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6 Novels to Pique Your Curiosity

By Pam Lamp January 26, 2022 Lifestyle

Many pooh-pooh fiction. But I beg to differ. While I do enjoy the occasional light, fluffy read, I tend to gravitate toward fiction where history and information intertwine with an entertaining story.

A beloved college professor once said to me, “If you learn one thing from an activity, it was worth your time.” In these novels, readers learn about songwriting, a prime minister’s wife, a woman who rocked the royal family, civil rights, and female war pilots. I hope you find one to enjoy – and take away a new fact or two.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Fans of Ms. Quinn’s The Alice Network and The Rose Code will also devour this gripping tale. I’m always amazed at the new stories historical fiction authors find to tell. This gem revolves around the search and prosecution of a World War II war criminal. 

Can Jordan’s stepmother be the same one who committed unspeakable war crimes? And for what other reason than she could

The novel dives into the fascinating background of the Soviet all-female bombing squad and life as a fighter pilot in an open-air cockpit.

Released in 2019, this book may be on the shelf at your local library. (Large print editions available online or through local booksellers.)

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

One of my favorite things to do in Nashville is to attend a songwriter’s night. Typically, a trio of songwriters strum their guitars, sing the songs they’ve written, and discuss the stories behind them.

Loosely based on the James Taylor/Joni Mitchell relationship, this book transports readers to the 1970s music scene. Janie is a singer-songwriter on the rise, and Jesse is a hard-partying folk-rock star. The author, who grew up in a family of musicians, explores the technicalities behind writing and producing music in this book.

If you enjoyed Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, I predict you will also love this novel. Ms. Brodie is currently writing the screenplay for the film version. (Large print editions available online or through local booksellers.)

The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain

Wow! I wasn’t familiar with author Diane Chamberlain. After devouring her latest book, I cannot wait to read another – or two or four or six or nine! – of her 27 novels. 

Told from dual timelines, Ms. Chamberlain weaves past and present heartbreaks, haunts, and mysteries.

Ellie grew up in a wooded North Carolina neighborhood in the racially turbulent 1960s. She offered to register African American voters before the 1965 Voting Rights Act became law. To Ellie, this seemed like a productive and helpful way to spend her college summer. Unspeakable acts change her mind about the community – and people – she loves and must leave behind.

In 2010, Kayla, an architect, and her young daughter move into the dream home she and her late husband designed. Kayla immediately realizes she’s not welcome on this street – the same one where Ellie lived.

When the women’s worlds collide, secrets from a lifetime emerge.

Another Woman’s Husband by Gill Paul

What sort of woman would cause a man to step down as the King of England?

If you’re a fan of The Crown or adore following the adventures of the royal family, check out this London-based author’s 2019 novel.

In the early 1900s, Mary Kirk and Wallis Warfield meet at summer camp. We’ve all had the Wallis type of friend – the person who takes more than she gives. Although their friendship survived heartache and mishaps and oceans between them, Wallis was “always searching for more and wouldn’t be happy to live an ordinary life.”

Rachel and her fiancé, in 1997, happen across the car crash that killed Princess Diana.

With facts thrown in, this fictionalized story delightfully weaves the tale of two women who challenged British royalty.

I discovered this author – who swims in an English pond year-round – when I read (and loved) Jackie and Maria a few months ago.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do so.”

Evelyn, a guarded, aging Hollywood icon, picks an unknown journalist, Monique, to write her final story. And no one can figure out why.

Of course, as Evelyn relates her life’s glitz and glamour, everything isn’t all it seems. Fame and fortune don’t necessarily make for an easy path. Besides dishing on her seven marriages and divorces, Evelyn spills the beans on how she “chose the wrong things most of the time.”

A great book club pick, the story makes me wonder about some of the celebrities in our world today… (Large print editions available online or through local booksellers.)

Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

“What is it about a crisis that draws us closer to our loved ones? Why do the differences between us – minuscule and vast – seem to disappear against the backdrop of mounting catastrophe?”

I’m a huge fan of this author, who chronicles the untold stories of brilliant women in history. Like Carnegie’s Maid and The Only Woman in the Room and The Personal Librarian, this novel anchors fiction with facts to highlight the strong, determined woman who stood beside William Churchill.

Clementine’s impact on Winston leaves many to ponder if the outcome of World War II would have been the same without her influence.(Large print editions available online or through local booksellers.)

What was the last book you read? Did you learn about a topic, or was the book pure entertainment? Do any of these books sound appealing to you? Have you read any of them? What did you think about them?

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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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