Most Anticipated Reads Of 2019/20 (Part 2)

I was kicking around on Twitter one day last week and it seemed to me like I was seeing tweets about fantastic book after fantastic book and I got that lovely buzzy excited feeling.  It felt a little like we were entering a new phase of book buzz with a new wave of brilliant bookish treats to come.

With this in mind I thought it might be an idea to do another ‘Most Anticipated’ blog post, a part deux if you will (part une is here if you’re interested). Excuse the blurb heavy content of this post, I’m not usually big on including blurbs but I’ve not read these books yet (obvs!) so we’ll have to discover them together.

I have to just add in an apology in advance for the fact that the latter two of these 8 books are not due to be published until 2020! Curses!

Ok lets get crackin’!


First up:

The Warlow Experiment By Alix Nathan: Serpents Tail 4/7/19


Herbert Powyss lives on a small estate in the Welsh Marches, with enough time and income to pursue a gentleman’s fashionable cultivation of exotic plants and trees. But he longs to make his mark in the field of science – something consequential enough to present to the Royal Society in London.

He hits on a radical experiment in isolation: for seven years a subject will inhabit three rooms in the cellar of the manor house, fitted out with books, paintings and even a chamber organ. Meals will arrive thrice daily via a dumbwaiter. The solitude will be totally unrelieved by any social contact; the subject will keep a diary of his daily thoughts and actions. The pay? Fifty pounds per annum, for life.

Only one man is desperate enough to apply for the job: John Warlow, a semi-literate labourer with a wife and six children to provide for. The experiment, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone more than a little mad, will have unforeseen consequences for all included.

In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister.


Three words jump out at me there…..’historical’ and ‘unforgettably sinister’.  If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know that historical fiction is my bag and the more dark and sinister the better! I love a social experiment and I have a tingly feeling that I’m going to love this book.  Also, the cover and end papers look beautiful.  I’m sold!

Then we have:

Three Women By Lisa Taddeo: Bloomsbury Circus 9/7/19


All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?

All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?

All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Three Women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.


This one is the only non-fiction book on the list.  I beleive the author is telling the stories of the three women via their sex lives and relationships.  This ticks all of my nosey non-fiction boxes and I think it could be a fascinating read.



Platform 7 By Louise Doughty: Faber & Faber 22/8/19


Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.
What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.

Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?

No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die.



Just that final sentence of the blurb made me shiver! I read and really loved Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard, so I am looking forward to this one immensely! I’ve also seen some really positive reactions to it online.



The Inheritance Of Solomon Farthing By Mary Paulson-Ellis: Mantle 5/9/19


Solomon knew that he had one advantage. A pawn ticket belonging to a dead man tucked into his top pocket – the only clue to the truth . . .

An old soldier dies alone in his Edinburgh nursing home. No known relatives, and no Will to enact. Just a pawn ticket found amongst his belongings, and fifty thousand pounds in used notes sewn into the lining of his burial suit . . .

Heir Hunter, Solomon Farthing – down on his luck, until, perhaps, now – is tipped off on this unexplained fortune. Armed with only the deceased’s name and the crumpled pawn ticket, he must find the dead man’s closest living relative if he is to get a cut of this much-needed cash.

But in trawling through the deceased’s family tree, Solomon uncovers a mystery that goes back to 1918 and a group of eleven soldiers abandoned in a farmhouse billet in France in the weeks leading up to the armistice.

Set between contemporary Edinburgh and the final brutal days of the First World War as the soldiers await their orders, The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing shows us how the debts of the present can never be settled unless those of the past have been paid first . . .


I read The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson Ellis some time ago and really enjoyed the dual timeline narrative and the mystery wrapped up within it.  As her second book also appears to have a dual timeline narrative I’m super excited! Her writing is very engaging and she weaves a good mystery to be solved. I’m all over that!


Bone China By Laura Purcell: Bloomsbury Raven 19/9/19


Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.


Well…..I mean this one needs very little introduction! If you know me AT ALL you will know that I have read and raved about Laura Purcell’s previous books.  I ADORED both The Corset and The Silent Companions and to be honest, just reading this blurb gives me the tingles.  I just KNOW I’m going to love it.  In fact I keep re-reading it! yes I’m a weirdo. I cannot express just how excited I am about this book!!!!!!! (lots of excited exclamation marks)


Things We Say In The Dark By Kirsty Logan: Harvill Secker 3/10/19


Some things can’t be spoken about in the light of day. But we can visit our fears at night, in the dark. We can turn them over and weigh them in our hands and maybe that will protect us from them. But maybe not.

The characters in this collection find their aspirations for happy homes, happy families and happy memories dissected and imbued with shimmering menace. Alone in a remote house in Iceland a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child’s day out is undercut by chilling footnotes.

These dark tales explore women’s fears with electrifying honesty and invention and speak to one another about female bodies, domestic claustrophobia, desire and violence. From a talented writer who has been compared to Angela Carter, Things We Say in the Dark is a powerful contemporary collection of feminist stories, ranging from vicious fairy tales to disturbing horror and tender ghost stories.


As you all know, I do love me a short story collection and I have read Kirsty Logan’s collection The Rental Heart. The fact that this new collection is being published in the run up to halloween and has dark and chilling undertones is the absolute icing on the short story cake!


My Dark Vanessa By Katie Elizabeth Russell: 4th Estate 23/1/2020 (sorry!)


Amid the rising wave of sexual assault allegations against powerful men in 2017, thirty-two-year-old Vanessa Wye learns of one that involves her intimately: her high school English teacher Jacob Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. 

The scandal brings back memories of her past and the idyllic campus of the exclusive boarding school she attended in Maine. A scholarship student, serious, lonely, and yearning for adulthood, Vanessa was both baffled and enthralled when Strane singled her out for his attention. Here was a man three times her age who recognized and praised her intellect, writing talent, and beauty—and, at fifteen-years-old, she fell into a fiery and life-defining affair with him. 

Now, nearly two decades later, another woman has shone a spotlight on Strane, and Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenaged self willingly engaged in the relationship or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? How can she accept that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may have seduced and abused other girls?


Well I’ve seen much chatter about this one on Twitter and it has already got much buzz surrounding it. I think it looks intruiging.  I think this could be a very timely book with a very important message and I can’t wait to read it.


The Animals At Lockwood Manor By Jane Healey: Mantle/Pan Macmillan 2020 (sorry again!)


In August 1939, a lonely thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright arrives at Lockwood Manor as the director of the evacuated Natural History Museum.

She is unprepared for the scale of protecting her charges from party guests, wild animals, the elements, the tyrannical Major Lockwood and Luftwaffe bombs. Most of all though, she is unprepared for the beautiful and haunted Lucy Lockwood.

For Lucy, who has spent much of her life cloistered at Lockwood suffering from bad nerves, the arrival of the museum brings with it new freedoms. But it also resurfaces memories of her late mother, and nightmares in which Lucy roams Lockwood hunting for something she has lost.

When the animals start to move of their own accord, and exhibits go missing, they begin to wonder what exactly it is that they might need protection from.

As the disasters mount up, it is not only Hetty’s future employment that is in danger, but her sanity too. There’s something, or someone, in the house. Someone stalking her through its darkened corridors…


This book is straight away all kinds of me! Historical *check*, old manor house *check* bad nerves *check*, darkened corridors?….*check check check*! I really don’t think I need to say much more about this one!

So there we have it!

I hope you have seen some books here that might be of interest to you.  I will update you on my thoughts as and when I get my hands on them!

Bloody belters!

See you soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx






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