American Duchess by Karen Harper, American Princess by Stephanie Thornton, Beartown by Fredrik Bachman, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Careless Love by Peter Robinson, Educated by Tara Westover, Love and Ruin by Paula McLain, Madame Fourcade's Secret War by Lynne Olson, Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, No Hero's Welcome by Jeffrey K. Walker, The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau, The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips, The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee, The Governor's Wife by Michael Harvey, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, The Huntress by Kate Quinn, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
38 books in 2019! This is the sixth year I’ve created these summaries. As in previous years, I’ve used the following scheme in these brief notes on the books I’ve read.
LR = light, enjoyable read; GR = good, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type.
|Jan||American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt||Karen Harper||ER||Karen Harper chose an excellent time and subject to write about. So much happened in Consuelo’s life, it could have been two books!|
|Jan||The Governor’s Wife||Michael Harvey||GR||Enjoyable, fast read. Set in Chicago with lots of twists and nefarious, scheming characters who are rotten to the core.|
|Jan||Before We Were Yours||Lisa Wingate||ER||I powered through the novel in two and a half very satisfying days. See blog for more.|
|Jan||Nine Perfect Strangers||Liane Moriarty||GR||Not quite as compelling as Big Little Lies or The Husband’s Secret. But an intriguing premise.|
|Jan||Educated||Tara Westover||OR||At book club the words used to describe it included: compelling, horrifying, unbelievable, shocking, inspiring, and head shaking. See blog for more.|
|Feb||Becoming||Michelle Obama||OR||Wonderful. I know that doesn’t constitute a review, but I found Michelle Obama’s memoir hard to put down for many reasons.|
|Feb||Love and Ruin||Paula McLain||ER||Martha Gelhorn is such an interesting woman and McLain makes her and her relationship with Hemingway come alive. Definitely a page-turner.|
|Mar||The Great Alone||Kristin Hannah||ER||I powered through the pages and marvelled at Kristin Hannah’s storytelling talent.|
|Mar||The Blue||Nancy Bilyeau||ER||Industrial espionage in the porcelain trade of the 18th century.|
|Mar||American Princess||Stephanie Marie Thornton (see blog for author interview)||ER||A superbly told story of Alice Roosevelt the high-spirited, independent-minded woman who took America by storm when her father, Teddy Roosevelt became president.|
|Mar||The Huntress||Kate Quinn (see blog for a discussion of writing this novel)||ER||Wonderful characters + a fast-paced story = a superb read. Kate Quinn does it again!|
|Apr||Careless Love||Peter Robinson||GR||An excellent ‘read’ in audiobook format. Kept my husband and I intrigued on a two-day drive.|
|Apr||The Expatriates||Janice Y.K. Lee||GR||Janice Y.K. Lee’s writing is quite wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Hong Kong, a city where I lived for three years.|
|May||Where the Crawdads Sing||Delia Owens||ER||Two timelines – one deserves 5 stars, the other comes in at 3. See blog for more.|
|May||No Hero’s Welcome||Jeffrey K Walker (see author guest post)||ER||A superbly told story of an Irish family’s struggles during and after World War One; wonderful characters.|
|June||The Founding||Cynthia Harrod-Eagles||DNF||Searching around for a new author – unfortunately, this did not grab me.|
|June||Mistress of Rome||Kate Quinn||ER||After reading The Alice Network and The Huntress, I went searching for more Kate Quinn.|
|Jun||Madame Fourcade’s Secret War||Lynne Olson||ER||Non-fiction; A fascinating story of the courageous woman who led France’s largest WWII spy network.|
|Jun||The Devlin Diary||Christi Phillips||GR||3.5 on my scale; lots to enjoy about this story & the time period of 1672 London in the court of Charles II|
|Jun||Beartown||Fredrik Backman||ER||Excellent .. powerfully told story. Characters leap off the page.|
|Jun||Wench||Dolen Perkins-Valdez||ER||An enthralling story of enslaved mistresses. The author truly swept me away into that time and place.|
I’ll post Part 2 next Tuesday. I hope your 2019 reading has been equally rewarding. Recommendations welcome!
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.