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Let’s check out some great book club picks for March 2023!
So Prince Harry’s memoir is still the buzziest book of the year so far. I definitely would not have expected that a year ago! I thought it was well done and engaging. I wrote book club questions for it so be sure to check those out here if your book club plans to read it.
It’s funny though, I’m usually such a big fan of The Crown tv show but after reading the memoir and seeing way too many TikTok’s talking about the British royal family, I’m taking a break from that family (unless someone else writes a book, haha).
Anyway, there are lots of intriguing novels publishing at the end of February and early March. As always, my monthly picks feature three new releases and two older titles—with the latter featuring book club questions. If you want to see more new releases, check out my huge 2023 book club list here.
Let’s get to the March 2023 book club picks!
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
For those seeking a locked room-style mystery, The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz sounds right up your alley. The story follows a young author at a writer’s retreat where everything goes stunningly wrong. Here’s the synopsis:
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.
A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.
The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labuskes
Sometimes historical fiction novels have subjects and themes that are still so relevant to today—despite the fact WWII stories take place over 70 years ago. For instance, we see book bans in the headlines as well as the perilous situations that schools and librarians battle.
This is one reason I think The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labuskes will be of interest. This WWII-era novel follows three women who believe in the power of books to triumph over the very darkest moments of war. Here’s the synopsis:
Berlin 1933. Following the success of her debut novel, American writer Althea James receives an invitation from Joseph Goebbels himself to participate in a culture exchange program in Germany. For a girl from a small town in Maine, 1933 Berlin seems to be sparklingly cosmopolitan, blossoming in the midst of a great change with the charismatic new chancellor at the helm. Then Althea meets a beautiful woman who promises to show her the real Berlin, and soon she’s drawn into a group of resisters who make her question everything she knows about her hosts—and herself.
Paris 1936. She may have escaped Berlin for Paris, but Hannah Brecht discovers the City of Light is no refuge from the anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathizers she thought she left behind. Heartbroken and tormented by the role she played in the betrayal that destroyed her family, Hannah throws herself into her work at the German Library of Burned Books. Through the quiet power of books, she believes she can help counter the tide of fascism she sees rising across Europe and atone for her mistakes. But when a dear friend decides actions will speak louder than words, Hannah must decide what stories she is willing to live—or die—for.
New York 1944. Since her husband Edward was killed fighting the Nazis, Vivian Childs has been waging her own war: preventing a powerful senator’s attempts to censor the Armed Service Editions, portable paperbacks that are shipped by the millions to soldiers overseas. Viv knows just how much they mean to the men through the letters she receives—including the last one she got from Edward. She also knows the only way to win this battle is to counter the senator’s propaganda with a story of her own—at the heart of which lies the reclusive and mysterious woman tending the American Library of Nazi-Banned Books in Brooklyn.
As Viv unknowingly brings her censorship fight crashing into the secrets of the recent past, the fates of these three women will converge, changing all of them forever.
Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal
I’m really looking forward to Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal. The story follows three women who work in the homes of Singapore’s elite. They band together to solve a murder mystery involving one of their own. It sounds so interesting. Here’s the synopsis:
Corazon, Donita, and Angel are Filipina domestic workers—part of the wave of women sent to Singapore to be cleaners, maids, and caregivers.
Corazon: A veteran domestic worker, Cora had retired back to the Philippines for good, but she has returned to Singapore under mysterious circumstances. Now she’s keeping a secret from her wealthy employer, who is planning an extravagant wedding for her socialite daughter.
Donita: Barely out of her teens, this is Donita’s first time in Singapore, and she’s had the bad luck to be hired by the notoriously fussy Mrs. Fann. Brazen and exuberant, Donita’s thrown herself into a love affair with an Indian migrant worker.
Angel: Working as an in-home caregiver for an elderly employer, Angel is feeling blue after a recent breakup with the woman she loves. She’s alarmed when her employer’s son suddenly brings in a new nurse who may be a valuable ally…or meant to replace her.
Then an explosive news story shatters Singapore’s famous tranquility—and sends a chill down the spine of every domestic worker. Flordeliza Martinez, a Filipina maid, has been arrested for murdering her female employer. The three women don’t know the accused well, but she could be any of them; every worker knows stories of women who were scapegoated or even executed for crimes they didn’t commit.
Shocked into action, Donita, Corazon, and Angel will use their considerable moxie and insight to piece together the mystery of what really happened on the day Flordeliza’s employer was murdered. After all, no one knows the secrets of Singapore’s families like the women who work in their homes…ered. After all, no one knows the secrets of Singapore’s elite like the women who work in their homes…
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
If you haven’t read Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid yet—you must read it soon. Plus, the Amazon series adaptation launches in March so it’s a perfect time to read the novel. I loved it. It follows the rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and reveals the mystery behind their infamous breakup. Here’s the synopsis:
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.
Check out my book club questions here.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
If you’re seeking an epic, historical story—The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a great choice. It’s one of my favorites by her—so impactful and insightful. The story is set during the Great Depression and features a mother and her children moving to California in search of a better life. Here’s the synopsis:
Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.
By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.
In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.
The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.
Check out my book club questions here.
Wednesday 22nd of March 2023
I like the sound of the library of burned books.