As we fa-la-la our way to the end of another year, it warms my bookish heart to continue my tradition by sharing “SIX SWEET READS IN 2022” with you. Whether you’re curious to see what captured my heart in the past 12 months or you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas, I hope you enjoy my selections. As per usual, it was ridiculously impossible trying to pluck only six from my beloved bookshelves…
“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” Louisa May Alcott
I always find it fascinating to look back and see where my reading whims have taken me throughout the year, which genres I’m drawn to, and how many titles I’ve added to my “to-be-read” list! I would never remember ANYTHING without keeping track on Goodreads. Feel free to check out the 40+ books I’ve read this year, see what I’m reading now, and follow and friend me HERE!
“It’s always better to have too much to read than not enough.” Ann Patchett
Reading is the oh-so-fun part of my job as an author, and when I’m not devouring Christian suspense or writing craft books, I like to delve into other genres. Here is a smattering of six, along with my reviews for each. Some are currently on sale, so 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:
THE BLOOMSBURY GIRLS by Natalie Jenner (Historical fiction)
If you adore stories about books, bookstores, smart women, and all things literature, this delightfully compelling read is for you!
Set in 1950 London, the story revolves around Bloomsbury Books, a bookstore steeped in tradition and resistant to change, largely due to 51 stuffy rules of conduct. In the aftermath of WWII, employees Vivien, Grace, and Evie sense hope is on the horizon for women in the workplace, and are set on breaking all the rules! The author skillfully weaves in famous literary figures of this time, and readers of her bestselling novel, The Jane Austen Society, will be thrilled to see several familiar faces. Bonds of friendship, determination, and courage seep through the pages of this charming story celebrating women writers and the love of bookstores!
THE RECORD KEEPER by Charles Martin (contemporary Christian fiction)
This third and final book in the gripping Murphy Shepherd series is both heart wrenching and hope-filled. Just when Murphy thinks his brush with death is in the past and he can settle into a more “normal” way of life with his family, his best friend and beloved mentor “Bones” goes missing and the action-packed journey of rescue begins again.
This is largely Bones’ story, and as we learn of his horrific childhood and complex relationship with his twin brother, it throws light on reasons why he became the selfless hero everyone adores and respects. With the heavy topic of human trafficking and the sacrificial love mantra of leaving the ninety-nine for the sake of the one, this is a rich and compelling read—you’ll want to devour all three in the series. I thoroughly recommend the audiobooks!
UNTIL LEAVES FALL IN PARIS by Sarah Sundin (Christian historical fiction)
Paris, a bookstore, ballet, WWII fiction, and a beautiful thread of faith running through a compelling story—this is an absolute delight to read as it appeals to so many of my passions!
When the Nazis invade the city of Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard makes the selfless decision to put her future in ballet on hold as she purchases a bookstore to help her Jewish friends escape to safety. Even though she believes herself to be inadequate with regard to business and intelligence, within the haven of Green Leaf Books she embraces her artistic creativity and plays a role in the resistance. Paul Aubrey is a serious, successful business owner and widower, trying to make wise decisions when it comes to protecting his sweet young daughter and doing his part in helping with the resistance as a “double agent”. When Lucie meets Paul, in spite of a deep attraction for them both, she cannot see past his apparent collaboration with the Nazis. Drawing on their very different strengths, they show incredible courage as their complex relationship takes some heart-wrenching twists and turns. Well researched with meticulous attention to detail, Sarah Sundin brings us yet another beautiful tale of sacrificial love and unwavering hope.
I GUESS I HAVEN’T LEARNED THAT by Shauna Niequist (Christian living)
“It’s my job as a writer to live in such a way that every time I sit down to write, I’m inspired, not in the moment necessarily, but in my life, as a way of life.”
In this warm hug of a book, Shauna shares her honest, vulnerable heart in 50 short essays encompassing tantalizing topics such as midlife health, finding home, creating habits, and her family’s major move from the Midwest to Manhattan. Written during the pandemic and reflecting on an incredibly painful time of learning and growth for Shauna in many areas of her life, there’s likely something for every reader. She includes embracing new rhythms, taking the long route home, practicing gratitude, dealing with early menopause, putting oneself in the path of inspiration, and finding light and joy along the way in her faith journey. A master storyteller with a knack for making the reader feel like we’re sitting at the kitchen table together clutching frothy caramel macchiatos, Shauna Niequist has given us a delightful book worth underlining and rereading and gifting ad nauseam…
THE ROSE CODE by Kate Quinn (historical fiction)
This brilliant historical fiction based in the 1940s follows the relationship between Osla, Mab, and Beth—three ordinary women doing extraordinary work serving their country at Bletchley Park in England, where the best minds were trained to break German military codes.
But by 1947, the three friends are sworn enemies after they are torn apart by betrayal, leaving one of them to suffer in an asylum. When a letter leads to the ugly truth about a traitor, suddenly Osla, Mab, and Beth put their history aside as they have to work together to crack one last code. The Rose Code. Fraught with love, grief, friendship, and unfathomable secrecy, this story is a thought-provoking reminder of sacrifices made and the resilience of humankind.
WAYMAKER by Ann Voskamp (Christian living)
“Detours are the way dreams and destinies come true.”
Achingly vulnerable, encouraging to the core, and an exquisite writing style that is all Ann… Waymaker is a powerful read. As soon as I cracked open the cover, I knew I would need to dip my toes in gently and slowly, to allow the waters to ripple around each chapter before wading ahead. My pages are marked and my heart is buoyed. Marriage, health, adoption, surgeries, pain, joy, and a way through it all in ebbs and flows of faith and floundering, this is a beautiful love story that binds it all together with a sacred thread that is the One making the way. Everything points to One who IS the way. Tenderly penned with humility and grace… a phenomenal book I will come back to time and again!
How about you, friend? Do you have a favourite book you have picked up this year? Do leave it in the comments below—I’m always game for adding to that never-ending to-be-read list! 😂
Happy winter reading,
P.S. 🎄 If you’re looking for a thrilling, hope-filled, heartwarming story with all the white Christmas feels, check out my new novella, The Christmas Cabin HERE!
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: