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Saturday Spotlight: New Book Releases March 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 Warm Hands Of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

World War One, and as shells fall in Flanders, a Canadian nurse searches for her brother believed dead in the trenches, despite eerie signs that suggest otherwise in this gripping and powerful historical novel from the bestselling author of The Bear And The Nightingale.

January 1918. Laura Iven has been discharged from her duties as a nurse and sent back to Halifax, Canada, leaving behind a brother still fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now home, she receives word of Freddie’s death in action along with his uniform, but something doesn’t quite make sense.

Determined to find out more, Laura returns to Belgium as a volunteer at a private hospital. Soon after arriving, she hears whispers about ghosts moving among those still living and a strange inn-keeper whose wine gives soldiers the gift of oblivion. Could this have happened to Freddie, but if so, where is he?

November 1917. Freddie Iven awakens after an explosion to find himself trapped under an overturned pillbox with an enemy soldier, a German, each of them badly wounded. Against all odds, the two men form a bond and succeed in clawing their way out. But once in No Man’s Land, where can either of them turn where they won’t be shot as enemy soldiers or deserters?

As the killing continues, they meet a man – a fiddler – who seems to have the power to make the hellscape that surrounds them disappear. But at what price?

Available to buy here
Connect with Katherine Arden

Blossomise by Simon Armitage

Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate, brings new perspectives and energy to a timeless poetic subject.

Blossomise celebrates the ecstatic arrival of spring blossom just as it acknowledges, too, its melancholy disappearance. Full of spirited leaps of imagination and language, the 21 poems hopscotch between intense momentary haikus that honour the Japanese traditions of the blossom festival and stand-alone lyrical pieces that take in the stylistic tones of ballads, hymns, songs, prayers and nursery rhymes. From a crashed Ford Capri wrapped around the immovable trunk of a cherry tree, to saplings flourishing among skyscrapers and urban sprawl, the fizz and froth of the annual blossom display is explored here both as an exuberant emblem of the natural world and a nervous marker of our vulnerable climate.

Angela Harding responds to the poems in wonderful accompanying illustrations.

Published in collaboration with the National Trust as part of their annual Blossom programme and campaign.

How Can We Be Wrong? by Max Austin

Max is a gay nurse. This gut-wrenching story describes his experiences of being prescribed an almost lethal mixture of bullying, bigotry and rejection from the very nursing community he represents today.

Sadly, being a nurse does not come with an invisible shield. This story is a personal account of the good, the bad, and the down right ugly of NHS staff. There is truthfulness, humour, and lessons for us all. And yet the underbelly of stigma is not watered down; it is there without sentimentality.

This story parallels the social, political, and personal impact of ‘coming out’ within the early 1990s. It describes Max’s experiences of working within the health service following the aftermath of Section 28 and the HIV/Aids era. The story shows that everyone in their way can overcome the badness that life throws at them. Where there is adversity, there can be hope. Where there is desperation, there can be strength. Where there is pain, there can be healing.

Max’s 30-year story hopes to give a voice to the silenced. In his mission to ‘walk the walk’ of inclusion, he offers a taste of his and his husband’s experiences of adopting two children.

A Necessary Kindness by Juno Carey

Fruitcake And Familiars by Sierra Cross

Granny Sage needs a winter miracle. Could Elliot’s big secret save her…or will it only kill his romance with Hazel?

Deputy Elliot James is a walking – and flying – contradiction.
A loner crow.
An outlaw cop.
A shifter who shows up to events on time and dressed appropriately, more or less.

Hazel’s struggling to come to terms with Elliot’s complex double life. She’s got trust issues and who could blame her, after a magical upbringing more screwed up than Cinderella’s?

But now Hazel’s mentor lies helpless in a magical coma, and only one man can help.

With her basic witch relatives scheming to sell off Gran’s cosy cottage, Hazel doesn’t have the luxury of hugging her comfort zone.

Her only hope is to join Elliot on a dangerous forest trek to find Gran’s cure.

The question is, can their quest withstand an onslaught of chaotic forces – from a freak snowstorm, to Elliot’s fae ex, to the epidemic of vanishing familiars around town?

Available to buy here
Connect with Sierra Cross

Love Will Find A Way by Ellie Dean

Cliffehaven, December 1946

From a hill above the town of Cliffehaven, a young woman makes a heart-breaking choice that will change the course of her life forever.

Hours later, a baby is found in the Nativity crib of the local church.

Who could have left him there, and why?

The mystery preoccupies everyone in Cliffehaven, not least Peggy Reilly, who has enough to contend with at Beach View Boarding House without this extra secret to unravel.

What’s certain is that the whole community will pull together to keep the baby safe, and to support his mother when the truth of her identity is finally discovered.

Available to buy here

The Wrong Sister by Claire Douglas

You’ve known her all your life…
Or have you?

Tasha and her older sister Alice might look alike, but they couldn’t be more different. Tasha’s married with two children and still living in her home town near Bristol. While Alice is a high-flying scientist travelling the world with her equally successful husband. But each would trust the other with their life.

So when Tasha and husband Aaron want a break and Alice offers to stay in their home with the kids, Tasha knows they’re in safe hands.

But she couldn’t be more wrong.

The call from home is unexpected: Alice and her husband Kyle have been attacked. Alice is in intensive care. Kyle is dead.

Rushing to Alice’s bedside, Tasha finds the police trying to piece events together. She can’t think why anyone would attack her sister. Then the note arrives, addressed to Tasha:

It was supposed to be you.

Available to buy here
Connect with Claire Douglas

The Earth Transformed by Professor Peter Frankopan

From the international bestselling author of The Silk Roads comes a major history of how a changing climate has dramatically shaped the development -and demise – of civilisations across time.

When we think about history, we rarely pay much attention to the most destructive floods, the worst winters, the most devastating droughts or the ways that ecosystems have changed over time.

In The Earth TransformedPeter Frankopan, one of the world’s leading historians, shows that the natural environment is a crucial, if not the defining, factor in global history – and not just of humankind. Volcanic eruptions, solar activities, atmospheric, oceanic and other shifts, as well as anthropogenic behaviour, are fundamental parts of the past and the present.

In this magnificent and groundbreaking book, we learn about the origins of our species: about the development of religion and language and their relationships with the environment, about how the desire to centralise agricultural surplus formed the origins of the bureaucratic state, about how growing demands for harvests resulted in the increased shipment of enslaved peoples, about how efforts to understand and manipulate the weather have a long and deep history. All provide lessons of profound importance as we face a precarious future of rapid global warming.

Taking us from the Big Bang to the present day and beyond, The Earth Transformed forces us to reckon with humankind’s continuing efforts to make sense of the natural world.

Available to buy here
Connect with Peter Frankopan

Still See You Everywhere by Lisa Gardner

Missing persons specialist Frankie Elkin is on an isolated island off the coast of Hawaii.

Her mission: to find Lani, the missing sister of a Death Row serial killer known as the ‘Beautiful Butcher’ who is awaiting execution in just three weeks’ time.

According to the Beautiful Butcher’s sources, Lani is being held captive by her millionaire ex-boyfriend on the island. The only way to gain access is for Frankie to go undercover.

But can Frankie really trust the word of a serial killer?

Plus, this island is no paradise, with deadly creatures and suspicious co-workers at every turn – and an incoming tropical storm about to cut her off from the outside world.

Could this be Frankie Elkin’s most dangerous case yet?

Available to buy here
Connect with Lisa Gardner

Backbone Of The Nation by Robert Gildea

A powerful new history of the Great Strike in the miners’ own voices, based on more than 140 interviews with former miners and their families.

Forty years ago, Arthur Scargill led the National Union Of Mineworkers on one of the largest strikes in British history. A deep sense of pride existed within Britain’s mining communities,ho thought of themselves as the backbone of the nation’s economy. But they were vilified by Margaret Thatcher’s government and eventually broken: deprived of their jobs, their livelihoods and, in some cases, their lives.

In this groundbreaking new history, Robert Gildea interviews those miners and their families who fought to defend themselves. Exploring mining communities from South Wales to the Midlands, Yorkshire, County Durham, and Fife, Gildea shows how the miners and their families organised to protect themselves, and how a network of activists mobilised to support them.

Amid the recent wave of industrial action in the United Kingdom, Backbone Of The Nation highlights anew the importance of labor organisation―and intimately records the triumphs, losses, and resilience of these mining communities.

Available to buy here

Diva by Daisy Goodwin 

In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas is known simply as La Divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she’s the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. Yet her fame has been hard-won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her, Maria learned early in life how to protect herself.

When she meets the fabulously rich shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, her isolation melts away. For the first time in her life, she believes she’s found a man who sees the woman rather than the legendary soprano. Desperately in love, Onassis introduces her to a life of unbelievable luxury, mixing with celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then, suddenly, it’s over. The international press announce that Onassis will marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

In this remarkable novel, Daisy Goodwin brings to life a woman whose extraordinary talent, unremitting drive and natural chic made her a legend. But it was only in confronting the heartbreak of losing the man she loved that Maria Callas found her true voice.

Available to buy here

The Bordeaux Book Club by Gillian Harvey

When Leah and her husband moved to France, it was with the dream of becoming self-sufficient. But in truth, it’s not the ‘good life’ she’d imagined, as three hours of digging barely yield a single straggly carrot. Worse, her teenage daughter is acting up and her husband seems to find every strange excuse under the hot French sun to disappear.

So when her friend entreats her to join the new bookclub she’s forming, Leah decides it’s something she will do for herself. The chance to make new friends, drink a few glasses of wine, and escape into stories that take her miles away from the life she’d thought would be her own happy-ever-after.

But the book club is a strange group of misfits. There’s prickly Grace, who lives alone and seems to know everybody and like no one. Buttoned-up Monica, who says her husband is away and appears to be parenting her baby all alone. Handsome builder George, who’s barely even read a book before. And Alfie, a full two decades younger than everyone else, and hiding a devastating secret.

As the stories they read begin to bring the new friends closer together, Leah is about to discover that happy-ever-afters don’t always look how you expect them to.

Available to buy here
Connect with Gillian Harvey

Save Me From The Waves by Jessica Hepburn

Jessica Hepburn is an unlikely athlete; she was labelled the ‘arty’ not the ‘sporty’ one in school. She hates exercise and believes the only reason to do it is for food, booze and box-sets on the sofa.

However, in her forties, following a succession of hard and sad life experiences, she started to try and exercise her way out of heartbreak. She’s now become one of the world’s most extraordinary endurance athletes. The first and only woman (currently) on the planet to have completed the ‘Sea, Street, Summit Challenge’ – which is to swim the English Channel, run the London Marathon and climb Mount Everest (which she calls Chomolungma – the mountain’s original Sherpa name). And possibly the only woman (although this can’t be officially certified) to have listened to 80 years and over 3,000 episodes of her favourite radio programme – Desert Island Discs.

Save Me From The Waves is an inspirational story of physical and mental endurance which starts on the streets of London and culminates on top of the world, fuelled by song. It explores the redemptive power of music and mountains. How family and friends can be lost and found in the most unusual places. And encourages everyone to live big and bravely when life doesn’t go to plan. Because sometimes we all need saving from the waves. And whether it’s high and far away or closer to home and in your head, an adventure will always change your life for the better.

Available to buy here
Connect with Jessica Hepburn

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy 

In one of the most acclaimed novels of the year, her first in over a decade, Claire Kilroy takes us deep into the mind of her unforgettable heroine.

Exploring the clash of fierce love for a new life with a seismic change in identity, Claire vividly realises the tumultuous emotions of a new mother. As the marriage strains and the heroine struggles with questions of love, autonomy creativity and the passing of time, an old friend makes a welcome return – but can he really offer a lifeline to the woman she used to be?

Available to buy here

Go Lightly by Brydie Lee-Kennedy

Who Is Ada?

With Sadie she’s an Aussie girl in London, a performer, a ball of creativity and a lover of food.
Stuart she’s funny and quirky, capable of finding romance in a dinner of crisps on a cold harbour and long train rides.
her family she’s the joker, the peacekeeper, the entertainer.
But she doesn’t have to choose which version of herself to be. Right?

Ada’s answer to most questions is: yes. Every night is an opportunity to be thrilled and every morning a chance to recount it to her friends, so when she falls for Sadie and Stuart at the same time, she sees no reason not to pursue them both.

But as the realities of modern life begin to catch up with her, and everyone wants Ada to define herself in relation to them, she feels the weight of the questions: which version of yourself is most true? And do other people enhance your best self, or distort it?

Go Lightly is a tribute to party girls who’d rather enjoy the present than fear the future or regret the past, and a love letter to the community you find when you’re far from home.

Available to buy here
Connect with Brydie Lee-Kennedy

The Poster by James Marshall

Seemingly abandoned by their parents, siblings Lena and Alek are caught up at different ends of a war: while Lena designs propaganda posters in Plymouth, Alek is forced into the army.

Both dream of escape, of another life … but as the war continues and they find each other, they question whom they can trust.

When survival is everything, is everyone an enemy?

Available to buy here

Enchantment by Katherine May

Feeling bone-tired, anxious and overwhelmed by the rolling news cycle and the pandemic age, Katherine May seeks to unravel the threads of a life wound too tightly.

Could there be another way to live – one that feels more meaningful, more grounded in the places beneath our feet? One that would allow us to feel more connected, more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet?

Craving a different path, May explores the restorative properties of the natural world and begins to rekindle her sense of wonder. It’s a journey that takes her from sacred wells to wild moors, from cradling seas to starfalls. Through deliberate attention and ritual, she finds nourishment and a more hopeful relationship to the world around her.

Enchantment is an invitation to each of us to experience life in all its sensual complexity and to find the beauty waiting for us there.

Available to buy here
Connect with Katherine May

The Liverbirds by Mary McGlory & Sylvia Saunders

In the early ’60s, four friends from Liverpool formed a band. But this is not the ‘fab four’ story we know.

Mary, Sylvia, Valerie and Pamela, also known as The Liverbirds, were one of the world’s first all-female rock’n’roll bands. At an early gig, backstage at the Cavern Club, a young John Lennon told them that ‘girls don’t play guitars’. But they took that as a challenge. Despite the early scepticism, they won over tough crowds, toured stadiums, recorded two hit albums, and played with the Kinks, Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry – all in the space of just five years.

Now, the two surviving members of the band tell their incredible story in full for the first time, capturing a lost era of liberation and rock’n’roll, as they thrived in the vibrant Merseybeat music scene and formed a friendship that has endured through the decades.

Available to buy here

Revolutionary Acts: Love & Brotherhood In Black Gay Britain by Jason Okundaye

In this landmark work, Jason Okundaye meets an elder generation of Black gay men and finds a spirited community full of courage, charisma and good humour, hungry to tell its past: of nightlife, resistance, political fights, loss, gossip, sex, romance and vulgarity. Through their conversations, he seeks to reconcile the Black and gay narratives of Britain, narratives frequently cleaved as distinct and unrelated.

Tracing these men’s journeys and arrivals to south London through the seventies, eighties and nineties from the present day, Okundaye relays their stories with rare compassion, listening as they share intimate memories and reflect upon their lives. They endured and fought against the peak of the AIDS epidemic, built social groups and threw underground parties; they went to war with institutions (and with each other) and created meaning within a society which was often indifferent to their existence.

Revolutionary Acts renders a singular portrait of Britain from the perspective of those buffeted by the winds of marginalisation and discrimination. It’s a portrait marked by resilience and self-determination, inspired by the love and beauty Black men have found in each other.

Available to buy here
Connect with Jason Okundaye

Shy by Max Porter

This is the story of a few strange hours in the life of a teenage boy.

He is wandering into the night, listening to the voices in his head: his teachers, his parents, the people he has hurt and the people who are trying to love him.

He is feeling a little sorry for himself.

Shy is a novel about imagination, guilt and boyhood. It’s about being lost in the dark, and realising you are not alone.

Available to buy here
Connect with Max Porter

Why We Die by Venki Ramakrishnan

Would you want to live forever?

Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Venki Ramakrishnan transforms our understanding of why we age and die, and whether there’s anything we can do about it.

We are living through a revolution in biology. Giant strides are being made in our understanding of why we age and die and why some species live longer than others. Immortality, once a faint hope, has never been more within our grasp.

Examining recent scientific breakthroughs, Ramakrishnan shows how cutting-edge efforts to extend lifespan by altering our natural biology raise profound questions. Although we might not like it, does death serve a necessary biological purpose? And how can we increase our chances of living long, healthy and fulfilled lives? As science advances, we have much to gain. But might we also have much to lose?

Available to buy here

A Drop Of Golden Sun by Kate Saunders

Twelve-year-old Jenny is in shock.

She’s just been cast as one of the lead roles in a feature film. She’s going to be a child actor! Soon she must jet off to France, to the idyllic Château Mouchotte, where she will join her film family: three other children and two renowned actors.

The glitz and glamour of being on set is a million miles away from Jenny’s normal life, but showbiz is never straightforward and there’s one fierce and famous actor that threatens the whole shoot. It’s up to Jenny and her friends to keep the peace and save the film. Jenny is about to experience a life-changing summer in the spotlight!

Available to buy here

The Kellerby Code by Jonny Sweet

How far would you go for a friend?

Edward is living in a world he can’t afford and to which he doesn’t belong. To camouflage himself, he has catered to his friends’ needs: fetching drycleaning, sorting flowers for premieres. It’s a noble effort, really – anything to keep his perfectly awful ‘best pals’ Robert and Stanza happy. In return, his proximity to their abundance might sponge the shame of his birth and violent past cleanly away.

But Edward has secretly been in love with Stanza since their Cambridge days. The shattering discovery that Stanza and Robert are an item pushes him too far. His little acts of kindness take a sinister turn, giving way to the unspeakable brutality Edward fears is at his core.

Available to buy here

Seven Summers by Paige Toon

Two epic love stories. One impossible choice.

Six summers ago

Liv and Finn meet working in a bar on the rugged Cornish coastline, their futures full of promise. When a night of passion ends in devastating tragedy they are bound together inextricably. But Finn’s life is in LA with his band, and Liv’s is in Cornwall with her family, so they make a promise. Finn will return every year and, if they are single, they will spend the summer together.

This summer

Liv crosses paths with Tom – a mysterious new arrival in her hometown. As the wildflowers and heather come into bloom, they find themselves falling for one another. For the first time, Liv can imagine a world where her heart isn’t broken every year. Now Liv must make an impossible choice. And when she discovers the shocking reason that Tom has left home, she’ll need to trust her heart even more.

Available to buy here
Connect with Paige Toon

Why Women Grow by Alice Vincent

Women have always gardened, but our stories have been buried with our work. Alice Vincent is on a quest to change that. To understand what encourages women to go out, work the soil, plant seeds and nurture them, even when so many other responsibilities sit upon their shoulders. To recover the histories that have been lost among the soil.

Why Women Grow is a much-needed exploration of why women turn to the earth, as gardeners, growers and custodians. This book emerged from a deeply rooted desire to share the stories of women who are silenced and overlooked. In doing so, Alice fosters connections with gardeners that unfurl into a tender exploration of women’s lives, their gardens and what the ground has offered them, with conversations spanning creation and loss, celebration and grief, power, protest, identity and renaissance. Wise, curious and sensitive, Why Women Grow follows Alice in her search for answers, with inquisitive fronds reaching and curling around the intimate anecdotes of others.

Available to buy here
Connect with Alice Vincent

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.

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on

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