I can’t remember a month stuffed quite so full with brilliant books. Let’s kick off in the year 1893 when widowhood means a new lease of life for Cora in Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent. Devotion by Louisa Young looks at love of all kind in the lead up to the Second World War. The Muse by Jessie Burton – author of The Miniaturist – is a tale of art and secrets that moves between Spain in the thirties and London in the sixties.
The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson takes Patricia Highsmith as a character and reimagines her stay in an English village. Still in the late sixties, Black Water by Louise Doughty is a story of shame and redemption, and The Girls by Emma Cline illuminates the darker side of infatuation under the glare of the Californian sun.
Time for a bit of a laugh now, as we try life in a Leicestershire nursing home courtesy of Nina Stibbe’s Paradise Lodge and then on to fall in love with the nine-year-old eponymous hero of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon.
An Invincible Summer by Alice Adams shows us four friends over two decades. Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and imprisoned in Libya. The Return is the story of Matar’s return to his homeland after the fall of Qaddafi and his quest to find out the fate of his father.