Welcome to autumn and our annual fall reading list! It’s the perfect season to snuggle up with a good book under a warm blanket. It’s the time of year where publishers showcase their biggest selection of books and bookworms everywhere rejoice at the incredible picks. It was challenging to narrow it down to 10 books, but we think we found some options to get you started on your fall reading list. Some titles haven’t been released yet, but are already creating a big buzz, so you’ll want to pre-order a few of these titles and make sure your TBR pile doesn’t get too low!
1. The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais
A fall reading list would not be complete without a book about witches, now would it? The Witches of Moonshyne Manor is a story of five modern-day witches in their eighties and a magical heist gone-wrong. It provides just the right amount of intrigue, drama and humour to keep you turning the pages. The witches are determined to save Moonshyne Manor where they live, but an angry mob threatens to demolish their home. As they fight to save their home, drama ensues through secrets, lies and sex. And while there are fractures in the sisterhood, this heartwarming, but equally heartbreaking, story shows us the power of friendships and the family you find when you need it most.
2. On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
On the Rooftop is a Reese’s Book Club Pick, and has been described by Reese Witherspoon as an “utterly original and brilliant story” and “warm, gripping, and wise” by the New York Times Book Review. This heartwarming story is loosely based on The Fiddler on the Roof. It tells the story of Vivian, a single mother living in San Francisco in the 1950s. She dreams of musical stardom for her three daughters: Ruth, Esther and Chloe. They are known on stage as The Salvations and have become a bona fide girl group with the help of their mother. Vivian imposes her dreams onto her daughters who also have dreams of their own. When a talent agent gives them an incredible offer, Vivian must face the reality that her daughters’ dreams are not her own, while also navigating changes happening in her community. The complicated love between a mother and her daughters and the relationship of sisters is beautifully captured in Sexton’s writing and story. A must read this fall season!
3. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Set in Renaissance Italy, this thrilling novel centers on real-life duchess Lucrezia de Medici. While Lucrezia was real, The Marriage Portrait is a vividly imagined tale of her life and her struggle to survive in her husband’s court. She was happy to devote herself to artistic pursuits and to wander in the palazzo where she lived with her father, the grand duke. When her sister dies the night before she is to marry the ruler of Ferrara, the duke quickly requests Lucrezia’s hand in marriage, which her father agrees to. She is thrust into a court where she is not welcome, and feels the pressure to provide an heir to the Ferranese dynasty. And she’s pretty sure her husband wants her dead. This deliciously thrilling tale is full of drama and suspense, and is the perfect read alongside a cup of tea.
4. Drunk on Love by Jasmine Guillory
New York Times bestselling author Jasmine Guillory brings us a delightful romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet. Drunk on Love is a sweet, sexy and funny story where we’re introduced to Margot Noble, who co-owns a vineyard with her brother in Napa Valley. One night, as she goes out searching for some relief from the pressures of running a vineyard, she has a one-night stand with Luke. She’s sure she’ll never see him again until she meets her brother’s newest hire, who happens to be…Luke. Things get complicated, and Margot is set on keeping things strictly professional, but it’s hard to deny her crazy chemistry with the new employee. Can they work together? And will they find a way to make their relationship work? Pick up this fun and intoxicating romance for some sizzle in the cool fall days.
5. Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson
Set in the nightclub world of 1920s, post World War I in London, Kate Atkinson’s latest novel, Shrines of Gaiety, is a glittering and dizzying tale of corruption and seduction. It’s a world where starlets, foreign dignitaries and gangsters all co-mingle and girls sell dances for money. The novel is filled with irresistible characters, including Nellie Coker, queen of the nightlife in Soho, and owner of a series of nightclubs. She is fierce, ruthless and determined to advance and foster the interest of her six children in her often sketchy and unlawful enterprises. But Nellie faces threats from within, and from people who want to see her fail and take over her empire. There is a dark underbelly beneath the razzle-dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, and Atkinson successfully takes us into this world in her latest page-turning historical novel.
6. Small Game by Blair Braverman
Small Game is Blair Braverman’s thrilling fiction debut about strangers who compete on a reality show that takes a twisted turn. Braverman is known for her writing about dogsledding and nature. In this novel, she introduces us to Mara, an outdoor educator, who is cast on Civilization, a show where contestants learn to live off the land. Mara is ready to earn the winning prize, but is not ready for what happens when the camera crew disappears. The reality show is no longer about surviving the game and winning the money, but about survival itself. The story grips you as these strangers who are stranded in an undisclosed northern location for six weeks are forced to survive and find the courage to a build a new life. (Release date: November 1)
7. The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li
Li is a masterful storyteller who draws us in with The Book of Goose, which centers on the friendship between Agnès and Fabienne in post-WWII France. One day, Fabienne has a plan and imagines a wild and lurid story and asks Agnès to write it. The book becomes a bestseller and is credited solely to Agnès. However, its publication changes both of their lives just the same. Agnès is thrown into a life of fame and fortune, while Fabienne stays behind working on a farm. The book and Agnès’s new stardom pulls the two friends apart, both emotionally and physically. Then one day, Fabienne dies. Agnès receives the news while in the U.S., far from the French countryside they both grew up in. This gripping and winding story of power, art, intimacy and obsession is sure to grip readers’ attention.
8. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling
Oh, we just couldn’t resist another witchy story filled with mayhem and humour! This time it’s filled with sizzling romance, stellar banter and hexes gone wrong! The Ex Hex is a lighthearted and fun rom-com that is the first in Erin Sterling’s witchy series. Vivienne Jones puts a curse on the man who broke her heart, Rhys Penhallow, thinking he’d suffer lightly. However, nine years later, she realizes her little hex might not have been as harmless as she thought. When Rhys reappears in Graves Glen, Georgia, to appear at the fall festival, chaos ensues. Vivienne and Rhys must overcome their intense attraction to work together to break the hex before anyone gets hurt.
9. The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
Joanna Quinn’s debut novel, The Whalebone Theatre, transports readers into an endearing but heartbreaking story of love and bravery. In 1928, twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave finds a dead whale that has washed up on the beach. The whale belongs to the king by law, but Cristabel has plans for it. She ropes in her siblings, her young cousin and the adults at the Chilcombe estate to build a stage using the whale’s rib cage. This allows Cristabel’s imagination to run free as the director of her quirky theatre. It also serves as the undercover operations during World War II when she and her cousin Digby become secret agents as they enter adulthood. The war almost tears the Seagrave children apart, and their bond is tested in this suspenseful story that transforms them all.
10. Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
I must admit the title of this book is what grabbed my attention! It has a November release date, but it’s already one of the most anticipated books of the season. Now Is Not the Time to Panic is a coming-of-age novel about two teenage misfits, Frankie and Zeke, whose lives collide one summer in Coalfield, Tennessee. The romantic and creative sparks they share lead to creating a poster with a cryptic phrase that changes their lives forever. Frankie and Zeke post hundreds of posters around town with an enigmatic phrase that has copycats from all over replicating their message. Twenty years later, a journalist is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996 and reaches out to Frankie to expose her part in creation of the panic-inducing poster. This story explores young love, shows us the power of art, and how the secrets of youth can haunt us and change our lives. (Release date: November 8)
Grow Your Fall Reading List
Want more books to add to your fall reading list? Well, there’s nothing like the past. Here are some more recommendations from our fall reading list from 2021.