There's some very good reading ahead by the look of these recent arrivals:
Toby's Room sees Pat Barker return to the First World War with this "provocative, dark novel about the complexities of human desire, wartime horror and the power of friendship" in which Toby and Elinor, brother and sister, friends and confidants, are the sharers of a secret carried from 1912 to the battlefields of France and London in 1917.
An Inventory of Heaven by Jane Feaver takes the evacuation of young Mavis Grant to Devon during the Second World War as its starting point, but as it goes on to trace Mavis' story to many years later when she can finally lay the ghosts of the past to rest, so it is "a meditation on the things we hold onto in life and how ... we can try to let them go".
A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham follows Nellie Welche, friend to Princess Sophia, one of George III's brood of children. "From the first rumblings of revolution in France to the exciting, modern times of gas light and steam trains, Nellie is the sharp-penned narrator of a changing world ... and her memoir lifts the lid on the House of Hanover's secrets and lies."
Abdication by Juliet Nicolson looks at the turbulent years of the 1930s with a love story featuring May Thomas, secretary and chauffeuse to Sir Philip Blunt, a member of the Baldwin government. "Secrets, undeclared loves, unspoken sympathies and covert complicities are everywhere, the most dangerous among them the new King's developing relationship with a married woman, and the increasing inevitability of another war."
Canada by Richard Ford is "a haunting and visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity. It questions the fine line between the normal and the extraordinary, and the moments in our lives that take us into new worlds", and it begins in Montana in 1956 with Dell, a solitary child obsessed with bee-keeping and chess, running away when a bad mistake takes his parents from him.
A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge is "sad, hilarious, tragic and deeply moving." Lee and his deaf brother Ned think all is lost when their father disappears and their mother dies suddenly, but then Lee gets a traineeship at the local funeral home and discovers "there is life after death. Here, in the company of a crooning ex-publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally ill hearse driver and the dead of the town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives aboard a 'Fleurtations' delivery van."