First of all…
This was my view for the evening on Thursday June 14th 2018. The photograph, taken on my phone, certainly doesn’t do it justice but it gives you an idea. Add to this a constant flow of delicious canapés, Prosecco and a room full of authors all keen to talk about their soon to be published novels and you have a pretty wonderful Thursday evening.
This was of course the Fiction Summer Showcase for HarperCollins imprint, HQ. It is a relatively new imprint within the powerhouse that is HarperCollins and this was their first Showcase. It was wonderful. Not only did everyone have a name badge (saving many an awkward moment) but the room was full of warm, friendly people who were all there because of one common interest – a love of books.
The whole team was lovely and made you feel instantly welcome and at home. It really was a wonderful evening and I returned home not only with a lovely big bag FULL of books but with an unbreakable, Cheshire Cat grin on my face.
HQ – One Place, Many Stories
HQ really do have a wealth of stories coming over the coming months. Something for everyone.
As I walked out of London Bridge Railway Station I was momentarily blown away by my surroundings. This is the first time I had been to this part of London and The Shard looked absolutely stunning reaching up towards the blue, June skies. It actually made me feel dizzy to look up.
After entering The News Building I was whisked up in the lift and emerged onto a floor dedicated to the celebration I was attending this evening. Coats were hung and drinks given. A super start to the evening.
The authors were scattered around the room, along with their books and a themed table that in some way reflected the tale they were telling. A majority had finished copies or proofs whilst others gave just a tantalising glimpse into what is coming later this/early next year.
The House We Called Home by Jenny Oliver
The House where Stella and her sister Amy grew up never changes – the red front door, the breath-taking view over the Cornish coast, her parents in their usual spots on the sofa. Except this summer, things feel a little different…
Stella’s father is nowhere to be seen, yet her mother – in suspiciously new Per Una jeans – is curiously unfazed by his absence, and eager to talk about her mysterious dog-wlaking buddy Mitch.
Amy has returned home with a new boyfriend she can’t stand and a secret to hide, and Stella’s husband Jack has something he wants to get off his chest too. Even Frank Sinatra, the dog, has a guilty air about him. This summer, change is in the air for the Whitethorns….
Warm, funny and gloriously feel-good, this is the perfect summer read for fans of Lucy Diamond and Milly Johnson.
The House We Called Home is due to be published on the 12th of July 2018. It looks a perfect summer read.
The Beauty of the Wolf by Wray Delaney
I have to say I was a little star truck upon meeting Wray (the pen name of Sally Gardener – award winning children’s novelist). She has created some wonderful novels/stories for children and so I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to receive a (signed:) proof of her latest novel The Beauty and the Wolf – A timely retelling of Beauty and the Beast, reversing the gender roles of the original fairytale. The proof itself has a stunning purple and gold foil cover and is certainly eye-catching.
In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, a period of ruffles and lace, of wrought velvet and blanched satins, two newborn babies are cursed, one with unimaginable beauty and the other, in its mirror image, a beast. But how could beauty ever be a curse?
Not only will all be blind to Beau’s true self, for all will lust after him but none will have the power to see past such an enchanted face – but the curse shall cause his own father’s death.
Meanwhile the beast, Randa, is locked away in her father’s cellar – lonely and hidden away. She longs for love, but how could anyone ever see past her wings and beak and fierce talons?
Is it possible that these two cursed creatures could be one another’s salvation when all hope is lost?
The Beauty of the Wolf is due to be published on the 21st of February 2019.
After the Snow by Susannah Constantine
Susannah Constantine is a well know TV personality and fashion journalist so it was a treat to meet her in the flesh and hear her chatting about her debut novel, After the Snow. The paperback is due to be published in November but it is available in Hardback if you can’t wait that long. I’m really looking forward to this one AND I know there is another on it’s way from Susannah so I’m doubly excited. She was incredibly warm and friendly and it was an absolute pleasure to meet her, Oh and I discovered she doesn’t live too far away from me. 🙂
All eleven-year-old Esme Munroe wants for Christmas is for her mother to be on one of her ‘good’ days – and, secretly, for a velvet riding hat. So when she finds an assortment of wet towels and dirty plates in her stocking, she’s just relieved Father Christmas remembered to stop at The Lodge this year.
But later that day Esme’s mother disappears in the heavy snow. Even more mysteriously, only the Earl of Culcairn seems to know where she might have gone. Torn between protecting her mother and uncovering the secrets tumbling out of Culcairn Castle’s ornate closets, Esme realises that life will never be the same again after the snow…
Susannah Constantine provides a rare glimpse into the secret lives of the scandalous upper classes. Perfect for fans of ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘The Crown’.
Now, before I move on I just have to share this from the back cover of the book.
And there was Princess Margaret,
soaking in the bath.
A cigarette dangled in one hand and she clutched her
whisky in the other, her face fully made-up, the rest of
her body hidden beneath the surface.
The soft humming of a popular tune could just be
heard floating up out of a side-window.
‘Lexi and Esme,’ called a velvety voice from below,
‘I know you’re up there. I can see the reflection of your
grubby faces in the mirror.’
The Princess took a sip from her crystal tumbler
and stubbed her cigarette out in the soup dish…
After the Snow will be published in paperback on 15th November 2018 but is out now in hardback
Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister
Now thesis one title that I was keen to see/hear more of and the table display made me even more intrigued. I absolutely love the sound of this novel. The synopsis made me think of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and the Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick. I don’t mean to compare but it gave me the same warm, lovely feeling. Seni was so lovely to chat to and I really can’t wait to get reading.
Mr Doubler lives alone at Mirth Farm, on top of a hill.
Back when she was around, Doubler’s wife was always surrounded by friends. But Doubler is different. The only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.
So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it suits everything – and Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?
Mr Doubler Begins Again will be published on the 24th January 2019 (but I have a feeling this will definitely be worth the wait.)
I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
We are going to have to wait until the 20th of September for I Invited Her In but the good news is that Adele has a wonderful backlist of titles to read first if you haven’t discovered her yet. I’m really excited about this one. It sounds like a super thriller and one that will have me on the edge of my seat. Adele was an absolute pleasure to meet.
‘I invited her in… and she took everything.’
When Mel hears from a long-lost friend in need of help, she doesn’t hesitate to invite her to stay. Mel and Abi were best friends back in the day, sharing the highs and lows of student life, until Mel’s unplanned pregnancy made her drop out of her studies.
Now, seventeen years later, Mel and Abi’s lives couldn’t be more different. Mel is happily married, having raised her son on her own before meeting her husband, Ben. Now they share gorgeous girls and have a chaotic but happy family home, with three children.
Abi, meanwhile, followed her lover to LA for a glamorous life of parties, celebrity and indulgence. Everything was perfect, until she discovered her partner had been cheating on her. Seventeen years wasted, and nothing to show for it. So what Abi needs now is a true friend to lean on, to share her grief over a glass of wine, and to have some time to heal. And what better place than Mel’s house, with her lovely kids, and supportive husband…
This dark, unsettling tale of the reunion of long-lost friends is a thoroughly gripping exploration of wanting what you can’t have, jealousy and revenge.
I Invited Her In by Adele Parks will be published on the 20th of September 2018.
The Path To The Sea by Liz Fenwick
Oh my, it was such a pleasure to meet and chat with Liz. We talked about Cornwall and the joys of research and glorious houses full of stories waiting to be told. And she had the most delicious fudge too. We still have to wait a while for this one as it’s not published until April 2019 but it is definitely one for my reading pile.
The Trewin women all had their secrets but Joan, the matriarch, is keeping hers until her deathbed.
On a summer’s night in 1965, at a party in her glorious cliff-top home in Cornwall, she made a choice…her country or love. The morning after, a body was found at the foot of the cliff path.
But a little girl saw what happened that night. Not only did she witness the awful events played out on the cliff path, she lied and made it worse. And now, decades later, the past is catching up with the Trewin women, as a deathbed confession puts Nicola on the trail of a mystery which has remained undisturbed for fifty year, offering a chance to unpick the past…
No cover for this one as of yet I’m afraid as it’s THAT new.
The Path To The Sea by Liz Fenwick
The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts
This looks great fun, light and pure escapism. Perfect for a summer read. I can imagine myself relaxing on a warm, summers day and escaping into this one.
Sophie was incredibly warm and friendly. I think she had fun with this and is looking to make her readers smile. When she signed my copy she said ‘I so hope this makes you laugh!’ and oh my goodness do we need books that do that these days. :). Can’t wait!
The Plus One [n] informal ‘a person who accompanies an invited person to a social function or a reminder of being single, alone and absolutely plus none.’
Polly Spencer is fine. She’s single, turning thirty and only managed to have sex twice last year (both times with a Swedish banker called Fred). but seriously, she’s fine. Even if she’s still stuck at ‘Posh!’ magazine writing about royal babies and the chances of finding a plus one to her best friend’s summer wedding are looking worryingly slim.
But it’s a New Year, a new leaf and all that. Polly’s determined that over the next 365 days she’ll remember to shave her legs, drink less wine and generally get her s**t together. Her latest piece is on the infamous Jasper, Marquess of Milton, undoubtedly neither a plus one nor ‘the one’. She’s heard the stories, there’s no way she’ll succumb to his charms…
The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts will be published on the 9th of August 2018.
How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
This one was just published on the 14th of June. The table was wonderfully decorated with a miniature beach scene – a perfect holiday read and with more to come from Sarah later this year with The Christmas Sisters in November and One Summer in Paris in April 2019. Lots to look forward to from Sarah.
Matriarch Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother but how can she ever tell her daughters the reason why? Lauren and Jenna are as close as two sisters can be and they made a pact years ago to keep a devastating secret from their mother – but is it time to come clean?
Lauren’s teenage daughter Mackenzie masks her own pain by keeping her mother at a distance. Her mother, aunt and grandmother keep trying to reach her but will it take a stranger to show her the true meaning of family?
When life changes in an instant, the Stewart women are thrown together for a simmer and suddenly they must relearn how to be a family. And while unravelling their secrets might be their biggest challenge, it could also be their finest moment.
A story about family, being brave and opening up to new love, ‘How to Keep a Secret’ is a feel-good and emotional novel that will keep you hooked until the final page.
How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan was published on the 14th of June 2018.
This was the first Showcase from the HQ team and it was a wonderful evening. The setting and location was perfect and the team warm and welcoming. It can be quite daunting walking into a room full of people but I never felt out of place and always felt welcome. I had met some wonderful people on this sunny evening in London and I came home with a bag full of books. It has created one problem though – I really don’t know what to read first. What I can say is that I’m looking forward to reading each and every one. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on them with you too.
That you HQ for inviting me to your Summer Showcase. I had a fabulous time.