School’s back and the heatwave’s already a distant memory; autumn is in the air. But the end of the season of strawberries and aperol spritzes does have its upsides; a quieter social calendar meaning more time to curl up with a good book. Here are some brilliant British titles to get you started.

First up is Katie Khan’s The Light Between Us (Doubleday, out now), the follow up to her well-reviewed debut Hold Back the Stars. The latter was a dystopian novel set in space; the new one is no less ambitious in its premise, focusing on the trifling subject of time travel. But before you let the sci-fi premise put you off, it’s really a story about relationships, and one that is beautifully told at that. Thea and Isaac meet at Oxford but it never quite happens; a few years later he’s living it up in New York and she’s still at the university trying to prove her theory of time. When she accidentally succeeds and a mutual friend go missing, they have no choice but to pair up, sole a space-time mystery and see what might have been. I can’t pretend to know whether the physics holds up, but as a pageturner, it certainly does.

Another sophomore novel, this time from Laura Purcell, will also keep you gripped. Purcell’s first book, The Silent Companions, was so creepy I could only read it in the daytime; The Corset (Raven, 4th Oct) is not quite as chilling, but it’s equally engrossing. It’s the 19th century, and impoverished seamstress Ruth Butterham is in jail, accused, it seems, of murder. Of whom, and what her motive would have been only becomes clear as the novel progresses and we hear her tale alongside wealthy do-gooder Dorothea. But is Ruth the cold-blooded killer everyone says, playing with powers beyond her control, or is she a victim of circumstance, of poverty and ill fortune? What’s clear is that both she and Dorothea are women of considerable agency at a time when men were in charge, making them all the more fascinating to read about.

A century or so later, Juliet Armstrong is a young woman serving her country during the war, in a secretarial job that soon becomes something far more exciting; a post monitoring the antics of Nazi sympathisers. A decade on, she is working in a dull job at the BBC, when her past appears to be catching up with her. Juliet is the heroine of Kate Atkinson’s latest, Transcription (Doubleday, out now), which reads like an extended version of one of Ursula’s lives from Life After Life. It’s not as memorable or as affecting as either that or the follow up, A God in Ruins, but it’s still a deftly written, entertaining read and Juliet is a typically plucky Atkinson heroine.

For a more prosaic story, Patrick Gale’s Take Nothing with You (Tinder Press, out now) is the book to give you all the feelings this autumn. Facing a lonely middle age when he is suddenly struck down with cancer, Eustace lies in a hospital reminiscing about the first 50 years of his life and his complicated relationship with his parents. And so we are transported back to his austere childhood in Weston-Super-Mare, living in the ghoulish setting of the old-people’s-home that his parents ran and escaping the mundanity via his passion for the cello. As Eustace enters secondary school, he begins to explore his sexual identity, understand the limitations of his world and come to terms with his parents as highly-flawed individuals. Told in sparse prose, Gale’s poignant, understated novel is an absolute triumph.

Finally, for another novel about a man in his prime dealing with a life-threatening illness, Thomas Maloney’s Learning to Die (Scribe, out now) is a bleakly comic story about friendship and fitting in, following four loosely connected individuals as they come to terms with their own mortality. One for those who like eccentric characters grappling with philosophical questions.