10 Debut Reads from April to June 2023
Let's show more love to debut authors!
We love to show support to debut authors so after recommending debut reads that came out January to March 2023, we are here today to recommend 10 debut novels that were published April to June 2023. These are all adult novels so stay tuned for YA debut reads!
Morgan is My Name by Sophie Keetch
We have already recommended two Arthurian legend-inspired YA books earlier this year (Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken and Gwen and Art Are Not In Love by Lex Croucher) so it is only right if we recommend an Adult read as well. Morgan is My Name is the debut novel by Sophie Keetch and it is the first book in a trilogy that follows villainess Morgan le Fay. Don’t get put off by the fact that Morgan is My Name will be a trilogy because this feminist retelling is done wonderfully. We have been told that the audiobook narrated by Vanessa Kirby is great as well so if you are looking to pick up an audiobook, you know which book to go for.
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson
The Stockton family is rich. Very rich. And yes, while we tend to extremely cynical about the rich, Jenny Jackson manages to make us take a compassionate look at the 3 Stockton women who(, though super rich!,) still have their own struggles. This is a character-driven novel and Jenny Jackson does a fine job creating diverse character profiles facing distinct (first world) problems. Jokes aside, this is definitely a fun, unusual read.
Mrs S by K Patrick
K Patrick and their debut novel, Mrs S, have been creating a lot of buzz this year. Patrick is named one of the best young British writers by Granta, which is a list that celebrates 20 writers under 40 each decade. Mrs S itself is highly anticipated – it is a queer love story at a boarding school, but one between the matron and the headmaster’s wife, instead of among the students. Mrs S ticks all the boxes of what makes a novel great, and K Patrick has a very distinct writing style that is crisp and powerful. After all, for someone like K Patrick who knows how to use the power of language to convey emotions, there is no need to waste words. You can read an extract from Mrs S on Granta’s website here.
The Other Side of Mrs Woods by Lucy Barker
Set in Victoria London where medium Mrs Woods holds seances for patrons who seek messages from lost loved ones until she is slowly replaced by the *shinier* American spiritualists, The Other Side of Mrs Woods is every bit as intriguing as its (UK) book cover. Amongst the perfect Victorian backdrop, Lucy Barker explored ageism and women’s suffrage delicately. And for those who love the inclusion of letters and fictional excerpts in a book: you are in luck!
The Maiden by Kate Forster
Loosely based on a real life story that occurred in Edinburgh, The Maiden follows Lady Christian Nimmo who has been sentenced to the guillotine (known as the Maiden) murdering her lover Lord James Forrester. Kate Forster tells the story using two POVs, Christian’s and working girl Violet’s, and the alternating POVs are so well interconnected that the story flows incredibly well. And given Kate Forster grew up in the area, The Maiden is full of gorgeous descriptions that add well to the story.
Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater
Roach is a bookseller and a passionate true-crime lover. Death of a Bookseller follows the events as Laura, who seemingly has an interest in true crime as well, starts working at Roach’s branch of bookstore. This is a must for anyone who is interested in the ins and outs of running bookstores, and Alice Slater painted a great atmosphere that works wonder for the plot. The story alternates between Roach’s and Laura’s POVs and while they may not be the most likeable characters, they are distinct and well crafted.
Go As A River by Shelley Read
Following Torie, the only female working on her family peach farm, who meets Native American Wil in the 1940s, Go As A River has everything you need from a great novel: gorgeous descriptions, well-crafted characters, and an emotional storyline. This incredibly strong debut novel touches upon many important themes such as discrimination, resilience and belonging, and as Shelley Read took the time to do her research for this historical fiction, you will also learn a lot about the historical background.
The Long Form by Kate Briggs
This is not a book you should read when you are in a slump, or when you are hoping to read a quick light read. This is a book that you should read when you want to grab a pen and annotate your books and when you want to be challenged. The Long Form, seemingly a story about a mother and her new-born, explores the concept of a novel. And Kate Briggs accomplishes this by examining Henry Fielding’s book, and incorporating many other cultural references which are explained thoroughly in the endnotes. In yes, all this description might seem weird, especially within the same book, but trust us when we say Kate Briggs nailed it.
The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop
When Rachel was 17, she had a summer fling in Greece with Alastair, who is 20 years her senior. Now in her 30s, Rachel revisits the island, along with the past that might be darker than what she recalled. Underneath the bright sunny cover and the luxurious descriptions of the island, Katie Bishop tackles the sensitive topics of grooming and #MeToo delicately.
Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill
Feminist retellings, either of Greek myth and Arthurian legend (see above), are always ambitious because of the need to honour the original material while simultaneously having to create their own distinct take. Hence, we are very impressed to see C.E. McGill take on the literary classic, Frankenstein.
Close to Home by Michael Magee
Last year we recommended two YA books written by Sue Divin that did a wonderful job painting the picture of The Troubles; it’s only right if we recommend an adult novel as well. Close to Home follows Sean who is back home in Belfast after failing to find a job with his English degree. Michael Magee manages to navigate the themes of The Troubles, recession, and adulthood seamlessly, providing a thought-provoking read in Close to Home.