Arts

Books: New from Peter Swanson, Catriona Ward, Dawnie Walton, Craig Taylor...

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson

FICTION

Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson is published in hardback by Faber & Faber, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99)

YOU'LL struggle not to read Every Vow You Break in one sitting. Peter Swanson's subtle hints that all is not what it seems build to a thrilling and gripping crescendo. After a whirlwind romance, Abigail is whisked away to a private island by her new husband Bruce – but the spell is broken when the charismatic stranger who seduced Abigail on her hen do suddenly appears. The author peels away layers of treachery leaving the reader, and unwitting newlywed Abigail, unsure of who to trust. Swanson taps into a survival instinct particularly resonant with the female experience, and makes Every Vow You Break glamorous, dark and terrifying.

9/10

Julia Saqui

The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward is published in hardback by Viper, priced £12.99 (ebook £4.87)

THE Last House On Needless Street tells the story of a missing child and her sister's quest to find her. Dee's sister Lulu vanishes on a family trip to the lake, where many children have gone missing before. Suspecting Ted, the quiet man who lives on the last house of Needless Street with his daughter Lauren and cat Olivia, Dee finally tracks him down years later, determined to discover what happened that fateful afternoon. But things inside the house are not as expected. This is a truly captivating Gothic-thriller novel – a champion of the genre, it hooks you in from the very first page. It would have been simple for Catriona Ward to slip into the trap of a typical serial killer book, but instead she has created a rare work of fiction that explores the human will to endure – no matter the cost.

9/10

Emma O'Neill

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton is published in hardback by Quercus, priced £14.99 (ebook £6.99)

AN ORAL history reminiscent of Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Dawnie Walton's debut is a smash hit. Chronicling the rise and fall of interracial rock duo Opal & Nev in the 1970s, Walton's lyrical style exposes the raw truth of systemic racism alongside the power of innovation. At the heart of the story is Opal Jewel; an audaciously unapologetic Afro-punk heroine, who is so alive as a character that it feels as though Walton has rewritten music history. In a combination of music, politics, race and feminism that transcends the line between fiction and reality, Walton makes a poignant statement about freedom of expression and finding your own path.

9/10

Rebecca Wilcock

NON-FICTION

New Yorkers: A City and Its People in Our Time by Craig Taylor is published in hardback by John Murray Press, priced £25 (ebook £16.99)

FOLLOWING on from his bestselling novel Londoners, Craig Taylor searches for the perfect snapshot of a very different, yet still iconic city: New York. His anthological look at America's most famous metropolis features unvarnished versions of the city's past few tumultuous decades, from the people who know it best. His contributions throughout give clarity and perspective only when it is necessary; his own experiences of NYC are woven through interludes in an otherwise untouched treasury of anecdotes, showing just how powerful any one ordinary person's story can be. From a nanny to a personal injury lawyer, a 911 dispatcher to a window cleaner, New Yorkers beautifully captures the unsung voices of its streets, skyscrapers and subways, to throw open a window to a world that is unlike any other – depending on who you ask.

9/10

Sophie Hogan

Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania And Healing by Horatio Clare is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus, priced £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

IN THIS hard-hitting but tender-hearted memoir, Horatio Clare shares an insight into the deterioration of the mind and his path to recovery from mental illness. Heavy Light allows readers to step into the thought processes of someone suffering from mania and psychosis, as well as witness the effect it has on those who love them. It is a story that frankly recalls fragmented accounts of a breakdown – including being sectioned – but weaves these events together with humour and warmth. When light appears at the end of the tunnel, Clare thoughtfully and determinedly seeks to challenge the status-quo on treatment for mental health conditions. You do have to be ready for the ride, but it is one that will open eyes and hopefully pave the way for accessibility to more appropriate care.

8/10

Hannah Millington

CHILDREN'S

Everyday Magic: The Adventures of Alfie Blackstack by Jess Kidd is published in paperback by Canongate, priced £6.99 (ebook £4.49)

NINE-year-old Alfie has been orphaned, thanks to the irresponsible pursuits of his bird-brained father and impulsive mother. Now, he must live with aunts he's never met and knows very little about – including the fact they're witches. Holed up in their vast, enchanted house in the middle of the woods, Alfie is soon swept up into magical mayhem. Together with his new friend Calypso, it's not long before he has to find the courage to save one of his aunts from imprisonment by the evil Head Witch – and rescue Calypso's young sister, Nova, from a snow globe. Everyday Magic is an easy and enjoyable read with lots of creative magical imaginings, vibrant characters and just the right amount of suspense to keep the pages turning quickly.

7/10

Nicole Whitton

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