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Five Feel-Good Books that Will Take Your Mind off the News

Cindy Burnett
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The Matchmaker’s Gift

Written in a dual timeline format, The Matchmaker’s Gift is a delightful, feel-good book.

The news has been stressful lately, and I find reading really gives me a break from all the doom and gloom. Feel-good stories are a great way to cheer me up, and I always feel more hopeful when I finish that type of story. I selected five of my favorite feel-good books that really drew me in and did not let go until I finished each one. Hopefully if you need a good distraction, they will do the same for you.

Blush by Jamie Brenner – Perfect for a beach vacation, Blush will appeal to book lovers everywhere as the three Hollander women turn to books, specifically the “trashy” romance novels of the 1980s, to try and save their family vineyard and legacy. While very different, all three women, Vivien, Leah, and Sadie, bond over books written by Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz, and others, and find inspiration and ideas for moving forward as long-buried family secrets are exposed and wounds form the past reappear. This highly entertaining book is a fun-filled and entertaining read.

Love & Saffron by Kim Fay – I just loved this book so much. Written in epistolary format and set in the 1960s, this beautiful book tracks the friendship between two women, Imogen and Joan, as they get to know each other through letters. Imogen Fortier is a longtime columnist for a magazine and lives on Camano Island near Seattle. Joan, who is younger, is a new food columnist in Los Angeles. When Joan writes Imogen a fan letter and encloses a recipe and some saffron, the women begin a correspondence that develops into a wonderful relationship. Incorporating the history of the era, food, and personal tidbits, the women bond and become close friends as they correspond about their lives. Love & Saffron is filled to the brim with humor and heart and is a joy from start to finish. 

The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman - Written in a dual timeline format, The Matchmaker’s Gift follows Sara Glikman, a Jewish matchmaker ahead of her time in the early 20th century who begins her matchmaking when she is 10 and finds her sister a husband. When she dies, she leaves her journals to her granddaughter Abby who is a lonely divorce attorney. Abby is distrustful of true love because her parents fought often and eventually went through a bitter divorce. But as she continues to delve into her grandmother’s journals she realizes that she may be following the wrong path and that she needs to make some changes. This delightful, feel-good book drew me right in, and I did not want it to end. I highly recommend it.

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel - Bridget and Will’s decades-long relationship seems perfect – except it is platonic, to the amusement and confusion of their friends. The chamber group they formed as students, the Forsyth Trio, is now struggling and without a violinist. Bridget was hoping for a perfect summer with boyfriend Sterling, but her plans are dashed when he breaks up with her and her twins (in their 20s) show up unexpectedly, bringing their own drama with them. To top it off, her father announces he is getting married. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, Bridget comes up with a plan to host the wedding that will hopefully also bring attention back to the Forsyth Trio. However, for that to work, she and Will need to recruit Gavin, their old violinist, to come back to the trio. This novel has Poeppel’s signature wit and insight into family dynamics.

Older by Pamela Redmond – TV producer Darren Star’s real-life adaptation of Redmond’s book Younger into a successful multi-season television series is the basis for Older, Redmond’s latest hilarious and charming novel. In Older, as she approaches her 50th birthday, Liza Miller publishes her own story, entitled Younger, about how she posed as a millennial when she was in her 40s. Her friend Kelsey wants to adapt the book into a TV series, and Liza ventures to Los Angeles to help write the pilot episode. Redmond’s descriptions of life in Hollywood are laugh-out-loud funny, and the behind-the-scenes look at the television industry is an added bonus. While billed as a sequel, Older can easily be read as a standalone novel - the book will captivate fans of the television show Younger while also appealing to those completely unfamiliar with the original book’s characters. 

I would love to hear what you have been reading! Feel free to drop your recent reads in the comments below.

For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.

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