Today I’m sharing some books that I’ve read lately that I’m loving.
Has anyone else been reading more since social distancing began back in March? I can’t be the only one who’s been working through the ebooks that they have on hold at the library. I find that reading has been a great way for me to escape. Especially right now that I’ve been spending more time at home and travel isn’t something that I feel comfortable with, it’s nice to be able to dive into a book and “experience” something new. Be sure to check out my books page if you’re looking for more book suggestions.
All of these books were recommended to me. I either had someone message me on Instagram and suggest a book based on what I shared that I was reading or I read someone’s blog and they mentioned the book. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see what I’m reading. I’m so grateful that my library has a great selection of ebooks that I can enjoy. I use Libby to read ebooks. I can’t say enough good things about it. It makes reading so convenient.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
The first of two historical fiction books that I’m sharing today, I really enjoyed this one. It’s the first book that I’ve read my Jojo Moyes, and I’m looking forward to reading more of hers. I fell in love with the characters right away. It was tough to put it down because I was always wanting to know what the main characters would do next. The Giver of Stars (affiliate link) is set in Kentucky in the 1930’s or 1940’s. It’s not a place or time that I read about much so it was great to get a peak into that setting.
Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:
Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.
The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
If you’re at all interested in the British royal family I highly suggest you read The Gown (affiliate link). It follows two of the dressmakers who created the wedding gown for then Princess Elizabeth. If you enjoyed watching The Crown on Netflix then I think you’ll like this too. Although the focus of the main characters is a bit different, I found them both intriguing. Jennifer Robson weaves the stories of two women together – one in the 1940’s and one in Toronto in 2016. I really enjoy historical fiction books that have more than one timeline, and this one was no exception.
London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?
With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I read The Hate U Give (affiliate link) in June when the Black Lives Matters movement was everywhere. In taking a look inward at my own biases, I realized that I don’t read many books by Black authors. It had never occurred to me before that that was the case. I’ve made an effort at putting more books by people of color on my holds list at the library. If I want the TV shows and movies I watch to be created and acted by diverse people, the same should be true of the books that I read. I want them created by Black people and have Black characters.
Here’s the description from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
This is the second book by Sally Hepsworth that I’ve read. The first was The Mother-In-Law back at the end of 2019. I really enjoyed that one and as soon as I finished reading it, I put The Family Next Door (affiliate link) on hold at my library. The Family Next Door follows the lives of several women who live on the same street in Australia. Their lives become intertwined and I kept wanting to read to find out how things were going to turn out.
The synopsis from Goodreads:
The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.
Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.
But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange’s compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won’t let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park – and returned home without her.
As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.
What books have you read that you’ve loved lately? Tell me about them in the comments below.
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