By Anna Robinson, Annie Ku, Steph Carroll, Jamie Butler and Maisy Twaddle
The Happy Couple by Naoise Dolan
25 May 2023, Orion
Celebrated Irish writer and author of the bestselling Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan returns with another sharply comic novel exploring the complexities of relationships in the run up to a wedding. Devised as a comedy of errors, The Happy Couple follows the lives of Luke and Celine, who are in mutual unrequited love with each other and are getting married in a year’s time.
The best man, Archie, is supposed to move up the corporate ladder and away from his feelings for Luke, but he remains where he is, enjoying the view. Bridesmaid and Celine’s sister Phoebe has no long-term plan apart from smoking and discovering where Luke frequently disappears to. The guest, Vivian, is distanced from this confusing collection of people and observes her friends as chaos looms.
As the wedding approaches and these five characters interact, each of them searches for a happily ever after, wherever it may be found. Taking the archetypal marriage plot and making it her own, Naoise Dolan embarks on her first yet powerful ensemble novel, brimming with wit, emotive intelligence and drama.
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
25 May 2023, HarperCollins
R.F. Kuang’s sizzling hot novel is a whip-smart satire that promises the reader a thrilling, grossly entertaining and deeply uncomfortable experience.
The story revolves around June Hayward, who steals literary darling Athena Liu’s unpublished manuscript after her freak accident death. June publishes the tragic, untold story of the Chinese Labour Corps in World War I under the racially ambiguous name Juniper Song, and revels in her new (stolen) success and critical acclaim. However, when suspicions arise and the truth threatens to be revealed, June refuses to give up what she believes she deserves.
Through this first-person narrative, Kuang exposes the publishing industry in all its inadequacies and explores white privilege, cultural appropriation and racism. June’s rise and fall is fuelled by the schadenfreude of wildfire, cancel culture and parasocial relationships. As readers delve into the story’s complexities, they will be compelled to reflect on their own beliefs and values regarding these important issues.
Summer Wedding by Sarah Morgan
25 May 2023, HQ Stories
Bestselling author Sarah Morgan returns with a brand-new novel. A family wedding combined with a summer of secrets and a chance to start over is the perfect recipe for your next summer read.
Catherine may be a bestselling romance author, but three failed marriages have made not only her love life difficult, but also her relationships with her two daughters, half-sisters Adeline and Cassie. Whilst Adeline can’t quite believe her mother is getting married yet again, Cassie can’t wait for the occasion. Catherine is hopeful that this wedding will be her chance to bring the family together again, but it seems that everyone is arriving to Corfu with secrets spilling out of their carry-ons.
The memory and pain of her mother’s infidelity and the baby that came of it are still clinging onto Adeline, and as the big day approaches and Catherine spills the secrets of her past, Adeline and Cassie begin to realise that they don’t know their mother as well as they thought. Will the family reconnect and find a way to move forward together or will they break apart even more?
The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende, trans. by Frances Riddle
6 June 2023, Ballantine Books
This latest novel from bestselling Chilean author Isabel Allende spans great time and distance, recounting two children’s survival and the persistence of their dreams. Intertwining the stories of two unforgettable characters, Allende tells a tale of the search for home.
Five-year-old Samuel Adler in Vienna, 1938. Seven-year-old Anita Diaz in Arizona, 2019. What binds these impossibly distant lives is their mutual experience of flight and displacement, alone in a search for their families and new homes. Samuel’s mother is forced to put him on a train alone to escape Nazi-occupied Austria during World War II. Anita and her own mother are separated upon arrival in the United States, seeking refuge from the danger in their native El Salvador. In strange and terrifying circumstances, Samuel and Anita find infantile ways to escape reality and keep their dreams alive. They are offered support and guidance in trying to reunite their families by the dedicated people they meet along the way.
A testament to the sacrifices parents make, The Wind Knows My Name is a love letter to children who survive among unfathomable dangers but continue to dream. It is a powerful tale of perseverance and ultimately love through Samuel and Anita’s encounters with the realities of war, immigration and suffering. You won’t regret picking up Allende’s latest work – it’s sure to keep you thinking and dreaming long after you’ve finished.