While I haven’t been able to catch up on my reading lately. I had to share some of the June book releases and upcoming July book releases. There are so many good books across various genres that are perfect for beach reads or curled up in your room in the mountains as you escape the summer heat. I’ve even included an autobiography on this list from one of my fellow content creators that you should definitely check out!
When a close relative falls ill, Hannah Larson and her young son, Nicky, join him for the summer at Ashton Hall, a historic manor house outside Cambridge, England. A frustrated academic whose ambitions have been subsumed by the challenges of raising her beloved child, Hannah longs to escape her life in New York City, where her marriage has been upended by a recently discovered and devastating betrayal.
Soon after their arrival, ever-curious Nicky finds the skeletal remains of a woman walled into a forgotten part of the manor, and Hannah is pulled into an all-consuming quest for answers, Nicky close by her side. Working from clues in centuries-old ledgers showing what the woman’s household spent on everything from music to medicine; lists of books checked out of the library; and the troubling personal papers of the long-departed family, Hannah begins to recreate the Ashton Hall of the Elizabethan era in all its color and conflict. As the multilayered secrets of her own life begin to unravel, Hannah realizes that Ashton Hall’s women before her had lives not so different from hers, and she confronts what mothers throughout history have had to do to do to secure their independence and protect their children.
“Infused with the brooding, gothic atmosphere of Jane Eyre or Rebecca” (Melanie Benjamin, author of The Children’s Blizzard) and rich with female passion, strength, and ferocity across the ages, Ashton Hall is a novel that reveals how the most profound hauntings are within ourselves.
Last Call at the Nightingale
New York, 1924. Vivian Kelly’s days are filled with drudgery, from the tenement lodging she shares with her sister to the dress shop where she sews for hours every day.
But at night, she escapes to The Nightingale, an underground dance hall where illegal liquor flows and the band plays the Charleston with reckless excitement. With a bartender willing to slip her a free glass of champagne and friends who know the owner, Vivian can lose herself in the music. No one asks where she came from or how much money she has. No one bats an eye if she flirts with men or women as long as she can keep up on the dance floor. At The Nightingale, Vivian forgets the dangers of Prohibition-era New York and finds a place that feels like home.
But then she discovers a body behind the club, and those dangers come knocking.
Caught in a police raid at the Nightingale, Vivian discovers that the dead man wasn’t the nameless bootlegger he first appeared. With too many people assuming she knows more about the crime than she does, Vivian finds herself caught between the dangers of the New York’s underground and the world of the city’s wealthy and careless, where money can hide any sin and the lives of the poor are considered disposable…including Vivian’s own.
A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons
Debut author Kate Khavari deftly entwines a pulse-pounding mystery with the struggles of a woman in a male-dominated field in 1923 London.
Newly minted research assistant Saffron Everleigh is determined to blaze a new trail at the University College London, but with her colleagues’ beliefs about women’s academic inabilities and not-so-subtle hints that her deceased father’s reputation paved her way into the botany department, she feels stymied at every turn.
When she attends a dinner party for the school, she expects to engage in conversations about the university’s large expedition to the Amazon. What she doesn’t expect is for Mrs. Henry, one of the professors’ wives, to drop to the floor, poisoned by an unknown toxin.
Dr. Maxwell, Saffron’s mentor, is the main suspect and evidence quickly mounts. Joined by fellow researcher–and potential romantic interest–Alexander Ashton, Saffron uses her knowledge of botany as she explores steamy greenhouses, dark gardens, and deadly poisons to clear Maxwell’s name.
Will she be able to uncover the truth or will her investigation land her on the murderer’s list, in this entertaining examination of society’s expectations.
The Woman in the Library
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation, and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
Two years out of college, Ellie Adler has a job in journalism, an older lover, and a circle of smart friends. Her beloved father, James, who has children from three marriages, unites the family with his gentle humor and charisma, but Ellie has always believed she is her father’s favorite. When he suddenly dies, she finds herself devastated by the unexpected loss. Then, at the reading of his will, she learns that instead of leaving her his prized possession—a baseball that holds emotional resonance for them both—he has left her a seemingly ridiculous, even insulting gift. Worse, he’s given the baseball to someone no one in the family has ever heard of.
In her grief, Ellie wonders who could have possibly meant more to her father than she did. Setting out to track this person down, she learns startling information about who her father really was and who she herself is becoming. Moving, witty, and unforgettable, The Catch is a story of the gifts we’re given over the course of a lifetime, by family, friends, and strangers—the ones we want and the ones that catch us unawares.
Liking Myself Back
With millions of followers and a thriving lifestyle brand, Damsel in Dior, Jacey Duprie is one of today’s top fashion influencers. Her beautiful Instagram photos capture a life of glamour, luxury, and elegance. But Jacey’s life offline has been far from perfect.
In this candid memoir, Jacey reveals that behind her gorgeously curated photos was a woman struggling with deep insecurities. She shares intimate details of a difficult childhood growing up in rural Texas with an alcoholic father and her own battles with PTSD and mental health. Through resilience, hard work, and self-reflection, Jacey eventually triumphed to become the strong, empowered woman she is today.
In Liking Myself Back, Jacey takes readers behind the scenes into the seductive world of fashion and influence and reveals how she overcame hardship to achieve her dreams. With raw emotional honesty, Jacey shows that conquering self-doubt and embracing your imperfect, authentic self is not only possible but is the true key to happiness.
The Hotel Nantucket
Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she’s named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?
Filled with the emotional depth and multiple points of view that characterize Hilderbrand’s novels (The Blue Bistro, Golden Girl) as well as an added dash of Roaring Twenties history, The Hotel Nantucket offers something for everyone in this compelling summer drama.
The Key to Deceit
London, 1940. After years of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor—well, to themselves, anyway—Ellie McDonnell and her family have turned over a new leaf as they help the government’s war effort. It’s true that the straight-laced Major Ramsey didn’t give them much choice, but still, Ellie must admit she doesn’t miss breaking and entering as much as she might have thought. What she does miss is the challenge of unlocking an impossible code and the adrenaline rush that comes from being somewhere she shouldn’t.
So when Major Ramsey turns up unannounced with another job, she can’t say no. A woman’s body has been found floating in the Thames, with a bracelet locked onto her wrist, and a cameo locket attached to it. It’s clear this woman was involved in espionage, but whose side was she on? Who was she reporting to? And who wanted her dead?
A Dress of Violet Taffeta
A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, who shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and enchantingly unique designs.
Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male-dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?
When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure is not an option.
Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn. This is her story.
The Beekeeper’s War
At the onset of war, Nurse Pru le Cuirot left her home in Jersey to care for injured soldiers at Ashbury Manor, Dorset. She wanted to do her bit but she never expected to meet an American pilot, Jack Garland, so unlike any man, she has ever met.
When Jack is sent on a dangerous mission and vanishes, Pru is forced to make an agonizing decision… one that will haunt them both forever.
Another lifetime, but another war, and Pru’s daughter Emma comes to Ashbury Manor. As Jersey falls to the Germans, Emma is fearful for her mother back home. And when she meets the mysterious beekeeper who lives on the grounds of the manor she finds herself caught up in a web of lies. As past and present collide, will the secrets of her mother’s life finally be resolved?
In the Middle of Hickory Lane
Emme Wynn has wanted nothing more her whole life than to feel like part of a family. Having grown up on the run with her con artist mother, she’s been shuffled from town to town, drawn into bad situations, and has learned some unsavory habits that she’s tried hard to overcome. When her estranged grandmother tracks her down out of the blue and extends a job offer—helping to run her booth at an open-air marketplace in small-town Sweetgrass, Alabama—Emme is hopeful that she’ll finally be able to plant the roots she’s always dreamed of. But some habits are hard to break, and she risks her newfound happiness by keeping one big truth to herself.
Cora Bee Hazelton has her hands full with volunteering, gardening, her job as a color consultant and designer, and just about anything she can do to keep her mind off her painful past, a past that has resulted in her holding most everyone at arm’s length. The last thing she wants is to form close relationships only to have her heart broken yet again. But when she’s injured, she has no choice other than to let people into her life and soon realizes it’s going to be impossible to keep her heart safe—or her secrets hidden.
In the magical neighborhood garden in the middle of Hickory Lane, Emme and Cora Bee learn some hard truths about the past and themselves, the value of friends, family, and community, and most importantly, that true growth starts from within.
The Librarian Spy
Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as a librarian while working undercover as a spy gathering intelligence.
Meanwhile, in occupied France, Elaine has begun an apprenticeship at a printing press run by members of the Resistance. It’s a job usually reserved for men, but in the war, those rules have been forgotten. Yet she knows that the Nazis are searching for the press and its printer in order to silence them.
As the battle in Europe rages, Ava and Elaine find themselves connecting through coded messages and discovering hope in the face of war.
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