Is it the fine green mist that's beginning to creep over the hills and fields? Is it the tree limbs that are swelling with buds? Is it the longer hours of daylight that certainly do brighten everything? All of it. I say it's all of it. Somehow, the feeling of spring is seeping into everything, which may be one of the best things about it. Lately, as I've raked leaves, planned the garden, and mopped up muddy floors, certain books that I've read have popped up in my reflection, mostly, I suppose, because written in their pages are those same feelings of light and optimism and spring.
The Magic Apple Tree was recommended to me by a reader a couple years ago. Set outside an Oxfordshire village, this memoir follows the life of a woman, her husband, and their young daughter through a year of life in their small cottage surrounded by flower and vegetable gardens, at the center of which is an apple tree, magic in its change throughout the seasons.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society was just the delightfully light read I needed in late spring a few years ago. Written in correspondence via a series of handwritten letters, this fictional story is set in England, just following World War II. It connects a writer who is looking for her next story with the habitants of an idyllic island off the coast of England.
A Year In Provence Sometimes, I browse the biography aisle in the library and randomly choose a book about someone else's life. That's how I found this one. Author Peter Mayle and his wife retire from England to a stone house in Provence. This is the story that follows as they learn a new culture, new language, and new, rustic cuisine. You inevitably find yourself falling in love with the country people and their simple, sometimes eccentric, ways.
Mary Emma & Co The simple, yet exquisite writing that sets the stage for this true story has stayed with me since I first read it as a young girl, and brought be back to reread it several times as an adult. Written from the perspective of the author who was a youth at the time, this book follows the journey of a widowed woman in the nineteen teens who, against tremendous societal odds, kept her family of six children together and, from nothing, established a thriving family business. A true "if she can do it, I can do it" sort of read. The entire series is a gem.
Paris In Love: A Memoir Two parents, both professors, decide to take a sabbatical, take their two children, and live in Paris for a year. What started as email correspondence with family back home in the US, turned into this delightful book. It describes new friendships, cultural challenges, family strength, and renewal. The author's description of the understated, yet tastefully executed fashion of the Parisian women was one of my favorite parts.
I'm always looking for good reads. Which titles have been your favorites? Tell me what I must add to my list!