This time next year, my twins will go to college. As such, I am hyper-aware of time passing and imagining next fall. So many of my dear friends face the dreaded Empty Nest right now. They realize that staying busy will be key to managing this very big change. So in lieu of staring at the phone wondering whether to text your college kids or indulging in way too much cheese or chocolate, here are some book recommendations for extreme escapism:
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Books To Make You Laugh
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan- If you haven’t read this book, rush to do so. It is 546 pages of pure delight. Then, go see the movie and plan a trip to Singapore. The best news is that Crazy Rich Asians is the first of a three-book trilogy and each of them is a true gem! After Crazy Rich Asians, read China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Let’s hope we see Nick Young on the big screen two more times.
Husbands And Other Sharp Objects by Marilyn Rothstein- In a word, Rothstein’s writing is hilarious. Marcy Hammer is separated from her husband Harvey, the head of a global brassiere company. Harvey is sorry for his past mistakes, and wants Marcy back. But Marcy is content in a new job, and even has a new boyfriend. Marcy must now plan a wedding for her daughter who, of course, is marrying Harvey’s attorney. This book is simply put, hilarious and wonderful!
Limelight by Amy Poeppel- In Limelight, Poeppel captures the Mom in each of us. This laugh out loud novel combines a family’s move to New York and a Broadway actor. All of us can relate to the wayward teen’s umpteen lost or broken cellphones. A sheer delight of a novel! Fans of Kevin Kline (and who isn’t?) will devour this novel. Poeppel faces her own empty nest this month!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang- This book is the breakout book of Summer filled with humor, poignancy and downright hot sex. Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. If you read it, you’ll love it. Guaranteed. And, great news, movie rights were just sold so here’s hoping we see it on the big screen! Can’t wait to see Michael’s tattoo!
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh- This quote from USA Today says it best- “This is an ‘accidentally stayed up until 4 a.m. because it’s impossible to put down’ kind of novel.” Seven perfect days of a love story and then Eddie disappears. Sarah knows there has to be a reason but what? A perfect love story with a BIG secret! Ghosted is a super sexy love story that is heart-breaking—with the most fantastic twist.
Marriage Vacation by Pauline Turner Brooks-Binging 5 seasons of Younger recently got me through a rough Summer when my daughter had surgery. I highly recommend this show for both escapism and humor. I was then delighted to see this book, Marriage Vacation, based directly upon Season 4 of the show. Marriage Vacation is for anyone who has ever fantasized about what it would be like to run away from it all.
Beach Reads to Take You Back to Summer
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews- Known as the “Queen of the Beach Reads,” Mary Kay Andrews always finds a way to whisk us away to a beach with a fabulous tale. The High Tide Club features drama, intrigue, humor and a small dose of murder. This perfect novel features new love, old secrets and the kind of friendshops that transcends generations. Such a fabulous beach book!
The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner- When a young widow’s reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, and the past she tried to leave behind. Brenner does a masterful job with a touching story of love, passion and healing that leaves you so happy and satisfied. Brenner will take her first to college next Fall!
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand- The Perfect Couple is a novel about the many ways family can fill our lives with love…if they don’t kill us first. I absolutely LOVED this book and read it in one-sitting. It is the perfect mix of a beach book with an Agatha Christie type mystery thrown in. No one does it better than Elin Hilderbrand who took her own son to college this week!
Get Lost in The Past To Take Your Mind Off the Present
Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce- This book is, in a word, delightful. Dear Mrs. Bird is an irresistible debut set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist. This story is so warm, funny, and enormously moving. After you read it, watch The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Netflix as it has the same feel.
The Lost Family by Jenna Blum- The Lost Family is a captivating immigrant tale that morphs into a Madmen feel. The incomparable Jenna Blum creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s. This book is truly a masterpiece and Peter is my new book boyfriend. I’ll share him with you though!
Tiffany Blues by M.J. Rose- Tiffany Blues features Jenny, one of a dozen burgeoning artists invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists’ colony. Gifted and determined, Jenny vows to avoid distractions and romantic entanglements but she can’t help but be inextricably drawn to Oliver, Tiffany’s charismatic grandson. Between stolen kisses and jewels, the champagne flows and the jazz plays on until one moonless night when Jenny’s past and present are thrown together threatening her promising future, her love, her friendships, and her very life.
Thrilling Reads To Read in One-Sitting
The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger- Reading The Banker’s Wife, you wonder if Alger knew world events before they happen. This high-stakes thriller features a couple boarding a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. It then drops off the radar. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. She determines that Matthew’s death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies. This book thrills to the very last page!
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda- Best Day Ever features Paul Strom (a character you will NEVER forget) and his perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house. And he has promised today will be the best day ever. A spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? Rouda writes a book a year in her own empty nest.
Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone- I dare you to try to stop reading this one to sleep! Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes – meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven. But plain Jane is hiding something. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away. Just as he did to her.
For additional book ideas, check out our Grown and Flown stop on Amazon here.