March was Women’s History Month. I didn’t do this on purpose, but I ended up reading only books by women in March. They were all about women and 3 out of 4 of the books also took place in the past. It just worked out that way, but I’m glad I did.
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I thought I would be able to relate to Sophie, the main character of this thriller set in a small, wealthy neighborhood in Texas. She is a stay at home mom and wannabe blogger who just moved somewhere where she doesn’t have any friends. Um, hello, does May Cobb know me? But that’s where our similarities end, thankfully.
This book is sort of a cross between Desperate Housewives and Big Little Lies and I loved it.
Sophie develops an obsession with Margot, the gorgeous and seductive leader of the Hunting Wives, a group of women who get together to hunt and drink. Sophie finds herself being sucked into their world, staying out all night, learning more secrets than she cares to know, and developing a few of her own. Then, one day, someone’s body is found shot dead on Margot’s property.
I really thought I had outsmarted the author and figured this one out, but nope. It kept me guessing till the end.
As a warning, this book is saucy. I didn’t like a single character in this book aside from Sophie’s husband and son, and none of them redeemed themselves in any way to me. But I still loved this book and could not put it down. I wish I got to know the other characters a bit more, but it was still a great read.
In 1791 in London, 12-year-old Eliza comes to Nella’s secret apothecary in London. Known through whispers only among women, Nella helps women who want to poison men. In the present day, Caroline travels to London alone, not sure how she wound up on the safe path instead of the path she had always dreamed of.
Based on this description, I was expecting a dark, deep, sweeping novel. But despite its subject matter, this was a quick read, taking place over just a few days in both timelines. I think I finished it in two days. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I still loved it.
I think the core of this book is the ways that women, throughout history and today, navigate a world where men have so much power and control. It highlights the issues that women experience and the ways they are there for each other, in ways that only women can be.
I loved getting lost in Nella and Eliza’s world. I loved seeing the ways that Nella was committed to her mother’s legacy and to helping women take control in the only way they could. I wished that the book took place over more than just a few days. I wanted to learn more about their world and more about the women who came to her shop.
I liked seeing the way that Eliza and Nella’s story inspired Caroline to take control over her own life. I liked seeing Caroline’s development and the way she drew strength from women she never met.
Recommend if: you’re in the mood for something light but not too light, you want to read a book where women yield some power, and/or you like magic
Oh and in the back of the book, there are recipes! I already baked the rosemary butter biscuits which are so soft and delicious and I’m planning to make the hot brew this weekend.
– infidelity, divorce, bodily effects of poisoning, blood, recall of past miscarriage, predatory behavior against an adolescent, suicide idealation. There is a lot of talk in this book about the desire for a child.
This is a beautiful story about two families, about parents, about relationships, about race, about so many things. There are a lot of characters and the novel shifts perspectives a lot.
This book is described as being about two teens who are brought together because the school districts are bringing students from the largely Black east side of town into predominantly white high schools on the west. And while that event is the center of the novel, the thing that brings the two families together, that ends up being such a small part of the book.
While I enjoyed this book and I’m glad I read it, I didn’t find myself becoming lost in this book or dying to pick it up at the end of the day. I didn’t find myself really enthralled with any of the characters, but I enjoyed the overall story a lot. There is also a “twist” or “reveal” that I thought was kind of unnecessary and didn’t really add anything for me.
TW: abortion, miscarriage
Well, if you have ever read a Kristin Hannah book, you know what you’re getting into. This book was just one gut-punch after another and completely heartbreaking.
Elsa is experiencing the effects of both the dust bowl and the Great Depression in Texas. Although very timid and fearful, she eventually makes the decision to go to California in search of a better life for her and her family. But her troubles only get worse as people who have come to California are treated as worse than second class citizens. I don’t want to give too much away here but it’s pretty grim.
The author wrote a note at the end that she hopes this book gives us hope that we can get through the pandemic, seeing what we have gone through before.
Mild spoilers ahead: Othering and blaming people for society’s problems, refusing to help those in need, refusing medical care to those who aren’t deemed worthy, big companies refusing to pay people what they are worth and even resorting to violence to prevent unions from forming… I felt like instead of learning from the past, just re-living so many of the same things. And yes, we will get through the pandemic, just like we got through the Great Depression, but at what cost? This book really depressed me.
There was one aspect of the novel that I actually really liked but I can’t talk about it without giving away something major but if you want to talk about the book I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss it with you!
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (thank you Netgalley!)
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala