More Quarantine Reads: Beach Read, The Jane Austen Society & Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Good Reads Blurb: A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.They’re polar opposites.In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

My Take 4 out of 5. The name of this book is very deceptive. You hear beach read and you imagine a light Summer romance. That is actually not the case. It is a romance but it is much more than that. Its actually more dark than light and the characters are fairly dysfunctional throughout. Although a tad predictable, the road there is very fun and engaging. Side note- you end up wanting to read the books they are writing! As a fan of romance books, but also someone who is very skeptic at times there were some great quotes in this book that i highlighted, this was one of my favorites

“when the world felt dark and scary, love could whisk you off to go dancing, laughter could take some of the pain away, beauty could punch holes in your fear”

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Goodreads blurb: Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

My take: 3.5 out of 5. This is a really cute story and a wonderful book for Jane Austen lovers. I make that caveat this is definitely not a book for people who haven’t devoured and loved Jane Austen. Since I am in that category and Jane Austen (Along with the baby sitters club) gave me my love for reading, I will always enjoy a book that celebrates her. I also loved how one could pick out certain topics from the books within the actual characters of the stories. They were not only celebrating and reading Jane Austen, they were living parallel versions of her stories. It made me so nostalgic that I did not go to this town whilst i lived in the UK! for those of you who love Austen this is a great side read to Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors and Recipe for Persuasion. Make it a Jane Austen day. I have to confess i finished this book and turned on Pride and Prejudice on the TV right away (i am such a cliche 😉 )

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Good Reads Blurb: A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.
Every woman has a secret life . . .
Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.
As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all

My Take: 3 out of 5. Its not that its not a good book, It is more that it fell below my expectations. I had read many positive reviews and it was a Reese Book Club pick so I was expecting to love it. However, as a East meets West story, I enjoyed much more Recipe for Persuasion that I read right before it. Expectations aside it is a very sexy book, about female empowerment, especially of women who feel they have no voice. It also has a little mystery in it to keep you guessing and engaged. However, as much as there are erotic stories sprinkle throughout, it really is a book about female friendship and how women can lift each other up and quite a satisfying read.

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