A well read woman is a dangerous creation.
A good book can shift your mindset, change your life, help you heal, or just provide some delicious escapism when you need a break from the monotonous daily life. This is exactly what we are going to do in this post. This month was my break from everything to focus on my mental health, although I was still feeling exhausted from the sudden wave of depressed energy every so often, I wanted to spend some quality time with words. My Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books this year is not going anywhere –I have just decided to stick to 3 books per month from now on.
This month reads were a mixture of history, political commentary and beautiful contemporary romances, so grab a coffee or tea and let’s tell you all about this month reads that has kept me so very entertained.
THE MAP OF LOVE by Ahdaf Soueif
At either end of the twentieth century, two women fall in love with men outside their familiar worlds. In 1901, Anna Winterbourne, recently widowed, leaves England for Egypt, an outpost of the Empire roiling with nationalist sentiment. Far from the comfort of the British colony, she finds herself enraptured by the real Egypt and in love with Sharif Pasha al-Baroudi.
Nearly a hundred years later, Isabel Parkman, a divorced American journalist and descendant of Anna and Sharif has fallen in love with Omar al-Ghamrawi, a gifted and difficult Egyptian-American conductor with his own passionate politics. In an attempt to understand her conflicting emotions and to discover the truth behind her heritage, Isabel, too, travels to Egypt, and enlists Omar’s sister’s help in unravelling the story of Anna and Sharif’s love.
This is the second book I have read by the author. A desert love story with the commentary of the Egyptian revolution in the early 20th century. I loved reading this book and I greatly enjoyed being accustomed to the Egyptian culture and their political affairs. For some, it may be confusing at the beginning with multiple narrators and stories moving back and forth between times but as you get caught up with the characters –you fall for them. I started to live with the protagonist, share their pain and joy.
We have Anna, Lydia, Amal and Isobel to guide us through the story with glimpses of Sharif Basha but for me, Egypt emerges as the heroin, the author is brilliant in analyzing (political, social, cultural and economical) her homeland. The story timelines the 100 years from the beginning and the ending of the 20th century –the author presents the role of women, the colonial policies effects, administrative corruption to so much more. At the heart of the book is the dessert love story of Anna and Sharif that I enjoyed very much. I wish I didn’t rush the last 60 pages or so for it was heartbreaking but beautiful nonetheless.
THE NEW MRS CLIFTON by Elizabeth Buchan
As the Second World War draws to a close, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton surprises his sisters at their London home. But an even greater shock is the woman he brings with him, Krista – the German wife whom he has married secretly in Berlin.
Krista is clearly devastated by her experiences at the hands of the British and their allies – all but broken by horrors she cannot share. But Gus’s sisters can only see the enemy their brother has brought under their roof. And their friend Nella, Gus’s beautiful, loyal fiancée, cannot understand what made Gus change his mind about their marriage. What hold does Krista have over their honourable and upright Gus? And how can the three women get her out of their home, their future, their England?
Haunted by passion, betrayal, and misunderstanding these damaged souls are propelled towards a spectacular resolution.
I love myself a second world war book and that too from a German perspective. A brilliantly written historical fiction. There are multiple POV’s and each of them is as thrilling as the other. The story is focused around 1945 -after the war and what the war has done for relationships, people and life. How nothing is the same anymore.
The new Mrs Clifton is historical fiction, set in aftermath of WWII. Bombed remains are everywhere, rationing is still here and so is the hatred for Germans and what happens when a British officer brings home a German wife. This is the story of Krista, a German orphan, married to a soldier who did everything to kill those who was dear to her. Is this a marriage of love or there is something more to it? I loved every character –I emphasised their actions, although I didn’t agree with most of them, I understood why they did what they did.
An emotional narrative that takes you back in time. I was intrigued from the opening with the discovery of a women’s body in the garden, a body that looked like it has been there since the 1940s to the dramatic climax. It is beautifully written: it is raw, hunting and so very moving, this is a story of wreckage and damage that is left behind by the war and how people must now face the reality of what they have done to survive.
The Un-honeymooners by Cristina Lauren
I can treat this trip like an actual vacation on a tropical island
Yes, its with my nemesis, but still, I will take it
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy. Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky
I loved reading this. It has been a long while since I read a romantic comedy of this manner filled with representation, chemistry and a very enjoyable storyline. I loved Olive and Ethan relationship from hating each other to falling in love –the dialogue, supporting characters and the beautiful scenery is what made this book my 5 star read. All in all a delicious escapism.
I can appreciate my body in a bikini and still want to set fire to the patriarchy
I don’t want to divulge too much of this book on here because I feel it’s better to just read it knowing the basics and it is very enjoyable that way. However, for your benefit, I will tell you this before reading this novel I was like: the concept of romantic love is nothing but marketing strategy and it is never like this in real life me after reading this: why can’t all these romantic things happen to me already…
I hope you have enjoyed reading this. Do let me know if plan to read any novels from the list. And please do share your August reads — I would love to know…..