July Reads

Less time on Facebook and more time with my face in a book is paying off. I had a much more productive month reading in July.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees by [Kidd, Sue Monk]

Fourteen year old Lily lives on a Peach Farm in South Carolina with her father, who, she calls T.Ray, as Daddy never really ‘fit’ him. Lily was four when her mother died in a tragic accident, her memories are quite hazy but she has grown up believing that she killed her mother. Set in the 60’s, Lily’s only friend is Rosaleen, a black lady who also happens to be their servant.
The 60’s were a time of change and as Rosaleen goes to register to vote, Lily goes along with her. Trouble ensues and they both flee town together, leading Lily on a journey to discovering something of her mother’s past.
As Lily and Rosaleen find themselves staying with three sisters, who happen to be beekeepers this book turns into real coming of age tale, touching on important times in history. The women are strong and have a deep rooted kindness. I really loved this book and I am curious to see the film having read it. Highly recommend.

My Mothers Shadow by Nikola Scott

My Mother's Shadow: The unputdownable summer read about a mother's shocking secret that changed everything by [Scott, Nikola]

Addie’s mother has been dead a year. The day after her anniversary a woman arrives at their family home claiming not only to be Addie’s sister, but her twin sister! Addie thought she knew everything about her family, about her mother. Her world was about to be changed.
In 1958 Addie’s mother Liz is sent to Hartland to spend the Summer with the Shaw family who look after her like she is one of their own. She stays until her mother’s passing however she’s had her heart turned and life changing events occur as a result.
Addie and Phoebe, her newly acquired twin sister, have quite a journey ahead of them getting to the truth, they need to return to the place where Liz’s life changed forever, they need to go back to 1958 and uncover the truth.
Another excellent read that I really got into.

The Ludlow Ladies Society by Ann O’Loughlin

The Ludlow Ladies Society by [O'Loughlin, Ann]

I was so excited for this book having loved Ann’s previous books, The Ballroom Café and The Judges Wife.

Connie Carter, left reeling by the death of her 5 year old daughter Molly, leaves New York and all she knows to come to Ireland. She moves into Ludlow Hall, a mansion that has been boarded up for four years. Her late husband bought it before he died though she has no idea why. Connie initially stays with Hetty, a member of the Ludlow Ladies Society and a woman harbouring dark secrets of her own.
Eve Brannigan is struggling to come to terms with her own past too. Ludlow Hall was her home until the banks repossessed it. Her husband took his own life, leaving Eve to pick up the pieces. Eve and Connie soon form a bond, both having an understanding of the others loss.
As the Ludlow Ladies Society take up residence in Ludlow Hall, stitching memory quilts, can they lay memories to rest, look forward and bring Ludlow Hall back to life?
I was not disappointed with The Ludlow Ladies, Ann’s depiction of strength among women is inspiring, I loved it.

The Simple Life by Rhonda Hetzel

The Simple Life by [Hetzel, Rhonda]

This is a short book (41 pages) that is an easy read with a cuppa if you manage to find a spare hour in your day without a small person swinging out of you!
Having made the decision to live frugally, embrace sustainability and opt out of the capitalist consumerist mindset, Rhonda Hetzel set about working out how to achieve her goal, learning traditional skills, reducing her spending and environmental impact and focusing on the simple things that make life worth living: family, friends, and a home-cooked meal.”
Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? The reality is of course, no matter how much the simple life appeals to a lot of us, we are not in a position to jack in jobs with mortgages and the other financial pressures we have hanging over is. This book is a good guide though with ideas that can be implemented, the honesty of how much work it entails and it is very inspiring. It is one I may well read again for those reasons.

Brothers & Sisters by Adele O’Neill

Brothers & Sisters by [O'Neill, Adele]

It is rare I cry reading a book but this one, my word, it tugs at your heart strings.

A body has been discovered on the Fitzpatrick Estate in Kilkenny, the former family home of brother and sister Tim & Rose. It is suspected the body may be that of their uncle Patrick who disappeared in 1970.
Tim & Rose both now live in Dublin and are reluctant to return to Kilkenny. As Detective Kelly progresses with enquiries, many family secrets are unearthed.
Family drama, crime, history, love, loss; this book has it all. It is a superb read and is so well written. While Tim & Rose are like the tree trunk, the other characters are the branches with their own tales to tell too. It all comes together perfectly and the result is one hell of a good read. I couldn’t put it down.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself.


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