Single mother of three Alice befriends a man she finds sitting on the beach, who claims to have lost his memory. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Lily, recently emigrated to London from Ukraine, finds that her husband Carl has gone missing. Whilst Lily’s whole marriage is thrown into question when the police inform her that Carl Monrose never existed, the stranger Alice takes into her home is beginning to unlock memories that hearken back to an incident that occurred in 1993. In less accomplished hands, the story could quite easily descend into farce, but Jewell manages to make the impossible seem possible, expertly pulling off an imaginative feat par excellence.
The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola. Tinder Press, £14.99 (ebook £7.49). Review by Catherine Small
The Unseeing is based on the so-called Edgeware Road murder of 1837, when laundress Hannah Brown was killed, her body dismembered and her head, torso and limbs scattered all over London. Her fiance James Greenacre and his mistress Sarah Gale were arrested and sentenced to hang. Sarah petitioned the Home Office for mercy, even though at her trial she said nothing in her own defence. Anna Mazzola, a criminal justice solicitor, imagines why Sarah didn’t speak up in court, even though her life was at stake. She paints an evocative picture of Victorian London and there’s a neat little twist at the end, but it’s a long time coming.
On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher Sphere, £12.99 (ebook £6.49). Review by Holly McKenzie
You can’t be a celebrity these days if you only have one talent. Enter Carrie Hope Fletcher, the YouTube sensation and West End-star who releases her debut novel, On the Other Side this week. This young adult romance ‘with a twist’ tells the story of Evie Snow, an 82-year-old who finds herself locked out of heaven and transported back 60 years to fix the mistakes of her past. On The Other Side is a pleasant, uplifting read with youthful optimism in abundance. However the language and plot are simplistic and the storyline runs away at an uncompromising pace. That said, it is a fun read and sure to make the bestseller list thanks to Fletcher’s army of YouTube-fans.
Work: Tends to Ruin Your Day by Cath Tate. Portico, £7.99. Review by Will Ennett
“I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.” Cath Tate’s Work: Tends to Ruin Your Day combines such witticisms with restored photographs from the early twentieth century, to great comic effect. Tate runs a greetings card company and other collections published cover topics such as friends, family and ageing. This is an engaging volume and other one-liners such as “Meetings. A great alternative to work” set alongside an image of stern Edwardian men around a table, do raise a chuckle. However, if you are in the market for irreverent and topical whimsy collated with vintage imagery, the Ladybird Books for Grown-ups has, I believe, the edge.