The dark nights are drawing in so time to curl up with one of these new reads as selected by Sarra Manning.
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
Melmoth, Serpent’s Tail, £16.99, out October 2nd
In modern day Prague, we meet Helen Franklin, a translator, forcing herself to live a pinched, miserable existence devoid of all pleasure as penance for some unknown crimes. When she hears about the legend of Melmoth, in exile for centuries, as she seeks out the wicked to join her in her lonely damnation, Helen thinks it’s superstitious nonsense, until sinister events make her change her mind. In all honesty much as Melmoth fascinated me, it also scared the b’Jaysus out of me but I am a huge scaredy cat.
This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillipps
This Will Only Hurt A Little, Sphere, £16.99, out October 18th
From Scottsdale, Arizona to Hollywood and from awkward teen to award-winning actress, Busy Phillipps’s frank and funny memoir highlights why she’s our Instagram crush bar none.
XX by Angela Chadwick
XX, Dialogue Books, £14.99, out October 4th
Rosie and Jules are thrilled to be chosen as the first recipients of ovum to ovum technology to conceive a daughter. But is this a sinister plot to do away with men altogether and can their relationship survive the media onslaught? A pacy, engrossing dystopian thriller.
A Keeper by Graham Norton
A Keeper, Hodder & Stoughton, £20, out October 4th
A surprisingly tender novel, full of gentle humour, from Graham Norton (yes! Who knew?) about a middle-aged woman, Elizabeth, returning to Ireland after her mother’s death. When she finds a secret cache of letters, she also discovers secrets that are better kept hidden.
A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult
A Spark Of Light, Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99, out October 30th)
An apposite and nuanced novel from the best-selling author of My Sister’s Keeper. A gunman takes the staff and clients hostage at a US women’s reproductive health centre, which has been barricaded daily by anti abortion protestors. Getting under the skin and into the heads of the gunman, the negotiator, the clinic staff and the women trapped inside that day, Picoult writes about an emotive, controversial issue with unflinching precision.
The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
The Bus on Thursday, Fleet, £14.99, out October 18th
This is one of the strangest books I’ve read in a long, long time. I loved Barrett’s first novel, Rush Oh!, a beautifully quirky story about the Australian whaling industry in the early part of the 20thcentury, but The Bus On Thursday is on another planet. After recovering from breast cancer, Eleanor escapes her demons by fleeing to the small rural town of Talbingo to replace the primary school teacher who just upped and left. And that’s where things become weird because instead of escaping her demons, it seems as if she might have been taken over by one.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nine Perfect Strangers, Penguin, £18.99, out October 4th
From the best-selling author of Big Little Lies,comes this suspenseful, darkly funny story about nine strangers on a secluded retreat so they can transform their lives. But as well as the secrets they’re keeping from each other, there’s also a sinister secret about the retreat itself. What a pity they’ve had to surrender all their electronic devices.
One Day In December by Josie Silver
One Day In December, Penguin, £7.99, out October 18th
One December evening as she travels home from work Laurie locks eyes with a man waiting at the bus stop and is convinced they’re meant to be together. But when their paths finally cross again, a year later, Jack is going out with Laurie’s best friend, Sarah. Over the next ten years, they fall in and out of love with other people and experience the best and worst of times, but will they ever get together? A ticks-all-the-boxes romcom for fans of Jojo Moyes and David Nicholls.
The House On Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell
The House On Vesper Sands, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £14.99, out October 18th
A rollocking romp through the dark alleys and gaslit streets of Victorian London. Young women are in peril and Gideon Bliss joins forces with bicycle-riding, gossip columnist Olivia Hillingdon to save his old flame Angie Tatton from death. Eventually they find the answers they seek in the mysterious house on Vesper Sands. Spine-tinglingly spooky with a touch of the Dickens and also properly funny, this is the perfect Halloween read.
An Impossible Marriage by Pamela Hansford Johnson
An Impossible Marriage, Hodder, £8.99, out October 4th
A once well-regarded novelist, Pamela Handford Johnson has fallen out of her favour since her death in 1981 but some of her best novels have now been beautifully reissued and An Impossible Marriageis the pick of the bunch. Set between the wars, Christie, a rather naïve young girl is drawn into a relationship with the much older and sophisticated Ned. Despite his manipulative, controlling ways, Christie marries Ned but must learn to stand up for herself. Definitely one for fans of Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Jane Howard.