Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? by Pamela Keogh
I’ve read this before, but with the onslaught of JFK documentaries leading up to the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I felt a spark to read about Jackie. I’m a huge fan of Pamela Keogh and her “tips” for living like whatever starlet she’s writing about (Audrey, Jackie, etc.).
The quiz at the beginning — to determine if you’re a Jackie or a Marilyn — is fun, but I suspect we all already know who we are. I’m a Jackie.
Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
I read a lot of historical novels with actual people as the main characters. I didn’t care for Z because it just read like a glorified biography and didn’t really engage me after Zelda and Scott were married. I know that with an actual history you have to follow there isn’t a lot of leeway in terms of making the plot your own, but it can at least be interesting, right?
The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms
Probably one of the most original stories I’ve read in a long time. Two women from the same city share a name and both entered a contest from an HGTV-like channel to win a fully furnished house. When one is declared the winner, both arrive at the new house thinking it’s her own.
Every time I expected the plot to zig, it zagged. This book isn’t going to go down in the history books, but it’s a fun read and would be a cute Ginnifer Goodwin/Amy Adams vehicle if it gets the movie treatment. I’d see it.
Grace Kelly Style by H. Kristina Haugland
This was the guidebook for a Grace Kelly exhibit when it came to the Victoria & Albert Museum. If you’ve ever wanted to know which designers and trends influenced Grace Kelly, and how her style evolved over the years, this is the book for you.
The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood
I really enjoyed this historical mystery. Set in 1961 on the eve of JFK’s inauguration (the JFK theme was unintentional in my reading habits), a bored and pregnant housewife contemplates her life while she’s on the road to her mother-in-law’s birthday celebrations. She’s slightly obsessed with Jackie and what colour dress she’ll wear to the inauguration the next day. Back in the ’20s, a mysterious obituary writer crafts prosaic obituaries for grieving families while looking for her lost love.
Their lives interwine and it’s a great read, but my only complaint is that it ends quite abruptly after quickly tying up the loose ends.
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Another historical romance about a bored housewife, this time in ’50s London, who is left an inheritance from a woman she has never met before. She goes to Paris on the sly to solve the mystery and what follows is one of the best novels I’ve ever read.
Everything about The Perfume Collector is perfection: the plot, characters, pacing; and unlike The Obituary Writer, the ending is completely satisfying.
What have you been reading?