Eight Books I Bought Myself for Christmas

It’s payday, it’s Christmas Eve Eve, and all my family’s presents are purchased, wrapped and ready to go for tomorrow night’s festivities. Not only that, but the winds outside are currently whipping everything and everyone brave (or stupid) enough to venture out of the house. I can’t think of a better time to treat myself to some new books! Granted some of these titles were on my wish list for so long that they became available to read for free through Kindle Unlimited. However, if I like a book enough, I will purchase it for my home library later on. So here are the eight books I bought myself for Christmas this year!

The Girl in the Lifeboat

Author: Eileen Enwright Hodgetts
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Published: May 25, 2022

They have survived the sinking of the Titanic; will they survive the White Star Line’s attempts to silence them?
April 1912: Runaway aristocrats Poppy and Daisy Melville sign on as stewardesses for the Titanic’s maiden voyage. After their harrowing rescue by the Carpathia, they are forbidden to disembark in New York and are sent back to England with the other survivors of the Titanic’s crew. Soon they learn that the White Star Line will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent the truth of the disaster’s cause from emerging. Daisy, a beautiful young woman used to getting her own way, harbors a secret that raises the stakes even higher. Where was she while the ship was sinking and why is she stalked from New York back to England? Poppy must protect her sister from a vengeful murderer by uncovering the real cause of the sinking.

The Girl in the Lifeboat is the second book in Eileen Enwright Hodgetts’ “Novelsl of the Titanic” series. She intricately weaves fact and fiction to expose a disturbing truth about the shipwreck that changed the world. If you like dynamic heroines, little-known but meticulously researched facts, and a touch of romance, then you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the aftermath of the Titanic.

The Librarian of Crooked Lane

Author: CJ Archer
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Length: 284 pages
Published: September 6, 2022

Librarian Sylvia Ashe knows nothing about her past, having grown up without a father and a mother who refused to discuss him. When she stumbles upon a diary that suggests she’s descended from magicians, she’s skeptical. After all, magicians are special, and she’s just an ordinary girl who loves books. She seeks the truth from a member of the most prominent family of magicians, but she quickly learns that finding the truth won’t be easy, especially when he turns out to be as artless as her, and more compelling and dangerous than books.

War hero Gabe is gifted with wealth, a loving family, and an incredible amount of luck that saw him survive four harrowing years of a brutal war without injury. But not all injuries are visible. Burying himself in his work as a consultant for Scotland Yard, Gabe is going through the motions as he investigates the theft of a magician-made painting. But his life changes when he unwittingly gets Sylvia dismissed from her job and places her in danger.

After securing her new employment in a library housing the world’s greatest collection of books about magic, Gabe and Sylvia’s lives become intwined as they work together to find both the painting and the truth about Sylvia’s past before powerful people can stop them.

But sometimes the past is better left buried…

The Keepers of Metsan Valo

Author: Wendy Webb
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Length: 313 pages
Published: October 5, 2021

In Metsan Valo, her family home on Lake Superior, Anni Halla’s beloved grandmother has died. Among her fond memories, what Anni remembers most vividly is her grandmother’s eerie yet enchanting storytelling. By firelight she spun tall tales of spirits in the nearby forest and waters who could heal—or harm—on a whim. But of course those were only stories…

The reading of the will now occasions a family reunion. Anni and her twin brother, their almost otherworldly mother, and relatives Anni hasn’t seen in forever—some with good reason—are all brought back together under one roof that strains to hold all their tension. But it’s not just Anni’s family who is unsettled. Whispers wind through the woods. Laughter bursts from bubbling streams. Raps from unseen hands rupture on the walls. Fireflies swarm and nightmares stir. With each odd occurrence, Anni fears that her return has invited less a welcoming and more a warning.

When another tragedy strikes near home, Anni must dive headfirst into the mysterious happenings to discover the truth about her home, her family, and the wooded island’s ancient lore. Plunging into the past may be the only way to save her family from whatever bedevils Metsan Valo.

The Premonition at Withers Farm

Author: Jamie Jo Wright
Genre: Christian Mystery & Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Published: October 11, 2022

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett Van Hilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor convinced she practices quackery. It doesn’t help that her mother is a spiritualist who regularly offers her services to connect the living with their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she must rely on both the local doctor and an intriguing newcomer for assistance.

In the present day, Molly Wasziak’s life has not gone the way she dreamed. Facing depression after several miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband’s purchase of a peculiar old farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a century-old murder case and a web of deception, all made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds inside the farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time forever silence their truths?

The Women of Great Heron Lake

Author: Deanna Lynn Sletten
Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction
Length: 426 pages
Published: September 10, 2019

Two strong women, generations apart, living parallel lives.

When Marla Madison’s husband dies, she realizes her life has become very small. Her daughter is grown and Marla has spent the past two decades focused on his friends, his interests, and his home. Feeling lost, she throws herself into fixing up the one-hundred and fifty-year-old family lakeside manor. She soon discovers an old journal in a secret drawer and is instantly intrigued. The handwritten book tells the tale of another Mrs. Madison from over a century ago, the first woman to live in the lake manor. As Marla reads the journal, she discovers that her life parallels that of the woman who wrote those words decades ago and Marla finds inspiration from her strength.

1875 – Alaina Carlton was content to become a spinster until her beloved father introduced her to Nathaniel Madison, one of the most prosperous men in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even though she values her independence, Alaina is intrigued by this man who pursues her. When they marry, she believes she’s found a man who will treat her as an equal, but soon realizes that isn’t entirely true. From their mansion on the illustrious Summit Avenue to their manor at Great Heron Lake, where the rich and powerful play, her life is no longer her own. But fifteen years and two children later when Nathaniel grows ill, she takes her rightful place where women weren’t allowed in order to secure her children’s inheritance and her future.

An inspiring family saga of two determined woman who found meaning in their lives by following their passions and not allowing society, or propriety, to hold them back.

The Dress Thief

Author: Natalie Meg Evans
Genre: Historical Literary Fiction
Length: 512 pages
Published: June 25, 2015

Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Hermès is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York.

Then Alix is given her big break – a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses – but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection.

Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep – or misplaced trust – could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams.

The Nurse’s Secret

Author: Amanda Skenandore
Genre: Medical Fiction
Length: 389 pages
Published: June 28, 2022

Based on Florence Nightingale’s nursing principles, Bellevue is the first school of its kind in the country. Where once nurses were assumed to be ignorant and unskilled, Bellevue prizes discipline, intellect, and moral character, and only young women of good breeding need apply. At first, Una balks at her prim classmates and the doctors’ endless commands. Yet life on the streets has prepared her for the horrors of injury and disease found on the wards, and she slowly gains friendship and self-respect. 
 
Just as she finds her footing, Una’s suspicions about a patient’s death put her at risk of exposure, and will force her to choose between her instinct for self-preservation, and exposing her identity in order to save others.

Jacqueline in Paris

Author: Ann Mah
Genre: Historical Biographical Fiction
Length: n/a
Published: Sept 27, 2022

In September 1949 Jacqueline Bouvier arrives in postwar Paris to begin her junior year abroad. She’s twenty years old, socially poised but financially precarious, and all too aware of her mother’s expectations that she make a brilliant match. Before relenting to family pressure, she has one year to herself far away from sleepy Vassar College and the rigid social circles of New York, a year to explore and absorb the luminous beauty of the City of Light. Jacqueline is immediately catapulted into an intoxicating new world of champagne and châteaux, art and avant-garde theater, cafés and jazz clubs. She strikes up a romance with a talented young writer who shares her love of literature and passion for culture – even though her mother would think him most unsuitable.

But beneath the glitter and rush, France is a fragile place still haunted by the Occupation. Jacqueline lives in a rambling apartment with a widowed countess and her daughters, all of whom suffered as part of the French Resistance just a few years before. In the aftermath of World War II, Paris has become a nest of spies, and suspicion, deception, and betrayal lurk around every corner. Jacqueline is stunned to watch the rise of communism – anathema in America, but an active movement in France – never guessing she is witnessing the beginning of the political environment that will shape the rest of her life—and that of her future husband.

Evocative, sensitive, and rich in historic detail, Jacqueline in Paris portrays the origin story of an American icon. Ann Mah brilliantly imagines the intellectual and aesthetic awakening of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and illuminates how France would prove to be her one true love, and one of the greatest influences on her life. 

From historical fiction to Christian fiction, from Gothic fiction to World War II, those are the eight books I got myself for Christmas! One was published on my birthday, three are physical copies, and a few others I can enjoy at my desk at work when we’re not busy. Did any of these titles intrigue you? Perhaps you can treat yourself today as well. Happy reading and Merry Christmas!

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Budding #historian. Writer of #adventures and #sciencefantasy. Lover of mushrooms and libraries. Fan of #chocolate, #books and Pennsylvania history.
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