Just a couple more weeks left in summer. Wherever you’re spending these final days – on the beach, out of town, in your own backyard – having a good book on hand will make your time that much more enjoyable. Here are three books that I simply devoured this summer.
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This haunting book works on so many levels. It was easy to read, but hard to swallow. At the center is a passionate love story between a young, aspiring, recently married couple, looking forward to their future together, whose lives are devastatingly derailed by outside forces and a partial justice system. But the book also explores many cultural and societal themes, including the complexities of marriage and what it means to be a black American today. Jones’ writing is quiet yet moving, almost serene, yet her message is both powerful and often disturbing. While my life is nothing like these characters’, I related to them emotionally, and their story stayed with me long after I finished the book.
Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza
If you liked the TV show The Good Wife, you’ll love this timely book about a woman running for Senate in the aftermath of a presidential election that’s divided the country. With a disgruntled husband, three small children, and a devastating secret to tend to, Charlotte Walsh isn’t having an easy time, and the question quickly becomes: how much is she willing to sacrifice to win? You may not agree with all of Charlotte’s decisions and actions, but you’ll at least recognize the motivation behind them if you’re being honest with yourself. In a time when women are making greater strides than ever before, this is a fascinating and compelling look at what it means to be a woman in politics today.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
A classic whodunit in the style of Agatha Christie, this book kept me turning the pages with its alluring Gothic setting, juicy family drama, and twisty surprises. The plot is simple and fun: a penniless young woman who’s never had any family besides her mother, who has recently died, receives a letter claiming that she’s inherited money following the death of a grandmother she’s never met. She travels out to what turns out to be a grand but dilapidated Victorian estate and meets a group of relatives who seem to have all sorts of skeletons in the closet. But why was this money bequeathed to her? Why had her mother never mentioned her family before? And just who was her mother anyway? It’s an entertaining mystery with a solid ending that I didn’t see coming.