Five Irresistible Reads for September
The warm weather is waning — which makes it the perfect time to tuck in with a great book. Here, our roundup of must-reads this month
The latest installment in the beloved mystery series from Canadian author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Gamache officially retired – yes, retired! – in the village of Three Pines. But the former Chief of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec swings back into action when his friend, Clara, asks for help in finding her troubled artist husband. The search takes Gamache, along with his former partner Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to a desolate place deep in the heart of Quebec and into what Gamache calls a ‘sin-sick’ soul.
Hungarian-born Canadian writer Joseph Kertes takes us back to Budapest in the autumn of 1956 as Russian tanks roll into the city to crush the Hungarian uprising. Here, we follow young brothers Robert and Attila Beck as they face losing their home and all they know, to make a new life in a new country. Even after crossing a minefield – literally – and confronting unspeakable horrors and brutality, the brothers retain their irrepressible spirit and sense of wonder. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age tale set in historical times that, unfortunately, still resonates in today’s headlines.
The sixth and final novel in the best-selling Cousins’ War series tells the story of Margaret Pole, niece to two kings (Edward IV and Richard III) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence. After the Tudors take over the throne, Margaret is married off to Sir Richard Pole, a kind, but lowly Lancaster knight, with whom she lives in relative obscurity, downplaying her royal connections and name (the House of Plantagenet). But Margaret’s destiny changes when she becomes a trusted advisor of the young Katherine of Aragon — and later, following her marriage to Henry VIII, chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But later, with the rise of Anne Boleyn and subsequent deterioration of the court, Margaret is forced to choose between loyalty to the King or her beloved Queen. At the same time, she keeps secret her knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors.
From the Governor General’s Award-nominated author of The Juliet Stories comes this novel about 104-year-old Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic track and field star who found fame in the 1920s. Many years later, when a young couple she doesn’t recognize – and for reasons she doesn’t understand – take her on an outing from her nursing home to the small Ontario town where she was raised, we follow the tangled passions, dark secrets, triumphs and heartbreaks of her long life.
Alison Pick – the Man Booker-nominated author of Far to Go – made a life-changing discovery when she was a teenager. She learned that her fraternal grandparents, who had escaped from the Czech Republic during the Second World War, were, in fact, Jewish, and that many of her family had perished in concentration camps. In this moving memoir, which reads more like a novel, Pick gives an unflinching account of her search for religious identity and acceptance – her mother is Christian, which makes her half-Jewish or “between Gods” – as well as her struggles with crippling depression.