My 2019 New Year’s resolution is to read more. I’m keeping track of the books I read on this Pinterest board and on Goodreads. Following the lead of Modern Mrs. Darcy, here are my quick reviews of what I’ve read lately.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The lives of a New York socialite, a Polish teenager, and a German doctor intersect during World War II. This historical novel, which is based on real-life people and events, is very heavy reading in parts, but so worth it. I was warned that it was hard to get into but that wasn’t the case for me; it pulled me right in. It was the kind of book that had me Googling to find out more both, while I was reading it and when I was done. Lilac Girls is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

It’s my tradition to read Elin’s new book every summer (she is the queen of the summer beach read, after all) but I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I have the others. It’s set in 1969 and I tend to gravitate toward present-day novels, but I shouldn’t have worried: I loved this book. It’s familiar Elin Hilderbrand terrain: different plotlines involving family members spending the summer on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. In this case, though, the plots weave in the timely events of this historic summer (the moon landing, Chappaquiddick, and Woodstock).

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

Lina, Wei, and their daughter move back to Shanghai for Wei’s career after years of living in the U.S. While living in a luxury apartment building with other wealthy ex-pats, one of Lina’s bracelets goes missing. Sunny, one of the two housekeepers working for the family is absolved of any guilt and invited to work for the family as a nanny at the same time that Wei’s brother, who left home years ago, reappears. I picked up this Kindle deal (it’s still on sale through the end of July) because I can’t remember having read anything like this set in modern-day China. I enjoyed the story as these characters wrestle with what family, career, and class mean in rapidly-changing China.

Kindle Deals

Here are a few of Amazon’s Kindle Deals that caught my eye. They’re all at great prices as I write this, but that is subject to change.

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin

A followup to Gretchen’s wildly popular The Happiness Project, this one tackles happiness at home, looking at everything from marriage to interior design to neighborhood. While it can be read at any time of year, it’s arranged in chapters that cover September (which she calls ‘the new January’ – love that!) through May, making it a great deal to pick up now and save for fall.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish started out writing copy for R. H. Macy’s in the 1930s and went on to become the highest-paid woman in advertising in the country. Now it’s New Year’s Eve 1984 and she takes the long way home from dinner, walking ten miles around New York reflecting on all she’s seen in her life and her city over the years. The main character is based on the real-life Margaret Fishback.

I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson

An entertainment journalist tells the behind the scenes stories of Nora Ephron and the making of her iconic movies, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. It promises an inside look at movie making and is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who loves these movies.

What have you been reading lately? Anything good?

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