Books You Will Be Thankful to Read:
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman
One of my very favorite books of the year. A trio of second-born daughters sets out on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love. This book should be on every holiday list as it is a gift!
Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all. Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse.
The Diplomat’s Wife by Pam Jenoff
One woman faces danger, intrigue, and love in the aftermath of World War II in this unforgettable novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris. This is a wonderful re-issue. If you haven’t read The Kommandant’s Girl, start there!
1945. Marta Nederman has barely survived the brutality of a Nazi concentration camp, where she was imprisoned for her work with the Polish resistance. Lucky to have escaped with her life, she meets Paul, an American soldier, who gives her hope of a happier future. The two make a promise to meet in London, but Paul is in a deadly plane crash and never arrives. Finding herself pregnant and alone in a strange city, Marta finds comfort with a kind British diplomat, and the two soon marry. But Marta’s happiness is threatened when the British government seeks her help to find a Communist spy—an undercover mission that resurrects the past with far-reaching consequences. Set during a time of great upheaval and change, The Diplomat’s Wife, a gripping early work from Pam Jenoff, is a story of survival, love and heroism, and a great testament to the strength of women.
The Magnificent Dappled Sea by David Biro
A transcendent book which explores how two strangers—generations and oceans apart—have a chance to save each other. Can inheritance be transcended by accidents of love?
In the early 1990s, nine-year-old Luca Taviano lives in a small North Italian village where a stubborn cold is subsequently diagnosed as a virulent case of leukemia. His only hope for survival is a bone marrow transplant. After an exhaustive search, a match turns up three thousand miles away in the form of a most unlikely donor: Joseph Neiman, a rabbi in Brooklyn, New York, who is suffering from a debilitating crisis of faith. Luca’s grandmother, Letizia, is surprised to learn of her grandson’s Ashkenazi DNA profile, but Luca’s young nurse, Nina, is intrigued by the unlikely match and researches his family history, risking her career and racing against time to help save him. Through the course of her research she uncovers terrible secrets from World War II—secrets that reveal how a Catholic child could have Jewish genes.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
With nods to both Bridget Jones and Pride & Prejudice, this debut is a delightful #ownvoices queer rom-com about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So, she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass. Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward. Darcy begs Elle to play along and she agrees to pretend they’re dating. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family during the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a faux relationship. But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars.
Pretending by Holly Bourne
Pitched as “For Fans of Fleabag”! Yes please!
April is kind, pretty and relatively normal—yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel. Gretel is perfect—beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s your regular, everyday Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-Next-Door with no problems. When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun—especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?
Say Hello, Kiss Goodbye by Jacquelyn Middleton
A sexy story of love, second chances, gratitude, and finding beauty in the broken and the forgotten. Will her fling become his forever?
Leia Scott has sworn off love. Fresh from a messy, public divorce from her hockey player ex, the twenty-six-year-old fashion designer temporarily trades New York for London to heal and embrace her freedom. She throws herself into designing upcycled dresses and exploring London with her sister. But Leia’s carefully curated plan encounters a flirty complication with an irresistible British accent. Wealthy, charming, and devastatingly attractive, Tarquin Balfour is tired of meaningless hookups and dates that go nowhere. For years, he has played the bon viveur with reckless abandon, throwing decadent parties, sleeping with a parade of women, and diving into extreme sports around the globe. But now, he craves love and commitment, to prove his kind heart matters more than the abundance of zeroes attached to his bank balance. Struggling with undiagnosed depression, Tarquin worries he’ll never find The One…until he meets his princess, a fashion designer named Leia. Afraid of falling in love and fearful of being alone, Leia and Tarquin enter into an entanglement that threatens to hurt them both.
The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton
This dark debut thriller tells the story of a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men…then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con.
Jo’s job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles–handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs. When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting–bringing down a rising political star. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line.
The Russian Pink by Matthew Hart
An explosive novel featuring renowned diamond expert caught in a web of deception and malice while trying to uncover the secrets behind the most expensive diamond in the world.
When “The Russian Pink”—a stunningly large rose-hued diamond—makes a surprise appearance around the neck of Honey Li, the wife of surging presidential candidate Harry Nash, Alex Turner, an investigator for the Treasury Department’s diamond division and former C.I.A. agent, finds himself spiraling down a seemingly endless rabbit hole. A diamond like that always carries secrets, but the web of mystery behind “The Pink” is more complex than Alex could ever image. Starting with the trail of damage from botched sting operation, Alex wavers between legal and illegal tactics, friends, family, and foes to find out why a mysterious Russian double agent betrayed him and the diamond ended up on a potential path to the White House. For wherever the Russian Pink goes, secrecy, deception, and death surely follow. The Russian Pink is a stylish and fresh page-turner that catapults the reader into the world of blood diamond trading.
No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality by Michael J. Fox
A moving account of resilience, hope, fear and mortality, and how these things resonate in our lives, by actor and advocate Michael J. Fox.
The entire world knows Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, the teenage sidekick of Doc Brown in Back to the Future; as Alex P. Keaton in Family Ties; as Mike Flaherty in Spin City; and through numerous other movie roles and guest appearances on shows such as The Good Wife and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Diagnosed at age 29, Michael is equally engaged in Parkinson’s advocacy work, raising global awareness of the disease and helping find a cure through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the world’s leading non-profit funder of PD science. His two previous bestselling memoirs, Lucky Man and Always Looking Up, dealt with how he came to terms with the illness, all the while exhibiting his iconic optimism. His new memoir reassesses this outlook, as events in the past decade presented additional challenges. In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Thoughtful and moving, but with Fox’s trademark sense of humor, his book provides a vehicle for reflection about our lives, our loves, and our losses.
My Dad My Dog by Rebecca Warner
A duality of undying love for a parent and a pet.
When she moves her Alzheimer’s-afflicted dad into the home she shares with her husband and elderly dog, Rachel Morgan expects some complications, but she never imagines the biggest one will occur on the first day, threatening her best-intentioned caregiving plans. Her normally sweet-natured dad—a former mailman who experienced too many run-ins with biting dogs—is adamant about wanting nothing to do with her big black Labrador. But as Rachel tends to the escalating physical and emotional needs of each, she notices the striking similarities in their aging processes, and realizes these two souls whom she loves deeply are on the same journey.
And a binge….
The Spanish Princess is the story of Catherine of Aragon. While she is a warrior and a savvy regal, she is also a woman in love with King Henry. Luckily, as soon as I finished Season One, Season Two happened to come out on Starz. Love it!