20 books you won't be able to put down this October
Looking for something new to read?
For the last few days, there's been a definite chill in the air — and, really, we couldn't be happier about it: it's the perfect time of year to curl up with a hot drink and a brilliant book.
Thankfully, there have been some amazing titles hitting the shelves (both physical and digital) for the last few weeks — and October is no exception.
From royally good super sleuths to cosy romantic reads; gripping whodunnits to forgotten folktales, here are 20 books you won't be able to put down this October.
Hag: Forgotten Folktales Retold by Eimear McBride, Liv Little, Natasha Carthew, Emma Glass, Daisy Johnson, Irenosen Okojie, Kirsty Logan, Mahsuda Snaith, Carolyne Larrington, Naomi Booth and Imogen Hermes Gowar
Here are sisters fighting for the love of the same woman, a pregnant archaeologist unearthing impossible bones and lost children following you home. A panther runs through the forests of England and pixies prey upon violent men.
From the islands of Scotland to the coast of Cornwall, the mountains of Galway to the depths of the Fens, these forgotten folktales howl, cackle and sing their way into the 21st century, wildly reimagined by some of the most exciting women writing in Britain and Ireland today.
People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield
London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.
Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time her husband stays out late, another victim is found dead. Is it coincidence? Or is he the man they call Jack the Ripper?
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
It's the most wonderful time of the year...but not for Maelyn Jones. She's living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world--the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake...she's on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop--and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella
Ava is sick of online dating. She's always trusted her own instincts over an algorithm, anyway, and she wants a break from it all. So when she signs up to a semi-silent, anonymous writing retreat in glorious Italy, love is the last thing on her mind.Until she meets a handsome stranger. . . All she knows is that he's funny, he's kind and - she soon learns - he's great in bed. He's equally smitten, and after a whirlwind, intoxicating affair, they pledge their love without even knowing each other's real names.
But when they return home, reality hits. They're both driven mad by each other's weird quirks and annoying habits, from his eccentric, naked-sauna-loving family to her terribly behaved, shirt-shredding dog. As disaster follows disaster, it seems that while they love each other, they just can't love each other's lives. Can they overcome their differences to find one life, together?
The Windsor Knot by S.J. Bennett
The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck. When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they are looking in the wrong place.
For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life ever since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.With her household's happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.
A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
It's 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world's greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is facing trial and execution for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent, while also on board are Sara Wessel, a noble woman with a secret, and her husband, the governor general of Batavia.But no sooner is their ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A strange symbol appears on the sail. A dead leper stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered in the night.
And then the passengers hear a terrible voice whispering to them in the darkness, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft. Third: an impossible murder. Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes? With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent and Sara can solve a mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board…
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Natsuki isn't like the other girls. Together with her cousin Yuu, she spends her summers in the wild Nagano mountains, hoping a spaceship will take her home. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the cousins for ever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what.
Now, Natsuki is grown. She lives quietly in an asexual marriage, pretending to be normal, and hiding the horrors of her childhood from her family and friends. But dark shadows from Natsuki's past are pursuing her. Fleeing the suburbs for the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki prepares herself for a reunion with Yuu. Will he still remember their promise? And will he help her keep it?
Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong by Elizabeth Day
In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, and distils them into seven principles of failure.
Practical, reassuring and inspirational, these principles offer a guide through life’s rough patches. From failed exams to romantic break-ups, from career setbacks to confidence crises, from navigating anxiety to surviving loss, Failosophy recognises, and celebrates, the fact that failure connects us all. It is what makes us human.
Quite by Claudia Winkleman
Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.In her first book, Claudia invites us all into her world. She shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s.
This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life.
Secrets in the Snow by Emma Heatherington
As the winter snow falls on the small Irish village of Ballybray, Roisin O’Connor and her young son, Ben, are saying goodbye to their beloved neighbour Mabel Murphy. Mabel lived a bold and colourful life, but the arrival of her brooding nephew, ‘blow-in’ Aidan Murphy, just makes life more complicated for Roisin.
However, in one final act of love, a message arrives from Mabel that changes everything. And as winter turns to spring and the cold snow melts, the secrets both Roisin and Aidan are hiding must be revealed at last…
A Light that Never Goes Out by Keelin Shanley
When journalist Keelin Shanley passed away in February aged 51, it was hard to grasp that someone so filled with life was gone. But a light so bright never really goes out, especially since, in her last few months, Keelin wrote a fantastic record of her life.
Charting the twists and turns of both a remarkable career as an investigative journalist and a lengthy battle with cancer, in A Light That Never Goes Out Keelin reveals with real honesty what it’s like to keep living your life and career – right up to becoming a co-anchor of RTÉ’s Six One News – while dealing with the challenges of cancer treatment.
Written with the help of Alison Walsh and completed posthumously by Keelin’s husband Conor Ferguson,A Light That Never Goes Out is a remarkable story of courage and resilience and a memorable reflection on how to live well, no matter what you’re facing.
The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale
London, 1938. Alma Fielding, an ordinary young woman, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home. Nandor Fodor - a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research - begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss - and the foreshadowing of a nation's worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor's obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.
With rigour, daring and insight, Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor's enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.
Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
After uprooting her life, Irene Steele has just settled in at the villa on St. John where her husband Russ had been living a double life. But a visit from the FBI shakes her foundations, and Irene once again learns just how little she knew about the man she loved. Irene and her sons try to get on with setting up their new lives while evidence mounts that the helicopter crash that killed Russ may not have been an accident.
Meanwhile, the island watches this drama unfold - including the driver of a Jeep with tinted windows who seems to be shadowing the Steele family. As a storm gathers strength in the Atlantic, surprises are in store for the Steeles: help from a mysterious source, and a new beginning in the paradise that has become their home. At last all will be revealed about the secrets and lies that brought Irene and her sons to St. John - and the truth that transformed them all.
The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths
The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka's account of Peggy Smith's death. But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her...And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant' who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to...And when clearing out Peggy's flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure...Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.
A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it's not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days. Rebus fears the worst - and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect. He wasn't the best father - the job always came first - but now his daughter needs him more than ever.
But is he going as a father or a detective? As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast - and a small town with big secrets - he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn't want to find…
It's That Time of Year by Roisin Meaney
It's the weekend before Christmas. Julia, Eddie and Steph, strangers to each other, are making separate journeys to Ireland to attend the wedding of Annie, the woman who fostered each of them in their childhoods, and to spend the weekend in the house that gave them refuge when they needed it.
All three carry secrets and as the wedding celebrations get underway, plans go astray and truths come to light. When Annie finally says 'I do', Julia, Eddie and Steph make some discoveries about themselves - but will the guests of the wedding party get their happy-ever-after in time for Christmas day?
The Perfect Sister by Zoe Miller
Once inseparable, years of resentment and jealousy have driven Alice and Holly apart. But, though they barely speak these days, Alice knows her sister is hiding something. When she hears that a discovery at a soon-to-be-demolished apartment building has led police to re-open an 'accidental death' case, Alice thinks nothing of it. Until someone knocks at her door, with questions about Holly... Alice doesn't believe her sister is capable of involvement in anything so sinister.
But when she tries to contact Holly, she can't be reached... Forced to dig through the past in order to uncover the truth, Alice also starts to uncover years of Holly's secrets - and to doubt her innocence. And as the evidence mounts up, she has a choice to make: does she want to help her sister clear her name, even if Alice will end up paying the price?
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully. But when the plane she's on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago - when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved.
Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to - but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain. As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she's never truly asked: What does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us?
Home Stretch by Graham Norton
It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed. The live of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors.
But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home - of sorts - for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life. But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past.