CONTEMPORARY  | Daily Mail Online


The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop

The Anniversary by Stephanie Bishop

The Anniversary

by Stephanie Bishop

(W&N £16.99, 432 pp)

Novelist J.B. Blackwood is on a cruise with her husband, former university professor, Patrick, to mark their anniversary.

When they met, J.B. was Patrick’s enthralled student. Things are now very different — he is a director of cult films whose success is fading while J.B.’s star is on the rise — but to an outsider looking in, everything between them appears golden.

When a storm hits and Patrick falls overboard, hidden truths behind their power dynamic begin to emerge.

The sense of foreboding increases as the narrative progresses and I found it impossible to put down.

It’s excellent on how a partner’s resentment can grow until it explodes as if from nowhere. It’s also wonderful on writing itself and how our protagonists both enable and block each other’s process. I adored it.

Spilt Milk by Amy Beashel

Spilt Milk by Amy Beashel

Spilt Milk

by Amy Beashel

(HarperNorth £14.99, 320 pp)

Bea loves her toddler daughter Mabel, but doesn’t enjoy motherhood and feels like she’s lost sight of herself since she gave birth. She misses the passionate relationship she used to enjoy with her husband, Craig, the ambition she always felt about her writing career, and her freedom.

So when Bea becomes pregnant again, she can only think about how much worse her life would be with two babies.

She books a termination and gets blackout-drunk the night before, not telling Craig about any of it.

While drinking, she wrote a blog post about how she regrets having her first child and won’t have a second.

The day after her appointment, Bea’s world implodes when the brutal words she can’t recall writing — the worst things a mother can say — are accidentally posted on the internet.

The blog goes viral and Craig, along with millions of others, is horrified. It’s different, raw, thought-provoking and beautifully written. Fantastic.

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

If I Let You Go by Charlotte Levin

If I Let You Go

by Charlotte Levin

(Mantle £14.99, 384 pp)

Janet Brown spends her mornings cleaning offices. She scrubs out stains in the way she cannot scrub out the grief, guilt and devastating sadness she has been drowning in since her daughter died 11 years ago.

Janet’s husband Colin is emotionally abusive and controls everything she does. He blames her for the death of their child and tells her she’s lucky to have him, as no one else would put up with her.

When Janet breaks out for a night with her friends, she wakes up in hospital having survived a train crash and saved the life of a child. Everyone is calling her a hero, but she can’t remember any of it.

Soon, Janet is being interviewed on TV and admired in newspaper articles, but as her memory returns, she realises something is badly wrong.

This emotional rollercoaster is alternately heart-breaking and hopeful. I was gripped.

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