Recommended Reads

I joined a book club.  7 of us converged on the common room in my building last night for our first meeting. This is a new adventure for me. I’ve always considered reading, like writing, to be a solitary activity, so being able to discuss what I’ve read with others is an idea with real appeal.

However, I’m not so sure about the books we settled on to read. First up is an Oprah pick–The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. Based on the blurb, it sounds depressing beyond belief. But I’ll give it a shot.

I have more hope for the next one–The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, a doorstop of a book set in 12th century England. It sounds like a meaty, rich historical tale that I could eat with a spoon.

Next we’ll tackle Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. This story is billed as a Brazilian fable and reviewers accuse it of following the “hero’s journey” of recognizable plot points. I suspect I’ll enjoy this one.

Lastly we settled on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. It’s a thriller and I’ve heard intriguing things about the main character, so I’ll go into this one with expectations of a good read.

Notice the group did not pick a single title written by a woman. I hope to change that. Remember I live in New England, where less than 12% of the population will admit to ever having read a romance, so I’m treading lightly. I’m hoping to ease a romance into the mix after I build a little credibility with this group. Not sure which book I’ll lead with, but I do have a recommendation for you today!

Sinful in Satin

Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

It’s Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter. Usually, I read to dissect how the other author has handled writerly issues–POV shifts, plot points and characterization, etc. The talented Ms. Hunter is one of a handful of authors who make me forget I’m a writer too. She sucks me completely into her richly imagined world.

Sinful in Satin is a beautiful story of two people who try to rise above their births in a highly stratified and judgmental society and, of course, learn to love each other along the way.

As an added bonus, Madeline Hunter is prolific. Once you read one of her stories, you’ll want more.

Now it’s your turn to share. What book would you recommend to your friends?

8 thoughts on “Recommended Reads

  1. Nynke says:

    Madeline Hunter’s work sounds good – just bought Sinful in Satin. :)
    I recently discovered Emma Wildes; she writes Regency romances that are often really steamy – I read about four in a row!

    1. Mia says:

      I’ll have to give Emma Wildes a try. Thanks, Nynke.

  2. Marcy W says:

    An interesting foursome … first and last I’d decline, middle two I’d happily read; ‘Pillars’ I read ages ago, and it is the kind of great big historical saga I love (Gabaldon’s are too); the Alchemist I haven’t yet read, but several friends speak highly of it. The Stieg Larsson books are so popular, but when I tried the first one, I couldn’t get into it at all. I don’t read Jodi Picoult, altho many friends do; also like that is Barbara Kingsolver: I don’t enjoy her, but many friends love her books. — Other ideas: Arianna Franklin’s series about a woman medical examiner in Henry II’s England is beautifully written and quite different. A very interesting alternative history series is Naomi Novik’s dragon series (Napoleonic era, dragons are sentient beings and used in warfare — a definite ‘suspend your disbelief’, but soooo well done. A mystery/historical is the two Bess Crawford books by Charles Todd (who wrote the long-running Ian Rutledge series), WWI era nurse who ends up solving myteries; it’s well written, by a mother-son team! Oohh, so many great books, so little time!! :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Marcy, you always come up with interesting picks. Was it even possible for a woman to be a medical examiner during Henry II’s reign? That one certainly piques my interest.

      Sentient dragons sound like great fun too.

  3. Ashlyn Chase says:

    I’d recommend Outlander by Diana Gabeldon. It was so well written! It’s a time-travel, so suspension of disbelief is essential. Maybe you can figure out if they’re able to do that before you recommend certain romances.

    Better not recommend mine. My books are not for everyone. LOL

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I really enjoyed the Outlander series and the way Gabaldon writes makes her time-travel seem totally believable. That would be a good pick, as would Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourne.

      I wouldn’t recommend my books either, Ashlyn. Mostly because of my midwestern reticence, but also because I want to try some new things. Of course, maybe my bookclubbers also want to try new things…

  4. Jennifer Cryblskey says:

    One author I love to recommend to romance readers is Jo Beverley. I have loved every one of her books. I also love the way charachters from her books will randomly show up in other books. It really gets you hooked on her world.

    Also, a female author for a book club that might not be ready for a true romance, I would recommend Jodi Picoult. Her books have mystery, suspense, modern topics and delve into the aspects of personalities that most people feel but would rather hids. I really like Salem Falls. It is about a male teacher that is accused of sexual harrassment. Very good.

    Let us know how you like Pillars of the Earth. That was my first deep book and I loved it.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Jo Beverley is one of my all-time favorites! I’ve never read Jodi Picoult, but I’ve seen her books everywhere. Guess part of my reason for joining this group is to expand my reading horizons. Time to broaden my scope.

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