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5 Books to Close Out Summer

By Pam Lamp August 17, 2022 Lifestyle

As summer winds down and kids head back to school, I remember the days I’d prepare for my new grade. I loved covering my textbooks with brown paper, organizing my pencil case, arranging outfit combinations, and labeling my folders and notebooks. I was all set to learn.

Today, through books – although I’d place myself in at least the 50th grade – I’m still anxious to learn all I can.

Whether you explore a Ukrainian sniper’s missions, the Hamptons, intergenerational friendship, the Black woman who designed Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding gown, or Provincetown, Cape Cod, I hope you find a book in this list that intrigues you.

On Gin Lane by Brooke Lea Foster

Everleigh (Lee) Farrow has a trust fund, a handsome fiancée, and a surprise gift from her soon-to-be husband – a brand new hotel on the Hampton’s Gin Lane. After a tumultuous romantic past, Lee, at long last, appears to have everything her parents – and 1950s society – think will make her happy.

Growing up at the sumptuous Plaza Hotel, Lee lived in a world with cooks and doormen and housekeepers. After her fiancée’s gift burns to the ground on opening night, Lee movesto a tiny caretaker’s cottage. She discovers the simple joys of household chores.

And she wants to do more.

Against the wishes of her fiancée and parents – after all, what will people think? – Lee accepts a job with an established photographer. She learns what makes her happy and the type of person she wants to be.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

I’m a massive fan of historical fiction author Kate Quinn’s well-researched novels, especially her 2021 bestseller, The Rose Code. Her books are a commitment – this is a lengthy one too – but always informative, engaging, and focused on true-life heroines.

Confession… After reading a chapter or two of The Diamond Eye, I considered giving up. I struggled to keep track of the Russian names, places, and characters.

And then I switched to the audiobook version. The novel came to life with the superb narrator reading the story to me.

When Hitler and his forces invaded Ukraine, sniper-trained Mila said goodbye to her young son and joined the war effort. With 300 kills under her belt, the famous Mila traveled to the US with a Soviet war delegation. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt took Mila under her wing, and they forged a lifelong friendship.

Be sure to read – or listen to – the author’s notes at the end of the book.

Gilt by Jamie Brenner

“As we get older, we need to learn how to let go of the past in order to live fully in the present.”

A delicious summer read, I devoured this novel on a plane. And couldn’t wait to finish it after I landed.

The three Pavlin sisters – Elodie, Celeste, and Paulina – grew up in glitzy Manhattan. The daughters of a famous jewelry family, their grandfather ignited the diamond engagement ring craze. But a company publicity stunt went awry and severed the sisters’ bond. 

Years later, their lives intersect in Provincetown, the colorful town on Cape Cod’s northern tip. Gemma, a budding jewelry designer and one sister’s daughter, arrives for the summer to confront her long-lost aunts and solve a nagging mystery.

I predict readers will enjoy traveling to P-town, experiencing this summer haven, and peeking into the world of jewelry design.

And be sure to check out Blush, another novel by the same author.

Shoe Story by Jane Rosen

Calling all shoe- and pup-lovers!

Esme’s plan was in place. In a few short days, she’d graduate from Dartmouth, move to NYC with her boyfriend, and begin her art career in Manhattan. And then tragedy strikes.

When her mom dies, and her father is severely injured in an automobile accident, Esme gives up her dreams. For the next seven years, she cares for her dear dad.

After her father passes, Esme doesn’t know which way to turn or how to restart her life.

A dog sitting assignment in Greenwich Village, a closetful of fabulous shoes, and an intergenerational friendship lead people-pleasing Esme to learn that, if she finds herself, everything else will fall into place.

By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley

Historical fiction fans will adore the little-known story of Ann Cole Lowe, a Black seamstress and granddaughter of enslaved people.

Married at 12, Ann learned to sew from her grandmother and mother. When her well-fashioned ensemble captured the attention of a wealthy Tampa widow, Ann packed her bags and bid goodbye to Alabama – and her horrid husband.

Amidst the kind hearts of the White widow and her daughters, Ann designed debutante and wedding dresses for the South’s most privileged women. She counted Jacqueline Kennedy as a long-term client and created her wedding gown.

But Ann was still Black, living most of her life in a segregated nation. If only people could look beyond one’s exterior and see others for what they could contribute to the world…

What are you reading right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you read book series? How many books have you finished so far this year?

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Pamela Apt

Thank you, Pam, for all of your wonderful book selections! You never steer me wrong and my list of must reads is huge! I also love Kate Quinn and historical fiction🙂

Pam Lamp

I always love Kate Quinn and historical fiction too. Thanks for your kind words. I can’t wait to read Social Graces.


The Author

It’s never too late to learn something new. At Who I Met Today – a blog and podcast – Pam Lamp interviews people from all walks of life. Through conversations about health, hobbies, books, food, and travel, she invites you to join her, explore new territory, and expand your horizons.

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