In Certain Circles is the long lost novel from the best-selling Australian author of The Watch Tower, Elizabeth Harrower. Completed in 1971, she decided at the last minute not to publish the work and it languished in the archives of the National Library of Austral for decades. Harrower finally gave permission to Text Publishing to release it at long last. Set in the lush gardens of stone house son the edge of Sydney Harbour, it relays the story of four childhood friends Zoe, Russell, Stephen and Anna, and their journey into adulthood.
Marianne Kavanagh’s debut novel For Once In My Life, also from Text, relays the travails of two London-based soul mates that have never met – Tess and George. Despite the best efforts of their mates, their paths never crossed and now they’re both stuck in loveless relationships. When they finally meet face-to-face at a birthday party, they suddenly realise all they could have had, or maybe still can? Kavanagh is a former deputy editor of the UK edition of Marie Claire
Allen & Unwin has released Delicious, the debut novel from Ruth Reichl, the former New York Times restaurant critic and current editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and culinary editor of the Modern Library. Billie Breslin leaves California behind to work at Delicious, a prestigious New York-based food magazine. Then it gets shut down. Offered a boring phone-based job, her life is suddenly turned upside down.
The food theme continues in another Allen & Unwin gem, The Tea Chest, by Josephine Moon. Set in the enticing world of a boutique teashop, heavy with the scent of rose petals, cinnamon bark and orange peel, three women from very different backgrounds come together and form firm bonds that help them move forward in their lives. Read an extract here.
Crime mystery queen Sophie Hannah’s The Telling Error (Hachette Australia) is a cracking thriller that sees protagonist Nicki Clements hiding a dark secret. It’s not the one she’s accused of though, when detective bring her in for the surreal murder of newspaper columnist Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road. Though no killer, she’s far from innocent…
Also from Hachette, Seoul-born, Perth-based Silvia Kwon’s evocative debut, The Return, relays a turbulent family history set against the backdrop of prejudice and hate, love and forgiveness in 1960’s Australia. The Pink Suit, by Nicole Mary Kelby, is a novel that draws on the true story of Jackie Onassis on that fateful day in 1963. Hachette also has the new one from True Blood author Charlaine Harris, Midnight Crossroad. Relocated from Bon Temps to Midnight, Texas, things are no less weird and there are plenty of secrets best left uncovered.
Foreign Soil, by Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke, is an award-winning collection of short stories giving a voice to the disenfranchised, as written by a fictional mother living in a run-down block of flats in Melbourne’s western suburbs. The stories spring from Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, the squats of 1960s’ Brixton, small-town Mississippi, rural Jamaica and more.
Though Mother’s Day book queen Maeve Binchy died in 2012, her presence lives on in her 20-plus bestsellers. Chestnut Street is a previously unpublished collection of her short stories full of the warmth and uncanny sense of love and loss her fans adore.
Flesh and Blood and The Hours author Michael Cunningham has anew one out from HarperCollins, The Snow Queen, sees protagonist Barret Meek’s life transformed by a strange light in the sky which sets him on the path to religion. At the same time, his drug-addicted brother is trying to get his life together and write a wedding song for his fiancé, Beth, who is dying of colon cancer.
Pan MacMillan’s After Everything follows the story of a group of rag tag husbands as they try and make things right in their relationships. Penned by Suellen Dainty, it’s about the frailties and joys of friendship and family.
Books that have been out for a bit now but that are definitely worth checking out include Donna Tartt’s long-awaited The Goldfinch, Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize winner The Luminaires and The Son by Jo Nesbo.
New South Book’s Diary of a Foreign Minister by Bob Carr certainly raised a few eyebrows with his quite eccentrically vain approach to his physique and his proclivity for tantrums if he doesn’t get subtitles on the opera while traveling first class (business is like the slave trade, don’t you know) but despite all this carry on, it’s actually a compelling read, particularly as it charts the downfall of Pm Julia Gillard and the (brief) return of K-Rudd.
Sunrise presenter Melissa Doyle shares her top tips on how to juggle a demanding career and motherhood in Allen & Unwin’s Alphabet Soup. Witty and warm, there’s a fair few giggles in here, and an insight into her working relationship with Kochie.
When, at 22-years-old, Pink Hope founder Krystal Barter discovered her family history meant she had a 90 per cent chance of developing breast cancer, the mother of two ultimately decided to go ahead with a double mastectomy. In order to raise awareness, she went through with the procedure on national television. An inspirational woman, she was nominated for the 2012 Young Australian of the Year. The Lucky One, also from Allen & Unwin, is her story.
And one last gem from Allen & Unwin, Channel 9 presenter Tracy Vo’s memoir detailing her family’s flight from war-torn Vietnam to find a better life in Australia, Small Bamboo. A compelling family history, it’s all the more fascinating given the current heated political debate surrounding asylum seekers.
The Little Book of Mum’s Wisdom (New South) by brothers Denis and Ian Baker is a heart-warming insight into the little life skills a boy picks up along the way from his mum. Also from New South, Hands On: A Manual For Getting The Job Done, is a great gift for anyone sick of waiting for their hubby to fix something around the house. Not only are there DIY tips galore, but the book’s also illustrated by a bunch of dreamy handymen. Handy indeed.
Style and Interiors:
The House Gardener by Isabelle Palmer (Hardie Grant) is a great guide to achieving green fingers indoors, from miniature Zen gardens to terraniums and table centrepieces. The founder of thebalconygardener.com has loads of great ideas and the book’s chock full of gorgeous photography too.
House whisperer Megan Morton reveals her magic in Things I Love, full of practical tips from simple things like sheet folding right up to how to clean a vintage painting. Her work has appeared in the likes of Vogue Living, In Style and Inside Out.
Saskia Havekes is an internationally renowned florist whose work has even graced the Logies. In Grandiflora Celebrations (Penguin Books) she reveals how to make show-stopping pieces for home or public spaces, with over 60 arrangements beautifully photographed.
The Inspired Home, by New York-based stylist and prop designer Kim Ficaro and LA interior designer Todd Nickey is a sumptuous affair beautifully photographed by Ditte Isager that guides you through the homes of 15 creative types and is crammed with inspiration.
Rainbow Tarts (Hardie Grant) by Parisian-based web designer and artistic director is an enticingly colourful guide to creating beautiful, party-ready tarts in all manner of fantastic shades using fruit, veggies and the obligatory lollies. Sticking with Hardie Grant and with the French capital, Paris Pastry Club, by one-time Heston Blumenthal collaborator and pastry chef Fanny Zanotti, is crammed with enticing cake, crepe and other baked goodies.
And one last gem from Hardie Grant, Working Dog casting director Jane Kennedy’s One Dish, Two Ways is the ideal solution for anyone tearing their hair out trying to please the entire family when it comes to dinnertime. The idea’s deceptively simple – each recipe has a plain base meal that won’t offend the picky ones, but comes with a variety of ideas for spicing it up for those with a more adventurous palette.
London-born Tessa Kiros’ mother was Finnish and her father Greek-Cypriot. When she was four-years-old, they moved to South Africa and at 18 she set off on her own globe-hopping adventures. Her professional life in kitchens has included stints in Sydney, Athens and Mexico, as well as London’s The Groucho Club, and she now lives in Tuscany with her Italian husband Giovanni and two children. It’s no surprise then that Tessa Kirros: The Recipe Collection (Murdoch Books), draws on fare from all over the planet.
MasterChef runner up Poh Ling Yeow has come a long way. Her first cookbook, Poh’s Kitchen – My Cooking Adventures, sat tight at the top of the Australian bestsellers list for six weeks. Her gorgeous presence lights up the ABC’s Poh’s Kitchen series, and now she’s releasing a second cookbook, this time titled Same Same But Different, from HarperCollins. There are 100 new recipes grouped into pairs sharing similar ingredients or processes, like a prawn and pineapple curry or a beef rendang.
Four Kitchens, from Random House, is the debut cookbook from Dublin-born My Kitchen Rules guest judge Colin Fassnidge, drawing together recipes from both his professional kitchens and his family home.
Domonique Bertolucci’s Less Is More is a self-help guide to focusing on the stuff that makes you healthy and happy, be damned with all the other distractions that clutter our lives. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In is an invaluable guide for women in business that helps them tackle prejudice and fight for equality in the workplace. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritising the demands of a career and two daughters, drawing on the latest ground-breaking research and scientific findings.