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September reads: The best new books you won’t be able to put down this month

September reads: The best new books you won’t be able to put down this month

It feels like just yesterday that we were stepping into summer and now here we are, already tumbling into autumn. We might be waving goodbye to sunny days but September is a bumper month for books, bringing with it the latest releases from the likes of Ruth Jones, Emma Cooper and Claire North, as well as exciting debuts from Kate Dylan and Judy I. Lin. Here’s a selection of books to kick off your autumn TBR list.

It Was Always You by Emma Cooper

When it comes to Emma Cooper’s novels, the one thing you can guarantee is a book that will tug at the heartstrings. It Was Always You begins with teenagers Ella, Will and Cole on the last night in October 1999 when the clocks went back. Twenty-three years later, Ella’s marriage to Will is in trouble and Cole is spiralling out of control. When she opens a birthday gift from her children, she’s reminded of a memory that forces her to reassess her life and the people in it. Alternating between the past and the present, this is an emotional story filled with love, heartache and flawed characters you can really invest in. (1 Sept, Headline)

The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields

The latest novel by Helen Fields transports readers to the sea-battered Isle of Mull, off the coast of Scotland, where private investigator Sadie Levesque takes on a case involving a missing girl. But when she finds the young girl’s body in a cliffside cave, a seaweed crown carefully arranged on her head, Sadie’s mission to find the killer grows more intense and even more dangerous. Because what if the killer isn’t finished yet? Fields’ criminal knowledge lends the story a sense of realism that adds to the eeriness of the setting and the haunting crime at its heart. A truly atmospheric and chilling standalone mystery. (1 Sept, Avon)

Mindwalker by Kate Dylan

Mindwalker follows eighteen-year-old Sil Sarrah, an operative of the Syntex corporation, who helps rescue field agents by commandeering their minds from afar and leading them to safety. But when a mission goes wrong, Sil is forced to flee the company she calls her home. Desperate to win back her employer’s trust, and with the tech grafted to her brain failing, she infiltrates an activist faction trying to bring Syntex down. But who can Sil really trust? Kate Dylan’s thrillingly fast-paced, futuristic and original sci-fi debut might fall into the YA category, but it holds plenty of appeal for just about anyone who loves action-packed Marvel-esque plots, quick-witted banter and intriguing characters with murky morals. (1 Sept, Hodder & Stoughton)

The House on Rockaway Beach by Emma Burstall

Set against the backdrop of Rockaway Beach, New York, Emma Burstall’s new novel is a tale of family secrets, summer romance and, as the author explains in her recent guest post, sibling rivalry. When sisters Sophie and Celia inherit their grandmother’s quirky old house on the urban beach a stone’s throw from Manhattan, they’re brought back together for the first time in years. Sophie wants to keep the house, whilst Celia wants to sell it. And then Sophie makes a chance discovery that will change everything… Exploring the perspectives of these two very different sisters, this is both an engaging family saga and a slice of escapist fiction. (1 Sept, Head of Zeus)

A Magic Steeped In Poison by Judy I. Lin

Who knew that tea brewing could be so enchanting? Combining Chinese mythology, vivid world building, a magical tournament, and the ancient art of tea making, Judy I. Lin’s debut is a slow-burning fantasy story that infuses the senses. At the very heart of the novel is Ning – who enters a competition to be crowned the greatest shennong-shi-master in the Kingdom. The winner will receive a favour from the princess, which Ning hopes to use to save her sister’s life. But in a world of court politics and backstabbing competitors, she might just need to save her own life too. An ideal read for fans of Elizabeth Lim. (6 Sept, Titan Books)

Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean

Thirty-five year old Mika Suzuki’s life is a complete mess. So when she receives a phone call from sixteen-year-old Penny – the child she gave up for adoption when Mika was just a teenager herself – she fabricates a fake life that isn’t quite so tragic. But the more she lies, the more Mika risks losing her daughter for a second time. Having already made a name for herself with her YA romance books Tokyo Ever After and Tokyo Dreaming, this is Emiko Jean’s first foray in adult fiction – and it’s just as entertaining, funny and uplifting. Exploring identity, motherhood and second chances, it’s one of the most life-affirming books to come out of 2022. (8 Sept, Michael Joseph)

Ithaca by Claire North

The last few years have seen a resurgence in reimaginings of Greek mythology and retellings of fabled figures. The latest of these is Claire North’s Ithaca, which tells the story of Penelope, famed wife of Odysseus, as she maintains the delicate balance of power needed for her kingdom to survive in a world ruled by ruthless men. From The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August to The End of the Day, North’s novels are always complex and intricately weaved, and Ithaca is no exception. Narrated by Hera, it immerses you in Penelope’s story and the wider tales of other women, both goddesses and slaves, as well as Penelope’s son and her suitors. This is a different direction for North but if you enjoyed her previous books, this fascinating and multi-layered novel won’t disappoint. (8 Sept, Orbit Books)

Love Untold by Ruth Jones

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The third novel from actor and writer Ruth Jones centres around four generations of women in one family. Grace is approaching ninety but instead of a big celebration, all she wants is to mend the rift between her daughter, Alys, and her granddaughter, Elin, who haven’t spoken for years. Then there’s teenager Beca, who’s too busy navigating young love and life to worry about her fractured family. This is a tale of complicated relationships and forgiveness – but more than anything it’s a wise and warm-hearted story about people finding their way back to each other. (29 Sept, Bantam Press)

If that’s not enough to keep you reading all the way through September, here are three more books that we loved from August too:

Is This Love? C. E. Riley

J’s wife has left and J is trying to understand why. How does passion turn into pain? How does love just disappear? As J attempts to figure out where it all went wrong, and both parties blame the other, uncomfortable truths about life and love come to light. The gender of the protagonist in C. E. Riley’s Is This Love? is never revealed, allowing readers to be free from any preconceived ideas, prejudices and expectations that might make them judge the book’s narrator. It’s a raw and darkly honest look at the complications of a relationship and the disintegration of a marriage. (4 Aug, Serpent’s Tail)

Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

If there’s one book that everyone seemed to be talking about in August it was Isaac and the Egg – and with good reason too. Bobby Palmer’s debut is about a man at breaking point who happens upon something that changes everything. It’s very much a story about grief and loss and loneliness, but it’s also a book with a huge amount of hope and heart too. Wonderfully strange and surprisingly funny, it’s a beautifully written tale that will stay with you for a long time. (18 Aug, Headline)

The Hollow Sea by Anne Kirby

When she realises that she may never become a mother, Scottie flees to the remote Hebridean archipelago of St Hia, where myths about a witch named Thordis abound. Scottie is drawn to the stories and she can’t resist the mystery surrounding the woman who was made into an outcast. But how will unravelling the tales of the past affect Scottie’s future? Inspired by mythical sea stories, The Hollow Sea is an incredibly atmospheric and multifaceted novel, woven with elements of folklore and divided between different characters’ narratives that converge and intertwine. (18 Aug, Michael Joseph)

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