I love reading seasonally through the year, as you know – summer books in hot weather; Christmas books at the holidays, etc. Surprisingly, though, I haven’t found many books set during the month of September. You’d think that the beginnings of crisp weather and the turning of another school year would present ample material for novelists – and maybe they do and I just haven’t found them, but it seems to me that there’s a niche to be filled here. There are a few standouts set during the ninth month of the year, though, and they’re as lovely as September itself.
R. C. Sherriff’s A Fortnight in September – republished by Persephone Books – has proven popular enough to be made into a Persephone Classic, and for good reason. It’s one of those books in which nothing happens and at the same time everything happens. Covering a family’s annual seaside holiday from the delicious anticipation of the night before to the last bittersweet walk on the promenade, it’s a poignant and sweet read that will stay with you.
One of my recent reads – just this month! – Crooked Sixpence, by Jane Shaw, follows six intrepid friends as they investigate some seriously sinister goings-on over a few hot September weeks. Why is the kindly and beloved local squire (grandfather to two of the gang) receiving poison pen letters with the apparent aim of driving him from his ancestral holdings? What is the connection to the spooky “Tudor Boy” ghost who has been appearing nightly and clanking across the too-aptly named Villain Field? And how is this all connected to the Roman coin that a local shut-in gave to the lead character? There’s haying, a rollicking camping trip, and lots of good food (advice: DO NOT read this book hungry).
Finally, can’t leave out the ultimate – September, by Rosamunde Pilcher, actually takes place mostly over the course of six or so months leading up to the climactic September ball. As is typical for Pilcher, it’s a hefty novel packed with detail – there are picnics in the Scottish heather, lots of tea, a cast of fully-realized characters, and a poignant climax. I love Pilcher’s novels, and although this didn’t top The Shell Seekers as my favorite (although if you’ve read that one, you’ll recognize one of the characters in September) it was a cracking good read.
What are your favorite books set in September? Any recommendations for me?