Happy Thursday! I’m posting this week’s blog a day early because I’m hitting the waters of Lake Champlain to do some sailing. Enjoy!
Can you believe the year is half over? I’ve been staring at my TBR pile wondering how I’m going to finish all these books (plus the ones I’ve yet to buy) before year’s end. I finally decided to sort them by level of interest. Below are the ten books I am most looking forward to reading during the second half of 2022 (in no particular order)
- Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara*: A young Japanese-American, recently released from internment camp, woman searches for clues regarding her sister’s death in 1944 Chicago. This book won the Edgar Award in 2021 and I’ve been dying to read it.
- The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight*: The story of author Nancy Mitford (of the famous Mitford sisters) and her life before, during and after World War 2.) Those who aren’t familiar with the Mitfords, they were five beautiful sisters who captivated English society. One married a Spanish revolutionary, and one became friends with Hitler. On the surface, Nancy appeared to do the best. She married a title and became a famous author. Appearances, however, can be deceiving.
- The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin: Female librarians turned spies in WW2 Lisbon. It’s the latest from the author of The Last Bookshop in London which I adored. It’s also the featured title for Off the Shelf in July!
- Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb: I’ve never read either of these authors, and so here’s my chance to rectify that mistake. A pair of estranged sisters agree to deliver letters through Europe for their dying grandmother. Unfortunately, its 1937 and war is on the horizon. Can the sisters fufill their mission, repair their relationship, solve a family secret and get home before the Nazis begin their march across the continent?
- Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White*: Team W is back, this time with a story that spans the Gilded Age to present time. We’re treated to three timelines: In 1899, young Ellen Daniels is hired to teach singing to Miss Maybelle Sprague who is slated to marry an Italian prince, in 1958, Lucky Sprague flees Mussolini’s Italy and returns home to Newport, and in 2019, the TV show Mansion Makeover tackles a new project – the renovation of the Sprague’s once glorious summer cottage. The three storylines are connected by family secrets that are revealed piece by piece. Honestly, I don’t care what this book is about. These women could write about dust bunnies, and I’d love it.
- The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison: Welcome to the Ziegfeld Follies. I’m falling in love with the jazz age, and so, I can’t wait to read this story about a young Midwestern girl who follows her dream of becoming a Ziegfeld star.
- Sister, Mother, Warrior by Vanessa Riley: Vanessa Riley’s Island Queen was one of my favorite reads of 2021. This summer Riley returns with the story of Gran-Toya and Marie-Claire, two real-life women of color who were instrumental in Haiti’s battle for freedom. Riley is a master at making fictional biography come to life. Her Island Queen was fascinating. I’m looking forward to being educated about Haiti’s history and learning more about these two strong women.
- The Secret Society of Salzburg by Renee Ryan: In her follow up to Widows of Champaign, my Off the Shelf co-host brings us the story of Elsa Mayer-Braun and Hattie Featherstone, an Austrian opera singer and an English typist who join forces to save as many Jews as possible from the Nazi death camps. It’s a story of bravery and unlikely friendship that, if I know Renee, will have me sniffling all the way through.
- All the Light We Cannot Give by Anthony Doerr:* Donna Alward picked this book as part of our Off the Shelf Reading challenge. All I can say is “shame on me” for not having read it before. This story of courage and kindness during World War 2 won the Pulitzer Prize and was a National Book Award finalist. It’s not so much as want to read title, as a must-read.
- Defending Alice by Richard Stratton: Finally we’re back in the Jazz Age. Alice Jones, a blue-collar woman of mixed race, marries into the Rhinelanders, one of of New York’s most prominent and powerful families. The marriage ignites a scandal that becomes a firestorm when her husband sues for annulment claiming she lied about her “Negro blood” and deceived him into thinking she was white. Their relationship became one of the most examined interracial relationships of the 20th century. The book is told through flashbacks, diary entries and accounts by Alice’s attorney.
What’s on your Must-Read list for the rest of 2022? Let us know!
*Part of the 2022 Off the Shelf Reading Challenge. What’s the Off the Shelf Reading Challenge, you ask? Renee, Donna and I each picked two books that we think were must reads this summer. We’re challenging all our followers to join us in reading them. The six titles are below!