For three years I was a bookseller at a local independent bookshop. Two of my favorite things about being a bookseller were recommending books to customers and co-leading a book club with my fellow bookseller. Together we chose the books we would read. We had a great group of regulars who my coworker and I got to know very well, along with the occasional new members. Our book club nights were always filled with great discussions and lots of laughs! A love of books was a connection we all shared, and it was wonderful. Here are some books that I loved to recommend to customers whether they were looking for a book to read on vacation or to cozy up with on a cold winter’s night or, my favorite, a book club recommendation!
Taking place in London in 1940, we meet Emmeline Lake as she begins working for Woman’s Friend magazine as a typist for the well-known advice columnist Henrietta Bird. Emmy soon learns that Mrs. Bird will not answer any letters that are unpleasant in her eyes. To Emmy, though, these are the letters that are the important ones, the ones calling out to be answered. Pretending to be Mrs. Bird, Emmy begins to answer the letters one by one. This endearing story is one of my favorites
In the store I worked at, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS was always a favorite book club pick. Victoria, a young girl searching for a home to call her own and a place to belong, begins to work at a flower shop and brings joy to people through the flowers she chooses for them. A beautiful story about connection and second chances.
In this heartbreaking and redemptive novel, a young woman's only connection to the world after a childhood spent in the foster-care system is through the Victorian meanings of flowers: honeysuckle for devotion, red roses for love. Now emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, she realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them.
This story alternates timelines between two women fifty years apart who work in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Clara works in the Terminal’s art school in the 1920s and Virginia in an information booth in the 1970s. When Virginia discovers a stunning piece of art in what was once the Terminals esteemed art school, she goes on a quest to find out what happened to the artist. If you love historical fiction, this is for you!
Lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne and his wife, Isabel, live on an isolated island off the coast of Australia. Tom and Isabel long for the one thing they can’t have—a child. When a boat with a child and a dead man washes up on their shore, Tom and Isabel make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. A heartbreaking and moving tale that’ll spark deep conversation.
“The world is full of decent people making disastrous decisions. I love a book that can find the beauty in that.”
Read Susan Crandall’s review here.
Read Susan Crandall’s review here.
Katie Brenner can’t help but compare herself to everyone around her, especially her boss Demeter. In Katie’s eyes, Demeter has everything—the perfect life, perfect job, perfect family. But when Katie accidentally gets a glimpse into Demeter’s life, she finds out that perhaps the perfect life does not exist. Lighthearted with laugh-out-loud moments, this book is full of surprises and never fails to cheer readers up.
Living on the island of St. Thomas, Rachel’s only dream is to live in Paris, but her dreams are shattered when she is told she must marry an older man to save her father’s business. When Rachel’s husband dies suddenly, his nephew Frédéric comes to settle his uncle’s affairs and a forbidden love affair between Rachel and Frédéric begins.
Wendy’s Fictional Dinner Party Guest: Rachel Pomié Petit Pizzarro
Rachel Pomié Petit Pizzarro is a woman full of fire and life. A businesswoman, a romantic, a renegade, she’s quite the nineteenth-century badass, not taking anyone else’s advice on how to live her life. I respect and admire her passion, vulnerability, and fearlessness in the face of the judgment of her insular St. Thomas community. She followed her heart, suffered for it, and lived the life she wanted—with a great love and many children, one of whom was the artist Camille Pissarro, father of Impressionism. No doubt, she would command the room.
Dannie Kohan knows exactly what her life will be like and exactly where she will be in five years. But on the night that Dannie gets engaged, she falls asleep and wakes up five years in the future. After spending an hour in the future, Dannie wakes up back in the present. What Dannie saw in the future will turn her world upside down and make her question everything. IN FIVE YEARS is one complex and heartbreaking read.
An Atria Book. Atria Books has a great book for every reader.
Beautifully written with a hint of mystery, Kate Morton has a gift for writing novels that are perfect to escape into. A little girl lost, a family’s secret past, a book of fairy tales, a manor on the Cornish coast, and a forgotten garden. All of this and more make THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN one unforgettable story.
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
Photo credit: iStock / Ivan Pantic