What I’m Reading: July

book recommendations

One thing I love about summer is all the extra time spent by the pool and on the beach. It’s the perfect time to squeeze in some extra reading. I’ve been on a book binge lately and lucky for my wallet, our local library has come through big time. If you’re in need of some great summer reading options, then you came to the right place.

Still Life by Louise Penny

Modern Mrs. Darcy put this one in the “addictive series” section of her annual summer reading guide and rightfully so. I’m already onto the second novel in this series of mysteries centering around Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a lead homicide detective in Montreal. Still Life is a genuine mystery novel and what I really loved about it was that unlike so many others in this genre, it isn’t grisly. Yes, there’s a murder, but I was able to enjoy trying to solve the mystery without disturbing images keeping me awake at night. The characters are well-developed and there is no shortage of clues to keep you guessing.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I picked up Orphan Train for a book club and got quickly hooked as the author alternates between the narratives of Molly and Niamh, two girls whose individual experiences as orphans span approximately 80 years. Though distinctive, their stories share common themes of abandonment, isolation and oppressive loneliness. I loved the historical element, as well as the way the author weaves the two girls’ stories together. It also sheds an interesting and heartbreaking light on the experience of orphaned children who shuffle from home to home in search of nothing more than having their basic needs met and possibly some kindness.

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

I read this one a couple months before I picked up Orphan Train, but there are some strong similarities in the beginning. This story also begins with a young Irish immigrant who finds herself without family in the middle of New York City and is sent to the midwest via the “orphan train” by the Children’s Aid Society. Although Anne’s story starts about 50 years earlier, she too struggles to overcome the isolation she feels as an abandoned and unwanted child. Eventually a kindly doctor’s wife takes her in and begins to teach her the practice of midwifery… and then some. As an adult Anne becomes well-known as a female physician who will help women “in trouble,” a practice which was illegal at the time. This story was extremely interesting, viewing a still controversial issue from the lens of a different time period.

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

If the last two novels sound too serious for summer, then The Year We Turned Forty is right up your alley. Three women celebrating their 50th birthdays are given a magical opportunity… they can all return to a specific year in their lives that they wish they could do differently. They must all choose the same year and will have one year for their do-over at the end of which they must collectively decide whether to remain in that alternate life or to go back to real life. The characters are authentic and relatable, and the story pushes the reader to consider whether they would consider their own “do-over” given the chance.

What are you reading this summer??

 

{Linking to Modern Mrs. Darcy}

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