Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

I’m part of a wonderful online community called Book Connectors where bloggers, reviewers and authors can discuss all things book related. During one of the threads there was mention of ‘quiet’ books, the ones that miss out on the big publicity push. It was agreed that it was such a shame that certain books weren’t as widely read, as the reading public were missing out on hidden gems. So that sparked a germ of an idea and I decided to do a series of posts highlight titles that myself and other bloggers and authors feel may have gone under the reader’s radar. (That was the working title for this series of posts and as inspiration hasn’t struck me with anything better, its the one I’m going with for now).

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first choice this week is from Bettina at Tripfiction. Bettina has lots of fantastic sounding books to recommend and so you’ll see her featured a few times in these posts 🙂

This week’s suggested title is A House Called Askival by Merryn Glover, published by Freight Books.


‘An elegant, moving and heartfelt love letter to the sights, sounds and tastes of northern India told through the enthralling story of the troubled relationship between a father and daughter stretching from Partition to the present day.

James Connor is a man who, burdened with guilt following a tragic event in his youth, has dedicated his life to serving India. Ruth Connor is his estranged daughter who, as a teenager, always knew she came second to her parents’ missionary vocation and rebelled, with equally tragic consequences.

After 24 years away, Ruth finally returns to Askival, the family home in Mussoorie, a remote hill station in the Northern State of Uttarakhand, to tend to her dying father. There she must face the past and confront her own burden of guilt if she is to cross the chasm that has grown between them.

In this extraordinary and assured debut, Merryn Glover draws on her own upbringing as a child of missionary parents in India to create this sensitive, complex, moving and epic journey through the sights, sounds and often violent history of India from Partition to the present day.’

Here’s what Bettina had to say:

“The stories intertwine well and history is blended into the narrative to add to the overall understanding – what Partition meant for millions of people and how the conflict between religions flared up and caused so much strife between peoples. And it is a story about family, about rejection and loyalty and so much more.”

You can read the full review on the Tripfiction website here. If that doesn’t tempt you may like to know that The House of Askival has 63 five star reviews on Amazon.

The second suggestion is from another blogger who has a fantastic list of books she thinks we should read. Caryl who blogs as Mrs Blogs, The Average Reader. Caryl has suggested The Drumbeater by Clive Allan, which is published by Matador.


‘When skeletal remains are found buried on a beach near the remote Scottish village of Glendaig, the evidence points to murder, to a crime dating back seventy years to World War Two. The task of unravelling the mystery falls to history graduate Neil Strachan, now a career cop, fast tracked into a new role on Northern Scotlands Major Enquiry Unit. When Neil calls upon German naval historian, Matthias Fuchs, to help identify the remains, a name soon emerges, that of a dashing young U-boat ace who mysteriously disappeared in 1941: Korvettenkapitän Max Friedmann.

Neil seeks the assistance of Glendaig’s elderly residents, but encounters an impenetrable wall of silence, causing him to suspect that they know far more about the young submariner than they are willing to impart. With more questions than answers, and under mounting pressure from his cynical boss to wrap up the enquiry, Neil embarks on a race against time to discover the truth. He begins to unravel a tale of subterfuge, escape and astounding loyalty. A tale that will ultimately reveal a secret that could have changed the course of World War Two…’

This is what she had to say:

 “What a thoroughly absorbing and interesting read this was….There are several twists and turns that leave the reader wondering who exactly the culprit or culprits were…A remarkable debut novel and I really hope there will be a whole series to read.”

You can read the full review here. If that’s not enough The Drumbeater has 39 5 star reviews on Amazon.

So there you have it, two new ideas for the TBR. Have you discovered any hidden treats that you feel should be read more widely?

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Jackie Baldwin says:

    Both of these sound great. I love the whole concept behind this!


    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you. I’m discovering loads of books I’d never heard of, though it is a bit dangerous as I have loads to read already 🙂 I hope you like them if you read them 🙂


  2. I think this is a great idea and I’ve just looked through my read list on Goodreads and found I’m only reading popular books. This is terrible. I need to change this. Have you read The Distance by Helen Giltrow? That’s a great read but was a fairly quiet book when it came out.


    1. janetemson says:

      The majority of books I read are popular books. I don’t mind really as I enjoy the majority of them. There are occasions when I’m disappointed by them or wonder if I’ve read the same book. I have a copy of The Distance to read on my bookshelf. Thanks for the reminder I do need to get to it soon 🙂


  3. christo46 says:

    Hope Bettina (and you) will get around to The Errant Hours by Kate Innes, a taut and illuminating tale which DOES NOT feature terrorist attacks, Fifty Shades of Grey, Peter Kay or Ozymandias, bur holds the attention from its opening words.


    1. janetemson says:

      I’ve not heard of this one, I’ll have to look it up. Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. christo46 says:

        I think that the author Kate Innes is distributing copies herself, but probably Wenlock Books owned by Anne Dreda is your most likely source of a copy. Again, it is on Fb.


  4. writelindy says:

    I love the idea of bringing unknown authors to our attention. Frequently I am disappointed by those with the huge publicity machine behind them as my expectations are set high and rarely met. I will try to recommend as I find good ones!


    1. janetemson says:

      Thank you, it will be lovely to see what you recommend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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