When Jen and Hugh Maddox’s daughter, Lana, goes missing on an art retreat in the Peak District, they fear the worst. But four days later, Lana is found, bruised and bleeding but alive. When they ask her what happened, and where she had been, her only answers are ‘I got lost’ and ‘I can’t remember’. The family try to return to their normal lives, but Jen’s need to know what happened leaders to her constant surveillance of Lana’s life, driving them further and further apart, until Jen’s obsession steers her into dangerous territory.
Kate Weinberg’s debut novel, The Truants, pulls dark academia out of the elite and picturesque colleges of America and plunges it into a Brutalist-style university found in the east of England. Jess Walker begins her undergraduate degree enthralled by her enigmatic professor, Lorna Clay, whose class on the master storyteller Agatha Christie sets the scene for the rest of the novel and its mysteries. The Truants is a story about stories, but in particular, it’s about the reliability of our storytellers. Just how much of what they’re telling us is the truth?
In the 1980s, two rookie cops move their blossoming families to the small town of Gillam, just north of New York City. Francis Gleeson and his wife, Lena, try to welcome their new neighbours, Brian and Anne Stanhope, but they receive a frosty reception from Anne. As their families grow side by side, inevitably intertwining, their quiet suburban lives hurtle towards an act that will change all of them forever. Spanning four decades, Ask Again Yes examines relationships of all kinds; marriage, friendship, parent-child relationships. It considers how each of those relationships are tested and how powerful forgiveness can be.
Augusta Hope has never really felt like she belonged, especially not in her small, boring, English town. Too inquisitive for her down-to-earth parents, Augusta clings to the bond she has with her twin sister, Julia, despite them being complete opposites. Half a world away, Parfait is living the small African country of Burundi, dreaming of a better life for himself and his siblings, not all of whom have survived the horrific war that has torn apart his country. A terrible tragedy leaves Augusta even more lost than before, and she sets out on a journey to find out where it is she’s supposed to be.
Within the first few pages of If Cats Disappeared From the World, the narrator learns of his imminent death. He returns to his apartment, where he lives alone with little contact with his family following his mother’s death, and seeks solace in the fur of his beloved cat, Cabbage. Before he can truly come to terms with his prognosis, he encounters the Devil, a Hawaiian-shirt-clad version of himself who informs him that he has just a day to live. But the Devil offers him a deal: in exchange for removing one thing from the world, the narrator will be granted an additional day of life. What follows is an unusual week of decisions, in which our narrator learns what really matters to him and what he’s willing to lose in order to live.
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s hugely hyped up novel, Daisy Jones & The Six, comes after the success of her 2017 hit, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Both play with an interview format, spanning the ups and downs of hugely successful celebrity icons. Daisy Jones & The Six follows the eponymous character, Daisy Jones, as she joins forces with rock band The Six to become one of the biggest groups of the 70s. Fuelled by sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll they embark on a rip-roaring career with a killer album and a sold-out tour to boot. But following one of their best shows, and at the peak of their success, they suddenly disband with no explanation, leaving fans heartbroken and bewildered. Decades later, the band and those close to them open up about what happened with Daisy Jones & The Six.
House of Impossible Beauties charts the lives of the drags queens that formed the beginning of legendary Latino drag house, the House of Xtravaganza. In 1980s New York City, Angel is seventeen and finally coming into her own. When her mother rejects her, she looks for a new family in the ball scene, where she meets Hector. They fall in love and decide to create their own all-Latino house, with Angel as the ruling mother, and Hector beside her as house father. When Hector dies from AIDs-related causes, Angel must mother her drag children alone. Venus, Juanito and Daniel all lean on each other and their mother Angel, as they learn how to navigate the ballroom scene, along with sex work, drug addiction, and society’s rejection of their true selves.
When leading physics professor Helen Clapp begins receiving texts from her college best friend, Charlie, she starts to doubt everything she thought she knew about science and about life. After all, Charlie’s dead. As Helen becomes more involved in the lives of Charlie’s grieving husband and daughter, she begins to uncover things she had long forgotten, not only about Charlie, but also herself.
When immigrant Jane is offered a chance to make a life-changing amount of money at Golden Oaks Farm, she hesitantly agrees. After all, she’s not left with many other options. Jane leaves her cramped Queens dorm that she shares with her baby daughter, her super-nanny cousin Ate, and a host of other immigrants, to become a Host. For the next nine months she’ll carry the unborn child of an ultra-rich Client. Every piece of food she consumes, every action she takes, every phone call she makes, will be monitored by the Coordinators, headed up by the ambitious Mae Yu. At first Jane marvels at her surroundings, more luxurious than she’s ever known herself, but fear soon sets in as she begins to fret about her daughter’s well-being and the other Hosts’ suspicions about Golden Oaks become her own.
In a not-so-distant future, abortion is once again illegal in America. Red Clocks explores the impact of these laws on five women living in a rural Oregon fishing town: The Biographer, The Explorer, The Daughter, The Mender, and The Wife.