June 2022 Reads
A Well-Trained Lady by Jess Heileman: Arabella Godwin is the epitome of the incomparable, untouchable young society woman. Her domineering and altogether unpleasant mother has made sure to squash the sweet, compassionate girl she once was. With a sharp tongue, a pretentious attitude, and a wake of disappointed suitors in her wake, Arabella is set to be offered and actually accept the hand of one of the most eligible bachelors. However, a chance meeting with her childhood best friend, Ruth, sets Arabella on an unexpected trip down memory lane. Her rather emotionally absent father engineers a secret summer trip to Ruth's house where Augustus, her first love, is also present. In the face of kindness and love, being well-trained according to societal standards doesn't seem to matter as much. Will Arabella have the courage to follow love, or fulfill her parental-urged duty? This was such a sweet, fun Regency-era read! It's my second Heileman book and I throughly enjoyed it.
As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner: 1918, Philadelphia. The Bright family moves to Philly from a small town so that Pauline's husband can learn from and take over for his beloved uncle's undertaking business. Then the Spanish Flu strikes along with unspeakable tragedy. Their pleasant home turns into an unimaginable horror zone. The point of view changes each chapter among mom Pauline and her three daughters Evie, Maggie, and Willa. This historical fiction novel was fantastic. Such a wonderful story. I have loved all of Meissner's books. Pick one up!
Becoming Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn: this is the first volume of Vaughn's biography of famed missionary and speaker Elisabeth Elliot. This particular volume spans from her birth to 8 years after the infamous death of her husband Jim. Vaughn did a fantastic job. Elliot lived such an interesting life striving to serve the LORD in the midst of great happiness and intense sorrow. I learned so much about Elliot's life, thoughts, and more. Highly recommend. I can't wait for the next volume. If you are not familiar with the life of Elisabeth Elliot, read her book Through Gates of Splendor about the murder of her husband and his fellow missionary friends. Both are inspiring and fast reads! Elliot's granddaughter also has podcast with many of her older speeches here.
A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love by Milton Vincent: Vincent puts forth 31 points for why Christians should preach the Gospel to ourselves daily. He also includes two additional sections where he puts forth the Gospel in prose and in poetic formats. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are great sinners in need of a great Savior. Christ fulfilled this need by coming to earth fully human and fully God to live the perfect life we could never live, die in our places in a torturous death by crucifixion, and then rise from the dead three days later. Salvation comes only through Him and it is available to any who bend their knee in surrender to Him. Fellow Christians, we need to remind ourselves daily of this. This entire book is packed to the gills with Scriptural references. Very encouraging, and a great supplement to your daily Bible study!
Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality by Nancy Pearcey: a former agnostic, Pearcey takes readers beyond the politically correct slogans of transgenderism, homosexuality, abortion, the hookup culture, and euthanasia to reveal how these ideals actually dehumanize people. Today's culture tells us that it does not matter what you do with your body, only what or how you feel. Today's culture denies reality by telling us that biology doesn't matter and instead puts forth subjective, changeable emotions as 'truth'. Pearcey states: "No matter what the current secular philosophy tells them, people cannot disassociate their emotions from what they do with their bodies." The seven chapters in this book delve into hard topics, and these are large, weighty chapters. But this book is so worth the read. Pearcey is calling Christians to think critically about how each of these controversial issues denigrate people who are made in God's image and how this denigration or dehumanization will ultimately play out if left unchecked. I highly recommend this book. Christians need to learn about these issues, how they started, and how to combat them Biblically. I am convinced that it is one way that we can love the LORD with all our minds (Matthew 22:37).
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny: former Inspector Gamache has retired and moved to Three Pines to heal after the traumatic events from the last few books. When Clara, one of his good friends, asks him for help tracking down her estranged husband, Gamache reluctantly accepts. They set out to search for Peter on an errand that increasingly appears to have only a tragic ending. This installment was not my favorite. I felt like there was more language than usual (I could be wrong), and I was not as drawn into the story. That said, I historically have enjoyed Penny's books so I do plan to complete the series.
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman: the second installment of the Thursday Murder Club Mysteries, this was just as delightful as Osman's first book! The four septuagenarians at the posh Coopers Chase retirement village: Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron join up with their local police officers to figure out who is trying to kill Elizabeth's ex-husband Douglas. And did he really steal $20 million worth of diamonds from. "businessman"? Seriously, so fun. Great British humor, and I love that the main characters are those society does not focus on very often. Pick these up!
The Kingdom Tales, Books 1-6 by Deborah Grace White: Kingdoms of Beauty, Slumber, Cinders, Feathers, Locks, and Dance. These fairy tale retellings were well-written, sweet, and featured a tenuous unspoken agreement between enchanters and dragons to live and let live. Each book follows a different royal family from each nation on the continent of Solstice. All is not as it seems and happens endings are harder to achieve. If you like retellings, pick these up! They were great for me to read while parenting alone these last couple weeks.
Happy Independence Day! Our family is so thankful for America!