Here are a few of my favorite books so far this summer.
1. From Sand and Ash, by Amy Harmon
This is a unique love story set amid the horrors of the Holocaust. It follows childhood sweethearts and best friends, Eva and Angelo, a Jewish girl and a Christian boy, as they grow to adulthood. Despite his love for Eva, Angelo follows the call to priesthood, which, eventually enables him to assist numerous Jewish families during the Nazi occupation of Italy. The connection between Eva and Angelo is beautifully written and the historical detail of the book is on point.
2. Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate
Spanning several decades, this is the story of a family torn apart by the evil machinations of a woman who manipulated-and profited from-the Tennessee child welfare system. Based on the true story of Georgia Tann, it weaves historical fact with the fictitious story of the Foss Five; siblings stolen from their shanty boat by Georgia Tann and trafficked through The Tennessee Children's Home Society.
I vaguely recalled reading about Georgia Tann at some point prior to discovering this book, but, the story really opened my eyes to the scope of the crimes committed by this horrific woman. It was an entertaining and appealing read, and, I blazed through it in record time because I was reluctant to put it down.
3. One Week to the Wedding, by Olivia Miles
After reading two books with fairly heavy topic material, I needed to cleanse my literary palate with an easy breezy beach read, and, this book fit the bill. It's the story of a wedding planner who was jilted at the altar and who must now plan her best friend's wedding while nursing her broken heart. Will the best man mend our heroine's broken heart? Will this wedding go off without a hitch? Hey, it's an easy breezy beach read, what do you think?
4. Everything We Keep, by Kerry Lonsdale
Aimee's fiance was killed in a surfing accident a week before the wedding. Or, was he? Dun, dun, dunnnn...so begins a mystery that will keep Aimee guessing for two years, culminating in a confrontation with a man who is both familiar and yet not.
I immediately followed this by grabbing the second book in this series...
5. Everything We Left Behind, by Kerry Lonsdale
Picking up the story from the perspective of Aimee's long-dead fiance, and finally explaining the mystery of his disappearance, this book was a great read as well. I would love to give more details about both books, but, that would spoil the surprises, twists, and turns, and I am reluctant to do so. Just trust me when I say; they are really enjoyable. Also, a third book in the series will debut next summer; you can bet I'll be first in line for the download.
6. The Sugar Men, by Ray Kingfisher
Another excellent, poignant, heartbreaking,and hopeful book about the Holocaust. Not sure why I have gravitated to these kinds of stories this summer, but they have certainly been worthy reads. This particular story follows the sorrows of Susanah Zuckerman and her family, interred in Bergen-Belsen for the final two years of the war, as they endure the horrors inflicted on them by the Nazi guards. It was a story that will stay with me for awhile, which is why I probably need to pick up something breezy from Elin Hilderbrand.
Or, Dr. Seuss. Whichever.