Good Reads for Spring

I’m snowed under, metaphorically speaking ( I live in south central  Texas and we never have actual snow down here) writing a new novel due out next spring. I love it, but it’s intense work and at the end of the day I like to relax by reading someone else’s work. Recently I’ve read a couple of biographical novels and one Downton Abbey type novel I think you all will love.

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini is the story of the relationship between Julia Dent Grant and her servant, who was also named Julia but called Jule to avoid confusion. I was somewhat familiar with Julia Grant, having once proposed writing a novel about her, but I didn’t know much about her relationship with her husband, Ulysses Grant. The novel is really more of the love story between Julia and “Ulys” with the parallel story of how the slave Julia escaped to freedom and became Madame Jule. I enjoyed this author’s previous biographical novel of Elizabeth Keckley, called Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker. If you enjoy biographical novels you’ll like this one.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s complicated marriage to the “Lone Eagle” Charles Lindbergh who was at the time of his solo flight to Paris the most famous  man in the world. I learned a great deal about Anne herself–she learned to pilot planes and to navigate the long flights she made with Charles, and was the first woman to  pilot a glider. The novel deals with the crushing loss of their child who was kidnapped and found murdered— an event which is also well known. But the startling revelations about Charles and his secret life took me completely by surprise.

Finally, for Downton Abbey Fans, I just finished a charming WW 1 era novel about a nurse turned suffragette who falls in love with the wounded Earl of Cumberland. Lots of period detail and a well-drawn cast of characters make this book a rewarding read. A caveat:   Readers who prefer books with no sex scenes will want to know that this one contains a couple of brief scenes that may be more detailed than they are comfortable reading.

April is just around the corner and  before we know it beach season will arrive. Any of these books will make a great beach companion this summer. If you read them, I’d love to hear from you, Just drop me a line and let me know what you thought.