Book #9 of 2020 was Belong to Me, by Marisa de los Santos. I enjoyed this book and will read more by this author. I love reading about friendships and how they develop over time.
Book #10 was Tidelands, by Philippa Gregory. This is the first in a projected long series. Here's what Gregory says in her Author's Note: "A few years ago I realized that, though I still loved my fictionalized biographies of well-known and lesser-known women, I wanted to write a different sort of historical fiction: actually a series of books tracing the rise of a family from obscurity to prosperity. ...So many of us are exploring our family histories these days because we want to know who our ancestors were and what they did....What is interesting to me as a historian is how the fortunes of every family reflect in their small way the fortunes of the nation." If that sounds as interesting to you as it does to me, you'll like this book. It's set in the English Civil War, and explores what life is like for Alinor, a young woman whose sailor husband has disappeared, leaving her with two children to provide for, and a reputation to live down. As the book opens, she's meeting a handsome stranger. At first it appeared that Gregory had taken to writing romance novels, but no, there is something much darker and more realistic going on in this book. (There's nothing wrong with a romance novel with a happy ending, but it's just not what I've come to expect from Gregory.) I really hope the next novel comes out soon, because I am all in for this series.
Book #11 was Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens. I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book. I liked parts of it, like the descriptions of the Outer Banks and its birds and wildlife. The story seemed pretty far-fetched to me, though. I didn't quite buy Kya basically growing up alone after being abandoned at a very young age by everyone who was supposed to take care of her. There were other aspects of the plot that seemed unbelievable, too.
Book #12 was The Map of Salt and Stars, by Zeyn Joukhadar. I loved this story of Syrian refugees. "'A person can be two things at the same time,' Itto says. 'The land where your parents were born will always be in you. Words survive. Borders are nothing to words and blood.'"
Life of the Beloved, by Henri Nouwen. This has become one of my touchstone texts. I wrote about that a little bit here.
Book #14 was The Queen of Nothing, by Holly Black. This book was a good argument for waiting until a series has all been written before you start reading it. I know I would have enjoyed this book more if I had had a clearer memory of the first two. I just checked when I read them and I'm embarrassed to report that it was as recently as May 2019, so I should remember them better. I wrote about both of them here.
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