New Year’s Read-solutions
By Charlotte Barber, Maisy Twaddle, Anna Robinson and Jamie Butler
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
3 January, St. Martin’s Press
Emily and Chess used to be inseparable but over the years their friendship has seen the consequences of their busy adult lives. Chess is a bestselling self-help author and influencer, while Emily is going through a messy divorce. So, when Chess suggests a girl’s trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect.
The villa they’re staying at has a complicated, dark history. Back in 1974, rock star Noel Gordon attempted to reignite his creative spark there. He invited fellow musician Pierce along, as well as his girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. He set in motion a chain of events that led to everyone’s success – and ended in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As their vacation begins, Emily starts to look closer into the death of Pierce Sheldon; she begins to think that there might be more to the story and that perhaps his death is a lot darker than history tells it. She immerses herself in the works of Mari and Lara, which may hide deep secrets of what really went on that night.
Yet as Emily gets closer to the truth, the stronger the tension seems to be between her and Chess. As secrets from their past come into the light, dangerous betrayals emerge.
Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
10 January, Orion
Hoping to kick off your 2023 reading with a bang? The follow-up instalment of Ninth House is the perfect way to get you into the swing of things and help you smash your reading goals.
Return to the world of Galaxy “Alex” Stern and her mission to break Darlington free from purgatory, even though it could cost her the future at Lethe and Yale she has dreamed of. Forces far beyond Alex’s control are at play here and when members of the faculty begin turning up dead more frequently, she knows it’s no accident. To save Darlington, Alex’s task is far from simple: she has to find a gateway to hell and steal a soul from the underworld, a journey very few have ever returned from.
Faced with no help from the Ninth House, Alex assembles a team of dubious allies to assist her through a maze of arcane texts, monsters from her past and dark secrets built into the university’s walls. Hell Bent is packed with Bardugo’s signature twists and conjures a rich world of monsters and magic sure to draw you in.
The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett
19 January, Profile Books
Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult-like group who were convinced one of their member’s babies was the anti-Christ. They believed they had a divine mission to kill the child – until the baby’s mother, Holly, came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than go to prison, and Holly – and the baby – disappeared into the care system.
Twenty years later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed. If Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected and on the baby’s trail. As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong, and the truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined.
Hallett’s story includes real clues to solve and plenty of intrigue to really make you work for the truth as a reader. If you enjoy the cosy nature of Richard Osman’s mysteries, this book will break you out of your comfort zone and leave you feeling like a true detective.
Begin Again by Emma Lord
24 January, Wednesday Books
At the end of the month, Emma Lord will bring us another signature charming YA romance about transferring college student and aspiring self-help influencer and icon, Andie Rose. Andie has the perfect plans lined up for her future when it comes to her social life, education, career and boyfriend. Her inherent persistence and enthusiasm have always helped her achieve anything in the past. She’s used to being able to solve her own problems and even her friends’.
But sometimes things don’t work out like they’re supposed to and suddenly Andie finds her perfectly envisioned college years in shambles. She can’t seem to navigate her relationship with her boyfriend or help out her new roommate. In order for Andie to grow and succeed she will have to learn to let go of expectations and be open to answers from unexpected places.
Her journey perfectly captures the chaos and uncertainty that comes with starting university and entering your twenties. Through Andie, young readers will be empowered to find their true selves, embrace the mess and hope for love.