March! This month started off with us wishing for Spring Break, my fiance left March 3rd for a global health position in Rwanda. He was supposed to work at a hospital for a month then I was going to go visit him and we were going to go on Safari! Flash forward 10 days after he left, there was a potential travel ban, Covid-19 was ramping up and he had to jump on a plane but luckily he made it back just before the craziness picked up. He got back on a Friday, that same day my school announced it was closing indefinitely. It’s been a whirlwind month. I’ve been transitioning to digital teaching, figuring out social distancing, and trying to keep our house safe! With my fiance being an emergency room doctor it’s a stressful time but I have so much confidence and faith in all the doctors and medical personnel. I hope people are staying home and being smart. With all your extra time at home maybe you’re picking up a book or two? With all the stress and changes to our daily life I managed to read four books. I didn’t listen to an audio book this month, probably because I’m not spending nearly as much time in my car! I read a fictional historical romance, two contemporary books set in Nigeria and a suspenseful murder mystery.
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore was a 2019 Book of the Month favorite, I decided to add it to my January box for an extra read. It took me a bit to finally pick it up but once I did I was glad! The book follows an ambitious young woman in Britain. Annabelle Archer is from the country, the daughter of a vicar and she was accepted to be in the first cohort of women attending Oxford University. When she arrives at Oxford she meets a group of women fighting for women’s rights. In order to get more rights, they need men of power on their side. The Suffragist group targets the Duke of Montgomery and Annabelle is in charge of recruiting him to the cause.
Annabelle and Sebastian are immediately drawn to each other. However, due to Annabelle’s standing and the way of the world they cannot be together. Their relationship is passionate, full of witty conversations, banter and intimate moments. I loved learning about the parliament and the women’s rights movement in Britain. The characters are endearing and you are rooting for Annabelle. The women in the book fight for what they want and they refused to be pushed to the side. I enjoyed the historical romance and I thought it was charming and sexy. The author is writing a follow up coming out in Fall of 2020, I’m excited to pick it up once it comes out.
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Darè
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Darè is an emotional book about a young Nigerian girl determined to follow her dreams of having a “louding” voice. Adunni is a fourteen year old girl from a small village in Nigeria. She dreams of getting an education and becoming a teacher and helping other young girls. When her mom dies, her schooling is taken away and her dad sells her to be the third wife of a local man eager for her to bear him a heir. Adunni is forced to run away to Lagos to escape. She becomes a maid for a powerful woman. In her life of servitude she is constantly told she is worth nothing. She is determined to not give up and constantly struggles to be heard not just for herself but for other young girls.
This novel is powerful and heart wrenching. I had a hard time reading at times because the pain and suffering Adunni faces is so daunting. Her character is full of hope and she lives with the mantra that tomorrow will be a better day. Her determination to be heard and to get her louding voice was inspiring. She finds help through friends and allies and remains optimistic throughout. Even though the story was heavy on my heart at times I fell in love with Adunni and I wanted so badly for her life to get better! I highly suggest this novel and I hope you will be drawn into Adunni’s courageous story. This is the debut book for the author Abi Darè and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My Sister, The Serial Killer is a witty and dark novel about how far an older sister will go to protect her younger sister who is sociopathic. The novel starts with Korede being called by her younger sister Ayoola, another one of her boyfriends has wound up dead at Ayoola’s hand. Korede knows just what to do and helps Ayoola cover up her crime. She disinfects, cleans the apartment and helps her dispose of the body. After the murder she helps Ayoola remember to act sad, she reminds her not to post too many happy things on social media when she is supposed to be concerned over her “missing” boyfriend. Their whole life Korede has taken care of Ayoola. Ayoola seems to have everything going for her, she is beautiful, charming and everyone loves her. Korede is more serious, a hard working nurse at a local hospital who tries to keep to herself and get her job done. For a long time, Korede has been in love with a handsome doctor at work, one day, Ayoola shows up to take Korede to lunch. The doctor sees her and immediately asks Korede for her sister’s number.
Korede has to decide whether to protect the man she loves or her sister whom she feels responsible for. The book itself is a fairly fast read. It is dark but has some wit throughout. The chapters are quick yet detailed. You feel connected to Korede and feel her frustration towards her sister and her situation. I enjoyed this book and how the author created the intimate sister relationship. It’s a fun and fairly easy read that I recommend if you want a little darker storyline that isn’t going to give you nightmares!
The Holdout by Graham Moore
Let me start by saying, I loved The Holdout! Graham Moore is the screenwriter from the movie The Imitation Game which I really enjoyed. This book was one of my February Book of the Month picks! Book of the Month always gives you five books to choose between, I usually end up picking two because so many of them intrigue me! I’m so glad I picked The Holdout back in February. The book focuses on a trial of the decade, a fifteen year old girl goes missing one day on her way home from school, one of her teachers is charged with her murder. The book focuses on the jury who decides the fate of the young teacher, one juror, Maya, is convinced Bobby Nock is not-guilty, she argues and fights with the rest of the jurors to convince them too. In the novel, it’s ten years after the trial. A popular podcast is doing a series on the trial and focusing on all the jurors. They gather the jurors for a reunion episode, the evening before it airs, one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room.
The police are convinced Maya killed her fellow juror. In order to clear her name and figure out who did it, she needs to go back and explore the case they served on ten years prior. The book is told between present day and flashbacks to the trial told from each juror’s perspective. Each chapter you learn more and more about the trial and the group of people who decided the fate of Bobby Nock. The book is full of twists and turns and a strong cast of characters. I literally gasped out loud at times and got goosebumps with some of the surprises. It’s an exciting story and I highly recommend it!
That’s it for my March books. I usually try to read five books every month but with a pandemic sometimes priorities change! Part of me wants to re-read all the Harry Potter books but I feel like I have to explore new titles. Can’t wait to share what characters I discover in April. I have a feeling I’ll have a lot of downtime in my future. What have you been reading during social-distancing? Are you going to check out any of the stories I shared!? Happy Reading 🙂