🅰️Have you read the classic, ‘The Scarlet Letter’, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850? Did you read it on your own or as a school assignment? I read it several yrs ago & I can honestly say, ‘Hester’—released earlier this month & a BOTM pick—is SO much better!
📖‘Hester’ by Laurie Lico Albanese is a stunning, poignant, masterfully created work of art! It’s a reimagining of the tragic heroine that inspired ‘The Scarlet Letter’ & from her point of view. I absolutely loved it! It’s very well narrated on audiobook as well! Thank you to St Martins Press for my autographed gift copy of the book along with the handkerchief seen in the photo.
🅰️Who is the real Hester Pryne? Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s w/ her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Glasgow for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they’ve arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic––leaving Isobel penniless & alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.
🅰️When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows––while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass & Edward’s safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel & Isobel grow closer & closer. Together, they are a muse & a dark storyteller; the enchanter & the enchanted. But which is which?
🅰️In this sensuous & hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples w/ our country’s complicated past, & learns that America’s ideas of freedom & liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven w/ Isobel & Nathaniel’s story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a “real” American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, & atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of “unusual” women being accused of witchcraft.
💁🏼♀️Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Laurie Lico Albanese’s ‘Hester’ is a timeless tale of art, ambition, & desire that examines the roots of female creative power & the men who try to shut it down.
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Click HERE to add ‘Hester’ to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to find ‘Hester’ at a local or online independent bookstore using BookStoreLink
☀️Happy Sunday readers! I’m excited to tell you about one of my most anticipated books of 2022, coming to bookstore shelves this Tues, 5/3!
🥰I read & completely fell in love with ‘The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek’ last year. Not only did it become one of my top 20 reads of all time, but it’s a book I recommend often to other readers looking to branch out of their usual bookish comfort zone or who love a well-written historical-fiction novel.
🎧If you’re like me & have a hard time getting into historical fiction in physical book format, I implore you to try it on audiobook. It can make all the difference when it comes to bringing the pages alive with atmosphere, especially when it’s read by a great narrator. I listen to audiobooks nearly every single day while going about my usual mundane chores, while driving, exercising, grocery shopping, cooking, & even showering.
✒️Bestselling author Kim Michele Richardson is back w/ the perfect book club read, ‘The Book Woman’s Daughter’ (5/3). The story is about Honey Mary Angeline Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome Creek book woman, who must fight for her own independence w/ the help of the women who guide her & the books that set her free.
📖In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey & her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother & father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.
📖Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. She’s looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive, but the route can be treacherous, & some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way. If Honey wants to bring the freedom that books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, & along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills & hollers can make all the difference in the world.
💕Stunning & profound, ‘The Book Woman’s Daughter’ is a story about women with raw courage, fierce strength, & who are true heroines of the Appalachian Trail. Highly recommend both books! Thank you SourceBooks Landmark for my gift copy!
➡️Click any of the highlighted titles above to add them to your Goodreads lists. Also, visit my Instagram page post HERE & show the author (& me!) your support by giving it some LIKE love!🥰
✒️About the Author: The NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author, Kim Michele Richardson is an multiple-award winning author & has written four works of historical fiction, & a bestselling memoir. Her latest critically acclaimed novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek has earned a 2020 PBS Readers Choice, 2019 LibraryReads Best Book, Indie Next, SIBA, Forbes Best Historical Novel, Book-A-Million Best Fiction, & is an Oprah’s Buzziest Books pick & a Women’s National Book Association Great Group Reads selection. It was inspired by the real life, remarkable “blue people” of Kentucky, & the fierce, brave Packhorse Librarians who used the power of literacy to overcome bigotry & fear during the Great Depression. The novel is taught widely in high schools & college classrooms. Her forthcoming fifth novel, ‘The Book Woman’s Daughter’ is both a stand-alone & sequel to ‘The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek’ & will be published May 3, 2022. Born in Kentucky, Kim Michele lives with her family there & is the founder of Shy Rabbit.
📕I didn’t like history back when I was in school, but having recently enjoyed some very well-written historical fiction novels such as today’s feature (& of course, the musical ‘Hamilton’⭐️), I now really dig a little travel back in time thanks to some very talented author’s writing skills! (I totally would have loved history if they would have taught it in musical fashion like ‘Hamilton’…just saying.😉)
📘Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gift copy of ‘In All Good Faith‘ by Liza Taylor Nash! This novel continues the story of May Marshall, the captivating protagonist of ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ (released 8/18/20) & is a stand-alone sequel, meaning that you can read it w/o having read the first book; however, I strongly recommend that one as well. Both books are incredibly fascinating & so are the characters!
‘In All Good Faith‘: In the summer of 1932, Americans came to realize that the financial crash of 1929 was only the beginning of hard times. May Marshall has returned from Paris to settle at her family home in rural Keswick, VA. She struggles to keep her family farm & market afloat through the economic downturn. May finds herself juggling her marriage w/ a tempting opportunity to revamp the family business to adapt to changing times.
In a cold-water West End Boston tenement the fractured Sykes family scrapes by on an itinerant mechanic’s wages & home sewing. Having recently lost her mother, 16-yr-old Dorrit Sykes questions the religious doctrine she was raised in. Dorrit is reclusive, held back by the anxiety attacks that have plagued her since childhood. Attempting to understand what limits her, she seeks inspiration in Nancy Drew mysteries & finds solace at the Boston Public Library, writing fairy stories for children. The library holds answers to both Dorrit’s exploration of faith & her quest to understand & manage her anxiety.
When Dorrit accompanies her father to Washington, DC, in the summer of 1932 to camp out & march w/ 20,000 veterans intending to petition President Hoover for early payment of war bonuses, she begins an odyssey that will both traumatize & strengthen her. Along the way she redefines her faith, learning both self-sufficiency & how to accept help.
Dorrit & May’s lives intersect, & their fates will intertwine in ways that neither could have imagined or expected. Set against a backdrop of true historical events, ‘In All Good Faith‘ tells a story of two women’s unlikely success during the Great Depression.
📖This book immerses you in the atmosphere of another era as it tells the poignant, powerful, & persevering story of two incredible women. Liza Taylor Nash really did her research & it shows in her amazing writing. ‘In All Good Faith‘ is available 8/10 & ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ is available in hardback now & paperback 8/18.
*Click any of the highlighted titles above to add either book to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit (& hopefully LIKE & maybe even SHARE😉) my post on Instagram which also shows support to the author.
Click HERE to find either book at a local or online indie bookstore using BookstoreLink.
Liza Nash Taylor was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine; Deep South, and others. ‘Etiquette for Runaways’ was her first novel & her second, & latest novel that releases on 8/10/21, is ‘In All Good Faith’. A native Virginian, she lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs, in an old farmhouse which serves as a setting for her novels.
This week went by super fast for me as usual but, boy oh boy, did I get to listen to & read some fantastic books while I was on the go. Right now I am currently finishing up listening to ‘Who is Maud Dixon?‘ by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown & Co, 3/2/21) & it is really good!
Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.
But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…
The narrators do such a fantastic job of bringing this story to life & it’s very engaging. The cover is kind of boring, but that single squiggly line that makes the shape of two women’s faces kind of grew on me as I listened to the story. Definitely recommend it! (Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads.)
On Tuesday I posted about the new release, ‘Maybe One Day‘ by Debbie Johnson (William Morrow, 3/2/21). A poignant, heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story that will give you all the emotions.
In the spirit of Ruth Hogan and Adriana Trigiani, bestselling British author Debbie Johnson brings us the ultimate in “happy tears”: a heartfelt story about a woman seizing the chance to reconnect with her lost love.
The truth changes everything. For years Jess believed that Joe—the father of her child and the only man she ever loved—had abandoned her during her greatest time of need. That belief nearly destroyed her. Seventeen years later, when cleaning out her mother’s house, Jess unpacks a box of cards and letters hidden in the attic and makes a discovery that changes everything about life as she knows it.
Shaken but empowered, Jess—and her two stalwart best friends—set out on a remarkable journey to follow a set of faded postmarks around the world. Is Joe still alive? Does he know that Jess never forgot him? Maybe their love story isn’t over. Maybe one day they’ll find each other again… (Click HERE for my Instagram post & HERE to add the book on Goodreads.)
Thursday’s post posted sort of late in the day & was a more personal one, giving a bit of an explanation as to why I am currently still in so much physical pain today. The post photo also features some of my lettering that I enjoy doing in the evening as a way to decompress & wind down my day. Handwriting has always been something I have enjoyed doing & I am a total “font-nerd” or typophile (a lover of printed matter or typography). I am not even sure how many different pens I own, but I would venture to say the number is around 500-600. And Lord have mercy, but I’m in a couple of “pen obsessed” groups on Facebook & they are quite a motley group of enablers, but I love it! (Click HERE for that post on Instagram.)
Friday’s post is what I like to call #ForeverFriday when I post a book review for a Forever Publishing recent release, & this weeks book is ‘Sandcastle Beach’ by Jenny Holiday, book #3 in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. This beach read is sassy, witty, sweet & sexy! All three books in the series are like $5 on Amazon & would make great additions to your seaside (or poolside) reading. You can click HERE to see the post on Instagram & for those that may ask, the cup featured in the post is by Kate Spade & was bought a couple years ago at T J Maxx (aka: the GREATEST store ever!).
About the book: From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot. Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.
Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings? Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads.
Yesterday’s post was about one of my favorite books so far this year, ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ by Sarah Penner (Park Row, 3/2/21). I hadn’t planned to post about it until next week, but I wanted to encourage anyone who hadn’t made their Book of the Month selections yet to grab this one, since it was one of the March choices. ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ is such a fabulous book! I literally didn’t want it to end, that’s how much I loved it!
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads & HERE to see my Instagram post.)
Last, but certainly not least, today’s post features a fab new book, ‘When We Were Young’ by Jaclyn Goldis (Forever Pub, 2/6/21) & a splendid dose of serendipity! Have you ever discovered something you bought at a thrift store actually belonged to a family member long ago? That happened to me today!
Today began w/ me starting a new book (as mentioned above). I was really looking forward to starting this book after reading many fantastic reviews & having just finished (& loved!) ‘The Lost Apothecary’ which also has 3 amazing female protagonists & takes place in the past & present day.
As I was getting my props together, I decided to use two of my vintage luggage pieces that I bought on 2 separate shopping trips last year at a local Goodwill. The luggage belonged to the same person as was evident by personalization inside both pieces via an inked address stamper. Since this sort of stamper is meant for paper, not the silky material inside of the cases, it was very blurry, & the lettering bled so much that I never really bothered to get a closer look at the name. I could only see a nearby city fairly well & really the name didn’t matter to me that much…until today.
Today I put on my readers, used my camera’s magnifying glass, & I was absolutely flabbergasted. Now I know why the first piece appealed to me so much & why there was a second piece at the shop a week later, as if waiting for me to reunite it w/ it’s partner at home: the luggage belonged to my Grandfather’s brother, my great Uncle! Holy serendipity! My great uncle passed away at the age of 97 in 2014. All this time & I had no idea they had belonged to him.
The book, ‘When We Were Young’, spans 3 generations & is a page-turner of a debut full of family secrets, heart-wrenching drama, & second chances. My vintage luggage, now heirloom, also spans 3 generations & is all about family, too! I’m loving this book so far & think you all would, too! (Click HERE to read more about it on Goodreads & HERE to go to my Instagram post.)
Well, that’s my reading week in a nutshell. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend & best wishes in your weeks to come! I leave you with my Friday evening lettering project, which may be hard to tell from the poor quality pic, but it’s on a shimmery pink cardstock & was done with Mildliner Clickart Pens by Zebra & Micron’s. (Ahhh, pens!💕)
‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.
‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.
Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter on Instagram. Click HERE to visit MomLovesReading on Instagram & give this post some LIKE love! Click HERE to add ‘Reviving the Honeysuckle Girls’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter’s website.
Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single Secret, The Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.