It is that time of the month - the time when we put out the top ten most appreciated titles that come out in September. Leading the way this month is an adult debut novel from Gayle Forman, Leave Me.
Foreman has been a journalist and a young adult novelist but this is her first novel for adults and it is a good one. Maribeth Klein is a harried working mother who doesn't even realize when she has had a heart attack. Her family is far from supportive and her recovery seems to be more of an inconvenience than a process. Maribeth then packs her suitcase and leaves her 4 year old twins; husband and job behind. Wonderful character studies with a narrator that you support even if you don't like her.
The rest in no particular order:
Jenny Colgan's The Bookshop on the Corner made the list. Colgan writes about women and her character studies are amusing and come across as real. This story has to do with a librarian - so of course librarians are going to love it. Nina Redmond's job as a librarian disappeared so she bought a van and converted it into a type of bookmobile and travels from place to place to put the perfect book into people's hands. The romance of the road, the romance of good books and just plain romance.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett made the list. Patchett writes character driven, bittersweet fiction and this is certainly one of those. It follows 5 decades in 2 families - the Cousins and the Keatings. Bert Cousins leaves his wife with 4 children for Beverly Keating and Beverly with two children of her own, leaves her husband. It is the story of the families and most particularly the children. Said to be equal measure of humor and heartbreak.
Dinah Jefferies has The Tea Planter's Wife on the list. Jefferies is a British historical fiction author and has not been widely published in the US. Her work is atmospheric or as I like to say has a great sense of place. Here the place is Ceylon. 19 year old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich widower and she is anxious to start her life on a tea plantation in Ceylon. When she arrives, she finds the plantation workers resentful, the neighbors unfriendly and then she discovers a dusty trunk and realizes her husband has secrets.
Sharon Bolton's Daisy in Chains which I just talked about in my last blog made the list. In case you forgot....Hamish Wolfe is handsome and charismatic and a convicted serial killer. Maggie Rose is a true crime writer and a lawyer who has been able to get convicted killer out of prison. Hamish is trying to use his charms to win Maggie's help. How bad is he?????
Thomas Mullen has Darktown on the list. Mullen tends to write historical thrillers. He has covered the Great Depression and the 1918 flu epidemic. Now, he covers the integration of the Atlanta Police Force in 1948. When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up fatally beaten, only 2 black cops seem to car, Boggs and Smith. They fight all sides in order to find her killer.
The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman is on the list. Cogman writes fantasy or steampunk fiction. This is the second in a series which started with The Invisible Library. People who work in libraries generally like titles that feature librarians as this series does. The series takes place in an alternate version of Victorian London where the 'hero' is Irene, a Librarian/spy who collects fiction for the Library. Here here partner, Kai - a dragon, is kidnapped and Irene must rescue him or face the collapse of civilization.
Now comes my favorite title of the month - not necessarily favorite book but the title - well - you'll see. Thrice The Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley, the 8th in the Flavia de Luce series, is on the list. In this work, Flavia is expelled and upon sailing home finds her father in the hospital and her sisters looming over her. When she is sent on an errand and finds a dead body, she is overjoyed with the thought of a case to investigate.
Blood At The Root by Patrick Phillips is the only nonfiction work on the list this month. Phillips digs into the history of the racial cleansing in 1912 of Forsyth County, Georgia. 3 young African American laborers were accused of raping and murdering a white girl. The violence that erupted had all three hanged and over 1,000 black citizens chased out of the county. Phillips grew up in Forsyth County and he is a poet and a professor. He manages to cover violence in a vivid and unforgettable way.
Lastly, Kate Saunders has The Secrets of Wishtide on the list. Saunders writes historical mysteries with strong female characters and this is certainly bound to be one. In probably the start of a series, we are introduced to Laetitia Rodd, a widow who works as an investigator in 1850's London. She is asked to find out the history of a prospective bride but the more she looks, the more secrets she finds.
OK - there are the LibraryReads for the month of September. Hope one of them tempts you.