Reading time!

As any book lover knows, there is an almost physical ache that occurs when you go for a significant amount of time without reading.

That’s been me for the past several weeks.

Since I started working for the symphony four and a half years ago, my Decembers have been consumed with one thing: the orchestra’s annual Christmas show. There were six performances when I started; we’re up to 10 now, over two weekends. My job as PR Manager is to promote the daylights out of this Broadway-caliber show, from getting our conductor on as many radio stations as possible and taking our performers to TV sets, to attending dress rehearsals for behind-the-scenes photos and posting it all to Instagram and Twitter. It’s a job I love, but it definitely takes its tole.

Which is why the two-week vacation I have that started yesterday is that much more precious!

That’s right, for the next two weeks, I can just sit around in my jammies, watch Netflix, and read to my heart’s content. Oh, I’ll probably do some housecleaning, more Christmas decorating (I finally got the tree up a week ago, but my Nativity set is still in its box next to the fireplace), and probably some last-minute Christmas shopping, but reading is going to be my number one priority.

Last year, I was very excited to read Kate Morton’s The Lake House, which I had received in early December, but put off reading until my “Christmas break.” I don’t have a particular book that I’m just dying to read these next two weeks, but there are a few that I’m excited to tackle:

12-cluesThe 12 Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Sixth in the Royal Spyness Mystery series, the books follow Lady Georgianna Rannoch, 34th in line to the English throne in the 1930s. Georgie is penniless, and must use her wits (and the occasional assignment from the Queen!) to survive.

While her true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending his feliz navidad tramping around South America and her mother is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with droll playwright Noel Coward, Georgie is quite literally stuck at Castle Rannoch thanks to a snowstorm.
It seems like a Christmas miracle when she manages to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village should be like something out of A Christmas Carol, but as soon as she arrives things take a deadly turn when a neighborhood nuisance falls out of a tree.  On her second day, another so-called accident results in a death—and there’s yet another on her third, making Georgie wonder if there’s something wicked happening in this winter wonderland…  


change-of-heartChange of Heart by Courtney Walsh

I read Walsh’s novel Paper Hearts last year, and this is set in the same town. I’m looking forward to visiting Loves Park again!

A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for?


poldarkPoldark: A Novel of Cornwall by Winston Graham

This one is actually on my Christmas list, so I hope it’s under the tree on Sunday! My husband and I discovered BBC’s recent TV adaptation of Winston Graham’s 12-book Poldark series this summer, and we literally binge-watched the entire first season in a weekend. We loved it! (And let’s be honest– Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark is pretty easy to binge watch!). The characters are layered and the story exciting, so I’d love to read the source material for a deeper appreciation of it.

In the first novel in Winston Graham’s hit series, a weary Ross Poldark returns to England from war, looking forward to a joyful homecoming with his beloved Elizabeth. But instead he discovers his father has died, his home is overrun by livestock and drunken servants, and Elizabeth-believing Ross to be dead-is now engaged to his cousin. Ross has no choice but to start his life anew.

Thus begins the Poldark series, a heartwarming, gripping saga set in the windswept landscape of Cornwall. With an unforgettable cast of characters that spans loves, lives, and generations, this extraordinary masterwork from Winston Graham is a story you will never forget.

What about you? What books are you looking forward to reading?


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Stephanie Ludwig is a former reporter turned public relations professional who loves Jesus and writing about mysteries, music, and murder. She is an avid L.M. Montgomery fan, and collects anything having to do with Anne of Green Gables.

7 thoughts on “Reading time!”

  1. I haven’t watched Poldark but, goodness, there’s been a lot of outraged chatter over one episode in the second season…well, I think it’s the second season. It would be interesting to compare book to movie. Love the cover on your period mystery selection — reminds of Julianna Deering’s books which are set in the same time period. So campy. And I’ve read Change of Heart — really love that series. Oh, and can I say, your job sounds so exciting! Glad that you get to enjoy a two week break though. Nothing like jammie/reading days to soothe the soul. 🙂

    1. Since you love BBC dramas, I think you’d really enjoy Poldark, Kav. I haven’t watched second season yet but there’s an episode first season that got a lot of chatter–mainly because Poldark is doing fieldwork shirtless, and my, oh my, does Aidan Turner have a “hero’s physique!” I’ve seen Julianna Deering’s books but never read them, so I’ll give them a try on your recommendation. And yes, my job IS very exciting and a lot of fun, but having a nice break from it all before tackling the remainder of our season is a wonderful respite. I now know how teachers feel about Christmas break!

  2. Reading sounds like an excellent way to fill your time off, and your stories sound like the perfect ones to whisk you away. 🙂 Like Kav, I haven’t seen any Poldark shows yet (I haven’t even seen Downton Abbey yet!) but I plan to watch it someday. In the meantime, I’m trying to find time to read. I’ve been reading Michelle Griep’s The Captive Heart for way too long now. It’s an excellent book, probably my favorite of hers, but my reading time has been very limited since Thanksgiving. I’m hoping that today I can just sit down and read! And so many friends released books this December–Don & Stephanie Prichard’s FORGOTTEN, former Inksper Jerri Ledford’s BILOXI BLUE, Julie Klassen’s INNKEEPER OF IVY HILL, the SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN TEXANS collection Lorna Seilstad’s story is in, Gabrielle Meyer’s A FAMILY ARRANGEMENT …! I’ve purchased all of them, but the books are still waving at me from the shelves calling “Read me next!”

    1. I know that feeling, Brenda! All of the ones you mentioned sound great, although I may be partial to the Seven Brides for Seven Texans collection… hoping to pick that up this Christmas as well! I HATE when the only reading time I get is before bed, so this will be a nice break to read whenever I want!

  3. Great picks!!! I just finished editing my book, and I think my brain might be broke. so I may be taking a short break from reading, LOL!! No, just kidding. But I don’t have anything I’m dying to get to, so I’ll be perusing B&N. I still haven’t watched Poldark. I have to get to that!!! I loved Aidan when I found the BBC show called Being Human. It was redone for America, but it’s not even close as good as the original British version. So, I’m sure I’ll like Poldark, simply to watch him again.

    1. Dawn, I’ve heard the British Being Human is really good but I haven’t seen it yet. I first saw Aidan Turner in the Hobbit movies, but he was also in a recent BBC remake of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” one of my favorite Christie books. He was PERFECTLY cast as one of the characters; so much so, that even though I read that book when I was about 12, and have read it many times since, I now can’t get his face out of my head as that character. Give Poldark a try; I think you’ll love it!

  4. Oh for a two week break from my day job! These books sound like a great way to fill that time. I love the idea of the first book, set in a “perfect” Christmas village. There’s always more than meets the eye in a place like that, right? Enjoy your break, and do get that nativity set out before Saturday, night. The wise men can wait, but you don’t want the shepherds to miss their big night!

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