Foster, Sara (2017) The Hidden Hours. Simon & Schuster. When publishing executive Arabella Lane is found dead in the Thames suspicion points to the new office temp, Eleanor, who had been partying with Arabella prior to her death. Eleanor has travelled to London to start a new life and escape the trauma of her youth. As Eleanor struggles to remember the events of that fatal night her family becomes deeply involved in the lies and deceit. Who can Eleanor trust? Well-paced suspense. Rating: 8/10.
Camerota, Alisyn (2017) Amanda Wakes Up. Viking. The events of the 2016 US election makes Amanda Wakes Up feel particularly prescient. Amanda Gallo is an ambitious young journalist working her way up the ladder when she lands her dream job as a morning co-anchor on a cable news show. Her station’s drive for high ratings leads to the promotion of divisive topics and heightens the ethical dilemma of ‘truth’ in an era of ‘fake news’. At its centre, and this may sound familiar, is the pitting of an accomplished female senator against a bombastic wild-card reality TV star with a grudge against the media. Camerota, host of CNN’s morning show New Day, is a veteran news anchor with extensive journalism experience. Entertaining, although somewhat disturbing, offering much food for thought. Rating: 8.5/10.
Hardinge, Frances (2015) The Lie Tree. Macmillan. Faith’s father’s lies have brought him into disrepute. He is a man of many secrets and when he meets a tragic death Faith resolves to find the truth. She discovers his greatest secret and treasure is The Tree of Lies. The mysterious tree bears a fruit for every whispered lie that is told, and people are prepared to kill to possess it. As Faith becomes seduced by the tree, and the power of her lies, she puts herself and her family in danger. An intelligent read from a time when women were considered stupid because they have small heads, and therefore smaller brains. Original award-winning young adult novel. Rating: 8.5/10.
Lapena, Shari (2017) A Stranger in the House. Bantam. One hot August night Karen Krupp flees from her home in blind panic – only to wake up sometime later in hospital with no memory of the night before. What was she doing driving in the dangerous part of town and what is her connection to a suspicious death? As the plot unfurls, the police investigation intensifies and revelations come thick and fast, you are taken on an emotional rollercoaster. Where to now for her happy marriage? Meticulously crafted and gripping page-turner, with plenty of twists and an array of motives and suspects. Great weekend read. Rating: 8.5/10.
De Courcy, Anne (2017) The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, and into the early years of the twentieth, young American heiresses with social aspirations crossed the Atlantic to marry into the British aristocracy. They brought with them the sophistication and glamour of the New World’s Gilded Age, and about $200 million that helped restore the fortunes of some of Britain’s crumbling stately homes and noble families. Few of these marriages were fairy tales. In this thoroughly researched and fascinating study De Courcy explores the lives of women who might have been the models for Edith Wharton’s fiction. Social climbing at its very best. Rating: 9/10.