Six Novels I Recently Read and Loved

One of the joys of being a novelist is reading fiction — other writers’ fiction. Not only do I get inspired by new approaches … frankly, I just love a good read. I look forward to my evening read every night before bed. And I read mostly trade fiction and romance. Though, I do love the classics (Edith Wharton!)

Here are some recent favorites.

  1. After You by JoJo Moyes. This book made me laugh out loud at times (always my acid test of a great read) but it did truly make me cry as well. It tells a poignant story of a teenage daughter and resident math genius, her newly single mom, a cleaning woman, and the geeky tech millionaire who unexpectedly helps them out. It’s a story that fills your heart.

2. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness. Here you get to hang out in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, which is inhabited mostly by witches, warlocks, vampires and spiritus of all sorts. Told with intelligence, a sense of humor and an academic’s grasp of rarified manuscripts, it’s an ode to the old ways. AND it’s a completely gripping, magical tale. Think Harry Potter for college educated adults. A fine read.

3. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim. The incredible story of the relationship between a white baby born into privilege in the Antebellum South, and the enslaved wet nurse who cares for her. The book was meticulously researched by the author, who just reached the incredible milestone of selling a million copies of this book. The path between Lisbeth and her nurse, Maddie, is so compelling — and a critical read for these tense times in America. Heart opening, real, and just plain excellent.

4. The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand. God I loved this book! Loved it so much I read it aloud to my wife. It’s the first romantic suspense by this well established romance novelist, whose books take place mostly on Nantucket Island in Cape Cod. It’s funny, intelligent, and suspenseful. And yes, there is an undeniable aspect of it that’s rich with romance. Great beach reading.

5. Now That You Mention It by Kristin Higgins. Also set in the beachside world of New England — this in the fictitious Scupper Island off the coast of Maine — this book follows the travails of a doctor after she is hit by a van. She must rebuild her life in the difficult place where she grew up, making peace with her past and seeking the love of forgiveness of people who have written her off. Another great beach read — and just an all round feel good read.

6. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Okay, this is just plain fun but so well researched and full of fascinating tidbits. It tracks the life of a midwestern American after she arrives at Oxford on college exchange … and falls in love with the Price of Wales, third in line to the throne. If you enjoyed shows like The Crown that capture the backstory of the Royals, you’ll love this. It’s also well written enough to keep you hanging believably a number of times. Meaty and very believable. And fun!

Suzanne FalterComment