogheart they are desperate to get their hands on in order to save her father. She’s aided by a fantastic cast of characters, including wily Malkin a mechanimal fox. This is an excellent fantasy adventure for younger readers. Cogwheels and crankshafts, there’s just so much to enjoy!
The Graces, Laure Eve
The Graces are three siblings who everyone at school says are witches. Certainly, their aloof manner and eccentric dress sense ensure their sense of being apart from their schoolmates. River is the new girl, already an outsider, and she is determined to show the Graces that they were destined to be together. This is a gripping thriller for young adults – mystery witchcraft and a bit of unrequited love that will hook you from the first page.
That’s Not My Badger, Fiona Watt
Fiona watt’s juggernaut series continues with one of the most iconic and beloved UK animals – step up the badger! Wee ones cannot get enough of this touchy-feely series: as always, it is attractively packaged and is sure to be a big seller.
The Racehorse That Wouldn’t Gallop, Clare Balding
Younger readers will love this tale of a slightly chaotic family trying to raise money to save their farm by buying a race horse that won’t gallop. There’s an instantly loveable cast of characters including a very naughty pony called Percy, a racehorse called Noddy and even a guest appearance by the Queen. Throughout the positive messages of teamwork and hard work are reinforced – this is set to be a classic.