Hello, friends! This April I read only one (and a half!) book, unfortunately. I used to be such an avid reader, and I look back now and wonder who that person was! 😳 It’s a bit sad, really.
My “half” read is another pick from the March “marizé reads“, it’s called “The Dreamers“. I was hoping to finish it in time for this post, however, I have obviously failed! I’m still about half way through it. AND, I still haven’t finished the bookclub picks from February. 😭
Do you struggle to meet your 2021 reading challenge, too? I’m supposed to be reading 3 books a month and boy is that a challenge! 😅
But let’s move on to the book review and to May book recommendations! (Can you believe it’s May already ? ? ?)
Book Review: The French for Always
Five weddings. The perfect venue. One little hitch…
Leaving the grey skies of home behind to transform a crumbling French Château into a boutique wedding venue is a huge leap of faith for Sara. She and fiancé Gavin sink their life savings into the beautiful Château Bellevue – set under blue skies and surrounded by vineyards in the heart of Bordeaux.
After months of hard work, the dream starts to become a reality – until Gavin walks out halfway through their first season. Overnight, Sara is left very much alone with the prospect of losing everything.
With her own heart breaking, Sara has five weddings before the end of the season to turn the business around and rescue her dreams. With the help of the locals and a little French courage, can she save Château Bellevue before the summer is over?
Overall rating ★★★★★
I found out about this book after having read “The Beekeeper’s Promise”. I really enjoyed the concept of a château located in the South of France, and after reading about its history, I was very interested in learning how Sarah was using it as a wedding venue.
This book flowed easily. I really liked Sarah’s story and I was not mad at the style of writing, even though I was not a fan of it in “The Beekeeper’s Promise”.
At first, we meet Sarah right after she’s gone in business with her new fiancé. They move from England to France, buy and renovate the Château Bellevue and start running a successful wedding business. Slowly, Sarah’s story unravels and we find out about her struggles. She is forced to step up and adapt to all the difficulties, all the while finding friendship and love in the little French village.
I, also, enjoyed learning a bit more about Eliane’s story! We learn so much about the 1940 Eliane in the Beekeeper’s Promise and I was excited to know details of modern-day Eliane’s life.
While reading this book I truly felt part of the story. I felt as if I was living in Château de Coulliac and I was present to all the weddings! I sympathised with Sarah, and I was cursing at her fiancé! This is something I experienced while reading the Beekeeper’s promise, too, and it is the author’s amazing ability to make you feel part of her universe.
I totally recommend reading this book. I found it a beautiful getaway from the Covid-19 dystopia the world is experiencing at the moment, especially when we’re not allowed to travel.
I’m still not sure whether you should read it before or after the Beekeeper’s Promise, and I hear there is another book “The French for Love” which is set at the same château, so I will leave this decision to you!
Monthly Book Recommendations
“The Source of Self-Regard” by Tony Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison’s inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison’s oeuvre.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
“Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend” by Ben Phillipe
In an era in which “I have many black friends” is often a medal of Wokeness, Ben hilariously chronicles the experience of being on the receiving end of those fist bumps. He takes us through his immigrant childhood, from wanting nothing more than friends to sit with at lunch, to his awkward teenage years, to college in the age of Obama, and adulthood in the Trump administration—two sides of the same American coin.
Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole “swimming thing,” how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF.
Oscillating between the impulse to be “one of the good ones” and the occasional need to excuse himself to the restrooms, stuff his mouth with toilet paper, and scream, Ben navigates his own Blackness as an “Oreo” with too many opinions for his father’s liking, an encyclopedic knowledge of CW teen dramas, and a mouth he can’t always control.
From cheating his way out of swim tests to discovering stray family members in unlikely places, he finds the punchline in the serious while acknowledging the blunt truths of existing as a Black man in today’s world.
Extremely timely, Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend is a conversational take on topics both light and heavy, universal and deeply personal, which reveals incisive truths about the need for connection in all of us.
What books have YOU read this month? Have you read any of the books from this post?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!
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