1. Sula by Toni Morrison (1973, Penguin Random House.)This is one of my go-to favorites by esteemed author Toni Morrison, who spins a blistering and vibrant tale set in 'The Bottom', a deceptively sleepy town in fictional Medallion, Ohio. The social commentary of what it is to be black, what it is to be a woman, and what freedom really is leaps beyond the backdrop of 1919 in this timeless fantasy.
2. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (1933, Harper Collins.) The second installment of The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a family-friendly favorite to read, re-read, and then share with your kids this summer! The rustic imagery of Helen Sewell's (and later, Garth Williams') illustrations and clear storytelling remain engaging 88 years after its first publishing. Recent printings include a forward by Ree Drummond.
3. Caul Baby by Morgan Jerkins (2021, Harper Collins.) (See Image, featured.)
4. Like Water for Chocolate/ Como Agua Para Chocolate (1989, Black Swan.) This Mexican romance follows the seemingly magical kitchen creations of Tita, a woman bound by familial duty and undeniable love. The monthly installments are food for the soul and a summer read you won't put down.
5. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982, Plaza & Janes S.A.; Alfred Knopf, U.S.)
6. The Family by Mario Puzo (2001, Regan Books.)Mario Puzo combines masterful storytelling with a historical reimagining of one of the most controversial popes: Alexander VI. You feel Puzo's affinity for the subject matter through his self-described magnum opus and the love by which it was finished by his longtime partner Carol Gino after his passing. The Family is a page-turner two decades in the making, a masterpiece not to be missed.
7. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (2010, Penguin Random House.) This is a novel of complex beauty and real-world struggles told through the journeys of Pearl and May; two Shanghai sisters in 1937. The war with the Japanese forces these modern girls to become self-reliant women on their journey to America, testing their bond in unimaginable ways.
8. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (2001, Simon and Schuster.) This scintillating retelling of the tale of the lesser-known sister of Anne Boleyn, Mary, and the court romance that changed the course of English history. The rich detail and immersive story make this novel a historical fiction standard and a summer read worth losing yourself in.