What are your big plans for the weekend? HA, just kidding. 😂
While “big plans” are put on hold for a while, I would be lying if I didn’t say part of me was enjoying all this cozy downtime because it is PRIME book-binging season. (Is there anything more indulgent and wonderful than having no plans and staying in bed late on Saturday or Sunday morning drinking coffee and reading an amazing book?)
I can happily report that my reading time is up lately. And today I wanted to round up the best of the best books that I’ve read over the past couple of months or so, in case you need something new to dive into this weekend, too! I’ve included a little blurb of my own followed by the official book description/and/or reviews to give you a little more context!
A note on where to buy your books: If you’re buying a physical copy of a book, consider calling around to a couple of local bookstores to see if they have your chosen book in stock. This is the BEST way to support our local small shops! The second best way to support local bookstores is to shop via Bookshop.org, where 10% of proceeds are donated to local bookstores. (You can either choose which one you’d like your funds to go to or they will split between all of them.) Also, don’t forget about your local library!
Four great books I’ve read lately
I just finished this book last night. (Thanks Grace for the recco!) I absolutely LOVED it. To be honest, I was a little skeptical because the title sounds so cheesy. But it was exactly what I needed–part escape (who doesn’t love a book set in Italy?) part “finding yourself” story, part “family turmoil” and “love” story. It has everything you want in a book in the last month of 2020.
Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.
Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.
You guys know WWII Historical Fiction is MY GENRE. But I took an (unintentional) little break from it for a while. So I downloaded Code Name Helene to my Kindle on Saturday after I realized I missed escaping to France in the 1940’s (as one does) and couldn’t put it down. I was up until 1am reading it multiple nights. If you loved The Nightingale and The Alice Network, you will love this! It’s based on an incredible true story of a socialite turned Resistance spy.
Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name” –Jess
I read this one right after Code Name Hélène. (You know, I’m never ready to leave Paris. Even if it is in book form.) The Perfume Collector also is largely set in Paris–it has a bit of mystery, a bit of love story. And best of all, a story of a young, unappreciated housewife who realizes her true potential and rises to the occasion. I loved how the two stories of the two heroines, Grace and Eva, are intertwined and how the connection between them unfolds.
Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn’t fit anyone’s expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d’Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor.
Weaving through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary woman who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Immortalized in three evocative perfumes, Eva d’Orsey’s history will transform Grace’s life forever, forcing her to choose between the woman she is expected to be and the person she really is.
If you’ve been here for a while, you know I absolutely LOVE all of Ruth Reichl’s books. (Her most recent book, Save Me the Plums, was the first I read back in the spring). I can tear through Ruth Reichl books like a season of my favorite Netflix show. But I have been trying to slow down and savor the last few because I love them so much. My Kitchen Year may be one of my favorites she’s ever written.
One of the most esteemed Food Magazine editor’s of all time, Reichl was the head Food Critic at the New York Times and then Editor in Chief of Gourmet until it was abruptly and devastatingly shuttered out of nowhere in 2009. Grieving the loss of her career as she knew it, she wrote My Kitchen Year in the following months as she lost herself in the kitchen and attempted to repair her broken heart.
I know this book might sound like a cookbook. But it’s really more of a memoir with recipes woven in. It’s real, emotional, joyful, and like all of her books–just feels like a hug, with each page being an absolute joy to read. If you love food, you’ll love this book. I will leave you with Vogue’s review because I couldn’t have said it better myself!
“The recipes make for lovely reading, full of Reichl’s elemental wisdom. . . . In the best way possible, My Kitchen Year is cozy, the reading equivalent of curling up next to a fire with a glass of red wine and perhaps the scent of bread in the oven wafting over.”—Vogue