The Secret Wife | Gill Paul
A captivating romance set in 1914 war torn Russia is woven with a present day timeline in London and upstate NY. The Secret Wife is a meticulously researched and compelling love story that reveals a fascinating time in history. It was remarkable to learn about history in such a way. Clever and beautifully written, one of my absolute favorite books this year.
The Perfume Collector is another one of my favorites this go round. Nuanced and elegantly written, Tessaro seamlessly weaves a tale of two women who have never met - sweet, endearing Grace Munroe and fascinating, enchanting Eva D'Orsay. Their separate timelines feature a mysterious, luxurious, scent filled journey through London, Paris, New York and Monte Carlo from 1927 thru 1955. If the thought of "a book about perfume" doesn't sound enticing (it didn't to me at first) trust me, it's easy to embrace the role perfume plays in this novel - it is so incredibly, beautifully portrayed.
These two books I actually read last summer and completely forgot to fill you in.
Kissing Frogs and sequel Fish in The Sea are written by a local author Stephanie Blackburn. (Note - she gifted me these books). Her novels follow the life of Elliot Roux and her tight group of girlfriends as they navigate their twenties in Boston. Locals and twenty somethings especially will enjoy the relatability factor. Stephanie's writing evokes the realness of emotions, from heartbreak to humor, successes and failures, from the bonds of friendship to trying family drama. Overall though her books are breezy, fun beach reads. And why not support a local gal?!
Anything is Possible | Elizabeth StroutThis was a quick read - it actually proved a perfect 4th of July Lake read - sunbathing, boating, kids and family running all around, it was easy to put down and pick up since it felt more like a series of short stories. Strout has a prose unlike anyone else I've read; she poetically depicts a cast of small town, mostly poor characters coping with love, loss and life. Although the full cast of characters proved mostly forgettable, I still found the book engaging.
Strout received extensive praise for the prequel "My Name is Lucy Barton" and I'm definitely going to read that at some point. Lucy's character is (controversial to what I stated above) a poignant role in this book, one you won't soon forget.
Small Great Things | Jodi Picoult
Sex Object | Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti is a highly publicized and controversial feminist. I had no idea about her and no one recommended this book to me, I randomly stumbled upon it. I don't typically enjoy memoirs, maybe why you don't see any I've read on here! This one was different, it struck a chord in me. Deeply moving, darkly funny and bracing, I found Jessica to be incredibly brave and likable. I genuinely appreciate this memoir and her.