A new novel by William Nicholson is something to look forward to, and here is Motherland, out on 14th. February. Alice Dickinson (who was 11 in The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life) begins this book at the age of 23, "triggering a story that focuses on her great-grandmother's love affair in the 1940s". In 1942, Kitty is an army driver in Sussex who meets Ed, a Royal Marine Commando, and his best friend Larry, a liaison officer with Combined Operations. Both men take part in the catastrophic raid on the beaches of Dieppe, and both men fall in love with Kitty ... "An epic love story which captures both the beauty and the pain that love brings, set against a powerful backdrop of war and monumental change."
"Lipska does for the East End what Rankin does for Edinburgh," says crime writer James Craig, and that's quite an accolade for a debut novel. He's referring to the thriller Where the Devil Can't Go by Anya Lipska, in which Janusz Kiszka, unofficial fixer for London’s Polish community, is given the task of looking into what appears to be a routine missing persons case, but he is soon embroiled in a much more complex disappearance. "After he is threatened by drug dealing gangsters and accused of murder his search for answers takes him on a reluctant visit home to the port of Gdansk, the site of traumatic memories from the Soviet era. There, in the cellar of a former secret policeman, he uncovers evidence of a decades-old betrayal – and a conspiracy that will reach its chilling denouement in a derelict warehouse in London’s Docklands."
Sophie Hannah's psychological thrillers have an enormous, loyal following, and here is the latest, The Carrier. "When her plane is delayed overnight, Gaby Struthers finds herself forced to share a hotel room with a stranger, a terrified young woman named Lauren Cookson - but why is she so scared and why won't she explain? Lauren blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for a murder he didn't commit, and Gaby soon suspects that Lauren's presence on her flight can't be a coincidence, because the murder victim is Francine Breary, the wife of the only man Gaby has truly loved. Tim Breary has confessed ... but he claims to have no idea why he murdered his wife."
Next, from Courttia Newland comes The Gospel According to Cane, "a gripping tale of loss, despair and hope of redemption". Beverley Cottrell had a dream life: a great job, a wonderful husband, a new baby. "But then, one winter afternoon when her son was barely a few weeks old, he was kidnapped from a parked car. Despite a media campaign, a full police investigation and the offer of a reward, Malakay was never found. Two decades later, Beverley believes that she has pieced her life together again - until a young man starts appearing wherever she goes. One dark evening the stalker gets close and tells her not to be scared. He says that he is Malakay, her son."
Pam Jenoff's The Ambassador's Daughter is a prequel to her novel Kommandant's Girl and is "a beautifully wrought coming-of-age story about a young woman deciding her destiny in a world that is redefining itself". It begins in Paris in 1919 where Margot Rosenthal has come with her German diplomat father as world leaders gather to rebuild Europe after the Great War. "Margot feels trapped and uncomfortable in the city ... but everything changes when she befriends Krysia Smok, a famous yet secretive pianist, a group of radical political activists, and Georg Richwalder, a handsome naval officer haunted by his experiences of the war. Margot finds herself questioning where her loyalties should lie."
"A multi-layered, deftly observed novel of the fallout of fame and fortune," Little Known Facts by Christine Sneed is a story about celebrity. "Life as one of Hollywood's most handsome, charismatic and critically acclaimed movie stars seems like a glitzy fairytale to the people who orbit Renn Ivins. But for his grown children, their father's fame threatens to permeate every aspect of their lives. For medical student Anna, Renn's exploits are a source of embarrassment and bemusement. Her brother Will is floundering in a quarter-life crisis, the only thing to outlast his directionless career and failed relationships is his trust fund. While Will and Anna are happy to use their father's money, they're less happy to use his influence...." Secrets and lies unravel in this "psychologically exquisite, superbly realised novel."