Sunday, January 12, 2014

HT's most anticipated new release for 2014

Each year we all name the ONE book that we can't wait to read during 2014. Quite often that means us having to have a bit of a tussle over the same book but we get there in the end.

Here are our most anticipated new releases for 2014.

Kelly's Pick:

The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.
For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far, and how devastatingly, the disturbances will reach…
Expected Publication: September 2, 2014

Yay!!! I love Sarah Waters and cannot wait for a new one by her.

Colleen's Pick:

The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson

Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas—rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere—from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern.

The Sea Garden: On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden’s owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian. . . .

The Lavender Field: Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.

A Shadow Life: Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war—and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

Expected Publication: June 24, 2014

I absolutely LOVED The Lantern and am itching to get my fingers on this new book by Deborah Lawrenson!

Julie's Pick:

As a real fan of the Elm Creek Quilters series by Jennifer Chiaverini, I was keen to read the new, historical fiction series by Jennifer.

Here is an excerpt from this third in the historical fiction series

Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second daughter to the second wife of a devout but ambitious lawyer. Her father, Salmon P. Chase, rose to prominence in the antebellum years, appointed Secretary of the Treasury in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet while aspiring to even greater heights.

Thrice widowed, Chase found himself at a disadvantage without a wife to host social gatherings crucial to influence-building. Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase stepped into this role, establishing a salon at the Chase home that launched a father-daughter partnership bent on achieving the Presidency. For her efforts, The Washington Star declared her “The most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her.”

None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common—political acumen, love of country, and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness—they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other. When Kate Chase married William Sprague, the wealthy young governor of Rhode Island, it was widely regarded as the pinnacle of Washington society weddings. President Lincoln was in attendance. The First Lady was not.

The intertwining public lives of these two women never failed to inspire headlines, but the true and lasting influence each wrought in private makes, in New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s skilled telling, for an even more fascinating story. Mrs. Lincoln’s Rivalis an astute and lively novel of the politics of state—whether enacted in houses of government or the family homes of its leaders—set against the vibrant backdrop of Civil War era Washington.
Expected publication: - 14th January 2014

Not long to wait now!

Marg's pick

Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman

It's 12 Century England and the civil war between Queen Matilda and King Stephen is raging. But life in the fens carries on as usual. Until the mercenaries ride through. And a small red-haired girl named Em is snatched and carried off. After the soldiers have finished with her they leave her for dead. But fenland girls are not easy to kill. Although she has lost all memory of her past life including her name, Em survives and teams up with Gwyl a Breton archer who has almost completely lost faith in humanity. Together Gwyl and his new protege--now crop-headed and disguised as a boy--travel through the countryside giving archery exhibitions. But there is one man who hasn't forgotten the little red-haired girl. He has some unfinished business with her and he is determined to finish it. And one freezing winter in a castle completely besieged, he might well get his chance...

Winter Siege is a stand-alone historical novel started by the late Diana Norman under her pseudonym Ariana Franklin. It has been completed by her daughter Samantha Norman.
Expected publication date: October 9, 2014

I was quite upset when we heard the news that Diana Norman, who also wrote as Ariana Franklin, had passed away, especially seeing as her mystery series wasn't really finished. Then we heard that she had bene working on a last book which isn't part of the series, but I still can't wait to read it.


  1. I have Mrs. Lincoln's Rival on my shelf and will be reading it this week. Have loved her other stand-alones that she's written and loved the 1st of the Elm Creek Quilt series (only 1 I've read so far!). The other books you've mentioned all sound interesting - will be looking forward to reading your reviews of them! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm really looking forward to the Diana Norman book as well!

  3. Really looking forward to the Ariana Franklin et all book .I loved her Diana Norman books and this story outline sounds great. Thanks for letting us know Marg.

  4. Ooo....good picks. I can't wait to read Mrs. Lincoln's Rival, and Sea Garden looks tempting, too!

  5. I have yet to try a Diana Norman book but I'm looking forward to it.

  6. I am gonna miss Ms. Norman. Cannot wait to eead her final book.