If you’re anything like me, you’re past ready for the arrival of fall. Luckily, you can wish the season into existence with one of these ten October paperbacks. This list of paperback releases offers a little bit of everything for the beginning of autumn: gothic-inspired tales for the spooky season, transporting reads for those who find themselves home-bound, and twisty mysteries for anyone itching for a puzzle. Regardless of what you pick, you’re sure to discover an atmospheric and perfectly plotted read that will keep you turning pages as the leaves start turning colors.
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer McMahon’s Frankenstein-inspired novel starts in 1978. Siblings Vi and Eric are surprised when their psychiatrist grandmother brings home a feral child, Iris. The two invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they dream up creatures to defeat. In 2019, Lizzy Shelley travels to Vermont where a young girl has been abducted—and a monster is spotted on the town’s outskirts—to cover the incident for her famed podcast. But what her audience doesn’t know is that Lizzy is all too aware of the monsters that walk amongst us.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.
1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.
Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.
Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.
2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.
A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.
In 1860s England, Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders has come to a small coastal town, promising to show them “human wonders.” Young Nell is sold to the ringmaster as the “leopard girl” due to the spots covering her body. As Nell grows up in the circus, she comes to understand the freedom it can offer. As Jasper’s brother, Toby, becomes entranced by Nell and Nell’s fame comes to eclipse Jasper’s own, Nell learns to fight for her place in the world in this richly atmospheric novel perfect for fans of WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the “lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) The Doll Factory comes an atmospheric and spectacular novel about a woman transformed by the arrival of a Victorian circus of wonders—“as moving as it is deeply entertaining” (Daniel Mason, New York Times bestselling author).
Step up, step up! In 1860s England, circus mania is sweeping the nation. Crowds jostle for a glimpse of the lion-tamers, the dazzling trapeze artists and, most thrilling of all, the so-called “human wonders.”
When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders pitches its tent in a poor coastal town, the life of one young girl changes forever. Sold to the ringmaster as a “leopard girl” because of the birthmarks that cover her body, Nell is utterly devastated. But as she grows close to the other performers, she finds herself enchanted by the glittering freedom of the circus, and by her own role as the Queen of the Moon and Stars.
Before long, Nell’s fame spreads across the world—and with it, a chance for Jasper Jupiter to grow his own name and fortune. But what happens when her fame begins to eclipse his own, when even Jasper’s loyal brother Toby becomes captivated by Nell? No longer the quiet flower-picker, Nell knows her own place in the world, and she will fight for it.
Circus of Wonders is a beautiful story about the “complex dance between exploitation and empowerment, and the question of what it really means to have control over your own life” (Naomi Ishiguro, author of Escape Routes).
It’s the 1600s. Abandoned as baby in the countryside of England, Maria has been taken in by Hannah Owens. While Hannah teaches Maria the “Nameless Arts,” she also teaches her life’s most important lesson: always love someone who will love you back. Years later, when Maria is abandoned by the man she loves, she tracks him to Salem, Massachusetts. There, she will cast a curse that lasts generations. Start master storyteller Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic series off with this enchanting prequel and follow it to its spellbinding conclusion in THE BOOK OF MAGIC!
“Hoffman certainly knows how to enchant” (The New York Times Book Review) in this breathtaking conclusion to the Practical Magic series—a spellbinding and bewitching novel that asks how far will you go to change your fate?
For over three-hundred years a curse has kept the Owens family from love—but all of that is about to change. The novel begins in a library, the best place for a story to be conjured, when beloved aunt Jet Owens hears the deathwatch beetle and knows she has only seven days to live. Jet is not the only one in danger—the curse is already at work.
A frantic attempt to save a young man’s life spurs three generations of the Owens women, and one long-lost brother, to use their unusual gifts to break the curse as they travel from Paris to London to the English countryside where their ancestor Maria Owens first practiced the Unnamed Art. The younger generation discovers secrets that have been hidden from them in matters of both magic and love by Sally, their fiercely protective mother. As Kylie Owens uncovers the truth about who she is and what her own dark powers are, her aunt Franny comes to understand that she is ready to sacrifice everything for her family, and Sally Owens realizes that she is willing to give up everything for love.
A heartfelt and satisfying conclusion to a beloved series, The Book of Magic celebrates mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, and anyone who has ever been in love.
In this tenth anniversary edition of Kristin Harmel’s beloved international bestseller, one woman will travel to France to piece together a long-standing family secret. Hope, whose husband recently left her for a twenty-two-year-old, is struggling to raise her preteen and keep her family bakery in Cape Cod afloat. When her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimer’s, gives her a mysterious clue into their family’s past, Hope finds herself jetting off to Paris where she uncovers her own family’s survival story in the midst of the Holocaust and seeks to reunite two long-lost lovers.
The “beautifully complex” (Woman’s Day) classic that made Kristin Harmel a superstar follows a woman who must travel from Cape Cod to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother that could change everything. Updated with a new author’s note and recipes for this 10th anniversary edition!
At thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her mother to cancer, her husband left her, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen.
Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie is drifting away in a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in WWII Paris. Armed with a scrawled list of names, Hope heads to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery.
What follows is “an immersive and evocative tale of generations struggling to survive” (Publishers Weekly) as Hope pieces together her grandmother’s past bit by bit. Uncovering horrific tales of the Holocaust, she realizes the astonishing will of her grandmother to endure in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake.
“Kristin Harmel is a powerful and dazzling voice in historical fiction.” —Patti Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savannah
In this neo-gothic novel perfect for fans of Crimson Peak, practical-minded Jane has decided that her best course of action in post-war England is to make a marriage of convenience with a man who will allow her independence. She finds such a man in Doctor Augustine Lawrence, who agrees to the match on the condition that Jane never visit his family home, Lindridge Hall. But when Augustine changes into a terrified man who believes Jane to be an apparition, Jane determines that she must uncover what is amiss with the man to whom she’s tied herself.
Rosalind Franklin is an outsider, dedicated to her brilliant scientific research. When she begins working on DNA, she’s confident that she can uncover its secrets, despite her colleagues’ complaints about her. Maurice Wilkins, for example, refuses to work with her, teaming up with James Watson and Francis Crick instead. When she does finally uncover the double helix structure of DNA, Rosalind is shocked by the aftermath of her discovery. A novel based on true events, HER HIDDEN GENIUS is a testament to the women who change our world whose names we have long forgotten.
“Maman,” Violaine’s enigmatic, charming, and unpredictable mother, leads a volatile and extravagant life in Paris. While Violaine and her sister love their chaotic childhood with their mother, everything changes when Maman ends up in the hospital after a breakdown. After Maman returns, her violent mood swings begin to reveal her own traumatic childhood. THE BOOK OF MOTHER is a stunningly intimate portrait of one transgressive and devastating woman by the person who had the most complicated of relationships with her.
Longlisted for the 2022 International Booker Prize
A New York Times Notable Book
A Library Journal Best Book of 2021
A “marvelous…superbly effective” (The New Yorker) debut novel about a young woman coming of age with a dazzling yet damaged mother who lived and loved in extremes.
Met by rave reviews in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and more, this stunning translation of Violaine Huisman’s “witty, immersive autofiction showcases a Parisian childhood with a charismatic, depressed parent” (Oprah Daily). Beautiful and magnetic, Catherine, a.k.a. “Maman,” smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard, and loves too extravagantly, and her daughter Violaine wouldn’t have it any other way.
But when Maman is hospitalized after a third divorce and a breakdown, everything changes. Even as Violaine and her sister long for their mother’s return, once she’s back Maman’s violent mood swings and flagrant disregard for personal boundaries soon turn their home into an emotional landmine. As the story of Catherine’s own traumatic childhood and adolescence unfolds, the pieces come together to form an indelible portrait of a mother as irresistible as she is impossible, as triumphant as she is transgressive.
With spectacular ferocity of language, a streak of dark humor, and stunning emotional bravery, The Book of Mother is an exquisitely wrought story of a mother’s dizzying heights and devastating lows, and a daughter who must hold her memory close in order to surrender, and finally move on.
In this twisty debut thriller, Helen seems to have the perfect life: a charming, successful husband; a beautiful Victorian house; and a baby on the way. But when Helen meets Rachel at a prenatal class, her life is thrown into chaos. Rachel is a nontraditional single mother-to-be, but Helen is drawn to her funny, irreverent personality. That is, until Rachel’s unpredictable behavior becomes increasingly unsettling. Soon, it’s clear that Rachel knows more about Helen’s family’s past than she’s let on, and she’s not afraid to expose the secrets buried deep below.
“A twisty, fast-paced” (The Sunday Times, London) debut thriller, as electrifying as the #1 New York Times bestseller The Girl on the Train, about impending motherhood, unreliable friendship, and the high price of keeping secrets.
In this “gloriously tangled game of cat and mouse that kept the twists coming until the very last moment” (Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class.
There, she meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be who doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.
But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.
No one is happy when Paul Riley, imprisoned eleven years ago for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, is released after the Exoneration Initiative uncovers evidence that shows another man committed the crime. So, it’s anyone’s guess who killed him when Riley turns up murdered. Wes Farrell, the man who originally put Riley in prison, agrees to defend Doug Rush, the prime suspect in Riley’s murder. But when Rush vanishes, Farrell hires PI Abe Glitsky to track down the defendant. . . a task easier said than done. THE MISSING PIECE is a new installment in the bestselling Dismas Hardy series.
The beloved New York Times bestselling Dismas Hardy series returns with this “perfect piece of entertainment from a master storyteller” (Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author) about a relentlessly twisty murder mystery.
No one mourned when San Francisco DA Wes Farrell put Paul Riley in prison eleven years ago for the rape and murder of his girlfriend. And no one is particularly happy to see him again when he’s released after The Exoneration Initiative uncovered evidence that pinned the crime on someone else. In fact, Riley soon turns up murdered, surrounded by the loot from his latest scam. But if Riley was really innocent all along, who wanted him dead?
To the cops, it’s straightforward: the still-grieving father of Riley’s dead girlfriend killed the former prisoner. Farrell, now out of politics and practicing law with master attorney Dismas Hardy, agrees to represent the defendant, Doug Rush—and is left in the dust when Rush suddenly vanishes. At a loss, Farrell and Hardy ask PI Abe Glitsky to track down the potentially lethal defendant. The search takes Glitsky through an investigative hall of mirrors populated by wounded parents, crooked cops, cheating spouses, and single-minded vigilantes. As Glitsky embraces and then discards one enticing theory after another, the truth seems to recede ever farther. So far that he begins to question his own moral compass in this “superb thriller from a veteran crime writer” (Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author) that you’ll savor to the last word.
Sven Ormson leaves his life in Stockholm behind in 1916 to seek adventure on an inhospitable Arctic archipelago, Svalbard. But his adventure is cut short when an avalanche leaves him disfigured and barely spares his life. Pulling even further away from society, Sven moves to an uninhabited fjord with his loyal dog to live against the elements. Years later, an unlikely visitor sparks an unexpected chain of events that will change Sven’s life forever and reminds us of the far-reaching potential of human connection in this wry and transporting novel.
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