One of my favorite ways to enjoy summer is to sit and savor a good book. While I often read theological or devotional books, sometimes it’s nice to relax and read a good story or biography that’s well told. I always ask friends for recommendations, so today I’m sharing some books I enjoyed this past year, in no particular order. I’d welcome any of your ideas for this summer, so feel free to add more of your favorites in the comment section.
The Traitor’s Wife — If you enjoy historical fiction, you’ll enjoy Allison Pataki’s books. The Traitor’s Wife tells the story of Peggy Shippen Arnold and her role in the most infamous act of treason in American history as the wife of Benedict Arnold.
Hidden Figures — I read the book before I watched the movie. And, as much as I enjoyed the movie, I liked the book better. It provided more depth and insight into the lives of the women who helped NASA journey into space, as well as the culture in which they lived and worked.
A Gentleman in Moscow — I looked forward to reading this book every evening and hated for it to be over. It’s beautifully written and delightful to read.
The Kitchen House — Kathleen Grissom sets this book at the turn of the 19th century on a tobacco plantation in Virginia. It explores the evils of slavery as well as the struggles of women in the pre-Civil War era.
Irena’s Children — I admit you may not want to read this book on vacation; however, it was one of the most inspiring books I read this year. It tells the story of Irena Sendler’s work in the Jewish Ghetto to rescue more than 2,500 children from the Nazis. It’s an excellent true story of a woman who did everything she could to help those in need.
The Accidental Empress — Also by Pataki, this book revolves around life in the Habsburg dynasty in the mid-19th century, with particular focus on the life of Sisi, who finds herself the unexpected empress of the most powerful family in Europe.
The Forgotten Garden — I just discovered Kate Morton this year, and I’ve enjoyed every one of her books. She’s an excellent storyteller, and each of her books uncover lost stories or unresolved family secrets. These books are great for light reading on a beach somewhere.
The Zookeeper’s Wife — I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I read this story after I realized Irena Sendler (Irena’s Children) spent time hiding at the zoo after she was arrested and tortured by the Nazis. Both stories take place in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation and highlight the risks of ordinary individuals who fought to help others.
The Lake House — This was my favorite Kate Morton book I read this year. It’s an all-around satisfying fiction read. Some of the others by her that I enjoyed were The House at Riverton and The Distant Hours.
For more ideas, here’s my list from last year: 2016 Summer Reading