Spotlight on: Legend Press
By Mollie Gregory-Clark, Priyanka Joshi and Isobel Jones
In the eighteen years since Legend Press was established, director Tom Chalmers and his team have achieved extraordinary success, publishing an extensive and beautifully-printed catalogue of original fiction, crime thrillers, and literary classics. Founded when Tom, a literature graduate, was just twenty-five, the Press has gone from strength to strength, garnering both domestic and international acclaim for their considered curation of award-winning titles, their creation of a global sales and distribution network, and their commitment to ensuring their works are available, and accessible, to as many as possible, be it in translation, audio-form, or large print. In keeping with their cosmopolitan ethos, Legend Press has recently announced a collaboration with the South African indie publisher, Blackbird Books – a partnership sparked by the desire to bring more African voices to the fore in our literary landscape.
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner
Filled with deadly souls, mysterious spiritualists and brutal murders, The London Seance Society is a fantastical historic thriller narrated through two separate perspectives in Paris. Despite believing in science and all things tangible, Leena Wickes must embrace the occult and assist Vaudeline D’Allaire, a renowned spiritualist and medium, to solve her sister’s murder. Teaming up with the Vice President of the London Séance Society, Mr Morley, the duo embark on a journey to solve the suspicious murders before it's too late. Penner’s suspenseful tale is complimented by the eerily dark atmosphere and evocative descriptions that bring history to life through her diverse characters.
Cuckoo in the Nest by Fran Hill
Cuckoo in the Nest is the debut full-length novel of Fran Hill centred around the heatwave in 1976. This glorious coming-of-age story depicts fourteen-year-old Jackie’s experience of shifting from her grieving alcoholic father’s home to a dysfunctional house burdened by deep family secrets. Taking inspiration from her own foster experience, Hill has explored the false facade used to create the illusion of a perfect society while balancing it with humorous elements to provide relief from the darker, more serious elements in the book. Dealing with painful and deeply emotional issues, Hill's multi-layered plot comes together to create a highly relatable book that leaves readers wanting more.
Palace Rogue by William Coles
Palace Rogue is an intriguing, light-hearted novel that combines romance, mystery, and humour seamlessly. Set in Buckingham Palace, this novel follows Kim, an ambitious journalist, who is disguised as a footman and looking for a sensational piece to publish. The outrageous tactics of this reporter combined with the unconventional portrayal of the Queen and her corgis add an additional depth to the storyline. William Coles' work stands out for its vivid descriptions and bold character representations while offering an insight into royal life as well as the world of journalism.
On Wilder Seas: The Woman on the Golden Hind by Nikki Marmery
Shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award On Wilder Seas is a spellbinding tale detailing the extraordinary true story of a woman who was almost forgotten in history.
It’s April 1579 when Macaia (Maria), an enslaved woman, is given the chance to escape when their ship was attacked by English explorer Francis Drake. A lone woman among eighty men, Maria’s determination and resilience are all she has to set her own path and carve out a future of her own.
Nikki Marmery brings Maria to life with her captivating writing, perfectly balancing detailed research within a compelling story making this novel a must-read for historical fiction fans.
The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton
Born in 1650 and orphaned at thirteen, H is sent along with her sister to live with an aunt in London, finding herself fortunate and happy until she is attacked by her cousin and is left pregnant. With the plague rapidly emptying the city and taking away the people she loves, H is left to fend for herself on the streets of 17th century London alone. Determined to gain back the life she lost, H must grow up quickly and use her wits to reach the life she’s always dreamt of.
Evocative and poignant Sarah Burton embeds themes of brutal hardship with wonderful characters in this engaging, fast-paced novel. An exciting read and a page-turner right from the start.
Soldier Boy by Cassandra Parkin
Soldier Boy is a thoughtful, gripping and original story about secrets and fear, and how an ordinary family can take one step at a time to navigate what life throws at them.
Discharged from the Army and left haunted by trauma, Liam finds himself in his car with his daughter, Alannah, asleep in the back, and his wife having left him. Battling with night terrors and anger, Liam’s only focus is to hold onto his daughter no matter what – though Alannah has her own path to face.
Written with sensitivity and eloquence, Parkin covers a range of themes including PTSD, gender identity and parental love, completely engaging the reader throughout this authentic tale.