I have just returned from my holiday break – one week busy with the holiday bustle of kids and family, followed by a week or more family but with much more relaxation. It’s a time when the kids schedules are nonexistent and time allows for a walk, a bike ride or sitting (for once) to read a magazine or good book. Spring break and Christmas break are the two times during the year when I run to the bookstore and grab a few novels to enjoy. With three kids and a busy job, I have evolved into a fast and focused reader. I have read so many historical fictions in recent years that my latest book addiction centers around a good mystery. I have written past posts suggesting The Lake House by Kate Morton, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley and posted on other social media about Jodie Picoult’s Leaving Time (which I loved). Well, two other great books that I read over this past holiday break and loved are (drumroll please…) – I’ll be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos and Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase. I read them back to back, in fact as soon as I finished Marisa’s book I started Eve’s book. I recommend them in that order, Black Rabbit Hall I found to be a bit darker, so I liked going in that order. Both authors use a similar style of writing between characters and time periods and both plots center around a two female characters generations apart and one female trying to sort out a family mystery. It was a coincidence that they were both so similar as I grabbed them somewhat quickly at my local bookstore. Below I am including a brief synopsis from Amazon to give you a hint of each one – if you read them please post your comments below!
BLACK RABBIT HALL:
Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s Cornish country house, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, one terrible day, it does.
More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she’s drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, she soon finds herself ensnared within the house’s labyrinthine history, overcome with a need for answers about her own past and that of the once-golden family whose memory still haunts the estate.
Eve Chase’s debut novel is a thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by the dark and tangled secrets of Black Rabbit Hall.
The New York Times bestselling author revisits the characters from her beloved novels Love Walked In and Belong to Me in this captivating, beautifully written drama involving family, friendship, secrets, sacrifice, courage, and true love for fans of Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, and Nancy Thayer.
On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming—yet overly possessive—fiancé.
Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.
Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.
Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.
Another book I read last year was The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer. It’s another quick and fun read, perfect for a trip away when you have some time to yourself. Throughout the book, I was always amazed that a man could write a novel from the perspective of a woman. Of course many male authors have come before him who take on a woman’s voice, but it never fails to amaze me! It makes me think that men and women are more alike than we think and is a reminder that we all start out the same in utero before we turn into men and women! Anyway, scroll down for the plot summary:
From Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author Andrew Sean Greer comes The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells, a rapturously romantic story of a woman who finds herself transported to the “other lives” she might have lived.
After the death of her beloved twin brother and the abandonment of her long-time lover, Greta Wells undergoes electroshock therapy. Over the course of the treatment, Greta finds herself repeatedly sent to 1918, 1941, and back to the present. Whisked from the gas-lit streets and horse-drawn carriages of the West Village to a martini-fueled lunch at the Oak Room, in these other worlds, Greta finds her brother alive and well—though fearfully masking his true personality. And her former lover is now her devoted husband…but will he be unfaithful to her in this life as well? Greta Wells is fascinated by her alter egos: in 1941, she is a devoted mother; in 1918, she is a bohemian adulteress.
In this spellbinding novel by Andrew Sean Greer, each reality has its own losses, its own rewards; each extracts a different price. Which life will she choose as she wrestles with the unpredictability of love and the consequences of even her most carefully considered choices?