TBB Recommended Reads for February

2023 is an exciting year for book lovers!

Here are Ten unmissable fiction titles to cure the winter blues. Don’t say we don’t offer you great selections!

Maame by Jessica George

Maame has many meanings in Twi, but in my case, it means woman.

Meet Maddie. All her life, she’s been told who she is. To her Ghanaian parents, she’s Maame: the one who takes care of the family. Her mum’s stand-in. The primary carer for her father, who suffers from Parkinson’s. She’s the responsible sister, the quiet friend. The one who keeps the peace – and the secrets.

It’s time for her to speak up.

Maddie knows what kind of woman she wants to be. One who wears a bright yellow suit dates men who definitely aren’t on her mum’s list of prospective husbands and stands up to her boss’s microaggressions. Someone who doesn’t have to google all her life choices. Who demands a seat at the table. But will it take losing everything to find her voice?

Unique, unfiltered and unforgettable, Maame is a deeply moving, achingly funny debut about finally finding where you belong.

Praise for Maame:

“Honest, warm, heartbreaking and heart-healing. It felt truly modern, yet somehow timeless. I adored it.” – Nikki May, author of Wahala

“A poignant coming-of-age tale about finding strength, hope and courage . . . Maame‘s quiet confidence is true to life and liberating.” – Lizzie Damilola Blackburn, author of Yinka, Where is Your Huzband?

Publication date: 31st January 2023
Publisher: Hachette (UK)

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

‘We whisper the names of the ones we love like the words of a song. That was the taste of freedom to us, those names on our lips.

Mary Grace, Micah, Thomas Augustus, Cherry Jane and Mercy.

These are the names of her children. The five who survived, only to be sold to other plantations. The faces Rachel cannot forget. It’s 1834, and the law says her people are now free. But for Rachel freedom means finding her children, even if the truth is more than she can bear.

With fear snapping at her heels, Rachel keeps moving. From sunrise to sunset, through the cane fields of Barbados to the forests of British Guiana and on to Trinidad, to the dangerous river and the open sea. Only once she knows their stories can she rest. Only then can she finally find home. Inspired by the women who, in the aftermath of slavery, went in search of their lost children.

Praise for River Sing Me Home

“A strong and beautiful novel that stares into the face of brutality and the heart of love” – Jeanette Winterson

“It slices you open, lays out your parts, reassembles them and knits you back up again. A powerful account of love, loss, defiance… Breathtaking” – Chikodili Emelumadu 

Publication date: 19th January 2023
Publisher: Headline

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein

The music was still playing when Dalton Changoor vanished into thin air . . .

On a hill overlooking Bell Village sits the Changoor farm, where Dalton and Marlee Changoor live in luxury unrecognisable to those who reside in the farm’s shadow. Down below is the barrack, a ramshackle building of wood and tin, divided into rooms occupied by whole families. Among these families are the Saroops – Hans, Shweta, and their son, Krishna, who live hard lives of backbreaking work, grinding poverty and devotion to faith. When Dalton Changoor goes missing and Marlee’s safety is compromised, farmhand Hans is lured by the promise of a handsome stipend to move to the farm as a watchman. But as the mystery of Dalton’s disappearance unfolds their lives become hellishly entwined, and the small community is altered forever.

Hungry Ghosts is a mesmerising novel about violence, religion, family and class, rooted in the wild and pastoral landscape of colonial central Trinidad.

Praise for Hungry Ghosts:

“I won’t soon forget these characters or this story. I think we are going to be talking about this book for a long time to come.” – Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, author of When We Were Birds

“Hungry Ghosts is an astonishing novel – linguistically gorgeous, narratively propulsive and psychologically profound.” – Bernardine Evaristo

Publication date: 16th February 2023
Publisher: Afrori Books LTD

Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson

Meet Nora Hughes – the overworked, underpaid, last bookish assistant standing. At least for now. 

When Nora landed an editorial assistant role at Parsons Press she thought it would be The Dream Job. But after five years of admin and taking lunch orders, Nora has come to the conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.

With her life spiralling and unable to afford her rent, Nora does the only thing she can think of and starts freelancing for a rival publisher.

But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling author (who also happens to be quite attractive), is thrown into Nora’s life, she must decide where her loyalties lie, and whether she’s ready to choose herself and her future over her job…

Touches on mental health, happiness and the ups and downs of being a young woman trying to figure it all out.

Praise for Must Love Books:

“A heartfelt and exciting debut… a wise and honest story of how it feels to be a young woman in search of yourself” – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publication date: February 2023
Publisher: Harper Collins

Rose and the Burma Sky by Rosanna Amaka

One war, one soldier, one enduring love.

1939: In a village in south-east Nigeria on the brink of the Second World War, young Obi watches from a mango tree as a colonial army jeep speeds by, filled with soldiers laughing and shouting, their buttons shining in the sun. To Obi, their promise of a smart uniform and regular wages is hard to resist, especially as he has his sweetheart Rose to impress and a family to support.

Years later, when Rose falls pregnant by another man, his heart is shattered. As the Burma Campaign mounts and Obi is shipped out to fight, he is haunted by the mystery of Rose’s lover. When his identity comes to light, Obi’s devastation leads to a tragic chain of unexpected events.

In Rose and the Burma Sky, Rosanna Amaka weaves together the realities of war, the pain of first love and how following your heart might not always be the best course of action. Its gritty boy’s-eye view brings a spare and impassioned intensity, charging it with universal resonance and power.

Praise for Rose and the Burma Sky:

“Stunning. Both an unrequited love story and a mystery. It will live with me for a long time.” – Jendella Benson

Publication date: 23rd February 2023
Publisher: Penguin

Windward Family: An Atlas of Love, Loss and Belonging by Alexis Keir

Twenty years after living there as a child, Alexis Keir returns to the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. He is keen to uncover lost memories and rediscover old connections. But he also carries with him the childhood scars of being separated from his parents and put into uncaring hands.

Inspired by the embrace of his relatives in the Caribbean, Alexis begins to unravel the stories of others who left Saint Vincent, searching through diary pages and newspaper articles, shipping and hospital records and faded photographs. He uncovers tales of exploitation, endeavour and bravery of those who had to find a home far away from where they were born.

A child born with vitiligo, torn from his mother’s arms to be exhibited as a showground attraction in England; a woman who, in the century before the Windrush generation, became one of the earliest Black nurses to be recorded as working in a London hospital; a young boy who became a footman in a Yorkshire stately home. And Alexis’s mother, a student nurse who arrives in 1960s London, ready to start a new life in a cold, grey country – and the man from her island whom she falls in love with.

From the Caribbean to England, North America and New Zealand, from windswept islands to the wet streets of London, and spanning generations of travellers from the 19th century to the present, Windward Family takes you inside the beating heart of a Black British family, separated by thousands of miles but united by love, loss and belonging.

Praise for: Windward Family: An Atlas of Love, Loss and Belonging

“‘Being Black British is more than an identity, it is a journey into uncharted waters of personal history. Alexis Keir’s deeply moving account will ring true for all of those navigating their own stories.’ – David Lammy

‘Infused with hope… pertinent and timely… with beautiful touches of memories that will resonate with any child born of Caribbean parents in the UK… honest, poetic and deeply researched excellence.’ – Paterson Joseph

Publication date: 2nd February 2023
Publisher: Hachette (UK)

What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro

America is seen through the eyes and ambitions of three characters with ties to Africa in this gripping novel

When siblings Jacob and Belinda Nti were growing up in Ghana, their goal was simple: to move to America. For them, the United States was both an opportunity and a struggle, a goal and an obstacle.

Jacob, an awkward computer programmer who still lives with his father, wants a visa so he can move to Virginia to live with his wife—a request that the U.S. government has repeatedly denied. He envies his sister, Belinda, who achieved, as their father put it, “what Napoleon could not do”: she went to college and law school in the United States and even managed to marry Wilder, a wealthy Black businessman from Texas. Wilder’s view of America differs markedly from his wife’s, as he’s spent his life railing against the racism and marginalisation that are part of life for every African American living here.

For these three, their desires and ambitions highlight the promise and the disappointment that life in a new country offers. How each character comes to understand this and how each learns from both their dashed hopes and their fulfilled dreams lie at the heart of what makes What Napoleon Could Not Do such a compelling, insightful read

Praise For: What Napoleon Could Not Do

What a majestic, poignant debut. So often I wanted to pull these characters to the side, as one would a friend, and hug them and ask, what are you doing? The storytelling is exquisite. It delights in its intellect, its precision and its keen, surprising insights. Nnuro is a writer of supreme powers. Here is a storyteller of the ages.– Novuyo Rosa

Publication date: 7 February 2023
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

A House For Alice by Diana Evans

After fifty years in London, Alice wants to live out her days in the land of her birth. Her three children are divided on whether she stays or goes, and in the wake of their father’s death, the imagined stability of the family begins to fray.

Meanwhile youngest daughter Melissa has never let go of a love she lost, and Michael in return, even within the sturdy walls of his marriage to the sparkling Nicole, is haunted by the failed perfection of the past. As Alice’s final decision draws closer, all that is hidden between Melissa and her sisters, Michael and Nicole, rises to the surface . . .

Set against the shadows of Grenfell and a country in turmoil, Diana Evans’s ordinary people confront fundamental questions. How should we raise our children? How to do right by our parents? And how, in the midst of everything, can we satisfy ourselves?

Praise for: A House For Alice

Evans is always, always on the finest of forms– Candice Carty-Williams

Diana Evans’s fiction is emotionally intelligent, dark, funny, moving . . . A brilliant craftswoman– Jackie Kay

A gorgeous novel from one of our most outstanding writers– Bernardine Evaristo

Publication date: 2nd February 2023
Publisher: Random House (UK)

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Dazzling is a feast of shimmering , beautiful prose. Dark and humorous in places, it is an incessantly pleasurable read. Emelumadu has gifted us a thing of beauty.” – Chika Unigwe

I struggled to come up with a line that captures the magic within. Emelumadu’s singular debut is uncanny and affecting in equal measure.”T. L. Huchu

Emelumadu’s novel is a magnificent coming of age story, empathetic in its exploration of character and culture within a rich tapestry of African mythology and magic.” – Cheries Jones

Publication date: 16th February 2023 (UK)
Publisher: Hachette (UK)

A Spell of Good Things by Ayòbámi Adébáyò

A dazzling story of modern Nigeria and two families caught in the riptides of wealth, power, romantic obsession and political corruption.

Eniola is tall for his age, a boy who looks like a man. His father has lost his job, so Eniola spends his days running errands for the local tailor, collecting newspapers and begging, dreaming of a big future.

Wuraola is a golden girl, the perfect child of a wealthy family. Now an exhausted young doctor in her first year of practice, she is beloved by Kunle, the volatile son of family friends.

When a local politician takes an interest in Eniola and sudden violence shatters a family party, Wuraola and Eniola’s lives become intertwined.

In this breathtaking novel, Ayòbámi Adébáyò shines her light on Nigeria, on the gaping divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the shared humanity that lives in between.

A Spell of Good Things could not be more timely, chronicling struggles of class and gender in Nigeria set against the backdrop of fiercely contested and corrosive elections” – Afua Hirsch

Publication date: 9th February 2023
Publisher: Canon Gate (UK)


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