I know it is early.... but I have officially been bitten by the Christmas bug. There is a fresh dusting of snow on the ground and the library is already partially decorated for the holidays. This is the time of year when many authors offer up their yearly Christmas book and I hope to read new titles as I catch them and share my thoughts with you. Luckily, most of the books are short and sweet and very easy reads. My first selection is An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer.
I have long been a fan of author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her romance stories are written with style and grace, and most times love conquers all when the story comes to a happy ever after ending. She certainly surprised me with her latest book, Heroes are My Weakness. Even though the title hints at a romantic setting, this one has a much darker and serious feel to it. In some ways, the beginning had elements of classic gothic romances like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
This is the story of Lila, the much younger wife of Reverend John Ames, first introduced in the Pulitzer prize-winning novel Gilead. Marilynne Robinson’s books, Gilead,Home, and Lilaare set in the small Iowa town of Gilead and are about things of the heart and spirit.
It might be the chill in the air, or the fact that winter is right around the corner, but lately I seem to be drawn to books about food. The storyline in The Glass Kitchen: a novel of sisters by Linda Francis Lee revolves around food, but is also the story of a young woman plucked from her childhood home in Texas and dropped into the bustling world of Manhattan. Struggling to make a new life for herself, with the help of her sisters, Portia Cuthcart uses her kitchen as a refuge which allows her to forgive, forget, and open herself up to her unique gift of magical food.
International bestselling author Jenny Colgan writes delicious little books that I consider total chick-lit. Similar to author Sophie Kinsella, most of Colgan's novels are set in England or France, and are fun reads filled with terms like "bugger" and "sod" that make the stories that much more engaging to me. The books I have read so far are Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, and Sweetshop of Dreams. Each story is unique, and all contain recipes guaranteed to make your sweet tooth tingle.
The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances by Ellen Cooney was definitely a change from my normal reading. Seeing the word dog in the title of the book is what initially caught my eye, but once I started reading I soon realized this was not a cute little dog story, but a tender story of broken people and broken dogs and how they help one another. It took a few chapters to get into the book, but I soon discovered that dogs and humans really are very much alike.
Summer is winding down and beach season is almost over. In a feeble attempt to hold on to those last days of summer I grabbed On the Rocks by Erin Duffy off of the new fiction shelves. The cover picture displays what looks like a tranquil afternoon spent on the beach, but this book was anything but tranquil. On the Rocks is a well written and highly amusing look at one woman's attempt to put her life back together after a very public breakup - via Facebook.
Being a true Southerner means keeping up appearances at all costs. As a result, many Southern couples put on pretenses and sometimes lead double lives. In The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry, Eve and Cooper Morrison are that golden couple, seemingly leading the ideal life as the cream of Savannah society. But, things are not always as they seem. This powerful novel about the value of truth focuses on the Morrison family and the one night that changed the dynamics of their family forever.
Here’s a debut novel for people who liked The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and the TV series BreakingBad. As in The Goldfinch, The Objects of Her Affection is set in the world of art and priceless antiques, and as in Breaking Bad, the main character turns to illegal activity to get money for her family. The story starts in 2005 and ends in 2007. Main character Sophie is married to Brian, a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The family saga first introduced in The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs continues in The Beekeeper's Ball, the second installment of the Bella Vista Chronicles. Former celebrated chef Isabel Johansen is opening a destination cooking school focusing on local produce and products at Bella Vista, her family estate in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel. Isabel is a reserved, organized woman and seems so together, but when renowned journalist Cormac "Mac" O'Neill arrives on the scene he certainly shakes things up.