I wrapped up reading in 2021 with some good books. Check out my list…
By Sara Jio
Working in a high-powered job, June Anderson switches gears when she inherits her Aunt Ruby’s children’s bookstore, Bluebird Books. More used to foreclosing on businesses that can’t keep afloat, June finds herself in an opposite role as she struggles to reopen and operate the bookstore.
While sorting through things, June discovers letters from her aunt to the famous children’s book author, Margaret Wise Brown, and letters from Margaret in return. Secrets and family drama unfold as June uncovers more.
Gavin, the handsome owner of the Italian restaurant next door, gentles his way into June’s heart and helps her in her endeavors to save Bluebird Books, but will June’s efforts be enough to keep the doors of the bookstore open? Will she end up losing her job, her savings, and the bookstore? And maybe the love of her life?
Readers of light romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and epistolary novels will nestle into June’s story with satisfaction, akin to curling one’s hand around a warm cup of tea, and be drawn into her struggles and endeavors.
Another well-written novel by Jio, who never fails to unfold a layered story filled with drama, the right amount of tension, and a surprise or two. It’s the kind of novel you can sink into and feel comfortable with, like you are living the characters’ story along with them.
The Healer’s Apprentice
By Melanie Dickerson
Set in medieval times, Rose, an apprentice to the local apothecary at Hagenheim Castle, falls for one royal brother, Lord Hamlin, while the other vies for her attention. But will class and prior engagements keep Rose and the man she comes to love apart?
A spin-off of Sleeping Beauty, Dickerson weaves new life into a classic fairy tale. The character-driven story draws readers into a romantic love triangle and sprinkles in a bit mystery as well.
This is my first book by Dickerson, and although I don’t usually read romance novels, I was drawn to this one by the title and the fairy tale aspect. I enjoyed it and will read the next book in the series, but I did wish it had included more herbal medicine, an interest of mine.
Readers of retold fairy tales, Christian romance, YA and clean romance will find themselves lost in Rose’s love story, one worth reading.
The Christmas Wish Book
Although this Christmas novella can be read as a standalone, it is a continuation of the story of two friends, Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson, from Austin’s novel, If I Were You.
Both single mothers, Audrey and Eve do their best to show their sons the true meaning of Christmas and in so doing make new friends, deepen old ones, and bring the celebration of the birth of Jesus front and center to Christmas.
Another delightful book by Austin, The Christmas Wish Book, is a warm-hearted story and a perfect Christmastime read. Readers of clean romance and Christian fiction will feel their spirits lifted by this lovely seasonal story with timeless truth—it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The Diabolical Bones
By Bella Ellis
Set in Edwardian England, the second title in the Bronte siblings mysteries spins a mystery story, fueled by past pain and evil desire, and is told from the perspectives of the three Bronte sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte.
The skeleton remains of an undernourished child are discovered in a neighbor’s chimney. Who the child is and why they were placed their sends the Bronte siblings on a twisted course to hunt down the person responsible for such a diabolical act.
I found the The Diabolical Bones to be a delicious mystery that kept me flipping the pages, hardly able to put the book down. Just who the killer is will keep readers guessing until the very end. Fans of mystery, classic or gothic literature, and the the writings of the Bronte siblings will enjoy this fictional portrayal of the famous writers bringing a killer to justice.
But the story itself is not the only mystery. The author seems to be a mystery as well. Having no web or social media presence, that I can tell, makes me wonder how Ellis survives in the book world, which is partially fueled by these various platforms. I’m almost certain the name Bella Ellis is a pen name crafted from the names the Brontes wrote under, Ellis and Bell. Whoever Bella Ellis really is, they know how to skillfully write a read-worthy mystery.
What were your favorite reads, rounding out 2021?