Welcome to February! That bittersweet moment when work and school resume and life kicks off in earnest for another year. I have always liked returning to the gentle rhythms of routine come February, a more predictable week means more a predictable word count. Also it’s nice to sleep again once the tennis is done (Go Fed!).
But – if you find it hard to get enthused about the prospect of returning to work and the end of summer (although I’m pretty sure all the writers out there are rubbing their hands in glee as Autumn approaches) then I have an antidote for you. If you have used up all your leave over the summer and now face eleven long months of nose-to-grindstone then I have the solution for you. Or, if you just love books, then this is the post for you. Read on, dear reader.
Here is a list of some of the brilliant books that are being released in the first quarter of this year. A couple are already out, and I can personally vouch for the lyrical beauty of The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan since I am part way through it. (Actually I am sacrificing reading time to revive my blog right now. A moment’s appreciation for my resolution, please.)
The rest are books that I have been (im)patiently waiting for (Natasha Lester, A.L. Tait, Kirsty Manning, I’m looking at you) or that have caught my eye with their fabulous covers or intriguing blurbs.
There are also some books that don’t feature because I couldn’t find any concrete release details, but Wendy Orr, author of Nim’s Island and Dragonflysong has another Minoan tale coming later this year and I’m pretty sure Kate Morton must be publishing this year based on the amount of editing I’ve seen going on on her Instagram. That may just be wishful thinking.
January 2018 : The Sisters’ Song by Louise Allan
Set in rural Tasmania from the 1920s to the 1990s, The Sisters’ Song traces the lives of two very different sisters. One for whom giving and loving are her most natural qualities and the other who cannot forgive and forget.
As children, Ida loves looking after her younger sister, Nora, but when their beloved father dies in 1926, everything changes. The two young girls move in with their grandmother who is particularly encouraging of Nora’s musical talent. Nora eventually follows her dream of a brilliant musical career, while Ida takes a job as a nanny and their lives become quite separate.
The two sisters are reunited when Nora’s life takes an unwelcome direction and she finds herself, embittered and resentful, isolated in the Tasmanian bush with a husband and children.
Ida longs passionately for a family and when she marries Len, a reliable and good man, she hopes to soon become a mother. Over time, it becomes clear that this is never likely to happen. In Ida’s eyes, it seems that Nora possesses everything in life that could possibly matter yet she values none of it.
Set in rural Tasmania over a span of seventy years, the strengths and flaws of motherhood are revealed through the mercurial relationship of these two very different sisters. The Sisters’ Song speaks of dreams, children and family, all entwined with a musical thread that binds them together.
January 30 2018: The Secret at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier
1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn’t easy.
Into the Hasses’ new life wanders Lily’s shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily and Girlie really are.
Inspired by the author’s own family history, The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family’s search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. If you loved The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower’s Companion you will love this story.
“this is a tale of secrets, and one of the great achievements of the novel is that the author knows how to keep a secret, how to betray a secret, how to pass on a secret and how – and when – to divulge a secret.”
— Cass Moriarty, author of The Promise Seed and Parting Words
February 2018: Water Under the Bridge by Lily Malone
Ella Davenport hasn’t been in a swimming pool since a bad decision ruined her chance of Olympic gold. So when Ella decides on a new career selling property, she chooses Chalk Hill. The country town is a long way from the water, with no pool in sight. Perfect!
Jake Honeychurch doesn’t want to sell his nanna’s house, but circumstances force his hand. Listing the property with the rookie real estate agent in town and asking a hefty price means it shouldn’t find a buyer. Perfect!
But determination and persistence are traits Jake admires, and Ella has them in spades. After all, no one ever made an Olympic team by being a quitter.
When news breaks of a proposed waterski park, a local developer starts sniffing around Honeychurch House. Ella’s first sale is so close she can taste it, until a sharp-eyed local recognises her. Between sale negotiations with Jake that keep getting sidetracked, and a swimming pool committee hellbent on making a splash, Ella has more to contend with than kisses and chlorine.
Can she throw off the failures of the past and take the chance of a new start? Or will her dreams of a new life be washed away?
March 27 2018: The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester
How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion? From the bestselling author of A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD and HER MOTHER’S SECRET.
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.
Crossing generations, society’s boundaries and international turmoil, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.
Also March 27: The Ateban Cipher by A.L. Tait.
An orphan in exile. A band of rebel girls. And a prince whose throne has been stolen. Come on a journey full of danger, intrigue, adventure and incredible secrets.
‘The Ateban Cipher,’ Lucien continued, ‘is also known as the Book of Answers.’
‘Answers to what?’ Eddie asked.
Lucien sighed. ‘Everything.
In the second gripping Ateban Cipher novel, Gabe and his companions journey to a remote mountain citadel where they learn the secret of the mysterious, encrypted book that Gabe has been tasked with protecting. But their enemies are close behind them, and new dangers lie ahead.
As Eddie seeks to regain his crown, and Merry and Gwyn race to free their father, Gabe will discover the answer to his own great mystery – his true identity.
April 24 2018: The Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning
‘…compelling, passionate and admirable.’
Australian Women’s Weekly
In 2016, fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm, when her grandfather is dying. With only weeks left together, her grandparents begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century.
In 1939, two young girls meet in Shanghai, the ‘Paris of the East’: beautiful local Li and Viennese refugee Romy form a fierce friendship. But the deepening shadows of World War Two fall over the women as Li and Romy slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession and the desperate Shanghai Ghetto. Eventually, they are forced separate ways as Romy doubts Li’s loyalties.
After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. As she peels back the layers of their hidden lives, she begins to question everything she knows about her family – and herself.
A compelling and gorgeously told tale of female friendship, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage to shape us all.
Also April: You Wish by Lia Weston
Sometimes imagination is not enough.
Thomas Lash grants secret wishes . . . on-screen, that is.White wedding gone horribly wrong and need to swap the groom?
Never went to university but must have a graduation photo?
Need to create a fake family for that job interview?
Problem solved with expert Photoshopping and Tom’s peculiar ability to know exactly what you desire. Tom never says no, even when giving grieving parents the chance to see what the lives of their lost children may have looked like.But where do you draw the line . . .
and what happens when the fantasy Tom sees on-screen
starts to bleed into his real life?