I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a sporadic reader.
I devour a handful of books, proudly declaring my love for a great novel, and then months go by before I pick another one up.
It could have something to do with the reading material I choose. Typically, I pick a historical fiction. Usually the story is a little heavy. I adore really great writing, which consequentially, takes me longer to get through. Books with multiple characters, varying generations, intertwining stories, beautiful, thought-provoking ideas – this is what I lean towards.
So I suppose it makes sense that after moving through a few books, I need a mental break. Well, my break is now over. I’m ready to jump back into my love affair with a good book.
For my Spring Reading list, I’ve chosen a few books that fit my typical WWII/Slavery storyline preference (not that both topics are in one book. I enjoy reading WWII books and books about slavery), and pushed myself to pick a few that are decidedly out of my norm.
Here they are, in no particular order:
THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
I have read several of Ms. Morton’s novels and she is brilliant at taking us through history while developing deep characters. I never want the stories to end.
THE WEDDING DRESS by Rachel Hauck
Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress… until she discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history―and its new bride―begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.
This one falls in the Christian Fiction category (which honestly, I’m not always crazy about). But then I read that the dress once belonged to an Emily (that’s me!) and then a Hillary (that’s my little sister!) and decided to give it a try. Plus, it has great reviews.
A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan
Fans of I Don’t Know How She Does It and Where’d You Go, Bernadette will cheer at this “fresh, funny take on the age-old struggle to have it all” (People) about what happens when a wife and mother of three leaps at the chance to fulfill her professional destiny—only to learn every opportunity comes at a price.
Well, I did really enjoy Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and this cover had me at first glance, so I’m giving it a go.
THE PARIS ARCHITECT by Charles Belfoure
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money – and maybe get him killed. But if he’s clever enough, he’ll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won’t find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can’t resist.
But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what’s at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we’ll go to make things right.
COUNTING BY 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.
There is something sort of quirky that intrigues me about this story. I hope it pleasantly surprises me.
IT’S SIMPLY TUESDAY by Emily Freeman
Our obsession with bigger and faster is spinning us out of control. We move through the week breathless and bustling, just trying to keep up while longing to slow down. But real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week. For those being pulled under by the strong current of expectation, comparison, and hurry, relief is found more in our small moments than in our fast movements.
This one has been on my bookshelf since the day it was released. I bought one for my best friend, too, and she keeps reminding me that I really need to read it. I have a hard time making it through Christian living-type books, but I deeply respect Emily and know the content will speak to me right where I’m at. It will be read this spring!
I’LL DRINK TO THAT by Betty Halbreich
Eighty-six-year-old Betty Halbreich is a true original who could have stepped straight out of Stephen Sondheim’s repertoire. She has spent nearly forty years as the legendary personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, where she works with socialites, stars, and ordinary women off the street. She has helped many find their true selves through fashion, frank advice, and her own brand of wisdom. She is trusted by the most discriminating persons—including Hollywood’s top stylists—to tell them what looks best. But Halbreich’s personal transformation from cosseted young girl to fearless truth teller is the greatest makeover of her career.
I’m thinking I need more memoirs in my life. I’ll start with this one.
GLORY OVER EVERYTHING by Kathleen Grissom
A novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.
The author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House continues the story of Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, whose deadly secret compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.
Oh my goodness, did you all read The Kitchen House? Probably my favorite book of all times. Or at least it was when I read it. I cannot wait to read the follow-up story to that one. Cannot wait. It is released on April 5th.
THE COINCIDENCE OF THE COCONUT CAKE by Amy Reichert
You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.
I’ll admit – the cover got me on this one. But the story sounds fun and light and I really, really love coconut cupcakes (particularly this recipe).
So there they are … my nine picks for spring reading. Have you read any of these? Do you have a favorite you’re reading now? Any more suggestions?