It was another incredible year of reading in 2019, as I once again made reading a priority and it paid off. How does reading pay off? If you are a reader, you already know, but just to say it, reading makes you grow like a spider plant on a sunny windowsill. Books are chlorophyll for the spirit, spurring your mind, heart, and soul to blossom. Books this year made me laugh and cry and think. My horizons were expanded, I traveled to new countries, and gained shimmering insights, like rubies and emeralds. I am hoarding those treasures, as they have illuminated my life and the lives of my neighbors around the world.
This year, I once again followed my reading structure, intentionally reading one of each of the following four categories every month:
- A classic (something written at least forty years ago, or a new classic, such as Esperanza Rising)
- A diverse read (something written by a person of color or about a race other than my own. I find this way of consuming words and story opens my eyes and hearts to other worlds, cultures, and perspectives.)
- A new, minty, buzzy book (I love to read what everyone else is reading for the community and the camaraderie. Reading is relational!)
- Something from my unread shelf.
Once again, I am delighted to discover that my best-loved books of the year come from all four categories. I read so many jewels this year, it was agonizing to choose just twelve. So I didn’t. I chose fourteen. This year as last, I shopped my own bookshelves and quarried pure gold–two new favorite authors, Eleanor Lipman (The Inn at Lake Devine) and Marisa de Los Santos (Love Walks In).
If any of these books sound luscious/scrummy/tantalizing to you, please do comment! Each comment will be entered in a drawing to win the book of your choice from this list.
Best by or About Lucy Maud Montgomery
House of Dreams
This luminous biography of my writing godmother, Lucy Maud Montgomery, encompasses dark and light, all the colors of Maud. Written for a YA audience, author Liz Rosenberg uses a deft touch but does not shy away from Maud’s growing despair at the middle and end of her life. I read this whole in Bala, Ontario, this summer, and thrilled to the chapter devoted to Maud’s time there. Winsome pen and ink drawings by Julie Morstad enrich the book (I am thinking about cutting out and framing her drawing of Muskoka to commemorate our idyllic holiday there). The writing is gorgeous and witty, much like Maud’s own writing. Essential for kindred spirits of all ages. (2018, Rated G-PG)
The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Speaking of Bala, Ontario, that’s where Maud set The Blue Castle, a funny, heartfelt, and marvelously written novel penned during a resurgence in her writing life. It was in Canada’s iconic Muskoka cottage country that Maud and her family escaped the heat for a two week holiday in 1922. They were facing a lawsuit over a car accident, and Maud was burned out in many ways. In beauteous Bala, with cool lakes and misty river islands, Maud began to dream again. Today, fans can visit the Bala Museum, an ode to Maud and Anne and Valancy and Barney (Sigh. What a duo!). It is a small but world-class museum in terms of the owners’ fantastic knowledge of all things #lmmontgomery. Treat yourself to a trip to Bala, or simply drop yourself into the enchanted woods of The Blue Castle. It’s a dreamy place to be. (1926. Rated: G/PG)
Best of Classics
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
In addition to rereading, and then listening to The Blue Castle this year, I also reread (and listened to) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, also one of my life’s most cherished books. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an American classic, a coming of age story about poverty, class, grit, and how reading can save you. The audiobook is exceptional, too, if you want to read this on the go. Through the compelling narration of actress Kate Burton, we get to know 11-year-old Francie Nolan, her younger brother Neely, and their parents—Irish immigrants who have settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Francie faces grief, loss, hunger, and want, yet she rises up with a determination and grit that have made her a beloved heroine through a century and beyond. Burton handles all the accents—Irish, German, Brooklyn—with style and ease. Jazz music of the era delineates chapters and enhances the storytelling.
Somehow I missed this sumptuous, page-turning middle-grade novel when my kids read it in middle school. With a hint of magical realism, this novel set in 1930 captures a Mexican girl’s fall from riches and her immigration to California. The title says it all: Esperanza does rise, and so can we all, through the most difficult and heartbreaking circumstances. It won every award possible when it came out, and in resilient Esperanza, aspiring heroines of all ages find an extraordinary role model. This read ticks off two boxes for me–a modern classic and a diverse read. (2000, Rated G)
Which brings me to…
Best Diverse Reads
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
One of the most highly-rated novels of the year, Dominicana took me by surprise with how readable and riveting it was. Sometimes “literary novels” can be a bit of a slog, like drinking wheatgrass for the mind. But there was accessibility, brightness, and shimmer to this story of fifteen-year-old Dominican immigrant Ana Cancion, who must put family and duty over love to secure a better life for all of them. Ana also inspires with her resilience and rise, from a desperate, cold, confused immigrant girl to someone tougher who finds her own voice in the world. (2019, Rating PG-13, R)
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
To be a newcomer in a strange land is hard, complicated, and confusing. Add to this the trauma of displacement and war, and the immigrant’s life becomes more harrowing. Rum, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, artfully braids the stories of three women: the vulnerable Isra; her domineering mother-in-law, Fareeda; and Deya, Isra’s daughter who chafes at the constraints of her harsh cultural confines. All three women are told that marriage and motherhood are a “woman’s only worth.” This book increased my empathy for those affected by the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories—their humiliation and misery was made real to me. As a Christian, I found it valuable to learn about conservative Muslims. Through my reading, Isra, Deya, and the rest became not just “other” and “them,” but image-bearers of their creator. Essentially, A Woman Is No Man ponders a woman’s worth. What will it mean for these characters to realize their intrinsic value? The answers to this question kept me turning the pages far into the night. (2019, Rated PG, but PG-13 for scenes of domestic violence)
Best of Historical Fiction
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
I am recommending this to everybody these days. If you are standing still, I will tell you about this book! “…a hauntingly atmospheric love letter to the first mobile library in Kentucky and the fierce, brave packhorse librarians who wove their way from shack to shack dispensing literacy, hope, and ― just as importantly ― a compassionate human connection,” said Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants. I concur. I was transfixed by Cussy Mary Carter, one of the “Blue Carters.” Even though I was enthralled with the whole packhorse librarian story, with its real-life bookish heroines, my favorite element was that Cussy Mary was blue. Her singular hue made her one of the most fascinating heroines I’ve read in forever. (2019, Rated PG except for the assault scenes, which are harrowing yet not graphic.)
The Address by Fiona Davis
I love New York in the springtime, don’t you? An April trip with my family yielded several silvery memories–including listening to a busker sing “Yesterday” by the Beatles at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, while staring wistfully at John Lennon’s old home, The Dakota. That grande dame of a building, with its gables and peaks and magical presence, always captivates me. So I drank in this engrossing historical fiction about a young British woman “in service” who rises from her lowly, limited station to become an immigrant and the building’s first “managerette.” Bonus: Nelly Bly makes a cameo! If you love Victorian New York, enchanted old buildings, or sweeping, romantic historical novels with clever twists, The Address is for you. Twas wonderful to discover fellow Canadian ex-pat Fiona Davis in 2019. (2017, Rated PG-13)
Love and Ruin by Paula McLean
Two years ago, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain made my Top Reads of 2017. I didn’t think I would find another of Hemingway’s wives as compelling as his first, Hadley. But a third jaunt this summer to Michigan’s magical Hemingway country–Lake Walloon, Horton’s Bay, Petoskey–stirred the embers of my EH fascination and I picked up Love and Ruin. I learned about the Spanish Civil War, World War 2, and Ernest Hemingway himself. Mostly, I was mesmerized by Martha Gellhorn, his third wife, and the only woman to land at Normandy on D-Day. In McLain’s skillful hands, I understood fierce, talented, intrepid Martha, and admired her ambition and fearlessness as a journalist. There is love here, a passion that burned brightly and was snuffed out, and there is ruin (see “snuffed out”). You won’t forget either anytime soon. (2018, Rated PG-13)
Best from my Unread Shelf
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman
I can’t say enough about this funny, sweet, clever and tart novel about a funny, sweet, clever and tart heroine named Natalie trying to figure out her identity as a Jew in a sometimes anti-semitic world. I adored the main setting of the book in a sort of shabby chic summer resort in Vermont. I am overjoyed too, in 2019, to discover this 20-year-old book and its witty, Nora-Ephron-ish author, Elinor Lipman. (I literally bought this at a garage sale!) In our troubled age of almost daily acts of anti-semitism, I believe reading a book like this is one small curative. It’s a wounded world out there; let’s heal it through reading. (1999, Rated PG-13? I can’t remember! :))
Love Walked In by Marisa de Los Santos
I bought this one at a garage sale on the prompting of a #12daysofannestagram participant who posted about this sparkler on the prompt: If you love Anne, you will love… And WHOAH JOSIE PYE, did I ever! Author Marisa De Los Santos is a kindred spirit, to be sure. She mentions Anne of Green Gables about 10 times, so bonus points for that alone. This is my favorite kind of book–seemingly frothy, fun, and cuddly, but with hidden depths. Jennifer Weiner adds this book is “bewitching, warmhearted, a grown-up fairy tale.” (2006, Rated PG, PG-13)
Best New Books of 2019
(The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek, A Woman Is No Man, and Dominicana were all released in 2019 but filled other spots on my list, such as diverse reads and historical fiction.)
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper
If The Office (British version) and the smash hit novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine had a book baby, it would be How Not to Die Alone, a debut novel from English writer Richard Roper.
We meet Andrew Smith, the main character, at a funeral he is attending for his work. That is his work—or a part of it. Andrew, a quiet, kind, single man works for the Death Administration. His coworkers are not exactly kindred spirits, and there is a workplace secret that keeps Andrew and his coworkers even more separate: Andrew, seriously lacking in social confidence, accidentally falls into a giant fib on his first day—that he has a wife and two children at home—and he has no idea how to get out of. At its core, this is a book about loneliness, grief, and how vital human connection is. As we cheer for Andrew to find love and liberty, we consider anew the things that haunt us and hold us back. Like Love Walked In, How Not to Die Alone is deceptively light but studded with gems of insight. 2019, Rated PG-13)
Favorite Fiction of the Year:
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
If Gilmore Girls could somehow be novelized, then Evvie, a young widow who was about to leave her husband when he died in a car accident, would be Lorelei, and Dean, a washed-up pro baseball player, would be Luke. (GG fans: I know, Dean and Luke are confusing!) This endearing read seems sunny and sprightly, but Linda Holmes can write like a house on fire. There are hidden depths of perception and vision here that take you by surprise. Written by NPR Pop Culture Hour’s Linda Holmes, “Evvie Drake” is, in the words of Rainbow Rowell, “great company.”
Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year/Best Book of 2019
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
“This searing memoir will make my Best of 2019 Best Of Books list, no doubt in my mind,” I said on Instagram in January. I found myself in this exquisitely written book about a woman who finds out, via a casually taken DNA test, that her beloved, dead, Jewish father is not her biological father after all. There were shocking parallels to my own adoption story and a birth father who, like Shapiro’s, referred to me at first as a “situation.” I wholeheartedly recommend if your life has been touched by adoption or some other kind of parental ambiguity. The best books serve as windows and mirrors, and this masterpiece helped me understand both others and myself better.
Which of my 2019 Best Of Books entices you, bookish friends? Comment below for a chance to WIN! After all, Amber won “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” in my last #Bookcrush blog!
Mia White says
“Books are chlorophyll for the spirit…”
Yes. I’ve read many of these recently, surely due to your recommendations. Your hearty endorsement of The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek most intrigues me, however, so I think I’d lean that way. Great pics! Now I’m off to the library! 🙂
Mia, I did not know chlorophyll had two l’s…until now! 🙂 You would probably love “Bookwoman”!
Lori Murphree says
Just saw Evvie Drake and the bookstore today and considered it. Now that you put it in the context of Gilmore Girls — Lorelei and Luke, I may just have to go back and get it. Loved Eleanor Oliphant and Love Walked In — glad to know it’s not just me that thinks they’re terrific.
Lorelei and Luke are definitely who I pictured, anyway! 🙂
Amy Lanham says
I definitely need to read Loved Walked In. The Book Woman was in my top 5 for this year, as well. Loved it so much!!
Yes, Loved Walked In is a gem!
Tracey Pieters says
Which one tantalizer’s me? All of them. I am downloading samples on Kindle now and putting the audiobooks you recommended on my Audible wish list. (I live overseas where libraries and Amazon are not options). If I had to choose which ones first, I’m looking at Esperanza Rising (because I live and serve in Mexico) and House of Dreams (because I am Canadian and an L.M. Montgomery fan since childhood. Thank you for encouraging us to read Blue Castle earlier this year. Now I will need to visit Dala, ON. Happy New Year.
Where are you from in Canada? You will love House of Dreams!
Hey, I just asked for The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek for Christmas and my book loving son and avid reader got it for me. I am always intrigued by Appalachia and their life and stories. I am about 1/4 of the way in and am loving Cussy Mary Carter already. I love all your book recommendations and use them when I looking for a new read. I haven’t read anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery so I think I might land there next.
Have you finished Book Woman yet? I bet you loved the way it ended! 🙂
Courtney Birnbaum says
The Blue Castle is an absolute favorite! I am currently reading House of Dreams as my first book of 2020 🙂
I am betting you loved it! Let me know!
Amy Statezny says
House of Dreams is on my TBR list! I would also like to read The Blue Castle. Love LMM & Anne. ❤️
I’m interested in Love & Ruin because I also read The Paris Wife. I’m reading The Giver of Stars currently. It’s also about the Packhorse Librarians. I’ll add The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to my reading list. I also read/listened to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in 2019. It was my first read of it! What a gem. 🥰
Thank you for your reviews & recommendations!
Marilyn Luechtefeld says
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is HMU very favorite story. I can’t lay the book down.
You may have just convinced me to re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn this year. I loved it when I read it several years ago!
So many good books on here! I picked up A Woman is No Man the other day and I need more hours in the day to read it bc I’ve been engrossed in the world of Little Women and Little Men. 💜
I’m saving the book woman of troublesome creek for my April book club choice. CAn’t wait!
I have two Paula McClain books here to read, I love Marisa de los Santos, but I’m really Intrigued by Elinor Lipman. I may have to get a hold of that book.
Oh and I discovered Fiona this past year too. the Address sounds perfect for March! You’re rounding out my reading list quite well, thank you so much!
Ahhhhh typos! Sorry
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was also my first read of 2019! Great minds …
Courtney Birnbaum says
Now that I’ve added half of these to my TBR list, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek will be the first one I track down. I love books with Kentucky representation!
Are you from the same place as the BOOKWOMAN??? You will flip, Courtney!
Courtney Birnbaum says
I live 100 miles away but did work at a camp one summer in that county!
The Inheritance looks like an amazing book. I have not read any of these and many will be added to my tbr list!
It really is an astonishing read! I hope you get the chance to read it!
Heidi Shaw says
I absolutely fell in love with the book woman while reading The Bookwoman of troublesome Creek. Such resilience, grit and hope. I had the audio version and found myself looking for reasons to drive just so I could listen uninterrupted. Now I’m going through your list and making my own list for the year to come. Thank you!!
I loved the narration–so spot on with the accents!
PJ Crook says
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was a great read. A view of a time past and the survival skills needed during a hard life lived.
I am excited to read Inheritance and am going to use The Blue Castle as my turn for my bookclub.
Can’t wait to hear what you think of the Blue Castle!
You inspire me to hone my reading life! I love your method to the endless stacks!! I’ve only read one on your list of favorites (Evvie Drake). The one I want to search out and read next would be Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. Memoirs are one of my weaknesses.
Not a bad weakness to have! 🙂
A Lucy Maude fan forever I first learned of The Blue Castle reading another book in which it was the heroine’s favourite. I’ve read it several times, gifted it to others, but I’ve not found an audible version- please tell me where you found it.
I love how you’ve determined your categories in which to read- I may copy.
Agree Inheritance was fabulous!
I found the audio version by looking up the book on audible!
Dora Dueck says
Oh Lorilee, all your descriptions are so persuasive! And, re literary novels, loved “wheatgrass for the mind.”
Thank you so much, dear Dora! I would love to get my hands on your new book next time I am in Canada! XO
I loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and Love Walked In.
Both excellent choices!
The NF book called Inheritance looks super interesting. I love reading memoirs! I’m currently reading Esperanza Rising to my 3 girls and it’s such a great book! I, too, try to mix up my reading every month which is always fun, especially since I’m usually reading about 5 books at once. Thank you for your recommendations!
How wonderful that you are reading Esperanza to your girls!
Lena Ready says
I’ve been wanting to read The Blue Castle. I do love L.M. Montgomery!
Oooh, how exciting that The Blue Castle is ahead of you!
Barb Pilichowski says
Gah!!! How can I pick just ONE?!? Of course, being a kindred spirit I would likely enjoy House of Dreams or Love Walked In…A Man is No Woman and Troublesome Creek sound wonderful, but I’ve wanted to read A Tree Grows for a while now….since I loved Elinor from last year, I think I would also love How Not To Die Alone…..so, I’ve narrowed it down to six!
Haha! Well, as your self-appointed curator of books, I select for you…”House of Dreams”!
Denise Roberts says
I left a comment on your fb page and I hope I am not too late. Truly you make every one of these books sound good. thank you for introducing me to new books I cannot live without! 😉
You are just in time, Denise! 🙂
Karen Dobson says
I do want to read “Inheritance” as I am also adopted. I’ve found who the maternal side of my family is, but the parental side, although bigger, doesn’t want to acknowledge me. I bought my sis a Ancestry DNA test 2 years ago, and it’s been a mostly heartwarming, learning experience since then!
I would love to know what you think of Inheritance. It really speaks to our identity and who we are if not biological children of our parents. Fascinating and heartwarming! PS: I am sorry about your birth father’s side. Birth fathers are usually –not always–aloof and even cold. It hurts!
Marissa Katter says
So many great books here! I’m ashamed to admit I’ve still never read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I think Inheritance is what calls to me the most. I meant to read it last year, but you know how that goes…
No shame at all! Just be glad you still have that experience ahead of you!
Stephanie Quinn says
I have been wanting to read House of Dreams. It sounds wonderful.
It really is!
House of Dreams is on my to read list!
You will love it!
House of dreams is in my top TBR list. I tried Love Walked In and I wanted to love it because of all the wonderful literary references, but I just couldn’t get into the characters. Maybe someday I will try again.
I loved it but not every single person did. 🙂 Maybe try again sometime?
Robyn H. says
So many fantastic books! I want to read several but top pick is Evvie Drake Starts Over ❤
Good choice. If you love audiobooks, people are saying the audiobook is great, too.
My choice would be Dominicana by Angie Cruz as I am interested in the Dominican Republic and its people. I read In The Time of the Butterflies last year and found it interesting.
The Time of the Butterflies has recently come on my radar. It looks great! Did you enjoy it? It’s supposed to be quite sad.
Anh N. says
I would love to read LMM’s biography because I am a huge fan fan of her books. Anne of Green gables was the first book I read as a young girl and really made me fall in love with reading.
Well then you will surely fall in love with House of Dreams!
Anh N says
How Not to Die Alone sounds really good the way you described it and I love dry British humour.
If you love British cheek, you will enjoy HNTDA!
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to read it.
Your whole list looks great.
It’s a hard read in some ways but rewarding. And the heroine is unforgettable.
Christina R says
I just saw Esperanza Rising at Goodwill today and I didn’t get it, now I’m kicking myself because your description makes it sound very good. Hopefully it’s there on my next visit. I’ve been hearing such good things about Dominicana and A Woman is No Man, definitely want to read them.
Don;t you hate it when that happens? 🙂 Hopefully it was still there on your next visit.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine has been on my list for a while. I always hear great things about it.
I honestly think it lives up to the hype! It did for me.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my most loved books. I’ve read/listened to it more than any other. I loved reading it as a kid because I related and I loved reading it as an adult because of the relationships.
Yes, it’s a book one can read over and over again. Such richness!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my very favorites!
So many good books here! I haven’t read Evie Drake yet!
Let me know when you do–I loved it!
Oh I have never read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – just put it on my tbr list – thank you for all these reviews. I’ve read quite a few of them 🙂
You have such a rich reading experience ahead of you!
Sarah Ferguson says
Evvie and Inheritance were both great reads this year.
I have Troublesome Creek and Love in Ruin on my TBR list.
(I’m a sucker for any Hemingway adjacent reads, and her earlier books have been good.)
I hadn’t heard of The Inn at Lake Devine, but that sounds good too!
If you loved The Paris Wife, you will enjoy Love and Ruin!
Ooh, I see several that are on my tbr list. The Book Woman at Troublesome Creek keeps compelling me to read it soon. I keep hearing such high reviews of it. But, I mean blue skin is just intriguing.
It really is utterly fascinating. Loved it! I saw, too, that it just hit the NYT.
I love your lists. I screen grab them so I have them as a reference. I’d love to read any of your selections!
Thank you, dear Gia. Happy reading!
I love your lists. I screen grab them to have them to refer to later. Is love to win/read any book on your list!
LOVED Inheritance, LOVED The Inn at Lake Divine (thanks to someone amazing who recommended it = YOU!), LOVED A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (probably also read because of you) and LOVED Elinor Oliphant!!!!!
One of these days a book I recommend will fall flat in your eyes and then the honeymoon will be over–haha! But hey, I appreciate you!!!
Joining a book club *yay* and our first book is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Actually I need to start it ASAP! Anyway.. fingers crossed I can choose another one of these on your list 😉🙂
So cool that you joined a book club. What a great first book to discuss!
April Hunt says
Oh I loved The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek! And I just read Inheritance yesterday in one day!! What a story. I am now reading Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine now!
What a great list!!
Wow–you read Inheritance in one day??? Incredible. And thanks!
I’ve always wanted to read, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!
You absolutely should–it is one of a kind!
Ohhh…some of these just made my TBR! Love Walked In is looking fun for the late winter! I need to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn…I mean to read it, but I don’t!
Love Walked in is the perfect cozy read–trust me.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my mom’s favorite book, but I’ve actually never read it! It’s definitely on my list for this year 🙂
Oh wow–what a way to get closer to or remember your mom. What a wonderful favorite book!
Thank you for sharing this! Looking forward to reading these books this year!
Let us know what you think!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is on my TBR!
Alicia Mae says
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is high on my TBR!
How high? 🙂
Alicia Mae says
The tippy top! Reading it with a book club next month 😄
Madelynn Marlow says
I loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine! Both speak so much to our inherent capacity for resilience in the face of profound personal and generational trauma. I would love to be entered to win Dominicana ♥️♥️♥️ Thank you for your words!!
You are so right…I had never thought of it that way. Both Elinor and Francie have trauma yet are so resilient.
I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn about 40 yrs ago, I think it’s time to revisit this little treasure! 🌳
Yes, it will be wonderfully fresh and new after all that time. It was for me after about 10 years.
Jocelyn Green says
Great variety here! I listened to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last year for the first time and would love to own a hard copy! Of the others in this list, I am most intrigued by The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. (Have read and enjoyed the LM Montgomery books-and listened to Eleanor Oliphant as well–adored it!)
You would love both those books! As a hist fic author, you will find Bookwoman to be a master class.
I read The Blue Castle for the first time in 2019 and LOVED it!!! I’d love to own my own copy!
So you got it from the library or on Kindle? Yes, that is a book to own and cherish!
Ann-Margret Hovsepian says
I’d love to read The Blue Castle but I’m also intrigued by the Eleanor Oliphant book. 🙂
Ann-Margret, I hope you get the chance to read both. I think you would love them!
Leslie Raneri says
So many great books! I’m most interested in House of Dreams and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from your list. I love The Blue Castle and am currently re reading it. So good!
Oooh, I would HEAVILY recommend House of Dreams for you. Absolutely!
I’m intrigued by all of these, but A Tree Grows In Brooklyn has been recommended to me so many times that it definitely has to be next on my list.
Yes, you will love it. Try the audio version with actress Kate Burton as narrator!
I received the biography of LM Montgomery for Christmas & can’t wait to read it. I’m currently reading, for the first time, Anne of Green Gables & really enjoying it. From your list I would choose the Blue Castle. I’ve heard wonderful things!
It’s such a wonderful book! If you love Anne, you will love Valancy of The Blue Castle!
Lynda Tysdal says
Oh my gosh, that edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn… *love*! I was just talking about it at lunch the other day. A coworker asked if I had heard of it, and I went on for several minutes about Francie’s love of the library and how she would bring home the books and put the peppermint disks into a pretty blue bowl and sit on the fire escape and feel like she was in the trees.
Oh gosh, now I need to go read my own copy. Thanks for the chance to win!!
I forgot about the peppermint discs! 🙂 It’s simply a marvelous book!
One of my next categories to read is more of LMM’s works. I adore her Anne books, so I would like to read The Blue Castle.
You will adore it, I promise!
House of Dreams has been on my Goodreads list for a while. I would love to learn more about LMM.
House of Dreams is my favorite LMM bio!
Oh my goodness!! New follower here and loving this list. I also read several on here this year. Troublesome Creek, so interesting. The Blue Castle 😍 how did I miss this one until now. The two that sound appealing, that I haven’t yet read (but just added to my TBR list) The House of Dreams and Inn at Lake Devine. Thanks for the opportunity to enter!
PS I LOOOVE that you rate your recommendations. 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
I used to review movies so I figure, why not give content ratings for books?
Crystal Kieloch says
I love LMM and would love to read The Blue Castle! I’m also looking forward to The Book woman of Troublesome Creek.
The Blue Castle is the ultimate hidden gem!
What a tantalizing list! The Blue Castle has been on my to-read list for far too long, and I’m hearing more and more about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Thank you for the chance to win!
You will love both of them, but the Blue Castle has to get off your shelf and into your heart!
Susan Campbell says
I loved reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.
So good, right?
I’m so happy to know about Elinor Lipman. Any comparison to Nora Ephron and I’m sold!
Yes, a little bit alike. Both are Jewish, wry, sarcastic, but with hearts of gold. I was so happy I discovered her!
How enjoyable are your blog posts and reviews! I adore the writing voice that Paula McClain possesses and just picked up a used copy of Love and Ruins the other day to read. So many of these books are going on my “track down and read” list-thank you!!!
Thank you! I hope you really enjoy “Love and Ruin,” what a great find!