The Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler is definitely the central book that comes to mind when assessing the books I’ve read this year! Back in January I was thrilled to find this novel was soon to be released as the main character is an intriguing local historical figure in the exact town where I started working as a museum director! It couldn’t have been more perfect! The only literature we have on Lulu Hurst is her 1898 autobiography and a small collection of newspaper articles and 19th century advertisements. I excitedly contacted the publicist and set up a presentation and book signing as Ms. Handler is luckily fairly local. The event was among the best we had this year–animated, educational and, like Lulu, just mesmerizing! My review appeared in the August edition of Historical Novels Review.
Barnsley Gardens at Woodlands by Clent Coker is the most interesting history book I read this year. It not only tied together my first visit to Savannah, Georgia, but also my childhood of growing up only a couple of miles from this historic villa! On a whim I chose the Barnsley resort to spend my 40th birthday, and I am so glad it called to me! The story of the Barnsley family is Netflix worthy– haunted gardens, Civil War, murder, and stolen body parts by grave robbers (or witch doctors?!) I loved reading about this local historic site and am anxious to visit again soon!
This next one has no relation to historical fiction (or non) but it is a book that impacted me this past year. I started 2019 ecstatic to finally have a career instead of a job, but I was terrified at the thought of having no set schedule and creating projects from scratch. On my first week’s commute, I listened to Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind and so much of the advice made sense to me. The first month of 2020 may be a good opportunity to revisit this book!
I’m aiming to read more in 2020, so hopefully this list will be longer 12 months from now!