Favorite Books – Third Quarter, 2021

The end of September brings the third quarter of the year to an end. And what a year it’s been! While it hasn’t been as carefree and normal as we had hoped, things are slowly getting there. The past three months were filled with thousands of miles of travel for me, from Pennsylvania to Louisiana to California. That left little time for reading but with a return to routine in the fall, I think I’m still on track to reach my goal of 125 books read by the end of the year.

I finished 22 books this quarter, mostly historical fiction, but there are a few other genres I’ve discovered, namely historical romance and historical mystery. It’s fun seeing how authors weave historical facts into these compulsively readable genres!

As a reminder, I let my monthly newsletter subscribers know what my favorite books are each month so sign up here if you’d like to find out before these quarterly recaps! Plus in my newsletter, I also list corresponding historical sites with the books to help you plan a future trip to walk in the characters’ footsteps! 

For more in-depth reviews of all of the books I’m reading, please follow me on Instagram and Goodreads!

All book links are Amazon affiliate links. You can also visit my Bookshop.org shop, where your purchases help independent bookstores and creators.

Favorite Historical Fiction Books for Adults

Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, and Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander books 2-4)

I spent most of my vacations reading several of the 1000+ page books in the Outlander series, which has quickly become a favorite. The historical detail is rich and the story is captivating, not just the romance between Claire and Jamie but the way they intertwine over centuries and through historical events. I have become a huge fan! I can’t wait to dive into book #5, which I’m saving for November.

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

Tanabe has become a favorite historical fiction author thanks to an ARC I received of this July release. It’s one of my favorite books of the year, the story going deeper than any historical fiction I’ve read. She really knows how to write about motherhood!

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

I loved this lush, descriptive novel about two sisters during the Cold War, which has become one of my favorite time periods to read about recently. 

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

This was my first fiction book on audio, and it was an amazing experience. I thought this book was timely since it takes place partly in 1978 Afghanistan, giving me more historical context on a current news topic. The writing is stunning, and the story will captivate you.

Haven Point by Virginia Hume

I love generational family dramas, and this book combines that with historical fiction! This book takes you on a journey from WWII-era Washington, DC to present day Maine with lots of historical events, family secrets, and heart-stopping moments between.

Historical Mystery

Birds of a Feather and Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear (Maisie Dobbs series 2 & 3)

These compelling mysteries have taught me so much about post-WWI England.

Historical Romance

Portrait of a Scotsman by Evie Dunmore

The third book in my favorite historical romance series, A League of Extraordinary Woman, did not disappoint. I love the historical facts, witty banter, and slow burn of all of these books, and this one took that to a new level in one of my favorite book locales – Scotland!

Historical Nonfiction

A Mortal Blow to the Confederacy: The Fall of New Orleans, 1862 by Mark Bielski

I love the Emerging Civil War series and picked this up on our trip to New Orleans in July. It’s a great series to learn more details about each specific battle of the war. 

Middle Grade Book

Pirates on the Bay by Steven K. Smith

The tenth book in the Virginia Mysteries series, this novel will captivate your children with swash-buckling history and fun adventure!

Other genres 

I had three 5 star reads outside of the historical fiction/nonfiction genres this quarter.

Landslide: A Novel by Susan Conley

A touching book about mid-life – kids, jobs, parents – in Maine. I especially recommend it for any moms of teenage boys!

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

A sweet contemporary romance about a young widow and washed up baseball player in Maine (my third book about Maine from this quarter!). I started it at 10 pm one night and had to finish it the next morning!

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

One of my favorite authors never disappoints in her dissection of the lives of mothers. This time it’s a deep dive into the Delaney family – newly retired parents, Stan and Joy, and their four grown (but dysfunctional) children. Of course, there’s a psychological thriller element thrown in to keep the pages turning!

What was your third quarter reading like? Let me know in the comments?

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