Julianne Maclean - These Tangled Vines
For ten years, Fiona has been carrying the secret that her mother, Lillian told her on her deathbed. Her beloved, disabled dad Freddie is not her biological father. Now she finds herself travelling from America to Italy to attend the funeral of the father she's never met, unbeknownst to Freddie. And when she's there, the shocks keep coming. What is written in Anton Clark's will brings upon Fiona the resentment of her older half siblings, Conor and Sloane. As Fiona comes to terms with the changes in her life and begins to fall in love with the wine-growing region where her parents and Anton met, she gradually discovers the truth of how she came into existence, and faces some difficult decisions about her own future. A beautiful setting, an intriguing story, and an interweaving of past and present stories. An atmospheric exploration of love and loyalty.
Andy Weir - Project Hail Mary
Written by the author of the acclaimed novel (and film) The Martian. Although Ryland Grace achieved his Doctorate degree, he's given up research to teach science to children, which he loves. So when he wakes up alone on a spaceship light years from Earth, with no memory of how of why he got there, it's something of a surprise. As his memory gradually comes back, it turns out that he's actually on a mission to save the planet from a threat from space. There's no return home. Each small piece of back story fills in the gaps in an unexpected route to a one-way mission. Meanwhile he learns how to be an astronaut and knuckles down to deal with the threat he was sent to overcome. Then something amazing happens... Full of flashes of humour, unexpected twists and turns, this intriguing story of interstellar travel with ordinary but brilliant characters caught up in an end-of-world scenario kept me hooked right to the end. A little heavy on science at times, but the overall story is brilliant and engaging.
Richard Osman - The Man Who Died Twice
The second of the Thursday Murder Club mysteries. I thought this was even better than book one. When retiree Elizabeth gets a message from a man who is supposedly already dead, she knows that this is going to be a serious business. Her fellow elderly hobbyist sleuths are roped in to solve a mystery involving spies, drug barons, missing diamonds, and people who are not what they seem. Written with Richard Osman's characteristic humour and flair for characterisation. He explores the frailties of growing older with compassion and humour, and gives his characters the dignity they deserve. The twists and turns of the plot came as a complete surprise to me. Expertly devised and written. A delight.