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Saturday Spotlight: New Book Releases April 2024

By Claire Buss, Deputy Editor, Write On! 

At Write On! and Pen to Print, we want to help connect authors and readers, playwrights and audiences, so we’ve created a Spotlight page on the last Saturday of the month, showcasing some of the exciting new reads and plays available. The curated list is based on books and plays that you send us, so if you’re an author or a playwright and you’d like your book or play in the spotlight, reach out to us at Whether you’re an indie author, with a small press or mainstream publisher, established or brand new playwright, we’d love to hear from you and shine a light on your new work.

Write On! offers other opportunities for writers as well. If you’d like us to feature an extract from your book or a short story, please send the extract, book cover and blurb to with the subject: Write On! Showcase (ensuring you have your publisher’s permission, of course).

Pen to Print are also looking for short videos from people reading a passage from their favourite book, or authors reading extracts from their own books. These videos will be featured on the Pen to Print YouTube channel and across our social media. Please send in your videos or links to with the subject: Video Stories.


The Gentleman From Peru by André Aciman

We spend more time than we know trying to go back. We call it fantasising, we call it dreaming. . . but we’re all crawling back, each in his or her own way.

A group of college friends find themselves marooned at a luxurious hotel on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. While their boat is being repaired, they can’t help but observe the daily routine of a fellow hotel guest: a mysterious, white-bearded stranger who sits on the veranda each night and smokes one cigarette, sometimes two. When the group decides to invite the elegant traveller to lunch with them, they cannot begin to imagine the miraculous abilities, strange wisdom, and a life-changing story he is about to impart to one of the friends in particular.

Available to buy here
Connect with André Aciman

The 31 Days Of May by Helen Aitchison

In the wake of a devastating family loss, 24-year-old May finds herself adrift, her belief in love and happiness shattered.

Struggling to navigate her new reality, May grapples with the persistent sensation of being a misfit in a world where she never quite belongs.

But just as she begins to resign herself to this feeling of isolation, tragedy strikes once more, propelling May into action. Determined to shield herself from further heartache, she concocts a radical scheme to safeguard against future abandonment.

That is until May meets Mr Parsley, a charming retiree who becomes May’s unexpected neighbour. As May meticulously executes her plan, the presence of Mr Parsley and his grown-up son, Sam, threatens to disrupt her carefully-laid-out path. Will May stick to her meticulously crafted schedule, or will the warmth and kindness of the Parsley family lead her down an unforeseen, life-altering path?

The Rediscovery Of America by Ned Blackhawk

A sweeping and overdue retelling of US history that recognises that Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of modern America.

The most enduring feature of US history is the presence of Native Americans, yet most histories focus on Europeans and their descendants. This long practice of ignoring Indigenous history is changing, however, as a new generation of scholars insists that any full American history address the struggle, survival and resurgence of American Indian nations. Indigenous history is essential to understanding the evolution of modern America.

Ned Blackhawk interweaves five centuries of Native and non‑Native histories, from Spanish colonial exploration to the rise of Native American self-determination in the late twentieth century. In this transformative synthesis he shows that:
• European colonisation in the 1600s was never a predetermined success
• Native nations helped shape England’s crisis of empire
• The first shots of the American Revolution were prompted by Indian affairs in the interior
• California Indians targeted by federally funded militias were among the first casualties of the Civil War
• The Union victory forever recalibrated Native communities across the West
• Twentieth-century reservation activists refashioned American law and policy

Blackhawk’s retelling of US history acknowledges the enduring power, agency and survival of Indigenous peoples, yielding a truer account of the United States and revealing anew the varied meanings of America.

Bonjour, Sophie by Elizabeth Buchan

Saltblood by Francesca De Tores

In a rented room outside Plymouth in 1685, a daughter is born as her half-brother is dying. Her mother makes a decision: Mary will become Mark, and Ma will continue to collect his inheritance money.

Mary’s dual existence as Mark will lead to a role as a footman in a grand house, serving a French mistress, to the navy, learning who to trust and how to navigate by the stars, and to the army and the battlegrounds of Flanders, finding love among the bloodshed and the mud. But none of this will stop Mary yearning for the sea.

Drawn back to the water, Mary must reinvent herself yet again, for a woman aboard a ship is a dangerous thing. This time Mary will become something more dangerous than a woman.

She will become a pirate.

Breathing life into the Golden Age of Piracy, Saltblood is a wild adventure, a treasure trove, weaving an intoxicating tale of gender and survival, passion and loss, journeys and transformation, through the story of Mary Read, one of history’s most remarkable figures.

Available to buy here

Wartime On Sanctuary Lane by Kirsty Dougal

In the carnage of war, can one woman’s courage be the light in the dark?

As the Great War rages across Europe, 21-year-old Ruby Archer decides to ‘do her bit’ at an East End munitions factory. The work is relentless and deafening, but the camaraderie of the other girls carries her through.

As London continues to be ravaged by German bombs, Ruby can’t ignore the abandoned animals scavenging the local streets. Mustering all of her courage, she decides to take action and open a weekly animal clinic.

But opposition quickly closes in; when there is a war to win, surely all efforts must be for the troops?

With the help of her friends, can this East End girl show everyone that in wartime every life matters?

Available to buy here

The Night In Question by Susan Fletcher

Florence Butterfield has lived an extraordinary life full of travel, passion and adventure. But, at 87, she suspects there are no more surprises to come her way.

Then, one midsummer’s night, something terrible happens; so strange and unexpected that Florrie is suspicious. Was this really an accident, or is she living alongside a would-be murderer?

The only clue is a magenta envelope, discarded earlier that day.

And Florrie – cheerfully independent but often overlooked – is the only person determined to uncover the truth.

As she does, Florrie finds herself looking back on her own life and a long-buried secret, traced in faded scars across her knuckles, becomes ever harder to ignore.

Available to buy here
Connect with Susan Fletcher

Not Your China Doll by Katie Gee Salisbury

Set against the glittering backdrop of Los Angeles in the gin-soaked Jazz Age and the rise of Hollywood, this debut celebrates Anna May Wong, the first Asian American movie star, bringing an unsung heroine to light to reclaim her place in cinema history.

In her time, Anna May was a legendary beauty, witty conversationalist, and fashion icon. Plucked from her family’s laundry business in Los Angeles, she rose to stardom in Douglas Fairbanks’s blockbuster The Thief Of Bagdad. Fans and the press clamoured to see more of this unlikely actress, but when Hollywood repeatedly cast her in stereotypical roles, she headed abroad in protest.

Anna May starred in acclaimed films in Berlin, Paris and London; she dazzled royalty and heads of state across several nations, leaving trails of suitors in her wake. She returned to challenge Hollywood at its own game by speaking out about the industry’s blatant racism. She used her new stature to move away from her typecasting as the China doll or dragon lady, and worked to reshape Asian American representation in film.

Along with unprecedented access to Anna May’s personal effects courtesy of the Wong family, in Not Your China Doll, Katie Gee Salisbury also draws on her own experiences as an Asian American woman to showcase the vibrant, radical life of a groundbreaking artist.

Available to buy here
Connect with Katie Gee Salisbury

The Household by Stacey Halls

Not All Who Are Fallen Want To Be Saved

London, 1847. In a quiet house in the countryside outside London, the finishing touches are being made to welcome a group of young women. The house and its location are top secret, its residents unknown to one another, but the girls have one thing in common: they are fallen. Offering refuge for prostitutes, petty thieves and the destitute, Urania Cottage is a second chance at life – but how badly do they want it?

Meanwhile, a few miles away in a Piccadilly mansion, millionairess Angela Burdett-Coutts, one of the benefactors of Urania Cottage, makes a discovery that leaves her cold. Her stalker of ten years has been released from prison, and she knows it’s only a matter of time before their nightmarish game resumes once more.

As the women’s worlds collide in ways they could never have expected, they will discover that freedom always comes at a price…

Available to buy here
Connect with Stacey Halls

The House At The Edge Of The Woods by Rachel Hancox

When Ben was seven, his mother was murdered in the woods while he waited for her in their car.

The case made the front pages, but her killer was never found.

Thirty years later, Ben has a safe, grown-up life: a job, a ramshackle cottage and, most importantly, a happy marriage to Rebecca.

His mother has receded to the corners of his mind, lingering only in the nightmares that won’t quite go away.

Then Rebecca takes on a new job, painting a fairy-tale fresco for a wealthy businessman who starts asking questions about Ben’s mother.

Is it time for the truth to come out, and for Ben to face the questions he’s never dared ask before?

Available to buy here

The Herbal Year: Folklore, History And Remedies by Christina Hart-Davies

From sweet violets in spring to rosemary in winter, via marigolds, sage, elderberries and hops, every season has its own bounty of herbs and plants.

Christina Hart-Davies presents a delightful guide to common plants as they appear throughout the year. Drawing on writers, storytellers and poets from across the centuries, she examines the long history of herbal remedies. She shows how plants have been used for healing and unearths the stories and beliefs that surround them, including simple recipes for use at home.

Fully illustrated with exquisitely detailed watercolours, this is an inspirational guide to exploring our age-old relationship with plants. Readers will discover the hidden secrets of the plants that surround us and, through this, will be able to reconnect with their place in nature.

We have relied on plants throughout our history. We still do and, with luck, we always will.

Available to buy here
Connect with Christina Hart-Davies

A Little History Of Psychology by Nicky Hayes

A rich and engaging guide to psychology, the science devoted to understanding human nature.

What really drives our decisions? Where do language and memory come from? Why do our minds sometimes seem to work against us? Psychologists have long attempted to answer these questions, seeking to understand human behaviour, feelings and thoughts. But how to explore something so elusive?

In this fascinating history, leading expert Nicky Hayes tells the story of psychology across the centuries and around the world. Hayes introduces key thinkers, including Carl Jung, Anna Freud, Frantz Fanon, and Daniel Kahneman. We see how they tried to expand our understanding, from Pavlov and his dogs to Milgram and his famous electric shock experiments to the CIA’s secret mind-control projects. Hayes explores key concepts such as child development, the inferiority complex and PTSD and shows how psychological research has been used for both good and ill.

A Little History shines a light on the ever-advancing study of psychology, how the field has evolved over time―and how much more we need to learn.

Available to buy here

Close To Death by Anthony Horowitz

Richmond-Upon-Thames is one of the most desirable areas to live in London. And Riverview Close, a quiet, gated community, seems to offer its inhabitants the perfect life.

At least, it does until Giles Kenworthy moves in with his wife and noisy children, his four gas-guzzling cars, his loud parties and his plans for a new swimming pool in the garden.

His neighbours all have a reason to hate him and are soon up in arms.

When Kenworthy is shot dead with a crossbow bolt through his neck, all of them come under suspicion and his murder opens the door to lies, deception and further death.

The police are baffled. Reluctantly, they call in former Detective Daniel Hawthorne. But even he is faced with a seemingly impossible puzzle.

How do you solve a murder when everyone has the same motive?

Available to buy here

Podkin And The Singing Spear by Kieran Larwood

Podkin is now Keeper Of The Gifts, a tremendously important job, though just a tiny bit boring.

It doesn’t help that there are still three gifts missing and Podkin can’t stop himself from thinking about that. So when the Godseye Mirror begins to shimmer and shift, revealing a motley crew of travellers approaching, Podkin sees it as a sign his world is about to be upended all over again.

It’s not long before Podkin and Uki finally meet. United in their hatred for the world of Scramashank, they have much in common. But what will these young warriors make of each other, and can they work together to unite the forces of good against terrible evil?

In a restless world still under threat, we encounter the terrifying Crowskins, find out whether two rival clans will lay down their differences and how kinship matters more than ever.

Available to buy here
Connect with Kieran Larwood

Only And Forever by Chloe Liese


I’ve got a massive case of writer’s block and I’ve been kicked out of my apartment, with no end to my misery in sight. At least, until Viggo Bergman makes me an offer I can’t refuse: he needs help running his romance bookstore; I need help with my thriller’s romantic subplot.

We’ll swap skills and cohabitate for convenience. I’m a cold-hearted cynic, he’s a heart-eyed romantic. We barely get along. But who says room-mate/co-workers need to be friends?


Life’s hard as a hopeless romantic still waiting for my forever love. Between running my romance bookstore and a romance book club, coaching kids’ soccer, and adopting a household of pets, my chaotic life seems to make finding love downright improbable. But when I bump into Tallulah Clarke, hope seems like it’s finally on the horizon.

Except that sharing a home and life with Tallulah challenges everything I thought I knew about love, and reveals the plot twist I never saw coming: happily ever after is here already, right under our roof.

Available to buy here
Connect with Chloe Liese

Jack And Eve: Two Women In Love And At War by Wendy Moore

Vera Holme, known as Jack, left a career as a jobbing actress to become Emmeline Pankhurst’s chauffeur and mechanic. Evelina Haverfield was a classic beauty, the daughter of a Scottish baron and 14 years older than Jack. They met in 1908, fell in love, lived together, and became public faces of the suffragette movement, enduring prison and doing everything they could for the cause.

The First World War paused the suffragettes’ campaign and Jack and Eve enrolled in the Scottish Women’s Hospital Service and soon found themselves in Serbia. Eve set up and ran hospitals for allied soldiers in appalling conditions, while Jack became an ambulance driver, travelling along dirt tracks under bombardment to collect the wounded from the front lines.

Together, they carved radical new paths, demonstrating that women could do anything men could do, whether driving ambulances, running military hospitals, becoming prisoners of war or bearing arms. They refused to compromise in their sexuality;  they were lifelong partners, even though Jack enjoyed relationships with other women.

Determined to be themselves, ‘forthright, flamboyant and proud’, Wendy Moore uses their story as a lens through which to view the suffragette movement, the work of women in WWI and the development of lesbian identity throughout the twentieth century.

Available to buy here
Connect with Wendy Moore

The Grand Illusion by Syd Moore

June 1940. As World War Two rages, Daphne Devine remains in London, performing each night as assistant to stage magician Jonty Trevelyan, aka the Grand Mystique.

Then came the secret service call.

For, aware of Hitler’s belief in the occult, the war office has set up a hidden cohort to exploit this quirk in the enemy’s chain of command.

Daphne and Jonty find themselves far from the glitz and glamour of the theatre, deep inside the lower levels of Wormwood Scrubs prison. Here, they join secret ranks of occultists, surrealists, and other eccentrics co-opted to the war effort. There is one goal: to avert invasion on British shores.

Soon Daphne realises she must risk everything if there is any chance of saving her country.

Available to buy here
Connect with Syd Moore

You Are Here by David Nicholls

Sometimes you need to get lost to find your way.

Marnie is stuck.
Stuck working alone in her London flat, stuck battling the long afternoons and a life that often feels like it’s passing her by.

Michael is coming undone.
Reeling from his wife’s departure, increasingly reclusive, taking himself on long, solitary walks across the moors and fells.

When a persistent mutual friend and some very English weather conspire to bring them together, Marnie and Michael suddenly find themselves alone on the most epic of walks and on the precipice of a new friendship.

But can they survive the journey?

Available to buy here
Connect with David Nicholls

Sparks Of Bright Matter by Leeanne O’Donnell

When ambitious apprentice chemist and secret alchemist Peter Woulfe is tasked with caring for a mysterious illustrated book, The Mutus Liber, he quickly realises that the grimy underworld of Georgian London is even more dangerous than he first believed.

Soon the book is stolen by the light-fingered Sukie and Peter finds himself being pursued by threatening men who are willing to do anything to get it back. Where in all of teeming London might Sukie be found? Why is Peter so enthralled by her? And what is it about The Mutus Liber that is so enticing? As the search for the book becomes an urgent game of cat and mouse, it seems the key to Peter’s present dilemma might only be found in half-remembered events from his childhood, and then, further back still, in the mists of Irish myth.


Available to buy here

The Secret Lives Of Booksellers And Librarians by James Patterson

To be a bookseller or librarian…

You have to play detective.

Be a treasure hunter. A matchmaker. A brilliant listener.

A person who creates a kind of magic by pulling a book from a shelf, handing it to someone and saying, “You’ve got to read this. You’re going to love it.”

In this love letter to the heroes of literacy, James Patterson uncovers true stories from booksellers and librarians. Prepare to enter a world where you can feed your curiosities, discover new voices, and find whatever you need.

Meet the smart and talented people who live between the shelves and who can’t wait to help you find your next great read.

Available to buy here

The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes

Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers, despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.

Luis’s attention soon turns to something more, and they have sex at a party and, while Ari didn’t say no, she definitely didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumour mill begins churning and boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.

Through a mysterious note in her locker and an unexpected Tumblr follower, it becomes apparent that Ari is one of many who who have been assaulted by Luis. And so a group of unlikely students come together, determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. In the process, a once-lonely Ari finds herself with an eclectic group of genuine friends, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for.

But in order to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night, risking everything to see justice done.

Available to buy here
Connect with Sonora Reyes

Sweetness In The Skin by Ishi Robinson

For Pumkin Patterson, family is complicated.

There’s her mother Paulette, who ignores her. There’s her beloved Auntie Sophie, who her mother resents. And there’s her grandmother, who has always played favourites.
Whenever tensions rise, Pumkin retreats to the kitchen, creating the Jamaican bread puddings and coconut drops that have always given her comfort.

When Sophie moves to France for work, she vows to send for her niece in one year’s time. But in order to follow her aunt, Pumkin has a mountain to climb. Starting with the question of how she’ll manage to escape her mother and make enough money to get to Marseille.

Inspired by her skills in the kitchen, Pumkin turns to her community in the hope that she can sell enough sweet treats to bake her way out. But when her school and her mother discover her plan, everything she’s worked so hard for may slip through her fingers…

Available to buy here
Connect with Ishi Robinson

Our Fight by Ronda Rousey

From the moment she burst onto the MMA scene, Ronda Rousey was unbeatable.

She repeatedly strung together back-to-back flawless victories, racking up a collection of records and forever changing the face of sports as the UFC’s first female champion. A superstar in her sport, she transcended athletics, appearing in blockbuster films and becoming a role model for women everywhere. Then, on November 15, 2015, it all came crashing down.

In Our Fight, Rousey explores the greatest challenge of her life and, ultimately, how she rebuilt her career into something better in the aftermath. She recounts how she replaced her pursuit of perfection with the pursuit of happiness and found a blessing in disguise amongst the wreckage. Following Rousey’s relatable journey, Our Fight is a courageous narrative of career changes, marriage, motherhood, and facing your fears.

Available to buy here
Connect with Ronda Rousey

The Library Thief by Kuchenga Shenjé

The library is under lock and key. But its secrets can’t be contained.

After he brought her home from Jamaica as a baby, Florence’s father had her hair hot-combed to make her look like the other girls. But as a young woman, Florence is not so easy to tame, and when she brings scandal to his door, the bookbinder throws her onto the streets of Manchester.

Intercepting her father’s latest commission, Florence talks her way into the remote, forbidding Rose Hall to restore its collection of rare books. Lord Francis Belfield’s library is old and full of secrets, but none so intriguing as the whispers about his late wife.

Then one night, the library is broken into. Strangely, all the priceless tomes remain untouched. Florence is puzzled, until she discovers a half-burned book in the fireplace. She realises with horror that someone has found and set fire to the secret diary of Lord Belfield’s wife, which may hold the clue to her fate…

Available to buy here
Connect with Kuchenga Shenjé 

Alyssa And The Spell Garden by Alexandra Sheppard

Alyssa must save the magical spell garden with her new unreliable powers.

When 11-year-old Alyssa is forced to spend the summer holiday with her mum’s family, who she’s never met before, her latent magical powers explode into life.

Her great aunt runs a secret school in her spell garden where local kids can hone their power. The garden grows spell ingredients that have protected their family and the wider neighbourhood for decades, ever since they arrived from Jamaica with their mother Effie in the 1960s.

But something is going wrong and the magic is running out. Can Alyssa use her new, unpredictable powers to set things right?


Available to buy here
Connect with Alexandra Sheppard

Thief Liar Lady by D. L. Soria

I’m not who you think I am.

My transformation from a poor, orphaned scullery maid into the enchantingly mysterious lady who snagged the heart of the prince did not happen – as the rumours insist – in a magical metamorphosis of pumpkins and glass slippers.

Instead, with the help of a touchingly tragic past and the some highly illegal spells, my stepsisters and I infiltrated the ball and captured the attention of the prince. I became a princess, secured our fortunes, and ensured we’d all live happily ever after.

But, of course, there’s always more to the story. Now my magic is running out, war is looming, and a handsome hostage prince – the wrong prince – is distracting me with his magnetic charm and forbidden flirtations. I’m in danger of losing control of the delicate balance I’ve created . . . and that could prove fatal.

There’s so much more riding on this than a crown.

Available to buy here

The In Crowd by Charlotte Vassell

Some people are in.

On the last Saturday in August, politicos and socialites trade tidbits of gossip and sips of Pimm’s under the tasteful bunting of a Richmond garden party. They’d never guess that the police are just a stone’s throw away, pulling a body out of the river Thames.

Some people wish they were.

The drowning appears to be a tragic accident, until Detective Caius Beauchamp gets an unexpected tip. The victim, it seems, had enemies in high places. Did being on the wrong side of them get her killed?

Either way, being ‘out’ is absolute murder.

Available to buy here
Connect with Charlotte Vassell

Remember, if you’re an author and you’d like to see your book in our Saturday Spotlight, email: and send us the details of your new novel.

For details of Penguin RandomHouse new releases, visit their website here.
For details of Hachette new releases, visit their website here.
For details of HarperCollins new releases, visit their website here.
For details of PanMacmillan new releases, visit their website here.
For details of Simon & Schuster new releases, visit their website here.

Disclaimer: Amazon links are given for ease but please remember there are a number of other online retailers operating, including hive (which helps to support independent book shops), Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play and Nook as well as online stores for bookstores such as Waterstones, Barnes & Noble and WHSmiths

Issue 19 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets. You can find previous editions of our magazines here.

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We want to help connect authors and readers, so our Saturday Spotlight page showcases some of the exciting new reads available each month.