Although spring and the approach of the end of the school year always feels like the busiest time, I’ve still managed to read quite a few books. It’s the one thing that I do where I can zone everything else out and completely relax. This also explains why I often wake up wearing my reading glasses and clutching my kindle. . . As I’ve mentioned many times, I love a multi-generational family drama mixed with some historical fiction. I feel like I recently hit the jackpot with some of these new releases.
The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson This is the story of two black teenage girls in the 1950s on two very different paths (and from very different backgrounds). The books follows each of their lives as they coincide and eventually collide in an unexpected way. It deals with interracial relationships, the expectation of women’s roles during this time and contrasts their lives with one growing up in poverty and the other marrying into wealth. I don’t remember how I found this book, but it was a wonderful surprise and will been one of my top reads of the year.
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano I had heard a lot of great things about this book and for me, it lived up to the hype. My only regret is that I listened to it on audio and wish I would have read it so that I could have savored it more. This is the story of William, who has grown up with little nurturing in a house of sadness but finds basketball to be his saving grace. He meets and marries Julia, one of four tight-knit sisters (a very loose retelling of Little Women) and so begins the story of how he becomes interwoven with their family over many decades. These’s so many smaller storylines running throughout this novel, and it spans over the family’s lifetime. It deals with mental illness, strained family relationships, loss and of course, love. The characters felt so real and I highly recommend.
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy Well, this one was a surprising find. I hadn’t heard one word about it (although it was published in November) but it, also, will be one of my top reads of the year. It’s set against a historical background in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and centers around a young woman who’s trying to juggle teaching, helping with the family business and taking care of her alcoholic mother after her dad has passed away. In the middle of it all, she falls into an unexpected and dangerous relationship. The ending completely took me by surprise. Loved, loved, loved this one. Why aren’t more people talking about it?
Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro Another amazing family drama that was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. You learn about the lives of two families who live across the street the from each other and how their lives intersect in important ways over many years. They’re not necessarily friends–more of acquaintances–and are in very different seasons of their lives, with one family being younger and the other empty nesters. I loved the unexpected friendship that occurs and learning what was going on behind each of their front doors over the years to lead them together at the end. Also, Dani Shapiro is a beautiful writer.
All My Knotted-Up Life by Beth Moore I’ll preface this by saying I’ve never really done any Beth Moore bible studies or read any of her books. I mostly know her personality through Twitter and have seen a few videos of her speaking. But, I can’t tell you how much I loved this memoir. I did end up listening to it and would recommend the audio if you listen to books at all. By the end of it, I felt like we were friends and loved the honest but gracious way she talked about a hard upbringing, a complicated relationship with her dad, sexual abuse and growing up in church. She also talks about raising her girls and being married while starting her own ministry in a male-dominated world and the challenges that came along with all of it. I especially related to her decision, as an adult, to the leave the denomination she had been a part of her whole life and the heartache she’s experienced through that process in recent years. If you’re going to listen to one memoir–and maybe you don’t even know who Beth Moore is–I’ll vouch for this one.
Bonus: I’m currently reading Pineapple Street (another new release) by Jenny Jackson, and although I’m only about 10% in, I’m loving it so far.
What have you read lately?
Need more book recommendations?