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The Waterstones Round Up: February's Best Books

Posted on 26th January 2024 by Mark Skinner

In the month of Valentine's Day, we've got a selection of titles to send you into the most dramatic of swooning fits. Whether you're after page-turning thrills or engrossing non-fiction, there's something for everyone in February's publishing.  

 


February's crop of novels sees riveting releases from both familiar faces and exciting new voices, as Margaret Atwood and Douglas Preston curate a bravura anthology of pandemic tales from equally high-profile authors and Rebecca K. Reilly and Jennie Godfrey spin distinctive and accomplished literary debuts. In poetry, there is the tantalising prospect of a fresh collection from the much-loved Bard of Salford John Cooper Clarke.   

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A breathtaking feat of literary collaboration, Fourteen Days is a spellbinding, Decameronesque novel set in an Lower East Side apartment building at the beginning of the pandemic, with each of its characters written by a different author from a star-studded cast of contributors including Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers and Celeste Ng.
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Utterly hilarious, ruthless and mesmerisingly original, this delicious debut follows a Maori-Russian-Catalonian family's two titular children navigating multiracial identity, queerness and unattainable love interests in present-day New Zealand.
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Engrossing and heartwarming in equal measure, The List of Suspicious Things follows best friends Miv and Sharon in the Yorkshire Ripper-era North, as they embark on solving the mystery of the disappearing women only to find unanswered questions much closer to home.
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Spanning three generations of a South Yorkshire mining family, poet Andrew McMillan's fiction debut is a concise, powerful lament for a lost way of life and a ringing tribute to resilience and authenticity.
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The poignant debut novel from much-loved broadcaster Lorraine Kelly, The Island Swimmer revolves around lonely Evie and the friendship she finds with a group of cold-water swimmers on Orkney.
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From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Finkler Question comes a tenderly crafted exploration of the ever-changing nature of romantic love, as Lily and Sam meet, fall for each other and grow old in each other's company.
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Filling in the remarkable backstory of Jaws' maverick fisherman, Lautner's inspired novel follows Quint from the sinking of the USS Indianapolis to his shark-battling days on Amity in spare, punchy and unforgettable prose.
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A kaleidoscopic, post-modern love letter to the city of Prague, Oyeyemi's masterly tale of a hen-weekend hijacked by imaginary residents and ever-changing books is a tour de force of imagination and energy.
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Reimagining George Orwell's time as a policeman in 1920s Burma, the great travel writer and author of The Lower River offers a compelling portrait of the shaping of a literary genius.
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Tracing the love story between two WWI soldiers, In Memoriam is a luminous, heartbreaking meditation on the tragedies of war and the precious sanctuary that can be found in deep human connection.
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With the 'wedding of the century' looming, can Magnolia and BJ finally reconcile their pasts and commit to each other in the fifth instalment of the TikTok smash hit series?
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The romcom queen and author of Secretly Yours and It Happened One Summer hits a hole-in-one with this sizzling story of a grumpy golfer and his devoted fangirl that is most definitely above par.
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Featuring figures from John F. Kennedy to Jesus Christ, this sharp and endlessly entertaining poetry collection from the legendary punk poet is filled with satirical revelry and uniquely riotous observations.
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One of the year's biggest thrillers lands this month with the arrival of Alex Michaelides' dazzlingly clever island-set whodunit The Fury. Meanwhile, A.J. Finn returns with a blazing new novel and a Japanese cult classic is reissued for a whole new audience.   

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From the author of The Silent Patient and The Maidens comes a compelling closed community thriller, as a former movie star throws a select party on a private Greek island whilst a murderer lurks in the shadows.
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From the bestselling author of The Woman in the Window comes a pulsating page-turner centred on a dying crime novelist and the sinister mystery at the heart of his past.
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From the bestselling author of My Other Husband comes a shockingly twisty tale of dangerous obsession and explosive secrets, as a profiler and therapist finds a baby on the backseat of her car.
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The bestselling crime writing partnership return with a scintillating cold case thriller as a pair of amateur podcasters attempt to solve the mystery of the eponymous woman's disappearance years before.
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From the author of the runaway bestseller How to Kill Men and Get Away With It comes another deliciously witty thriller perfect for fans of Bella Mackie, as a blinding hangover threatens to obscure a suspicious death the previous night. Available to pre-order now!
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Teeming with searing insights into sexism, obsession and pleasure, this glorious Japanese cult classic revolves around a famed female chef convicted as the serial killer of lonely businessmen and a story-hungry young journalist who wishes to learn the secrets of gourmet from her.
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The many, many fans of Hannah Kaner's Godkiller - our hugely successful inaugural Science Fiction & Fantasy Book of the Month - won't want to miss the pulsating sequel Sunbringer, out this month. Elsewhere, Victoria Aveyard brings her spellbinding Realm Breaker trilogy to a close and Jay Kristoff unleashes the second chapter of the megaselling Empire of the Vampire series. 

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The breathtaking sequel to the hugely acclaimed Godkiller finds Kissen reluctantly putting her faith in a sea god whilst still attempting to devise a way to destroy the mercurial god of white lies, Skedi.
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The author of The Eyre Affair delivers the long-awaited sequel to Shades of Grey, as two citizens of a world whose hierarchies are based on the colour spectrum strike out on a quest looking for answers.
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Aveyard's stellar Realm Breaker trilogy comes to a thrilling climax as Corayne sets out on the ultimate showdown with a man who would burn kingdoms to the ground.
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From the magical world of Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior comes an intoxicating collection of nine short stories steeped in Chinese mythology and folklore.
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Perfect reading for all fans of The Binding and A Discovery of Witches, Brown's electrifying fantasy sends a New York bookseller on a spectacular adventure upon receipt of a highly mysterious volume.
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Inspired by East Asian mythology, Chan's breathtaking debut centres on a world where the precarious co-existence of humans and sea creatures is put in jeopardy by the rise of dangerous extremists.
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Inspired by Norse legend, Jensen's scintillating fantasy romance finds a shield maiden with a drop of goddess' blood fight to unite a kingdom under the one true king.
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The pulsating sequel to Kristoff's mega-selling Empire of the Vampire sets Gabriel and the Grail off on a thrilling quest to destroy the Daysdeath once and for all.
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The bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis and Love Theoretically turns her attention to paranormal romance in this darkly delicious love story revolving around a Vampyre bride and an Alpha werewolf.
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Samuel Goldsmith has some revelatory ideas for how to get the most out of tinned tomatoes, whilst Bryony Gordon delivers a much-anticipated follow-up to her groundbreaking Mad Girl and Charles Duhigg reveals the secrets of great communication in our pick of February's best home and lifestyle books. 

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Easy weeknight dishes based on a tin of tomatoes, including lots of recipes that save you time, money and energy.
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Blending recipe guide with travel writing, O'Yeah's panoramic tour of the Indian subcontinent yields both delicious dishes and enthralling encounters.
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Eight years on from the groundbreaking Mad Girl, Bryony Gordon reassesses everything she thought she knew about mental health in this insightful, fearless and brilliantly witty reflection on the eternal quest for a 'happy life.'
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An essential handbook for the millions seeking to understand their levels of emotional exhaustion and lack of motivation, Languishing provides practicable and lucid advice for breaking free from malaise.
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From interviews with expert persuaders to the neuroscience of listening, the bestselling author of The Power of Habit draws from various sources to deliver an eye-opening, fact-based guide for how to communicate successfully, even in the most difficult circumstances.
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From Nicola Sturgeon to Joan Bakewell, this empowering and infinitely wise volume from the author of Bloody Brilliant Women collects advice and personal stories from a host of powerful and influential female public figures.
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You won't read many more affecting or exciting biographies this year than Sophie Elmhirst's account of a couple whose love for each other was sorely tested by drama on the Pacific Ocean. This month also brings choice works by Paula Byrne on the women in Thomas Hardy's life and Jane Cholmeley on the founding of the iconic Silver Moon bookshop.     

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A true story so jaw dropping you won't believe it isn't fiction, this exquisitely written account of unlikely romance tested in the unforgiving waters of the Pacific Ocean is an inspiring and uplifting read perfect for all fans of The Salt Path.
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With plenty of humour, wit and warmth, this mesmerising mix of memoir and social history tells the empowering story of three women who set up a legendary feminist bookshop in Thatcher-era London.
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The acclaimed biographer and author of The Real Jane Austen and The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym offers a truly fresh perspective on Thomas Hardy, exploring the great Victorian writer through both the female characters he created and the real women who played a considerable part in his life.
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Stauffer's immersive volume takes some of Lord Byron's most thrilling and resonant correspondence to examine the idiosyncratic, scandal-filled life and creative brilliance of the great Romantic poet.
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In this powerful and courageous memoir, Juano Diaz reflects on his childhood in the 1970s Glasgow slums, being entered into the care system and how love for the mother he was forcibly taken from has shaped his life and identity.
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This month sees the publication of numerous compelling history and politics books, from Professor Alice Roberts' investigations into the burials of people in the Middle Ages to Tom Baldwin's insightful biography of Labour leader Keir Starmer. Add in Josephine Quinn's revisionist history of the West and Ingrid Robeyns' exploration of unlimited wealth, and you've got an unmissable selection of titles for February.  

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The final revelatory volume in Alice Roberts' spellbinding trilogy, Crypt takes the reader on another evocative journey into the past through pathology and archaeological research, focusing on the lives and deaths of people in the Middle Ages.
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From the Bronze Age to the Age of Exploration, Quinn's revisionist, magisterial volume re-writes the story of 'the West', shedding light on the enormous role mingling of cultures through migration and trade played in creating the western 'civilisations'.
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Blending travelogue and history with luminous life writing, Between Britain explores the past and the identities of England and Scotland through an eye-opening one-hundred-mile journey along the border of the two nations.
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A love letter to a unique resilient and ever-changing city, Christie-Miller's luminous volume takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through the streets of Istanbul, mining Turkey's dramatic past and present through conversations with the locals.
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From the author of the bestselling Murder: The Biography comes a gripping, eye-opening excursion into nineteenth and twentieth-century British legal history that mines the relationship between the law, violence and women in page-turning prose.
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Enthralling and illuminating, Dark Brilliance explores the various internal conflicts and international wars that happened alongside the staggering developments in philosophy, social justice and the sciences usually associated with the era of the Enlightenment.
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The celebrated novelist and author of the Ibis trilogy explores the transformative effect the opium trade had on the nineteenth-century world and how his own family history is inextricably bound up in the consequences.
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Shining a light on the hitherto neglected heroism of eight women who worked in Allied resistance during the First World War, Stroud's panoramic history paints a moving and exhilarating picture of supreme courage and sacrifice.
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In this meticulously researched and important book, Chris Bryant draws from a wealth of archive material including poor law records, workhouse registers and private correspondence to reconstruct the story of James Pratt and John Smith – the last two men in Britain to have been hanged for homosexuality.
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Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with both Starmer himself and his friends and family, Baldwin's definitive biography of the Labour leader sheds much needed light on an enigmatic figure.
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Exploring the detrimental effects of unlimited wealth in moral, political, social and environmental spheres, Limitarianism combines a decisive call for change with an imaginative account of what a world without the super-rich might look like.
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From an enlightening investigation into the nature of chance to a celebration of women and nature, discover this month's top popular science and nature writing.  

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As insightful as it is informative, this hugely accessible book from one of the great authorities in the field of artificial intelligence is an eye-opening exploration of how AI is serving and changing the world we live in.
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A compelling investigation into the overarching importance of chance and randomness in both individuals' lives and the workings of society as a whole from the author of Corruptible.
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From the author of A Short History of the World According to Sheep comes a deeply fascinating exploration of a fast-vanishing way of life as Coulthard chronicles the countryside through tools, toys, domestic objects and more.
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From sixteenth-century botanists to rewilding reserves in modern-day South Africa, Forrester collates the stories of women who - like her - have chosen to live and work in the wilds of nature.
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