Favorite Books – First Quarter, 2023

What a great start to the reading year! I read so many amazing historical fiction books in the first three months of 2023. Plus I had the added bonus of my Booking It Through History: First Ladies project which prompted me to read lots of rich historical fiction and nonfiction books about our first ladies. I am loving this project and all that I am learning about these amazing women!

Here are my favorite books from the first quarter. If I have reviewed the book, I link to its review on Instagram. 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

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson

This book uncovers the history of a little known aspect of WWII – the Bethnal Green underground library. I absolutely loved it and learned so much! Review here.

All the Pretty Places by Joy Callaway (out May 9th)

I just adored this lovely book about a young woman finding her voice in the Gilded Age. It’s a perfect Mother’s Day present! Review here

The House is on Fire by Rachel Beanland

I live in the Richmond area where this book takes place, and I couldn’t put down this propulsive story about four lives on the night of a tragic fire. Review here

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson

I love any book about British royalty, and this timely novel about a small hotel along Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation route in 1953 is suspenseful and packed with meaning! Review here

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

I loved this book about two young women and the lies swirling around them in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Plus I love supporting another Richmond author! Review here.

Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig

This book explores two little-known wars in the late 19th century, the Greco-Turkish War and the Spanish-American War, with a captivating story! Review here

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Hannah is a master at crafting compelling stories that sweep you into another time and place. This one about the siege of Leningrad during WWII is heartbreaking. Review here.

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I am a Sepetys completist! She writes compelling historical fiction for young adults, and her books always highlight an area of history I knew nothing about, like the Romanian revolution of the late 1980s. Review here.


Favorite History Nonfiction

The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America by Christopher C. Gorham

I loved this book about Anna Rosenberg who had a storied and groundbreaking career in government. Review here

Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy by Nathaniel Philbrick

Read as part of my month focusing on Martha Washington, I really enjoyed this travel history/memoir that followed Washington’s footsteps in the new nation. Review here.


Favorite Books about the First Ladies

Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady

This is a highly readable and entertaining biography of our nation’s first First Lady. Review here.

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser

This was my favorite fictional story about the first ladies so far! It really helps you understand Martha and her life full of the highest highs but also the lowest of lows. Review here

Monticello by Sally Cabot Gunning

I loved this tale about Martha Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, and her difficult life. Review here


Favorite Contemporary Fiction/Romance

The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel

This is a charming story of found family and forgiveness. Review here

Famous for a Living by Melissa Ferguson (out May 16th)

I adore Ferguson’s sweet romance books, and this latest one also packs a moral punch that all of us who are addicted to our phones need to hear. I loved it! Review here

The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis

Louis writes heart wrenching yet hopeful books about love, and this one about a young widow trying to find her way out of her grief was wonderful! Review here.

Just Another Love Song by Kerry Winfrey

This book had everything I love – second chance romance, country music, and a small town that I wish I could actually visit! Review here.


What was your favorite read in the first three months of 2023?

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