My TBR (to be read) list has gotten nearly out of hand. Therefore, I have decided to do a post featuring some books from it approximately every other week. As I go through the list, I will evaluate each book and decide whether or not it still belongs. Who knows, perhaps as my list (hopefully) shrinks, you will find a few books to add to your own!
The last time I did this type of post was February 21, 2022. At the end of that post, my TBR list contained 898 books. Today it has 922. I have gone through 399 books.
#400. In Another Time by Jillian Cantor
Synopsis: 1931, Germany. Bookshop owner Max Beissinger meets Hanna Ginsberg, a budding concert violinist, and immediately he feels a powerful chemistry between them. It isn’t long before they fall in love and begin making plans for the future. As their love affair unfolds over the next five years, the climate drastically changes in Germany as Hitler comes to power. Their love is tested with the new landscape and the realities of war, not the least of which is that Hanna is Jewish and Max is not. But unbeknownst to Hanna is the fact that Max has a secret, which causes him to leave for months at a time—a secret that Max is convinced will help him save Hanna if Germany becomes too dangerous for her because of her religion.
In 1946, Hanna Ginsberg awakens in a field outside of Berlin. Disoriented and afraid, she has no memory of the past ten years and no idea what has happened to Max. With no information as to Max’s whereabouts—or if he is even still alive—she decides to move to London to live with her sister while she gets her bearings. Even without an orchestra to play in, she throws herself completely into her music to keep alive her lifelong dream of becoming a concert violinist. But the music also serves as a balm to heal her deeply wounded heart and she eventually gets the opening she long hoped for. Even so, as the days, months, and years pass, taking her from London to Paris to Vienna to America, she continues to be haunted by her forgotten past, and the fate of the only man she has ever loved and cannot forget.
Told in alternating viewpoints—Max in the years leading up to WWII, and Hanna in the ten years after—In Another Time is a beautiful novel about love and survival, passion and music, across time and continents.
Comments: This sounds good!
#401. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
Synopsis: With nearly 1,500 Broadway performances, six Tony Awards, more than three million albums sold, and five Academy Awards, The Sound of Music, based on the lives of Maria, the baron, and their singing children, is as familiar to most of us as our own family history. But much about the real-life woman and her family was left untold.
Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America.
Comments: I enjoy the musical, so someday when I have plenty of time I would love to read this true story which inspired it.
#402. Christmas with Cocoa by Cleopatra Margot
Synopsis: Robin McKay is determined to save the struggling Animal Shelter and head her hometown’s local Christmas event. but when plans go awry and Nate Ashford, Robin’s former best friend, are factors at play, will her Christmas wish come true?
Comments: This book sounds cute, and I would love to support the young indie author, but it unfortunately also sounds predictable and not like the kinds of story which I could see myself really getting into these days.
#403. Hymns in the Hills by Rebekah A. Morris
Synopsis: Separated from her parents and sent to live with unknown relatives for the summer, Belle Standish clings hard to the promises found in her dear Bible and her beloved hymns. As she grows to love her newly discovered family, she finds much work to be done for her Lord in this neglected field.
But when danger threatens those she loves, Belle’s faith and courage are tested in ways she never imagined. Will God’s promises hold true even in the midst of the storm? And what can she possibly accomplish with just her one little light?
Comments: I usually love stories based around hymns (or music in general I suppose). This one, however, doesn’t really give me anything to draw me in.
#404. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Synopsis: Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character, Tender Is the Night is lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
Comments: A few of my professors referred to this as Fitzgerald’s best work, so eventually I would like to get to it.
Synopsis: A collection on nine newly discovered stories uncovered by tireless literary detective work.
Comments: I’m always up for a story by Louisa May Alcott, but I don’t think that this specific collection is one that I will be seeking out.
Synopsis: The first and only complete collection of all Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas short stories and novellas. Louisa May Alcott has been loved by generations of readers for her timeless stories like Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. Few authors have equaled her ability to bring characters to life in such a way that readers truly care for and believe in them-and are inspired to be like them. Now for the first time, all of Alcott’s known Christmas short stories and novellas have been gathered into a single exquisite collection, which is sure to brighten the holidays for book lovers. Readers of all ages will cherish these fifteen enchanting tales filled with hope, sorrow, faith, joy, redemption, strength, and goodness.
Comments: Now this is a collection which I am likely to seek out specifically.
#407. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
Synopsis: Here, at last, is the book “Jo” wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of “Little Women,” Alcott’s autobiographical classic. Now, after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott’s debut novel finally reaches its eager public. Set in an English country manor, the story follows the turbulent fortunes of Edith Adelon, an impoverished Italian orphan whose loyalty and beauty win her the patronage of wealthy friends until a jealous rival contrives to rob her of her position. In the locket around her neck, she carries a deep secret about her natural birthright. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith’s heart – her deep reverence for the kind and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her from the deceitful, envious machinations of Lady Ida. Reminiscent of Jane Austen in its charms, this chaste but stirringly passionate novel affirms the conquering power of both love and courtesy.
Written by Louisa in 1849, when she was only 17, this book demonstrates virtue and values in a beautiful way.
Comments: Yes, this is another that I definitely want to read eventually!
#408. Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye
Synopsis: Sparked by a provocative comment to BigThink.com last fall, and fueled by a highly controversial debate with Creation Museum curator Ken Ham, Bill Nye’s campaign to confront the scientific shortcoming of creationism has exploded in just a few months into a national crusade. In this book, he expands the points he has made, and claims that this debate is not so much about religion versus science, as about the nature of science itself. With infectious enthusiasm, he reveals the mechanics of evolutionary theory, explains how it is rooted in the testable and verifiable scientific method, and why it is therefore a sound explanation of our beginning. He argues passionately that to continue to assert otherwise, to continue to insist that creationism has a place in the science classroom is harmful not only to our children, but to the future of the greater world as well.
Comments: I know this book will probably make me livid and I will disagree with basically everything in it, but as it is a landmark text in our generation on an important subject, I would eventually like to read it.
#409. Spurgeon’s Sermons for Today by Christian Timothy George
Synopsis: By the time of Spurgeon’s death in 1892, his sermons had been translated into more than forty languages and circulated throughout the world. His sermons were found in the hands of Christians in China, pastors in Norway, fishermen in the Mediterranean, and even Roman Catholics on pilgrimage through Europe.
But how do we understand Spurgeon’s words today? How do we find the message we need in the thousands of writings he left behind? The heartbeat of the Spurgeon’s Sermons for Today series is to bring Spurgeon’s classic words to modern readers and help them find the message they need to hear. In the first installment, readers are presented with Spurgeon’s top sermons on the love of Christ, modernized for today’s readers, and designed for an easy read, with plenty of room for notes.
Comments: This book was written by a professor I respected from my undergrad. However, having already read many of Spurgeon’s sermons in their original (as far as I know) format, I don’t see a need to read a modernized version. Sorry, Dr. George.
#410. The Land Beneath Us (Sunrise at Normandy #3) by Sarah Sundin
Synopsis: In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the U.S. Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for—fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.
Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family—the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.
After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true?
Comments: None of the tropes mentioned in this description are among my favorites, but Sundin is one of my favorite authors and I have already read the other two books in this trilogy. It can stay on my list but I am not sure if I will actually ever get to it.
#411. The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor #1) by Rosanna M. White
Synopsis: Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. When her friend Justin uncovers the fact that she is possibly a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea and the estate of her supposed family.
The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close—but will their loyalty come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother?
As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that their friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together? And then for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession—and those who can save her still aren’t sure whom to trust.
Comments: Roseanna M. White is an author who I have been meaning to read for several years now – I’ve found that a lot of Sarah Sundin’s fans are also hers! This particular doesn’t really grab my interest though. It sounds like too many coincidences.
#412. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
Synopsis: The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters, lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere– joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire?
Comments: Ha, definitely not my cup of tea! I don’t even remember anything about this book.
#413. More than Meets the Eye (Patchwork Family #1) by Karen Witemeyer
Synopsis: Many consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes—one bright blue, the other dark brown—Evangeline has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Evangeline has two—Seth and Zach, fellow orphans she now counts as brothers.
Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. And when Hamilton’s unique sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time they cross paths, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?
Comments: I would like something with a little more depth these days.
#414. Beyond the Storm (Quilts of Love #1) by Carolyn Zane
Synopsis: After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, What kind of a God would allow such tragedy As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?
Comments: Anything with a synopsis that starts out with a tornado is an automatic “nope” from me.
Ending number of books on TBR list: 914
Is there anything on this week’s list that you have read or would like to read?
Until the next chapter,