34. Miss Julia Takes Over by Ann B. Ross In this second book in her Miss Julia series, we see Miss Julia taking charge of the search for Hazel Marie Puckett after she disappears while on a date with Wilson T. Hodge, church fundraiser. She also has to deal with Hazel Marie’s Uncle who is a lay preacher wanting to take custody over of her child that she had with Miss Julia’s late husband. While during with the custody battle she hires a private investigator to find Hazel Marie and “helps” him in his investigation. The ending is a surprise ending that you would never expect. This is a fun read that has funny parts to it.
35. She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell Clara is making her debut in New York society where she is pressured by both her widowed Aunt and her father to marry the heir of one of New York’s richest families that was blamed for their family losing their money. Her father becomes the doctor to the country’s richest families as well as making a patent medicine of his own design. During her debut season, Clara finds out the truth about her father’s business dealings as well as how much money her family really has. In order to prepare for her debut she has to learn how to act in public, since she is a woman she can’t talk about religion or politics and how to dress. She has to wear a corset at this time and tightly lace it in order to obtain the ideal sized waist. She also learns the truth about the true sacrifices that women make in order to be beautiful, since learning the truth about her mother’s death. She meets a man who loves her just the way that she is even though he has no money of his own. She has to decide if she is to follow the path that is set before her or follow her own path.
36. J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by Marc Shapio
37. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal In this followup book to her Sweet Valley series we see both Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield ten years after their high school graduation. Jessica has betrayed Elizabeth by taking Todd away from her when Elizabeth moves to New York in order to get away from the two of them. During the book we do see flashbacks from their high school and college years and even going back to when Jessica moved in with Elizabeth and Todd after fleeing an abusive marriage. The book also catches you up with other memorable characters in the series. One interesting thing to note about the epilogue is that none of the female characters are stay at home moms which there would be some in a small town’s ten year high school reunion. The majority of the main women have careers whether or not they are married. Though one of the characters gave up her career aspirations for her husband’s though she does become divorced later on. The other one who did give up her career for her husband’s career is only mentioned in the epilogue and she travels with her husband. There is also a startling revelation about the twin’s older brother Stephen. By the end of the book who winds up with Elizabeth is a startling surprise.
38. Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin Angel is a woman in Rwanda who has found her own business where she can provide for her family. She makes cakes for celebrations for those in her community. We are introduced to the members of the community by Angel. Angel and her husband are raising their five grandchildren due to the deaths of their own children. Angel’s husband works for the local university finding money for the school. Angel has her take on some of the issues facing those in Rwanda at this time such as the AIDS epidemic and the empowering of women. During preparations for a wedding of two people from two different groups of people in Rwanda, Angel is forced to face the truth about her daughter’s death. It is interesting to see that there is discrimination against those who are HIV positive in Rwanda like there was in the States in the eighties when there was not too much known about the virus.
39. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews This book is about three friends who spend a month in a beach house on the North Carolina coast. Along the way they meet Madison aka Maryn who is running away from her husband due to a surprising discovery that she had made about him. During the month the three friends get closer to Madison and eventually discover the secret that she had been keeping from them. Ellis is a woman who is in her thirties who was only recently fired from the job that she had for over ten years. She is using the month to regroup and to figure out where to go next. She hasn’t had much of a social life since the ending of a very short marriage a long time ago. She meets Ty who has some secrets of his own that he is keeping though he is interested in Ellis. Dorie is a woman who has only been married for about a year when she finds out that her husband has betrayed her. She eventually tells her friends the truth about their relationship. Julia is using the month to figure out what to do about her long time relationship since her boyfriend wants to marry her and she isn’t sure that she wants marriage and children. She is also deciding what direction she wants to take career wise since she is getting older and not getting a lot of modeling gigs.
40. Home Town by Tracy Kidder