Because we both love to read we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite and not-so-favorite reads each month. This month’s picks include Rainwater by Sandra Brown, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and The Dress Shop of Dreams: A Novel by Menna Van Praag.
Acclaimed bestselling author Sandra Brown celebrates the spirit and determination that kept our country proud even through the Great Depression, in this moving tale of a bygone generation and a strong young widow who must rise above her circumstances.
Ella Barron is determined that even the ravages of the Dust Bowl will not affect the well-ordered life she has built for herself and her special child, Solly, who lives in a world of his own that even she can’t enter. Aware that he evokes pity and distrust, Ella holds herself aloof from her small community, but her new boarder, David Rainwater, comes into her life— and changes it forever. As economic desperation creates bitter social unrest in the town and surrounding farms, Ella finds herself relying on Mr. Rainwater’s soft-spoken advice and the steely resolve of his convictions. But tensions escalate in the summer heat, until one violent night everything they believe in will be put to the ultimate test.
Sandra Brown’s Rainwater is a poignant, lyrical novel that will speak straight to your heart, a story that bears witness to a powerful truth: love is worth whatever price one must pay for it.
May’s Review – I thought it was a decent read. I learned a lot about the hardships of the Great Depression, particularly the Dust Bowl and enjoyed the love story between the two main characters. A very quick read.
June’s Review – I did not like this book and while short had trouble finishing it. I had trouble relating to the characters. Also, there was somewhat disturbing scenes involving dead cattle that I did not like at all.
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
May’s Review – Loved, loved, loved this book. Two French sisters fighting Nazis during World War II and their love for each other which has them do things that are otherwise unthinkable. I couldn’t put it down. Have tissues nearby.
June’s Review – This was one of my favorite reads in a long time. A novel about women in the French Resistance with one sister seeking out the opportunity to save her homeland and the other becoming a fighter due to her circumstances. This was the best kind of good cry story. Do not read the last third in a public place unless you want everyone to see you as a blubbering fool.
For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a captivating novel of enduring hopes, second chances, and the life-changing magic of true love.
Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
May’s Review – A fun story about magical dresses that includes a mystery. A great summer read and a refreshing story in comparison to my typical historical fiction novels. I would love to find a dress shop of dreams to explore.
June’s Review – I love books where the story has some magic in it. Etta’s shop is quirky and fun but she has a higher purpose of allowing women to achieve that thing they most desire or need. This novel shows that true love in its all its forms prevails. I really, really enjoyed this book and it would be amazing to find one of those magical dresses.
Happy Reading!!! Let us know if you have read any of these books and what you thought. -May and June