books, previews

Out Today: No Life for Lady

The stats are coming tomorrow, but I just wanted to flag a new book that’s out today. Hannah Dolby’s debut, No Life for a Lady is about a 28 year old woman in 1896 who is trying to find her mother, who disappeared ten years earlier, whilst also trying to avoid her father’s efforts to marry her off before it is too late. The Amazon blurb says “perfect for fans of Dear Mrs Bird, The Maid and Lessons in Chemistry” which as you know would suggest that it is right in my wheelhouse in terms of reading tastes. I’ve started it (because I have it via NetGalley) and so far I’m really enjoying it, not least because it’s not set in London, which so many novels set in a similar setting are. I will report back when I finish it I’m sure, but I thought it was worth mentioning today because Hannah Dolby has a zoom event with a Northumbria libraries this lunchtime but it’s also been getting quite a lot of buzz as one of the interesting debuts of 2023 so I think you’ll be spotting it in bookshops all over over the next few months.

And just before I go – I’ve already mentioned it once in this post but Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons In Chemistry is out in paperback today. I loved it when I read it, everyone who I’ve loaned my copy to has loved it to, and it made all of the end of year lists too.

Run don’t walk everyone.


Out Today: Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes

Out today is The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes by Dr Kate Strasdin which examines what we can learn about Victorian life through one woman’s textile scrapbook. I’m always fascinated by the clothes people are wearing in portraits and I love a costume museum/exhibition as well so this sounds like it’s going to be my sort of thing. Coincidentally I was following the author on Twitter before I’d even heard of the book because as well as interesting historical stuff she also posts pictures of gorgeous dresses from history. And I do like a look at history through the medium of something mundane/normal.

A couple of years ago, I read The Button Box by Lynn Knight, which looked at the changing lives of women in the twentieth century by looking at the contents of a box of buttons that has been passed down through her family. I have a copy of The Dress Diary… so I intend to report back, but given how easily I get distracted by cozy crime or romance, I thought I probably ought to give it a mention today before I suddenly realise it’s three years later and I still haven’t read it. Which is basically what happened with The Button Box…

Book previews

Upcoming releases

When I wrote the Anticipated Books post at the very start of the year, I was lamenting the lack of detail on what was coming and when, but things are getting a little clearer now, so I’m back with a release update.

There are a couple of things coming next month. Firstly there is a new novel from Jacqueline Winspear, that is not in her Maisie Dobbs series. The White Lady is about a former spy living a retired life in 1947 Kent but who gets drawn (back) into a world of violence. And there’s a new novel from Jesse Sutano – I loved Dial A for Aunties, but didn’t like the sequel anywhere near as much, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she does with something different – Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murders has a 60 year old heroine who discovers a dead body in her tea shop.

The most exciting (for me anyway) might be the new Curtis Sittenfeld which is coming out in early April and is called Romantic Comedy. The blurb promises a TV screenwriter who is over romance but who meets an unlikely love interest that might change her mind. It’s nearly three years since Rodham and given that Eligible (her Pride and Prejudice retelling) is my favourite of her novels, I just can’t wait. Also in April is the new Emily Henry, which I did mention in the previous post and a new book from T J Klune – which is a Pinocchio retelling called In the Lives of Puppets.

Going even further into the future, I’m looking forward to the next Ali Hazelwood romance and Alice Bell’s Grave Expectations – a murder mystery about a medium with a ghost who follows her around and which has got a quote from Ben Aaronovitch on the cover. Talking of Aaronovitch, there’s a new Rivers of London novella coming in June called Winter’s Gifts. And there are a fair few of my regular autobuys who have books coming up – I wrote about Donna Andrews Meg Langslow series last week, and she has two more in the series coming in the second half of the year, including the fabulous pun Birder, She Wrote. Sarah MacLean’s next, Knockout is out in August, Christina Lauren have The True Love Experiment coming in May, Bridgerton author Julia Quinn is due to have a new book out in May, although there isn’t even a title yet – just a date on Amazon! And there’s a new Veronica Speedwell just a couple of weeks away too.

And no, I’m not telling you how many of these I have already preordered…

new releases, previews

Out Today: new Amy Lea

Actually this is another of those strange split releases that we seem to be getting so much now as the Kindle edition was out on the 10th, but the paperback is out today. Exes and O’s is the next book in the series that started with Set On You last year. This features unlucky in love Tara, who is revisiting her exes to try and find her shot at a second chance romance with her new flatmate Trevor as her sidekick. I have this on the to-read pile, but haven’t got to it yet, because: Meg Langslow binge, although writing this has reminded me why I really wanted to read it. It’s blurbed by Beth O’Leary and Ali Hazelwood if that helps you make your decision in the absence of a review from me!

Book previews

Pre-order update…

Every now and again I like to do a post about stuff I’ve got preordered and the anticipated books list, so as we head towards the autumn, I thought now was a good time to have a quick look ahead to what’s going to be dropping onto my doormat or my kindle in the next few months…

You’ve seen this list before. It’s got a little bit more blue than last time, and now it goes all the way to the bottom of the page. I’ve included it again as a bit of a reminder of what we’ve had going on this year – and some of the stuff I’ve already talked about in Anticipated books part one and part two.

Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell and Lady Julia Grey series are favourites of mine, so I’m really looking forward to her new book Killers of a Certain Age, about a group of retired female assassins. It’s out in about a week, and I have the kindle version pre-ordered and the paperback one (which is out early in 2023 here) just because I can!

In early October, the new book from Mary Roach is coming out in paperback here – it’s called Animal, Vegetable, Criminal. Roach writes amazing non-fiction books about quirky subjects, so I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this one. And once again, I’m getting it in paperback because they’re just more portable than hardbacks. Also all my other books of hers are in paperback and you know what I’m like for matching sets…

You already know about Carrie Soto is Back, which is also just days away now, and Lucy Worsley’s Agatha Christie biography, which is out in the autumn. And it’s probably not a surprise that I’ve got the next of Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock mysteries pre-ordered too – although A Tempest at Sea isn’t actually out until March 2023.

It’s not a preorder, and it’s also another 2023 book, but I’ve also got the next Kate Claybourn book via Netgalley, although to be honest, I’ll probably end up buying the paperback too. And I think that’s the lot. For now at least…


Half year lookahead!

I did a post at the start of the year with my most Anticipated Books of 2022 so I thought I would revisit and update for the midway point – when we have more details about the releases in the later bit of the year.

As you can see from the photo, I’ve actually read quite a lot of the anticipated stuff that I have copies of from the first half of the year (stuff with a blue line through it means I’ve read it!) and the whole list is quite first half of the year heavy still.

So, what’s on the preorder list at the moment? Well the third (and final?) Vera Kelly book – Vera Kelly: Lost and Found which is out in September. I’ve really enjoyed the first two books in the series which has seen Vera junketing around Argentina and also a children’s home in upstate New York. This one sees Vera heading off to Los Angeles and sees her trying to track down her missing girlfriend. The Kindle is actually already available apparently, but I have the others in this series in paperback and I want them to match…

The next in Olivia Dade’s Spoiler Alert series is out in November – Shipwrecked is about actors who had a one night stand years ago and are now co-stars in an epic to series. And somehow linked in my head, but for reasons I can’t understand is Jen DeLuca’s Ren faire series – I did mention Well Travelled in the first post but it has slipped back further in the year and is now out in December and features the Duelling Kilts band that we’ve met in earlier books.

I’ve also got my eye on Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Matthews, which looks like it could be quality Rich People Problems stuff – with a wife in Maine for the summer with the kids and her husband in Brooklyn looking for funding for his start up. That’s out in August, but it’s a £20 hard back so I’m hanging fire on a preorder at the moment because that’s a lot for a new to me author.

On the non fiction front, I have my eye on Sarah Churchwell’s The Wrath to Come exploring modern America through the myth of Gone with the Wind. I haven’t preordered it yet because the pile is so big and I read hardback none fiction so slowly, but it looks really good.

And finally then there is Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde, which retells and reimagines the story of Marilyn Monroe and is not new at all – it’s about to be a movie for goodness sake but appears to be out of print in English so I’ve bunged a preorder in for the rerelease in September in case I don’t find a second hand copy sooner!

That’s it for now on the upcoming, but here are links to the posts where I’ve talked about some of my anticipated releases from the first half of the year: The Christie Affair, The Maid, Fatal Crossing, Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting, Attack and Decay, Amongst Our Weapons and The Prize Racket. And finally here’s my favourite new books of the first half of 2022.

Book previews, previews

Out today: Godmersham Park

I’m actually quite excited about this – you may remember that I loved Miss Austen a couple of years ago, and now Gill Hornby has written another book with Jane Austen and her family in it. I have a copy, but I haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t write a review (yet) but I wanted to mention it here today because I haven’t seen anywhere near as many mentions of this as I did of Miss Austen when that was about to come out!