Books

FFW Book Club: A Historical Fiction, a Thriller, and an ‘Open Book’ by Jessica Simpson

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Diving into an interesting book is an ideal way to relax, especially during the weekend. Whether you’re into historical fiction, thrillers, or are curious about singer and designer Jessica Simpson’s memoir, you’re bound to find a very enjoyable read. Keep browsing to learn about our seven book club favorites for June 2022!

‘The Hotel Nantucket’ by Elin Hilderbrand

“One of these days, I’m going to get to Nantucket to enjoy the sun and sand, but until then, I’ll just keep reading every book Elin Hilderbrand writes about this idyllic island,” says Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor.

In the newest novel, Lizbet Keaton has just had her heart broken and is ready to focus on her new job: managing the historic Hotel Nantucket, which has undergone a renovation. She must score a 5-star review from a critic while keeping complicated guests and staff happy — and trying to lessen the chatter about the ghost of a young woman that is supposedly haunting the hotel.

“I got lost in this story, which had the perfect blend of romance, gossip and workplace drama,” says Patty. “And the back of the book is a guide to the island, which I’ll save for my vacation someday!” (Little Brown & Co., 2022)

Grab a copy of The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand here! (Buy from Amazon, $17.71)

‘The Lost Summers of Newport’ by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

“Sometimes the days all blend together and I start daydreaming of change,” says Rebecca Haynes, FIRST Senior Editor. “But this novel allowed me to step foot in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island!”

Andy Figuero is in Newport to produce a reality show about restoring historic homes. But as she takes on the task of documenting the crumbling Sprague Hall, while being banned from speaking to the elderly owner, past secrets arise. Spanning three time periods — and the secrets hidden in each—the story of Sprague Hall and its inhabitants is interwoven into the lives of America’s royalty (the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts and others).

“It’s fun to dream about being an heiress,” says Rebecca, “but it also makes me grateful for my more simple — and happy — life.” (William Morrow, 2022)

Grab a copy of The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White here! (Buy from Amazon, $23.49)

‘The Paris Apartment’ by Lucy Foley

“After a stressful week, I was especially drained,” sighs Lauren Stachiw, FIRST Beauty Director. “To recharge, I snuggled up with a glass of wine and the newest spooky novel by one of my favorite authors, Lucy Foley.”

Jess is jobless and penniless, so she decides to crash at her halfbrother Ben’s apartment in Paris until she gets on her feet. When she arrives at his place, Ben is nowhere to be found, but he also doesn’t seem to have left his apartment…so where could he be? As days go by and Ben is still missing, Jess becomes suspicious of Ben’s neighbors, who know more about his disappearance than they’re sharing — and she’s determined to figure out what happened.

“I kept flipping through the pages feverishly trying to piece together all of the clues,” says Lauren. “This mysterious plot gave me a jolt of energy — and some excitement that I definitely needed!” (William Morrow, 2022)

Grab a copy of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley here! (Buy from Amazon, $17.99)

‘Open Book’ by Jessica Simpson

“Following a tiff with a close friend, I was feeling blue,” admits Leann Garofolo, FIRST Senior Editor. “To clear my mind, I dove into this memoir since I know Jessica faced her own low points.”

Singer and designer Jessica Simpson gives readers a first-person account of her rise to fame in the early 2000s, detailing it all — her failed marriage, being criticized in the spotlight, her abuse of alcohol that resulted in gossip headlines. She provides an honest, funny and shocking glimpse into her life.

“It was a refreshing reminder that we all make mistakes,” says Leann. “And it inspired me to call my friend and make amends.” (Dey Street, 2020)

Grab a copy of Open Book by Jessica Simpson here! (Buy from Amazon, $13.91)

‘When She Returned’ by Lucinda Berry

“My friends and I were missing each other, so we started a virtual book club to stay in touch,” says Kate Arcell, FIRST Assistant Editor. “This read was an eerie ride!”

After vanishing 11 years ago, leaving behind her husband and child, Kate Bennett reappears in a gas station, holding a child, having just escaped a cult. She tries to return to her old life, but finds her husband remarried, her daughter a stranger and her life turned upside down.

Says Kate, “Discussing this action-packed plot was a great way to reconnect with old friends.” (Thomas & Mercer, 2019)

Grab a copy of When She Returned by Lucinda Berry here! (Buy from Amazon, $11.95)

‘A Caribbean Heiress in Paris’ by Adriana Herrera

“With all the excess screen time during the week, I look forward to unplugging on Friday nights,” says Melissa D’Agnese, FIRST Senior Editor. “And this book was an escape!”

It’s 1889 in Paris and Luz Alana is the new heir to her family’s rum business. No one is taking her seriously, though, because she’s a woman, until she meets a titled Scotsman named Evan Sinclair. Could a marriage of convenience save them both?

Raves Melissa, “The rich historical details, the banter, the romance…I adored this story!” (HQN, 2022)

Grab a copy of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris by Adriana Herrera here! (Buy from Amazon, $12.99)

‘Spirits and Sourdough’ by Bailey Cates

“Recently, my weekend plans fell through and I was wallowing in disappointment,” admits Shay Trotter, FIRST Associate Editor. “But this ghostly mystery plus a lounge chair on my patio were the pick-me-ups I needed!”

During a ghost tour, Katie Lightfoot, a baker and hedgewitch, is surprised to find that she is being followed by the ghost of a woman she met earlier that day. With the help of her magical skills, she vows to find the killer of the victim so justice can be served.

Says Shay, “The supernatural twist was riveting!” (Berkley, 2022)

Grab a copy of Spirits and Sourdough by Bailey Cates here! (Buy from Amazon, $7.99)

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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