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New fiction draws on Great War

1 of 1 New novel from Sebastian Barry due in April
New novel from Sebastian Barry due in April

The First World War began 100 years ago this year, and the conflict provides the background to at least two novels due for publication imminently.

The Lie (due this month from publishers Hutchinson) is the latest work by the popular Orange Prize-winning author Helen Dunmore.

It's a tale which explores the relationship between two First World War soldiers. Daniel survives, and his boyhood friend Frederick loses his life in battle. The story also deals with Daniel's mercurial relationship with Frederick's sister, Felicia. 

Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention Of Wings  is also published this month by Tinder Press. (Monk Kidd is the author of the best-seller The Secret Life Of Bees.) The Invention Of Wings explores slavery, particularly topical in light of Steve McQueen's new film. The novel has been selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. Fortunately for its author, the book is automatically guaranteed huge sales, as a result.

Next month, book fans can look forward to Jojo Moyes'  The One Plus One (Penguin), about a single mother under pressure. Spare Brides is the first historical – and indeed timely -  novel  from Adele Parks, published by Headline Review. Four women get on as best they can with life and its challenges, following the trauma of  the First World War.

In March, Irish author Emma Donoghue follows her bestseller, Room, with Frog Music (Picador). Donoghue’s story is set during a smallpox epidemic in San Francisco in 1876, as a burlesque dancer sets out to bring her friend's murderer to justice.

The second novel from Naomi Wood, Mrs Hemingway (due in February from Picador), explores the lives of Ernest Hemingway's four wives. Wood has written four novellas, a novella for each wife, so she has been entirely fair. The second instalment in the so-called The Austen Project appears in March from HarperCollins. Here Val McDermid lends a modern spin to Northanger Abbey. 

Sebastian Barry’s much-anticipated new novel, The Temporary Gentleman appears in April. Jack McNulty looks back on his life, haunted by corrosive torments and lost love. News emerged late last year that Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave are to play the female leads in a film version of Barry's immensely successful work of fiction, The Secret Scripture. 

Also in April, expect a new thriller from Jo Nesbo. In The Son (Harvill Secker), a prisoner escapes to discover the awful truth about his father's death. 

Colm Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster, appears in October from Penguin/Viking. The time period is the 1960s and Nora Webster is living with her two young sons in a small town on the east coast of Ireland. The love of her life, Maurice, has just died so she must work out how to forge a new life for herself. 

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