Books to Get Out of the UK and Ireland: Janaury Edition

Are you looking for your next great read? Why not try out the books from across the pond? Despite from what governments say, books are essential and are needed now, more than ever. So if you are need of a variety and want to read diverse stories, then I suggest you try out some British and Irish titles!

New Year…New Books! We may have left 2020 behind, but the pain and struggles of last year are still being faced, especially independent bookstores. Continue to support indie bookstores by shopping on Bookshop.org and Hive.co.uk.

You can buy these titles from BookDepository.com, a subsidiary of Amazon. They provide free international delivery, although this is being affected right now due to the pandemic. You can also try with the British bookstore, Blackwell’s, also with Wordery.com. Now on with the recommendations!

Featured Book of the Month:

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Expected Publication Date: January 21

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…(Credit: Raven Books)


Wanderers: A History of Women Walking by Kerri Andrews

This is a book about ten women over the past three hundred years who have found walking essential to their sense of themselves, as people and as writers. Wanderers traces their footsteps, from eighteenth-century parson’s daughter Elizabeth Carter—who desired nothing more than to be taken for a vagabond in the wilds of southern England—to modern walker-writers such as Nan Shepherd and Cheryl Strayed. For each, walking was integral, whether it was rambling for miles across the Highlands, like Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, or pacing novels into being, as Virginia Woolf did around Bloomsbury. Offering a beguiling view of the history of walking, Wanderers guides us through the different ways of seeing—of being—articulated by these ten pathfinding women. (Credit: Reaktion Books)

The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow by Amy McCulloch and Zoe Sugg

One for Sorrow takes place at Illumen Hall, an elite boarding school. It opens as tragedy strikes when the body of a student is discovered at their exclusive summer party – on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie. When new girl Audrey arrives the following term, running from her own secrets back home in America, she is thrown into solving the case. Despite her best efforts to avoid any drama, her new roommate Ivy was close to the murdered girl, and the two of them can’t help but get pulled in. The two can’t stand each other, but as they are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder, they will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their superficially perfect school. Welcome to The Magpie Society. (Credit: Penguin Books)

A Quiet Tide by Marianne Lee

At the time of her death in 1815, twenty-nine-year-old Ellen Hutchins had catalogued over a thousand species of seaweed and plants from her native Bantry Bay. Ireland’s first female botanist, Ellen was a major contributor to nineteenth-century scientific discovery. And yet, like so many brilliant women lost in history, it is her personal story that will resonate today.

In her remarkable debut novel, Marianne Lee fuses fact with fiction to imagine Ellen’s rich but tormented inner life, repressed by the gender and class confines of her time. Unmarried, childless and sickly, Ellen is considered an ‘unsuccessful’ woman, dutifully bound to her family’s once grand and isolated estate, Ballylickey House. Still, she glimpses a happiness and autonomy she can never quite articulate as she reaches for meaning and expression, until the eruption of a long-simmering family feud and the rise of Ellen’s own darkness – her ‘quiet tide’ – will conspire to destroy her fragile future. (Credit: New Island)


Great British Vegan: Simple, Plant-Based Recipes to Cook the Nation’s Favourite Dishes by Aimee Ryan

If you’re craving your favourite British comfort foods, but also want to embrace a plant-based lifestyle, then Great British Vegan is the book is for you. 

Whether you’re vegan, flexitarian or merely interested in cutting down on your meat consumption, there’s no reason you can’t still indulge in all your favourite British classics, using easy-to-find ingredients.

With great-tasting, simple to make home-style recipes that will comfort as well as nourish, this book makes sure you’ll never miss out on Sunday roasts, full English breakfasts or afternoon teas again.

This unique take on vegan cooking reimagines over 80 classic British dishes including Full English, Shepherd’s Pie, Banger’s & Mash, Yorkshire Puddings, Beer Battered (To)Fish & Chips, Sausage Rolls, Welsh Rarebit, Scottish Shortbread, Eton Mess and Sticky Toffee Pudding. (Credit: White Lion Publishing) 

The Humiliations of Welton Blake by Alex Wheatle

Welton Blake has done it! He’s asked out Carmella McKenzie – the best-looking girl in school – and she’s only gone and said yes!

But just as he thinks his luck is starting to change, Welton’s phone breaks, kick-starting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. With bullies to avoid, girls ready to knock him out and all the drama with his mum and dad, life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong. (Credit: Barrington Stoke Ltd)

Advent by Jane Fraser

Expected Publication Date: January 21

1904: Ellen has returned to her Gower village from the hustle and bustle of Hoboken, New Jersey. News of her father’s increasing frailty has brought her reluctantly home. Her younger twin brothers are hoping that she can talk some sense into the increasingly drink sodden subsistence farmer. As the weeks and months pass Ellen’s own history and the issues that led to her departure for the USA are revealed. She is a modern woman making her way in the new 20th century and isn’t prepared to sacrifice herself to the expectations of duty and tradition. (Credit: Honno Modern Fiction)

Girl A by Abigail Dean

Expected Publication Date: January 21

Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer.

Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared. Beautifully written and incredibly powerful, Girl A is a story of redemption, of horror, and of love. (Credit: HapreCollins)

The US Publication comes out in February.

When The World Was Ours by Liz Kessler

Expected Publication Date: January 21

Three friends. Two sides. One memory.

Vienna. 1936.

Three young friends – Leo, Elsa and Max – spend a perfect day together, unaware that around them Europe is descending into a growing darkness, and that events soon mean that they will be cruelly ripped apart from each other. With their lives taking them across Europe – to Germany, England, Prague and Poland – will they ever find their way back to each other? Will they want to?  (Credit:  Simon & Schuster Children’s UK)

My Best Friend’s Murder by Polly Phillips

Expected Publication Date: January 22

There are so many ways to kill a friendship . . .

You’re lying, sprawled at the bottom of the stairs, legs bent, arms wide.
And while this could be a tragic accident, if anyone’s got a motive to hurt you, it’s me.

Bec and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. They have been through a lot together – from the death of Bec’s mother to the birth of Izzy’s daughter. But there’s a darker side to their friendship, and once it has been exposed, there is no turning back.

So when Izzy’s body is found, Bec knows that if the police decide to look for a killer, she will be the prime suspect. Because those closest to you are the ones who can hurt you the most . . .(Credit: Simon & Schuster UK)

Words to Shape My Name by Laura McKenna

Expected Publication Date: January 22

In a London graveyard in 1857, Miss Harriet Small is approached by a stranger with an intriguing gift for her. In the last will of a woman she barely remembers, Harriet has been left a collection of long-lost papers: her father’s True Narrative of his years after escaping enslavement in America, and his close relationship with Irish revolutionary Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

Nearly sixty years earlier, in the aftermath of Edward’s death and disgrace in the 1798 Rebellion, his sister, Lady Lucy, commissioned Harriet’s father, Mr Anthony Small, to write about his life as Edward’s manservant in the form of a ‘slave narrative’. But what emerges from Faithful Tony’s pages is Lucy’s real motive (revealed in her notes and deletions) to restore Edward’s reputation and his family’s fortunes, as well as a complex, co-dependent and sometimes turbulent allyship between the two men. Tony gains opportunities to work, to prosper, to love, only to be powerless in preventing the devastating events that destroy his master. He learns that the quest to be truly heard is never-ending, and as heartbreaking as it is to read her father’s words, Harriet comes to realise there is more than one way to be free. (Credit: New Island Books)

Thin Places by Kerri ni Dochartaigh

Expected Publication Date: January 28

In Thin Places, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, Kerri explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone’s throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard, and terror to creep back in. Kerri asks us to reclaim our landscape through language and study, and remember that the land we fight over is much more than lines on a map. It will always be ours but, at the same time, it never really was. (Credit: Canongate Books Ltd)


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