March Reads

This is going to be a loooooong one, folks! Because to me the words “quarantine” and “social distancing” translate to “guilt-free reading time.”

So here goes for March!

First, a couple of dense but fascinating history/biography books:

My brother-in-law, who lives with my sister and their boys in Kurdistan (Iraq) left this book for me to read while their family was in their last few months overseas. (As I write this, they are trying to get home. They’ve had seats on an April 2 flight for months, which, of course, is now canceled. Prayers for them appreciated!) I confess I knew nothing of the history of the Middle East, which in today’s world seems kind of an important this to know! This book is half biography of Miss Gertrude Bell, an Englishwomen instrumental in the creation of the Middle East as we know it today, and half history of how it came to be that way. Every page brought a new fascination. Miss Bell was an amazing woman who also endured some terribly tragedies. And the history of the Middle East from the early 1900s to the 1930s is a tangled web as well. Well worth the read.

I’ve known for a very long time about the Woman’s Land Army in Great Britain during WWII, women going on to take the place of farm laborers to help keep the country fed. What I didn’t know was that this happened also during the Great War, WWI. And that it happened in America as well as Great Britain! I loved the stories of these women in 1917-1919, mostly city and college girls, who gave their summers to back-breaking word in order to maintain food production both for our troops and our nation as well as to transport to the starving European countries as well.

Both of these books revealed portions of history I didn’t know, which was awesome!

As for fiction, I have no idea why I ended up choosing several very suspenseful books during the beginning of March! By the time COVID-19 was in full swing, I was looking for stories a bit less intense! (And just an aside, a few of these are free on Prime Reading.)

I can usually read Susan’s books without the normal issues I have with suspense—that is, the story being too close to home, feeling too possibly real for my situation—because I won’t ever be a smoke jumper or pilot a small plane or go rescue someone from international intrigue in Russia! This one involved mountain climbing in Alaska, which I also will never do, but so many of the scenes reminded me of the years I spent skiing, worrying I would fly off the side of a mountain or not being able to look over the edge for fear the fear would paralyze me. Did I mention I have a fear of heights? I did love this book, but I had to quit reading it before bed because it made my heart race. And because I tended to dream I had to rescue people off a mountain! Yikes!

I’ve been wanting to get to this once since it came out! I knew this was historical and knew it was more gothic in nature, but didn’t expect it to be quite as suspenseful as it was! I did enjoy it, though. Creepy in the Jane Eyre type of creepy.

Cathy always tells a good story. This one is no exception. I loved all the characters, especially the children. And the references to literature (and an author cameo!) made it even more fun! But anytime there are bombings and spies and escaped prisoners of war you have some tension-filled moments! Still, this one was a bit easier on my anxiety!

Wow. I didn’t know anything at all about this book when I started it. But I loved it! Lots of homage to books and reading, but also an intensely emotional story about truth and love and friendship. Highly recommended.

I’ve been wanting to read Jamie Jo Wright’s books since they were released, but just hadn’t gotten to any of them before now! A present day story infused with a mystery in a past era. Another one that caused a bit of heart-pounding worry for the characters! Overall a good mystery. And I loved the historical note at the back! Let’s just say I didn’t see that coming.

Finally, as the coronavirus anxiety ramped up, I got to some stories with the good kind of tension.

My best’s friend’s daughter loves this series, and since I still love a good middle-grade novel, I plunged right in. It’s a fantasy series about a kingdom of rabbits. Adventure with a very Narnia-ish feel. I really enjoyed the characters and the story. Apparently the series has many books but the final book is coming out these year.

This prequel to her upcoming series introduces us to the town where her series will take place. And I believe one of the minor characters in this story will be the main character in one of the longer ones. I enjoyed getting to know Penelope and Eli and their journey toward each other, and I look forward to a whole new series from Becky!

Yes, Mimi Matthews, you continue to be one of my favorites! This third installment in the Parish Orphans of Devon series did not disappoint! I loved Alex Archer’s story! Oh how I love a good regency romance!

Such a satisfying end to such a delightful series! These characters will stay with me awhile! I have a couple of her older books still to read, but this fall there will be a brand new book! I can’t wait!

So did you make it through to the end? Kudos to you if you did!

*disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

What have you been reading lately?