Hello cookie lovers! It’s been awhile since I posted – apologies but as some of you who follow me on social media might know, I signed a three book deal last year with esteemed publisher Simon & Schuster! My first book, a historical fiction novel set in Estonia, is due out in March next year and then the next two the year after. It’s all VERY exciting but it has kept me insanely busy. Structural edits and research for the next book (I only recently returned from a stint through the UK and Ireland) has been really demanding. I am not complaining at all though; it’s honestly such a dream come true. It does mean my cookie posts tend to be put on the back burner, at least until I have time! I have, however, been updating my Facebook and Instagram with quick cookie posts so if you are on either of those networks, you’ll find my work updated more frequently there.
With all that in mind, I thought I’d do a quick cookie post comprising some of my favourite books/cookies from this year. First up is the beautiful and heartbreaking The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley. This book stole my heart! A love letter to Elizabeth Gould, the wife of famous natural history expert and artists John, it details the history of their relationship and exposes the challenges faced by women of the time in regards to both personal and professional work. An impressive debut and I can’t wait to read what Melissa writes next.
Next up, The Muse by the talented Jessie Burton. Jessie’s first novel The Miniaturist was a runaway success, mostly I assume because of her beautiful prose and because of her exploration of the fascinating story of the secret lives of women in 17th Century Amsterdam. This next book was another gem; this time, Burton weaves a beguiling tale around the hidden mysteries of a female artist and a mysterious painting which is her legacy. The lives of two women – a writer and an artist – are entwined as the mystery reaches a crescendo and the book also touches on the idea of women as creators and how we can continue to pursue art despite the obstacles that face us. I loved Miniaturist but I feel like The Muse was a more mature offering and I loved the characters and themes.
Last but not least, one of my favourite books this year has been Her Mother’s Secret, by Natasha Lester. This is a tantalising romantic historical tale about a woman who builds her own cosmetics empire and defies society’s expectations to do things her way and forge her own future. I loved everything about this novel! The strength of the main character, the setting (1920’s New York) which is brought to life so evocatively and the mystery at the heart of the novel which kept my turning the pages until the end. Leo, the novel’s protagonist, is a woman ahead of her time; a woman who has dreams of success and never gives in to failure even if that means putting her own desires last, something which will have consequences far into the future. I enjoyed learning about the make up industry, too and about the historical events that influenced the novel. This one is going on my keeper shelf.
So that’s what I’ve been reading/baking lately! I hope you’ve found some time for reading, too.