Recent Reads #19

in , , by Kristen Woolsey, 11:58 AM



The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

Basically: It's 1940 and Osla, Beth, & Mab are three very different women who have come to Bletchly Park to work as code breakers trying to intercept German messages.
Then, 7 years later, these women are no longer friends. But, they have to come together to break one last code.

My Thoughts: Such a great story! I'm a little burnt out on WWII historical fiction, but this was worth the effort. The characters and their development are really well done, and I really loved that Prince Phillip is (and other real people are) in this book.
It's not quite a 5 star book for me. I think because I felt like it was a little bit drawn out? I found myself losing attention, but then there would be a really engaging part that would suck me right back in.

Also, I think it's the 3 women WWII dual timeline thing that feels very much done before.

Rating: 4.5 Stars! Read it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Basically: After being swept off her feet in Monte Carlo by Maxim de Winter and accepting his quick proposal - the two newly weds head back to his lovely estate. However, the original Mrs. de Winter casts a huge shadow over their new life together.

My Thoughts: This was always a favorite film, so it was about time that I pick up the book! It's such a great, suspenseful story. The plot, the characters, the twist - it's a classic for a reason!

My Rating: Easily 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Basically: Laurel witnessed a shocking crime when she was 16. And now that her mother, Dorothy, is on her death bed, she desperately wants to get some answers to what she saw that day. Dorothy has been through so much personally- and that's not including living during WWII and the Blitz. She has been keeping a lot of secrets!

My Thoughts: This was our January book club pick! I'll be honest, if it hadn't been for the book club, I think I would have given up on this quite early on. This book is LONG. I think the story could have been told just as well with 250 pages less. But, that being said, it does really pay off in the end and comes together in a really satisfying way. If you like an extremely descriptive, character driven novel - this one is for you. I didn't see the ending coming, but it made everything click!

Rating: 3.5 maybe 4 stars but I just can't get over how long this was.
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Basically: In Sweden there is a tradition of going through your possessions and decluttering as you get older, so that when you die your family doesn't have as much to deal with. Margareta explains how she did this. 

My Thoughts: Ultimately, I absolutely love this concept and practice. I've personally seen how much work there can be for family members when someone passes away. Random receipts, trinkets, and odds and ends...all for your grieving family to make heads or tails of. If you were to adopt Swedish death cleaning as you age, you will be left with a decluttered home and have put a lot of thought into who will get what and where you want things sent when you've passed away. 
However, beyond the concept, this book itself was just ok. Margareta shares the most random anecdotes like putting their dog down and complains how nobody writes thank you cards anymore. There were actually very few practical tips on how to actual go about this process. Not to say there weren't helpful tips! I appreciated the idea that photographs shouldn't be dealt with first, and they need to be organized and labeled. (For example, if you are the oldest person in your family and you don't know who the people in the photos are, your family isn't likely to either.) 
TLDR: This is a gentle nudge to think about dealing with your stuff before you are too old to do it.

Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell

Basically: Cults have a broad definition. We usually think of the Kool Aid type of doomsday cults, but people also use words like Cult-Favorite or Cult-Beauty. So Amanda uses the word *cultish* to explain what makes a cult a cult and why some things are just cult-ISH.

My Thoughts: This book was SO interesting. She explains why people are so interested in cults and why some people are more susceptible to joining one. I learned a lot! In fact, I want you to read it so we can talk about it! I have many thoughts and feel that I can sum it up with: we were created to have community and worship together, and people are looking just about anywhere to fill that need.

Rating: 4.5 stars from me! ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫

All The Lonely People by Mike Gale

Basically: Hubert is a Jamaican man, who moved to England when he was a young man. Now that he's old, he's all alone. His wife passed away, and his daughter lives all the way in Australia. To keep his daughter from worrying about him, he's made up an elaborate, fun, and active life with a great group of friends. But, now she's coming to visit and he is afraid she'll find out he's actually extremely lonely.

My Thoughts: Gosh, what a sweet book. Don't get me wrong, it's an emotional roller coaster - and there were times I literally gasped out loud! Mostly, it's just heartwarming and sweet.
A few reviews ago I posted about another book called The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett - and I will admit this is extremely similar. And while I haven't read A Man Called Ove, I've heard it's also very close to this story. I enjoyed this book a lot more that Eudora though, if that helps you choose which one to pick up.

Rating: 5 Stars from me! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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-Kristen

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