As the leaves begin to turn, our thoughts are also turning to cosy, cool-weather reading. With a feast of fabulous, new-season fiction on offer, here’s our top 10 list of just-released and upcoming autumn yarns.
Saving You (Hachette Australia, $29.99)
After setting her first four novels in country Australia, local literary star Nash penned international bestseller The Paris Wedding. Her latest tale is set in the US, where single mum Mallory has travelled from Australia to bring home her son, who hasn’t returned from a visit with his father in New York. Along the way, she meets a trio of seniors on the run from the Silky Oaks care facility, where Mallory happens to work back home. Fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will enjoy this tale of friendship, family and the road.
At The Wolf’s Table (Simon & Schuster, $29.99)
Inspired by the true story of Margaret Wölk, one of the women Hitler conscripted to be his food tasters, At The Wolf’s Table is set in 1943, when 26-year-old Rosa moves in with her in-laws to a village close to the Wolf’s Lair, the Nazi leader’s secret headquarters. As one of his food tasters, Rosa is forced to eat decadent meals that might kill her. While none of the women is allowed to meet the paranoid Führer, his presence poisons every aspect of their lives.
The Things We Cannot Say (Hachette Australia, $29.99)
Rimmer, who lives in rural New South Wales with her husband and two children, has become a publishing tour-de-force whose novels have been translated into 20 languages. Inspired by her family history, her sixth novel tells of Alina and Tomasz, childhood sweethearts forced apart by the Nazis, before it hurtles into 2019, when young mother Alice is doing her best to support her son, born with autism spectrum disorder. When Alice’s beloved grandmother falls ill, she begs Alice to travel to Poland to find out what happened to the ones she cherished.
The Department of Sensitive Crimes (Little, Brown, $29.99)
Alexander McCall Smith
The prolific author of more than 80 books launches a new genre—’Scandi-Blanc’—with the introduction of Detective Ulf Varg, who works in the Sensitive Crimes Department in the Swedish city of Malmö. His beat is investigating odd, but none-too-threatening crimes, which well suits the endearing Varg, owner of a lip-reading dog called Marten who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Another delight from the author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.
Gravity is the Thing (Pan Macmillan, $29.99)
Abigail Sorensen was 16 when her brother vanished and chapters from a self-help book called The Guidebook began to appear in her mailbox. Were the two events connected? Abigail may be about to find out. Now 35, she accepts an invitation to a retreat which promises to reveal all about the mysterious Guidebook. An uplifting exploration of mysteries, messages and the march of time by the award-winning Sydney novelist, whose sisters are fellow authors Nicola and Big Little Lies’ Liane.
The Artist’s Portrait (Hachette Australia, $32.99)
There’s buzz around this debut novel, which was shortlisted for the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers in 2017. New South Wales-based Keys’ story is that of two strong women living in different eras. On a sunrise walk in 1992, Jane Cooper meets the elderly Muriel Kemp “watering her brown singe of a lawn”. She turns the hose on Cooper, who’s drawn—“it wasn’t her charm”—to learn more about the curmudgeonly Kemp, who claims to be a famous artist of Sydney’s flapper-era bohemian set. Narcissist? Genius? Murderer? Cooper is determined to unearth the truth.
Before She Knew Him (Faber, $29.99, out in April)
The acclaimed author of The Girl With a Clock for a Heart returns with a gripping tale of a young woman who suspects her neighbour is harbouring a dark secret. After moving into their new home, Hen and Lloyd welcome getting to know Matthew and Mira, the only other seemingly childless couple in their Massachusetts suburb. But over dinner one night, Hen spots something alarming in Matthew’s study – or does she? Hen, after all, is herself medicated and struggling with depression … Overtones of Patricia Highsmith in this stylish thriller.
Lux (Scribe, $32.99, out in April)
The London-based scribe (Achilles) dazzles again with her latest literary-historical offering. As Tudor poet Thomas Wyatt works on a translation of the Psalms, Henry VIII is intent on securing what he wants: Mistress Anne Boleyn, a divorce from his queen and a son. With his beloved falcon perched on his arm, Wyatt bears witness as the past and present intersect in the lives of two kings whose passions define them – and echo down the ages.
The Book of Dreams (Scribner, $29.99, out April 1)
As Henri Skinner is on his way to his first meeting with teenage son Sam, two things happen: he saves a child from drowning and he’s hit by a car. At his hospital bedside, Sam, who has synaesthesia, waits, sensing what no-one else around him can. Like George’s 2013 international bestseller, The Little Paris Bookshop, this is an enchanting tale about the nuances of love and making peace with the past.
55 (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, out May 1)
You’ll have to wait until May to get your hands on this outback-thriller debut with a touted jaw-dropping twist. The community of a remote WA town is consumed by the hunt for a serial killer after a blood-covered man stumbles into the sleepy outpost of a police station. He claims he was to be the attacker’s 55th victim, but as the manhunt kicks off, another man arrives at the station telling the exact same yarn. It’s left to Sergeant Chandler Jenkins to figure out who’s telling the truth. The film rights have already been optioned, and the rights sold to 19 countries, boding well for that killer twist.