Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my autumn TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, asks for ten books on our fall/autumn TBR. I’ve already mentioned some of the books I’m hoping to read for the R.I.P. challenge this month and next, so I’ve chosen a different ten to list here.


1. Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore

“Spring, 1917, and war haunts the Cornish coastal village of Zennor: ships are being sunk by U-boats, strangers are treated with suspicion, and newspapers are full of spy stories.

Into this turmoil come D. H Lawrence and his German wife, Frieda hoping to escape the war-fever that grips London. They befriend Clare Coyne, a young artist struggling to console her beloved cousin, John William, who is on leave from the trenches and suffering from shell-shock.

Yet the dark tide of gossip and innuendo means that Zennor is neither a place of recovery nor of escape…”


2. Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins

“When a handsome, unscrupulous fortune hunter approaches Harriet, a young woman of means whom most people would call half-witted, no good can result. Elizabeth Jenkins’s artistry, however, transforms the bare facts of this case from the annals of Victorian England’s Old Bailey into an absolutely spine-chilling exploration of the depths of human depravity.”


3. The Witches of St Petersburg by Imogen Edwards-Jones

“Two Montenegrin princesses, Militza and Stana, are married into the Russian aristocracy of the last Tsar by their father. Initially shunned by society and, in Stana’s case, married to a man she detests, life isn’t easy.

Fascinated by the occult, the sisters soon become close to the Tsarina Alexandra who is willing to try anything to precipitate the birth of the son and heir the country longs for. If she puts her faith in them, Militza and Stana promise they can help the Tsarina produce a boy.

The girls hold seances, experiment with a variety of rituals and bring various men to the Tsarina who they feel have spiritual power. Their closeness to the Empress and power in court is undisputed: until, that is, Grigori Rasputin arrives. Militza and Stana, along with most of female Russian society, are intoxicated, but by bringing Rasputin into their lives, have they taken a fatal step too far?”


4. The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley

“After the death of her father – Pa Salt, an elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters from around the globe – Tiggy D’Aplièse, trusting her instincts, moves to the remote wilds of Scotland. There she takes a job doing what she loves; caring for animals on the vast and isolated Kinnaird estate, employed by the enigmatic and troubled Laird, Charlie Kinnaird.

Her decision alters her future irrevocably when Chilly, an ancient gipsy who has lived for years on the estate, tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense, passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home to Granada in Spain …

In the shadow of the magnificent Alhambra, Tiggy discovers her connection to the fabled gypsy community of Sacromonte, who were forced to flee their homes during the civil war, and to ‘La Candela’ the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation. From the Scottish Highlands and Spain, to South America and New York, Tiggy follows the trail back to her own exotic but complex past. And under the watchful eye of a gifted gypsy bruja she begins to embrace her own talent for healing. But when fate takes a hand, Tiggy must decide whether to stay with her new-found family or return to Kinnaird, and Charlie…”


5. The Green Gauntlet by RF Delderfield

“World War II is over. But for Craddock and his family there are new battles to be fought and won. The new property laws enable speculators to reap huge profits from agricultural lands, and Paul’s livelihood is threatened. With the help of his children and children’s children, Paul struggles to preserve the happiness and peace he has built up over the years. In doing so, he comes to discover deeper, richer ties with those around him. Ties which hold a ripe promise for the future…”


6. The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

“In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?”


7. The Magick of Master Lilly by Tobsha Learner

“In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps’ nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.

Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.

Only Lilly and a circle of learned astrologers – Cunning Folk – know that London is destined to suffer plague and fire before the decade is through, and must summon angel and demon to sway the political powers from the war the country is heading toward. In doing so, Lilly will influence far greater destinies than his own and encounter great danger. But there will be worse to come…”


8. Transcription by Kate Atkinson

“In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathisers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence.”


9. A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

“If you look hard enough, you can find stories pretty much anywhere. They don’t even have to be your own. Or so would-be writer Maurice Swift decides very early on in his career. A chance encounter in a Berlin hotel with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann gives him an opportunity to ingratiate himself with someone more powerful than him. For Erich is lonely, and he has a story to tell. Whether or not he should do so is another matter entirely.

Once Maurice has made his name, he sets off in pursuit of other people’s stories. He doesn’t care where he finds them – or to whom they belong – as long as they help him rise to the top. Stories will make him famous but they will also make him beg, borrow and steal. They may even make him do worse.”


10. Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard

“Confusion is the third novel in Elizabeth Jane Howard’s bestselling Cazalet Chronicles.

London and Sussex, 1942. The privileged English family in turmoil…

The long, dark days of struggle provide the poignant background to the third book of the Cazalet Chronicles. As the war enters its fourth year, chaos has become a way of life.

Both in the still peaceful Sussex countryside, and in air-raid-threatened London, the divided Cazalets begin to find the battle for survival echoing the confusion in their own lives.”


Have you read any of these books? What do you have coming up on your own TBR?

32 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my autumn TBR

  1. Calmgrove says:

    Ah, the new Kate Atkinson. Sadly (?) I’ve got a couple of her past titles still to read so it’ll be a while till I get to this. Fascinating list, though, such intriguing scenarios!

  2. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

    Great list! Harriet sounds really interesting, and I may have to check out The Witches of St Petersburg – I love me some witches.

  3. Elle says:

    Ooh, I’ve read Transcription – you’ll like that. Confusion is great too. I’ve got The Witches of St Petersburg on my own autumn TBR, although I’m fully expecting it to be ridiculous (the first few pages seem to bear this out).

    • Helen says:

      I love Kate Atkinson, so I have high hopes for Transcription! The early reviews of The Witches of St Petersburg don’t seem very promising, but I had already received it from NetGalley so will have to give it a try!

  4. whatmeread says:

    Ooh, I’ve got Harriet on my Classics Club list and The Clockmaker’s Daughter and Transcription are supposed to be arriving from Amazon. Looks like you’ve got some interesting reading coming up.

  5. Margaret says:

    Both the Delderfield and Elizabeth Jane Howard series are amongst my all time favourites. I’ve not long finished The Clockmaker’s Daughter and am very much in two minds about it, torn between thinking it’s wonderful but far too long and confusing. I’m not sure what I’m going to write about it. I’ve still got Life After Life to read, so will wait a while for Kate Atkinson’s new book. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I’m not sure if I’ll like The Clockmaker’s Daughter as I had problems with The Distant Hours, which was the last of Kate Morton’s books that I read. I’m looking forward to trying it, though. Life After Life is one of my favourite Kate Atkinson books – I hope you enjoy it when you read it.

  6. FictionFan says:

    Gosh, so many fab looking books on this list – I’d be quite happy if this was my autumn reading list too! Top picks would be the Dunmore – I really want to read more of her stuff – and Transcription – the first Atkinson for a while that the blurb has appealed to me. But I’m also really keen to hear what you think of The Witches of St Petersburg – I don’t think my Russia addiction has worn off totally yet…

    • Helen says:

      I’ll be sure to report back on the St Petersburg book – I’ve seen a few early reviews that aren’t very good, but as it’s a NetGalley book I will at least be giving it a try. Transcription does sound appealing, doesn’t it! I’m looking forward to reading that one.

  7. Judy Krueger says:

    I too have a big fall reading list. It all depends on what comes in first at the library. What a glorious fall it is for new fiction!

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