Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini -- I must be on a historical novel kick lately. This book is about the formerly enslaved woman Elizabeth Keckley who paid for her emancipation - and her son's - by her lovely work as a seamstress. Later she made dresses for several prominent women among them Mrs. Abraham Lincoln!
An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey -- I saw this book while looking for a Jo Baker book in the library. It's the story of an under cook named Biddy Leigh. Biddy being short for Obedience...her dad liked odd names. The book begins with the master's new bride arriving, and later the mistress selects Biddy to accompany her to various cities in England, France, and Italy. There Biddy finds out why she was chosen, and it becomes much more interesting during that part of the book so I won't spoil it. At first I wasn't sure if I liked this book as it took some time for me to get interested, but it turned out pretty good so I'm glad I stuck with it.
Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot -- first in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah and her little sister Thea leave Philadelphia to make a new home in Texas. There they live in a town made of German and French settlers. Pretty good story.
Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot -- second in the Texas Dreams series; Sarah's fiancé's former inlaws travel from Boston to take part in Clay's wedding, but a stagecoach robbery upends those plans. Patience settles in Ladreville, Texas, and faces challenges connected to this trip from the East to Texas.
Tomorrow's Garden by Amanda Cabot -- final book in the Texas Dreams series; Harriet and her five siblings travel to Ladreville in order for Harriet to become the new school teacher. This book also continues the story of Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood who was introduced in book 2 of this series.
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash -- Easter and Ruby are taken from foster care by their father, and they begin a road trip where the girls and their father are hiding from Pruitt who was hired to track them down. A pretty good book.
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer -- I found this "1997 Newberry Honor Book" at a free little library, and enjoyed reading the story of Nhamo, a young lady from an unknown village in Mozambique, as she makes her way by boat to Zimbabwe in order to escape a bad marriage. This was a fascinating tale of adventure and at times I felt I was with her on the island as she watched the baboons or prepared her next meal.
I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison -- a story about Jane's family and the pupils who stayed at her house as told through a journal by her best friend and cousin, Jenny Cooper ; cute story
Miss Match by Erynn Mangum -- My mom read this so I decided to read it before returning it to the library. It's a Lauren Holbrook novel, and Lauren is a pretty silly girl. But the story was rather lighthearted and an easy read so I finished it.
Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle -- I read another book by this author which I liked so I decided to get this one. It's YA unlike the other. It starts off with Miranda in a present day community play and soon she is forced by Stephen to go back to Shakespeare's time where Stephen is from. Miranda, now taking the role of Stephen's sister Olivia, is playing the biggest role of her life - and she's trying to save Shakespeare from becoming a Jesuit so the world can have his literary works!
The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford -- A novel written as if Jane's former friend Miss Anne Sharp were recalling her life experiences with Jane and the Austen family. A very interesting way to learn more about this intriguing author and her family.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier -- I really liked this book! It was a good way to learn more about the Underground Railroad and Ohio. I like the character of Belle a lot. I am going to look for more books from this author.
The Lover's Knot by Clare O'Donohue -- A Someday Quilts Mystery -- I was looking for a small book to carry around easily while out with the kids and later at the beach. Not the most exciting or interesting book I've ever read, but good enough. After her fiancé asks to postpone their wedding, Nell visits her grandmother and gets involved with the quilt club and the people in Archers Rest. Eventually, she tries to solve a murder!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr -- I was reading this book more in the car to and from the beach as it was too big to read on the beach or out by the pool. I was amazed that I was reading two books that had (minor) characters named Susanne. What are the odds? I'd seen this book mentioned many times, and finally reserved a copy at the library and read it. A pretty good story switching from a blind French girl to a terribly smart, small German boy - and how eventually their paths crossed near the end of World War II.
Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg -- a preteen talks about life with her military dad, about moving, losing her mother, dealing with friends
Sick of Shadows by Marion Chesney -- this "Edwardian Murder Mystery" introduced me to Lady Rose Summer and a rather funny cast of characters. This was a light, amusing read.
Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier -- a lovely novel about Griet, maid to the Johannes Vermeer family; this made me look up some of his fascinating paintings; I enjoyed this storyThe House Girl by Tara Conklin -- a novel involving a modern-day reparations case, and a lawyer, Lina Sparrow, unraveling the story of an enslaved girl, Josephine, who may have been the true artist behind paintings attributed to Lu Anne Bell, Josephine's mistress. A good read, and an NPR story if you are interested.
Twenty years ago, Princess Diana died - wow!