“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.”
It’s funny how quickly fall started to set in this year. One day it was hot and humid due to a passing hurricane and the next there was a touch of a fall breeze in the air that we’ve come to look forward to each year. With the arrival of the first official day of fall this week, it was time to share my fall reading list (along with an extra bonus, a truly delicious recipe for peach scones that you can enjoy while you read!)
The Inheritance Games
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I recently discovered the YA, which is described as a One of Us is Lying meets Knives Out. As a fan of the twists/turns and constant guessing games throughout the film Knives Out, I couldn’t wait to read this novel. It centers around Avery Grambs whose sole concern is to graduate high school with a scholarship. Until she inherits the fortune of one Tobias Hawthorne a man she doesn’t even know. To make things even more interesting, Tobias has an entire family (including four grandsons) who all believe that they deserve Tobias’ fortune and will do anything to get it.
The Woman Before Wallis
For those of you who love reading books related to the Royals…
“For fans of The Paris Wife and The Crown, this stunning novel tells the true story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.
In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.
In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.
Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace in this sweeping story of love, loyalty and betrayal.”
Mary Ellen Taylor
“Adrift in the wake of her father’s death, a failed marriage, and multiple miscarriages, Libby McKenzie feels truly alone. Though her new life as a wedding photographer provides a semblance of purpose, it’s also a distraction from her profound pain.
When asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estate, Libby meets the owner, Elaine Grant. Hoping to open Woodmont to the public, Elaine has employed young widower Colton Reese to help restore the grounds and asks Libby to photograph the process. Libby is immediately drawn to the old greenhouse shrouded in honeysuckle vines.
As Libby forms relationships and explores the overgrown—yet hauntingly beautiful—Woodmont estate, she finds the emotional courage to sort through her father’s office. There she discovers a letter that changes everything she knows about her parents, herself, and the estate. Beneath the vines of the old greenhouse lie generations of secrets, and it’s up to Libby to tend to the fruits born of long-buried seeds.”
Read my interview with Mary here.
The Night Portrait
“An exciting, dual-timeline historical novel about the creation of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous paintings, Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine, and the woman who fought to save it from Nazi destruction during World War II.
Milan, 1492: When a 16-year old beauty becomes the mistress of the Duke of Milan, she must fight for her place in the palace—and against those who want her out. Soon, she finds herself sitting before Leonardo da Vinci, who wants to ensure his own place in the ducal palace by painting his most ambitious portrait to date.
Munich, World War II: After a modest conservator unwittingly places a priceless Italian Renaissance portrait into the hands of a high-ranking Nazi leader, she risks her life to recover it, working with an American soldier, part of the famed Monuments Men team, to get it back.
Two women, separated by 500 years, are swept up in the tide of history as one painting stands at the center of their quests for their own destinies.”
Interview with Laura coming to the blog soon!
Paris Never Leaves You
Living through WWII working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?
Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.
Read my interview with Ellen here.
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Reese’s Book Club Pick (for September 2020)
Ronald H Balson
This book is ideal for the history buff in your life, especially those who don’t often read fiction novels. My grandfather who reads books about WWII history (he grew up in the early years of the war) was eager to have the opportunity to give this one a read!
“Eli’s Promise is a masterful work of historical fiction spanning three eras: Nazi-occupied Poland, the American Zone of post-war Germany, and Chicago at the height of the Vietnam War.
1939: Eli Rosen lives with his wife Esther and their young son in the Polish town of Lublin, where his family owns a construction company. As a consequence of the Nazi occupation, Eli’s company is Aryanized, appropriated and transferred to Maximilian Poleski, an unprincipled profiteer who peddles favors to Lublin’s subjugated residents. An uneasy alliance is formed; Poleski will keep the Rosen family safe if Eli will manage the business. Will Poleski honor his promise or will their relationship end in betrayal and tragedy?
1946: Eli resides with his son in a displaced persons camp in Allied-occupied Germany hoping for a visa to America. His wife has been missing since the war. One man is sneaking around the camps selling illegal visas; might he know what has happened to her?
1965: Eli rents a room in Albany Park, Chicago. He is on a mission. With patience, cunning, and relentless focus, he navigates unfamiliar streets and dangerous political backrooms, searching for the truth. Powerful and emotional, Ronald H. Balson’s Eli’s Promise is a rich, rewarding novel of World War II and a husband’s quest for justice.”
“In the romantic tradition of Dear John, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the story of an injured Navy doctor — and two women whose secrets will change the course of his life.
Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he’d inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.
Tending to his grandfather’s beloved beehives, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can’t ignore. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.
Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road. Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues — until a crisis triggers a race to uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have imagined.
In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.”
Due to be released on 8/29.
- 2 cups flower
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 6 tbsp goat butter cubed into pieces
- 1/2 cup milk (or Lactaid)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup peaches (diced)
- Pre-heat oven to 400F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the cold cubed goat butter with either a pastry cutter or fork to cut into the dry ingredients (until butter is small pea sized crumbs).
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together milk (or Lactaid), egg and vanilla bean paste until fully combined. Set aside.
- Wash and peel peaches and dice.
- Add wet ingredients and peaches to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Scoop the mixture out onto a light floured piece of parchment paper. Work it into a ball with floured hands and flatten into a circle. Place the scone mixture (keeping it on the parchment paper) onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- After the dough has chilled put the scones in the oven for 18-22 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into 8 wedges. Serve.
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