Take your pick from the best new reads of the week …. with Charlotte Heathcote.
The year is 1648 and England’s civil war forms the backdrop to Philippa Gregory’s latest novel – the first in a new series.
Alinor Reekie is a midwife and herbalist, scratching a living for herself and her two children. Her abusive fisherman husband disappeared months earlier.
Then she meets a young Catholic priest on a mission to help the King flee prison to join his wife in France.
After she secretly helps him, her fortunes suddenly change.
Her son becomes a companion to an aristocrat’s son and her daughter is set to marry into a wealthy family.
But the locals suspect witchcraft and they’re prepared to take terrifying action against her.
A compelling novel that shines a light on the struggles of 17th-century women.
BY EMMA LEE-POTTER
Simon & Schuster, £20
The Turn Of The Key
Rowan takes a job as a live-in nanny to three young girls in a remote part of Scotland.
The parents go away the morning after she arrives, leaving her in their modernised Victorian house which has cameras in every room. But the book opens with Rowan in a prison cell, accused of murder.
And what begins as a murder mystery morphs into a ghost story. A cracking read.
BY PAUL DONNELLEY
Harvill Secker, £12.99
21 Lessons For The 21st Century
Yuval Noah Harari
Harari, who has sold over 12 million books, assesses the challenges we face.
Climate change, artificial intelligence and technological innovation are transforming the world into something we struggle to recognise. Will automation bring mass unemployment?
Will democracy survive the threat of digital dictatorships? His is a rare voice of calm reassurance, slicing through chaos.
BY ALLAN HUNTER
The great London smog of December 1952 forms the backdrop to this debut novel in which veteran soldier-turned-rookie copper Richard Bourton pierces fog, both literally and metaphorically, to hunt a killer whose crimes have been written off as accidents.
Donald sustains the tension beautifully over the course of this long book, depicting his smoggy setting so well that your eyes sting while your pulse races.
BY JAKE KERRIDGE
Hodder & Stoughton, £8.99