Janet Gordon gets off to a flying start with these 4 book recommendations

And  Happy New Year to all Annabel & Grace’ers  – I do hope you had a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year and that you’re looking forward to curling up on the sofa or in bed with a good book. There are some wonderful reads out this month, from which I’ve picked out three debut novels and one change of direction for an established US author.

The Maid by Nita Prose – out 20 January 2022

The first of the debut novels is The Maid by Nita Prose. There’s a real buzz about this novel, which has now been sold worldwide, as well as the film rights being snapped up by Florence Pugh, who will be playing Molly, the lead character.

Do we ever notice the maid when staying in a hotel? Not really; we only really notice when the maid doesn’t turn up.

Molly, the maid, is all alone in the world since her beloved Gran died. Gran lived with a series of sayings and axioms that Molly has taken as gospel and follows implicitly. Molly works at the Regency Grand Hotel and takes great pride in leaving her allotted rooms pristine – no matter how messy, destructive, or appallingly dirty the guests leave their room. It’s Molly’s raison d’etre in life – and so Molly knows so much about you.

But one day, Molly discovers Mr Black, the Regency Grand’s most infamous and wealthy guest, is very, very dead in his bed. Murdered? It certainly looks like it, and this is one big mess that Molly just can’t whisk away. 

Molly thinks she has a couple of friends on the staff, who are helping her to clear up the mess, which seems to be so much more than just a dead man in a bed – but – because Molly is a complete innocent out in the world, slightly awkward, and desperate to follow Gran’s words and keep her home together but having such a struggle to pay the rent – her naivety is open to abuse and to keep her “friends” dirty secrets.

The Maid is a wonderfully different novel written by a novelist who is also a vice presenter at a Canadian publishing house and has worked for several other publishers throughout her career.

I enjoyed this so much, and I’m looking forward to seeing the film.

To purchase from Amazon click HERE.

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Another debut novel is Her Perfect Twin by accountant turned author Sarah Bonner, who has been 15 years in making this terrific read.

Megan and Leah are identical twins – but unlike most twins, they don’t get along together, and in fact, Megan and Leah are estranged. So when Megan discovers pictures of her identical twin wearing a very distinctive set of bra and pants on her husband’s phone and then finds herself rummaging around in her underwear drawer trying to find this set, she begins to realise that something is wrong.

There is an excellent reason why Megan doesn’t talk to Leah, who now has fame, fortune and the ability to take from life whatever she desires, including, it would seem, Megan’s husband. And so  Megan decides to confront Leah, and a twin is murdered.

Throughout this novel, you’re never quite sure which twin is juggling which life and who is living the truth.

Her Perfect Twin is such a complex, twisting, turning novel and so so enjoyable  – one I read in almost one sitting as I really couldn’t put it down. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 15 years for Sarah’s second novel!

To purchase from Amazon click HERE.

Breaking Point by Edel Coffey 

My third debut novel focuses on a situation that really could happen – although please God, it doesn’t.

Susannah is the highest-flying paediatrician imaginable. Coupled with this busy and oh so stressful job, she has two daughters, one of whom is just a baby. Her husband is also a successful businessman, but my goodness, he’s needy. Susannah is dressed for success, with glossy hair, clothes, and even the car, which befits her success level.

Everything Susannah does is timed to the nth degree, so when her husband asks her to drop him at his office, and instead of baby Louise being strapped into her car seat in the front of the car, Louise is placed in the back. And then the husband changes his office destination. Susannah is now running late and has taken a call from her secretary informing her that her morning list is oversubscribed and she needs to get started asap. Susannah is stressed. The weather is hot and getting hotter. Scorching even. And she arrives at the hospital parking lot, dumps her car and runs inside to start her clinic.

Oh my god, this is such an emotional read with such tragic and devastating consequences. But you’ll find yourself identifying so much with poor Susannah.

To purchase from Amazon click HERE.

Blue Running by Lori Ann Stephens (Moonflower £16.99)

Moonflower Publishing is a new UK based publishing house headed up by established best selling author C J Daugherty. Previous to becoming an author, she worked as an editor and writer for several publishing companies, and so she’s now publishing her novels, as well as Blue Running.

Blue Running is totally unlike most genres I read and is set in the gun-happy town of Blessing in Texas. 14-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is a loner, partly because of her Dad,  Deputy Sheriff of the Town, and her clothes and lack of teenage “know-how”. When new girl Maggie joins the school and befriends Blue, life seems to be looking up until a gun accident kills her best friend.   ‘It’s murder’, cries the whole of Blessing, and Blue goes on the run. The penalty for murder is death.

Somewhere on the road, she meets Jet, a young Mexican who is pregnant and looking to abort her baby – her pregnancy the result of rape. But the penalty for abortion is death.

Blue Running is one gritty and compelling read. And to be honest, I’d hate to live in Texas!

To purchase from Amazon click HERE.

For more book reviews click HERE.

And for the A&G best books of 2021……click HERE