From Hannah Rothschild’s delightful House Of Trelawney to the latest from A D Miller and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ debut novel, this week’s best new fiction
House Of Trelawney
Hannah Rothschild Bloomsbury £16.99
Trelawney Castle has sheltered the same family for 800 years, but by 2008 its coffers are empty and Jane, the 41-year-old Viscountess Tremayne, is single-handedly trying to keep the estate afloat.
With a cast that includes an illegitimate beauty, a scurrilous asset-stripper and a lonely maths whizz, this canny comedy of manners straddles the worlds of high finance and the crumbling aristocracy, braiding love, revenge and market meltdown.
Waspish yet generous-hearted, it delights from start to finish.
A D Miller Harvill Secker £14.99
When a British diplomat is caught up in the Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004, he throws caution to the wind, with fatal consequences for his career.
Years later, in London, he bumps into the Ukrainian woman he holds responsible for his downfall. It is an intriguing situation, and Miller develops it with verve and elegance.
Whether he is capturing the churning crowds in Kiev or the sleepier rhythms of London in August, he always has interesting insights to offer.
The Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates Hamish Hamilton £16.99
An award-winning African-American essayist, Coates mixes magic and harsh reality in his promising debut novel.
Hiram is a slave on a 19th-century plantation whose foiled escape plan leads him to work with underground abolitionists.
Coates, who’s drawn on a book of real slave narratives, makes the power of stories and recollection central to a novel that also gives some people superhero abilities to teleport slaves using memories and a talisman. That’s a risky but intriguing device in a book marked by suffering, eloquence, and compassion.