Summer is drawing to a close, which, let’s be honest, never feels great. But if you’re anything like us, your Autumn nights are made a bit easier by spending the evenings with an excellent book. We’ve laid out our September books of the month here across fiction, crime, children’s and non-fiction. Each one of them grabbed our review team and left a deep and lasting impression. So get reading!
Fiction book of the month
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction 2022 and last year’s Booker Prize, this is an historical novel of rare power. It will appeal particularly to anyone who loved Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.
From the days of giant passenger ships sliding past Arctic icebergs, to the daring pilots of WWII, to present-day Hollywood and its malcontents, at the core of this story is the indomitable Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie who are twice abandoned by their parents. Marian and Jamie grow up roaming Montana forests, more comfortable with landscape than with people.
When a pair of aerobats take their exhilarating show to a nearby airfield, Marian’s life is changed forever. Watching them roll, dive, and loop in their mini plane, she can think of nothing else but flying. As she grows into a woman, she sacrifices everything to command the breathtaking sense of freedom, of utter control over her own fate, that she feels when in the air. She becomes one of the most fearless pilots of her time, and in 1949 she sets out to do what no one has done before: fly the Great Circle around the earth, north to south around the poles. Shortly before completing the journey, her plane disappears, lost to history.
In 2015, Hadley Baxter, former child star and poster girl of the blockbuster Archangel franchise, has just been fired for cheating on her on-screen boyfriend. Struggling to escape the fury of the fans, she grasps at an offer for the comeback role of a lifetime: to play the famed female pilot Marian Graves in a biopic. From the first pages of the script, she feels an instant connection with Marian, a woman who refused to be bound by gravity or any of the other strictures of her time. After filming is complete, her bond grows stronger as she begins to question whether the Great Marian Graves really did die at all. Get your copy here…
Having recently exploded on BookTok, British-Cypriot author Alex Michaelides is gaining a wide following, but anyone who read his 2019 debut The Silent Patient will already know that this is thriller writer of immense skill and style.
St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.
For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder. As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.
Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.
A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…
The Maidens is a story of love, and of grief – of what makes us who we are, and what makes us kill. Get your copy here at LitVox…
This is a stunning middle-grade story, a perfect blend of modern, quirky style and classic mystery themes in children’s fiction.
When twelve-year-old Lily moves to the sleepy seaside town of Edge, she’s sure that nothing exciting is ever going to happen to her again. But when she stumbles upon a secret museum hidden in the middle of town, she realises that there might be more to her new home than meets the eye. The Museum of Emily is filled with the belongings of one seemingly ordinary girl – a girl who, many years ago, disappeared from the town without a trace.
With the help of her new friends Sam and Jay, Lily is determined to solve the mystery and find out who Emily was, why she disappeared and who has created the strange, hidden museum.
With a one-of-a-kind mystery, a brilliant trio of protagonists, and an action-filled story, Looking for Emily is the unmissable middle grade debut of 2022.
Non-Fiction book of the month
Things are moving too fast and unfolding too terribly in Ukraine to make much sense of the situation day-to-day. No doubt we’ll soon have published books from humane and incisive journalists that will make plain the horror of Putin’s war there.
For now though, it’s important that anyone with an interest in current affairs understands the historical, political and cultural realities of life in modern Ukraine.
To that end, Anna Reid’s Borderland is an indispensible book. Blending a journalistic outlook with deep historical analysis, Reid’s prose is clear and precise, and eminently readable.
Speaking to pro-democracy activists and pro-Russia militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust and Stalin’s famine, Anna Reid combines history and travel-writing to unpick the past and present of this bloody and complex borderland.
In an age of rampant mis-information and conjecture in the media, well-researched and unbiased reporting like Reid’s in an immeasurably valubale thing. Pick up your copy of this excellent work of non-fiction from LitVox today.
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