I know that I say this every month but I just don’t know where the year is going. My reading piles are getting taller not shorter and my hours are getting fuller. So I’m not going to waffle too much this month.
July will see a record-breaking SEVENTEEN books featured for the Beauty and Lace Book Club so I’m going to save all of the words to let you know about them by posting the synopsis from the publisher websites.
A Nearly Normal Family – M.T. Edvardsson
Pan Macmillan – Crime/Thriller
Every murder case starts with a suspect.
What if the suspect is your daughter?
Would you believe her, or the evidence against her?
Believes his daughter has been framed.
Believes she is hiding something.
Believes they have no idea what she’s truly capable of . . .
There are three sides to the story.
And the truth will shatter this family to pieces.
City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert
Bloomsbury – Historical Fiction
It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.
Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in her wake. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.
‘At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is,’ she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her – women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.
Devil’s Lair – Sarah Barrie
HQ Fiction – Crime/Thriller
A lonely widow, a sinister act, a remote mansion with a dark past…
After the violent death of her husband, Callie Jones retreats to a cottage in the grounds of an old mansion in Tasmania. The relative remoteness of the place and the wild beauty of the Tasmanian landscape are a balm to her shattered nerves and the locals seem friendly, particularly horseman Connor Atherton and his siblings at the nearby property, Calico Lodge.
But all is not well: the old mansion has a sinister past, one associated with witchcraft and murder. As Callie is threatened by odd events in the night and strange dreams overtake her sleep, she begins to doubt her own sanity. What’s really going on beneath the surface of this apparently peaceful town? Are her friends and neighbours really who they seem? As events escalate, Callie starts to realise that the mansion may hold the key to unlocking the mystery, but the truth might have as much power to destroy as it does to save.
Misconception – Rebecca Freeborn
Pantera Press – Contemporary Fiction
‘The invisible thread between them tightened, strengthened, bound them together. And now she was walking towards him, about to become his wife, and there was nothing in the world that could sever that thread.’
Ali and Tom are the perfect couple. They both have successful careers and are still madly in love after ten years. But when they are told their unborn baby has died, their picture-perfect life is shattered.
Faced with an empty room, the prospect of catching up with friends and returning to work, Ali feels her control over the reality she wanted slipping further and further away.
When Ali’s irresponsible mother re-enters her life, Ali discovers secrets from a past she’d forgotten ever existed.
Will Ali and Tom ever be able to find their way back to each other? And will Ali find a way to move forward without letting go of her memories?
Rogue – AJ Betts
Pan Macmillan – Young Adult Thriller
There was no going back; there was no choice, anymore. I’d chosen out and this was it: hot-cold, dry-wet, bright-dark and lonely.
Hayley has gone rogue.
She’s left everything she’s ever known – her friends, her bees, her whole world – because her curiosity was too big to fit within the walls of her underwater home.
But what is this new world she’s come to? Has Hayley finally found somewhere she can belong?
Or will she have to keep running?
The thrilling conclusion to Hive from award-winning, internationally bestselling author A. J. Betts
The Bride Test – Helen Hoang
Allen & Unwin – Contemporary Romance
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions – like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective.
Khai’s family, however, understand that his autism means he processes emotions differently. As he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Emerald Tablet – Meaghan Wilson Anastasios
PanMacmillan – Historical Adventure
The 2nd Benedict Hitchens Novel
The Suez Canal, 1956. The world teeters on the brink of nuclear war and the Middle East is a tinderbox.
Conversely, redeemed archaeologist Benedict Hitchens is enjoying a peaceful existence after years in the professional and personal wilderness. His recent discoveries in western Turkey secured him a place in history and the smart thing to do would be to ignore his growing fear that Britain, France and Israel’s imminent invasion of Egypt to liberate the Suez Canal is only a diversion.
But Ben’s natural inclination towards self-sabotage is never far below the surface. When he learns that the woman who betrayed him is leading a team into the Sinai Desert in search of an ancient treasure, he puts everything at risk to seek his revenge.
She is as brilliant as Benedict, but has had to fight to survive in a world dominated by men. Having aligned herself with unprincipled and ruthless men to further her own interests, her motivations are laid bare as she confronts ghosts she’d rather forget, and makes amends for past wrongdoings.
Both are forced to grapple with their own personal demons as they race to unearth a secret that will, in the wrong hands, mean the annihilation of humankind.
The Eyes of Tamburah – Maria V Snyder
HQ Young Adult – Young Adult Fantasy
‘He thinks you are the thief…’
Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed – an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess – she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestow great magic on their wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.
But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they’re found – and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince’s soldiers and the Priestess’s deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves…
The First Mistake – Sandie Jones
Pan Macmillan – Domestic Crime/Thriller
For Alice, life has never been better.
After the death of her first husband, she has remarried, with a successful business, two children and a beautiful house.
In Beth, she also has the best friend she has always wanted. A friend without judgement, she is the most trustworthy and loyal person Alice knows.
So when Alice begins to suspect her husband Nathan is having an affair, Alice turns to Beth to help her find the truth. She can trust Beth, can’t she?
The Girl in the Rearview Mirror – Kelsey Rae Dimberg
Pan Macmillan – Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Desperate to put her past in the rearview mirror, Finn Hunt leaves the Midwest for Phoenix, Arizona, where no one knows her story.
While she’s working a dead-end job, a chance meeting with Philip Martin, son of a prominent US Senator, leads Finn to a position as nanny for Amabel, his precocious four-year-old daughter. Quickly seduced into the Martins’ privileged world, Finn can almost believe she belongs there, almost forget the dark past that haunts her.
Then, in the stifling heat of a desert summer as the Senator’s re-election looms, a strange woman begins to follow Finn, claiming a connection to Philip and threatening to expose the family to scandal. As Finn tries to protect Amabel, and shield the Martins, she’s inadvertently drawn deeper and deeper into their buried secrets.
The family trusts Finn, for now, but it will only take one mistake for everything she holds dear – the Martins’ world, her new life – to fall apart . . .
The New Kid: Very Popular Me – James O’Loghlin
Pan Macmillan – Junior Fiction
Sam’s finally got what he always wanted – he’s popular!
He’s owns the school’s most wanted marble, kids sit with him at lunch and even Johnny Wilson has stopped calling him ‘derr-brain’.
Things are looking up at home too. When his new baby sister arrives, he’ll no longer be a lonely, only child.
But when Sam becomes the teacher’s pet his popularity drops faster than a tomato in a lift. Soon even his best friend Gary won’t talk to him, and the new kid at home is a crying disaster.
Who knew that getting exactly what you wanted could be so painful?
The One – Kaneana May
Harlequin Mira – Contemporary Women’s Fiction
From an Australian TV scriptwriter comes a sparkling debut novel where the quest for love will surprise you.
Fall in love like nobody’s watching…
On the wrong side of thirty, Bonnie Yates wants a happily ever after. Problem is, she keeps choosing the wrong guys. When an ex returns to town with a fiancee in tow, history and temptation collide. Unable to shake her inappropriate feelings, Bonnie flees, becoming an unlikely contestant on popular dating show The One. Will she find what she’s looking for?
Working behind the scenes, Darcy Reed is a driven young producer dealing with a tyrant of a boss. Despite being surrounded by love at work, her own love-life with long-term boyfriend Drew is floundering. Producing a flawless season is her best chance at a promotion. But with the unrelenting demands of the show, how will she save their relationship while making that shot?
Penelope Baker has relocated to a small seaside town to hide away with her secrets and nurse a broken heart. But with The One beaming across the nation’s televisions, she can’t seem to quite escape the life she left behind…
Before cameras roll on the final ceremony, all three women will discover just what they’re willing to do in pursuit of the one…
The Postmistress – Alison Stuart
Harlequin Mira – Historical Fiction
To forge a new life she must first deal with her past…
1871. Adelaide Greaves and her young son have found sanctuary in the Australian town of Maiden’s Creek, where she works as a postmistress. The rough Victorian goldmining settlement is a hard place for a woman – especially as the other women in town don’t know what to make of her – but through force of will and sheer necessity, Adelaide carves out a role.
But her past is coming to find her, and the embittered and scarred Confederate soldier Caleb Hunt, in town in search of gold and not without a dark past of his own, might be the only one who can help. Can Adelaide trust him? Can she trust anyone?
When death and danger threaten – some from her past, some born of the Australian bush – she must swallow her pride and turn to Caleb to join her in the fight, a fight she is determined to win…
The Sunday Story Club – Doris Brett And Kerry Cue
Pan Macmillan – Personal Development, health, family relationships
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cry. But the salons have given me the opportunity to look back and think about my life…I don’t talk to anyone about these feelings outside of the salon.’
We all carry stories within us – wrenching, redemptive, extraordinary, and laced with unexpected and hard-won wisdom.
These are the real-life stories that a group of women tell each other when they gather for a deep and structured conversation – once a month in a suburban living room – about the things that really matter.
They discover that life can be a heartbeat away from chaos; that bad things happen to good people; that good people do outrageous things; that the desire for transformation is enduringly human.
A mother tells of the heartbreaking loss of control when her daughter develops anorexia. A sister reveals the high psychological cost of being hated by a sibling over the course of her life. Husbands leave wives; wives take lovers; friendships shatter; wrong choices turn out to be right ones; agency is lost and re-claimed.
Profound, layered and clear-sighted, this collection of real-life stories reveals the emotional untidiness that lies below the shiny surface of modern life and reminds us of the power of real conversation to enlighten, heal and transform.
Trails In the Dust – Joy Dettman
Pan Macmillan – Thriller/Sagas/Contemporary Fiction
A Woody Creek Novel 7 (can be read as standalone)
After many tumultuous years spent grappling with the past, Jenny Hooper might have expected her latter years to be the best of her life, and they are – until tragedy strikes. Left floundering in a house full of memories, not all of them good, Jenny knows a reckoning is in order.
But it won’t be easy. History is beginning to repeat itself for Jenny’s adopted daughter, Trudy, who finds herself trapped in an abusive relationship. Jenny and her older daughter, Georgie, can only stand by and watch as Trudy’s life implodes.
Meanwhile, half a world away in the UK, Cara and her husband Morrie nurture a devastating secret that keeps them at arm’s length from Jenny.
But most of all, Jenny wants to renew contact with the beloved son she lost decades before when she was at her lowest ebb. Only that, and having the chance to tell him the truth about what happened, will give her peace. But is it too late?
Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls – Justine Ford
Pan Macmillan – True Crime
Can you catch a killer or find a missing person?
Australia is ‘the lucky country’. But not for everyone. Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls tells thirteen stories of people whose luck ran out in the most mysterious of circumstances.
It’s a journalistic deep-dive into Australia’s dark heart by one of Australia’s premier true crime writers, Justine Ford, the acclaimed bestselling author of Unsolved Australia and The Good Cop.
Why are four people missing from a Western Australian doomsday cult? Who abducted and murdered beauty queen Bronwynne Richardson on pageant night? And why is a cooked chook important evidence in the outback disappearance of Paddy Moriarty?
Key players are interviewed, evidence laid out and suspects assessed. Never-before-published information is revealed. Can you help crack the case and solve these mysteries?
Hold tight as Unsolved Australia: Lost Boys, Gone Girls takes you on a chilling yet inspiring true crime rollercoaster ride where the final destination is hope.
While You Were Reading – Ali Berg & Michelle Kalus
Simon & Schuster – Contemporary Fiction
Words are messy. Love is messier.
A hilarious, insightful new novel from the creators of Books on the Rail
Meet Beatrix Babbage – 29-year-old dog-earer of books and accidental destroyer of weddings.
After ruining her best friend’s nuptials, Bea relocates to the other side of the country in search of a fresh start, including meeting new people, living life to the fullest and finally pulling off balayage.
But after a few months, life is more stagnant than ever. Bea’s job is dead-end. Her romantic life? Non-existent. And her only friends are her books, her barista and her cleaning lady.
Then Bea stumbles across a second-hand novel, inscribed with notes. Besotted with the poetic inscriptions, Bea is determined to find the author … and along the way, she finds herself entangled in one hell of a love quadrangle.
Funny, poignant and insightful, While You Were Reading reveals that there’s no such thing as perfection, the value of true friendship and, most importantly, the power of not living in fiction, but still reading it … Often.
A love story for book lovers that celebrates much more than romance.
A huge thanks goes out to the publishers without whom we could not offer such great reads. Allen & Unwin, Bloomsbury, Harlequin, Harper Collins, Pan Macmillan, Pantera Press and Simon & Schuster. We are so grateful for the support you show us, we couldn’t do it without you.
If you aren’t yet a member of the Beauty and Lace Club there is still time to join, head over to the signup page and take a look: yoursay.beautyandlace.net.
Happy Reading, have fun selecting preferences and we look forward to hearing what you think.