Ten Books to Read in Isolation

If you, like so many of us, are isolating at home right now, you might like a few book recommendations to take your imagination to other places. Personally, I love a ‘Locked Room Mystery’, in which the drama plays out in a confined space – often making for great tension, character revelation and intrigue! Here are ten novels, set, at least in part, in closed rooms or limited locations, starting with my latest thriller Lake Child:

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown
In the heart of Norway’s ancient fjords, 17-year-old Eva awakes from a horrific accident, to find herself bed-bound and confined to the attic bedroom of her forest home. Her devoted parents watch over her night and day, but the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories – and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from that distant night begin to surface, Eva realises she has to escape and discover the truth.
But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?

(Words from Orionbooks.co.uk)

Room by Emma Donoghue
Jack is five.
He lives with his Ma.
They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key. Jack and Ma are prisoners.
Room by Emma Donoghue is an extraordinarily powerful story of a mother and child kept in isolation, and the desire for, and price of, freedom.

(Words from Hive.com)

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Telling the story of a nameless woman driven mad by enforced confinement after the birth of her child.

Isolated in a colonial mansion in the middle of nowhere, forced to sleep in an attic nursery with barred windows and sickly yellow wallpaper, secretly she does what she has to do – she writes. She craves intellectual stimulation, activity, loving understanding, instead she is ordered to her bedroom to rest and ‘pull herself together’.

(Words from Hive.com)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
One boy, one boat, one tiger . . .

After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan – and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

(Words from Hive.com)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war.

Ten strangers are invited to Soldier Island, an isolated rock near the Devon coast. Cut off from the mainland, with their generous hosts Mr and Mrs U.N. Owen mysteriously absent, they are each accused of a terrible crime. When one of the party dies suddenly they realise they may be harbouring a murderer among their number.

(Words from Hive.com)

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse. Except things don’t go as planned. Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin …

(Words from Hive.com)

Misery by Stephen King
King’s Classic bestseller about a famous novelist held hostage by his Number One Fan.

Misery Chastain is dead. Paul Sheldon has just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery has made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wants to get on to some real writing. That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t hospital.

(Words from Hive.com)

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.

The beautiful one – The golden couple – The volatile one – The new parents – The quiet one – The city boy – The outsider – The victim.
Not an accident – a murder among friends.

(Words from Hive.com)

Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews
Four blonde, beautiful, innocent little secrets, struggling to stay alive…
Chris, Cathy, Cory and Carrie have perfect lives – until a tragic accident changes everything. Now they must wait, hidden from view in their grandparents’ attic, as their mother tries to figure out what to do next. But as days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the siblings endure unspeakable horrors and face the terrifying realisation that they might not be let out of the attic after all.

(Words from Hive.com)

Slade House by David Mitchell
Turn down Slade Alley – narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it.

Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies. A stranger greets you and invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.

(Words from Hive.com)

For each of the above titles I’ve included a link to Hive.com – an online community network supporting independent high street bookshops. Check them out HERE … and happy reading everyone!


Isabel Ashdown and Helen Fields: Waterstones Brighton

An Evening With …

Helen Fields & Isabel Ashdown
Tues 11th February 2020, 7pm
Waterstones, Brighton

I’m delighted to be appearing at Waterstones in Brighton this February, over ten years since my first event there, back when I was introducing my debut novel Glasshopper in 2009.

This time I return with a fellow thriller writer, one whose work I’m a great admirer of: Helen Fields, author of the bestselling DI Callanach series. Helen will be reading from her new novel Perfect Kill and I will be sharing Lake Child, in what promises to be a fabulous evening of book chat and new discoveries!

We hope to meet lots of readers there, new and old – and tickets can be reserved via the Waterstones website HERE.

Exclusive Christmas Short Story from Isabel Ashdown

My exclusive Christmas short story, Norwegian Fireflies, was published in last week’s Sunday Express. If you missed it and fancy a warm wintry tale set in the heart of Norway’s atmospheric forests and fjords, you can read the story here.

Ian Rankin’s In a House of Lies – November Book Giveaway

This month’s Newsletter Prize is a copy of In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin, the iconic number one bestseller. I’m a big Rankin fan so I’m delighted to be sharing this stylish and compelling thriller with you – and if you don’t win, I recommend you add it to your reading list!

Every UK subscriber is automatically entered into the monthly prize draw. Simply sign up to enter by midnight 30th November. GOOD LUCK!

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Instagram Audiobook Giveaway

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, there’s a fabulous audiobook UK giveaway this week – for two CD copies of my latest thriller Lake Child. Simply follow me @isabelashdown_writer and tag a book-loving friend to enter!

More here …

Red Magazine Best Crime and Thriller Novels

“Fiendishly clever”  –
Red Magazine
Best Crime & Thriller Novels this Autumn

I’m over the moon to tell you that Lake Child has been listed in Red Magazine’s Top Ten Best Crime and Thriller Novels this autumn, alongside Ann Cleeves, Katherine Webb, Jessica Fellowes, Stephen Chbosky, Nicci French, Caroline Corcoran, Joanna Jolly, Jenny Blackhurst and Catriona McPherson.

Honoured to be in such great company!

Lake Child is currently on paperback offer at £5.75 over on Amazon UK.



Lake Child is Launched!

Lake Child is officially launched, and thanks to reader and reviewer support, it’s off to a flying start.

Already it’s been listed in Red magazine’s ‘Best Crime & Thriller Novels this Autumn’, and has been spotted in Waterstones, Tesco stores and independent booksellers across the country. Thank you to my ace agent Kate, my publishing heroes at Trapeze and everyone who cheered me on at my hometown launch in Waterstones, Chichester (hosted by the brilliant Ollie) – and to all of you out there buying, reading and sharing the book. Huge gratitude to Tracy Fenton and the Compulsive Readers, who championed a fabulous blog tour of reviews and features. My readers are the ones who really keep me writing, so big love to you! And please do keep the reviews coming in on Amazon – ratings really do help to spread the word for new books.

Here are just a few pics from the first couple of weeks since release:


Lake Child – Read the First Three Chapters Now!

Out 19th Sept 2019

To mark the one month countdown to LAKE CHILD, Trapeze & Orion Publishing have released the first three chapters on the Isabel Ashdown Books Facebook Page!

Start reading now …

I’m in the passenger seat of a stranger’s truck, on the snowy road between the forest and town, when the fox appears on the path ahead, her breath rising in the dark night, the white of her fur merging with the snow. Feet planted, eyes fixed; I know her. Beside me, the driver is a hazy figure, as indistinct as the fox is clear, a static fuzz, blurring into the snowstorm that sprays vicious slants of ice against the windscreen. There’s a slow-motion quality about the way in which the vehicle moves along the road, and I’m wondering if I’m dreaming, when, with a distant shriek of tyres, we come to an abrupt halt and all but the fox disappears from the landscape. I lean in, pressing close to the windscreen, my gaze locked with that of the animal, some ancient communication connecting us in thought … READ MORE

Writing Workshop with Isabel Ashdown, Isle of Wight

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be hosting a creative writing workshop in conjunction with Vaguely Sunny this autumn, in Sandown on the Isle of Wight, a place close to my heart. As many of my readers know, the island plays a strong role in several of my novels, and it continues to be a source of inspiration and welcome retreat.

This short workshop is for writers of any level – just come prepared to write, relax, join in and enjoy!

Spaces are limited, so if you like the look of it, book soon via Vic King on 01983 730930.

More details, including content, travel info and directions below: