Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s debut novel is now The Fell by Sarah Moss. Rose Tremain’s riveting writing and Abir Mokherjee’s new book are this week’s most exciting fiction.

My Monticello

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson                                                       Harvill Secker £12.99

The rise of white supremacists, climate change and civil unrest have all made Charlottesville’s black residents in Virginia difficult. 

Da’Naisha Love, a direct descendant of Sally Hemings, a slave owned by Thomas Jefferson, has been burnt out of her home and is taking refuge in Monticello, the founding father’s historic plantation home, along with family and friends. 

The debut novel takes place over just 19 days. Stunning. 

Eithne Farry

The Fell

Sarah Moss                                                                                                Picador £14.99

It’s 2020 and single mum Kate is supposed to be quarantining but is going stir-crazy, so she takes a quick walk on the moors, only to fall and injure herself. She is now in fearful and suspicious world. Who can save her? 

Some fine writing is being produced by the pandemic. This helter skelter novel from Moss, which is set in a helter skelter world, is among them. It captures both paranoia, as well as the kindness that strangers show. 

Max Davidson


Lily: A Tale Of Revenge

Rose Tremain                                                                       Chatto & Windus £18.99

One winter’s night in 1850, an hours-old baby, abandoned at the gates of an East End park, is saved from wolves and taken to the London Foundling Hospital.

Tremain’s latest novel more than lives up to its atmospheric, riveting beginning, tracking the child who comes to be named Lily Mortimer as she survives heartbreaking cruelty to mature into a young woman with a deadly secret. 

It’s consummate storytelling, and finds room for redemption as well as revenge. 

Hephzibah Anderson


Shadows Of Men

Abir Mukherjee                                                                         Harvill Secker £12.99

It’s 1923 and Calcutta is in turmoil. While Hindu and Muslim extremists fight each other, the British rulers try to retain control.

Sergeant Banerjee and Captain Wyndham are trapped in the middle of trying to locate the murderous agents provocateurs bent on fanning fires. Even worse is the fact that their superiors appear happy to let Banerjee bear all of the responsibility. 

A second episode of this series is a compelling, thought-provoking and atmospheric one.

John Williams