It’s getting to that time of year again. Publishers are starting to release their 2022 catalogues which means only one thing. Getting the metaphorical red pen out and circling everything you want like a child does with the Argos Catalogue.
I’ve had a look at the bookish equivalents of the Christmas Radio Times to see what readers can look forward to in 2022.
This time I’ve been circling the catalogue from Penguin Michael Joseph, who had kindly sent me a copy, along with snacks, in preparation for their showcase which took place this week.
Here are the books we can look forward to making the TBR pile topple over in the first half of 2022.
So first up are January titles.
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith.
Drawing on years of experience as a clinical psychologist, online sensation Dr Julie Smith shares all the skills you need to get through life’s ups and downs.
Filled with secrets from a therapist’s toolkit, this is a must-have handbook for optimising your mental health. Dr Julie’s simple but expert advice and powerful coping techniques will help you stay resilient no matter what life throws your way.
Written in short, bite-sized entries, you can turn straight to the section you need depending on the challenge you’re facing – and immediately find the appropriate tools to help. From managing anxiety, dealing with criticism or battling low mood, to building self-confidence, finding motivation or learning to forgive yourself, this book tackles the everyday issues that affect us all and offers easy, practical solutions that might just change your life.
The Anomaly by Herve Le Tellier
What do you do if your life is no longer your own?
When flight Air France 006 enters a terrifying storm, the plane – inexplicably – duplicates. For every passenger on board that day, there are now two – a double with the same mind, body and memories.
Just one thing sets them apart. One plane leaves the storm in March. The other doesn’t land until June. For world leaders, the emergence of the June flight raises serious alarms. No science, faith, or protocol can explain this unprecedented event.
But for the passengers, a bigger question is at stake. What happens to them, now that their life is shared? What happens to those who land in June, when their March doubles make decisions that will change their lives forever?
And as the doubles prepare to meet, they have an extraordinary decision to make.
If there are two of them, and just one life – who gets to live it?
The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen
When her husband Harry walks out after just six months, a girls’ weekend away with two friends seems like just what Sam needs.
But they aren’t even halfway to their destination when things start to go wrong: car trouble that just happens to leave them stranded in the town where Harry lives.
And that’s only the beginning.
Because there are three things Sam doesn’t yet know:
One of her friends is lying about what happened.
One is lying about who she is.
And one of them will never make it home…
Mala’s Cat by Mala Kacenberg
Growing up in the Polish village of Tarnogrod on the fringes of a deep pine forest, gives Mala the happiest childhood she could have hoped for. But, as the German invasion begins, her beloved village becomes a ghetto and her family and friends reduced to starvation. She takes matters into her own hands, and bravely removes her yellow star, risking sneaking out to the surrounding villages to barter for food.
It is on her way back that she sees her loved ones rounded up for deportation, and receives a smuggled letter from her sister warning her to stay away. With only her cat, Malach, and the strength of the stories taught by her family, she walks away from everything she holds dear.
Malach becomes her family, her only respite from painful loneliness, a guide and reminder to stay hopeful even when faced with unfathomable darkness. With her guardian angel by her side, Mala finds a way to navigate the dangerous forests, outwit German soldiers and hostile villagers, and survive, against all odds.
Also published is The Full Diet by Dr Saira Hameed, The Whole Vegetable by Sophie Gordon, Manifest: 7 Steps to Living Your Best Life by Roxie Nafousi and How to Build an Aircraft Carrier by Chris Terrill.
Paperbacks out in January are For Your Own by Samantha Dowling and Lie Beside Me by Gytha Lodge.
Next up February.
Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
Back in the long ago nineties, Rachel Walsh was a mess.
But a spell in rehab transformed everything. Life became very good, very quickly. These days, Rachel has love, family, a great job as an addiction counsellor, she even gardens. Her only bad habit is a fondness for expensive trainers.
But with the sudden reappearance of a man she’d once loved, her life wobbles.
She’d thought she was settled. Fixed forever. Is she about to discover that no matter what our age, everything can change?
Is it time to think again, Rachel?
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
‘We can’t go to the island, Bryon. We don’t really know what we’re getting into . . .’
Eleanor Bennett won’t let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children – Byron and Benny – reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.
First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story which cuts right to the heart of the rift that’s separated Byron and Benny.
Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past. Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother’s final request to ‘share the black cake when the time is right’?
Will Eleanor’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
Breathless by Amy McCulloch
When struggling journalist Cecily Wong is invited to join an expedition to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains, it seems like the chance of a lifetime.
She doesn’t realise how deadly the climb will be.
As their small team starts to climb, things start to go wrong. There’s a theft. Then an accident. Then a mysterious note, pinned to her tent: there’s a murderer on the mountain.
The higher they get, the more dangerous the climb becomes, and the more they need to trust one another.
And that’s when Cecily finds the first body . . .
The Birdcage by Eve Chase
Some secrets need to be set free . . .
When half-sisters Kat, Flora and Lauren are unexpectedly summoned to Rock Point, the remote Cornish house where they spent their childhood summers, it is the first time they have been there together since their artist father painted them in the celebrated Girls and Birdcage.
Since then they have drifted apart into wildly different lives, each one determined to forget the fateful summer of twenty years ago.
But when they arrive at Rock Point it is clear they are not alone.
Someone is lurking in the shadows, watching their every move. Someone who remembers what they did, and has been waiting for their return.
As the events of that summer rise closer to the surface, will the three sisters escape unscathed for a second time? Or are some secrets too powerful to remain under lock and key?
Also published this month are Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz and Small Island: 12 Maps That Explain The History of Britain by Phillip Parker
Out in paperback this month are The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox, 12 Birds to Save Your Life by Charlie Corbett, Protector by Conn Iggulden and Why Women Are Poorer Than Men, The Push by Ashley Audrain, Atomic Love by Jennie Fields and What We Can Do About It by Annabelle Williams.
Moving onto March publications now.
The Blackbird by Tim Weaver
Ten seconds before the crash, Cate and Aiden Gascoigne are recorded on CCTV. The couple are laughing – happy, untroubled.
Then their car plunges into a ninety-foot ravine.
The impact should kill them. And if that doesn’t, the fire will. Within seconds, the vehicle is an inferno – with the Gascoignes trapped inside.
But when fire crews arrive at the scene, they find something impossible.
The vehicle is empty.
Cate and Aiden have vanished.
Now only missing persons investigator David Raker can solve the mystery . . .
This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel
Natalie Collins always has a plan.
Her troubled younger sister Kit rarely does.
Until Kit finds Wisewood, a secretive self-help retreat on a secluded Maine island. It promises you’ll leave a better, braver version of yourself.
But why does it forbid contact with the outside world? Why are there no testimonies from previous guests? Natalie fears it is some kind of cult.
Then, after six months of silence, she receives an email from Wisewood:
Would you like to come tell your sister what you did – or should we?
Who is digging into the sisters’ past? How did they discover Natalie’s secret? A secret that will destroy Kit.
She has no choice but to go to Wisewood, to find out if this place of healing has more sinister motives.
But as she’s about to discover, Wisewood is far easier to enter than to leave . . .
Prized Women by Caroline Lea
Lily di Marco and Mae Thebault were once friends. They lived under the same roof and cared for each other’s children – they were inseparable.
But the Great Depression changed everything, and both women were forced to make impossible decisions to save themselves from ruin
Ten years later, Lily and Mae couldn’t be further apart. And as The Great Stork Derby, the sensational baby making contest with money as the prize, makes headlines around the world the women must face up to their part in it, and the consequences . . .
Also published this month is Until the Last of Me by Sylvain Neuvel and The Fall of the House of Dudley by Joanne Paul.
The paperbacks out this month are The Aftergrief by Hope Edelman, Suspects by Lesley Pearse, A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French, Another Life by Jodie Chapman, A Question of Guilt by Jorn Lier Horst, A Mother’s Love by Daisy Styles, Damage by Caitlin Wahrer, The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst and 34 Patients by Tom Templeton.
We come next to April’s book releases.
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang
Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been-including the ones she most wants to leave behind-in order to finally claim her own name and story.
The Lost Paths by Jack Cornish
Hundreds of thousands of miles of paths reach into, and connect, communities across England and Wales. By 2026, 10,000 miles of undiscovered footpaths around Britain stand to be lost. Jack Cornish has dedicated the last five years of his life to walking these forgotten routes, and this book, The Lost Paths, is the result. It is Jack Cornish’s hope that The Lost Paths will show just how special these forgotten rights of way are, and how embedded each path is in the history of Britain.
Footpaths, tracks, country lanes and urban streets illuminate how our ancestors interacted with and shaped their landscapes in the pursuit of commerce, salvation, escape, war, and leisure. Paths are an often-overlooked part of our everyday life and our country’s history, crucial to understanding the cultural and environmental history of us in the landscape.
After dedicating his time and energy to fighting for their survival, The Lost Paths is Jack’s personal journey and exploration of the deep history of English and Welsh footways. This narrative history takes us through ancient forests, exposed mountainsides, urban back streets and coastal vistas to reveal how this millennia-old network was created and has been transformed.
This is a celebration of an ancient network and a rallying cry to reclaim what has been lost and preserve it for future generations.
Little Sister by Gytha Lodge
Two sisters went missing. Only one of them came back…
Detective Jonah Sheens is enjoying a moment of peace and quiet, when a teenage girl wanders out of the wood.
She’s striking, with flame-red hair and a pale complexion.
She’s also covered in blood.
She insists she’s fine. It’s her sister he needs to worry about.
Jonah quickly discovers that Keely and her sister, Nina, disappeared from a children’s home a week ago. Now, Keely is here – but Nina’s still missing.
Keely likes to play games. She knows where her sister is – but before she tells, she wants Jonah’s full attention.
Is she killer, witness, or victim? And will Jonah find out what Keely’s hiding, in time to save Nina?
Outside by Ragnar Jonasson
When a deadly snowstorm strikes the Icelandic highlands, four friends seek shelter in a small, abandoned hunting lodge.
It is in the middle of nowhere and there’s no way of communicating with the outside world.
They are isolated, but they are not alone . . .
As the night darkens, and fears intensify, an old tragedy gradually surfaces – one that forever changed the course of their friendship.
Those dark memories could hold the key to the mystery the friends now find themselves in.
And whether they will survive until morning . . .
Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg
Steven Harding is a handsome, well-respected professor.
Ellie Masterson is a wide-eyed young college student.
Together, they are driving south from New York, for their first holiday: three days in an isolated cabin, far from the city.
Ahead of them, the promise of long, dark nights – and the chance to explore one another’s bodies, away from prying eyes.
It should be a perfect, romantic trip for two.
EXCEPT THAT HE’S NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS.
BUT THEN AGAIN, NEITHER IS SHE . . .
Aisling and the City by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
Aisling is 31, and she’s still a complete Aisling.
With her cafe BallyGoBrunch flying and the door firmly closed on her relationship with boyfriend John, Aisling accepts an unexpected job offer and boards a business-class flight to New York in her best wrap dress and heels.
As she finds her feet in the Big Apple, she throws herself into the dating game, grapples with ‘always-on’ work culture, forges and fights for new friendships and brings her good wedges to a party in the Hamptons, much to her friend, Sadhbh’s, dismay.
But catching up with family and friends on WhatsApp and email is not the same as sitting in Maguire’s putting the world to rights over mini bottles of Pinot Greej and a shared bag of Taytos.
And yet New York has so much to offer, not least in the fireman department . . .
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
Proud grandmother Matelda Cabrelli always has something to say. But, as she faces the end of her life, she worries she’s failed to tell the stories that matter. Most of all, she finds herself needing to tell the tale of her mother Domenica’s two great loves.
First, Domenica’s childhood sweetheart: a boy from her own small coastal town of Viareggio. Second, a mysterious Captain: an infatuation forged in the midst of WW2, and the father Matelda never knew.
Now, before her time runs out, it falls to Matelda to tell Domenica’s story. And for the Cabrelli women to unpack the mysteries, passions and tragedies that sent Domenica away from Italy – then brought her home again. . .
Also out this month are Notes from a Small Kitchen Island by Debra Robertson, Don’t Worry Because 90% if Your Worries Won’t Come True by Shunmyo Masuno, Europe: A History by Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, Harrier by Paul Tremelling and The Meal Prep King 2 by Meal Prep King.
The paperback released this month are Dangerous Women by Hope Adams, Scorpion by Christian Cantrell, Aquanaut by Rick Stanton, Peter 2.0 by Peter Scott-Morgan, A Walk From the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler and SAS: Sea King Down by Mark ‘Splash’ Aston and Stuart Tootal.
Penultimately we look at May’s offerings from Penguin Michael Joseph.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
It’s every parent’s nightmare.
Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.
You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost.
That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . .
. . . and it is yesterday.
Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it.
Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .
That Green Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
1955: In an apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers. Dancing behind closed curtains, mixing cocktails for two, they guard their private lives fiercely. Until someone guesses the truth . . .
1975: Twenty years later in the same apartment, Ava Winters is keeping her own secret. Her mother has become erratic, haunted by something Ava doesn’t understand – until one sweltering July morning, she disappears.
Soon after her mother’s departure, Ava receives a parcel. Addressed simply to ‘Apartment 3B’, it contains a photo of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across it. Ava does not know what it means or who sent it. But if she can find out then perhaps she’ll discover the answers she is seeking – and meet the woman at the heart of it all . . .
A Kiss After Dying by Ashok Banker
This is a story about Hannah. She seems shy. Some would even say spiky.
People don’t pay much attention to Hannah.
Which is exactly how she’s planned it.
It’s also a story about Ricky. Ricky is anything but shy. Rich, charming, good-looking, Ricky has never had a problem getting what he wants.
And now he wants Hannah.
There’s a spark between them from the moment they meet. Even Hannah can’t resist a man like Ricky for long.
But this is not a love story.
In fact, it’s a little like Hannah. First you’ll be intrigued. Then you’ll realise there are hidden depths. And then, when you least expect it, you’ll be hit by a twist you never saw coming…
Summer Fever by Kate Riordan
Laura’s marriage is at a crossroads.
When she discovers Villa Luna Rossa, a crumbling villa in the Italian countryside, she convinces her husband Nick to embark on a new life there.
But as the intense summer heat rises, Laura quickly realises that her issues with Nick haven’t been left behind.
So it’s a relief when their first guests arrive – a glamorous American couple.
Laura can’t help but be drawn to these strangers.
As she gets closer to the couple, though, she realises that everyone at Villa Luna Rossa is hiding something. And as the summer draws to a close, no secret will be safe…
The Inheritance by Howard Linskey
Sarah always had a soft spot for her Aunt Evelyn, a famous writer, but she’d always assumed the elderly woman was penniless.
But when Evelyn dies, Sarah gets a shock.
Evelyn has a significant fortune, including a foreboding mansion, Cragsmoor, on the outskirts of a small Northumberland town. She wants to leave it to Sarah. But that’s not all she wants.
For most of her life, she’d been haunted by a cold case. Many years ago, her childhood friend Lucy went missing. She was last seen in the house Evie has now left to Sarah. Evie spent years searching for the truth, desperate to find out what really happened the day Lucy disappeared.
Now, her final wish is for Sarah to go back to the house where it all began, and uncover the truth. If she does, she will inherit everything.
But if there is a secret at Cragsmoor, someone has benefitted from it remaining hidden. Someone who has already killed once before…
Also published this month is Athenian Book 3 by Conn Iggulden and Just Got Real by Jane Fallon.
The paperbacks released this month are The Seven Ages of Death by Dr Richard Shepherd, Diddly Squat by Jeremy Clarkson, Typhoon by Mike Sutton, Walking on Sunshine by Giovanna Fletcher and Latitude by Nick Crane
Finally we arrive at June.
Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
Meredith Maggs hasn’t left her house in 1,214 days. But she insists she isn’t alone.
She has her cat Fred. Her friend Sadie visits when she can. There’s her online support group, StrengthInNumbers. She has her jigsaws, favourite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the Tesco delivery man and her treacherous memories for company.
But something’s about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door . . . Does she have the courage to overcome what’s been keeping her inside all this time?
The Interpreter’s Daughter by Teresa Lin
In the last years of her life, Teresa Lim’s mother, Violet Chang, had copies of a cherished family photograph made for those in the portrait who were still alive. The photo is mounted on cream card with the name of the studio stamped at the bottom in Chinese characters.
The place and date on the back: Hong Kong, 1935.
Teresa would often look at this photograph, enticed by the fierceness and beauty of her great-aunt Fanny looking back at her. But Fanny never seemed to feature in the told and retold family stories. Why? she wondered.
This photograph set Teresa on a journey to uncover her family’s remarkable history. Through detective work, serendipity, and the kindness of strangers, she was guided to the fascinating, ordinary, extraordinary life of her great-aunt and her world of sworn spinsters, ghost husbands and the working-class feminists of 19th century south China. But to recover her great-aunt’s past, we first must get to know Fanny’s family, the times and circumstances in which they lived, and the momentous yet forgotten conflicts that would lead to war in Singapore and, ultimately, a long-buried family tragedy.
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
If you could go back, would you do things differently?
Alice Stern isn’t ready to turn forty. She thought she’d have more time to figure it all out. Above all, she thought she’d have more time with her father, Leonard Stern, an eccentric novelist – but he’s lying in a hospital bed and Alice isn’t sure if she’ll hear his voice again.
When she falls asleep outside their old apartment on the night before her birthday, she’s surprised to be greeted the next morning by a much younger Leonard, with a sixteenth birthday card for a teenage Alice who, far from clinging to her youth, is hurtling towards adulthood . . .
Alice soon discovers how she got back here, to 1996 and her sixteenth birthday, and realises she can keep on coming, whenever she chooses. But faced each time with different versions of her life, and the consequences of her decisions, it’s on her not to lose sight of what she wants most: some time back with Leonard . . .
The Way Back to You by James Bailey
Three friends. Two summers. One chance to find the way back to you . . .
When Simon Brown reconnects on Facebook with his first love Sylvie – the French pen pal he never actually met – he is determined that this time things will be different.
However, life isn’t so straight-forward at sixty as it was at sixteen. His daughter’s getting married, he’s got difficult guests staying at his B&B, and his larger-than-life school friend, Ian, has abruptly waltzed back into his life.
Adamant that he can’t let this second chance pass by, Simon sets off on a bike ride from Bristol to Bordeaux with Ian in tow, on the very same route they covered as teenagers in pursuit of love.
But although they now have better bikes, more acceptable haircuts, and Google Maps, some things never change, and it soon becomes clear that this trip will have even more bumps in the road than the first.
Is it ever too late to make up for past mistakes?
How far can one friendship be pushed?
And will Simon finally meet Sylvie?
One Place de l’Eglise by Trevor Dolby
A thousand years ago, around the time King Harold inconveniently got shot with an arrow and a group of ladies made a tapestry, in the south of France a man and his friends decided to build a house next to a church. Over the centuries many things happened in that house, none of which found its way into history books.
With the coming of the first decade of the twenty-first century, 1 Place de l’Eglise had become rather derelict. The roof leaked, the mortar in the ancient walls was crumbling, a fertilizer bag stuffed a broken window. There was no electricity to speak of, the plumbing was a lead pipe in one room, the cellar doors had rotted. And there it stood. Shutters and doors firmly locked, the villagers of Causses-et-Veyran passing by to the church next door.
Then, an impoverished – in his mind at any rate – Londoner and his wife went a little crazy and bought it. It was love at first sight.
Over the years they gradually turn the house into a home. They navigate the language, floods and freezing winters. And eventually they find their place – their bar, their baker, their builder (ignore him at their peril).
Slowly the family and the locals get to know one another and these busy English discover slower joys – the scent of thyme and lavender, the warmth of sun on stone walls, nights hung with stars, silence in the hills, the importance of history and memory, the liberation of laughter and the secrets of fig jam.
1 Place de L’Eglise is a love letter – to a house, a village, a country – from an outsider who discovers you can never be a stranger when you’re made to feel so at home. Old houses never belong to people. People belong to them.
The Colour Storm by Damian Dibben
Renaissance Venice is a furnace of ideas and ambition. Artists flock here, not just for wealth and fame, but for revolutionary colour. Yet artist Giorgione ‘Zorzo’ Barbarelli’s career hangs in the balance. Competition is fierce, and his debts are piling up. When Zorzo hears a rumour of a mysterious, other-worldly new pigment, brought to Venice by the richest man in Europe, he sets out to acquire the colour and secure his name in history.
Winning a commission to paint a portrait of the man’s wife, Sybille, Zorzo thinks he has found a way into the merchant’s favour. Instead he finds himself caught up in a conspiracy that stretches across Europe and a marriage coming apart inside one of the floating city’s most illustrious palazzos.
As the water levels rise and the plague creeps ever closer, an increasingly desperate Zorzo isn’t sure whom he can trust. Will Sybille prove to be the key to Zorzo’s success, or the reason for his downfall?
The Night Man by Jorn Lier Horst
A severed head, impaled on a stake, placed in the middle of the town square.
No clues. No leads. And just hours later, another body.
Inspector William Wisting is investigating the most grotesque case of his career. As media pressure mounts to find the sadistic killer, he soon finds what could be the key to solving the murder.
But with another death looming, Wisting faces a criminal network well beyond anything he’s dealt with before.
To find justice, he must put himself in danger beyond his darkest nightmares, and from which there can be no escape.
Also published this month is The Angel of Englemere by Karen Farrington and Your Word or Mine by Lia Middleton.
Finally the paperbacks out in June are Odd Boy Out by Giles Brandreth, Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, Don’t Laugh, It’ll Only Encourage Her by Daisy May Cooper and Dark Horse by Gregg Hurwitz.
So there we have it, a veritable book feast from Penguin Michael Joseph. There are a few that have caught my eye. Do let me know if any have caught yours.