Longer, warmer days are perfect for diving into a new read. Whether you’re heading out of the city on a staycation, going abroad on holiday or lounging in a park, this month’s new fiction books offer a much-needed dose of escapism. From Killing Eve-esque murderous satires to romantic dramas, July is packed with impressive debuts and follow-ups from bestselling authors. Here, we’ve rounded up the best new fiction books to add to your reading list this month.
The Best New Fiction Books
Hodder & Stoughton (£14.99)
Acclaimed Berlin-based American artist Calla Henkel makes her fiction debut with an intoxicating, sinister and wickedly funny tale of deception and glamour. Set in Berlin in 2009, the novel traces the experience of two American art students, looking to the bohemian city to solve all their problems. Zoe is grieving for her murdered high school best friend, while Hailey, rich and obsessed with the exploits of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, is determined to become a Warholian legend.
A few months after renting an apartment from eccentric crime writer Beatrice Becks, the girls begin to notice strange occurrences in their home, and become convinced that they’re being watched by Becks for inspiration for her latest novel. The two determine to beat her at her own game, turning their apartment into a wild and uninhibited parties that soon gain notoriety amongst the Berlin clubbing crowd. But as things start to get out of control, the girls find themselves slipping into increasingly murky waters, and start to question who exactly is running this game.
Pan Macmillan (£16.99)
Weaving together history, myth and fiction, Shelley Parker-Chan’s latest work reimagines the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang, who went from peasant rebel to the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. In Parker-Chan’s retelling, the eighth-born son and second daughter of one peasant family living under Mongol rule are told their fates — the son will achieve greatness, while the daughter is destined to nothing. When a raid tears through their village, the daughter determines to overcome her destiny and fight for something more, while her brother gives in to despair.
Having survived the raid, the daughter must decide whether she’s willing to take on her brother Zhu’s identity and forge her own path. An electrifying read, Parker-Chan’s work puts a new lens to the tale of a rebel surviving a war, unifying China and becoming the founder of a historic dynasty.
The journalist and writer’s debut novel is a funny and shocking tale of family dysfunction and our cultural obsession with murder. Narrated by the beguiling anti-hero Grace, the darkly satirical story recounts how the chilling young woman was able to murder six members of her family by the time she turned 28, and how she was able to carry on with her normal, day-to-day life as if nothing happened.
As with beloved murderess TV show Killing Eve, it’s hard to not be charmed by the villainous anti-hero, and through her perspective Mackie is able to unpack questions of class, social hierarchy and the complexities of family dynamics, all with a dark twist. Grisly and gripping, it’s a thoroughly modern murder story.
Psychologist Helene Flood makes her fiction debut with this chilling thriller that leaves you uncertain about who you can trust — including the narrator herself. Therapist Sara is in the midst of dealing with clients and their fears when she gets a voicemail from her husband saying he’s arrived at their holiday cabin. Then, however, she gets a call from a friend, who confirms he never did.
While Sara tries to carry on as normal, it doesn’t take long for her fears to begin to rise, as she starts to question just how well she knows her husband, and herself. And when the police show up, suspicions are raised, especially when they question why she decided to delete the voicemail from her husband. As the plot thickens and the tension builds, the question becomes — could the answer to her husband’s disappearance be inside Sara’s head?
Orion Publishing Co (£16.99)
Another fiction debut, this time from comedian Isy Suttie. A sharp exploration of the anxieties of modern life, Suttie’s novel follows the life of Jane, a woman who, by her own definition is trying. Trying to have a baby, trying to not endlessly worry, trying to move on from her cheating fiance.
Back at home with her overprotective parent, Jane is faced with the task of rebuilding her life as she attempts to not give into the growing anxieties about her thirties sailing by. As her burdens continue to increase, and friends and family continue to grow exasperated at her not following their advice for getting a perfect life, Jane must see if she can conquer her demons and find her way forward, anxiety-free.
Bonnier Zaffre (£14.99)
From the prize-winning author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo comes this moving new novel exploring the intersection of class and race. Inspired by the real-life disappearance of domestic workers in Cyprus, the tale focuses on the mystery surrounding Nisha. Far from her native Sri Lanka, Nisha knows that the only way to afford her return home is by working as a maid and nanny for one of the island’s wealthy widows, Petra. Yiannis, a poacher who catches songbirds and sells them on the illegal market, dreams of finding a new life with Nisha, who he is desperate to marry.
One night, after making the family dinner, Nisha goes out on a mysterious errand and never returns. After the police refuse to pursue the case, Petra decides to make it her mission to take on the investigation herself, plunging her into the dark side of life in Cyprus, and the horrific realities of the migrant experience.
A poignant debut from Sara Nisha Adams, The Reading List offers a moving, captivating tale of two lonely souls who forge a connection over a love of reading. Mukesh lives a lonely, isolated life after losing his wife, sticking to a sparse routine and worrying about his granddaughter who spends all her time reading in her room. Nearby, Aleisha is working at the local library on Harrow Road for the summer, desperate to escape the painful realities of her family life.
One day, Aleisha discovers a crumpled piece of paper in the back of a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird with a list of books that she’s never heard of before. When Mukesh arrives at the library looking for a way to connect with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha realises the reading list could be a lifeline for them both, and the two set out to escape into the wonderful world of books together. Heartwarming and tender, this is a beautiful tribute to the magic of reading and the connections it can create.
Simon & Schuster (£16.99)
For some true escapist reading this summer, this latest work from bestselling author Santa Montefiore has you covered. When Margot Hart travels to Ireland to write a biography of the famous Deverill family, she knows she will have to speak to the current Lord Deverill, JP, a famous recluse, but Margot is famed for her persistence.
But as Margot continues to become more embedded within the family in order to write its history, her ties with its members become increasingly complicated. Drawn into the family disputes, Margot begins to form a close bond with JP, who has found himself isolated after shouldering the blame for running up debts that forced him to sell the family castle. Along with his handsome son Colm, Margot begins to think she might be the only one who can save JP’s fortunes and his reputation.