Favorite Books – 2nd Quarter, 2022

We’re halfway through the year so it’s a good time to assess and reevaluate your reading goals. No matter how your reading life is going, you have six months left to achieve the goals!

I’ve read 67 books so far in 2022, which is 14 fewer books than I read last year by this date. I’m not worried about numbers, though, quality is what matters! I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut lately, not wanting to pick up heavier historical fiction books and gravitating to more women’s fiction/rom-coms. I fly through those and they’re just the comforting words I need right now. I hope to reset my reading with the start of a new quarter, however, and get back to the historical fiction that I love.

In the second quarter, I read 33 books, focusing on books set in the United Kingdom for my two trips to England in the spring and summer. Now that we’re entering the second half of the year, I want to get back to reading Civil War fiction, which I’ve had on hold for the last 1.5 years as I wrote my own Civil War novel. It’s completed and edited (still trying to find that elusive agent!) so I can now get back to reading novels set in my favorite time period to study.

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

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Favorite Historical Fiction Books 

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

I just can’t get enough of the Outlander series, and this seventh book is one of my favorites. It contains so much American history from the Revolutionary War battles at Fort Ticonderoga to Saratoga to colonial Philadelphia. It’s a long book (1000+ pages!) but it reads really quickly! 

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

This sophomore novel by one of my favorite authors is a lovely story about three women who fight for their rightful place in a 1950 London bookstore. I especially love the cameos by real authors such as Daphne du Maurier and the quiet love stories among the characters. Delightful!

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear

I love the Maisie Dobbs historical mystery series, especially this fifth book about a small town in Kent that was the site of a WWI Zeppelin raid. Winspear is the master at quiet yet impactful stories, and I’m never disappointed in her thoughtful historical mysteries.

To Marry and to Meddle by Martha Waters

I love historical romance and Waters is one of my favorite authors. She writes witty, laugh out loud funny banter along with unique plot twists. This third book in the Regency Vows series is no exception! Sweet and lovely Lady Emily marries Lord Julian Belfrey, the scandalous owner of a theater, in a marriage of convenience but didn’t plan on actually falling in love! If you like Bridgerton or historical romance, this series will delight you!

I love WWII novels and read several this quarter that were amazing! 

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

This dual-timeline novel takes you from WWII-era Paris to 1980s Montana. The horrors of the Nazi rule in Paris are described in heart-breaking detail with a focus on the American library in Paris and its workers. There are so many WWII stories but this book provides a unique look at an unknown side of the war, a literary battle mixed with a life-or-death struggle.

The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin

This WWII novel explores a country I don’t know much about – Portugal. It was neutral in the war but it was a hotbed of intrigue from both the Allies and the Axis. American librarian Ava is sent by the government to provide an important service at the US Embassy, scanning the local newspapers for Axis news. She becomes embroiled in a plot to smuggle refugees out of France by a French resistance worker, Elaine. The way the story twists and turns had me breathless! Thanks to the Thoughts from a Page podcast where, as a supporter on Patreon, I got the ARC of this July release!

All the Lights Above Us by M.B. Henry

D-Day is such a pivotal event in history, and this book looks at the invasion’s effect on five women in varied places and stations of life – an older French woman who is trying to reach her daughter in the invasion zone, a young French resistance fighter, an English nurse on the coast, a German military secretary in the occupied zone, and an American-turned-Nazi in Berlin. It’s amazing how the same event can be perceived in so many ways.

For Those Who Are Lost by Julia Bryan Thomas

I just finished this book at 1 am this morning, reading it from start to finish in one night! It is a stunning look at love, betrayal, and how split-second decisions can impact a lifetime. Beginning with the evacuation of 5,000 children from the Channel Island of Guernsey, the author follows two of the children, their caregivers, and their families as they all struggle to survive the Nazi invasion of the island. 

Favorite Nonfiction Books

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives by Mary Laura Philpott

One of my favorite memoirs ever! I related to every word of Philpott’s sophomore book about her struggles with parenting, midlife, and anxiety. It’s a must-read for any mom in their forties!

American City, Southern Place: A Cultural History of Antebellum Richmond by Gregg D. Kimball

I really enjoyed this book about my adopted hometown, Richmond, Virginia. It helped me while writing my Civil War novel and sheds light on the controversial history of Richmond.

Contemporary Novels

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Nora is a driven NYC literary agent with a hatred for Charlie, an editor. They end up in the same small town in North Carolina where the tropes of romance novels play out in their relationship. I’ve loved all three of Henry’s romance novels, and this is such a fun book!

The Happy Ever After Playlist and Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

Jimenez is the queen of writing believable characters with serious life issues but sweet love stories. I love the heart each and every character has in her books, from Sloan and Jason, who find love amidst grieving and fame, to Alexis and Daniel, who fall in love after a one-night stand turns into more. She’s a must-read author to me!

What Might Have Been by Holly Miller

This is one of those “sliding doors” books that I love – a glimpse into another version of life. This book is not for the faint of heart, it leaves you gasping so be sure to have tissues handy. And it happens to be titled using the line from one of my favorite country songs. It’s perfect for fans of The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Midnight Library, books I absolutely loved! 

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

This delightful book is about a divorced late-thirties mom finding love again with a handsome actor. They meet when her home is used as a movie set for the screenplay she wrote about her divorce, and the actor just happens to be playing her ex-husband. It’s a delight!

What was your favorite book read in the past three months? Any all-time favorites?

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