As the month of September looms, ready to slam shut the doors of summer, consider suggesting debut novels to your readers. The experience of a fresh start that comes from such titles offers the delights of discovery and the thrill of new possibilities to echo nicely the change of seasons, regardless of the weather. Here are five firsts to get started. With the exception of McFarlane’s latest (forthcoming in October), all of the titles are published.
- The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker (Penguin). A beautifully rendered and evocative story that imagines the lives of Victorian artist Leo Dell’oro and his unhappy wife, Clotilde, as conjured by their daughter, the now orphaned Carlotta.
- The Rathbones by Janice Clark (Doubleday). The darkly gothic and complicated history of a New England whaling family spanning the 18th and 19th centuries serves as the backdrop to this lyrical and deftly written coming-of-age story in which 15-year-old Mercy Rathbone sets sail to discover her family’s secrets.
- The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane (Faber & Faber, Oct.). In this elegantly suspenseful and precisely written novel, McFarlane tells the story of two women: Ruth, a widow approaching old age, and the younger Frida, who claims to be a case worker sent by the government.
- Ecko Rising by Danie Ware (Titan). Ware’s clever, self-aware, and vividly set genre-blending novel introduces Ecko, an antihero agent of sorts, who has been modified in a number of intriguing ways. While on a mission in a cyberpunk future London, Ecko falls into a medieval-like realm of high fantasy where he joins a battle to save the world.
- Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon (S. & S.). This spare and gleaming novel tells of North Korean solider Yohan, who immigrates to Brazil after spending time in a South Korean prison camp. In South America, Yohan finds some peace in his work with a tailor and his interactions with two young orphans but is still haunted by the memories of his past.