Title: The Hiding Game

Author: Naomi Wood

Pages: 383 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

In 1922, Paul Beckermann arrives at the Bauhaus art school and is immediately seduced by both the charismatic teaching and his fellow students. Eccentric and alluring, the more time Paul spends with his new friends the closer they become, and the deeper he falls in love with the mesmerising Charlotte. But Paul is not the only one vying for her affections, and soon an insidious rivalry takes root. 

As political tensions escalate in Germany, the Bauhaus finds itself under threat, and the group begins to disintegrate under the pressure of its own betrayals and love affairs. Decades later, in the wake of an unthinkable tragedy, Paul is haunted by a secret. When an old friend from the Bauhaus resurfaces, he must finally break his silence. 

Beautifully written, powerful and suspenseful, Naomi Wood’s The Hiding Game is a novel about the dangerously fine line between love and obsession, set against the most turbulent era of our recent past.

The Review

I have a rule that has been put in place since my NetGalley backlist is currently over 900 books (shh! If I pretend it isn’t there then maybe it will go away) and the rule is that I am not allowed to stick with a book if it isn’t gripping me. I will give it a good try but if I’m not getting along with it then I will have to put it down. Life is too short for books I am not enjoying. Unfortunately, The Hiding Game fell into this category.

I feel bad because I am sure others have loved this book. It may have been a case of right book wrong time but at this point in my life I cannot continue with a book that I can’t remember the names of the main characters for when I am over 10% into it. It just isn’t for me.

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood is available now.

For more information regarding Naomi Wood (@NaomiWoodBooks) please visit www.naomiwood.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: To Paradise

Author: Hanya Yanagihara

Pages: 720 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

From Hanya Yanagihara, author of the modern classic A Little LifeTo Paradise is a bold, brilliant novel spanning three centuries and three different versions of the American experiment, about lovers, family, loss and the elusive promise of utopia.

In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means. In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him – and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.

These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist. What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.

To Paradise is a findesiecle novel of marvellous literary effect, but above all it is a work of emotional genius. The great power of this remarkable novel is driven by Yanagihara’s understanding of the aching desire to protect those we love – partners, lovers, children, friends, family and even our fellow citizens – and the pain that ensues when we cannot.

The Review

Oh boy.

Okay, so I should preface this review by saying I bloody loved A Little Life. It broke me in ways I didn’t know I could be broken and I would read it all again even though that broken hearted feeling would get me again. Therefore, I was both excited and terrified of reading To Paradise – Hanya Yanagihara’s latest release. I tried to not compare it to A Little Life and tried to go into it with the knowledge that I just liked the writers style and I swear I gave it a good college try. I read up to 51% of the novel before having to admit defeat. I just couldn’t finish it.

I loved the first part of the story, the arranged marriage between the two main characters and if the story carried on being about them I think I could have carried on with the novel – although at 720 pages it probably was a bit too long – but then the story switched. It took me a while to get my bearings with the second section and whilst I didn’t fin the story as engaging as I did the first I really wanted to try and keep going. However, when the third storyline hit and it was set in space I had to tap out. I just stopped caring for the characters and the story.

So unfortunately To Paradise was a DNF but not without lack of trying.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara is available now.

For more information regarding Hanya Yanagihara (@YanagiharaHanya) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: The Christie Affair

Author: Nina de Gramont

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance.

I’m no Hercule Poirot.

I’m her husband’s mistress.

Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy.

After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

The Review

Having never read an Agatha Christie book it is a mystery to me as to why I was so intrigued to read The Christie Affair – a story based loosely around the 11 days of Agatha Christie’s life when she went missing…but intrigued I was.

In this absolutely enigmatic tale Nina de Gramont fills in what happened during those 11 days and paints a whole other side to who Agatha Christie was. Whilst this is a fictional account, the story that Nina de Gramont poses – her ‘what if…?’ actually seems very plausible. She factors in socio-economical factors, historical elements and then throws in a murder mystery in this melting pot of ideas and all together it makes a pretty damn fine story.

I know this is fictional but I kind of want it to be real.

The Christie Affair is definitely in my top ten books of the year so far.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont is available now.

For more information regarding Nina de Gramont (@NinadeGramont) please visit www.ninadegramont.com

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: New Animal

Author: Ella Baxter

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Amelia is no stranger to sex and death. Her job in her family’s funeral parlour, doing make-up on the dead, might be unusual, but she’s good at it. Life and warmth comes from the men she meets online – combining with someone else’s body at night in order to become something else, at least for a while.

But when a sudden loss severs her ties with someone she loves, Amelia sets off on a seventy-two-hour mission to outrun her grief – skipping out on the funeral, running away to stay with her father in Tasmania and experimenting on the local BDSM scene. There she learns more about sex, death, grief, and the different ways pain works its way through the body.

It takes two fathers, a bruising encounter with a stranger and recognition of her own body’s limits to bring Amelia back to herself. 

Deadpan, wise and heartbreakingly funny, Ella Baxter’s New Animal is a stunning debut.

The Review

New Animal is a bold story that explores the uncontrollable nature of grief.

When Amelia – a make-up artist at a funeral parlour – experiences her own grief we see her completely unravel. As we watch her unravel we see how her grief manifests in the strange. She runs away and delves into the world of BDSM trying to feel pain to make the unbearable emotional pain she is feeling.

Ella Baxter is an exciting new voice. Whilst New Animal didn’t hit all my needs for a story it was Ella Baxter’s easy writing style that kept me engaged. I’m excited to see what else she can do.

New Animal by is available now.

For more information regarding Ella Baxter (@Ella_Baxter_) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: The Moment of Lift

Author: Melinda Gates

Pages: 273 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

‘We need this message more than ever’ Malala Yousafzai

The right to:

Spend your own money. Go to school. Earn an income. Access contraceptives. Work outside the home. Walk outside the home. Choose whom to marry. Get a loan. Start a business. Own property. Divorce a husband. See a doctor. Drive a car.

All of these rights are denied to women in some parts of the world.

A Sunday Times bestselling debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women’s empowerment.

‘How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings – and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.’

In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares the stories of the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world and the lessons she’s learned from them. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book – to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.”

Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention – from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world – and ourselves.

When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.

The Review

I won’t proclaim to know a lot about the Gates family. Besides knowing that Bill Gates owned Microsoft (I think) before reading this book I wouldn’t have been able to tell you much else except maybe the conspiracy theories surrounding the Covid jab but even then that was all conjecture. What I know now after reading The Moment of Lift is that the Gates family seem like pretty alright people.

Okay, so the book is hardly subjective being written by Melinda Gates and therefore being her perspective and highlighting the positives but if we look at the positives as a whole then the work that she does to help people seems pretty great. Educating girls about how to keep themselves safe, how to deliver babies safely in underpriviliged countries. Encouraging young women to get into STEM – on paper it all sounds wonderful.

Even if it turns out that all the conspiracy theories are true the things that you can take from this book is that it is well written and that it does elevate you to think differently about other people and how we all could do with helping others. That is a message that really resonates.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates is available now.

For more information regarding Melinda Gates (@melindagates) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.