Hot new books of April

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Stylist Team
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With the winter well and truly behind us, things are hotting up on the books charts. From Alexandra Shulman's debut novel to the latest installment from Sir Andrew Motion, take a look at some of our favourite book highlights due for release over the next month.

Simply click on an image to launch the gallery. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section, below.

Words: Dipal Acharya

  • An Invisible Sign of My Own, Aimee Bender

    When Mona Gray is ten her father contracts a mysterious illness. His withdrawal from everyday life marks a similar change in Mona, who removes herself from anything - or anyone - that might bring her happiness. Numbers provide a kind of solace, and help her make sense of the world. But when she becomes a maths teacher, and a 7-year-old Lisa appears with a zero that displays real turmoil, Mona knows that in order to help, she needs to find a way to connect with the world she has been afraid of for so long

    Aimee Bender's third novel plays on ideas of superstition and logic, all written with her distinctive sense of humour

    Release date: 12th April 2012

  • Arcadia, Lauren Groff

    In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centred on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this rollicking, tragic dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and beyond. What unfolds is an astonishingly beautiful novel about happiness and the impossible dream of perfection.

    Arcadia follows protagonist Bit as he struggles to reconcile himself to the utopian world around him. Lauren Graff's second novel is rich, absorbing and one of April's most anticipated releases

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • The Light Between the Oceans, M L Stedman

    1926. On a remote island off Western Australia, Tom and Isabel Sherbourne, a young, childless couple whose lives have been scarred by the conflict of war, peaceably run the Janus lighthouse. Cocooned from the rest of the world, on an April morning a boat washes ashore with two bodies inside – an infant and a dead man. In a moment of impulse the path of their lives will hit an unthinkable crossroads.

    A stunning debut from M L Stedman who creates a chain of events so unpredictable yet tragic, it's hard not to be moved

    Release date: 26th April 2012

  • Pictures at an Exhibition, Camilla Macphearson

    London, 1942 and the National Gallery’s most treasured paintings have been hidden away. Only one masterpiece will be displayed each month. And each month, Daisy Milton writes to her cousin Elizabeth to tell her about the paintings, her life - and the man she loves. Meanwhiile in London, present day, a miscarriage has left Claire’s marriage to Rob in tatters and there seems little hope of reconciliation. She finds Daisy’s letters, and gradually, picture by picture, Daisy’s world in the 1940s becomes more real to Claire than her own

    Macphearson's debut novel draws inspiration from the real-life story of the National Gallery 'Picture of the Month' scheme during WW2, refigured into a tale of history repeating itself

    Release date: 26th April 2012

  • The Greatest Love Story, Lucy Robinson

    A tub of half-eaten ice-cream had welded itself to the sheet and was growing fur. My pillowcases were rigid and peaked where I had let snot dry on them and photos of Michael sat under an abandoned piece of rock-hard cheddar. A small bottle of Morrison’s brandy was resting against my feet. Scattered everywhere were crumbs, crisps and knickers

    The Greatest Love Story follows protagonist Fran as she meanders through eight dates to find true love. An outlandish yet funny debut for Lucy Robinson

    Release date: April 2012

  • Dead Scared, S J Bolton

    Cambridge University has been suffering a spate of suicides, more than would be statistically be expected. Most of the victims have been very attractive young women, again a statistical anomaly. Psychiatrist Dr. Evi Oliver, new head of the student counselling service is worried that something else might be going on

    A darling of the crime fiction world, S J Bolton's thriller is terse, unflinching and one you might think twice about reading before bed

    Release date: 12th April 2012

  • The Chemistry of Tears, Peter Carey

    When her lover dies suddenly, all Catherine has left is her work. The long affair had been kept secret from their colleagues at London's Swinburne Museum and now she must grieve in private. In an act of compassion, the head of her department gives Catherine a very particular project, something to cling onto: a box of intricate clockwork parts that appear to be the remains of a nineteenth-century automaton, a beautiful mechanical bird and with it, the maker's diary

    Twice a Booker prize winner, Peter Carey's emotionally complex novel is a portrait of love and loss and has been described by Carey himself as "pretty nutty"

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • Can We Still Be Friends, Alexandra Shulman

    It's the summer of 1983 and best friends, Salome, Annie and Kendra have left university to embark on adulthood. Three very different girls with very different paths ahead: Sal, the aspiring journalist, Annie, the capable domestic beauty and Kendra, the daughter of chic, liberal parents. As they navigate the decade of ra-ra skirts and shoulder pads, Duran Duran and Margaret Thatcher, they discover that the future is what happens to you, not what you plan.

    British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman releases her first novel, on which she commented "I should have called it How did you find the time? because that's what I get asked most"

    Release date: 12th April 2012

  • By Battersea Bridge, Janet Davey

    Anita Mostyn feels the need to take a holiday from her life. As a child, she was dismissed by her parents in favour of her self-confident brothers, and as an adult, her choices are disapproved of. On a whim, she takes up an offer to scout for holiday properties in Bulgaria, escaping the impending second wedding of her perfect brother - and a horrifying episode in her past.

    Janet Davey, previously longlisted for the Orange Prize for English Correspondence, brings us a sharp yet touching novel as we follow Anita as she navigates through complicated family relations

    Release date: 12th April 2012

  • Stonemouth, Iain Banks

    Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth after five years exile. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with its five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than seafog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides

    Iain Banks delivers a blinder of a novel as Stewart Gilmour's homecoming in Stonemouth becomes a catalyst for confronting his family's past with lethal repercussions

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • Silver, Andrew Motion

    July 1802. In the marshy eastern reaches of the Thames lies the Hispaniola, an inn kept by Jim Hawkins and his son. Late one night a mysterious girl named Natty arrives, with a request from her father - Long John Silver

    Sir Andrew Motion's eagerly anticipated follow-up to his runaway hit Treasure Island

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • Mrs Robinson's Disgrace, Kate Summerscale

    When Mrs Robinson joined the throng she was introduced to Lady Drysdale's daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Edward Lane. She was at once enchanted by the handsome Mr Lane, a medical student ten years her junior. He was 'fascinating', she told her diary, before chastising herself for being so susceptible to a man's charms. But a wish had taken hold of her, which she was to find hard to shake

    Mrs Robinson's Disgrace brings vividly to life a complex, frustrated Victorian wife, longing for passion and learning, companionship and love

    Release date: April 2012

  • Fifty Shades of Grey, E L James

    When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time

    One of the publishing sensations of the year, E. L. James started as a blogger from west London who quickly had the rights to her books snapped up by Hollywood. The first novel from her erotic triology, Fifty Shades of Grey has been described as serious fan fiction for adults

    Release Date: April 2012

  • The Beginner's Goodbye, Anne Tyler

    When Dorothy came back from the dead, Aaron noticed that some people simply ignored the fact; some seemed to have forgotten she'd died in the first place; and others just walked straight on by.

    Anne Tyler's bittersweet tale of a couple so intertwined that that they cannot be separated by death has had critics labelling the novel as "so achingly truthful, funny and sad you can only marvel"

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • A Stone's Throw, Fiona Shaw

    Like everyone, Meg has made choices over the course of her life; for the most part, she's proud of the decisions she's made but that doesn't mean she's not without regrets, not haunted by questions of what might have been..

    Set over two continents, Fiona Shaw's novel opens dramatically on a ship bound for Africa during WW2. What ensues is a story about family and duty, told in a compelling voice unique to Shaw

    Release date: 5th April 2012

  • Pure, Timothy Mo

    Set within a decade where the battle for secession in the Muslim regions of southern Thailand, Pure covers epic expanses of time and is told through narrators who range from fanatical zealots to decorated Oxbridge dons. Mo's skill lies in a versatile style, memorable characters, insight into those tormented by dual loyalties and the ability to handle the weightiest of themes with a light touch. By examining the cultural wars of the past and present, Pure's themes are among the most important of the day.

    The three-time Booker shortlisted author delivers his first novel in over a decade, with his trademark inventiveness and unique voice

    Release date: April 2012

  • The Absolutist, John Boyne

    September 1919 and a 20-year old Tristan travels from London to Norwich to deliver letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside his brother Will during the Great War, but in 1917 Will laid down his guns as a conscientious objector. He was shot as a traitor, bringing shame and dishonour to the Bancroft family. But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit; he holds a secret in his soul, one that he is desperate to unburden

    The Absolutist delivers the moving tale of two privates, struggling with the complexity of their emotions and confusion of their friendship. Written by John Boyne (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), this is one for those Birdsong fans

    Release date: April 2012

  • Skagboys, Irvine Welsh

    Mark Renton has it all: he's good-looking, young, with a pretty girlfriend and a place at university. But there's no room for him in the 1980s. When his family starts to fracture, Mark's life swings out of control and he succumbs to the defeatism which has taken hold in Edinburgh's grimmer areas. The way out is heroin.

    A brilliant prequel to Walsh's 1993 debut Trainspotting, the novel revisits Renton, Spud and Tommy and co. before the heroin addicition takes hold

    Release date: 19th April 2012

  • The Murder Wall, Mari Hannah

    Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian village, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then a brutal killing of a man on Newcastle's Quayside gives Daniels her first case as Senior Investigating Officer and another chance to get it right.

    Mari Hannah's thriller is imbued with a fast pace, intriguing characters and insights into police officers' private lives worthy of the Leveson enquiry

    Release date: 6th April 2012

  • The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach

    At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair.

    Already a runaway hit in the US, Chad Harbach debut novel is already trending on the pre-order list and has been feted by authors like Jonathan Franzen among others

    Release date: 26th April 2012