Can you believe September is over, and that we’re fully immersed in fall? Time has become something that we can no longer keep track of in terms of hours and minutes, so instead, we’re monitoring time by the books we read. This month, we devoured a lot, and it seems so did you! Here are the books we recommended, that readers like you loved the most this month.
The 10 Most Popular Books That Captured Our Hearts This September
THE WORLD THAT WE KNEW is a harrowing novel of sacrifice, resilience, and love. Set in 1941 Berlin, Hanni Kohn makes the difficult decision to send her 12-year-old daughter Lea away to protect her from the Nazi invasion. Before her daughter departs, Hanni asks Ettie, the daughter of a renowned rabbi, for help. Ettie creates a mystical golem who is meant to protect Lea on her journey through France to find safety. Meanwhile, Ettie fights for her own survival as the world around her is falling apart.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
On the brink of World War II, with the Nazis tightening their grip on Berlin, a mother’s act of courage and love offers her daughter a chance of survival.
“[A] hymn to the power of resistance, perseverance, and enduring love in dark times…gravely beautiful…Hoffman the storyteller continues to dazzle.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
At the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. Her desperation leads her to Ettie, the daughter of a rabbi whose years spent eavesdropping on her father enables her to create a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Hanni’s daughter, Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never-ending.
Despite the promise he made to his mother years ago to never return to his hometown, writer Yoel Blum begrudgingly returns to Amsterdam to promote his new book. While visiting the Jewish Historical Museum, Yoel is shocked to see his parents holding an unknown infant in old film footage. In trying to uncover their past, Yoel learns about his parents’ experience with underground networks, and the pain that has unknowingly defined his past.
“Elon powerfully evokes the obscurity of the past and its hold on the present as we stumble through revelation after revelation with Yoel. As we accompany him on his journey…we share in his loss, surprise, and grief, right up to the novel’s shocking conclusion.” —The New York Times Book Review
In the tradition of The Invisible Bridge and The Weight of Ink, “a vibrant, page-turning family mystery” (Jennifer Cody Epstein, author of Wunderland) about a writer who discovers the truth about his mother’s wartime years in Amsterdam, unearthing a shocking secret that becomes the subject of his magnum opus.
Renowned author Yoel Blum reluctantly agrees to visit his birthplace of Amsterdam to promote his books, despite promising his late mother that he would never return to that city. While touring the Jewish Historical Museum with his wife, Yoel stumbles upon footage portraying prewar Dutch Jewry and is astonished to see the youthful face of his beloved mother staring back at him, posing with his father, his older sister…and an infant he doesn’t recognize.
This unsettling discovery launches him into a fervent search for the truth, shining a light on Amsterdam’s dark wartime history—the underground networks that hid Jewish children away from danger and those who betrayed their own for the sake of survival. The deeper into the past Yoel digs up, the better he understands his mother’s silence, and the more urgent the question that has unconsciously haunted him for a lifetime—Who am I?—becomes.
Part family mystery, part wartime drama, House on Endless Waters is “a rewarding meditation on survival” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and a “deeply immersive achievement that brings to life stories that must never be forgotten” (USA TODAY).
THINGS IN JARS is a charming gothic mystery set in Victorian London. Birdie Devine, a renowned female detective, has a stunning new case: to find a kidnapped a girl whose alleged supernatural powers have made her an obsession of curiosity collectors worldwide. Birdie and her crew of unusual accomplices dig deep into London’s foggy, grime-encrusted underworld to find her, and through the telling of Christabel’s story, author Jess Kidd proves that even in dark and strange places, there is humanity left in the world.
In this “miraculous and thrilling” (Diane Setterfield, #1 New York Times bestselling author) mystery for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation, Victorian London comes to life as an intrepid female sleuth wades through a murky world of collectors and criminals to recover a remarkable child.
Bridie Devine—flame-haired, pipe-smoking detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors in this age of discovery.
Winding her way through the sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing secrets about her past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot-tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where nothing is quite what it seems.
Blending darkness and light, Things in Jars is a stunning, “richly woven tapestry of fantasy, folklore, and history” (Booklist, starred review) that explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.
It’s August 1939, and three friends fearfully watch the British headlines as their country falls into another devastating war with Germany. There is talk among the town about Germans being sent to internment camps to weed out any spies. Marie, a German-born girl who moved to England at the age of twelve is branded an enemy alien. Her family is in danger, and Marie’s time is running out. As the three friends’ journey unfolds, they find themselves fighting to preserve Marie’s life and freedom at all costs.
For fans of historical novels by Kristin Harmel and Martha Hall Kelly comes a “gripping tale by a writer at the top of her game” (Fiona Davis, author of The Chelsea Girls) following three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government at the start of World War II.
In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood companions must choose between friendship and country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.
Featuring Julia Kelly’s signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) prose, The Whispers of War is a moving and unforgettable tale of the power of friendship and womanhood in the midst of conflict.
This bestselling book follows Rowan Caine, a live-in nanny whose life has quickly escalated to a full-blown nightmare. Rowan finds a job in a beautiful manor, in the middle of the idyllic Scottish Highlands. The “modern” house, filled with incomprehensible technologies, constantly malfunctions in alarming ways, and the perfect children Rowan met during her interview have become wild and violent. And all the bizarre events end with a child dead and Rowan accused of murder. Told through letters Rowan exchanges with her lawyer from prison, Rowan’s desperate quest to prove her innocence makes for a spellbinding and suspenseful tale, that will have you wondering about the real culprit to the very last page.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A superb suspense writer…Brava, Ruth Ware. I daresay even Henry James would be impressed.” —Maureen Corrigan, author of So We Read On
“This appropriately twisty Turn of the Screw update finds the Woman in Cabin 10 author in her most menacing mode, unfurling a shocking saga of murder and deception.” —Entertainment Weekly
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes this thrilling novel that explores the dark side of technology.
When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the home’s cameras, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder—but somebody is.
Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
A perfect blend of humor and heart, this novel leave you with a heart full of warm and fuzzies. Broke and blacklisted by her former boss, Charlotte is forced to leave New York and move back to her hometown of Hope Lake. The plan is to only stay long enough to make some money and get herself back to New York. But she soon falls for a man in town, leaving her torn between two men and two cities. The best part of this novel, other than the cozy romance, is the down-to-earth and believable characters that immediately draw you into Charlotte’s world.
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of On the Corner of Love and Hate comes a romantic comedy about a woman who grudgingly returns home to small-town Pennsylvania, only to find herself falling in love—not only with the town, but with two of its citizens.
Charlotte Bishop is out of options in New York City. Fired, broke, and blacklisted by her former boss, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Hope Lake, PA to lick her wounds. Although she’s expecting to find a miserable place with nothing to do, she is pleasantly surprised to discover it is bustling and thriving.
She’s only supposed to be in Hope Lake temporarily until she can earn enough money to move back to New York. She’s not supposed to reconnect with her childhood friends or her beloved grandmother. She’s not supposed to find her dream job running the local florist shop. And she’s definitely not supposed to fall for not one but two of Hope Lake’s golden boys: one the beloved high school English teacher, the other the charming town doctor.
With a heart torn between two men and two cities, what’s a girl to do?
A perfect blend of humor and heart, Meet Me on Love Lane is the second in a new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci that is sure to charm fans of Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.
In this pulse-pounding thriller, perfect for fans of Tana French, two female detectives take on the case of a woman found murdered with lines etched into her face. While they quickly establish a connection between the woman and her eccentric landlord, Esther, not all is as it appears. In fact, it becomes obvious that Esther herself may be a victim of an even more twisted game. As they peel back the layers of an elaborate revenge plot, Detectives Jeppe and Anette must uncover the true puppet master before it’s too late.
#1 international bestseller
An Indie Next Pick
An O, The Oprah Magazine Titles to Pick Up Now
A People Book Pick
A New York Post Best Book of the Week
A theSkimm Best Book to Read This Winter
A BookPage Top Ten Books for February
A Parade Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020
A Bustle Most Anticipated Books of January 2020
A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020
A She Reads Most Anticipated Thrillers of 2020
An electrifying work of literary suspense from international bestselling author Katrine Engberg, this stunning debut introduces two police detectives struggling to solve a shocking murder and stop a killer hell-bent on revenge.
When a young woman is discovered brutally murdered in her own apartment, with an intricate pattern of lines carved into her face, Copenhagen police detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner are assigned to the case. In short order, they establish a link between the victim, Julie Stender, and her landlady, Esther de Laurenti, who’s a bit too fond of drink and the host of raucous dinner parties with her artist friends. Esther also turns out to be a budding novelist—and when Julie turns up as a murder victim in the still-unfinished mystery she’s writing, the link between fiction and real life grows both more urgent and more dangerous.
But Esther’s role in this twisted scenario is not quite as clear as it first seems. Is she the culprit—or just another victim, trapped in a twisted game of vengeance? Anette and Jeppe must dig more deeply into the two women’s pasts to discover the identity of the brutal puppet-master pulling the strings in this electrifying literary thriller.
Hailed as “inconceivably thrilling” (Fyens Stiftstidende, Denmark), The Tenant is a work of stunning originality that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
Following her father’s death, Caroline Murphy and her family move back to Peachtree Bluff during the middle of Caroline’s senior year of high school. And although she sore never to return, years later her marriage with a New York high-society heir falls apart, leaving her with no other choice but to move her pregnant self and nine-year-old daughter back in with her mother. But when a secret from Ansley’s past resurfaces, the powerful bond between sisters, mothers, and daughters is tested as their whole life is put out in the open.
After her brother and her fiancé are killed in the Great War, Violet Speedwell succumbs to the life of a spinster. When she finally saves up enough to move, she heads to Winchester, where she is drawn into a society of women who embroider kneelers for the cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshipers. This sense of community brings Violet strength, fulfillment, and friendship—until her independence is threatened by another encroaching war.
Beginning on the windswept coast of Nova Scotia at the start of the century, this beautiful story of four sisters spans across decades and oceans. From the coal-mining communities of their home country to the war-torn battlefields of World War I, and finally to the glittering streets of 1920s New York City, follow along as the sisters struggle to hold on to one another.
Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.Compellingly written, by turns menacingly dark and hilariously funny, this is an epic tale of five generations of sin, guilt, and redemption. An Oprah Book Club Pick!
Photo Credit: Rimma_Bondarenko/iStock