Read any good books lately?
Since we last checked in, I’ve made my way through four books. I typically can finish about five books in the two months between each what’s on my nightstand post, but this go-around, I only made it through four titles since the most recent book I read—America’s First Daughter—was much longer than my typical read. (But so worth it—more on that below!) Despite making it through fewer books than normal, every book I read was one I’d recommend, which means I’ve done a lot of good reading lately.
As an aside—I’ve kind of been annoyed with my reading habits as of late. I typically read the 20-30 minutes before I fall asleep at night, but over the last several weeks, I’ve been pointlessly playing for my phone way longer than I should after I get in bed for my reading time. By the time I finally I put my phone down and am ready to read, my eyelids are so heavy that I make it through a chapter or so at most. I’m really trying to kick his habit since I love reading way more than I love Instagram stalking random people I went to high school with, you know?
As always, you can follow along with my reads in real time over on Goodreads and please let me know if you’ve ready anything good lately! I’m always looking for new books to add to my list.
AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER // STEPHANIE DRAY
I stumbled upon this book randomly, and I’m so glad I did. And I don’t typically read historical fiction, but again, I’m so glad I did. America’s First Daughter is a fictional recount of Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter’s—Martha ‘Patsy’ Jefferson Randolph’s—life. She is the only one of his children to survive past the age of 25, and since Jefferson’s wife died when she was just 10 years old and made him promise not to marry again, she has a special bond with and loyalty to her father. The novel is written from the perspective of Patsy, and covers her early life in Colonial Virginia, her time in Paris when Jefferson was ambassador, her marriage to Thomas Randolph, her stint as acting First Lady to Jefferson, and her later years. The book also examines the Jeffersons’ relationships with their slaves, including Sally Hemmings, and the slavery debate of the time in general.
This book is so incredibly written and researched, I often forgot I was reading a fictional memoir. This story is on the longer side, but truth be told, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I also think it took me longer to get through because I often would read a couple of pages, and then research the event or persons discussed. Because I so enjoyed this read, I want to make a point to read more historical fiction in the future.
Would I recommend it? YES! Especially if you like history, Jefferson, and/or went to UVA.
AFTER I DO // TAYLOR JENKINS REID
I’m slowly making my way through all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels—and if you’re looking for a new author to read, I can’t recommend her enough. This particular novel begins when Lauren and Ryan realize that their marriage is crumbling. So, they decide to take a year off from their marriage and date other people, unsure what the outcome will be at the end. During said year, they are not allowed to talk, text, or contact each other—it’s a clean break. Heartbroken, Lauren begins to log into Ryan’s email and finds that he has been writing her letters, but never sending them. Through this process, she learns he has begun dating other people and his thoughts on why their marriage crumbled. And, she begins to write him draft emails in return—unsure if he will ever see them.
One thing I particularly I loved about this book is that you as the reader are left guessing whether they will get back together in the end—which I feel like mirrors real life. And you’ll have to read it to see if they do!
Would I recommend it? Definitely—though read One True Loves first as I think it’s TJR’s best novel.
ON SECOND THOUGHT / KRISTAN HIGGINS
I first discovered Kristan Higgins this summer, and this was the second novel by her I read. This particular novel follows two half-sisters, Kate and Ainsley, at a pivotal time in their lives. Kate’s husband, a successful architect named Nate, dies tragically at a backyard barbecue. Married less than a year, Kate now has to navigate being a widow—which is only complicated once she finds out her husband was talking to his ex their entire relationship. As a result of Nate’s death, Ainsley’s boyfriend of a decade decides that he no longer loves her and needs to go “find himself.” As a result of these losses, the sisters deepen their bond and encounter a few twists along the way. I loved the complexity of the characters of this story—and despite their flaws, they were still very much worth rooting for.
Would I recommend it? Yes—especially if you like Elin Hildebrand novels.
THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO // TAYLOR JENKINS REID
I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel became a movie one day! In the book, Evelyn Hugo, one of old Hollywood’s biggest actresses, is the main protagonist. She was married seven times, and while plenty of gossip magazines think they know the story, Evelyn decides she wants to set the record straight before she dies. As such, she gives the exclusive rights to her memoir to a seemingly random, unknown journalist, Monique, and walks her through the story behind each of her seven husbands—and promises to tell Monique by the end who the love of her life was. There is a lot of hype around this book, and I must say, I thought it was slow starting out. However, once I was fully invested in the characters—by around husband number two!—I was all in, especially because there’s a pretty large twist you won’t want to miss!
Would I recommend it? 100%.