Fall into October with Enchanting Books
I’ve never been much of a costume person. As a child, I preferred tag or kickball to dress up. But I did love, and still do, to curl up in a comfy chair and drift into another world with a book. Younger me got lost, for hours, in adventures as a mermaid or cowgirl or pirate.
With October, we welcome cooler weather and shorter days. Crackling fires and falling leaves. The perfect background to snuggle with a blanket, a pet, and one of these cozy stories. And imagine life as a rock star or a princess or a woman with special powers….
Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Welcome to the 1970s! This is one of my favorites from the last year, and I can’t wait for the Amazon miniseries to come to the small screen. Rumor has it this novel is loosely based on the rock band, Fleetwood Mac. (Remember Go Your Own Way?) I’m not sure if that’s the case, but it was fun to travel into the Los Angeles music world and witness the behind-the-scenes adventures in this fictional tale.
Structured as a series of interviews with band members, music critics, photographers, and managers, Daisy Jones and the Six follows the rapid rise of a rock band and their beautiful lead singer, Daisy.
As you might guess, a healthy dose of sex, drugs, and bell bottoms – and a thin slice of romance – run through the storyline. This bestseller transported me back to my teenage years and had me humming the songs of my youth. Enjoy!
Mademoiselle Chanel – C.W. Gortner
My prediction? Even if you aren’t a fashionista – or have a little black dress hanging in your closet – you will enjoy this fictionalized account of fashion designer Coco Chanel’s journey to international fame.
Life didn’t begin on a glamorous note for Coco. Born Gabrielle, she was abandoned, reared in an orphanage, and taught to sew by the nuns who raised her. This rags-to-riches tale is one of tenacity, hard work, talent, and controversy. Throw in some lavish details revolving around pearls, tweed suits, quilted handbags, and her signature perfume.
Although readers may question some of Chanel’s decisions, the story magnifies the fact that we are all complicated individuals.
Bestselling author Gortner’s other books also look appealing to me. I plan to explore The First Actress, a Novel of Sarah Bernhardt, and Romanov Empress, a Novel of Maria Feodorovna soon. I’ll report back in!
American Royals – Katharine McGee
“I really shouldn’t like this book as much as I do.” That’s what I told myself as I devoured this novel by Katharine McGee. Centered around college-aged kids and an American royal family, is this an age-appropriate read?! If you love following the adventures of the real monarchy as much as I do, you will be delightfully absorbed in this fun story about the royal descendants of George Washington.
In our interview, Katharine revealed her agent challenged her every step of the way with the concept for this book. “Who is interested in the royal family?” he argued.
But the author fought for this clean, wholesome, coming-of-age story.
If you have a teen daughter or granddaughter, consider reading this New York Times bestseller together. Your own family book club!
Stories From Suffragette City – Edited by Fiona Davis and M.J. Rose
I’m not typically a big fan of short story collections. But this one intrigued me. Edited by Fiona Davis and M.J. Rose, the book includes stories and an introduction by several of my favorite female authors.
On October 23, 1915, thousands of women – and many men – marched up New York City’s Fifth Avenue, demanding the right to vote.
This series of stories, featuring real and imaginary women from various walks of life, all take place on the day of this great parade. Not knowing much at all about this time in history, I’m glad I took the chance on this inspiring read.
Look for this book on October 27.
Magic Lessons – Alice Hoffman
When I was offered an advanced reader copy of this novel (publication date October 6, 2020), I balked. I assumed the fantasy subject matter was not my cup of tea. But that’s what happens with books. They give us a glimpse into worlds we know nothing about – and may find interesting.
Alice Hoffman, the award-winning and beloved author of thirty books, captivated me with her beautiful words and scenes. The story held me tight, and I couldn’t let go.
In the late 1600s, Maria Owens traveled from England to Massachusetts to New York. Criticized for her independence, thirst for knowledge, and healing remedies, Maria is accused of witchcraft in Salem, MA. In a time when single mothers and intelligent women were dismissed, Maria confronts love, and a strained relationship with her troubled daughter, head-on.
For some readers, the book may be a little heavy on magic and spells and herbal concoctions. I’m not sure I’m completely sold on this type of historical fiction, but I enjoyed Maria’s philosophy. What you give to the world – both good and bad – comes back to you.
Some cold, crisp evening I plan to curl up on the couch and watch Practical Magic, the 1998 movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Magic Lessons is the prequel to Hoffman’s book, Practical Magic.
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
It’s true – everyone has a story. And we see what people want us to see.
Author Brit Bennett remembered a comment her mother once made about a Louisiana community that attempted to remain “as white as possible.” The casual remark piqued Bennett’s curiosity and sparked this fictional page-turner. The novel debuted this past spring, coincidentally arriving at the exact time many of us pledged to educate and inform ourselves on racial matters.
Twins Stella and Desiree Vignes are black teenagers who flee their light-skinned Louisiana town. Fourteen years later, Desiree and her much-darker-skinned daughter return home to escape a bad marriage. Stella, pretending to be white, disappears from her former life and lives a lie in California.
It’s hard to imagine going to such extremes to get the life you want – or think you want. And, like many of us, Stella discovers that the secrets we keep actually keep us.
If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know your opinion!
This post was originally published on Sixty and Me