I don’t know about you, but so far this year, my reading has been filled with mostly okay books, ones where your reaction to them is mostly a shoulder shrug and a “eh.” I feel that I am slipping into a slump, and I know that if I pick up or listen to some of my favorite books, they will help me out of those slumps.
So what are some books I turn to?
1. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley: “It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.
For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. ‘I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.'”
2. Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg: ” Seventeen-year-old Smitha’s wealth, status, and beauty make her the envy of her town—until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha’s desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?”
3. Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan: “A honeymoon can last a lifetime
“A book that addresses all the unanswered questions…”
Beginning on their wedding day, Darcy and Elizabeth are two people who are deeply in love with one another and are excited to begin their marriage.
Their courtship was tempestuous; misunderstandings and misgivings nearly tore them apart. But now that they’ve seen each other without prejudice, their trust, attraction, and delight in each other grows with every passing day. Both are inexperienced and innocent, sharing moments of shyness and boldness as they discover the kinds of intimacies that a newlywed couple shares.
As their love story unfolds, they reveal their innermost secrets and feelings, embracing each other in a marriage filled with romance, passion, humor, and drama that will keep you spellbound.”
4. Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt: “Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned…But what bout its master–Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh’s new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her.
TreMellyn’s young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered. But it was the girl’s father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfimiliar sensations and turmoil–even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha’s life.
Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets–as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love–and the freedom to find a golden promise forever … ”
5. Persuasion by Jane Austen: “First published in 1818, Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last work. Its mellow character and autumnal tone have long made it a favorite with Austen readers. Set in Somersetshire and Bath, the novel revolves around the lives and love affair of Sir Walter Elliot, his daughters Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary, and various in-laws, friends, suitors, and other characters, In Anne Elliot, the author created perhaps her sweetest, most appealing heroine.
At the center of the novel is Anne’s thwarted romance with Captain Frederick Wentworth, a navy man Anne met and fell in love with when she was 19. At the time, Wentworth was deemed an unsuitable match and Anne was forced to break off the relationship. Eight years later, however, they meet again. By this time Captain Wentworth has made his fortune in the navy and is an attractive “catch.” However, Anne is now uncertain about his feelings for her. But after various twists and turns of fortune, the novel ends on a happy note.
In Persuasion, as in such novels as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma, Austen limned the plight of young women who could escape the constraints of family life only by marrying, and suggest the foolishness of women who believed they were free and not dependent on the financial and social resources of men. At the same time, Persuasion offers an ironic and subtle paean to the true love that enables one woman to rise above straitened economic circumstances and the stifling social conventions that restricted women to narrowly circumscribed lives in the common sitting room.
Sure to appeal to admirers of Jane Austen, Persuasion will delight any reader with its finely drawn characters, gentle satire, and charming re-creation of the genteel world of the 19th-century English countryside. “