In 2018, I had a goal to read 30 books, and I ended up reading 36. I’ve managed to narrow that list down to 5 favorites. For 2019, my goal is to read 40 books, and while I don’t have all the titles picked out, there are a few I’m planning and particularly looking forward to reading.
A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron
This is a sequel to The Butterfly and the Violin (the first of Kristy Cambron’s books I ever read). In present day, Sera and her new husband William are trying to prove William’s innocence in a crime he didn’t commit. In 1942, Kaja escapes Nazi-occupied Prague, leaving behind her half-Jewish family, and she begins work as a reporter in London. When she learns Jews are being exterminated, she chooses to return to Prague to rescue her family.
While I wasn’t much into the present day story, the Kaja’s story was beautiful and emotional in all the right ways, speaking of the wondrous care God has for all people, even in the darkest of times.
Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay
23 year-old orphan Sam is awarded a grant to continue her education in journalism, but there is one condition: she must frequently write to the anonymous benefactor, known only as “Mr. Knightly”, keeping him updated on her progress.
As Sam writes these letters and makes new friendships, she learns to stop hiding behind the words and personas of her favorite literary characters, and show her real self.
Written as a series of letters, I was inspired and challenged by how this book shows the power of taking off masks, sharing our stories, and confessing our pasts.
It’s also full of literary references for all of us bookworms!
The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert*
Gretl, an eight-year old german Jew, is on an unscheduled train bound for Auschwitz. Jakob, a Polish resistance fighter, plants a bomb on the tracks, thinking to sabotage a German troop transport.
The the train reaches the bomb, and Gretl is the only one to survive. Full of guilt for his mistake, Jakob takes her home and cares for her best he can, keeping her German nationality and Jewish heritage hidden. After the war, Gretl is sent to South Africa, where families wish to adopt German orphans. But she must still keep her Jewish heritage, and the Catholic upbringing she received in Poland, hidden as she begins a new life with her new family.
This book portrays some different aspects of World War Two and its aftermath that I enjoyed learning about, and, like with Dear Mr. Knightly, how it shows the power of sharing our secrets and confessing our pasts.
None Like Him by Jen Wilkin
This book is about “10 ways God is different from us, and why that’s a good thing.” It teaches on the attributes of God that are His alone, and was written in a way that is understandable, convicting, and deeply rooted in Biblical truth. It encouraged me to continually get to know God more.
Even though I’m usually not drawn to YA or fantasy, I’ve read or listened to these books four times over the years, and they are definitely favorites. But, it’s been over ten years since I last read them, so I’m thinking 2019 will be a good year to step through the wardrobe once more.
Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron
This is a sequel to The Lost Castle, and since I loved that read so much, I pre-ordered this one! It just released on February 5th; it’s already founds it’s place on my bookshelf, and I’m sure will soon find it’s place amongst my favorites.
This books also tells the stories of three women in three time-periods, and Kristy Cambron frequently refers to it as her love letter to Ireland.
The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sana**
This book I found at a local independent bookstore, on the shelf featuring local authors, and the story is set in Wisconsin, the state I’ve lived in all my life. The story takes place during World War Two, and I’m excited to read about specific ways this historical event touched my home state.
Praying with Jane by Rachel Dodge
Towards the end of 2018, God impressed on my heart to be intentional in prayer, and to be persistent in praying for some specific things. So I was very excited when I got this devotional for Christmas. It was a confirmation of what God was calling me to do, and a promise that He would help me be obedient in doing it.
Would you share a bit of your journey with me? What was your favorite read of 2018? What are you looking forward to reading in 2019? In what ways has God used reading to help you grow?
*Contains mild language
**I have not read anything by this author, so I don’t know if there
will be any inappropriate/adult content or language in this book
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I'm Jessica, a single,
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