Book Club: Three autumn reads for the season ahead

Your Book Club reads for every occasion, chosen by Jennifer McShane



In John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky (Doubleday, approx €11.99, out now), we meet Maurice Swift. Handsome, charming and just 24, he has only one ambition: to be a successful writer. But there’s one problem. He can’t think of a single idea. A chance encounter in Berlin with a celebrated novelist who reveals a long-kept secret sparks Maurice’s own brilliant idea: he’ll use the stories of others and pass the work o as his own. He doesn’t care where he nds them – or who they belong to. Eventually, these stories make him famous, but he’s begged, borrowed, stolen – and done much worse to get them. e beloved Irish author puts a fresh spin on the phrase “everything’s copy” – and it makes for a fascinating read. Spanning 30 years and told in several narratives, it’s a book that is clever and complex – you won’t be able to put this one down. One of Boyne’s best.


SK Wright’s It Ends with You (Atom, approx €9.99, out September 6) is one of the most arresting YA books I’ve read in ages – it’s not just for a younger audience. When Eva, a student beautiful, bright and quite perfect, is suddenly found in a ditch in the local woods, the only thing everyone wants to know is, who could have done such a thing? All the fingers point to Luke, her sometime boyfriend with a bad reputation – he had the motive. But Luke has his own variation of what really happened to Eva. So has her best friend Siobhan. And the others. As time goes on, lies are told and the stories start to change. Told from six differing points of view, it leaves the reader never quite sure what is going on. It’s a whodunnit designed to challenge, but to say any more would only give too much away. A compulsive read with a chilling ending.



Any book deemed an “easy” read tends to get a bad rap, but every so often one will land on my desk that makes me realise they are truly good for the soul. Kathryn Hughes’ The Key (Headline, approx €9.99, out September 6) is one of those books. In 1956, Ellen Crosby arrives at Ambergate County Lunatic Asylum for her first day at work as a nurse, where she meets Amy, a young girl committed by her father. Amy is left at the hands of a physician keen to try to find her a “cure” for mental illness. Decades later, now 2006, we meet Sarah. Wandering the abandoned corridors of the asylum, she stumbles upon a suitcase that belonged to a female patient 50 years earlier. Slowly, she begins to piece together a story of tragedy and a love lost that only she may be able to put right. An emotional, utterly affecting read that you’ll be sad to finish.

This article originally appeared in the September issue of IMAGE magazine. Our October issue is on shelves now.


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