When I finished reading Five Little Indians by Michelle Good (which was excellent, by the way), I was in the mood for something completely different—light, undemanding and escapist. So, I read three books that demanded no heavy thinking and presented me with no moral or social dilemmas to contemplate. Three of these books are sort of ‘romance-y’ which is most certainly not my normal choice of reading material, but I thoroughly enjoyed each one. And the fourth is my own book, which is an absolute must-read for any baby boomer.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams offers excellent writing with steamy sex scenes—if you’re into that kind of thing. Many of the books recommended by Reese Witherspoon on her online book club Hello Sunshine are light, contemporary novels that are easy to breeze through, so when I came across Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, I figured it was worth a try. The title sounds like it might be a war story or something more sinister but it’s total fluff.
The main character, Eva is a best-selling author of a series of erotic thrillers, whose own life is far from erotic and thrilling. She suffers from incapacitating migraines which she tries to power through to fulfill professional obligations to her fans. As a single mother with a precocious 12-year-old daughter called Audre, she has her hands full. The characters are ethnically diverse which adds a colourful element to the story and introduces some thought-provoking insights into their complicated lives.
Cece is Eva’s best friend and publisher. Their friendship is a steadying factor in Eva’s professional and personal life. Her mother, Lizette has a colourful past and a relaxed Louisana drawl and attitude to life. Their difficult relationship is strained as Eva constantly struggles to rise above her roots. Then, Eve meets Shane Hall at one of her book promotions. Shane was once a soulmate and short-term BFF from high school who has also become a famous writer. He’s now sober and trying to rev up his writing career and get inspired by living in a house once occupied by James Baldwin in New York City. Seven Days in June a fun romp through the lives of the characters of this story and will help take your mind off the world’s problems.
This book by Sally Thorne is a fun read with one tiny qualification. I found the ending a bit predictable. It would have been so easy for her to throw in a plot twist to make the outcome more intriguing, but she’s a far better writer than I’ll ever be so who am I to criticize? The main character, 25-year-old virginal (is she or isn’t she?) Ruthie works in the office of a retirement community in Florida. Ruthie is a dedicated member of the front office staff surrounded by elderly residents living the good life as best they can for their remaining years. She lives in a little cottage on the property and rarely leaves the site. As the daughter of a pastor, she has worked at Providence Retirement Villa since finishing school and she feels secure in her regimented, narrowly-defined little world of shuffleboard, aquarobics, and bingo games.
A chance meeting at the gas station with a handsome dude on a motorcycle who can’t afford to pay for his fillup leads to . . . you can guess. When that same dude turns out to be the son of the owner of the retirement community, things get interesting. Ruthie is in the early stages of trying to come out of her shell assisted by her temporary coworker Melanie who is much hipper than Ruthie. Melanie has devised a “system” for meeting guys that she plans to use on Ruthie, write a book about and copyright. Second First Impressions is a fun escapist story and perfect for summer reading.
I really enjoyed Beth O’Leary’s earlier book The Flatshare so I was eager to read her new novel, The Switch. When Leena suffers a serious case of corporate burnout she is forced by her employer to take two months’ leave from her stressful job in London. Meanwhile, her grandmother, who lives in Yorkshire has been recently dumped by her long-time husband who left her for their dance instructor. Grandmother Eileen is looking to get her life back on track. Specifically, she would like to recapture some of that joie de vivre she was known for as a young woman. Like so many older women, Eileen felt she had squandered her best years in service of her husband and regretted it.
With both women looking for an environment and the means by which they could re-evaluate their purpose in life and work through their respective existential crises, they decide to switch homes for a couple of months. Granny moves to Leena’s flat in London which includes a couple of colourful roommates, and Leena moves to Eileen’s house in Yorkshire which includes a grumpy neighbour and a strict schedule of community responsibilities in the company of other senior citizens.
The Switch is a delightful story and reminiscent of the movie The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law. Leena and her grandmother experience inevitable surprises but both grow wiser and happier under the new arrangement. It’s a jolly good read and well-written to boot.
Do not forget to order a copy of my own latest book We’re Not Dead Yet by Lynda Davis (yes, me!). It’s a great summer hostess gift and is perfect for reading on the dock or patio. It’s a series of light-hearted, easy-to-read essays and reflections on current baby boomer lifestyle issues such as fashion, health and wellness, and current events. It looks at some of the challenges we’ve faced under COVID and offers opinions and observations about daily life as experienced by baby boomers. The beauty of a book of essays is that you can open it anywhere and read individual bits according to your mood and time constraints.
If these books are not available at your local bookstore or library, click on the image of the book cover to order from Amazon.
(Disclosure: I may receive a teeny, tiny commission. Thanks for your support.)