Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month

Liz Robinson has been an Editorial Expert writing reviews for LoveReading since February 2014. At LoveReading we only recommend books we love, and each month Liz now has the tricky task of choosing a small selection that really caught her eye. All are highly recommended and come with Liz's seal of approval.

July 2022 Featured Books

Murder Under Her Skin

Murder Under Her Skin

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Star Books
Femina

Femina

Author: Janina Ramirez Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/07/2022

Sink into medieval times (and glimpse other ages), explore new thoughts and become more aware of the women who are part of our history. Author Dr Janina Ramirez looks beyond and behind the obvious masculine influence and features the women who were as much a part of history. History is in its very nature manipulated by the tellers and even people who are yet to come. I love the introduction, where we start and why, it really does hit home. Although featuring females, this feels larger and more complete in scale, actually, perhaps it’s just that is is balanced, as it should be. The text is supported by artwork, ranging from photos, posters, paintings and maps, to drawings, mosaics, and plans. By the way the cover is beautiful and I exclaimed in pleasure when I met the picture further in and further on, it’s always fabulous when you are given enough information to want to explore beyond the book you are reading. Dr Janina Ramirez explains that this is just the start of the conversation, and at the end invites you to explore on your own. Joining my Liz Picks of the Month, Femina sparkles with what it achieves, a fresh voice and beautifully engaging ideas.

Star Books
A Slow Fire Burning

A Slow Fire Burning

Author: Paula Hawkins Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

'What is wrong with you?' Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She's seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous. Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn't mean she's a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace? Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill. Look what you started. 

Audiobooks of the Month
The Bewitching

The Bewitching

Author: Jill Dawson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Goodness, take note before you start, this novels bites, provokes and doesn’t lose its grip, even though at times I flinched as the words buffeted my thoughts. The Bewitching is based on the events surrounding Alice Samuel when she was accused of witchcraft between 1589-1593 in the village of Warboys in the Cambridgeshire Fens. While fictional, author Jill Dawson has obviously completed meticulous research about the period. In the acknowledgements she mentions the title of a pamphlet published in 1593 that details the trial and that alone is enough to send shivers coursing through you. She weaves and stitches together a story that feels chillingly real. Even though centuries old, the details are as relevant today as ever, where a stray word and vicious mind can do so much harm. Women feature at the centre of this novel, with men on the sharpened edge. I felt as though I was being carried towards an inevitable conclusion, and yet I was still challenged, and still surprised as I was drawn into the inner sanctuary that a mind creates when speared. The ending of Part Four hit with exquisitely painful precision and left me feeling drained before Part Five lulled me into dreams. As devastating as it is powerful, The Bewitching is a fascinating and thought-provoking novel that joins my selections as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Unravelling

The Unravelling

Author: Polly Crosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

A darkly beautiful dual-timeline novel with a captivating mystery, for fans of Diane Setterfield and Kiran Millwood Hargrave When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history. Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne's research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape. Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets. As Tartelin pieces together Marianne's connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past? Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.

eBooks of the Month
Opal Country

Opal Country

Author: Chris Hammer Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Opals... In the desolate outback town of Finnigans Gap, police struggle to maintain law and order. Thieves pillage opal mines, religious fanatics recruit vulnerable youngsters and billionaires do as they please. Bodies... Then an opal miner is found crucified and left to rot down his mine. Nothing about the miner's death is straight-forward, not even who found the body. Homicide detective Ivan Lucic is sent to investigate, assisted by inexperienced young investigator Nell Buchanan. But Finnigans Gap has already ended one police career and damaged others, and soon both officers face damning allegations and internal investigations. Have Ivan and Nell been set up, and if so, by whom? Secrets... As time runs out, their only chance at redemption is to find the killer. But the more they uncover, the more harrowing the mystery becomes, and a past long forgotten is thrown into scorching sunlight. Because in Finnigans Gap, nothing stays buried for ever.

Star Books
The Last Hours in Paris

The Last Hours in Paris

Author: Ruth Druart Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

This thoughtfully handled story of love, in all its guises, sits on two timelines creating questions and answers as you travel between and the 1940’s and 1960’s. When Elise meets German soldier Sebastian in Paris towards the end of the Second World War, they begin a love that simply can not be tolerated by those around them. Ruth Druart’s debut While Paris Slept was also set within the same field of conflict, yet this has a very different feel. While simply told and handled with gentle generosity and compassion, you shouldn’t expect light and airy as it also squeezes thoughts and feelings in a vice-like grip. Secrets and lies twisted and changed shape as they extended into the future creating contradictory feelings as I read. The sections from the war have a haunting intensity, and clearly affect the later time frame. As the ending settled around me and I read the Author’s Note I heaved an emotional yet satisfied sigh. Dwelling in sadness yet expressing hope, The Last Hours in Paris is a compelling tale and sits as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Lightseekers

Lightseekers

Author: Femi Kayode Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/07/2022

Winner of the 2019 UEA Crime Writing Prize, Lightseekers is the start of a major new crime series introducing investigative psychologist Dr Philip Taiwo. When three young students are brutally murdered in a Nigerian university town, their killings - and their killers - are caught on social media. The world knows who murdered them; what no one knows is why. As the legal trial begins, investigative psychologist Philip Taiwo is contacted by the father of one of the boys, desperate for some answers to his son's murder. But Philip is an expert in crowd behaviour and violence, not a detective, and after travelling to the sleepy university town that bore witness to the killings, he soon feels dramatically out of his depth. Will he finally be able to uncover the truth of what happened to the Okiri Three?

Star Books
An Immense World

An Immense World

Author: Ed Yong Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/06/2022

Just a little bit mind-blowing, this immensely fascinating and satisfying book kicks known thoughts out into free-fall. Award-winning science writer Ed Yong's first book I Contain Multitudes was shortlisted for The Wellcome Book Prize and Royal Society Science Book Prize. In An Immense World his writing connected me to the unknown. While I love nature and often seek it out, I’ve never really thought beyond my own senses and viewpoint. Here he takes you into the senses of other animals and lets you to use them. It’s completely wonderful, and eye-opening (you will also note how often we use words connected to our main senses). He encourages you to think beyond now, to what the future could be. We have to look beyond ourselves to appreciate the damage we are sometimes unwittingly causing to ecosystems. Conservationists are able to make huge changes by seeing the world as though they are the animal rather than from a human viewpoint. As Ed Yong states, how do we solve a problem that we don’t realise exists, sensory pollution can be reduced but societal responsibility needs to be motivated enough to make the changes. He shows us that we have the gift to be able to appreciate the differences in animal senses and how it affects everything on our planet. Chosen as a Liz Pick of the Month An Immense World is eloquent, engaging, rewarding, and a hugely important read.

Star Books
Dark Earth

Dark Earth

Author: Rebecca Stott Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

Vivid and spirited, Dark Earth spins a magical tale that feels as though it could have been passed down through the ages. After their father dies, Isla and Blue seek sanctuary in the remains of Londinium. I simply adore the mention of the brooch in the Author’s Note at the beginning, this introduction and the brooch stayed with me as I read. Costa award-winning Rebecca Stott creates a land and story that is easy to slip into. The descriptions imprinted themselves in my minds eye. This female-led tale is a melting pot of religions and cultures at a time when England was dominated by warlords scrambling for power. The two main characters each display different strengths that act as a magnet for the other. I felt as though this story could sit with the legend of Arthur, as though it has always been in existence, as part of a truth. The ending feels almost touchable, and I would be very happy to discover that there is more to come from this time and community. Oh, and I adore the cover, it’s not only stunning, it also speaks perfectly of the contents. I’ve chosen Dark Earth as a Liz Pick of the Month, thoughtful and engaging it spins history, magic and myth together quite beautifully.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month

June 2022 Featured Books

The Siege

The Siege

Author: John Sutherland Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

An enthralling, rewarding, and ever so satisfying debut crime thriller. Covering ten hours, from beginning to end, a far-right extremist takes nine people from an immigrant support group hostage. Author John Sutherland is a retired Borough Commander with the Metropolitan Police, during his time in the job he was a hostage negotiator, in other words he knows his stuff. Not only that, he is also a gifted, passionate, and compassionate speaker and I’ve listened to his inspiring words on several occasions at Literary Festivals. This may be his debut novel, but he already has two non-fiction books to his name, Blue: A Memoir and Crossing the Line are both fascinating books about policing. When I knew he was venturing into fiction I grabbed a proof just as fast as I could with one question on my mind, could his knowledge and abilities translate into a novel? Yes, yes they can. If you’ve read his books, newspaper articles or his blog, heard him on the TV, at talks or worked with him then you will know he is principled, honourable, thoughtful, and that clearly comes across in his writing. Yet being from the policing family means he has seen it all, experienced the highs and lows that this job throws at you. So while the tone is unmistakably him, calm with no fuss or bluster, it feels real, right up in your face real. The three main characters have equal billing, concentrating in turn on their lives, who they are, what makes them tick. There is a straightforward clarity to the writing that ensures the words hit with intensity. As the story gained momentum, as the lives of these people began to really matter to me, I couldn’t put the book down. At one point I cried, and I know how good a book is by how it makes me react, how it makes me feel. So, this novel joins our LoveReading Star Book community, it also sits as a Liz Robinson Pick for its month of publication. For those of you who have been waiting, hand-on-heart, it’s worth it. The Siege is not only thrilling and entertaining, it’s also engaging and meaningful, and comes with the hugest of ticks in the must-read box from me.

Star Books
The Final Strife

The Final Strife

Author: Saara El-Arifi Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2022

A debut that sings, in fact roars with strong vibrant themes, beautiful storytelling, and fabulous characters. Three women sit centre stage as the trials begin to find the next rulers of the Empire, each has different coloured blood and were born to very different roles. This is the first in the The Final Strife series, and Author Saara El-Arifi has created the most compelling world with roots in Ghanian folklore and Arabian myths. A vivid energy crackles into life from the start. The sense of place is immense, I saw, I felt, I believed. The three very different young women who lead in the story, in such different ways, have fascinating characters. The story flows through some thought-provoking topics, from oppression and rebellion through to drug addiction. Love can be found in its many guises including friendship as well as romance. While tyranny rules, this in an inclusive land in terms of relationships and diversity. I would say this is definitely not for younger teens due to content, but is suitable for those heading towards their twenties as well as adults. This first book sets up the continuing story rather wonderfully and I can’t wait to see where we head next. A LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick of the Month, The Final Strife, so very clever, bold and provocative has set aflame a new world that promises much, highly recommended.

Star Books
The Shadows of Men

The Shadows of Men

Author: Abir Mukherjee Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/06/2022

Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can officers of the Imperial Police Force, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath? Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this 'unmissable' (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?

Star Books
Madwoman

Madwoman

Author: Louisa Treger Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/06/2022

So thought-provoking it hurts, this is a fictional account based on the true story of US journalist Nellie Bly. She was famous for exposing the horrific abuse that took place in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in 1887, and at the time this was pioneering investigative journalism. Louisa Treger gives Nellie her voice and creates a simply told story where you experience her thoughts and feelings. The tale first takes you to her childhood and allows you to discover the true strength and grit that made this extraordinary woman. When entering the asylum it is difficult to comprehend the cruelty uncovered. The effect of Nellies descent into a world of pain can not be ignored. As interesting, is Nellie’s fight to be a voice in a male dominated world, not only for herself, but also the women falsely incarcerated. It is sometimes difficult to hold on to the fact that this is based on history and not a fictional flight of fancy, and so, it is successfully shocking in its impact. After finishing I wanted to find out more about Nellie beyond this stage of her life, what a woman! The clarity of the tale ensures Madwoman hammers home in this compelling and achingly absorbing read. 

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Moth

Moth

Author: Melody Razak Format: Paperback Release Date: 09/06/2022

Delhi, 1946 Ma and Bappu are liberal intellectuals teaching at the local university. Their fourteen year-old daughter - precocious, headstrong Alma - is soon to be married: Alma is mostly interested in the wedding shoes and in spinning wild stories for her beloved younger sister Roop, a restless child obsessed with death. Times are bad for girls in India. The long-awaited independence from British rule is heralding a new era of hope, but also of anger and distrust. Political unrest is brewing, threatening to unravel the rich tapestry of Delhi - a city where different cultures, religions and traditions have co-existed for centuries. When Partition happens and the British Raj is fractured overnight, this wonderful family is violently torn apart, and its members are forced to find increasingly desperate ways to survive. But the resilience of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing...

Star Books
Storm Rising

Storm Rising

Author: Chris Hauty Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

Intensely and gloriously entertaining, while being as provocative and thrilling as can be.  Operative Hayley Chill stumbles into a conspiracy to start a second civil war as she heads to Texas searching for answers about her father. This is the third in the Hayley Chill Thriller series which began with the glorious Deep State. I have to admit that I did wonder where we would go after Savage Road as the story itself was so immense. In Storm Rising, the focus changes slightly, we get to see and feel more for Hayley. While she has always sat centre stage, it has been the plot that has consumed. This really feels like a personal story, it is as much about her as it is the white supremacy conspiracy plot of the story. The prologue hits punch hard, and my attention didn’t flicker for the rest of the book. Author Chris Hauty really knows how to set a scene, to paint a picture that arrives in your minds eye ready to taunt, to provoke. I so enjoy the small moments of lives flitting in and out of the novel, foretelling of a future, giving hidden flesh to the story. Chris Hauty also excels in placing unexpected moments, from small to absolutely blimmin humongous in his books. Each so far has differed, and while we are lead towards one particular one in Storm Rising, it still affected me when it hit. Chosen as Liz Pick of the Month, Storm Rising offers a gripping new chapter for Hayley Chill I can recommend with my heart and soul.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Reasons To Go Outside

Reasons To Go Outside

Author: Esme King Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2022

If you are in need of a comforting slice of feel-good then I can recommend this absolutely charming debut with my heart and soul. Pearl has crippling agoraphobia and hasn’t stepped outside her Dartmoor home in 43 years, Connor has been trapped within his father’s expectations since his mother died, while in London Nate is just as lonely as can be. The prologue creates intrigue by offering the suggestion of a traumatic event, one that will sit in the background throughout the book. While the unknown incident hovers, soothing humour, true empathy, and heartwarming affection surrounded me as I sank into the story. Author Esme King allows time to weave gently to and fro, gradually revealing information, encouraging understanding to grow. The featuring of two locations, Dartmoor and London, creates an initial distance and separation between the two threads of the story, yet the flowering of friendships sits as a central linking theme. One of the highlights for me in this novel is the successful and rewarding friendships that begin to develop between characters from different generations. The characters became known, loved, even cherished as I read, oh, and the crows, I adored the crows! After I reached the satisfying end I just had to include this lovely novel as a Liz Pick of the Month. So gentle and compassionate as it welcomes courage and love, Reasons to Go Outside is an engaging and wonderfully rewarding read.

Star Books

May 2022 Featured Books

All the Seas of the World

All the Seas of the World

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/05/2022

With echoes of the Renaissance Guy Gavriel Kay brings intrigue, revenge, war, and exile face to face with love, friendship, and hope. This powerful and striking story begins with those tasked with an assassination, and grows to encompass many more people and places. Here we continue on in the times from A Brightness Long Ago featuring new as well as previously met characters. If you’ve not yet stepped foot into this particular world (not all of his novels are from these lands), then the quality of writing is such that you can most certainly read All the Seas of the World as a standalone. Please do though visit past books as not only are there truly beautiful stories to discover and the obvious connection to the previous novel, there are other whispers too from longer ago. The map had me poring over memories, and within the list of principal characters I welcomed old friends. While I immediately felt a sense of coming home, my emotions were hung above a sharpened knife edge. The narrator, occasionally present, sits in overview, words sinking into thoughts and feelings, and a little way in I met one particular friend from Brightness who again spoke directly to me. I folded into and around a story that boldly and brilliantly ventures onto the seas. I particularly loved the small slices of individual lives and how they knitted together and influenced the larger scale events. The most inconsequential moment could seem momentous as it formed around one person. It felt as though both history, the present, and the future was being told. Just as a little aside, I have been reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels since I tipped into my twenties. He is one of two authors who I count as being hugely positive influences, and from my late teens on I have been able to trust in their integrity, empathy, and principles as I read. You can probably tell from my thoughts and feelings about All The Seas of the World, that I still hold Guy Gavriel Kay’s writing in the highest regard and this new book will sit as a particular favourite. His words, they really make my emotions sing, and that was certainly the case here. So it will come as no surprise that All the Seas of the World sits as a LoveReading Star Book and Liz Pick for its month of publication, it also comes with a standing ovation from me.

Star Books
Razorblade Tears

Razorblade Tears

Author: S. A. Cosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Hitting with hammer hard precision, thrilling storytelling is balanced with pointed social commentary in this fabulous novel set in the USA. Two fathers, both ex-cons, seek revenge for the murder of their sons. One of my favourite books from last year was S. A. Cosby’s debut Blacktop Wasteland which I read for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award judging, it spoke to us all and was a highly commended shortlisted title. So I came to this, his second book, with a huge sense of anticipation. The writing style is passionately and fiercely bold yet holds moments of quiet gentleness and real compassion. The characters rumble with authenticity and charged with emotion, I could see, hear, touch them. Delivering an all-consuming blast of violence, raw grief, and blistering regret, I was taken to an unknown place which made me feel the social issues on offer. The plot screams, really screams at the top of its voice as it races along and as with his first book I was left feeling stunned and emotionally drained after I had finished. This is a writer who is able to touch hearts and minds, all while offering an immensely entertaining read. Razorblade Tears is a provocative, powerful, beautiful novel that is both a LoveReading Star Book, and a Liz Pick of the Month.

Star Books
Take My Hand

Take My Hand

Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Haunting and powerful Take My Hand burrowed its way into my awareness and will stay with me. Newly qualified nurse Civil Townsend is set to truly take care of her African American community, but a shocking discovery tests her resolve and courage. This skilful blend of fact and fiction is set in 2016 and early 1970’s Alabama, and the sense of place and time is extraordinary. The writing brings to life the characters and period, and surround the facts of the case so that it is all too easy to see, believe, begin to comprehend the enormity of actions taken. Author Dolen Perkins-Valdez explains the case in the Author’s Note and why she wrote a novel rather than non fiction. Not only does she bring a horrifying time in the not too distant past to life, she also highlights current issues too. This is a superbly readable and rewarding book, with a moral and ethical messaging that soaks into and carries through each page. Deep breath time, I want to shout about this novel, yes, it is at times painful, but it is also imbued with hope and just had to be included as a LoveReading Star Book, Take My Hand is provocative, emotional, and so relevant it hurts.

Star Books
A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting

Author: Sophie Irwin Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

A dashing and absolutely delicious tickle on your reading tastebuds, this historical debut novel comes with lively romance and sharp wit. With her family in danger of being made homeless, Kitty Talbot the eldest of four sisters, heads to London to bag herself a man with a fortune. While set in 1818’s high society, this is less vapours and vulnerability and more unwavering tenaciousness from the leading lady. Sophie Irwin creates a vivid setting and vivacious tone, I found myself in Georgian London, yet Kitty could be running round the streets today. Kitty is an absolute delight, she is essentially on war footing and determined to save her family and home, nothing less than the richest of rich men will do. I read this in one heady sitting, light, bright, and fun yet with bite, I’ve chosen this debut as a Liz Pick of the Month. With everything you’d expect from a Regency romance yet refreshingly different, A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting is a colourful, charming, and sparkling read.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
I Belong Here

I Belong Here

Author: Anita Sethi Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

I knew in every bone of my body, in every fibre of my being, that I had to report what had happened, not only for myself but to help stop anyone else having to go through what I did. I knew I could not remain silent, or still, I could not stop walking through the world. A journey of reclamation through the natural landscapes of the North, brilliantly exploring identity, nature, place and belonging. Beautifully written and truly inspiring, I Belong Here heralds a powerful and refreshing new voice in nature writing. Anita Sethi was on a journey through Northern England when she became the victim of a race-hate crime. The crime was a vicious attack on her right to exist in a place on account of her race. After the event Anita experienced panic attacks and anxiety. A crushing sense of claustrophobia made her long for wide open spaces, to breathe deeply in the great outdoors. She was intent on not letting her experience stop her travelling freely and without fear. The Pennines - known as 'the backbone of Britain' runs through the north and also strongly connects north with south, east with west - it's a place of borderlands and limestone, of rivers and 'scars', of fells and forces. The Pennines called to Anita with a magnetic force; although a racist had told her to leave, she felt drawn to further explore the area she regards as her home, to immerse herself deeply in place. Anita's journey through the natural landscapes of the North is one of reclamation, a way of saying that this is her land too and she belongs in the UK as a brown woman, as much as a white man does. Her journey transforms what began as an ugly experience of hate into one offering hope and finding beauty after brutality. Anita transforms her personal experience into one of universal resonance, offering a call to action, to keep walking onwards. Every footstep taken is an act of persistence. Every word written against the rising tide of hate speech, such as this book, is an act of resistance.

Books of the Month
The Hidden Child

The Hidden Child

Author: Louise Fein Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Thought-provoking, challenging, and hugely compassionate, this historical family drama pierces emotions as it combines fact and fiction. Eleanor and Edward Hamilton have a bright future in the eugenics movement, however their world begins to crumble when their daughter is diagnosed with epilepsy. Author Louise Fein takes a difficult subject and creates a world that feels all too real. The eugenics movement, which was widespread in the UK and US before it moved to Nazi Germany is difficult to fully process. The thoughts of the time seem so very distant, and yet look around today and more than echoes remain which ensures this is a riveting yet disturbing theme. The personification of epilepsy as it travels alongside the family is interesting and creates an intimacy. The main characters feel incredibly authentic, they couldn’t be anything other than flawed, yet the writing is such that you can still connect with them. The inclusion of real characters alongside what has obviously been meticulous research ensures this novel creates an unsettling edge, and yet hope blossoms. The fascinating Author’s Note brings even more understanding. The Hidden Child is a touching and powerfully compelling story as it explores a time in history that should never be forgotten. 

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
England on Fire

England on Fire

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/05/2022

A stunningly provocative and thought-provoking book viewing England from a different perspective, one where: “magic and rebellion and destruction are the horses to which the country is hitched. On these fabled shores we are all castaways, whether our family has lived here for four thousand years or four”. Stephen Ellcock’s books are particular favourites of mine, I regularly dip into All Good Things, and The Book of Change. Here he has joined forces with Mat Osman, whose short texts sit as an introduction to each chapter where the images chosen are allowed to sing. I love Mat’s introduction! He perfectly describes Stephen’s talent for choosing images and picking up on the thoughts and feelings of the moment. He also brings England to life: “Like a teenager sulking in their room, England is in one of its periodic spasms of insularity - but no matter, we’ve been here before”. Look deeper, explore roots that are bound to the ancient and to wilderness, join protests and anti-fascist marches, adore our absurdity while remaining aware of our capacity for division  and discord. While our dark times are explored, hope springs in the form of a new breed of artists, the images chosen here matter, they speak of and to our deepest emotions. This book has helped me to feel connected again with the country in which I live, my eyes opened in a new awareness. A LoveReading Star book, England on Fire is truly beautiful, it’s astute, inclusive, and absolutely magical.

Star Books

Liz Robinson has been an Editorial Expert writing reviews for LoveReading since February 2014. Reading has always played a huge part in her life and she can quite happily chat books all day. Liz previously spent twenty years working as a member of police support staff, including roles as Criminal Intelligence Analyst, Briefing Officer and Crime Reduction Advisor. She relishes her time spent exploring all genres, and particularly enjoys novels that encourage her emotions to run riot, or fling her back in time or to unknown places, Liz is also thrilled when broadsided by an unexpected twist. Liz was delighted to have been asked to be a judge for the Romantic Novelists' Association Goldsboro Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2018, the LoveReading Very Short Story Award 2019, and the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival Short Story Competition 2019. She would describe herself as a reader, a lover of all things books, and can be found on twitter as @LRLizRobinson.