It’s that time of year. The leaves are about to change. The weather already has (at least in Ohio). I can’t think of anything I like more than curling up with a blanket, coffee (or tea), and a good book. I’ve read a few lately that I have to let you in on. Some are new and some are not so new, but all of them should be enjoyed near a window, or on a back deck, or anywhere you love to read in the fall.
My first recommendation is The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (2019) by Abby Waxman. Nina is happy with her quiet life. She works in a bookstore, competes with a trivia team, and has a cat named Phil. The sudden death of her father (who she never knew) brings a large, new family into her life that she’s not sure she wants. This book was a delight from cover to cover. Tons of book references for the bookworms, but not distractingly so if you aren’t one. It was just so enjoyable.
The Good Sister (2021) by Sally Hepworth was a real page turner. I had a hard time putting this book down. Fern Castle reminds me a lot of Nina from above. She’s a children’s librarian with a carefully structured life because disrupting that structure could be…dangerous. Disruptions come her way and shake up everything she knows about herself and her family. It kept me guessing to the end.
If you read the Madison River Romance Series by Janine Rosche, you won’t want to miss Aspen Crossroads (2021) which is the first of a brand new series. I love how her books drop you right into the setting (especially since they’re all settings I want to visit). Whisper Canyon, Colorado is definitely one I’d visit. Jace Daring is planning to be there only a short while for work, but Haven Haviland puts a damper on his plan to exit. She helps him confront his past as she moves past her own. When the mayor gets wind of what Jace is doing in town, he’ll stop at nothing to shut it down. This is such a beautiful story of redemption. I know you’ll love it.
I loved Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe (2019) by Heather Webber despite the fact that I don’t usually read a lot of magical realism books. There was enough romance and southern charm to pull me in.
Anna Kate came to Wicklow to quickly close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. This is a perfect fall read. Warning: it may make you hungry for pie.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a Max Lucado book, but I’m glad I picked up How Happiness Happens (2019). In this book Max shares the unexpected path to happiness, one that produces true joy in any season of life. A perfect mix of Jesus’ teachings and modern research, How Happiness Happens presents a surprising but practical way of living that actually helps you achieve happiness.
I Will Always Write Back (2015) by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch reminded me of my friendships across the globe. This is a true story of typical suburban girl and a boy from an impoverished city in Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever.
In this wonderful dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin talk about how they became best friends through letters. I recommend reading this with your teenage kids. It’s a great lesson in seeing the world through someone else’s experience.
I love Appalachian fiction and What Mamma Left Behind (2020) by Cindy K. Sproles didn’t disappoint. It’s 1898 and seventeen-year-old Worie Dressar’s Appalachian Mountain community is being ravaged by influenza and dysentery, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie's mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.
I actually listened to this as an audiobook while driving through the mountains of Tennessee, so I really felt like I was in the story. (Don’t worry. You can still enjoy the experience from your home.)
For me, Winter Solstice (2011) by Rosamunde Pilcher took a few chapters to get into. It’s been recommended so many times, I felt I should keep going and I’m so glad I did. If you’re looking for a thriller, this isn’t it. But it’s just so comfortable and pleasant. This is a great book for the end of fall (moving into winter) if you read seasonally.
Elfrida Phipps loves her new life in the pretty Hampshire village. She has a tiny cottage, her faithful dog Horace and the friendship of the neighbouring Blundells - particularly Oscar - to ensure that her days include companionship as well as independence. But an unforeseen tragedy upsets Elfrida's tranquillity. I love the cast of quirky characters in this book. You’ll want to move in and celebrate Christmas with them. I know I did.
Whatever you plan to read this fall, I hope you take time to relax and enjoy the quiet a good book offers. If you take any of my recommendations, or if you’ve already read something here, please let me know. I’d love to talk to you about them.