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Wednesday, November 16, 2022


I intended for this to be a semi-regular series, but it's been over a year since I shared my one and only other book rec post with you!  Oops!  I read all the time but taking the time to make a little summary and record my thoughts about each book has just escaped me... but today's the day for round 2 of books I'm loving lately! 

pink club chairs with books on end table- Once Upon A Wardrobe book

As a reminder, I'll give a brief summary here (enough to tell you I recommend the book!) without a lot of details, but am linking each book here out of convenience if you'd like to read the more detailed summaries.  However,  I generally check them out from the library, either the physical copy or digital copies through the "Libby" app and then upload them to my Kindle account (or you can read directly through the app).  If you're not familiar with Libby I highly recommend it for free e-books and audiobooks by registering with your library card.

This Tender Land by William Krueger-  This is the story of four orphans who band together and run away from the harsh circumstances at the school where they live. It's a sweeping drama as they travel along the Mississippi River searching for a place to belong, and all of the characters that they come into contact with along the way.   If you enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing this book has a similar feel. 

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate- I recommended "Before We Were Yours" in my last book post, and several of you suggested this follow-up book.  This story toggles between two time periods and chronicles the lives of 3 women who are searching for loved ones they were separated from due to various circumstances after the Civil War.  A captivating, thought provoking historical fiction novel that depicts life's heart aches and losses for so many during this time period, but also offers some redeeming stories of hope and restoration. 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah- an epic novel set in Alaska.  The book follows Leni, a 13 year old girl, caught in the middle of her parents' rocky, unstable relationship.  This summary from the book says it best- "The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature." (*this story addresses abusive relationships)

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan-  I actually read this back at the beginning of the year but it was probably my favorite that I've read in quite a while!  In fact, I liked it so much that after returning the e-book I actually bought the physical book... I rarely do that!  If you're a fan of the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series, you'll love this book!  It's fiction but heavily based on facts from Lewis's life after the time he wrote The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  It follows Megs, a university student at Oxford, as she seeks to discover the truth behind Narnia from Professor Lewis, as it's her young brother's dying wish to know Narnia's secrets.  The characters are so rich and the story is so easy to immerse yourself into, easily picturing each scene in and around London and Oxford that the author describes (an extra thrill if you've actually been to those places!).

Once Upon a Wardrobe started me on a Patti Callahan kick, and I immediately read two more books written by her-

Becoming Mrs. Lewis- C.S. Lewis married for the first time late in life, this historical fiction book chronicles his love story with Joy Davidman.  Very heart warming! 

Surviving Savannah- Another historical fiction novel by the same author, I really enjoyed this one.  The story bounces back and forth between present day and the mid 1800s.  It chronicles the Pulaski, a passenger steamship that sank due to a boiler explosion mid voyage.  The wreckage was finally discovered 180 years later, and this story depicts characters and storylines both from the days surrounding the tragic accident,  and from the modern day team that discovers the shipwreck and is working to preserve what they can from the wreckage and discover some secrets to be found from the past. 

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross- the first in a long series, Miss Julia is quite a character!  She's a no-nonsense lady with a knack for taking charge of a situation, probably getting herself in a pickle somewhere along the way.  But deep down past her often cranky attitude, she has a heart of gold.  In this first book of the series she discovers a shocking secret about her recently deceased husband of many years, and is left to deal with the aftermath.  (If you're a fan of Jan Karon's Mitford Series I think you'll like these too!)

The Water Keeper & The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin- Murphy Shepherd is a man full of secrets.  This series follows his "missions" as he works to help others escape dangerous situations.  If you're familiar with Liam Neeson's "Taken" movie (about a father who rescues his daughter from human trafficking in a foreign country), in a small way these books sort of reminded me of the movie. 

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki-  I just finished this last week and it's been one that I couldn't put down.  Honestly, I knew nothing about Marjorie Post (of Post cereal and later the General Foods company) but her life was truly fascinating!  And, I love Grape-nuts so now I know all about the history of how they came to be- ha!  There's a LOT more to the story than that!  After I finished I found myself wanting to know more about her and researching a few things referenced in the book, and wanting to visit one of her former estates that is now a museum.  

The Inheritance by JoAnn Ross- this is the story of 3 daughters (all from different mothers) brought together after their father's death.   Some knew about their sisters, some had no idea, and they all had different degrees of their relationship with their father.  The story follows along with each as they process their feelings upon his death, get to know one another, and discover his final wishes for each of them. 

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan- Nora can write screenplays for romance movies in her sleep.  When she branches out and writes about the failure of her own marriage, the script is a huge hit and two of Hollywood's biggest stars are casted for the lead roles.  When the producers want to film on location at her charming but flawed home, she finds herself living out the material for her next big story... 

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus- a sweet story set in the mid 1940s in London.  It tells of three children left orphaned when their last remaining family member dies, and their search for someone to care for them.  They endure hardships and struggle with various foster homes.  However, they finally find one place of solace and comfort in their lives- the local village library with a kind librarian who enjoys their company.   (I listened to the audio version and enjoyed the delightful British accent of the narrator.)

Let me know what you think!  Have you read any of these books?  And what's your favorite that's not on my list today... I'm always looking for my next good read! 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Jen, have not read these books, however, just finished "The Christmas Hummingbird" by David Bunn. It was a good holiday read.

    Here's a copy/paste from Amazon..........Ryan Eames is a policewoman and single mother dedicated most of all to her lonely, uniquely gifted son. Stretched thin by double shifts and grappling with an out-of-season coastal wildfire, Christmas cheer feels as far away as a distant carol on a winter night. Until duty draws her into the life of a stranger.

    Ethan Lange is alive because Ryan reached his canyon home before the blaze. Christmas is only days away, and Ethan has lost everything. A man reckoning with a painful past, it’s not the first time he’s been forced to start over. At least now it’s in the redeeming embrace of Miramar Bay.

    Forging an animal rescue operation, Ryan and Ethan first unite by their cause and the rally of a close-knit community. But it’s Ryan’s extraordinary child who draws them into something deeper and surprising. Something to be thankful for. Now with every beat of their hearts, Christmas in Miramar Bay looks to be a season of love, healing, and sweet mercies that will be remembered for a lifetime.

    1. Agree on The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Merriweather Post. I am from Battle Creek so knew of her but had no idea about much of her life. She was a fascinating woman who was a titan of industry before women did such things. Highly recommend the book to anyone.

  2. Ordinary Grace is another good William Kent Krueger book.

  3. Love this post! Excited to read some of these books. Thanks for your recommendationS!!

  4. Thanks for the reviews. I've read Great Alone, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, The Book of Lost Friends, and all of the Miss Julia series. I've added the others to my TBR list. I'm enjoying your posts.
    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I knew we had a lot in common when I saw your decor, especially the pink oriental rug in your living room- i have the same one 😃but now I know!!! My two favorite books of the last few years are Once Upon a Wardrobe and Becoming Mrs. Lewis! So I wrote down the other books you mentioned to make sure and read. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for the list, Jennifer! I’ve read 7 of the 12 books and will add the others to my TBR list. I’m reading Secrets of a Charmed Life now and have enjoyed several of her books. I’ve recently read The Last Flight and Big Lies in a Small Town. I I do enjoy your blog. Thank you!


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