I’ve been on a reading tear lately, with a mix of advanced titles from my recent library convention, an updated take on Shakespeare, and a discussion-worthy title for my book discussion. Let’s go!
Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown was just…immensely satisfying. I adored Brown’s first title, The Weird Sisters, so I was eager to snap this advanced copy up at ALA, and it did not disappoint. This tells parallel stories – Madeleine’s marriage is strained, so she returns home, and in so doing, finds journals belonging to her grandmother. The journals Margie left behind are from her time spent in Paris in 1924, where she found love, art, independence and freedom. So how did she end up the grandmother Madeleine remembered? I love the alternating time periods and voices, and Brown’s prose is just lovely and cozy and embracing. I devoured this novel, utterly transported to lovely, enchanting Paris. Highly recommended!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah continued the French theme, and was our recent pick for our library book discussion – and we had a LOT to discuss! Isabelle and Vianne are French sisters who are caught up in World War II in very different ways – one as a rescuer of downed airmen, and the other as a mother trapped in a house billeted by a Nazi officer. There is SO MUCH in this book that makes you think, empathize, cringe, rejoice and devour – we had a lively discussion, and the consensus was that everyone LOVED this book. If you love a smart, woman-driven historical novel, definitely check this one out!
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is the latest entry in the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, where modern superstar authors are adapting a Shakespearean play into today – and Tyler chose Taming the Shrew. This slim novel is full of snappy sarcasm, engaging characters, and echoes of the original play without being too literal. Great fun!
I also got an advanced copy of Falling by Jane Green, and it’s…disappointing. I normally like Green’s work, but this romance is a bit…recycled. I feel like it’s been cobbled together from every other trite romance out there, and not very well. I really struggled just to finish it. Bummer.