Must-Reads: The Fiction Titles To Curl Up With This Autumn

As we embrace autumn, we’re looking for new books to usher in the new season, and what’s better than a fiction story you can get lost in? From gripping thrillers you won’t want to put down to stories steeped in Greek mythology, these are the titles worth keeping on your bedside table this October and beyond.

Our Missing Hearts – Celeste Ng

From the bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere comes a moving story about the unbreakable bond between a mother and child in a society controlled by fear.

Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a talented linguist now relegated to shelving books in a library. In the last decade their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve ‘American culture’ in the wake of mass economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are relocating children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have removed books seen as unpatriotic – including the work of Bird’s mother; a Chinese American poet who left when he was nine.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows not to ask. Yet when he receives a mysterious letter with a cryptic drawing in, he begins a quest to find her. His journey will take him into an underground resistance network of librarians, into the lives of children who have been taken, and finally to New York, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of change.

Exploring the power – and limitations – of art in bringing about change, what being a good parent really means, and how any of us can retain our humanity in a society dominated by fear, this feels like an old story made new.

The Girls Who Disappeared – Claire Douglas

Three girls are missing…

Twenty years ago, Olivia Rutherford was driving three friends home when a figure in the road caused her to swerve and crash. Regaining consciousness, she finds herself alone in the car – her friends have vanished.

Now, journalist Jenna Halliday visits the close-knit community of Stafferbury to persuade Olivia to talk and solve the mystery of the girls’ disappearance, however Olivia won’t speak.

As the story evolves, we start to wonder what happened, whether Olivia is hiding something and how many secrets one small town can truly hide. Moody, menacing and gothic, this is the atmospheric thriller that will keep you guessing.

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

Medusa is the only mortal in a family of gods. Growing up with her sisters, she quickly realizes that she is the only one who gets older, experiences change, feels weakness.

When, in Athene’s temple, desire pushes Poseidon to commit the unforgivable, Medusa’s mortal life is changed forever. Athene, furious at the sacrilege committed, directs her revenge on Medusa. The punishment is that she is turned into a Gorgon with sharp teeth, snakes for hair, and a gaze that turns living creatures to stone. Appalled by her own reflection, Medusa can no longer look upon anything without destroying it and condemns herself to a life of solitude in the shadows.

From the author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora’s Jar comes a gripping feminist exploration of Greek mythology. Here, the story of Medusa is transformed into a powerful meditation on mortality, betrayal and the cruel limits of beauty.

This is the story of how a young woman became a monster. And how she was never really a monster at all.

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman

Never before available in hardback, this is a luxury edition of one of the greatest love stories of our time – perfect for readers who were captured by the story of Elio and Oliver the first time around.

Over the course of a summer, a powerful romance grows between Elio, an adolescent boy, and Oliver, his parents’ guest. During hot, restless weeks, currents of obsession and fascination take over, and each character is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again in life: complete intimacy.

The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters

Set in Dorset, 1642, when a civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, communities across England are riven by different allegiances and a rare few choose neutrality.

One such person is Jayne Swift, a physician from a Royalist family, who offers her services to both sides in the conflict. Through her dedication to treating the sick and wounded, regardless of belief, Jayne becomes a witness to the brutality and devastating effects of war. Meanwhile, she finds herself with an unexpected companion – a man named William Harrier – who, on the other side to her, embraces civil war as a means to an end. His past is a mystery and his future uncertain.

The Swift and the Harrier is a must-read journey of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with the most distinctive heroine at its heart.

Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie

From the international bestselling author of Home Fire, winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, comes a new novel of friendship, identity and the mystery of other people.

Maryam and Zahra are fourteen and have always been best friends, despite their different backgrounds. Maryam takes for granted that she will stay in Karachi and inherit the family business; while Zahra keeps her desires secret, and dreams of travelling abroad.

In 1988, anything seemed possible for the girls; and for Pakistan, emerging from the darkness of dictatorship into a new future under another young woman, Benazir Bhutto. However, an impulsive decision during a party celebrating the return of democracy, brings the girls’ childhoods to a sudden end. This moment will shape their futures in ways they cannot imagine.

Three decades later, in London, Zahra and Maryam are still best friends despite their different lives. Yet when unwelcome ghosts from their past arise, both women find themselves driven to act in ways that will test their bond beyond recognition.

Queen high – C.J.Carey

A thrilling dystopian fiction story from the author of Widowland, this post-war narrative is perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale.

It’s June, 1955, and the Leader has been dead for two years. His assassination, on British soil, provoked violence and intensified the repression of British citizens, especially women. Now, more than ever, the Protectorate is a place of surveillance and isolation.

Every day Rose Ransom marvels that she’s even alive. Her role in the Leader’s death has been miraculously overlooked and she still works at the Culture Ministry, where she is assigned to work on the outlawed subject of Poetry; a form of writing that transmits subversive meanings, emotions and signals that cannot be controlled. All Poetry has been banned and Rose is appointed as a ‘Poet Hunter’.

This journey has so many references to the current political climate it’ll really hit home, creating a detailed and convincing alternative universe and a brave heroine you can’t help but care about.

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