Books: Author Jessie Burton is back with the long-awaited sequel to The Miniaturist
1. The Bewitching by Jill Dawson is published in hardback by Sceptre, priced at £20 (ebook £11.99).
The Bewitching takes us back to 16th century Cambridgeshire, exploring the true story of Warboys witches. Largely told from the perspective of one of the local squire’s household servants, Martha – deaf in one ear, but more observant than anyone around her – looks on with confusion, sympathy and a growing fears, as a playful accusation of witchcraft by a nine-year-old girl triggers life-changing events for two families. In this age of ‘cancellation culture’ and conspiracy theories, the novel uses the tragic history of witch trials to explore how easily and quickly reputations can be destroyed by simple gossip, and how those who have the power can use it to manipulate the victims into believing their own. complicity. Dawson’s deft style means the questions are always implicit, never explicit, though it’s impossible to miss the parallels to our own time.
(Review by Ian Parker)
2. The House Of Fortune by Jessie Burton is published in hardcover by Picador, priced at £16.99 (ebook £8.99).
We return to the cobbled streets of 18th century Amsterdam in The House Of Fortune, the sequel to Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist, where appearances are everything and must be protected. The fate of the Brandt family seems to rest on the shoulders of rebellious teenager Thea, who must marry richly to secure her family’s future. But the plan may not be as simple as it seems. Although the story is a little forced at times, Burton leads the plot by playing with family dynamics and secrets. The miniaturist, who played a crucial role in the first book, can feel contrived and out of place in The House Of Fortune. But Thea’s drive and provocative nature keep you engaged, and the mysterious writing attracts any curious reader.
(Review by Elspeth Keep)
3. Amy And Lan by Sadie Jones is published in hardcover by Chatto & Windus, priced at £16.99 (ebook £9.99).
Amy and Lan are practically twins, growing up on a communal-style farmhouse as they navigate childhood and early adolescence. A gentle yet engaging read, Jones captures the beautiful simplicity and lingering hardships of farming life, painting a timely portrait of farming in a capitalist society. But it is also a family portrait. Through the innocent eyes of Amy and Lan, we experience the intimacies between the families, their domestic struggles, disloyalties and disagreements – though these are not always understood by the children. Although beautifully written, it’s not Jones’ best work. Characters are often hard to tell apart – even Amy and Lan’s voices can be hard to tell apart at times. This is a quick-read novel, and if you make it to the end you might still be wondering what it was all about anyway?
(Review by Scarlett Sangster)
4. Notes On Heartbreak by Annie Lord is published in hardcover by Trapeze, priced at £16.99 (ebook £7.99).
Notes On Heartbreak is a seamless transition from columns to books for Annie Lord, maintaining her magnetic writing style on a longer form. Existing fans of her work will recognize Lord at a glance, as she details a very 21st-century breakup, recalling the intricacies of the relationship while dealing with the inevitable and relatable emotional wringer that “moves on.” “. Lord references the thoughts of past writers to help guide the reader through his experience – an experience that will resonate with anyone who has faced the pain of a changing friendship. Beware of people crying, laughing and reciting passages to friends and family as they cling to this book during the summer months.
(Review by Max McLean)
Children’s book of the week
5. Sade And Her Shadow Beasts by Rachel Faturoti, illustrated by Rumbidzai Savanhu, is published in paperback by Hodder Children’s Books, priced at £7.99 (ebook £4.49).
Sade and His Dark Beasts overflows with imagination, bringing together the trials and tribulations of a young girl’s daily life and her rich inner world. Struggling with the recent loss of her mother, 12-year-old Sade blames herself and her poor grades for her mother’s death, and doesn’t understand why her father is now completely different. She joins an online counseling group, but is particularly troubled by the darkness descending into her colorful fantasy world. Sade is a compelling character, and it’s a great way for young readers to work through their own feelings of grief or learn about loss. Colorful and captivating, readers will fall in love with Sade, his fights and his poetry.
(Review by Prudence Wade)