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From My Bookshelf: Heaven, Breathe, Hancock (Choose My TBR)

This month, I’ve pulled three books From My Bookshelf that have two major things in common:

  • They are Book of the Month editions
  • I have not read them

In addition to summarizing the books below and quickly talking about why I selected them via Book of the Month, I’m also asking for your help in deciding which one I should put on my August TBR.

I know I’m not alone in that many of the books I received from Book of the Month (or any book subscription) – no matter how excited I was to read them – were placed on my shelves to sit for months (or years). Well, in my quest to read all of the books I own, I want to make an active effort in alleviating the number of unread BOTM editions on my shelves. I already included two in my #20booksofsummer reading list, but why not add another, right?

This is where you come in, dear reader! I’m asking you to weigh in on which book I should add to my August TBR. Whether one of these three books is a title you have read and recommend, or if you’ve never read any of them and want to base your vote on which summary draws you in the most, or if you want to make a recommendation based on a cover – I want your input! Leave a comment with your choice, and I’ll announce which one received the most votes in my July Wrap-Up. I’ll do a review of the book in August, and then I’ll likely start the process all over again with my August From My Bookshelf post.

Here are the books.

As Bright As Heaven | Susan Meissner | Book CoverAs Bright As Heaven
Susan Meissner

The cover definitely influenced my decision to select this book, and the summary locked it in. As Bright as Heaven is written in multiple perspectives, which is my favorite narrative style, so I’m hoping to really enjoy it.

In 1918, Philadelphia is a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men go off to fight in the Great War, there are opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town come Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with the hope that they could now give their three daughters – Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa – a chance at a better life.

Their dreams are short-lived. Just months after they arrive, the Spanish flu reaches the shores of North America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victim in their adopted city, Pauline and her family find themselves in a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby, orphaned by the disease, who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges that surround them they learn what they cannot live without – and what they are willing to do about it.

The Air You Breathe | Frances de Pontes Peebles | Book CoverThe Air You Breathe
Frances de Pontes Peebles

A standard sold-by-the-summary story.

Skinny nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.

One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the best way out of the life to which she was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine their fortunes – and haunt their memories.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock | Imogen Hermes Gowar | Book Cover

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
Imogen Hermes Gowar

This was a nothing-else-caught-my-attention pick. I would have skipped the month of selections if it wasn’t for the mermaid element – I just couldn’t resist.

One September evening in 1785, just beyond the docks of London, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door. The captain of one of Jonah’s trading vessels is waiting anxiously on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold Jonah’s ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned – the object the captain presents him is brown, wizened, and as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee-houses, salons, and brothels, all of London is curious to see the marvel in Jonah’s possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city’s seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on – and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a liaison that steers both their lives onto a perilous new course – for priceless things often come at the greatest cost.

So which one will it be? I look forward to tallying up your votes and finally reading one of these unread books From My Bookshelf.


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