On My Shelf – Give Me a Good Story

I don’t belong to a formal book club, although it is certainly something I know I would enjoy, but I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who love to read, and who love to talk about books and reading. There is a vulnerability in recommending books to other people, or in sharing your favourite books; a window to your innermost soul is opened when someone cracks the pages of a book you identify with and cherish so much that it has become a part of your own story. Here’s a peek at what’s been part of my story over the past two months.

The Bronze Horseman Trilogy
(The Bronze Horseman, The Bridge to Holy Cross, and The Summer Garden) by Paullina Simons

Bronze Horseman Trilogy

These books were recommended to my by my friend Jess (to distinguish her from sister Jess) and as soon as I had read the first chapter I was hooked! I read the first in the trilogy over the weekend. I don’t think Chris managed to rouse me from my reading chair except to go for a walk and eat something between reading sessions. The Bronze Horseman Trilogy tells the sweeping love story of Tatiana and Alexander: lovers under the most unfortunate circumstances. Over the course of these three books Tatiana and Alexander experience challenges, hard ships, and moments of joy against the backdrop of any ever changing world. From frozen Russia to the plains of Arizona to the jungles of Vietnam these novels keep the pace up. I really enjoyed following these lovers from the first buds of love through to a decades-long marriage. If you love a good love story with strong writing then I highly recommend The Bronze Horseman Trilogy.

The Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty

husbands secret

The first chapter of this promises an intriguing story and strong characters, so I downloaded it onto my iPad one afternoon and prepared myself for a good lazy weekend of reading. It was awful. I still read the whole thing as I am not very good at giving up and I was hoping that it would redeem itself. No such luck. I can’t even think of one good thing to say. Such a shame as there isn’t much women’s literature set in Australian towns that I recognise, and this book shows people in the worst light at every opportunity. Sorry Liane Moriarty, but I can’t recommend this one.

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

hundred foot journey

I saw The Hundred Foot Journey film with the women in my family, and as soon as we stepped out of the theater I purchased the book. I was in love with the imagery of food, and how exactly the right combination of flavours and textures can sweep you back to the past or propel you forward to new adventures. The storyline of the movie and book diverge in some points, but I believe that you can enjoy each for it’s own merits. The book is a quick read, but despite its brevity (it’s only 270 pages) you feel the heft of a deep, rich story that travels from India to France and flavours the present day with the spice of the past. It’s about taking chances, making choices, but never losing sight of who you are. For food lovers everywhere I highly recommend The Hundred Foot Journey.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


The title may say romantic suspense, but if you are looking for true romance then this is not the book for you. I am not trying to ‘classics bash’ but even taking into consideration the time period in which this is set (early 20th century) the romance is hard to find. The suspense element is mild but present, but what makes it all worthwhile are the descriptions of Manderley and the creepy Mrs Danvers. If you have a dark and stormy day to spare ‘Rebecca’ isn’t a bad way to wile away some time.

The Gold Finch by Donna Tartt

the goldfinch

I am not trying to get into the popular crowd when I say this: I loved ‘The Goldfinch’ and I totally believe that it deserved the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (or should that be finch-ion?). This is a long book, but there is real story here, and characters who grow and develop and are flawed and truly human. Donna Tartt has created a world that you can dive into and spend hours in. Theo is a sympathetic and flawed narrator whose voice it is pleasant to spend hours with. I binge read this book in sessions. I couldn’t just pick it up and flick through a few pages: it had me up at all hours of the night just needing to finish the chapter. If you are looking for a book to read over the summer break then I highly recommend The Goldfinch.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

the help

I read this book over three sleepless nights and one very lazy Sunday (don’t worry Mum I remembered to put on pants – proof) and I wish Kathryn Stockett had written a thousand more books (this is her only one so far) because I wanted to live with the voices of the women in this book for the rest of my reading life. By now I’m sure many of you have read the book or seen the film, but for those who haven’t. This is the story, mainly, of three women (and many surrounding characters) living in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960’s. The times they were changing, but not in Jackson so Skeeter Phelan decides to write about just that. She didn’t know what gifts embarking on this writing project would bring, nor would she know the costs to herself and those around her. Remarkable. On my shelf of all time favourites and most highly recommended.

Tell me dear reader, what have you been reading at the moment? Any books on your Summer (or Winter) Reading list yet? Any authors you wish had written a thousand more books?

I have a whole Pinterest board of Books Worth Reading! Some I’ve read, some are on my never-ending To Read list – come and see what’s on the list!

9 thoughts on “On My Shelf – Give Me a Good Story

  1. I loved The Help! I’m currently reading the second Game of Thrones book, which is NOT my usual reading style! A bunch of friends of mine are reading the series so I thought I’d give it a shot. I always enjoy fiction recommendations!

    • Hi Traci,
      I have read the first GOT and I’m halfway through the second one. I have a feeling I’m going to need to start from the beginning again though 🙂

  2. Thanks for the list of reading material and the heads-up on The Husband’s Secret. I just finished Keith Floyd’s autobiography Stirred But Not Shaken. He was such a funny man (and sad), and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows which has an interesting structure and well-drawn characters. Now just reading the opening pages of Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami which Clint read in Japan and highly recommended to me.

    • I loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Such a lovely book and interesting background story. Let me know how the Murakami book is. I have some Japanese fiction at home that I have been meaning to get started on 🙂

  3. Firstly great book choices! I have read the bronze horseman series did you know there is another 2 books to this series? Also ready Tully and the girl in time square there from the same author – love these books!

    I loved the husbands secret I also read her other novels which are the hypnotist love story – such a sweet story and big little lies. Its similar to the husbands secret.

    If you like the light rom com books I would try the Rosie project. The fault in our stars will make you ball your eyes out but its a great read too.

    If you like your thrillers I would try Gone Girl -its far better than the movie 🙂

    Enjoy 🙂

    • I am looking forward to reading Tully and the Girl in Times Square – I definitely enjoyed Paullina Simons writing style.
      I have been meaning to read The Rosie Project because I have heard so many interviews with the author – and now there’s a second one out too!
      I read most of Gone Girl, but I felt a bit ill at how sick and twisted she is! I do have another Gillian Flynn novel to try though so I’m hoping the main character isn’t quite so psychopathic!
      Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

  4. Pingback: Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Five | Thoroughly Nourished Life

  5. Thank God I’m not the only one who had an issue with Rebecca! I remember stopping multiple times while reading and thinking, did I read the wrong summary for the book? How is this a romance novel? The Bronze Horseman trilogy though? Awesome!

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