August 2021 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses A Slow Fire Burning, The Fair Botanists and Mrs March are all out in August.

A Slow Fire Burning

Paula Hawkins is best known for her international bestseller The Girl on the Train. In her third thriller, A Slow Fire Burning, she shows that tragedies don’t happen in isolation and the title itself reveals that the characters have something that has been burning inside them for years.

The book is set in North London, where a young man’s body is discovered on a boat on Regent’s canal. The murder case seems straightforward at first but as more characters are introduced, connections, secrets and loyalties are revealed between them.

Fiona Sharp said: “No spoilers in my reviews, so all I am going to say is hold on to your head, it’s all about to get caught in a spiral of crimes, victims, criminals over many years. Who can be trusted? Certainly one to keep your head spinning as you read.”

A Slow Fire burning is published by Transworld on 31 August.

The Fair Botanists

Sara Sheridan is a Scottish activist and writer in most genres, although her prefrence is historical fiction. Her latest book, The Fair Botanists, asks the question: Could one rare plant hold the key to a thousand riches?

Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh, in 1822, and all she wants is to put her past behind her. Newly widowed, she stays with her aunt Clementina and discovers the beautiful Botanical Garden, where the Agave Americana plant is set to flower. Elizabeth is asked to record the rare plant’s bloom and that’s when she meets the young, passionate woman Belle Brodie.

Frances Quinn reviewed it as “Historical fiction at its best, full of atmosphere, with beautifully drawn characters and a thoroughly intriguing story.”

Hodder & Stoughton will release The Fair Botanists on 5 August.

Mrs March

Mrs March is best described as “Shirley Jackson meets My Sister the Serial Killer” and I can confirm that the author, Virginia Feito, has written a darkly funny debut full of suspense.

Mrs March is an Upper East Side housewife  who is proud of her husband, George, a talented novelist. His latest work is set up to be another bestseller and they couldn’t be happier about George’s achievements. But when their housekeeper reads it, she comes up with the idea that the protagonist in the book is Mrs March herself – and to make things worse, she is a sex worker.

Mrs March’s life is ripped to pieces and she flees, but not towards freedom. Her new journey leads to paranoia and she stumbles into a psychosis. More secrets are revealed, each one darker than the last.

Elisabeth Moss said: “I read Mrs March in one sitting and was so capured by it… As a character (Mrs March) is fascinating, complex, and deeply human.”

Mrs March is published by HarperCollins on the 5 August.

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.

See more of Anna’s book choices here

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