I didn’t do as much reading in November as I have in past months. I’m not entirely sure why. Reading fatigue maybe? However, I did read a few titles that I thought I’d share.
THE YELLOW WIFE by Sadeqa Johnson: After reading too many World War II historicals to count, I thought a Civil War era story might be a pleasant change of pace. OMG, was it ever! People, you really need to read this book. It’s the story of Pheby, a young mixed-race slave girl who has been told by the plantation owner that she’ll be freed come her 18th birthday. But, as happens in books, tragedy changes everything, and she soon finds herself living in a jailhouse in Maryland. The book is about her quest to survive, and let me tell you, Pheby is a Survivor with a capital S. Making a well-written story even better: it’s based on a real-life slave named Mary Lumpkin and a jail known as the Devil’s Half Acre. The book comes out in January 2021.
THE SOCIAL GRACES by Renee Rosen: If you are interested in the American Gilded Age, then put this book on your pre-order list. Rosen tells the fictionalized version of the rivalry between Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt, a story that rife with scandal and manipulation. I have to admit, I was surprised at how driven these two women were when it came to their social standings. What it shows is that at a time when women had very little else to claim as their own ,they did whatever it took to maintain top billing in society. The book is due out in April 2021
ALONG THE INFINITE SEA by Beatriz Williams: Williams is one of my favorite authors. Every time I read her, I’m possessed with envy over her ability to take ordinary words and weave them into poetry. That said, THE INFINITE SEA was not my favorite Williams book. The prose was as amazing as always, but I simply couldn’t work up interest or sympathy in the characters – especially the star-crossed lovers who, had they had a long conversation at the beginning of their relationship, wouldn’t have been so star-crossed. This was one of Williams’ earlier works, so I’ll cut her slack. For new readers, I recommend going with some of her later stuff, like HER LAST FLIGHT.
THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict: I’m burnt out on fictional biographies. They lack the sense of urgency needed to keep me reading. I was eager to read this book because I wanted to know more about Agatha Christie’s mysterious eleven-day disappearance in the 1920s. Maybe it was because I knew Christie returned, but the mystery couldn’t hold my interest. It didn’t help that from the start, Benedict painted Colonel Christie in such a stiff, semi-creepy light. This is the second book I’ve read by Marie Benedict. I know readers adore her, but she isn’t for me. The book, by the way, is out in December. I’m sure many of her fans will love it. (Sorry for the lack of cover art – it isn’t available for download yet.)