Lifestyle, News

Some stellar books to read as the summer season is winding down

by Kate Evans          

If you’re looking for a good read at the beach or in that comfy arm chair in the air conditioning, check out some of these summer book choices:

Elin Hilderbrand’s novel “The Hotel Nantucket” is about a newly restored hotel which suffered a tragic fire in 1922 in which a 19-year-old chambermaid Grace was killed. After the fire the hotel became dilapidated over the years and was abandoned. Eventually a billionaire came forward and renovated it.

Lizbet is employed as hotel manager and contends with the staff, the guests, the new owner and Grace’s ghost. Grace with her hauntings seems to want someone to acknowledge that her death wasn’t an accident.

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Delia Owens’ novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” was praised by the New York Times as a “murder mystery, a coming of age narrative and a celebration of nature.”

Kya Clark, the “Marsh Girl”, has lived alone for years in the marsh by a North Carolina coastal town, at peace with nature. She starts to long for more and becomes romantically involved. Clark is considered a suspect when a young man from town is found dead. The book was made into a movie that was released this year.

Grisham novellas

John Grisham, legendary legal thriller master, published three novellas in his book “Sparring Partners.” “Homecoming” has lawyer Jake Brigance of Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” fame trying to help an old friend and former lawyer who fleeced his clients, divorced his wife, filed for bankruptcy and then disappeared into the night.

In “Strawberry Moon,” Grisham focuses on a young inmate on death row who faces execution in three hours. His lawyers and the court can’t help him and the governor rejects a last-minute appeal for clemency.

In Grisham’s “Sparring Partners,” two brothers who are successful lawyers deeply hate each other. Their father’s prosperous law firm that they inherited when he went to prison is falling apart. Do they have a shot at saving the firm?

Viola Davis memoir

Acclaimed actress and producer Viola Davis tells her powerful and riveting story of her struggles and successes on her way to the stage and film in her book “Finding Me: A Memoir.” Davis’ superb acting performances include the movie “Fences” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

An Oprah’s Book Club pick and Harper’s Bazaar’s Best Book of 2022, Davis’ book shines with honesty, wisdom, hard work and determination as she rises to overcome all odds.

“The Midnight Library”

Author Matt Haig’s “The Midnight Library: A Novel” considers the choices made in one’s life and the alternate lives that could’ve been if other decisions were pursued as a library of books.

Haig’s character Nora has a chance to explore what her life may have been like in that library if she had made different choices, chose a different career and followed other dreams. The Washington Post called it “a feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits.”

“The Nightingale”

Kristin Hannah’s novel “The Nightingale” tells of the lives of two sisters in France during the German occupation in 1939 during World War II. Vianne’s husband leaves to fight at the front before the Nazi invasion. Once the Germans take over their village, Vianne and her daughter must share their home with a German captain after he requisitions it. They struggle to stay alive as the war tears their world apart.

Vianne’s younger sister Isabelle meets a French partisan who thinks the French can fight the Nazis from inside France. She falls deeply in love with the man.   Isabelle joins the Resistance when he betrays her and she risks her life many times over to save others.

Each sister’s journey of survival in war-ravaged France is full of danger and courage. The book was Goodreads Historical Novel of the Year.

Mystery and suspense

In Laura Dave’s “The Last Thing He Told Me” Hannah Hall’s husband Owen Michaels disappeared during an embezzlement investigation. They’d only been married a year. Before he left, Owen sent a note to her that said “Protect her”-a reference to his 16-year-old daughter Bailey, who wants nothing to do with Hannah, her step-mother.

As Hannah’s calls to Owen go unanswered, the FBI arrest his boss and FBI agents show up at their home, Hannah and Bailey work together to find out who her husband really was and why he disappeared. Their search leads to Bailey’s dead mother, Owen’s and Bailey’s true identities and Owen’s family’s mob connections.   A Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick and a New York Times number 1 bestseller.

Classic children’s books

In “I Love You To the Moon and Back,” author Amelia Hepworth with illustrator Tim Warnes depict a bear and its cub enjoying their day together climbing mountains, sky gazing and playing in the water and with friends. They rub noses, chase each other around and hug and snuggle as they go to sleep at night, showing their deep love for each other. A perfect gift for a child’s birthday and new parents.

“The Wonderful Things You Will Be” by Emily Winfield Martin describes the dreams, aspirations and love that parents hold for their children. The book is written in gentle rhyme with beautiful illustrations. A family keepsake.