Autumn Jubilee Books and Reading

One of the nice things about cooler weather is curling up with a quilt and a good book.  Although we don’t have a real cool-down yet, I am looking forward to reading this fall and winter next to a cozy fire.  While I’ve read several books in a row over the summer that I wouldn’t recommend, these recent reads have been good, and some really wonderful.  As you can see from the variety of genres, I like to read a lot of different things.  Affiliate links to Amazon are provided so you can shop if you like.  I have a link to Goodreads on my sidebar if you ever want to check out my latest reads.  So, here are a few books I would recommend.

Autumn Jubilee Books and Reading at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee
The publisher’s synopsis says “Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building.  But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident.  The funeral isn’t even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment.  But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn’t really gone.  Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein.  But is Einstein’s seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past?”

This is an absolutely wonderful story about starting over and second chances, with all the characters in the book having to make adjustments and do some self reflection. There are parts of this story that will make you laugh out loud, once so hard I had to put the book down and get a tissue to wipe my eyes. I am still laughing at the image of Einstein with his head caught in a cereal box. His view is believable doggy, with the distractions of smells and the way he makes his intentions known. I thought it would be a light read, but it is more. The depth of the characters elevates the book into a more complex story, with their insight and growth over the course of the novel. Difficult to put down! I loved this book, and highly recommend!

Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
The publisher’s synopsis says “It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity. But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company. Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?”

Beautifully written and finely interwoven tale in three time periods, centering around an antique quilt. I am rarely surprised by twists, but this one managed to do just that in a unexpected way. The emphasis on the search for information, and the focus on the quilt was genuinely delightful. The story unfolds in interviews at first, gradually working over to the present day search to verify the claims made by the seamstress herself. Unusual in the presentation, this one is a keeper.

Autumn Jubilee Books and Reading at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
The publisher’s synopsis says “Tired of always dreaming and never doing, Cici, Lindsay, and Bridget make a life-altering decision. Uprooting themselves from their comfortable lives in the suburbs, the three friends buy a run-down mansion, nestled in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley. They christen their new home “Ladybug Farm,” hoping that the name will bring them luck. As the friends take on a home improvement challenge of epic proportions, they encounter disaster after disaster, from renegade sheep and garden thieves to a seemingly ghostly inhabitant. Over the course of a year, overwhelming obstacles make the three women question their decision, but they ultimately learn that sometimes the best things can happen when everything goes wrong.”

A delightful, couldn’t put it down story, devoured in just a couple of days. It is refreshing to read a story that is about real women, three friends, middle aged, who embark on something new to make a significant change in their lives. The money pit of a Victorian home comes to life with more problems than expected, but the end of the year brings a heartwarming resolution to their blended families. I’ll definitely be looking for more from Ladybug Farm.

The House at the End Of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag
The publisher’s synopsis says “Filled with a colorful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom. Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in. She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers – literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds – and maybe even save her life.”

This is a delightful read with a magical theme. Women who are at the end of their ropes are drawn to a house with the magical ability to guide them in the direction of their dreams and find a new direction. The story is not very complex, although there are a number of surprises in the story. The writing flows nicely, and draws you into the created world. I’d love to stay there for a few days just to talk to the pictures on the wall of pioneering women in all field, as the pictures all talk back. There is a Guide to the Women of Hope Street in the back of the book, detailing the lives of remarkable real women in the pictures. Short biographies of women in literature, medicine, science, suffrage, and more are listed. Four women find their way through the story, some with surprising results. I enjoyed this novel and will definitely look for more by Ms. van Praag.

Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver
The publisher’s synopsis says “Paul Schumann is a contract hitman for the mob in 1936. But with Prohibition over and the gang wars associated with it coming to an end, Schumann is finding less and less work. He is contracted for a hit. But this time, he’s caught – and finds that he’s been set up. He’s taken to meet an official in Army Intelligence and given a choice: he can spend the rest of his life in jail, or he can help his country. He is to pose as a member of the 1936 Olympic team, travel to Berlin, and kill a high-ranking Nazi close to Hitler. Schumann has been picked because he’s a second generation German-American and can speak the language fluently. Or at least that’s what they lead him to believe.”

Well written and fast paced thriller with a twist in the middle that is truly a surprise. What started out as a straightforward novel about an assassin in Nazi Germany during the 1936 Olympic games, becomes more involved and complex as the story unfolds, leading to a point where the book just simply cannot be put down. This is an excellent espionage novel, recommend!

Autumn Jubilee Books and Reading at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
The publisher’s synopsis says “Maisie Dobbs got her start as a maid in an aristocratic London household when she was thirteen. Her employer, suffragette Lady Rowan Compton, soon became her patron, taking the remarkably bright youngster under her wing. Lady Rowan’s friend, Maurice Blanche, often retained as an investigator by the European elite, recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts and helped her earn admission to the prestigious Girton College in Cambridge, where Maisie planned to complete her education. The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie trained as a nurse, then left for France to serve at the Front, where she found—and lost—an important part of herself. Ten years after the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie sets out on her own as a private investigator, one who has learned that coincidences are meaningful, and truth elusive. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but reveals something very different. In the aftermath of the Great War, a former officer has founded a working farm known as The Retreat, that acts as a convalescent refuge for ex-soldiers too shattered to resume normal life. When Fate brings Maisie a second case involving The Retreat, she must finally confront the ghost that has haunted her for over a decade.”

It is refreshing to read a mystery that involves a search for truth.  This novel is a fairly easy read, and delightfully set in the early 1900s to 1929.  Maisie’s story beginning in the early 1900s in a large home is reminiscent of Downton Abby. The butler named Mr Carter reminds me of Jim Carter who played Mr Carson on that series.  Glimpsing into her early learning gives an understanding of the way she approaches problems, and finds answers.

I am still reading the daily meditations from Simple Abundance too.  See my post on that book – In Gratitude.

Joy and Gratitude at FromMyCarolinaHome.com

Today’s giveaway is a collection of two mystery novels in the cozy mystery genre that I enjoyed with a Halloween theme for Autumn Jubilee.  Trick or Deadly Treat by Livia Washington, and A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford.  Both are light who-done-its with an amateur sleuth who likes to cook, and are easy reads set in the month of October.  Both books also have seasonal recipes, too.  All you need to do to enter today is leave a comment on this post.  Open for international entries too!!  I have really enjoyed reading all your comments, thank you!

Autumn Jubilee Books at From My Carolina Home

What are you reading now?

PS!! Wanna win more cool stuff?  Jolly Jabber, the FQS blog, is sponsoring a Mega Quilt Market Sweepstakes!  See the Jolly Jabber blog to enter, deadline is October 26th!!

AND, I just found out about a month of free wool pattern giveaways on the Wooly Block Adventure sponsored by the Row By Row Experience.  Every other day, two shops will be features with a free pattern download.  Get each one while it is up, because it is only available for two days, then it is gone and the next two are posted. Click on Wooly Block Adventure!  And keep going back every other day, the event runs through the months of October and November.

Today is the last day to enter the first drawing from last Monday.  Each drawing will remain open for seven days, so you have time to go back and make sure you entered all of them for this week.  Good luck!!

43 thoughts on “Autumn Jubilee Books and Reading

  1. I love reading, too. I ordered some of your selections from Amazon, hoping you get credit. Would love to cozy up with the Halloween selections just for fun! Thanks for the recommendations. Enjoying Autumn Jubliee so much!

  2. Jean

    Thank you for your reviews. Always interesting to see what others are reading. I have been reading some nonfiction lately including one about whales. So much to learn. Did you know that each species has a different blow pattern? I didn’t.

  3. I am reading the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I never had to read it in school so I thought I could better myself now. Thanks for the book recommendations. I added a few of them to my library request list.

  4. I always find the best reads on your blog Carole! THANK YOU for sharing your book list. I wrote down Ladybug Farm:) 🙂 Your give-away books look like the perfect sunday read! Thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing insights on your recent good reads. I’m also looking forward to cooler weather and cuddling up with a good book, a quilt, and ideally a fire in the fireplace for some fun reading time. I’ll defintely check these books out.

  6. Gwynette in NW Arkansas

    I have about 30 pages left to read in Ladybug Farm and I’ve requested Loveletters from Ladybug Farm from my library. I’m sure that as many ladybugs as they swept and vacuumed up, they are the Asian ladybugs (they bite!!!). We have an influx in the fall and a few get in the house. My husband uses the shop vac on them as they go to the peak of our cathedral ceiling. I also just finished a compilation of short mystery stories edited by Lee Childs, author of the Jack Reacher stories…my favorite!!! C.J. Box is another favorite, writing about Wyoming forest ranger, Joe Pickens. So many books, so little time!!!

  7. Cindy W

    I just finished The Ragged Edge of Night, very good story, historical fiction, based on a true story. Mystery is my favorite genre, but I like almost anything except romance.

  8. Sharon

    Thank you Carole for the recommendations, a good variety and I’ve added them all to my reading list. Here in the NW we are experiencing cooler than average temps and beautiful fall colors.

  9. Kathy h

    Thank you for the list of books. They all look like ones I will enjoy. I am always looking for some new authors. And it is fun to read seasonal books.

  10. Maureen

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am currently listening to Forgotten Seamstress. Just finished My Name Is Mary Sutter and Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira. Looking forward to the Ladybug Farm series. But I also enjoy cozy mysteries.

  11. Marsha

    I, too, love to read. Appreciate your recommendations. Mysteries are my favorite, but enjoy most fictional books, including historical mysteries. Will certainly read the mentioned books, they sound great.

  12. I love it when you review the books. This way you know what you might like. When you don’t have a lot of extra time this sure helps. I enjoy your post, you sure pack a lot into your day. Thank you I’ve found 2 I would like to order.

  13. Robin Thompson

    I recently discovered your blog and love following. Thank you! ( and have downlaoded 3 of your book recommendations.)

  14. Pam Jay

    Hi Carole, I love your blog! Thank you so much for posting these book reviews. I love to read too, mostly cozy mysteries, but I think I will be ordering a couple of the books from this post!

  15. Reading glowing recommendations from someone who has read the book makes me want to read it too. Book jackets have fooled me more than once. I am going to put all of these on my Wish List now!

  16. connie wolfe

    Your recommendations have been terrific! I breezed through the Lady Bug Farm series at my county library last month and finished the Forgotten Seamstress this week. Many other books were found in my local and state library over the past year that were enjoyable. Great job,
    Connie

  17. Joan Sauger

    I love this time of year,and enjoy all things Halloween. I’m and avid reader, so would like to add your giveaway books to my collection.

  18. Nancy

    I will have to see if I can find a couple of those books.

    Currently I just finished The Diva Paints the town and will soon start the Dive Cooks the Goose. Birth by Krista Davis. I like cozy mysterys.

  19. Melanie

    Carole, your reviews are outstanding, so professional, so interesting! Are you sure you were not in the publishing business in a former life? LOL Thanks for all the great tips.

  20. GREAT post — thanks for the head’s up on the Wooly Block Adventure and the FQS giveaway!! I was intrigued by the daybook … I’m going to have to check that out. I adore mysteries, probably my favorite thing to read and I especially adore reading seasonal themed stories in the proper season! Right now I’m reading one of Karen Kingsbury’s stories. And about a dozen seasonal magazines and pumpkin cookbooks! 🙂

  21. Sherry V.

    Reading is like breathing for me. I always have my nose in a book! LOL

    Cozy murder mysteries are really fun. . . and I have found lots of new authors by seeing recommendations from other bloggers.

    I haven’t read either of these authors. . . . but I will have to see what my library has on the shelves!

  22. louverna

    I have made a list of your recommendations. They all look very interesting. I love Maisie Dobbs. I would like to win the books. I also like Jan Karon and Alexander McCall Smith books. Keep up the pretty pictures of your countryside and the beautiful flowers.
    Louverna

  23. Thanks for the great book reviews and suggestions. I am so looking forward to time for reading and quilting once the move is done and my studio is set up. Ordering some books now! Happy Fall!

  24. Angela Leigh

    love to see what others are reading! can’t wait to get some of these books and read – wonderful to hold a book in your hands to take you away somewhere else!

  25. Mildred Plaskett

    I’ve read Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear and the other books in this series. Enjoyed them all. Thanks for your reviews, I’ve added these to my list. I read about 5-6 books a month, mostly mysteries.

  26. Lenora

    As always, so much to learn by reading your blog. I have been thinking of you and so many of my blog friends and am praying that all of you stay safe. Can’t think of a better way to spend stormy days and nights than to read and quilt. Thank you for being you!

  27. Thank you for the recomendations, I have found some of the writers in the library, not always the titles you have listed but it is nice to read some new writers. So I look forward to some nice time enjoying a good read.

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