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Anticipated Reads: Christmas Wishlists

By Charlotte Barber, Ekta Rajagopalan, Maisy Twaddle and Anna Robinson


The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle

29 November, Park Row

Bestselling author Kimberly Belle returns with her much anticipated thriller, which will keep you guessing till the very end.


Alex, a mommy-blogger, sees her life transform overnight when her unscripted family moments and motivational quotes begin going viral online. Despite having had no intention of becoming an influencer, her online presence soon becomes impossible to manage without a personal assistant.

AC seems like the answer to all of Alex’s prayers, stepping in to help the blogger manage her online workload, as well as her private life. However, when one controversial post goes viral in the worst possible way, Alex needs AC more than ever…except now she is nowhere to be found.

Alex trusted AC with every part of her life, from her marriage issues to her personal information. With AC now missing, the police are looking at Alex and her husband for answers. As she digs deeper into her assistant’s life and a woman is found murdered, Alex comes to realise that the greatest threat isn’t online but in her own living room…

A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella

29 November, Simon & Schuster

What happens when the lives of three people dealing with loss intersect in unforeseen ways?

From the author of A Little Hope, this powerful novel explores loss and uncertainty during the peak of winter in a Pennsylvania suburb. The novel centres on Chuck Ayers, Ella Burke and Kirsten Bonato as they each grapple with the loss of loved ones.

Chuck Ayers had been looking forward to his annual trip to Hilton Head with his wife; but as the trip approaches, months after his wife’s death, he struggles to pack for a trip that he never thought he would take without her.

Ella Burke awaits any news about her missing daughter, keeping herself busy by delivering the morning newspapers and working at a bridal shop.

Kirsten Bonato was all set to follow her dreams of attending veterinary school. However, after her father’s sudden death, she faces a crossroad with old dreams and new romantic interests surfacing.

In this beautifully crafted and profoundly moving novel, these three narratives converge in unexpected ways as each character deals with grief and loss. Infused with hope, A Quiet Life promises to be an emotional rollercoaster as well as a celebration of human resilience.


Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy

6 December, Pan Macmillan


In his companion volume to The Passenger, Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy exquisitely examines the mental hinterland of Alicia Western and the complicated relationship between her and her brother, Bobby.


Set during the early seventies in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, the novel centres on twenty-year-old Alicia Western as she admits herself to a hospital with forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag. A doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Alicia is newly diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Whilst resisting speaking about her brother, Alicia ponders the nature of madness.


Told through the transcripts of Alicia’s psychiatric sessions, the novel is a searching and challenging accompaniment to The Passenger, which itself presents a philosophical inquiry that questions our notions of truth and existence.


Your Table Is Ready: Tales of a New York City Maître D’ by Michael Cecchi-Azzolina

6 December, St Martin’s Press

Cecchi-Azzolina’s entertaining memoir, Your Table Is Ready, charts his career as a maître d’hotel, manning the front of many of New York’s most in-demand restaurants.


From celebrities to royalty, and everyone in between, Cecchi-Azzolina’s number was placed in hands to ensure tables at some of the most prestigious restaurants in New York. During the decades when restaurants replaced clubs and theatres as the place to people watch and celebrity spot, Michael was there. From his early career serving theatre stars, such as Tennessee Williams and Dustin Hoffman, to the full houses he entertained just before the COVID-19 pandemic, this insider book breaks down how restaurants are really run, whilst also exploring how owners and overworked staff survive the fickle economy of New York’s food scene.


This riotous memoir lifts the lid on the eateries that the everyday tourist would never visit, allowing the reader a glimpse of the world of scandal and debauchery that only the backrooms of restaurants can supply.

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