There are 5 new books to read this week

Caleb Azumah Nelson has more success with his second novel…


1. Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson is available in hardcover from Viking at £14.99 (e-book £9.99). Now available

After Caleb Azumah Nelson won the Costa First Novel Award and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards for “Open Water,” here follows another sensitive, delicate gem. Stephen is a coming-of-age story about falling in love with his best friend Del and falling out with his father over his life path. Set in South London and Ghana over three summers, Stephen is beginning to understand family dynamics, how community is built and how he finds his way back to his father. There is a lovely irony that someone who is so good at expressing himself can be so incapable of expressing his feelings to the people who are important to him in his life. Music meanders through the book – dance, play and listen. The lyrics also have a musical essence as choruses run through the lyrics and themes emerge and recur. The editors should create a Spotify playlist so you can immerse yourself in the sounds and music Stephen loves.9/10 (review by Bridie Pritchard)

2. Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes is available in hardcover from Piatkus, priced at £22 (e-book £12.99). Now available

Fans of the Netflix series Bridgerton or the original books will be familiar with the character of Queen Charlotte – and now historical romance writer Julia Quinn has fleshed out her backstory in a new collaboration with producer Shonda Rhimes. The story takes us back to the 18th century when Charlotte – a black woman from Germany – is brought to England to marry King George. Told from multiple perspectives, the film follows Charlotte as she navigates the British court – a court not particularly open to non-white princesses – while falling in love with her new husband and discovering a dark truth. It has all the elements of a classic historical love story – quirky women, ball scenes, gossip galore – and will therefore be familiar territory for fans of the genre. It does, however, tackle fairly serious issues – racism, mental illness and sexual assault – with perhaps too light a tone, which might be a little unsettling for some readers. It will no doubt be a hit with Bridgerton fans looking to delve deeper into the series’ universe, but others may find it a little lacking. 6/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)

3. Emma Cline’s The Guest is available in hardcover from Chatto & Windus at £18.99 (e-book £8.99). Available May 18th

Distant and mysterious, Alex is a young 20-year-old posing as a wealthy Long Island woman. After being kicked out of the house she was staying in, she decides to stay on the island – and what follows feels like a story about the ultimate crook. Filled with ambiguity and foreboding, we can see much of the world alongside Alex, but the elusive third-person voice in this book is unsettling, because nothing ever feels quite the way you might want it to. It’s a compelling story and Alex is a purposefully unsympathetic protagonist. And yet their complete lack of redeeming qualities is misleading – even if we should empathize with them, we are bitter and confused by their actions. Beautiful language and imagery are limited in a novel in which no character feels quite whole. 6/10 (Review by Imy Brighty-Potts)


4. The Rooster House: A Ukrainian Family Memoir by Victoria Belim is available in hardcover from Virago, priced at £20 (e-book £11.99). Available May 18th

With the war in Ukraine dominating the news and putting the country in the spotlight, Victoria Belim’s family memories couldn’t be a more timely take on the country’s troubled Soviet past. During a visit to her grandmother in 2014, while Russia is annexing Crimea, the author learns about an unknown uncle – Nikodim – who disappeared “fighting for a free Ukraine” in the 1930s. Belim’s determination to uncover his fate triggers a moving personal journey that uncovers complex family relationships, secrets and memories. She takes us into the homes of rural Ukrainians and sheds light on their hopes, fears, struggles and traditions. Belim’s love for the country and its people stands out in her sensitive portrayal of their stoicism, hospitality and connectedness amidst the pressures of a post-Soviet state bureaucracy and economy. This is an honest, insightful and passionate book that offers a beautiful insight into a nation beyond the war headlines.7/10 (Review by Tom Pilgrim)

children’s book of the week

5. Ace And The Animal Heroes: The Big Farm Rescue by JB Gill illustrated by Becka Moor is available in paperback from Puffin priced at £7.99 (e-book £4.99). Now available

The main character of this book, Ace, is a young boy who lives with his eccentric and extremely loving grandparents. Their colorful characters play a big part in the story, making it very entertaining and a delight to read for any young child. Ace inherits a run-down farm and while he doesn’t even have a pet of his own, he’s taking it all with the help of his grandparents and a new best friend. With a few tricks up their sleeves – including a special pair of yellow wellies – Ace and his gang must get the farm in good shape or they may lose it to the evil city council. This is entertaining reading and highly recommended. 9/10 (Review by Joanne Brennan)

Book charts for the week ended May 13

HARDBACK (FICTION)1. The Making of Another Great Movie Masterpiece by Tom Hanks2. Atlas by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker3. Happy Place by Emily Henry4. Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn & Shonda Rhimes5. Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson6. The Wandering by Lucy Clarke7. On His Majesty’s Secret Service by Charlie Higson8. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros9. August Blue by Deborah Levy10. Atalanta by Jennifer Saint (compiled by Waterstones)

Hardcover (Non-Fiction)1. Unbreakable by Ronnie O’Sullivan2. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken3. The Future of Geography by Tim Marshall4. Bored From Lunch by Nathan Anthony5. Johnson At 10 by Anthony Seldon & Raymond Newell6. How Westminster Works… and Why Not by Ian Dunt7. I’m Not As Well As I Thought by Ruby Wax8. Substitute from the Duke of Sussex9. But what can I do? by Alastair Campbell10. Surviving To Drive by Guenther Steiner (compiled by Waterstones)

Audio books (fiction and non-fiction)1. Substitute from the Duke of Sussex2. Ultra-Processed People by Chris van Tulleken3. Atlas by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker4. Atomic Habits by James Clear5. The making of another great cinematic masterpiece from Tom Hanks6. I’m Not As Well As I Thought by Ruby Wax7. Chemistry Lessons by Bonnie Garmus8. Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchauspe9. Myth by Stephen Fry10. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (compiled by Audible)

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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