I have been reading A LOT recently. As I was on sick leave for a while with nothing much to do, books were my go to entertainment. So today I’m sharing my recent reads with you.
Click on the picture to go straight to Amazon.
If you do not want to wait for a post like this one, I write reviews of the books I read them on my instagram profile.
The Book of Longings
This book has been sitting on my Kindle shelf for a while. The reason being that the story is about Jesus’ fictional wife Ana and I wasn’t sure whether I’d like a book so heavily based on religion.
Then again, I loved the author’s other books so much that I gave it a go – and I’m so glad I did.
Yes the story is about Jesus and religion, but it is so much more about Ana, who is a woman trying to follow her longings in pursuit of the largeness inside herself. Women do not have a place in the time she lives in. They belong to and are ruled over by men.
So the story is Ana’s. Her struggles, her rebellion, her friendships, her writings, her fight. And her love for Jesus.
Historically the novel follows Jesus’ journey and the author addresses the fictional liberties very well.
I literally could not put this book down and finished it in a few days.
I waited, suffered, wrote, loved with Ana.
I lived with Ana’s rebellion against the patriarchy.
What Ana wanted most was a voice.
And @suemonkkidd gave her one.
By Hope Adams
✨✨✨✨ (4/5 stars)
This is a lovely historical fiction that set me right into the lives of women in 1841.
It tells the story of a ship’s voyage from England to Van Diemen’s land (now Tasmania). On board are 180 female petty convicts sent to Australia to redeem themselves. 23 year old Kezia is set to supervise them and while doing so makes them sew a quilt.
But during the voyage a woman is killed and in close quarters everyone becomes a suspect.
The story is based on true events. The Raja quilt hangs in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
It’s a story about female hardships, unlikely friendships, a murder mystery and what you’d do to get a better life.
I loved reading this tale based on true events with a murder mystery twist.
I could feel the sea, the unsavory conditions onboard, the struggles and desperation of the women and the hope for better we all have.
Only 4 stars as I found that although the storyline is great, it didn’t have me in its grip as much as other historical fiction does.
I haven’t been this touched by a book in a very long time.
TROIS (English title THREE)
✨✨✨✨✨ (5/5 stars)
It is hard to describe this book.
It is a coming of age story of three kids that grow up in a small town.
Nina, Etienne, Adrien.
Their individual stories intertwine. They are inseparable. And yet.
It’s a story about friendships that bind, that replace family, that save lives and that also create secrets and pain.
The storyline switches from the 80ies/90ies to now. Music and songs of that time become the soundtrack that sets you right back to your own youth, your own struggles, your own pretenses, your own fear, insecurities, fusional friendships and first love.
It is also the stories of all the people surrounding the Three. Teachers, parents, lovers, partners. She manages to describe and bring to life each one so well in a few sentences.
It is the story of a small town and its advantages and disadvantages, of ‘everyone knows everyone’, of a safe community, but also of following the norm when you’re different.
From the start you know something happened. And slowly things are divulged. But the end is so magical and unexpected that it left me speechless.
I have read the author’s other books and fell in love with her writing style.
I finished it yesterday but the story and characters are still with me and I can’t wait for her next book!
Merci @valerieperrin_ d’avoir créé ces personnages touchants et cette histoire plus vraie que la vie!
The Thursday Murder Club
Between reading historical fiction (my favorite) and self help books (for personal growth) I like to spice up my reading with the occasional crime or detective novel.
Very few times am I really surprised or absolutely hooked as many follow the same line and only the plots differ.
But this one feels like a complete genre of its own.
Most of it takes place in a retirement home where we meet a few of its elderly residents who meet up once a week to investigate cold cases.
When a murder happens in their community they start helping the police and the tricks they have up their sleeves are sometimes unorthodox but it makes for very funny and entertaining reading.
The characters grow on you and are very well developed.
It’s so funny and witty I can’t put it down.
Oh and I’ve ordered the follow on books of the Thursday Murder Club!
The Lost Apothecary
I am a fan of historical fiction and dual timelines and this magic book (isn’t the cover gorgeous? – by @elitasidiropoulou ) doesnt disappoint.
It is a story of forgotten women, their hardships and their means to revenge.
It is also the story of Nella, the apothecary who has known hardships of her own driving her into a secluded life to help those women.
And then precocious 12 year old Eliza arrives and upends Nella’s life.
Two hundred years later, Caroline, on a honeymoon gone awry, discovers a vial and starts digging in the mud and hidden back alleys of London.
What she discovers is not only Eliza and Nella’s real story, but also the truth about her own path.
I enjoyed this easy to read debut and found it to be well researched and cleverly set up.
The two overlapping timelines made it interesting and the female characters are utterly enjoyable.
I’m taking away one star for the few places in the book that had me going ‘really?’ and that the present day part spun over only a week. Then again, I know myself that lot can happen in a week so maybe that is not entirely justified…
I am waiting for a next book by this author !
I am a sucker for pretty covers (by @katietookedesign
So that is definitely one thing that drew me to this book.
The Dance Tree
Five stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
I’m also a sucker for historical fiction.
And this story is based on a fascinating true event that happened in 16th century Strasbourg.
During a hot summer, Lisbet, farmer’s wife and beekeeper, meets her sister in law Agnethe for the first time. She has been banished the past 7 years to complete a penance but nobody tells Lisbet why.
Life on the farm is not easy and ruled by husbands, the clergy and the Twelve.
Lisbet is pregnant and afraid to lose this baby as well. She secretly takes refuge under a dance tree, where in pagan tradition she places symbols to deal with her grief.
Then, one day one woman starts dancing for days on end without stopping. When others join her it is declared a plague, a mania, the patriarchy tries to stop it and all hell seems to break loose.
The stories of Lisbet and the women in this book interlace through their suffering, their love, their loss, their friendship, their womanhood.
Although I loved the poetic and lyrical way of writing, it took some pages to get into the story.
The author immersed me into the 16th century hardships of women. Patriarchy, religion, homophobia, racism, love, child loss, pain… It sounds like a horrible setting. And yet there is hope, belief in the good, love, and the connections of women.
I absolutely love this book and am buying more from @kiran_mh
After reading The Four Winds by @kristinhannahauthor I craved more of her books and loved immersing myself in one author for a while.
Within a few weeks I read
I realized I had actually already read it some years ago, but enjoying it a second time.
I love how the author highlights the many unknown women who fought their own fight during the war by staying alive and keeping the offspring alive but also by helping people escape and hiding Jewish kids. Any extreme situation bringsnout the best and the worst in us and the book nicely depicts a couple of sisters struggling woth both.
(also published as Magic Hour)
I felt immediately immersed into this story of a wild foundling girl who appears in a small town and who upseta and endears its entire population. Think ‘Nell’ meets ‘Fargo’ 🤩
I have a few other @kristinhannahauthor books on my list but need something different now before I get back to her.
The Four Winds
I learned a new part of American history with this novel: the drought and great depression that threatened many livelihoods on the Great Plains in the 1930ies. The Dust Bowl is considered the worst environmental disaster in American history. On the dusty sideline is the story of Elsa and her struggles to keep her children alive. It’s about the courage and resilience of women, the acceptance of your faith and the rise of resistance against a failing, oppressive system and being human along the way of hardship.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read!
I have been a fan of Agnes Ledig since I was first introduced by a friend.
She has the talent to create wonderfully deep stories around simple, yet profound lives. Anaelle is dealing with the aftermath of an accident while following her passion of writing through which she comes in contact with prosecutor Hervé whose job is full of horrors and whose private life lacks all excitement.
Thomas on the other hand, is dealing with the illness of his little brother while juggling his job as well as he can.
Agnes will weave these stories together, like life often does.
A joy to read, slowly, while watching the world go by.
I do love me a good crime novel.
And you can’t really go wrong with the Nicci French combo.
3 year old Poppy comes home with a drawing that upsets her recently divorced mom and starts her questioning. Poppy’s behavior changes and Mom starts investigating. But everyone, including the police, seems to think she sees things that aren’t and she should just calm her nerves by talking to a therapist or meditating.
But a mom with a hunch is unstoppable…
I enjoyed the story and after a while even I started thinking the mom was exaggerating. But every time the stories changes just enough to make you doubt.
What Nicci French novel have you enjoyed?
I lived in Paris for 5 years and as an avid reader, spent a lot of time in the Latin quarter and along the Seine where the best bookshops were found.
Place Saint Michel where I spent hours at Gibert Jeune checking out new and used books.
The booksellers along the river for rare books and beautiful prints.
One shop however was an icon not only for its quaintness but also its history and gathering place of all things expatriate America: Shakespeare and Company.
So when my son recently picked this book for me saying it looked like something I’d enjoy I had no clue what to expect and just bought it.
The Paris Bookseller
Tells the story of the original Shakespeare and Company bookshop and its founder Sylvia Beach who opened it in 1919. I thoroughly enjoyed this fictionalized yet true story about this amazing literary era in the city of lights.
If you’re a fan of Paris, of literature, of a good story based on historical events, I can only recommend this treat!
Last November I was in Paris and wanted to introduce my son to the shop but it was closed.
Next time I’m in Paris I’ll make sure to stop by and see it in another light!
I had this book on my ‘to read’ list.
I was gifted it for my birthday/Christmas by my book-lover niece.
It went well with my wintering at that time, in search of what should come next in life.
The midnight library is full of books that each tell the story of your life had you made another decision.
Some of these decisions are the obvious big ones (love, job, move). But it’s the tiny ones that often make that little difference between happiness and disaster.
Or are they really that important?
It’s a great life story full of decisions and philosophical wonderings.
I really enjoyed it.
I read this book in winter 2021. I felt the need to retreat, rest, think, take care of myself.
This book is about all of that and about copying the winter season in slowing things down, retreating, recharging batteries.
In our busy 21st century lives this is now something that we do. It is not something that is ‘allowed’. We’re supposed to do do do, perform, have full to do lists, have a filled agenda.
No wonder we’re all running on empty.
It is time to winter. My body felt it. My brain felt it. My spirit felt it.
This book was a great reminder that wintering is a necessary process every year.
When it’s winter (and it’ll come sooner than you think), what best to read than a book called Winter Garden?
I picked this on a whim and only later realized that the author also wrote Firefly Lane which is a series I loved on Netflix.
I love a story that combines family life, problems and secrets with history and a bit of fairy tale.
I can’t wait to discover more about the author.
Where the lost wander
I read ‘What the wind knows’ by this author and as I really enjoyed it, decided to download another of her books.
This one is equally good and I enjoyed this love story where Naomi and John lose and find each other on their travels West on the Oregon trail.
Hardship, nature, death and birth, love, the landscapes, the heat and dust… It is all very well packaged and never gets boring.
Naomi is also a strong character and maybe a little too ‘modern’ for her own good.
The Beekeepers’s Promise
By Fiona Valpy
I love books that have more than one time line. This one takes place during the second world war in France and tells the story of beekeepers Elaine as well as in 2017 where we follow Abi who has come to France to heal.
It’s light reading which I find perfect for the summer season.
Oh this is good!
Liane Moriarty (who also wrote “Big little lies”) knows how to weave a tale.
And as usual there is something odd that you can’t figure out.
Joy and Stan are former tennis school coaches who successfully coached not only their own children but many a player into the high ranks ot the tennis world.
Retired now, their life seems bland until misfit Savannah finds her way into their life and seems to take over where the children never could.
Said children are of course confused, upset, worried and doubtful about this intruder.
It’s a page turner.
Each character is skillfully portrayed and the disfunctions of family life are beautifully crafted.
Who is Savannah?
And why did Joy suddenly disappear?
Something is not right!
I love Liane’s books about disfunctional lives of ordinary people mixed with a little bit of mystery.
I adored this book.
So well written.
It combines love, family, sisterhood, the mystical, the everyday normal, motherhood, suspense, and so much more.
It daftly weaves a story around two sisters, twins, who are alike yet couldn’t lead more different lives.
Past and present intertwine and it became a real page turner.
First book I read by this author.
Luckily Curtis wrote a few more that have now been loaded onto my kindle.
What the wind knows
When her grandfather dies, Amy travels to Ireland to spread his ashes but also to learn more about her roots.
But she lands in a time warp and historical figures and events become real.
And time becomes irrelevant.
It’s a story about family, love, roots, history, and time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this page turner
I savoured this beautiful book.
The Ophelia Girls
1973 and 1997.
Life, love, lust.
Coming of age as a teenager.
Coming to terms with a past.
Life. Death. Fate.
I loved @laurie.frankel ‘s book: This is how it always is.
I had never read anything like it.
I love how her books view the world from different, unexpected perspectives.
Her new book is no different.
It is written in chapters narrated by 3 twin sisters (hence, one two three) that grow up in a town that is still reeling from the aftermath of a chemical plant that turned the water green and many people sick, 17 years ago.
Nothing ever happens.
Nobody wants to live here but there seems no way out.
Until one day, a moving truck is spotted and things start spinning again.
I love the well developed characters.
The plot reminded me a bit of Erin Brokovich, but the book has so many more levels, characters and spins.
Sometimes a book just jumps out at you.
Sometimes you just have to buy things because they’re pretty.
Sometimes you have to meet a friend to make sense of your world.
Rupi’s poems spoke right out of my heart. They are true, beautiful and remind me that we are not alone in our loving, our suffering, our questioning.
18 year old Daunis, biracial, dork, smart, sensitive, tough, is a powerful heroine you will truly love! She’s a scandalous child of an underage white mother from a wealthy family and a Native American father who loses his hockey career after a terrible accident and cheats on Daunis’ mother with another girl.
Even though Daunis deeply connects with her Native American heritage, she’s still not part of the tribal. She’s pale like a ghost, feeling like not belonging to any community. Some family tragedies force her to change her plans about college.
It’s a story about family, love, Native American wisdom, community, violence etc
The author professionally handles so many sensitive and triggering subjects including abuse, addiction, sexual assault and grief.
I had truly wonderful reading experience! I learned a lot about Native American culture including traditions, language, history, plants, their deep knowledge about chemistry, the survival skills!
Although it is of great depiction of native culture, it is the powerful, layered characters that make this book fantastic.
Besides art books, I love me some fiction.
I am usually not into crime novels much, but @carahunterauthor has written a series that is so gripping that I am having to set time aside because I cannot put them down once I start.
So take one with you on vacation and you’ll be spending hours locked away reading! 😂
Great characters, amazing plot, unexpected twists and turns. All ingredients are there.