It's officially fall here in the Northern Hemisphere. Here are the books I've been cozying up to so far this season.
Finding Dorothy, Elizabeth Letts
Finding Dorothy is a fictionalized version of the making of The Wizard of Oz. It’s told from the perspective of Maud Baum, wife of the author L. Frank Baum. She is trying to make sure that MGM stays faithful to her husband’s work. She comes to befriend the film’s young star, Judy Garland. It also features flashbacks of Maud’s life with Frank and events which influenced the writing of the book. But more than that, it’s about women’s struggles for equality, respect, and fairness. How far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
Read it if you like: The Wizard of Oz, Documentaries about Golden Hollywood
The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman
Magical realism is my jam and nobody does it better than Alice Hoffman. Lea is living in Berlin with her mother, Hanni, as the Nazis gain power. Fearing for her daughter, Hanni contacts Ettie, daughter of a respected rabbi. Ettie helps Hanni to create a golem. The golem’s purpose is to protect Lea and get her out. They name the golem Ava. The story follows their treacherous journey and the many friends they meet (and lose) along the way. I couldn’t put it down.
Read it if you liked: Practical Magic, The Diary of Anne Frank
The Secrets That We Kept, Lara Prescott
During the Cold War, the US government tried many tactics to beat USSR. One of the CIA's unofficial mantras? Never underestimate the power of culture. The CIA smuggles Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak out of the USSR. It’s told from the perspective of the typing pool. And two secretaries who are trained in espionage, Sally and Irina. Olga, Pasternak's mistress, also tells her story. I was immediately hooked and couldn’t put this book down. The twist at the end of the book was one I hadn’t seen coming and was so very clever. Recommend! (Where’s the television series??)
Read if you liked: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Big Little Lies