January 2020 Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads for January.

My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa is a powerful debut about school abuse, written by Elizabeth Kate Russell. The novel alternates between Vanessa’s present and her past and is timely in the era of #MeToo.
In 2000, 15-year old Vanessa becomes involved with her 42-year old English teacher. Vanessa is bright, ambitious and convinced that he is the great love of her life.

Many years later, Vanessa discovers that another former student has accused the same man of sexual abuse. Vanessa feels conflicted when a journalist wants her to tell the real story. Her relationship was loving, wasn’t it?

Stephen King reviewed it as “A hard story to read and a harder one to put down… a well-constructed package of dynamite.” My Dark Vanessa is published by Fourth Estate on 23 January.

American Dirt

American Dirt is a page-turning Mexican migrant novel, written by Jeanine Cummins. It tells the story of how Lydia and her son were forced to flee their home in Acapulco, to then illegally cross the US-Mexico border.

The local drug cartels were always a threat but Lydia was a happily married bookshop keeper, who thought their lives were fairly comfortable- until she made a mistake and the cartel went after her family.

Have Lydia and her eight-year-old son a chance at life? Jeanine’s book is terrifying as she gives a face to migrants everywhere who run for their lives. Don Winslow reviewed it as “A Grapes of Wrath for our times.” American Dirt is Tinder Press’ leading title for 2020 and it’s published on 21January.

The 24-hour Cafe

The 24-hour Cafe is written by Libby Page, the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Lido, which has sold in over twenty territories around the world.

The 24-hour Cafe is the cafe that never sleeps. Stella opens the doors day and night for the lost, the hungry, the morning people and the night owls. It’s a place where everyone is welcome and where anyone can be themselves.

We meet Hannah and Mona, who are best friends, waitresses and day dreamers. On this particular day, their friendship will be tested, the community will come together and their lives will be changed forever. The 24-hour Cafe is published by Orion on 23 January.

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 anna@intersaga.co.uk. 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

Read about the annual Chiswick Book Festival here