As a reward for finishing my exams and a 20-page paper, I treated myself to an afternoon excursion to the bookstore to pick out my summer reading! Nothing gives me more joy than a great novel that takes me blissfully away on an adventure. I’m hoping something from my Spring Stack will perk your curiosity! I invite you to visit the shelves of my Bookstack section on my blog for lots of other great suggestions!
My son Charlie (about to graduate from high school) gifted me with this book! He said I would love the female protagonist, Circe, and boy did I! Madeleine Miller has made a name for herself in literary circles for her creative retelling of classical mythological stories. Circe is a character to admire! She is so full of spunk, adventure, and courage. If you remember, Circe had a brief romance with Odysseus on his voyage home. Circe is a marvelous female lead that I’ll carry around in my heart for years to to come! Fingers crossed Miller will have a new book coming out soon!
I read this jewel over Spring Break and absolutely loved Maggie O’Farrell’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s wife and how she so beautifully immersed me in 17th c. England. O’Farrell fashioned Anne a beekeeper, a gardener and a healer who was most at home in nature with her pet hawk. In O’Farrell’s visioning, Anne encouraged William’s pipe dream of moving to London and becoming a playwright. Much of Shakespeare’s life remains a mystery, but that does not discourage O’Farrell from conjuring a beautifully-written story about their marriage, family life, and the creative impetus for his most famous play Hamlet.
I picked this one off the front table because I was intrigued by the title. The book is inspired by actual historical events surrounding the publication of the first Oxford English Dictionary in England. The protagonist is Esme who spends her motherless childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford, England watching her father and his team pick and choose words to form the first dictionary. It’s the words that don’t make it into the big book that capture her imagination and fuel her adventure to answer the question why! As she grows up, Esme begins her own Dictionary of lost words which takes her on many adventures outside of Oxford academia. I am excited to read this one!
If only to be a fly on the wall in the boudoir of Cleopatra’s palace. I mean her love life alone is a blockbuster story! Stacy Schiff has proved she has the credentials to paint a portrait that keeps your attention, but also is historically accurate! I think this one will be a fun summer read!
I love the magical realism genre and Sofia Segovia has been compared to some of my favorite authors: Isabelle Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marques, Alice Hoffman and Laura Esquivel. I have just started Segovia’s first novel, set in Mexico, and it has all the magic and creative signatures I love: an orphaned baby discovered swaddled by a protective swarm of bees. The boy is taken in by a reputable and honorable landowner during a Revolution and the Spanish Flue epidemic. His name is Simonopio and he has extraordinary gifts like seeing into the future! Followed throughout his life by the swarm of bees, Simonopio has all the makings of a hero!
Raphael was a 17th century Italian painter, famous for his works in the Vatican. Together with Michelangelo and Da Vinci, he is part of the artistic trinity of Italian masters. I love learning about artists personal lives and Storey invites the reader into the dramatic set of popes and princes; the artistic rivalry between Michelangelo and Raphael; and surprising intrigue. Last summer, I read her first book, Oil and Marble, about Da Vinci and Michelangelo, so I am excited about this one!
Many years ago, I worked in the art world in London and France, so it’s always fun to return to colorful life of artists and collectors. B.A. Shapiro is known for writing page-turners. This one is billed as a historical art thriller. How can you get any better than an adventure to 1920’s Paris, clinking glasses with Matisse and Cezanne? The novel tells thew story of Paulien Mertens who flees to Paris after being accused of stealing her father’s famous art collection. She ends us working for the famous collector, Albert Barnes, and goes on an adventure to retrieve her father’s collection and clear her name!
My husband is reading this novel about Napoleon’s exile to St. Helena. It tells the intriguing and true story of the family that was forced to open their island homestead to Napoleon and his entourage. What is so remarkable is how the wily Corsican would change their lives forever! Hint: The end up becoming a well-known family in Australia!
A week ago a school colleague asked if I had read When the Heart Waits? She couldn’t remember the author’s name but thought I might enjoy it. The shock that the author is Sue Monk Kidd who I adore!! This is her memoir about her own mid-life spiritual awakening and instructions on how we can navigate our own. I have just started and I love hearing her voice in the words! After more than a year of Covid craziness and feeling myself a bit frayed at the edges, I think this will be the perfect book for my spirit!