Monday, October 8, 2012

Not to Miss Books

One of the cutest books I've read in a long time, this is one of those novels that will keep you smiling long after you've turned the last page. I call it my "word of mouth," book because I have told so many people to read it - and they have all loved it. What happens when a young, fabulously talented cook is widowed in South Philly? 

Well, the next thing you know Angelina is cooking for her neighbor and soon he is joined by six other other bachelors. Her relationship with the seven bachelors, their bonding over food (plus the great recipes) makes for a delightful tale. Don't miss this feel good book that is better than a homemade chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven!

A boy and a girl, a rivalry, magic and a skilled writer weaving a tale that will enchant even the most jaded reader - THE NIGHT CIRCUS, is spellbinding and a one-of a kind novel. You won't soon forget this one and you'll wonder where the author came up with the idea for the magical mystery tour that will awaken your childhood imagination and leave you wanting just a little more.

Perhaps the most reviled woman of her time, Wallis Warfield Simpson who became the Duchess of Windsor was an intriguing personality and enigma. This book of historical fiction focuses on her early life and ends with her first meetings with the Prince of Wales. It is entertaining and at times heartbreaking. A sympathetic if stark look at how a young woman from Baltimore became the woman for whom the King of Great Britain  abdicated his throne. Rebecca Dean is a gifted writer and this is well up to her usual great writing. I'd highly recommend any of her other books too. Several of her earlier books mention minor characters from this novel that also featured the young Prince of Wales - later King Edward VIII. I really enjoyed The Golden Prince.


Taken from the heart of the Talmud, a name - Rav Hisda's daughter was also the wife of well known, scholarly rabbis. Author Maggie Anton takes the name of the most mentioned female from the Hebrew text and weaves a wonderful historical novel about Hisdadukh (Persian for Hisda's daughter), and her thirst for knowledge in 3rd century Persian Babylonian society that did not look favorably upon female Torah scholars.   

From Hisdadukh's (Dada) first person perspective the reader gleans her love of knowledge and quest to escape household chores and instead study at her Father's school where he molds the minds of young scholars. One of the most fascinating characteristics of this book is how young Dada's becomes something of an enchantress or spell maker, using charms to protect patrons who purchase her work. Most importantly, however, it is a story of the heart, a timeless book of a girl struggling to define herself in a society that assigns traditional roles to both males and females. The reader sees a girl grow up and take charge of her life, from travels, to sorrow, joy to even a career, Hisdadukh becomes a woman who walks toward her destiny instead of being carried by fate. 

This is the first of two books that Anton is writing in the series and if the second book is half as intriguing as the first it will be another great read. For anyone who enjoys historical fiction with heart, that is well written, and a historical time period that seems to be little written about then this book is an excellent choice!