8 Enchanting Reads for a Magical End-of-Summer Experience

August 30 2022
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It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end. If the August Blues have you down and you find yourself wanting to cling to the last rays of summer, check out this list of eight enchanting reads to help you escape for just a little longer. These books are all bursting with magical possibilities and natural beauty. Often fairy tale inspired and always mesmerizing, these transportive reads will have you believing anything is possible: even an endless summer.

Wild Wood
by Posie Graeme-Evans

This spellbinding, historical adventure begins in 1981 with Jesse’s life spinning out of control. First, she finds out she was adopted. Then, she is in a motor bike accident that leaves her hospitalized, unable to speak. While there, she begins to draw people and places she’s never been. When her neurologist, Rory, realizes that he recognizes the castle she’s been drawing, it begins an adventure that takes them to a Scottish stronghold built a thousand years prior, where Jesse might be the key to the legend of the Lady of the Forest.

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Wild Wood
Posie Graeme-Evans

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The Midnight Rose
by Lucinda Riley

In 1911, eleven-year-old Anahita becomes best friends with the impulsive Princess Indira, the daughter of Indian royalty. When Anahita accompanies the princess to England on the brink of war, she meets Donald Astbury—the heir to the Astbury Estate—and his conniving mother. Almost a century later, Rebecca, a young American film star, begins filming a new project at the Astbury Estate, where Ari Malik, Anahita’s descendent, is looking for answers from his family’s past. THE MIDNIGHT ROSE is a glittering and extraordinary adventure by international bestselling author Lucinda Riley.

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The Midnight Rose
Lucinda Riley

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Orchid House—an epic saga of two remarkable women and two love stories spanning the years from 1920s India to modern-day England.

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . .

In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impov­erished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of WorldWar I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury—reluctant heir to the magnifi­cent, remote Astbury Estate—and his scheming mother.

Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant cor­ner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . .

A multilayered, heartbreaking tale filled with unforgettable characters caught in the sweep of history, The Midnight Rose is Lucinda Riley at her most captivating and unforgettable.

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The Kings and Queens of Roam
by Daniel Wallace

By the author of BIG FISH, THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ROAM is a fairy tale-esque story of two sisters. Helen and Rachel, who’ve lived their whole lives in Roam, are opposites in almost every way. Older sister Helen is jaded and manipulative whereas blind Rachel is sweet and naïve. When their parents die, Helen convinces Rachel that the world is a dark and dangerous place to ensure that Rachel must depend on her for everything. But Rachel knows more than Helen thinks, and her decisions are about to change their lives forever. . . .

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The Kings and Queens of Roam
Daniel Wallace

From the celebrated author of Big Fish comes an imaginative, moving novel about two sisters, their dark legacy, and the magical town that entwines them.

Helen and Rachel McCallister, who live in a town called Roam, are as different as sisters can be: Helen, older, bitter, and conniving; Rachel, beautiful, naïve—and blind. When their parents die suddenly, Rachel has to rely on Helen for everything, but Helen embraces her role in all the wrong ways, convincing Rachel that the world is a dark and dangerous place she couldn’t possibly survive on her own…or so Helen believes, until Rachel makes a surprising choice that turns both their worlds upside down.

In this new novel, southern literary master Daniel Wallace returns to the tradition of tall tales and folklore made memorable in his bestselling novel Big Fish. Wildly inventive and beautifully written, The Kings and Queens of Roam is a big-hearted tale of family and the ties that bind.

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Vagabonds!
by Eloghosa Osunde

A stunningly imaginative debut, VAGABONDS! traces the chaotically intersecting lives of Nigeria’s outlawed, displaced, and forgotten residents: from a debauched politician’s driver who has the uncanny ability to control life and death to a lesbian couple whose relationship reveals new truths about underground sex work. These varied individuals live in transient spaces and are moved in unpredictable ways by the demonic spirits that control Lagos’s energy. In a final, joyous twist, these characters who have informed each other’s lives in unrealized ways come together in a climactic gathering.

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Vagabonds!
Eloghosa Osunde

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In the Shadow of the Cypress
by Thomas Steinbeck

Along the Monterey coast in 1906—when the Chinese existed in tension with their California communities—two ancient treasures were discovered: a Chinese jade seal and a plaque inscribed in a trio of languages. But just as the Irishman who found them and a marine scholar determined to uncover their secrets began the search for their origins, the treasures were lost again. Almost a century later, a young American scientist unearths the traces of these discovers and begins a journey that will set a new generation of explorers on a mission to trace the items’ elusive secrets.

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In the Shadow of the Cypress
Thomas Steinbeck

Thomas Steinbeck has been praised by Publishers Weekly for his stylistic brilliance and “accomplished voice.” Now, his enthralling novel In the Shadow of the Cypress blends history and suspense with literary mastery and brings vivid realism to California’s rich heritage.

In 1906, the Chinese in California lived in the shadows. Their alien customs, traditions, and language hid what they valued from their neighbors . . . and left them open to scorn and prejudice. Their communities were ruled—and divided—by the necessity of survival among the many would-be masters surrounding them, by struggles between powerful tongs, and by duty to their ancestors.

Then, in the wake of natural disaster, fate brought to light artifacts of incredible value along the Monterey coast: an ancient Chinese jade seal and a plaque inscribed in a trio of languages lost to all but scholars of antiquity. At first, chance placed control of those treasures in the hands of outsiders—the wayward Irishman who’d discovered them and a marine scholar who was determined to explore their secrets. The path to the truth, however, would prove to be as tangled as the roots of the ancient cypress that had guarded these treasures for so long, for there are some secrets the Chinese were not ready to share. Whether by fate, by subtle design, or by some intricate combination of the two, the artifacts disappeared again . . . before it could be proved that they must have come there ages before Europeans ever touched the wild and beautiful California coast.

Nearly a century would pass before an unconventional young American scientist unearths evidence of this great discovery and its mysterious disappearance. Taking up the challenge, he begins to assemble a new generation of explorers to resume theperilous search into the ocean’s depth . . . and theshadows of history. Armed with cutting-edge, moderntechnology, and drawing on connections to powerful families at home and abroad, this time Americans and Chinese will follow together the path of secrets that have long proved as elusive as the ancient treasures that held them.

This striking debut novel by a masterful writer weaves together two fascinating eras into one remarkable tale. In the Shadow of the Cypress is an evocative, dramatic story that depicts California in all its multicultural variety, with a suspense that draws the reader inexorably on until the very last page.

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The Valley of Light
by Terry Kay

Returning home from World War II and haunted by what he saw while liberating Dachau, Noah Locke wanders from town to town, supporting himself with his mystical gift for fishing. When the residents of a small North Carolina community in the Valley of Light see proof of his abilities, they convince him to stay in town to participate in the local fishing contest. As Noah takes up residence, he begins to get to know the locals, including Eleanor, a young widow, and uses his gift to help them collectively mourn—and find new hope.

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The Valley of Light
Terry Kay

From Terry Kay, one of America's most gifted storytellers, comes a poignant novel of love, acceptance, and the wonders of the world in which we live.
In the summer of 1948, Noah Locke arrives in the small North Carolina hamlet of Bowerstown, set deep in the Valley of Light. A quiet, simple man and army veteran, Noah is haunted by the horrors he witnessed when his infantry unit liberated Dachau. Wandering the South, he seeks both to escape the past and to find a place to call home.
Noah is initially treated with amusement by the people of Bowerstown -- until he begins fishing. For Noah possesses an almost magical ability with a rod and reel. He soon becomes the talk of the valley and is urged to stay long enough to participate in the annual school fishing contest. He agrees, finding lodging in an abandoned shack by what is known as the Lake of Grief, which the locals believe holds no fish. Noah knows they are wrong; beneath the water is a warrior bass waiting to test Noah's gift. But above the water, Noah's innocence catches the heart of Eleanor Cunningham, whose husband supposedly killed himself after returning from the war. Over the course of a week, Noah will be led into the private lives of the residents of the Valley of Light, will join them as they mourn a tragedy, and will experience a miracle that will guide him home at last.
Uplifting, memorable, and deeply emotional, The Valley of Light is the finest work to date from a brilliant teller of heartfelt tales.

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The Memory Collectors
by Kim Neville

Ev has always had the ability to feel the emotions people leave behind on objects. But after this ability devastates someone close to her, Ev destroys and sells the most feeling-heavy objects she finds. Across town, Harriet can feel these objects too, and makes it her mission to collect the items Ev sells. When their paths cross, Harriet suggests that they build a museum of objects that heal instead of harm. But soon, the same darkness Ev saw in action before threatens to suffocate someone new in this poignant novel of loss and recovery.

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The Memory Collectors
Kim Neville

Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

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A Cup of Silver Linings
by Karen Hawkins

Ava Dove is about to open a new tearoom when disaster strikes: all her herbal teas are troubling her customers, waking them up at night with terrible dreams and spurring them to blurt out their secrets. Meanwhile, her teenaged employee Kristen has started digging into the family secret of who her sperm-donor really was. When Ava realizes that Kristen might be the key to fixing her teas, she, Kristen’s grandmother, and Kristen all dedicate themselves to facing the past in order to heal those around them in the present.

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A Cup of Silver Linings
Karen Hawkins

New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins returns to her beloved Dove Pond series with another “mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author)—but this time, the magic is in the tea leaves.

Ava Dove—the sixth of the seven famed Dove sisters and owner of Ava Dove’s Landscaping and Specialty Teas—is frantic.

Just as her fabulous new tearoom is about to open, her herbal teas have gone wonky. Suddenly, her sleep-inducing tea is startling her clients awake with vivid dreams, her romance-kindling tea is causing people to blurt out their darkest secrets, and her anti-anxiety tea is making them spend hours staring into mirrors. Ava is desperate for a remedy, but her search leads her into dangerous territory, as she is forced to face a dark secret she’s been hiding for over a decade.

Meanwhile, successful architect Ellen Foster has arrived in Dove Pond to attend the funeral of her estranged daughter, Julie. Grieving deeply, Ellen is determined to fix up her daughter’s ramshackle house, sell it, and then sweep her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Kristen, off to a saner, calmer life in Raleigh. But Kristen has other plans. Desperate to stay with her friends in Dove Pond, Kristen sets off on a quest she’s avoided her whole life—to find her never-been-there father in the hopes of winning her freedom from the grandmother she barely knows.

Together, Ava, Kristen, and Ellen embark on a reluctant but magical journey of healing, friendship, and family that will delight fans of Alice Hoffman, Kate Morton, and Sarah Addison Allen.

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Photo credit: iStock / LittleBee80

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