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PEOPLE's Best Books to Read in September 2023

See the best books to cozy up with this month. Edited by Kate Tuttle

Turning the tables on a famous killer, surviving an absent father, and finding sanctuary at last — see PEOPLE's book picks!

Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

'Bright Young Women' by Jessica Knoll
'Bright Young Women' by Jessica Knoll

In this fictionalized look at Ted Bundy and the fallout from his crime spree, the spotlight shifts away from the killer. Knoll, backed by research that’s evident at every twist, compiles a riveting case study exposing how society mythologizes madmen at the expense of the women whose lives they end. Female rage has never felt more warranted—each word is intentional and revelatory, down to the restorative last line. — Reviewed by Benjamin VanHoose

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright

'The Wren, The Wren' by Anne Enright
'The Wren, The Wren' by Anne Enright

Throughout Carmel’s childhood, her father put his role as famous poet before his family. That legacy looms over Carmel and her daughter Nell as they struggle to find happiness in Enright’s rapturous portrait of love’s often unbearable burdens. — Reviewed by Cory Oldweiler

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

'Night Watch' by Jayne Anne Phillips
'Night Watch' by Jayne Anne Phillips

In 1874 a mother and daughter seek refuge in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. These tenderly rendered rattled souls find unexpected peace after terrifying years of war and its aftermath. The pain is leavened by Phillips’s exquisite pastoral descriptions. — Reviewed by Lauren LeBlanc

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

Chenneville: A Novel of Murder, Loss, and Vengeance by Paulette Jiles

'Chenneville' by Paulette Jiles
'Chenneville' by Paulette Jiles

This vibrant story will captivate you with its emotional complexity. When John Chenneville returns home from the Civil War, he learns that a ruthless killer has gotten away with the murder of his sister, her husband and their baby. As Chenneville chases this scoundrel across the frontier, master storyteller Jiles elegantly ropes in the reader’s heart. — Reviewed by Marion Winik

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

Rogue by Mona Awad

'Rogue' by Mona Awad
'Rogue' by Mona Awad

Being the fairest of them all isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be in this entrancing gothic novel about an adult daughter trying to figure out what part a mysterious, cult-like spa might have played in her mother’s death. Surreal, scary and deeply moving—like all the best fairy tales. — Reviewed by Rosalind Faires

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

One Blood by Denene Millner

'One Blood' by Denene Millner
'One Blood' by Denene Millner

As a young girl, Grace learned about babies from her midwife grandmother — and inherited from her the gift (or curse) of seeing the future. This powerful, deeply moving saga follows Grace and her descendants, women who share strength and sorrow.

Buy it: Amazon, Bookshop.org

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