Akemi Dawn Bowman With self-isolation the order of business, we’re here with some shelf- inspiration. Our Books editor Lynsey May picks a selection of recent and soon-to-be published books for your reading pile this spring


THE BUTCHERS BY RUTH GILLIGAN The story starts with a grotesque photo of a murdered Butcher (a group who kill cows in accordance with Irish folklore) and quickly takes the reader back to unravel the circumstances that make the picture possible. It’s a tense and compelling read. Out now from Atlantic. HAMNET BY MAGGIE O’FARRELL Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet is a sumptuous story of love, loss and desperation. It’s a tender and powerful reimagining of the life story of Hamnet Shakespeare, son of the world’s most famous playwright, and largely lost to history. Out now from Tinder Press.

THE LOOP BY BEN OLIVER A fast-paced YA that’s enjoyable for teens and adults alike, The Loop is a dystopian sci-fi adventure with plenty of thrills and chills. Luka Kane is in a prison controlled by artificial intelligence with everything always the same. Until the day it isn’t . . . Out Thu 2 Apr from Chicken House.

BEFORE MY ACTUAL HEART BREAKS BY TISH DELANEY This hard-hitting book from Delaney sets one woman’s struggle with the hand dealt to her against the backdrop of the Northern Irish Troubles. This powerful debut examines the bonds of hate (and love) in a story of one family. Out Thu 14 May from Hutchinson.

THE TEMPLE HOUSE VANISHING BY RACHEL DONOHUE An atmospheric, gothic read, The Temple House Vanishing is a mystery set in a Catholic boarding school. Years after the disappearance of a pupil and teacher, a journalist with a childhood connection to the missing girl tries to uncover the truth. Out now from Corvus. HARLEY IN THE SKY BY AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN For readers aged 12 and over, this magical story about a young trapeze artist takes a good look at love, loyalty and tough choices. Harley follows her dreams and joins a circus, but by doing so she’s risking everything she’s ever known. Out now from Ink Road.

ISLAND DREAM BY GAVIN FRANCIS This gorgeous book from Gavin Francis looks at our collective fascination with islands by blending his own experiences with great voyages from literature as well as a splash of psychology and philosophy. At heart, it’s an exploration of isolation and connectedness that’s particularly timely. Out Thu 7 May from Canongate.

B O O K E D 64 THE LIST 1 Apr–31 May 2020