Two recent reads (okay, listens) are begging for shares, so without further ado, here are two books you should consider reading!
It’s been too long since we’ve heard from Simone St. James. I’m a huge fan of this author who always includes a ghostly plot element and has set most of her books in or just after World War I. I’ve read all of her titles and was so excited when I heard she was going to do a dual time line and shift her historical setting a bit.
Alternating between 2014 and 1950, The Broken Girls follows a modern-day journalist looking for answers regarding her sister’s murder—and her younger cop boyfriend who thinks she needs to get over it—as well as a handful of misunderstood schoolgirls who support each other in the face of abusive teachers and a school that is rumored to be haunted by a young mother mourning her baby. All of the students are wounded, but one of them is a Holocaust survivor, a fact which adds additional poignancy to the story, and grounds the mystery from the past in elements that make its resolution both more tragic and yet also more fulfilling.
St. James is a unique author who usually combines elegant writing with a mystery to be solved that is complicated by ghostly elements. Spooky and gothic, but fascinating too. There’s a lot going on in this book, but as the reader moves through the intricate plot, it all comes together the end, with plenty of surprises along the way. I just loved it, and if you’re always looking for great historical fiction—even better if you’re a dual time line fan!—then she’s an author you should really pick up. The ghosts, for me, just make it more interesting, and usually add one more historical layer to the story.
Shifting gears a bit…I love Christina Lauren and there’s lots of buzz around the dynamic duo’s upcoming, first-ever women’s fiction, Love and Other Words. (It received a Kirkus starred review - here - with this wrap-up: With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.)
Since I can’t wait to read that, but have to, I thought I’d try to catch up on some backlist titles I’ve missed, and waded into Dating You, Hating You (also a starred review, here).
This one released last June, predating the #MeToo movement by a few months, but still a perfect read for the times. Talent agent Evie Abbey is at the top of her game and the highest earner in her L.A. firm. When she meets Carter Aaron, also an agent, at a party, the sparks fly, and the two head into a full-fledged relationship, despite their dedication to their jobs and its requisite lack of time and limited social life. However things come to a crashing halt when their companies merge and their immediate boss sets them up as competition, claiming it’s likely the firm will only keep one of them. Carter is the epitome of hot and charming, while Evie is smart, organized and completely unflappable. It takes them awhile to find balance between competition and attraction, and part of the journey involves Carter becoming aware of the sexism and double standards Evie faces.
With Dating You, Hating You the writers known as Christina Lauren move into an edgier, more mature romance storyline, but retain their genius for sexual tension, witty banter and a wholly satisfying love story. It hit a bunch of Best Of lists last year (they usually do) and I’m glad I finally could add it to my To Be Listened To list.
So there you have them—two great reads waiting for you to find them. You’ll be glad you did.