These are the best books to read this month

best books september
The 10 best books to read nowGood Housekeeping

Another jam-packed month of books, including the first historical novel from Zadie Smith and a gripping spy thriller. Whether you want a page-turning thriller, a gripping historical novel or a feel-good read, we've got some great choices out this month.

North Woods by Daniel Mason

This stunning novel spans 400 years and many lives, all tied together by a house in the New England woods. It begins with a couple on the run, fleeing a Puritan community before the girl is forced into an arranged marriage. Over the centuries, we meet a haunted horticulturist, jealous twins and an amateur detective investigating a mass murder, set against some beautiful writing on nature.

Swimming For Beginners by Nicola Gill

Loretta has her life all planned out – challenging job, engaged to a nice but dull man – and it definitely doesn’t include children. Then, an unexpected tragedy at an airport throws six-year-old Phoebe, complete with glitter fairy wings, into her life and upends it completely. The perfect mix of funny, poignant and heartwarming.

The Stargazers by Harriet Evans

As violinist Sarah tries to start a life with her new husband, Daniel, in 1970s bohemian London, memories of her difficult childhood continue to torment her. It’s only when she returns to crumbling Fane House, where she grew up, that she can move on. A gripping, atmospheric, multi-layered epic to get lost in.

The Hidden Years by Rachel Hore

A house called Silverwood is at the heart of this gorgeous dual-timeline novel that jumps between the Swinging Sixties and the Second World War. When Belle ditches university to live in a commune in Cornwall with new boyfriend Gray, she uncovers a mysterious connection to a photo of herself as a baby.

The Fraud by Zadie Smith

The White Teeth author’s first historical novel centres on a real legal case that divided Victorian England, about a man who claimed he was the long-presumed-dead heir to a grand house. Smith has created some fantastically complex characters, most notably in feisty Eliza Touchet, a housekeeper who becomes captivated with the trial.

Evil Eye by Etaf Rum

This powerful novel gave me a real insight into what it is like to be a woman caught between two cultures – in this case, Palestinian and American. Raised in a conservative and volatile household, Yara believes marriage will give her the freedom she craves, yet when she’s settled with two daughters of her own, she finds herself more confused about what she wants.

A Bird In Winter by Louise Doughty

While Doughty’s thriller Apple Tree Yard was a nail-biting courtroom drama, this is more introspective – but just as engaging. When intelligence officer Heather realises she’s likely to be implicated in internal wrongdoings, she goes on the run, but who and what is she fleeing from?

In Bloom by Eva Verde

I loved Verde’s debut, Lives Like Mine, and this is just as raw and insightful. Delph and her daughter Roche have been a tight-knit unit since Roche’s dad died when she was a baby. But when they fall out and Roche chooses to live with Delph’s estranged mother instead, it makes Delph question her choices.

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright

The Book Prize winner returns with a thoughtful novel about three generations of women living in the shadow of fictional Irish poet Phil McDaragh, an abusive womaniser. It explores how trauma is passed from mother to daughter, with sublime writing and beautiful poetry.

The Secret Hours by Mick Herron

This standalone spy thriller from the author of the Jackson Lamb series starts with a heart-pounding chase sequence. Even after the action slows down, it’s a fascinating insight into the machinations of the secret service and the witty writing lifts it above the average thriller.

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