Recently Read! (Catching Up)

It’s been at least a few months since I’ve shared any of my “Recently Read” wrap-ups with you! I’m hoping to catch up before the end of the year and will share a bunch of these over the next few weeks! 📚

Here are a few favourites from late-summer!

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 

Meet Me In Paradise (Libby Hubscher)
This was beautifully written! It balanced a romantic story line as well as the moving tale of two sisters. It’s one of the very few books this year that had me in absolute tears. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t want to finish a book just to avoid what seemed like an inevitable ending. Marian and Sadie are about as opposite as sisters can get, and the way they push each other to change and grow, while still remaining close, was so special. Lucas was written perfectly, there to fill in everything that was needed but adding just enough on his own to play a critical role in the lives of both women, while he himself grew as well. I don’t want to say too much to give any of it away, but I will say it’s a must-read – just make sure to have a ton of tissues nearby!

Finlay Donovan is Killing It (Elle Cosimano)
This was so well written and had me hooked from the first page! Finlay and Veronica are hysterical and the many escapades in which they find themselves in, from crimes to crime-solving, are ridiculous but also come together seamlessly to create a fantastic story! It’s absurd but it’ll also have you turning the pages as quickly as possible, trying to figure it all out alongside them (while laughing non-stop!). Finlay is a stressed out single mom and author who is in desperate need of more income after her husband left her. As she’s speaking to her agent at a restaurant, someone overhears her and believes that she is an assassin- when in reality she had just been describing the plot of the book she was working on. It doesn’t matter how many times she explains this, the woman won’t take no for an answer and before she knows it, Finlay is at the center of a crime, her nanny Veronica assumes the role of her accomplice and it seems that everything they do, no matter how good their intentions are, just leads them further into trouble. One of my favourite reads this year and I’m SO thrilled there’s another coming out next year!

The Chanel Sisters (Judithe Little)
This was a fascinating read! I didn’t realize how little is actually known (& confirmed to be accurate) regarding the Chanel family. The story line is firmly grounded in a mixture of facts with plenty of fiction interspersed to fill in gaps. I was surprised at “Coco’s” story line, having had completely different assumptions as to who she was and what her journey to being a fashion icon entailed. If anything, as I was reading it, I was sure that Antoinette was “Coco” as she seem to play such a critical role. I appreciated that Judithe wrote this story with such a focus on her, rather than Gabrielle, who would indeed go on to be known as Coco. The descriptions of their incredibly humble beginnings, family dynamics, and the obstacles they had to face and overcome to get to where they eventually landed, both plentiful and dramatic, were relayed powerfully and in a way that encouraged me to look into the sisters’ story after I had read the last page!  

Family Law (Gin Phillips)
Lucia’s story as an ambitious lawyer, living in Alabama in the 80s, is one filled with suspense, frustration, and harassment. She is practicing in a time where women were a minority in the profession and the way she is treated as a result of this fact is awful. I constantly felt like something was about to go horribly wrong and many scenes were set up to create an undeniable sense of suspense. I was constantly both fearful of what was about to happen and desperately curious to ensure Lucia made it out well. Pairing her character with Rachel, the daughter of a potential client, highlighted just how unique Lucia was in this era, especially given the glaring ways in which Rachel’s mother and Lucia are so very different. This added a great dimension to the whole story line. Rachel’s seeming awe of Lucia and the way she navigates her own circumstances come together to round out a powerful story. I did feel like the ending was abrupt after such a dramatic series of events, and would have liked to know more about how the characters went forward. 

The Apple Orchard (Susan Wiggs)
The art history major in me was immediately drawn to this book upon reading the jacket! Tessa works in the art world, reconnecting patrons with their lost and stolen artwork. While she works to resolve the history between timeless artifacts and their rightful owners, her own history itself is a question mark. When she finds out the grandfather she had no knowledge of is in a coma, her entire life (and family) quickly begins to change and expand. The bearer of this news, Dominic, continues to play an important role in her story, as he’s the push, and oftentimes support, she needs as she begins to re-evaluate everything. There were a lot of twists and turns, mysteries, pieces of priceless art, family secrets, and even a romantic story line as well. Such a great read!

Happiness For Beginners (Katherine Center) 
After reading Things You Save in a Fire earlier this year, I requested more of Katherine’s titles right away! In this book, Helen, 32 and recently divorced, signs up for a wilderness survival retreat/course that ends up being significantly more difficult than she anticipated. I had assumed  and gone into this book thinking it was going to be the story of how one woman went on this trek and found out who she truly was while embracing and flourishing in her newfound independence. I was surprised to find that the story line was mainly focused on the relationship between Helen and another participant who she happened to already know. The atmosphere was very high school-like among all of the members in her group, with nicknames, bickering, relationships, and cliques forming. I did like how different each of the characters were and how they complemented each other. The camaraderie between them and the way they naturally brought out one another’s strengths and weaknesses as they made their way through the sometimes dangerous terrain, was fantastic! By the end, I couldn’t imagine them parting ways, back to their own lives! 

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