The first three months of the year are completed, and I’m happy to be moving on to spring and great weather! Plus with the prospect of truly getting back to “normal” after COVID restrictions, I feel like bookish travel is back on the to do list!
I read thirty-four books in the first quarter with only one DNF (did not finish). That means I’m on a good pace to get to my yearly goal of 100 books! Of course, it’s more important to read quality books than it is to read many books so it’s good that of the thirty-four books, twenty-one were rated at 4.5 or 5 stars!
I read pretty broadly but did notice that over half of my books were set in Britain, which was something I wanted to do in preparation for my upcoming trips there. I made a goal of reading one classic a month, and I was able to do so, reading two Shakespeare plays and a Jane Austen novel. I had grand plans to read lots of middle grade books for Middle Grade March but ended up not reading any middle grade novels! Oh well, I’ll have to make up for it later in the year!
As a reminder, I let my monthly newsletter subscribers know what my favorite books are each month along with corresponding historical sites to help you plan a future trip to walk in the characters’ footsteps. Sign up here!
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Favorite Historical Fiction Books
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander book #6)
This is probably one of my favorites in the Outlander series! It was a super long book (1100+ pages!) but I read it fast and furious because of the story. I loved all of the plot lines and can’t wait to watch the sixth season on STARZ.
The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey
I read an ARC of this book, Harvey’s first historical novel, and fell in love with the characters and setting. I love how she blended the stories between modern-day women and two historical women, Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt. And the use of a heirloom wedding veil was a lovely and sentimental touch.
Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir
I loved reading this novel full of historical details about one of my favorite people in history, the doomed nine-day British queen, Lady Jane Grey. It was perfect to read before my trip to London where I saw my favorite painting depicting her beheading at The National Gallery.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
What a lovely and heart wrenching book about Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, who died from the plague. It was a deep character-driven book about love, loss, and how our lives are affected by twists of fate.
A Train to Moscow by Elena Gorokhova
A timely book as we are trying to understand more about Russian history with the current invasion of Ukraine, the novel is masterful at explaining the yearning of a young Russian actress in the post-WWII Soviet Union.
Favorite Historical Nonfiction Books
I love learning more about Mary Todd Lincoln and her relationship with a former enslaved dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckly. It pairs well with one of my favorite novels, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini.
Britain’s Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy by Alison Weir
After reading Weir’s Lady Jane Grey novel, I found this nonfiction genealogy book about the kings and queens of England. It was fascinating and so helpful for placing everyone you’ve heard about in history class. And it contains an interesting mention of George III’s previous marriage and how it could be interpreted for the royal family even today!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Just as lovely as I remembered from my last reading in college! After reading so many romance novels in the past year, I can see the traces of Austen’s Lizzy and Darcy in many contemporary books. It was the original rom com!
These books are kind-of romances, but not in the usual sense of the genre. I’d say they should be classified as general women’s fiction, but no matter the genre, they were wonderful!
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver
Possibly one of my favorite books of all time, this story about a woman who loses her fiance only to return to a world with him still alive while she is asleep was heartfelt and gripping. I loved the exploration of grief and love in the poignant book.
With Love from London by Sarah Jio
This five star read was lovely and sentimental, switching timelines between modern-day London and the swinging sixties. I was rooting for the characters the whole time, and while I knew they would make decisions I didn’t understand, I still loved Valentina and her mother, Eloise.
Always, in December by Emily Stone
This book broke me. It’s a heart wrenching and beautiful story about Josie who lost her parents at Christmas when she was young. Now an adult, she still posts a letter to them every Christmas which brings her in contact with Max. I won’t say anything more but be sure to have lots of tissues ready.
Favorite Historical Romances
The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews
This lovely Victorian romance between a young woman from the upper crust in the “ton” and her mixed race Indian tailor was sweet and interesting. And the details about the construction of the dresses, riding habits, and ball gowns were fascinating!
A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett
I enjoyed the first book in this series last year and loved reading the continuation of the story. I smiled at the witty banter between Letty and Grey, especially about mathematical principles and scientific theorems. It’s such a fun (and spicy!) book!
Favorite Contemporary Romances
Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson
This sweet and funny contemporary romance taking place in the book world was just the positive book I needed after some heavier reads. I smiled the entire time I was reading it!
Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens
This funny rom com about picking up the wrong suitcase at the airport is not what you expect. I loved it!
Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
If you love romances about fate and how two people are destined to be together, this is the book for you!
What was your favorite read from the first quarter of 2022?