Welcome to another edition of Title Talk, 06.2019. For a gal who started blogging mostly because she missed being a librarian and wanted to share all the good books in the world with her readers, I have drastically fallen down on the job! But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. Through Goodreads, I pledged to read 33 books this year. Half-way through the year and I am a third of the way toward reaching my goal. Need to get busy! Looks like there might be a few picture books in my near future.
I am grateful to our virtual book club for being the impetus behind the reading I have done. In the past month, I have read 3 grown up books. I use the adjective ‘grown up’ because for so long I only read children’s books. Now I am finally reading for me! Here is a quick review of the books I read and loved this spring.
Title Talk, 06.2019
Before I review the books I’ve read, just want to explain how our virtual book club works. We ‘meet’ on Facebook and do all of our discussing there. At first, the gals were pretty quiet, and didn’t talk much about the books we were reading. I would post questions, occasional quotes that spoke to me, but rarely had more than a thumbs up by way of reaction to my remarks. Of course, all participants are welcome to post thoughts and feelings, but we have been pretty quiet.
In recent weeks, our group has taken on a different dynamic with the addition of about 10 new members. I am delighted that we are up to almost 60 readers! Tickles me pink that these gals have found something in our reading group that works for them. The newest members seem to be more interested in talking about the books. I’m enjoying our discussions and reflection.
Here are some of the books we have read recently.
4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.17 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
I was surprised when this book was selected by the group as our book for May. The Gown is one of five books written by Jennifer Robson, all set around the time period of the two World Wars. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and many of the book club gals share my particular interest in World War II. But this isn’t a war story. It is more a story of how lives changed after the war. And how, in spite of a world war, so many people remained fascinated by the British Royal Family.
From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. [Goodreads]
The Gown is told from the points of view of the 2 main characters, Ann and Miriam, who, as young women, worked together on the embroidery of Queen Elizabeth’s gown, and secondary characters, their grandchildren, Heather and Daniel, respectively. Ann and Miriam become entangled in one another’s lives quite accidentally, and become best friends for the short season while as they complete the painstaking work of embellishing the soon-to-be Queen of England’s wedding gown and veil. But their friendship unravels shortly afterward, when distance comes between them. In Heather’s efforts to learn about a side of her grandmother that no one in the family knew, she helps close that distance, that gap and fill in the missing pieces for Miriam, who has longed to reconnect with her one time friend.
I enjoyed this read, partially for the historical elements and partially because, I too, have a fascination with the Royal Family. Who doesn’t love reading about their fairy tale weddings and travels and beautiful cherubic babies? I still remember where I was when my daughters called me to say Princess Diana had died. Do you remember where you were?
Robson weaves a story that moves between past and present day, and the lives of 2 women and their grandchildren. Some of the members of my book club and I questioned how such a special friendship could so easily dissolve. But we were quick to remember this was a different time, a different age. Miriam and Ann didn’t have Facetime and Facebook, Skype and email to continue and grow their friendship. And because some of Ann’s most difficult days occurred when she and Miriam were friends, perhaps, it was easier for her to completely close the door on that chapter of her life.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon
4.09 out of 5 stars on Goodreads
This was my first Sally Hempworth read. Some of the gals in the book club must have been big fans already because when we voted for our next read in June, The Mother-in-Law was tied with Daisy Jones and the 6, and won hands down in our tie breaker. The Mother-in-Law did not disappoint. We (even I) read this book in record time and had more discussion about it than anything else we have read.
From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.
That was years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something… [Goodreads]
Going into this book, I didn’t realize it was a mystery really. Not sure how I missed that, but thought this was going to be more a contemporary family story. Which it is. But from the first chapter, the almost immediate knock on the door by the police, readers are drawn into a murder mystery that unravels with the relationships in this dysfunctional family. I was all over the place with my feelings toward the 3 female characters. Typically, I am more comfortable when my emotions are cut and dried, black and white. But with Lucy and Diana, and even Lucy’s sister-in-law, Nettie, a secondary character, I was all over the map. This book made me feel all the feels as the kids say today, and had the book club buzzing. If you haven’t read The Mother-in-Law, I hope you will – in librarian-speak, check it out!
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A third book I read this spring was Martha Hall Kelly’s Lost Roses. You may remember that one of my all time favorite books EVER is Kelly’s Lilac Girls. If you aren’t familiar with this book, please take a moment to read my review, here. Because I loved Lilac Girls so much, when I heard that Martha Hall Kelly had a new book, I wrote to ask if I could review Lost Roses in exchange for a copy of the book. I was in pig heaven with Martha replied and had her publisher send me Lost Roses. For that reason, I want to devote an entire post to this book and will get it written very shortly.
If you were writing this edition of Title Talk, 06.2019, what books would you be sharing? What’s on your nightstand or Kindle or Nook? Hope you will share in a comment below. I am always looking for titles to share with my virtual book club gals.
Have lots of posts in the works as we wind up the month. Hope I can get them all together. And hope you will stop back by again very shortly. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a custom graphic tee. Click here to be whisked away to my recent 5 Fri-YAY Favorites post where you can enter.
Thank you, sweet ones, for joining me today. Off to watch “The Bachelorette”. Are you watching, too?
Hugs and kisses,