I have been on a reading kick lately and LOVE it! I go through phases where I don't read anything (outside of the Bible, obviously) for months, even years. Then, out of nowhere, the mood strikes and I pin 44 books to my Pinterest board and reserve them all at my local library (Praise the Lord for FREE books).
Here are three of my favorites from this year:
Author Allison Pataki blew me away with this one! Like I've mentioned in blogs past, I get so wrapped up in the stories I read that sometimes I can't control my emotions. This book made me literally laugh out loud, cry (oh, did I cry - I'm a crier) and get so angry there were times I threatened to put it down and never pick it up again. That though, is my struggle with historical fiction, especially the way Pataki writes - it's all based on a true story (historical details are accurate, life in between is fiction) so I often had to tell myself that this is just how life was back then and to push through.
Anyway, this story is about Empress Sisi of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The story starts out when she's right about 15 years old and details her rise into Austro-Hungarian royalty, for which she is totally unprepared. I loved this one especially because it's not just a love story, it's a story of struggle, heartache, and tenacity. I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting the sequel to this book, Sisi, which will arrive in March 2016.
The Mapmaker's Children weaves between two stories, one set during the time of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) and the other set in modern day Virginia. Two women, decades apart, struggling with the same affliction: infertility. I love Sarah (h= ew) McCoy's attention to detail as she writes about real-life UGRR map artist, Sarah Brown (the daughter of abolitionist John Brown). Eden, Sarah's modern-day counterpart, is a complicated and lovable character who has practically moved mountains to attain her goal of conceiving a child, even to the detriment of her marriage.
I did not pick up this book because I too struggle with infertility, I picked it up because of my fascination and love for the UGRR and everything for which it stands. The topic of infertility is written about in a very sensitive but extremely truthful way, at no time was I offended nor did I ever feel like the subject was minimized or made light. I was, however, delightfully surprised to see the gospel woven into Sarah Brown's story as she and her family were such strong Christians who were definitely in the minority by standing up for the rights of the enslaved.
Not quite as well written as The Accidental Empress but still a REALLY good read. I would definitely recommend it. As far as the emotional rollercoaster I typically experience, this one wasn't quite as up and down as other books I've read, which was nice. I was involved and captivated by the characters but wasn't obsessive about the life situations. I really need to work on that. I've gotta stop getting so wrapped up in these fictional/historical people.
And for my favorite non-fiction book of the year - Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. I have read multiple books about getting the most out of Scripture reading. This one is, by far, my favorite. Even outdoing books by John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and other big name theologians. Wilkin covers topics such as the metanarrative, Scripture comprehension over observation and even gives you the nuts and bolts for studying scripture in depth. This is a book I marked up, dog-eared and highlighted from beginning to end! If, like me, you prefer to borrow from the library over buying books, I would HIGHLY recommend you go ahead and buy this one. Trust me.