You know that saying “The days are long, but the years are short?” That sums up my summer. The individual days dragged on at times, but the months flew by. All of a sudden, the kids are back in school. Since my last book post was in June, I have a slew of good book recommendations to share today. It always feels like I read more fiction during the summer, and this year was no exception.
What I’ve Been Reading
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This novel set in WWII Europe has been on my TBR list for umm… years. I actually checked it out from the library a few times and simply didn’t get into it. Finally I got over the hump and then I was hooked. Marie Laure is a teenage blind girl in German-occupied France. Werner is an orphaned German boy whose gift for engineering takes him to a prestigious school that trains Nazi soldiers. The story is unique and opened my eyes to elements of WWII that I had never really considered. The writing is beautiful, and the story is compelling. I highly recommend it.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
On the heels of All the Light We Cannot See, I launched into another WWII novel, although the two are very different. This novel takes place in France and details the plight of two sisters during the war. Each has her own personal struggles, and in turn, fights back against the enemy in her own way. I was struck by the description of life under German occupation. In the past when I thought about those who suffered during WWII, I mostly thought of the concentration camps. I didn’t often think about how others were affected, but The Nightingale helped me see that there were so many types of suffering. It’s an emotional story, but inspires perseverance and heroism under the worst circumstances.
I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Zoe Walker, a middle-aged mom in London, is shocked and unnerved when she discovers a picture of herself accompanying an ad for a chat line in the daily paper. Soon after, she sees another picture advertising the same chat line and recalls the woman’s face from a recent article about victims of theft. Zoe is mostly able to call it coincidence until she sees a news report about a murder and realizes the murdered woman’s picture was recently featured in the same chat line advertisement. Together with police officer Kelly Swift, Zoe attempts to determine who is behind these mysterious ads and whether she might actually be in danger. Ruth Ware (author of The Woman in Cabin 10) describes it perfectly as “a deliciously creepy tale of urban paranoia.”
The Dry by Jane Harper
Aaron Falk returns to his small Australian hometown to attend the funeral of one his best childhood friends. In a seemingly open and shut case, Luke killed himself after killing his wife and young son. While Aaron has been out of touch with Luke for some time, something about the situation doesn’t quite add up. Apart from facing the possibility that Luke did in fact kill his own family, Aaron must come to terms with the mysterious death that drove him and his father from town many years before. While I enjoyed the suspense, I felt like the conclusion was a stretch. It’s a good story showing how tension and suffering can lend bias to a situation, but I wasn’t sold on the ending.
I Found You by Lisa Jewell
I was on a suspense kick this summer and this one didn’t disappoint in the heebie jeebie category. There’s a lot going on in this novel. Alice Lake is a mother of three in a small town on the coast of England. She discovers a man suffering from amnesia on the beach one day, and inexplicably takes him in. Meanwhile, Lily Monrose is back in London, searching for her missing husband, Carl. It seems simple enough, but Jewell also weaves in flashbacks of a teenage sister and brother, Kirsty and Gray, who encounter a strange young man named Mark while vacationing on the coast with their parents. The author does a good job of tying the pieces together, only revealing bits and pieces at a time, until you’re left dying to know how it will turn out.
He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly
This thriller was one of my favorites this summer and kept me guessing until the very end. Kit and Laura are eclipse chasers, traveling the world to experience the path of totality. (Coincidentally, I read He Said/She Said just before the recent solar eclipse. I think it added to the creepiness factor.) During an eclipse festival, Kit and Laura interrupt what they believe to be a crime in progress. The ensuing consequences of their involvement continue to plague them, no matter the distance they put between themselves and the others involved. This is a story about perception and the ripple effect of lies, even those told with the best intentions. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy psychological thrillers.
What have you been reading??