How has your reading life been in 2021, friend? If you’ve been around here for half a minute, you’ll know books are my constant companions and this year has brought a delightful plethora of new books across my lap. And so, as per my tradition, I have selected six sweet reads to share with you from the cream of my literary crop… let’s see if any of them are your cup of tea:
“A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.” Charles Baudelaire
As an author, I love that part of my job is reading! I also love connecting with fellow bookish types and seeing what they are reading. If you’re on Goodreads, I would love to meet you over there! You can follow and friend me HERE.
So let’s delve into some of my favorites from this year— I’ve included 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:
ONCE UPON A WARDROBE by Patti Callahan (historical fiction)
My top read of 2021! In 1950 Worcester, England, Megs Devonshire is a logically-minded math student at Oxford University, whose heavy heart is breaking as her beloved 8-year-old brother, George, does not have long to live. An avid reader, George devours a brand-new book by C.S. Lewis called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and is left with the burning question, “Where did Narnia come from?” When George discovers his sister has the possibility of meeting the Oxford don, C.S. Lewis, in person, he begs her to find the answer—and she can’t possibly refuse. And so, Megs tracks down the famous author and his brother at their home, The Kilns, and over several meetings and strong cups of tea, they answer George’s question with one story after another, sharing nuggets of great joy and harrowing sorrow from their early years. As Megs reports back to her little brother, she eventually sees it is she who is being gifted with deeper truths. Melding the early years of C.S. Lewis with a tale of a sister’s love for her dying brother, this book beautifully conveys the power of story, inspiration gleaned from seasons of life, and the hope that is offered to all.
EVERY MOMENT HOLY by Douglas Kaine McKelvey (Christian prayer)
This collection of over a hundred beautiful liturgies is an absolute treasure! With Biblical wisdom and exquisite writing, every moment from mundane to monumental is captured in a prayer. From changing diapers to writing fiction, experiencing road rage to grieving a loved one—these liturgies cause us to see God in the everyday and remind us that He cares and He listens. A blessing of a book to be read and re-read, time and again!
THE PARIS LIBRARY by Janet Skeslien Charles (historical fiction)
Paris, books, the WWII era, and a library… this time-split novel checked so many of my happy boxes! In 1939 Paris, Odile Souchet lands her dream job at the American Library, which serves both foreigners and Parisiennes. She has everything going for her—until the war breaks out and her life is forever changed. In 1983 Montana, an elderly Odile lives a private, secluded existence until she is befriended by an inquisitive teenaged neighbor, Lily, who sheds light on painful secrets Odile has hidden for decades. Friendship, family, and forgiveness; the bond of books, and the bite of betrayal are all blended by fact and fiction into this captivating story for book lovers everywhere.
THE LETTER KEEPER by Charles Martin (contemporary Christian fiction)
There are not many books my husband and I enjoy equally—but Charles Martin hits it out of the park yet again with this phenomenal novel. Human trafficking, abandonment, forgiveness, and grief are tackled with a beautiful tenderness as rescuer, priest, and author Murphy Shepherd puts his own life at risk, believing everyone is worth saving. But when his own loved ones are kidnapped, Murphy faces his most challenging rescue yet in page-turning action and heartbreaking vulnerability. The Letter Keeper can be read as a stand-alone but I would highly recommend reading The Water Keeper first—not only because it’s an exceptional read and should not be missed, but the reader will also fully appreciate the growth of the characters in this breathtaking story of freedom and redemption.
THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah (historical fiction)
“Love is what remains when everything else is gone.” This epic story of survival is set during The Great Depression in 1930’s Texas, where we follow the tragic life of a courageous woman named Elsa Martinelli. Unloved by her own family and her own husband, she endures the horrors of the Dust Bowl with sheer grit and determination, before embarking upon a journey fraught with further hardship and heartache. It’s rejection, motherhood, endurance, resilience, and heroism. It’s the unconditional love of a woman for her children as she gives them hope and a future. A phenomenal read!
WHEN TWILIGHT BREAKS by Sarah Sundin (Christian historical fiction)
On the brink of WWII, Evelyn Brand is a feisty American foreign correspondent based in Germany who desperately wants to hold her own in a male-dominated industry by reporting on the growing tyranny. However, when she makes a shocking personal discovery, she knows she is skating on thin and dangerous ice. In an interview with Peter Lang, an American graduate student working on his PhD in German, her strength and refreshing sense of humor win him over—not that she has any intention of pursuing a relationship with him or anyone else. When Peter’s favorable impressions of German society dissolve upon witnessing the brutality of the innocent, he risks everything to feed Evelyn the unspeakable truth. Their friendship deepens, their safety is compromised, and their suspenseful journey begins. Thoroughly researched, fast-paced, with likable, strong characters—this is my first Sundin novel and I’m looking forward to devouring more.
I hope there’s something here that appeals to you or maybe would make a perfect last-minute Christmas gift. On behalf of authors everywhere, thank you for reading and buying and reviewing books—it means the world! And PLEASE leave a favorite of yours in the comments below…
Happy cozy Christmas reading!
P.S. OF COURSE you can always check out my books for gifts or to treat yourself! With heartwarming reads for children, teens, and adults—find all the details HERE! 🙂
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: