Books I Read in November

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meiser

I'm a sucker for books that weave a story together from narratives taking place in the past and the present.  This story connects fictitious characters during the time of the New York Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, and during September 2001 in New York.  It's the first time I've braved any kind of 9/11 lit, and I'm glad I did.  It reminded me a great deal of The Girl You Left Behind with lovely (yet flawed) characters who find their way through unimaginably horrifying circumstances.  Upon further research, I gather that Meiser writes all of her books with this technique and so I shall probably be reading more!


Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

At first I thought that this was going to be another 'manic pixie dreamgirl' who is devoid of emotion story - see also: Unbecoming, Hausfrau, Paper Towns.  But the story of Joan, the corps ballerina who assists the Russian star dancer to defect, becomes way more complex than the aforementioned titles.  There is a 'secret reveal' plot point past the halfway mark that isn't at all surprising, yet where the story goes afterwards and with the supporting characters is, well, astonishing.    


This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I've always wanted to pick up a book by Jennifer E. Smith.  Her novels always seem to resurface on top YA lists and Bookriot posts.  Plus I really dig the whimsical covers.  It was a sweet read and I my inner pre-teen LOVED the premise of just a regular girl happening upon a correspondence with a celebrity, unbeknown to her - a fun take on a fairytale romance.  I'd also recommend it as a summer read, as the setting of a sleepy little Maine town that bustles during the summer months (and during the filming of a movie) really comes to life and feels like another character.


The Lake House by Kate Morton

You can read my full review here, but in brief: I thought it was excellent and was slightly miffed at myself for not reading one of her books in so long.  I read The Forgotten Garden years ago, but I hope to read The Secret Keeper soon.


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

After finishing The Lake House, this felt like reading a short story in comparison.  Yet in a welcome manner, as I was ready for a good chaser of light, fluffy and entertaining.  Hilderbrand definitely sticks to formulas, especially ones that involve people not seeing the perfect love for them that happen to be right under their noses.  But, she writes them well and with great humor and heart.  I enjoyed getting to know the Quinn family and hope to get around to reading Winter Stroll, the follow up, before the end of the holidays.