April’s Anticipated Reads
By Anna Robinson, Jaime Butler, Maisy Twaddle and Georgia Wells
To Battersea Park by Phillip Hensher
30 March, HarperCollins
Whilst COVID-19 may seem like another era and the regulations imposed on us an ever distant memory, one author chooses to remember. Phillip Hensher’s To Battersea Park explores the notion of a busy city ground to a halt when social interaction is forbidden and how pockets of the city return to life when humanity disappears.
An order is issued and people may not meet, touch or speak to one another. Whilst inside, the true life of the city streets emerges. An underground river is found and an urban grove of pomeloes emerges. Inside the homes, human dramas play out in close quarters to neighbours. Abduction, violence and depression are witnessed from across the street or upstairs.
Written in four parts, this powerful novel explores the lived experience of a single place and time, stuck in limbo. The novel explores what brings people together through love, through aspirations and paused goals. Hensher writes about what we share even when we are separated: humanity, imagination and love.
You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith
11 April, One Signal Publishers
In her upcoming memoir, Maggie Smith reminds readers how to find beauty even in the face of terrible darkness and loss. In her latest work, Smith doesn’t hold back from using the same lovingly brutal honesty present in her poems. The memoir dives into personal heartbreak at the collapse of her marriage and of finding a way forward as a mother and as a woman. She’s effortlessly able to fold her own personal experiences and reflections into broader topics of womanhood, familial gender roles, power and the patriarchy.
Follow Smith as she steps into her own power and freedom by grappling with big emotions that we all face: heartbreak, anger, empathy and more. Learn to love yourself and this world again, to have hope and to find meaning in living your own life with this breathtakingly unique upcoming memoir.
And if you can’t wait until then, you can dive into Smith’s poetry to pass the time. I recommend her poem ‘Good Bones’ from her collection of the same name, which just so happens to serve as the genesis of her memoir title. It’s a poem I haven’t stopped thinking about since reading and one that now has a permanent place on my own fridge.
Atalanta by Jennifer Saint
13 April, Headline Publishing Group
From the author of Ariadne and Elektra comes the latest re-telling of Greek mythology. Jennifer Saint brings the formidable Atalanta and her adventures with the Argonauts into vivid life.
Disappointed when a daughter is born to him, the King of Arcadia leaves the infant defenceless on a mountainside, left to the mercy of nature. The child is raised by a mother bear alongside her cubs under the protective eye of the goddess Artemis.
Determined to prove her worth alongside the heroes of Greece, Atalanta leaves her forest to join Jason and his band of Argonauts. Lushly evoking the magic of the myth, Saint brings Ancient Greece to life as Atalanta carves her own place with the legends in a world made for men.
Homecoming by Kate Morton
13 April, Pan MacMillan
Kate Morton, author of bestseller The Clockmaker’s Daughter returns with a story packed with mystery, love and the resurrection of a cold case that had been left unsolved for over sixty years.
On a scorching hot Christmas Eve in 1959, South Australia, a local delivery man makes a horrifying discovery. The once peaceful town of Tambilla is now caught up in a whirlwind police investigation of one of the most confusing and twisted murder cases in South Australian history.
Current day: Jess, a journalist living in London for the last twenty years, finds herself being let go from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A sudden phone call finds her returning to Sydney to help look after her grandmother Nora following a nasty fall.
Whilst her grandmother recovers in hospital, Jess starts digging around the house looking for something to entertain herself with. What she did not expect to find was a true crime book belonging to her grandmother telling the story of a long-buried tragedy.
A journalist without a job and a scandalous story unsolved, Jess jumps at the chance to turn her investigative eyes to her grandmother’s book. As she skims the pages, she finds a shocking connection between her own family and the unsolved mystery.
Morton tells the tale of a mystery that spans generations and the lies that people will tell in order to protect the ones they love. Keep your eye out for this electrifying thriller in bookshops this April.