The novel This September Sun is a chronicle of the lives of two women, the romantic Evelyn and her granddaughter Ellie, from the time Evelyn arrived in the then Rhodesia at the end of the Second World War to the present day.
Growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, Ellie yearns for a life beyond the confines of ‘small town’ Zimbabwe, a wish that eventually comes true when she moves to the United Kingdom. However, life there is not all she dreamed it to be, but it is the murder of her grandmother that eventually brings her back home and forces her to face some hard home truths. Ellie looks back, through her grandmother’s diary entries and letters, and through her own childhood memories, to the doomed relationship between Evelyn and her mysterious lover G., and to other long-concealed family secrets.
This September Sun impressed me as a new refreshing breeze that offers an incisive insight into the Rhodesian and, later, Zimbabwean psyche, … [it] is a rich addition to the canon of Zimbabwean and world literature. It is an intriguing and riveting story of the protagonist Ellie McIntyre and her grandmother Evelyn Saunders. – Francis Mungana, The Standard
Bryony Rheam offers us a rich portrait of a family and a society in the grip of inexorable change, through the eyes of the sensitive, spirited Ellie. Elegantly written, funny and poignant, this is a wonderful first novel from a writer of great promise. A true original. - Caroline Gilfillan
A beautifully executed story about Ellie’s painful journey of discovery through her family history. The writing in This September Sun, poetic at times, fires a clear warning shot across the bows of world literature to announce that Bryony Rheam has arrived to claim her rightful place. - Christopher Mlalazi
It’s so beautifully written and I think Bryony grew up in Zimbabwe around the same time as me so there are so many little things she mentions that capture that era so perfectly. I couldn’t put it down and relished every single page. – Monireh Jassat
This is a wonderful book. I read it on the plane, underground trains, buses. I finished it today on the bus when I was coming from Birmingham to Coventry and I said to myself, here is another Doris Lessing. - Albert Nyathi
In This September Sun, Bryony Rheam takes a bold but necessary step toward exorcising the ghost of Rhodesia from the house of Zimbabwean letters. – James Graham, The Warwick Review