How on earth are we nearly at the end of 2017? Whaaat? Part of me is itching to be nostalgic and mushy and reminisce on all the things from this year, but I need to put on my sensible, bookish head and choose six sweet reads to share with you today. I know, just SIX, a complete nightmare. Guilt washes over me as I glance at those who didn’t make the cut. As Ernest Hemingway put it, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Sigh. But I’ve decided upon some amazing titles I think you might just adore…
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S. Lewis
Can I get an Amen to that? And there’s nothing quite like winter reading. Oh, I’m all for a book on the beach in tropical relaxation mode, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about curling up at home with a hot cup of tea and a fabulous book when baby, it’s cold outside. Coziness personified.
I’ve selected my eclectic top six because basically, I loved them. Some pulled on my heartstrings, some encouraged my soul and stretched me, and some were just plain excellent. Here are my little reviews on each of them, along with my Amazon affiliate links in case you want to grab a copy (full disclosure here) which means I get a tiny commission while you pay the regular price for any of the books.
**EXTRA EXCITING: in case you still need to do a little Christmas shopping, these are all currently on sale at Amazon.com… some half price!**
THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom
This compelling read is set in the late 1700’s in a Virginian plantation, and follows the harrowing life of seven-year-old Lavinia, an orphaned Irish immigrant who finds herself working in the kitchen house alongside slaves—who ultimately become her family. A real page-turner, it touches on issues of race, dignity, class, secrets, heartache, and love. Lavinia grows up in a horrifically confusing atmosphere and eventually comes full circle, always clinging to hope. I was thrilled to discover the sequel, Glory Over Everything, and promptly devoured it!
VICTORIA by Daisy Goodwin
Based on the life of Queen Victoria, this engaging read follows the life of the young, somewhat naïve Victoria from before her coronation to her first couple of years reigning as queen. Well researched and brimming with drama, intrigue, family complications and romance, Daisy Goodwin has written a fabulous book to accompany her wonderfully successful PBS Masterpiece series (which I also loved!)
EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN by Chris Cleave
A witty, raw love story set in London during The Blitz. It truly brings to life the sheer horror of surviving in that great city as it all but crumbled to ruins while its people went about their day-to-day existence. It’s a fiction novel, yet Chris Cleave based it on his own grandparents and spent years researching intricate details to help us understand how bravado transformed to bravery. Brilliant.
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” And I absolutely enjoyed this classic tale of eleven-year-old orphan, Anne Shirley, and her escapades on picturesque Prince Edward Island. Precocious with a proclivity for finding trouble, Anne is the perfect heroine with her fierce independent streak and witty nature. This book might be over a hundred years old, but it’s still a beautiful read for girls of all ages!
GRACELACED by Ruth Chou Simons
Not only is it the most gorgeous book you will ever feast your eyes upon (that happens when the author is a skillful artist) but it’s also packed with beautiful encouragement for your heart and solid truths for your soul. It’s a devotional that reassures us “we don’t have to be blooming to be growing” as we walk through the seasons of life. I’ve bought several copies as gifts, knowing the recipients will be beyond blessed!
THE TURQUOISE TABLE by Kristin Schell
“We’ve got to debunk the myth that hospitality is the same as entertainment. Genuine hospitality begins with opening our lives.” In a simple, fast read with gorgeous photographs and delicious recipes, Kristin Schell shares her experience of finding community and connection in her own front yard by way of a picnic table painted turquoise. I was so encouraged by the notion, I went right out and bought a picnic table for my backyard (baby steps!) and you’ll never guess what colour I painted it… 🙂 A beautiful book for those who long for the days of REAL connection around a table, minus the pressure and stress of preparing the house for a gourmet feast.
So there we have it— six of the best I’ve discovered during my reading life in 2017. I hope I’ve given you some ideas for yourself or for a loved one…
Let me know your favourite books you’ve read this year in the comments below? Thanks— I’m always looking for recommendations! 🙂
Happy winter reading, friends…
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