From the unknown operatives, spies and saboteurs of the Second World War to a seemingly perfect marriage that turns murderous, here are some hot new reads for your list.
Little recognition has been given to the many women who, in secret, helped to win the Second World War. Gourmand Julia Child, for example, slipped out of the kitchen to work on highly sensitive projects for the OSS. And actress Hedy Lamarr (a la Road movies with Bob Hope fame) supported the Allies by secretly helping to invent an anti-jamming device for torpedoes. In her new novel, Pam Jenoff takes inspiration from another real-life female operative, an Eastern European woman named Vera Atkins who recruited female spies for Britain’s Special Operations Executive. These women, working covertly in Nazi-occupied regions often as couriers, saboteurs and radio operators, came from all walks of life and usually had minimal experience or training. In the story, the leader of the all-female British network sets out to find twelve of her spies who were deployed out of London during the war, but never returned home.
The debut novel from screenwriter, Alex Michaelides is already headed to Hollywood, with Brad Pitt’s film company snapping up the movie rights. This twisty psychological thriller centers around a famous painter’s shocking act of violence against her husband – and following the murder, her refusal to speak even a single word. Her ongoing silence, and apparent lack of motive, captures the public imagination, as well as the interest of a renowned criminal psychotherapist who is determined to uncover what happened.
From the award-winning author of The Perfect Nanny comes this noir portrayal of sex, marriage and motherhood set in the City of Light. Adèle has an upscale and by most accounts, enviable life – a thriving career in journalism, a successful doctor husband and adorable children – but still harbours restless and self-destructive tendencies reminiscent of an increasingly reckless Madame Bovary.
The follow-up to the blockbuster The Thirteenth Tale takes us to 19th century England in this multi-level mystery involving a young girl who had presumably drowned, but – miraculously? –comes back to life. It’s an intriguing, twisty tale where magic mingles with scientific discovery during the Darwinian age.