It is September 1st and that means that it is officially Fall. This is hard, we know. We’re struggling with it a bit ourselves. There’s always a twinge of sadness that comes with the passing of summer. A loss, of sorts. And yet there is beauty in this new season as well. Where Summer means joy and adventure and freedom, Fall means warmth, and hope, and comfort. And with that in mind, we chose our book club selections for Fall. We’ll be discussing four books between now and the end of the November. It is our great delight to bring you a zany social commentary, a sweeping historical romp, a heartwarming family drama, and a poignant murder mystery. We’ll introduce you to the authors (all of them acclaimed and established) and show you how these stories came to be. You’ll get a glimpse into their writing processes an their writing spaces. And, we hope, you will find at least one new favorite novel. If your reading time is limited this Fall (and we get it, life is crazy-busy) then we hope you will put these at the very top of your list. You won’t regret a day you spend with any of these stories.
So, without further ado, we give you The Books of Fall:
THE ADMISSIONS by Meg Mitchell Moore
THE ADMISSIONS brilliantly captures the frazzled pressure cooker of modern life as a seemingly perfect family comes undone by a few desperate measures, long-buried secrets—and college applications!
The Hawthorne family has it all. Great jobs, a beautiful house in one of the most affluent areas of northern California, and three charming kids with perfectly straight teeth. And then comes their eldest daughter’s senior year of high school . . .
Firstborn Angela Hawthorne is a straight-A student and star athlete, with extracurricular activities coming out of her ears and a college application that’s not going to write itself. She’s set her sights on Harvard, her father’s alma mater, and like a dog with a chew toy, Angela won’t let up until she’s basking in crimson-colored glory. Except her class rank as valedictorian is under attack, she’s suddenly losing her edge at cross-country, and she can’t help but daydream about the cute baseball player in English class. Of course Angela knows the time put into her schoolgirl crush would be better spent coming up with a subject for her term paper—which, along with her college essay and community service hours has a rapidly approaching deadline.
Angela’s mother, Nora, is similarly stretched to the limit, juggling parent-teacher meetings, carpool, and a real-estate career where she caters to the mega rich and super-picky buyers and sellers of the Bay Area. The youngest daughter, Maya, still can’t read at the age of eight; the middle-child, Cecily, is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid she once was; and the dad, Gabe, seems oblivious to the mounting pressures at home because a devastating secret of his own might be exposed. A few ill-advised moves put the Hawthorne family on a heedless collision course that’s equal parts achingly real and delightfully screwball.
Sharp and topical, THE ADMISSIONS shows that if you pull at a loose thread, even the sturdiest of lives start to unravel at the seams of high achievement.
A CURIOUS BEGINNING by Deanna Raybourn
In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.
London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.
But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.
THE PERFECT COMEBACK OF CAROLINE JACOBS by Matthew Dicks
Caroline Jacobs is a wimp, someone who specializes in the suffering of tiny indignities in silence. And the big ones, too. But when the twinset wearing president of the local Parent Teacher Organization steps out of line one too many times, Caroline musters the courage to assert herself. With a four-letter word, no less.
Caroline’s outburst has awakened something in her. Not just gumption, but a realization that the roots of her tirade can be traced back to something that happened to her as a teenager, when her best friend very publicly betrayed her. So, with a little bit of bravery, Caroline decides to go back to her home town and tell off her childhood friend. She busts her daughter out of school, and the two set off to deliver the perfect comeback . . . some twenty-five years later. But nothing goes as planned. Long buried secrets rise to the surface, and Caroline finds she has to face much more than one old, bad best friend.
THE PERFECT COMEBACK OF CAROLINE JACOBS is an enchanting novel about the ways in which our childhood experiences reverberate through our lives. It’s the story of a woman looking to fix her life through an act of bravery, and of a mother and daughter learning to understand one another. Deceptively simple and highly engaging, this latest novel by Matthew Dicks is perfect for those of us who were last to be picked at sports, and for everyone who is thrilled not to be in high school any more.
THE LAST SEPTEMBER by Nina de Gramont
“When I look back now, it hurtles toward us like a meteor. But at the time we were too wrapped up in our day-to-day life to see it. Charlie and I lived in a borrowed house by the ocean. Our daughter, Sarah, was fifteen months old. September had just arrived, emptying the beaches at the very moment they became most spectacular.”
Brett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over.
But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation.
So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?
Set against the desolate autumn beauty of Cape Cod, THE LAST SEPTEMBER is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty.
Also, if you haven’t yet heard, we are partnering with the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance (SIBA) next month to host Triangle Reads, a first-of-it’s-kind readers event in Raleigh, North Carolina. We hope you’ll come, and that you’ll bring your book club as well, so we can finally have a chance to meet you in person. The ticket price (all proceeds benefit SIBA) includes lunch, a $20 voucher to buy books, and an afternoon spent with two dozen of the most amazing authors you’ll ever meet (but hurry, registration ends September 10th). And one of those authors will be Deanna Raybourn herself. She’ll be there discussing A CURIOUS BEGINNING–a book that I (Ariel) absolutely adored.