10 great reads from Hampshire-based authors

Cover of The Dilemma, BA Paris' fourth novel

Cover of The Dilemma, BA Paris' fourth novel - Credit: Archant

Duncan Hall rounds up the Hampshire-related fiction and non-fiction books ideal for a spot of self-isolation.


Lies Behind the Ruin

Helen Matthews

Hampshire-based Helen won the Winchester Writers’ Festival prize for the best opening pages of a novel with her 2017 debut After Leaving the Village. Its follow-up Lies Behind The Ruin is set around a family’s planned escape to France around the time of the Brexit referendum following a fatal accident at the husband’s workplace. The story is told from both the husband and wife’s point of view as their pasts come back to haunt them.

Hashtag Press RRP £7.99


Most Read


Angela Chadwick

Winner of the 2019 Polari First Book Prize and a Guardian Book of the Year, Petersfield’s Angela Chadwick’s near-future tale of a scientific breakthrough allowing two women to have a baby together is a riveting read. Her story explores the media and social backlash as two lovers decide to become test subjects in a University of Portsmouth trial for ovum-to-ovum technology.

Dialogue books RRP £8.99


Perfect Kill

Helen Fields

Former criminal barrister turned thriller writer Helen Fields currently splits her time between California and Hampshire. Perfect Kill is the sixth instalment of her DI Callanach series and starts with a young man waking up in chains inside a shipping container on its way to France, before the tale ratchets up to cover enforced prostitution and organ harvesting, with worse to come. This is no genteel Miss Marple mystery, but is certainly a page-turner for lovers of gritty police crime drama

Avon RRP £7.99


The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox

Claire Gradidge

Romsey-born Claire’s debut novel won Richard and Judy’s Search for a Bestseller in 2018. The book, which harks back to the Golden Age of crime writing was released last year. It follows the titular Josephine as she returns to her hometown of Romsey in April 1941 on a quest to find out more about her parentage, only to stumble across a mystery in a bombed-out pub.

Bonnier Zaffre RRP £7.99


The Dilemma

BA Paris

The tale of a family’s worst nightmare told in almost real-time through two different perspectives, Alton-based BA Paris’ latest novel is a departure from her usual psychological thrillers. Livia has been planning her 40th birthday celebrations ever since her parents wrecked her dream wedding. But on the morning of the party her husband Adam receives news which has the potential to change both their lives forever. But when should he tell Livia?

HQ RRP £12.99



Somerville’s War

Andrew Duncan

Beaulieu-based Andrew has taken inspiration from the estate’s history as the centre of Special Operations Executive training during World War II to pen a fictional tale based around real-life tutor, turncoat Kim Philby. Names have been changed – with Beaulieu known as Somerville – as the training centre forms the backdrop for a story of romance, intrigue and tension.

Vineyard Books RRP £10.99


The Titanic and the City of Widows

Julie Cook

Journalist Julie Cook’s great-grandfather William was among those who died when the Titanic sank in 1912 as one of the Black Gang who worked feeding the ship’s boilers. That familial link encouraged her to explore the untold stories of the widows and bereaved families of those Southampton crew who went down with the ship and how they fought to survive.

Pen and Sword History RRP £19.99


A Year at the Circus

Jon Sopel

Essential reading as the US Presidential elections begin to lumber into view. University of Southampton graduate and former BBC Radio Solent reporter Jon Sopel experienced President Trump’s first year in office as the BBC’s North America correspondent. He takes the reader on a virtual White House tour.

BBC Books RRP £20


1545: Who Sank the Mary Rose?

Peter Marsden

Archaeologist Dr Peter Marsden has already penned several books on Henry VIII’s reclaimed flagship since 2000. This new volume, illustrated with colour plates, explores the background of the disaster, the building of the ship and the build-up to its loss before going into forensic detail about the ship’s recovery and reconstruction and the final moments of its crew.

Seaforth RRP £30


Neville Chamberlain’s Legacy

Nicholas Milton

Today he is known as the architect of appeasement, who promised peace for our time less than a year before the world entered a destructive six-year war. But Nicholas Milton’s book explores the lesser-known side to former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who resigned his position 80 years ago this month, and died in his Heckfield home only a few months later. The foreword by Chris Packham points to Chamberlain’s involvement in the nature conservation movement, while Nicholas also draws on Chamberlain’s diary and letters to look at his support of the poor, midwives and widows.

Pen and Sword History RRP £25