See what reviewers are saying about books published in April and May 2023.
It’s been a wonderful season for books, and the rave reviews agree.
From a cosy crime set in Sydney to a transcendental autofiction, recently published books of every stroke are getting some well-deserved media recognition. Garnering praise for structure, substance and characters, these recent reads are the talk of the town.
Keep reading to see what critics have to say.
The Tea Ladies, Amanda Hampson
- 'A marvellous recreation of 1960s Sydney . . . a good mystery for fans of Miss Marple.' – Canberra Weekly
- 'The Tea Ladies is such a good read. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day.' – The Senior
- 'A witty crime novel.' – New Idea
- 'The Tea Ladies provides readers with a satisfying mystery, a trio of intrepid older women discovering their own strengths, and a window into a vanished past. I give it five Tim Tams.” – Readings
Anam, André Dao
- 'A fine example of a global novel. Uncompromising and honest, Anam is a brilliant book of immense scope.' – The Conversation
- 'The most original and exciting first work I’ve read in ages.' – David Gaunt, Gleebooks
- 'Anam is an epic feat that showcases Dao’s talent for storytelling, and will appeal to fans of Ocean Vuong, Nam Le and Madeleine Thien.' – Books + Publishing
- 'Anam is an enthralling and challenging novel, with moments both painful and tender. It is a profoundly beautiful debut.” – Readings
- 'Dao has a mesmeric and unique style that is both brave and profound.' – The Australian
- 'A blend of fiction, theory and memoir, Dao skilfully weaves a story of a grandson returning home.' – Sydney Morning Herald
- 'Anam is a rigorous and generous book, which will sit with you well after reading. “We cannot transcend ourselves,” the narrator says. “Yet it is the promise of such transcendence that brings us back to literature.” Anam is transcendent.' – Leah Jing McIntosh, The Saturday Age
The Wonderful Thing About Phoenix Rose, Josephine Moon
- 'Josephine is proving to be the go-to voice for warm, funny and vibrant stories, and this novel about a woman who is tasked with driving a car load of eccentric animals from Tasmania to Brisbane is an escapist's dream!’ – Woman’s Day
- ‘I could go on all day about the many moments in this novel that moved and inspired me. It’s poignant in the ways in which it celebrates asking for help, and how confidence – in all its forms, including the confidence to recognise you’re at your lowest – can allow you to flourish and be your best self . . . Phoenix is a refreshing, timely and necessary protagonist who’s loveable, relatable and uses her different outlook on life for good. Lily is the supporting character of dreams; she’s full of banter, hilarity, and is utterly kind.' – Better Reading
Girl in a Pink Dress, Kylie Needham
- 'Flawless. The art world, young "love", power, sex, tenderness, fury – I’m still searching for adequate words to explain how exceptional this book is.' – Letitia Davy, The Booklist
- 'Needham’s writing is crisp and spare. Spanning decades, she neatly folds time in on itself by using short scenes to link the past and present. Needham’s sense of place, critical in the creation of Frances as a character, is lyrical and sparse, like the Australian landscape itself. But the true joy of Needham’s writing is the characters . . . Frances is delightfully complex and compelling. Clem, with his overblown ego and deep insecurity, his callousness in the affairs of the heart and his inability to ever shake his famous father’s shadow is equally alive on the page. There’s a humdinger of a climax that made me gasp with an equal mix of joy and surprise. Girl in a Pink Dress is a beautifully crafted novel with a driving narrative that is both rich and evocative. – Meredith Jaffe, New Voices Down Under
- 'We relished the deft realism and gorgeous local details from the affluent art collectors of Sydney to the weekend artisans of rural New South Wales, as well as a memorable dinner party scene with established Aussie artists sharing their thoughts on a woman’s career. Such a treat.' – Cassie Stroud, WellRead
- 'This compelling debut novel follows a young female painter whose ambitions begin to clash with those of her older lover and teacher . . . Needham’s prose is visual and poetic – unsurprising perhaps, given her background. An award-winning screenwriter in her own right, Needham has first-hand experience of the world of fine art . . . like the surprisingly seductive landscapes painted by Frances, the heart of the book and the titular girl, there’s more depth to this story than first meets the eye. Needham and her contemporaries are writing more and more into a spectrum of frustration and fury that ambitious female artists might feel towards their entitled male counterparts (and sometimes lovers) . . . Frances takes a little while to come into her fury, although when she does it is deeply satisfying.' – Bec Kavanagh, The Guardian
- 'I hope Hanks won’t give up acting, but if he ever tires of it he can have a new career as imaginative novelist.' – The Age
- ‘Tom’s vivid story about the making of a multimillion-dollar Marvel-like movie is so detailed that it feels as if you’re part of the film crew!’ – Woman’s Day
The Collected Regrets of Clover, Mikki Brammer
- 'This truly is a debut novel that will stay with you.' – Refinery29
- 'All the hype around this delightful, heartfelt, uplifting book is real . . . Clover’s story is set to touch many hearts deeply. Everything about it indicates it’s going to be a huge hit.' – Meredith Jaffe
- 'A delicoiusly original story.' – NewsCorp
Fire With Fire, Candice Fox
- 'Fast paced and intense, but with some real heart to it, Fire With Fire is a gripping read that proves very hard to put down.' – Canberra Weekly
- 'One of the best crime thrillers of the year.' – The Australian
- 'Lovers of thrillers should add this one to their collection for the adrenaline-pumping ride. fast-paced and clever investigative drama at its finest, structured with a brilliant premise and masterful storytelling.' – Good Reading
Graft, Maggie MacKellar
- 'To attempt to sum up this beautiful book is to do a disservice to the delicate and finely woven lattice of narrative threads that comprise it, like reducing a glimmering spider web to its geometry.' – The Age
- 'An often fierce, unflinching account . . . brave and bittersweet book.' – The Australian
- 'A compelling and heartbreaking story.' – TrulyAus Magazine (REX inflight)
The Fresh Voices of 2023 share their advice with fellow writers. Whether you’re aspiring to get your book published or looking for writing tips, these words of wisdom will help.
Give the gift of the perfect book this Father's Day.
Anam by André Dao has entered the world to warm reception. With exceptional reviews, it’s clear that this author’s star is rising. Learn more about his book, and see what reviewers are saying.
Learn more about death doulas and discover the debut novel that shines a new light on what it means to live and die.
Find the perfect book based on the blooms she already loves.
Find out why it’s so important to support authors upon the publication of their first book and meet a few of our 2023 debut authors.
From authors including Rachael Johns, Amor Towles, Leigh Bardugo and so many others!
Revisit three Amanda Hampson books to experience European summer from the comfort of your living room.
Author Amanda Hampson reflects on her fond memories of this delightful cake.
Find out which Penguin Random House authors will be attending writers festivals in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney this May.
Amanda Hampson revisits the era in her upcoming novel, 'The Tea Ladies'.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we asked female authors to talk about the women writers who have inspired them.