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YOU CAN TRUST ME by Emma Rowley (Orion £8.99, 368 pp)

YOU CAN TRUST ME by Emma Rowley (Orion £8.99, 368 pp)


by Emma Rowley (Orion £8.99, 368 pp) 

Rowley has a firm grip on language and plot, and her easy, chatty style disguises a genuine emotional intelligence. The first, rather slow part of the story is told by Nicky, a slightly broke professional ghostwriter.

The second part is faster-moving and is told by Olivia, a famous internet influencer whose autobiography Nicky is struggling to write. The more Nicky digs into Olivia’s background, the more secrets she finds and the more desperate Olivia is to keep them.

The absurdities of both women’s worlds are laid out in delicious detail. The reasons why Olivia may have created such a perfect persona for herself, and the shocking nature of those secrets, are revealed with powerful consequences for both women.

AFTER THE SILENCE by Louise O'Neill (riverrun £12.99, 400 pp)

AFTER THE SILENCE by Louise O’Neill (riverrun £12.99, 400 pp)


by Louise O’Neill (riverrun £12.99, 400 pp) 

A young girl is found murdered in the garden after a wild party in a grand house owned by married couple Henry and Keelin Kinsella. Ten years later, the case is still unsolved and a documentary team arrive to tell the story.

It’s set on Inisrun, a fictional Irish island, and the tense, isolated nature of the place is portrayed well, even if the Irish words often seem a bit artificially glued on to the prose.

Suspicion is everywhere and the islanders have never forgiven the Kinsellas for their part in events. Keelin is the complex middle-aged woman at the centre of the mystery which is as much about psychological coercion as it is about murder.

The plot is intricate and intelligent, but the drama gets its real energy from the author’s obvious anger about what men get away with, and why some women always pay the price.

THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan (Penguin £7.99, 384 pp)

THE HEATWAVE by Kate Riordan (Penguin £7.99, 384 pp)


by Kate Riordan (Penguin £7.99, 384 pp)     

If you didn’t go on holiday to Provence during the summer, this book will conjure up the intense heat, colours and atmosphere you missed. 

Riordan’s knack for creating a sense of place is part of the mix that lodges this book firmly in the imagination.

Sylvie is summoned back to the abandoned family home in France after a fire breaks out. She is forced to confront the secrets she has kept buried for many years and the fate of her first daughter, Elodie. 

Her youngest child, Emma, is with her and oblivious to the dark history of her beautiful sister.

What gradually unfolds is a toxic tale of mother-daughter relationships, the perils of beauty, and the heady magic of the French countryside.


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