2016 has started with a bang, with loads of new fiction coming into the shop. For today's '3 4 Friday' selection, we've picked three new titles for you to enjoy.
In ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ documentary maker Kate Hamer has written an intriguing debut: with elements of a thriller, it is more an exploration of religious ideas, family ties and personal identity.
Inspired by fairy tales - as well as Hamer's discovery of an infamous ancestor who ran a cult - it is the story of an abducted girl - Carmel - told from the point of view of both her and her family. The book is published in paperback this month.
When Carmel disappears the police comb every piece of evidence trying to discover who on earth might have snatched her. But the reader sees the story from Carmel’s eyes and know her abductors have been planning this meticulously for years. Her captor, pretending to be her estranged grandfather, believes Carmel has special powers and has taken her because he believes she should be doing the work of God. So begins Carmel’s extraordinary new life, struggling to keep her identity while ‘grandfather’ plans something quite different. But at home, neither her mother nor the police have ever given up on finding a lead that will lead them back to Carmel...
With plenty of themes to discuss, we think it would make a great bookgroup read.
Different points of view are also at play in 'The Widow' by Fiona Barton. This is one of 2016's big new hardback releases, and it's definitely tapping into the unreliable narrator aspects of last year's huge hit 'The Girl on the Train' (even the cover looks familiar).
What works brilliantly is this three-way story – the widow of a man (Glen Taylor) who went on trial for child abduction, the policemen who doggedly collected evidence, and the journalist who sees a career-making chance at a story when Glen Taylor dies.
As the truth is teased out of the widow, will it emerge that the police set him up as Glen always claimed? Or has the silent widow always known a lot more than she claims?
Barton is a former journalist who covered some infamous court cases for The Daily Mail and The Telegraph - and found herself drawn to the wives of those men accused of terrible crimes. You'll be hearing a lot about this book as the year progresses...
Our first event of 2016 is in conjunction with Abingdon Library, when author Francesca Kay will be discussing her new novel 'The Long Room'.
The novel - set in 1981 - is the story of Stephen Donaldson, who’s day is spent listening into the endless taped conversations of others – ageing communists and small-time revolutionaries – for giveaway signs of terrorist activity. But being part of the secret service is not the dashing job Stephen imagined and life has failed him in so many ways.
Listening brings him into the world of the wife of one of the suspects and he quickly becomes obsessed with offering her a better life. From diligent, quiet and lonely, ‘The Long Room’ charts Stephen’s descent into risk-taking and rule-breaking as the line between obsession and reality starts to blur,
Francesca Kay’s first novel, 'An Equal Stillness', won the Orange Award for New Writers in 2009. She lives in Oxford with her family. She will be at Abingdon Library on Wednesday, January 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £2 and are available from the library - and find out more here.
Here's to finding your next favourite author in 2016...and we'd love to hear what you are reading!