From Regency England to death row in Texas, here are the Waterstones books of the month for January.
A charming tale of companionship and creativity with an Austen-esque twist; a riveting exploration of the limits of our attention span; a masterful evocation of the legacy of misogynistic violence; and a magical children’s fantasy about hope, family and mental health.
The author of Miss Austen returns to the life of the celebrated Regency novelist with an elegant, atmospheric account of a young governess forming a firm friendship with the literary genius.
On 21 January 1804, Anne Sharpe arrives at Godmersham Park in Kent to take up the position of governess. At 31 years old, she has no previous experience of either teaching or fine country houses.
Her mother has died, and she has nowhere else to go. Anne is left with no choice. For her new charge – twelve-year-old Fanny Austen – Anne’s arrival is all novelty and excitement.
Displays a keen sense of wit and rich characterisation … a thoroughly enjoyable book.Observer
So envious of anyone yet to read this. A triumph!Nigella Lawson
A masterly piece of storytelling.Helena Kelly
The great writer is brought to life in this clever, well-researched piece of fiction.The Times
Thoroughly entertaining, Godmersham Park has some of the same understated wit and sharp observation as Austen’s novels.Sunday Times
Crisscrossing the globe in an attempt to discover why our attention spans are shorter than ever, the author of Lost Connections expounds on twelve pertinent cases and offers his own theory of where things went wrong.
Why have we lost our ability to focus? What are the causes? And, most importantly, how do we get it back?
For Stolen Focus, internationally bestselling author Johann Hari went on a three-year journey to uncover the reasons why our teenagers now focus on one task for only 65 seconds and why office workers, on average, manage only three minutes.
If you read just one book about how the modern world is driving us crazy, read this one.Telegraph
This book is exactly what the world needs right now.Oprah Winfrey
A beautifully researched and argued exploration of the breakdown of humankind’s ability to pay attention.Stephen Fry
A really important book… Everyone should read it.Philippa Perry
Turning the serial killer narrative on its head, Kukafka’s searing and intelligent second novel focuses on three women whose lives are irrevocably changed by their contact with a brutal murderer on death row.
Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours.
He knows what he’s done and now awaits the same fate he forced on those girls years ago. Ansel doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated and understood.
But this is not his story.
Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes On An Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our cultural obsession with crime stories and asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the minds of violent men.
A moving, courageous, and ultimately uplifting novel about mental health and the bonds of family, this engaging story from the author of The Hunt for the Nightingale revolves around young Nora and the rainbow-shimmering ghost animals that help to guide her through difficult times.
Uncover the ghost animals within – in this moving and uplifting story about finding help where you need it – from the highly acclaimed author and illustrator of The Hunt for the Nightingale.
In a heartbreaking and hopeful narrative, Sarah Ann Juckes’ stunning novel, illustrated by the award-winning Sharon King-Chai, sees a brave young girl face down her ghosts. For fans of The Last Bear and Julia and the Shark.
Full of hope, beauty and, ultimately, a healing song to nature.Hannah Gold, author of The Last Bear
An incredibly moving story of feeling lost and finding your way again.Lisa Thompson, author of Rollercoaster Boy
Will break your heart and mend it back together againPiers Torday, author of The Last Wild
This poignant exploration of grief and denial, seen through the eyes of a child, is underpinned by lessons about kindness, acceptance and nature.Daily Mail