5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
This week’s bookcase includes reviews of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley and Who Are We Now? by Jason Cowley.
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Prudence Wade, PA

Plus, Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler is back with her latest offering…


1. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is published in hardback by HarperCollins. Available now



The setting could be from of a romance novel – a beautiful old building in the city of love – but Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment is chilling from the start. Jess arrives in the French capital to visit her brother Ben, a journalist on the verge of a scoop, but when she gets to his home on the rue des Amants, he is nowhere to be seen. As she tries to find out where he has gone, she starts to suspect other residents in the block. Foley builds an atmosphere of unease from the very first page. Her writing and characters make the book hard to put down, and the twists keep on coming right until the end. An enjoyable whodunnit.
(Review by Eleanor Barlow)

2. French Braid by Anne Tyler is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus. Available now



A chance meeting at a Philadelphia rail station between distant cousins opens this novel. Then we’re plunged back into 1959, with the Garrett family taking a rare holiday in a cabin on a lake in Maryland. Most of the book is based in Tyler’s usual setting of Baltimore – but it’s not the city viewers of The Wire are familiar with. Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler writes character-driven novels, and French Braid is multi-faceted – with different family members coming and going out of focus. Over the course of the book, we slowly discover how tiny moments reshape families over several generations, until it gets to the point where one cousin barely recognises another. What’s unspoken but not unnoticed is a recurrent motif. Tyler’s books are full of subtleties, tender compassion and humanity, and French Braid is no exception.
(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

3. The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson is published in hardback by Mantle. Available now

An unhappy family brought together for a special occasion isn’t a new scenario for a novel, but Charlotte Mendelson uses it to hugely entertaining effect in The Exhibitionist. Central to the toxic Hanrahan clan is Ray, patriarch, failed artist and narcissistic monster. Stuck in his malign orbit is his chronically conflict-avoidant wife Lucia – the true artist of the family – his two neurotic daughters, and a mentally unstable stepson. It’s Ray’s first exhibition in years, and the family’s job to make it run smoothly. But what secret is Lucia hiding? Will the kids ever be able to break away? And, more importantly, where are the pictures? Mendelson’s sharply-observed take on bohemian north London squalor is more grimace-worthy than laugh out loud. But the will-they, won’t-they confront Ray plot keeps you turning the pages, so what the book lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in readability.
(Review by Jackie Kingsley)


4. Who Are We Now?: Stories Of Modern England by Jason Cowley is published in hardback by Picador. Available March 31st

An urgent and timely historical review charting the years between the election of New Labour and the aftermath of the pandemic. Cowley explores the evolution of ‘Englishness’ through a series of highly politicised stories readers will recognise from the news, though perhaps never considered as having a lasting impact on their idea of English nationality and culture. Stories include the Chinese cockle-pickers who drowned in Morecombe Bay, the Bethnal Green girls who fled to the Islamic State, Gareth Southgate’s transformative influence on British football, and the Lancashire woman who publicly challenged Gordon Brown on his supposedly people-centric policies. Cowley powerfully demonstrates how these vivid, half-forgotten stories have contributed to a fragmented England, and offers a vision for how we can embrace the lessons learned to build a bright new future.
(Review by Scarlett Sangster)

Children’s book of the week

5. Animal Sidekicks by Macken Murphy, illustrated by Dragan Kordic, is published in hardback by Neon Squid. Available April 5th

Animal Sidekicks by Macken Murphy
(Neon Squid/PA)

Have you ever wondered why sunbathing terrapin turtles like to hitch a ride on a hippo? Even if you haven’t, there is no doubt your children will definitely want to find out. Welcome to Animal Sidekicks, a rollicking ride through the wonderful world of animal symbiosis. In this remarkable book, Macken Murphy brings us a science lesson wrapped up in lots of fun. With beautiful illustrations throughout, we encounter several guests, including the Colombian lesserback tarantula who guards the dotted humming frog against being eaten. Elsewhere, on a visit to the Galapagos Islands, we meet a vampire finch who drains blood from the booby seabird. As well as explaining the relationship between animals, the book is full of fun facts. Did you know, for example, that when coyotes and badgers work together, the coyotes catch a third more prey than when they go it alone?
(Review by Jane Kirby)

Book charts for the week ending March 26th:

Hardback (Ficton)
1. Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson
2. French Braid by Anne Tyler
3. Galatea by Madeline Miller
4. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
5. Gallant by V.E. Schwab
6. Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
7. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
8. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
9. House Of Sky And Breath by Sarah J. Maas
10. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Hardback (Non-fiction)
1. Feel Good Food by Joe Wicks
2. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
3. Queen Of Our Times by Robert Hardman
4. Butler To The World by Oliver Bullough
5. Otherlands by Thomas Halliday
6. Taste by Stanley Tucci
7. Shadowlands by Matthew Green
8. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
9. Burning Questions by Margaret Atwood
10. Every Family Has A Story by Julia Samuel
(Compiled by Waterstones)

Audiobooks (Fiction & Non-fiction)
1. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr Julie Smith
2. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. A Spoonful of Murder by J.M. Hall
4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
5. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
6. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
7. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
8. Mothers and Daughters by Erica James
9. Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes
10. Windswept & Interesting by Billy Connolly
(Compiled by Audible)

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