My August 2022 reads

Somewhat sad – knowing summer reading is coming to an end, but I’ve been enjoying a great summer in books.

I was on holidays in the US in August, and many fabulous novels accompanied me on my travels throughout the month.

Here are the novels I read in August. 2 of the 5 novels were NetGalleyReads. 1 of the 5 was by a fellow Women’s Fiction Writers Association authors.

All come highly recommended. Let me know if you’ve read any of these novels, and tell me what you think in the comments section below.

August 2022 reads


My (not so) Perfect Life

Sophie Kinsella

Women’s Fiction, Chicklit

My (not so) Perfect Life coverThis was my first Sophie Kinsella novel. I’d seen the shopaholic film, and found it amusing, but somehow got the impression I wouldn’t enjoy reading Kinsella’s novels. Glad to have discovered I was wrong.

My (not so) Perfect Life is extremely humorous and poignant, in equal measures. It follows a young, rural college grad (Sussex) trying to make her dreams come true in the big city (London), and losing herself in the process.

Katie is prepared to live in a room no bigger than a closet. She’s prepared for a long, hellish commute each day. She’s even willing to take on the lowliest of lowly jobs at her chic marketing firm. But when she loses that job in a round of budget cuts, her whole life falls apart. Of necessity, she returns to the countryside, and slowly takes charge of her life and dreams once again.

A fun story tackling a competitive working environment and maneuvering toxic office politics, while trying to cling on to your dreams and stay true to yourself. I happily tore through the pages of this Kinsella novel, and look forward to reading more.



The House on Rockaway Beach

Emma Burstall

Women’s Fiction

The House on Rockaway Beach coverI enjoy women’s fiction, so there was a lot about the plot that drew me in: a woman facing personal challenges, an inherited beach house and family secrets. I also enjoy New York’s Rockaway beach as a New York City get-away, so the idea of a story set in this location, among local residents, appealed.

While the story progresses well and the main protagonist, Sophie, a Londoner who is eager to set down roots in her new community, undergoes dramatic personal growth, the characters felt a bit flat for me. The sibling rivalry between Sophie and Clelia began well, but Clelia seemed the more interesting character of the two, and she disappeared pretty quickly to return to London.

Sophie was more bland as a character and sometimes seemed too young and immature for her age. I probably would have enjoyed the dynamic of the two sisters continuing to work together to settle the house and to tell the story through their perspectives. All in all, a pleasant story with an enjoyable setting and a love angle, but I didn’t feel particularly drawn to the main character or invested in her personal journey.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.



A Slow Fire Burning

Paula Hawkins

Women’s Fiction, Mystery

A Slow Fire Burning coverA young man is found brutally murdered on his rented house boat in a quiet corner of London, thus initiating a police investigation into who committed such a heinous crime. The investigation touches upon a diverse range of local residents, with the story told through these various perspectives.

I greatly enjoyed the points of view of the diverse cast of characters, and how their separate lives melded together.

It perfectly encapsulates the anonymous nature of city life, with its wide range of social and economic classes living side by side, yet unaware of the hurt and personal tragedies playing out beneath the surface.

This is the third Hawkins’ novel I read, and this is by far the novel with the most sophisticated psychological development of its characters.

Highly recommended.




Charlotte’s Story

Carolyn Korsmeyer

Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

Charlotte's Story book coverWhat a fun read for an Austen lover like me! For those who love Pride and Prejudice, this novel follows character Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth Bennet’s perceptive and practical friend.

While I love all Austen stories, I am wary of retellings of Austen’s tales that dare to rewrite Austen’s core characters. I do, however, love stories like these that develop the minor characters from Austen’s stories. And Korsmeyer has done an impressive job of bringing Charlotte Lucas to life in this novel, while not changing the beloved core story at the heart of Pride and Prejudice.

I was quickly engrossed in Charlotte’s life as she embarks on her new life as the wife of Mr Collins, playing court to the formidable Lady Catherine De Bourgh. I enjoyed that the author develops characters like Anne De Bourgh and Mary Bennet, who have minor roles in the original novel. Korsmeyer’s Charlotte is an intelligent and perceptive narrator, bringing her surroundings to life and grounding the readers in the atmosphere and details of Austen’s time.

A beautiful love letter to Jane Austen and a highly enjoyable read. Highly recommended.



The Irish Boarding House

Sandy Taylor

Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Irish Boarding House book coverThis was a heartwarming story of hope and second chances, set in Dublin of the 1950s. I picked this up because I was passing through Ireland on a trip and wanted a novel set in the country. This didn’t disappoint.

Mary Kate was abandoned by her mother and raised in extreme poverty by her loving grandparents. Nevertheless, her childhood was a happy one and she was fortunate enough to have grown up not understanding how poor they really were. When her grandparents die, Mary Kate is evicted from their cottage and moves to Dublin where she takes up a series of poor-paying jobs, living in depressing boarding houses headed by mean-spirited women.

Just as she ponders ending it all, she receives a letter and her fortunes change overnight. The mother who abandoned her years earlier has died and left her a substantial fortune.

With her newfound wealth, Mary Kate purchases an impressive property in Dublin and opens a boarding house for single ladies. She attracts a series of women and girls facing their own challenges, and the story gives a fun glimpse into how friendship, acceptance and a sense of belonging touches upon so many lives. A fun and uplifting read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy – all thoughts are my own.

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