My April Reading List has great book suggestions to add to your wish list!
Do y’all realize that we are mere months away from summer vacation? How did this happen? Where did winter go? Will you keep my kids all summer so I can drink margaritas in the pool by myself?
I’m already stockpiling book suggestions for summer reading — holy cow I don’t think I’ll ever catch up on everything I want to read! Shockingly, I’ve actually finished THREE of the FOUR books on this months reading list and I think you’re going to LOVE them! I really, really did.
Here are my picks for April:
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I can’t overemphasize how much I enjoyed this book. I truly loved it and could hardly put it down — not only that, but I was thinking about it long after I was finished reading it. As the title suggests, this is a book about marriage. But it’s also a book about the criminal justice system, complicated family relationships, and race. There was so much beauty and hope and sadness in this story and it’s characters. I particularly loved how the author used a fictional and entertaining story as a base for broaching some really important and meaningful topics.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
The Wife by Alafair Burke
If you’re looking for a page-turner that’ll keep you guessing, this is the book! I LOVE a good thriller, and this one had me absolutely hooked. There have been a lot of “Gone Girl” style books about “wives” that are unreliable narrators lately (The Last Mrs. Parrish, The Other Wife) and this is by far the best I’ve read in a long time.
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look—at both the man she married and the women she chose not to believe.
This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos
I love Marisa de los Santos — her books are a little predictable, but in a really cozy way. If you’re looking for a satisfying romance novel with a bit of substance (and no crazy sex stuff), you can’t go wrong with this. I really enjoyed it.
On the weekend of her wedding, Clare Hobbes meets an elderly woman named Edith Herron. During the course of a single conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she should have done months earlier: break off her engagement to her charming—yet overly possessive—fiancé.
Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died—and has given her another gift. Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay in a small seaside town in Delaware, Blue Sky House now belongs to Clare. Though the former guest house has been empty for years, Clare feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by Edith and her beloved husband, Joseph.
Exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman—and Blue Sky House no ordinary place. With the help of her mother, Viviana, her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown, and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House—a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare discovers a story of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, and what—and who—she loves.
Shifting between the 1950s and the present and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos—an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and illuminates the tender connections that bind our lives.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
This is the only one on the list that I haven’t read yet, but the reviews are so promising! It sounds a lot like The Glass Castle, which I read years ago and loved (the movie was great, too!).
Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.
Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.
When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
That’s it for this month! I’d love to hear what you’re reading and loving!