It is rare to read so many good books in one month, but March was filled with four great reads that I really encourage you to snag from your local library. I have a feeling that most of the books on this month’s list will be appearing on our, “best of the year,” list. This is a list filled with just-can’t-put-it-down books and all of these books would make great reads for your book clubs.
If you are looking for a little inspiration this new year, be sure to check our MomAdvice fan page for a weekly check-in on what everyone is reading each week on our Facebook Fan Page. I hope you will swing by on Fridays and share about the books you are working on or request recommendations with one another. So far it is a huge success and I have gotten a few new ideas for my own stack!
Just as a reminder, I read many more books than are just featured here, but try to feature the ones that are my absolute best picks of the month here. If you want to read more, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! You can find me right here and I am always happy to connect with people there too! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.
Defending Jacob by William Landay
I am not interested in legal thrillers, but my girlfriend recommended this book to me and I am so thankful she did. This is one of the best thrillers I have read since Before I Go to Sleep, and left me hanging on the edge of my seat for the entire book.
Andy Barber has been a district attorney for over twenty years. He is well respected and knows how to command the courtroom. When a murder happens at his son’s school, he is among the first on the scene and is ready to help bring vindication to the murderer.
What Andy never suspects is that his own son is the one who is charged with the murder. Andy is removed from the case when all clues begin to point towards his son. Andy doesn’t want to believe that his son could commit such a heinous crime, but as mounting evidence points towards Jacob, he is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Does he hide the evidence he finds that he knows that the police might be after or let the justice system decide the fate of his child?
Part family drama, part thriller, I could not put this book down. My heart ached for this family who is now ostracized from their friends and coworkers, while the other part of me ached that Jacob would be proven guilty of the crime. The reader will be taken on a wild ride from start to finish with this book. It is a twisty ending that will leave you breathless.
Whatever you do, add this deeply moving book to your list. I highly recommend this read for book clubs because it gives readers a chance to think what they might do to protect their child.
Editor’s Note: This book contains violence and graphic language.
(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)
The Snow Child by Eoywn Ivey
The Snow Child takes place in 1920 in Alaska where a city-bred girl Mabel and her husband Jack are trying to make a life for themselves in the isolated woods of an Alaskan farm. More than anything Mabel & Jack have longed for a child, but have remained childless and are beginning to drift apart. Mabel is in the throes of a deep depression and Jack is beginning to wonder if their decision to move to Alaska was a sound one.
One night, amid the first falling snow, Jack & Mabel have a moment of tenderness and begin playing in the snow. They decide to make a snow child and add little additions from Mabel’s wardrobe to wrap her in.
The next morning, their snow child is gone, but they begin catching the glimpse of a child running through the woods wearing Mabel’s items that were once on their snow child. This child of the woods contentedly runs around the forest in the freezing cold with a red fox. Mabel and Jack are left wondering…is this a real child or is this a fairytale child that they are simply hallucinating?
This is a grown-up fairytale that is just so beautifully written that your heart will be aching for Mabel and Jack that they can make this child that they have longed for to be their own. I was enraptured with the story from the first page and I have a feeling you will too!
(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
Honolulu was one of my favorite books, but I had heard from other readers that Alan Brennert’s Molokai, was even better than the first book that I read of his. I was not disappointed. I loved this book from start to finish and appreciate everyone recommending this one to me!
Rachel Kalama is a spirited little girl who captures your heart immediately. Rachel is living a typical life of a little Hawaiian girl- she has spats with her sister, she dreams of getting out of Hawaii, and she is beloved by her family. When a rose colored mark appears on her leg, her mother pricks her leg and finds that Rachel does not react. Rachel’s mother knows immediately that Rachel has leprosy. In fear of protecting her daughter, she covers the mark and hides other marks that appear on Rachel’s body. It is the family’s dark secret since all people afflicted by leprosy are quarantined and taken from their families.
When Rachel’s sister gets in a fight with Rachel, she calls her a, “leper,” and the authorities are immediately notified that Rachel is suspected of leprosy. When she is taken to the clinic for testing and the results come back positive, Rachel is taken from her family and moved to the island of Kalaupapa, a quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i.
Rachel’s life should be over, but it is just beginning. Rachel’s spiritedness pulls her through the devastation of losing her family as Rachel begins to find a new family among an unlikely cast of characters. She will capture your heart until the final page.
This book was so unbelievably good and fascinating that I could not put it down. What should have been a book of heartbreak has you walking away with such positivity about the human spirit and its ability to overcome tragedy. I hope you will add this one to your reading list!
(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
This is one of those books that everyone said, “I can’t believe you haven’t read that book yet.” I purchased the book when it came out and it sat on my bookshelf since I graduated high school. I had picked it up several times over the years, but just could not get into it. After tackling, “Outlander,” and “The Pillars of the Earth,” this year, I knew it was time to pull my dusty copy off of the shelves and indulge.
The Red Tent is very loosely based upon the Biblical story of Dinah. It is a character in the Bible that is only briefly hinted at, but the story is told through her eyes, the daughter of Jacob and sister to his twelve sons that we know from our Bible stories.
The red tent in the book is the place where the women would gather during their cycles, to give birth, and where they went when they were ill. This little tent is a sorority of sorts where the women sit to share their stories and sing songs. It is a refuge of safety for the women in a life that four mothers and wives (Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, & Bilah) must share together. Dinah tells the story of her four mothers and shares the struggles of being a woman during Biblical times, the passion that the women have for their husband, and the jealousy and rivalry that would exist with sharing a husband.
The reader gets to follow the lives of these women through her childlike eyes until she becomes a woman herself and finds herself in a calling towards midwifery and as she journey into a foreign land. It is beautifully told as you, literally, see her dialogue changing and own awareness of her own womanhood. This book is rich with tradition and beautiful storytelling.
I liked this story a lot and enjoyed the fictional perspective of Dinah. I wouldn’t say that the book was life changing for me, but it was beautifully written and a fun, fictional way to look at characters in the Bible.
(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)
Not enough great reads for you? Check out our Books section of our site for monthly recommendations and ideas for making reading a priority again in your busy mom life!
Books I have read in 2012 (so far):
Disclosure: All of the links above are affiliate links and are provided so you can locate the books quickly and easily. Feel free to order a book, but we encourage utilizing the library system and buying me a latte instead. Then we both would be really happy and we could have our own little book club together! Wouldn’t that just be so much more lovely? Happy Reading!
What has been in your book stack this month? Feel free to share your book recommendations or feedback on any of the books that have been mentioned above! I love getting new suggestions for my book pile!