One of the perks of my job is that I am often offered pre-release access to new book releases. It is a chance to read the pre-publication copies of new book releases before publication or to read copies of very recently released books. As an avid reader, I almost always snap up the opportunity.
The review copies of these books, both electronic and hard cover, were gifted to me without obligation to review.
While I have been doing this for some time, and sharing the reviews on the blog and in other online publications, it has only just occurred to me to start sharing these new book releases with you in a separate post. I will be adding to this post as I receive new review copies.
I hope you will enjoy my reviews and perhaps even find your next great read!
New Book Releases April 2024
The Household by Stacey Halls
Thank you to NetGalley and Manilla Press for sending me an advance electronic copy of this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
The Household by Stacey Halls (affiliate link) is one of the new book releases for April 2024. It is based on real historical figures and some real life events, although it is historical fiction. The book had me hooked from the start.
The story explores how women were treated during the Victorian era, as well as how easy its was for ordinary women to fall into the seamier side of society. Plus there is a twist in the tale that I did not see coming, one that made the book almost impossible to put down.
Angela Burdett-Coutts, heiress to the Coutts fortune, funded the establishment of a halfway house, Urania Cottage, for a few young women near the end of their jail terms in the mid 1800’s. Following their stay at the cottage, the idea was that the women would emigrate to Australia.
While Urania Cottage was not exactly freedom, there were clean linens, hot food and the promise of an education, a paradise compared to the prisons and the lifestyle the young women had left.
The Household explores how powerless women were in the Victorian era, and how many were forced into lives of crimes simply to survive. Despite her wealth and position, even Angela Burdett-Coutts had to rely on the help of more powerful men. Angela also had issues of her own, including a stalker and extortionist, Richard Dunn, who plagued her for years.
As the story evolves, Angela’s life becomes terrifyingly entwined with the lives of the young women at Urania Cottage in ways she and they cannot possibly have imagined.
From Martha, the first inhabitant of Urania Cottage to Mrs Holdsworth and Angela Burdett-Coutts herself, Stacey Halls has built on historic events to create rich, complex characters I felt real empathy for. Her portrayal of Richard Dunn shows him as the villain he was, and in the story, he threatens not only Angela, but also the whole future of the household. I was on tenterhooks as the story evolved.
The Household is fascinating, a real page turner and I highly recommend it.