Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly may well be my favorite WW II historical novel. Like Women in the Castle, also a favorite, Lilac Girls explores the lives of three women in war torn Europe. It is based on a real-life story of Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite, who supported the French Resistance and exposed the atrocities of Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp. Weaving the story of three very different women, including a German female doctor whose job was to perform experimental surgery on the "rabbits"( women prisoners), Kelly is able to evoke every manner of emotion while exposing the very real horror of Hitler's campaign. Kelly's research is impressive; I couldn't put the book down!
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
This is great historical fiction about the first wife of Albert Einstein, Mitza Maric, who was a brilliant physicist in her own right. Her relationship with Albert and their marriage reveal the difficulty for women during the early 20th century to have a career. Her own contributions to the field of developing science helped promote Albert’s career but as his career began to rise, she was diminished and her scientific endeavors stifled. Benedict reveals Mitza’s struggles and disappointments with sensitivity and insight. A fascinating woman! This is a must read! Loved it!
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
An absolutely riveting story of women who spied for France and England during WWI and made huge contributions to the war effort. Quinn crafts a heart-wrenching historical fiction of three young women, Lilli, Violette and Margarite who put their lives in danger and suffered horrendous consequences for God and country. And then there is Charlie St. Claire, a young woman who shows up after the war, searching for her cousin whom she believes is still alive. She collides with Margarite in the search for revenge and truth. This is a fabulous story and once I began could not put it down until I finished!! Loved it!
Absolutely loved this historical fiction book! Could not stop reading it! It tells the story of female spies during World War I & II. The plot & pace of the book is riveting! A must read.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The lifetime story of an "old Hollywood" legend. She is telling "it all" with numerous plot twists. Very enjoyable read! Makes you wonder if any of this fiction could be true?
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Emotional novel set in the South told as only Joshilyn can write it! Family secrets, family dynamics and small town mentality. Good read!
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
The Appalachian voice is very much alive in this debut novel. Weiss’s beautiful writing transported me to another place, Baine Creek, a poor community in the heart of Appalachia. Sadie Blue is one of many memorable characters that grab your attention and won’t let you go. Although life is difficult, Sadie and her friends are fighters and survive adversity to become stronger people valuing their friendship with each other. Weiss demonstrates in this wonderful novel the old adage, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Underneath some very odd behaviors lies love and compassion. A great story and as southern as you can get! Loved it!
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
This book is just perfect. As we saw in A Man Called Ove, Backman is a masterful storyteller - his characters are so raw and endearing they feel as though they are part of your family. Beartown is about a town - more importantly, a hockey town. It is a town with high hope, big dreams, all resting on the shoulders of a team of teenage boys. But make no mistake, Beartown is about so much more than hockey...it is about what it means to be a family, what it takes to create and sustain a community, and what can tear it apart. It is about those we love fiercely. It is about honor, loyalty and standing up for what is right. It is about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and best friends... the kind of friends who know you better than you know yourself. It is about everything we hold dear. I absolutely loved it!
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
This is the most compelling and powerful book I’ve read this year! Given what we know about radioactivity and its danger to humans, it is hard to believe that a mere century ago, radium was considered a miracle mineral and good for you. People drank it for nutritional benefit, put it on their skin and it was used to make things glow in airplane dials and in watches. Moore paints the gut-wrenching story of the young women who painted radium on watch dials unaware of the danger and constantly reminded by their employers that it was very safe. Not until they started getting sick and dying did anyone take notice. It was left up to the sick girls to file law suits and go to court seeking justice. Up until that time there were no safety rules in the workplace. This story relates their struggle. It is a heartbreaking story but also one filled with courage and purpose. I was totally captivated and even after finishing the book the experiences of these women lingers.
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Good gracious what a riveting read! I love everything Gin writes and she has outdone herself with Fierce Kingdom. It is a literary thriller about an unforgettable mother and son whose simple trip to the zoo turns into three hours of terror after gunshots ring out. If you have ever visited the Birmingham Zoo it will hit VERY close to home! A suspenseful, pitch perfect novel that I could not put down.
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer
This is a wonderful historical fiction which allows us to travel to Siena, Italy during the time of the plague in the 14th century. We are also privy to the work of fresco artist, Gabriele Accorsi. Winnower has woven a fascinating tale of mystery, romance and time travel and I was captivated by her narrative. Delicious read.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Horowitz tricked me! Just when I thought I was going to find out who killed Mary Blakeston and Sir Magnus, I discovered the manuscript was missing and I was off on another mystery of the missing pages! Darn! What a teaser! But this is what a great mystery is all about and eventually I found out the truth in the end! Riveting! A must read!
The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Wow! What a ride! Jane Hawk is one tough FBI agent in a world of trouble! Her husband commits suicide and she knows something isn’t right. Her search for answers puts herself and those she loves in serious danger, but she risks everything to find the truth! Intense and riveting! I couldn’t put it down.
Edgar and Lucy By Victor Lodato
What a tender, remarkable story. This book took me completely by surprise, gradually exerting a grip on me as I raced to the end. It is an intriguing story weaving together the lives of Edgar, a small albino boy in peril, with nothing but his wide-eyed innocence to save him, and Lucy, his flawed but loving mother who is simply overwhelmed with life. Adding to the cast of fascinating character are Edgar’s stable, adoring grandmother, his psychologically impaired father, the heartbroken man whose chance encounter alters everything. The complexity of Edgar & Lucy’s relationship and those who come into their life takes the novel in a wholly unexpected direction. This book will both fill you with joy and break your heart.
Alex and Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Melissa de la Cruz brings to life an enchanting and delightful romance in ALEX & ELIZA. Based on the imagined courtship of two Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, the story seamlessly weaves together fact with fiction, resulting in a tale that is interesting and engaging, sparking curiosity about the lives of these historical figures, It is a captivating, thoroughly enjoyable, good old fashioned love story. If you have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack, I dare you not to sing while you read!
The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder
What an absolute joy to read.Funny, tender, honest and insightful. Anyone who says they do not enjoy this book or see elements of their own insecurities and family dysfunction is lying. Fans of Jonathan Tropper will enjoy. Perfect beach read that will make you laugh out loud.