1. Wolf Den by Elodie Harper – out 13/05/2021 Set in the Lupanar (brothel) of Pompeii, this book follows the lives of Amara and the other young women working there. It ends with the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. The media have nothing but praise for it, describing the book as ‘chilling’ and ‘unsettling.’ I imagine it will be a harrowing but intensely wonderful read. My degree was in Classics, and I wrote my dissertation on Pompeian art, so I truly can’t wait for this book! The cover is also fantastically beautiful, perfect for displaying on your bookshelves. It’s published by Head of Zeus (a fittingly Classical name for a Classics-themed novel), who have come out with some other great historical fiction titles.
2. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris – out 01/06/2021 Published by Bloomsbury, The Other Black Girl is a thriller set in vibrant New York. It follows the stories of two Black women working in publishing. Attica Locke has called it ‘vividly original’ and ‘fearless.’ As a mixed race (although not Black) woman and publishing hopeful, I am DYING to read this book, and I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t be. I have no doubt that it’ll be another book I finish in one sitting because I just can’t stop reading.
3. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint – out 29/04/2021. Another Classics-themed historical fiction novel with a stunning cover! Published by Headline, the book is a reimagining of the story of Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur. Apparently it’s perfect for fans of Circe and The Song of Achilles (so it’s perfect for everyone, including those who are fans but just don’t know it yet). I saw a painting of Ariadne in The House of the Vettii in Pompeii and was struck at how powerless she seemed: naked, vulnerable, abandoned – a victim of the male gaze. This novel promises to give her a voice and tell her story. I can’t wait to hear it.
4. You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes – out 01/04/2021 Series 3 of You on Netflix may be highly anticipated, but so is the third installment in Caroline Kepnes You series, published by Simon & Schuster. Joe’s done with Love, but he isn’t done with obsession. His new one is Mary Kay DiMarco, a librarian. The first two books You and Hidden Bodies were seat-grippingly brilliant, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Joe and his specific brand of crazy do next.
5. Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans – out 11/03/2021 Black Girl, Call Home is a poetry collection ‘about race, feminism, and queer identity.’ The poems, published by Penguin, explore the experiences of a queer Black American woman. It sounds absolutely fantastic and I am so looking forward to reading and reviewing it. Jericho Brown has said of it, ‘You are carrying in your hands a Black woman’s heart.’ If that isn’t a stunning recommendation, I don’t know what is.
6. Medici ~ Legacy (Masters of Florence Book 3) by Matteo Strukul – out 05/08/2021. The third and book of Matteo Strukul’s I Medici series will be out in August, published again by Head of Zeus, and I can’t wait (see my review for Book 1: Ascendancy and Book 2: Supremacy). This one is set in 1536, and revolves around the infamous Catherine de Medici. The royal court believe she has poisoned the recently deceased dauphin of France and her husband Henry is now poised to take the French throne – with Catherine alongside him. Catherine de Medici is such a fascinating character and I adored C.W. Gortner’s The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. If Matteo Strukul’s past books are anything to go by, I know the writing will be just as exciting as the subject.
7. Wild Women and The Blues by Denny S. Bryce – out 30/03/2021. Split between 1925 and 2015, this novel published by Kensington Publishing tells the story of Honoree Dalcour. Now a 110-year-old in 2015, in 1925 she was a young woman working at the Dreamland Cafe in Chicago, the jazz capital of the world. Sawyer Hayes is at her bedside. She’s the only living link to Oscar Micheaux. With her help, he’s trying to piece together the holes in his thesis. And with his help, she will be seen and her story will be told.
8. People Person by Candice Carty-Williams – out 02/09/2021 Candice Carty-Williams absolutely smashed it with her 2019 debut novel Queenie (click here to see my review) and I know that anything she writes next is going to be more than worth reading. There have been no hints about the plot at all yet – Orion are certainly keeping us on tenterhooks!
9. Millennial Love by Olivia Petter – out 08/07/2021 What does love mean in the millennial age? Journalist and Millennial Love podcast host Olivia Petter explores this in her novel, looking at the #MeToo movement, at the phenomenon of ghosting, and stalking your ex on social media. She looks at what is at the base of these issues, and explores what all of our 21st-century hyper-connected madness means for the future of love. Published by HarperCollins, this book isn’t out until July 2021, but I’m sure it’ll be pounced on by floods of people once it’s out.
10. Flowers of Darkness by Tatiana De Rosnay – out 23/02/2021 Set in Paris, Flowers of Darkness is about a writer who’s recently been betrayed by her husband. She’s working on (and struggling with) her next book. She feels like she’s being watched. Is she just paranoid or is there something to it? With her granddaughter’s help, she finds out. This book is published by St. Martin’s Press and sports a rather haunting cover. I can tell the story will be similarly haunting – exactly what I’ll need to liven up a dull February!