Gaëlle Josse

(World Editions, £11.99)

It’s 1954, and Ellis Island, through which countless immigrants have passed on their way into the USA, is being closed down, with John Mitchell, its Commissioner, being the last to leave. In the 45 years he’s worked in that grey facility, Mitchell has seen hope, anticipation and fear in the faces of generations of immigrants, but retirement in his parents’ old apartment in NYC offers the prospect of nothing but emptiness. Making the most of his last days on the island Mitchell reflects on the decades he’s spent walking a tightrope between duty and compassion, and the times he’s swayed too far to one side or the other. Dominated by Mitchell’s betrayal of his late wife, Josse’s portrait of a conflicted man weighing up his life’s joys and regrets is poignant and affecting, and a stark beauty shines out from its melancholy, sombre prose.


Amelia Gentleman

(Guardian Faber, £10.99)

It was a scandal that humiliated Theresa May’s government and cost Amber Rudd her job. People of the “Windrush generation” who had come to Britain as children, knew no other home and believed themselves to be British citizens, found they had been reclassified as illegal immigrants, losing jobs and homes, being denied NHS treatment and in 83 cases being deported. Amelia Gentleman was alerted to the situation by the threatened deportation of 61-year-old Paulette Wilson. Writing in the Guardian, she refused to let the Government bury the scandal, and details her investigation here, revealing a Home Office increasingly overworked, underfunded and disconnected from the people affected by its policies, while operating in a climate “infected” by anti-immigrant rhetoric. Her findings show just how far standards dropped in the wake of New Labour’s immigration policies and the Tories’ notorious “hostile environment” in a shocking exposé that underlines the necessity of a free press.


Debbie Howells

(Avon, £7.99)

With a fortnight to go before her wedding, Brighton-based herbalist Amy Reid is warned by an old woman that her fiancé Matt isn’t the person she thinks he is. So it would seem, for that very night Matt goes missing and Amy’s life begins to unravel before her eyes. Amy’s daughter, Jess, has never trusted Matt, having seen him dominate and gaslight her, but his disappearance brings to light evidence that he was leading a double life. Tantalisingly, Howells drops hints that there’s a lot more going on under the surface: not just that Matt is part of a larger scheme but that Amy herself may not be the innocent victim she appears. Initially promising little more than a functional domestic thriller, The Vow quickly blooms into a solid page-turner with unexpectedly dark undertones, though a healthy ability to suspend disbelief will be needed to make it to the end.