Fiction

Debut Fiction

  • CFNVA
    Francis Spufford
    (1)
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    Winner of the Costa First Novel Award, Francis Spufford's debut fiction novel, Golden Hill, is a book that will transport you right back to New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, in 1746.

    A charming stranger from England arrives and has a compelling (yet suspicious) proposition for the counting house on Golden Hill Street - he wishes to cash and order for #1,000...

    With questions hanging over whether he can be trusted, the young man has the gift of the gab and decides to create a new life for himself in a place that is just starting to develop its unique character. But then he falls in love and enters a whole new world of trouble...
  • CFNVB
    Kit de Waal
    (2)
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    Kit de Waal's debut novel, My Name is Leon was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2016 and is a heartbreaking story of love, identity and loss in 1980s Britain.

    Leon is a 9-year-old boy who has just welcomed a perfect baby brother called Jake. The brothers have gone to live with Maureen, who has funny, fuzzy red hair and a belly Santa would be proud of. However, Leon is aware something is going on - the adults are acting strangely. Could it be something to do with the fact Jake is white and Leon is not?

    Leon struggles to hide his anger but there are still many things that make him happy - Curly Wurlys, riding a bike and hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad). He's also stealing coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum...

    This is a poignant story all about the fierce bond between siblings and how we can find our way home, even when least expect it...
  • CFNVC
    Guinevere Glasfurd
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    Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel award, Guinevere Glasfurd's The Words in My Hand is the reimagined true story of a 17th century Dutch maid.

    Despite the attitudes of the times, Helena is desperate to educate herself and use her mind. Working in a lodging house of an English bookseller, she finds herself renting out a room to French philosopher Ren Descartes. Helena dreams of being a writer, while Descartes quests for reason and the two soon form a bond that evolves into a full-blown affair.

    Descartes finds himself learning emotional lessons from Helena and her everyday life, but the couple struggle despite their love.. Soon it becomes apparent their only way of being together is to remain unseen? can their love conquer all these issues?
  • CFNVD
    Susan Beale
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    Susan Beale's debut novel The Good Guy has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and tells the story of a dreamer car-tyre salesman who lives in 1960s suburban New England.

    Ted craves admiration while his wife Abigail longs for a life of the mind and single girl Penny just wants to be loved. When a chance encounter brings Ted and Penny together, he begins to dream of a new life that revolves around her. However when this fantasy clashes with reality, Ted has to face up to the prospect of losing everything - and everyone - he holds dear.

    This is a compelling novel about love, marriage and the contrast between good intentions and self-deception.
  • CAFNC
    Tasha Kavanagh
    (1)
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    Praised by the likes of Sophie Hannah, Nathan Filer and the Independent, Tasha Kavanagh's Costa First Novel Award 2015-shortlisted debut novel Things We Have in Common is one that you will not want to put down.

    A black comedy thriller that comes across as a combination of Sue Townsend and Zoe Heller, it tells the story of Yasmin - a 15-year-old girl who would do anything not only to have a friend, but also to keep one... and what happens when she casts her eyes on her school's most popular girl, Alice Taylor.

    When a man begins to hang around Alice, Yasmin is adamant that he's going to 'steal' her away from him... but does he have secrets of his own?
  • AMBLS
    Paula Hawkins
    (5)
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    Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window meets Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in this break-neck psychological thriller from Paula Hawkins, the critically acclaimed The Girl on the Train.

    Rachel catches the same train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of houses. She even feels like she knows 'Jess and Jason', the people who live in one of the houses. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of their lives. Now they'll see...

    Praised by the likes of S.J. Watson, the author of Before I Go to Sleep, and causing quite a buzz in the literary world, The Girl on the Train is shocking, startling and totally fulfilling in equal measure. We implore you to read this book!
  • AAAAX
    Kathryn Stockett
    (15)
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    Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 was home to a vanished and unjust world. Black maids raised white children, but weren't trusted not to steal. Meawhile, three women are about to embark on a compelling friendship - they are Aibileen, who is raising her 17th white child and nursing the pain caused by the tragic death of her son, the sassy cook Minny and the white Miss Skeeter, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. No one would believe the three of them would become friends, and fewer still would tolerate it. But in Kathryn Stockett's The Help, the three very different women manage to find the courage to cross boundaries and come to depend and rely upon one another. This extraordinary story is one to truly cherish.

  • ABWZR
    Sarah Winman
    (2)
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    When God Was A Rabbit is an incredibly exciting debut from Sarah Winman, an extraordinary author who takes a look at a flawed family, and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, family ties, friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it is a novel about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

    An offbeat read that saw Winman win the Galaxy National Book Awards: New Writer of the Year award in 2011.

    Sarah Winman's When God Was a Rabbit has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2015.
  • AADCO
    Donna Tartt
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    A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
  • CAFRB
    Carys Bray
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    A Song for Issy Bradley by debut author Carys Bray is an absolutely beautiful book that effortlessly deals with all the big subjects: faith and belief, relationships and suffering, love and loss.

    The story of a Mormon family trying to work out how to carry on when their world has fallen apart, the book expertly weaves the conflict their religion brings to each member of the household - from the devout father to Jacob, the unforgettable seven-year-old son who plans to mend his broken family with a miracle.

    Thoroughly heartbreaking - so will undoubtedly make you sob - but ultimately uplifting, funny, compelling and enriching, Carys Bray's Song for Issy Bradley leaves readers with an unshakable sense of poignancy - for all the right reasons.

    A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Other shortlisted titles include:
    Academy Street, by Mary Costello - CAFRA
    Chop Chop, by Simon Wroe - CAFRC
    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey - CAFRD
  • AABFU
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    (1)
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    Longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize Shortlisted for the 2004 Orange Prize A haunting tale of an Africa and an adolescence undergoing tremendous changes by a talented young Nigerian writer. The limits of fifteen-year-old Kambili's world are defined by the high walls of her family estate and the dictates of her repressive and fanatically religious father. Her life is regulated by schedules: prayer, sleep, study, and more prayer. When Nigeria begins to fall apart during a military coup, Kambili's father, involved mysteriously in the political crisis, sends Kambili and her brother away to live with their aunt. In this house, full of energy and laughter, she discovers life and love -- and a terrible, bruising secret deep within her family. Centring on the promise of freedom and the pain and exhilaration of adolescence, Purple Hibiscus is the extraordinary debut of a remarkable new talent.
  • ACNYM
    Khaled Hosseini
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    Afghanistan, 1975: Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the local kite-fighting tournament and his loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. But neither of the boys can foresee what will happen to Hassan that afternoon, an event that is to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return to Afghanistan under Taliban rule to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.
  • AEJHT
    Erin Morgenstern
    (2)
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    The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall Closes at Dawn. As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.
  • CAFRC
    Simon Wroe
    (5)
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    Struggling to keep on top of his rent, young graduate Monocle takes the only job he can find - the lowest-ranked chef at a gastropub in Camden Town, London.

    When Monocle starts cooking, he realises it's not quite the job he'd expected. He's working with a group of deranged hoodlums who all seem to be at the mercy of head chef Bob - an ingenious sadist with a kitchen knife!

    Full of perfectly observed black humour, Simon Wroe draws on personal experiences from his own career as a chef to bring the laugh-out-loud antics of a professional kitchen to the page in Chop Chop - while also telling the touching story of a young man trying to find his way in the world.

    Chop Chop by Simon Wroe has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2014. Other shortlisted titles include:
    Academy Street, by Mary Costello - CAFRA
    A Song for Issy Bradley, by Carys Bray - CAFRB
    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey - CAFRD
  • AFSFN
    Rachel Joyce
    (2)
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    A Sunday Times and international bestseller, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is one of the most inspiring novels we have ever read - and totally impossible to put down.

    When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.

    Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been chosen as a World Book Night book for 2015.
  • CAFRA
    Mary Costello
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    Written by one of Ireland's most exciting new voices, Mary Costello, Academy Street tells the life story of shy and introverted Tess in this profoundly moving debut.

    After growing up in rural Ireland in the 1940s, Tess ends up making her home amid the dazzle and tumult of 1960s New York. Over four decades and a life lived with quiet intensity on Academy Street in upper Manhattan, her story is both joyous and heartbreaking and charts one women's quest for belonging as she encounters ferocious love and calamitous loss.

    Beautifully written and profoundly moving, this novel comes from an author we're certain to hear much more of in the future.

    Academy Street by Mary Costello has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Other shortlisted titles include:
    A Song for Issy Bradley, by Carys Bray - CAFRB
    Chop Chop, by Simon Wroe - CAFRC
    Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey - CAFRD
  • AJWGT
    M. J. Arlidge
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    Eeny Meeny is the rocket-paced serial-killer thriller debut from M. J. Arlidge. The girl emerged from the woods, barely alive. Her story was beyond belief. But it was true. Every dreadful word of it. Days later, another desperate escapee is found - and a pattern is emerging. Pairs of victims are being abducted, imprisoned then faced with a terrible choice: kill or be killed. Would you rather lose your life or lose your mind? Detective Inspector Helen Grace has faced down her own demons on her rise to the top. As she leads the investigation to hunt down this unseen monster, she learns that it may be the survivors - living calling cards - who hold the key to the case. And unless she succeeds, more innocents will die...Introducing M. J. Arlidge's Detective Inspector Helen Grace. Eeny Meeny is an electrifying debut, with the nerve-shredding intensity of Saw and Along Came a Spider. Fans of James Patterson and Mo Hayder should pay attention. M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last fifteen years, specialising in high end drama production. In the last five years Arlidge has produced a number of prime-time crime serials for ITV, including Torn, The Little House and most recently Undeniable, broadcast in spring 2014. Currently writing for Silent Witness, Arlidge is also piloting original crime series for both UK and US networks. Debut thriller Eeny Meeny, which introduces Detective Inspector Helen Grace, has sold to publishers around the world. The follow up, Pop Goes the Weasel, is published by Penguin Books in September 2014.
  • AGFOV
    Gillian Flynn
    (1)
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    When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows - a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims - a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
  • AGPGO
    ML Stedman
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    A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper's island. It holds a dead man and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision. They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.
  • AGQTK
    Giovanna Fletcher
    (1)
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    Billy and Me is a gorgeously romantic debut novel about the redemptive power of love by actress, journalist and blogger Giovanna Fletcher. Sophie May has a secret. One that she's successfully kept for years. It's meant that she's had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop. But then she meets the gorgeous Billy - an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy's glamorous - but ruthless - world. Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation? Charming, heartwarming and utterly romantic, Billy and Me will completely capture your heart. 'A gorgeous, gloriously romantic read with buckets of charm - I absolutely loved it!' Jill Mansell Actress and freelance journalist, Giovanna is married to Tom Fletcher from McFly. She grew up in Essex with her Italian dad Mario, mum Kim, big sister Giorgina and little brother Mario, and spent most of her childhood talking to herself (it seems no one wanted to listen) or reading books. Giovanna is a firm believer in the power of magpies and positive energy.
  • AADAV
    Chuck Palahniuk
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    Every weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight Club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter and dark, anarchic genius. And it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth.
  • AIORG
    Graeme Simsion
    (2)
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    The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a story about love, life and lobster every Tuesday..."Marvellous". (John Boyne). "Original, clever and perfectly written". (Jill Mansell). "Adorable". (Marian Keyes). "An upbeat, quirky, impertinent gem of a read". (Chris Cleave). 'I'm not good at understanding what other people want.' 'Tell me something I don't know ...' Love isn't an exact science - but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling? "Don Tillman is one of the most endearing, charming and fascinating literary characters I have met in a long time". (The Times). "Hilarious, unlikely and heartbreaking". (Easy Living). "Touching and laugh-out-loud funny - think The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time meets Silver Linings Playbook". (Stylist). "Funny, endearing, and pure, wonderful escapism". (Independent). "A sweet, funny rom-com...You'll be willing Don and Rosie on every step of the way". (Marie Claire). "Original, charming and very funny". (Woman & Home). "A comic triumph: clever, humane and tears-in-your-eyes funny. But best of all, The Rosie Project is a madly romantic love story". (Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture). "I couldn't put this book down. It's one of the most quirky and endearing romances I've ever read. I laughed the whole way through. And now I want to meet Don". (Sophie Kinsella). With the charm of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the romance of David Nicholls' One Day, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is both funny and endearing - and is set to become the paperback of 2014. Graeme Simsion is a full-time writer. Previously an IT consultant and educator, he wrote his first book in 1994 (the standard reference on data modelling, now entering its fourth edition), and is married to Anne, a professor of psychiatry who writes erotic fiction. They have two children.
  • AIPIA
    Nathan Filer
    (4)
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    A Book People Debut Fiction Choice that went on to win the 2013 Costa First Novel Award and also the overall title of Costa Book of the Year 2013, The Shock of the Fall is a brave and ambitious portrait of one man's descent into mental illness we've supported since its initial release in hardback. Author Nathan Filer is a registered mental health nurse and a performance poet, meaning he can offer a startling and unique insight into the illness and complement this narrative with beautiful prose and storytelling. Applauded by Before I Go to Sleep author S J Watson, this is a poignant, shocking and powerful book that will live with you for a long time and also generate wider discussions about society's attitude towards mental illness.
  • AIZNF
    Hannah Kent
    (1)
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    SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD. Northern Iceland, 1829. A woman condemned to death for murdering her lover. A family forced to take her in. A priest tasked with absolving her. But all is not as it seems, and time is running out: winter is coming, and with it the execution date. Only she can know the truth. This is Agnes's story.