Happy New Year to all!  I’ve officially read 105 books this year – with the majority falling in the thriller, contemporary fiction, and young adult genres. What about you?  My goal is to diversify my bookshelf and my reviews.  Thank you for continuing to read them here on Caught in Southie + let us know what you think.

Book 1:A Winter in New York By: Josie Silver

As you know, I’m not the biggest romance reader, but I’ve loved a Josie Silver novel in the past and couldn’t say no to her new one.  A Winter in New York centers around Iris, an up-and-coming chef who moves to New York after the death of her mother for a fresh start in a new city.   Packaged along for the journey is her mother’s photo album and her secret gelato recipe – secret because Iris isn’t exactly sure where or how she got it.

While on a walk through Little Italy, Iris recognizes a very specific door on a shop that shines in one of her mother’s photographs.  The photograph of a man glowing from the sunlight in front of said door holds only a name, a year, and a heart on the back.  Iris becomes determined to find the connection between the shop and her mother.  This journey leads her to the Belotti family – one that hosts a number of secrets themselves, including a gelato recipe that’s trapped in the family patriarch’s mind after suffering a stroke.  The whole family business depends on this recipe – and Iris can’t help but wonder if it’s the same as her mother’s.   How did her mother come upon this shop?   Who’s the man in the photograph?  And what role does Iris now play in the story?

This book is perfectly cheesy and perfectly fun for the winter months.

Book 2: The Leftover Woman By: Jean Kwok

The Leftover Woman was one of my favorite books of 2023, and I’m glad I got to it before the New Year.  Born in China, Jasmine fell victim to an arranged marriage that started with admiration and turned into fear.   China’s one child rule and the importance of having a son pushed its way to the forefront of Jasmine’s family plans.  While under this stress and discovering a dark secret from her husband, Jasmine secretly runs away to New York City. She doesn’t know anyone, she doesn’t know the language, she doesn’t know where to go besides the largest city with a single mission in mind.

We spend the majority of the story reading parallel chapters of Jasmine as she must make desperate choices to earn money and stay hidden in from her husband’s search — and of Rebecca, a wealthy woman smack in the middle of an ideal life with an adopted daughter from China.   As Rebecca’s work life begins to downward spiral she relies more and more on her husband and nanny – making her question her worth as a wife and mother.  With each small step towards growth, Jasmine never feels completely safe or prepared – but she will be.  Her determination is so admirable throughout!  On these pages, the lives of these very different women begin to weave together in the most interesting and stressful way.

As a reader, I was able to identify with each woman even though I was so completely different from them.  Certain character traits and themes will resonate with you – no matter who you are or where you are in life.   While I originally thought this was a contemporary fiction novel, there are also some historical pieces to it, and its backbone is a mystery.  I assumed it would be straightforward (while still being a good story)  but it had me at the edge of my seat, and there were so many twists and turns.  I highly recommend you pick this one and stick with it all the way to the end.

Book 3: Greenwich Park By: Katherine Faulkner

Grab Greenwich Park if you’re more into the slow-burn domestic mystery, not the detailed murder thrillers that seem to be on every bestseller table.  This book had been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and received so-so reviews, but I randomly picked it up last week- I’m glad I did!    It definitely takes time to build up the characters, and I went back and forth on what I thought the conclusion would be – however, I still couldn’t put it down.   The chapters are short (always a win), which helps move along.

The main character, Helen, is one that lives an ideal life after inheriting her parent’s mansion in upper class Greenwich Park.  She’s married to an architect and spends her days bouncing from pre-natal class to coffee shop and back again.  While she wants to spend this time with her equally pregnant sister-in-law, Serena – the feeling doesn’t seem to go both ways, so instead, she finds comfort in a friendship with a new classmate – Rachel.  The relationship with Rachel is where things start to get muddy because this lady seems like she has too much time on her hands and is too invested in Helen’s life.  Stalker much?  Or just lonely?  There’s a lot of secrets to figure out in this one.

Book 4: The Good Left Undone By: Adriana Trigiani

A BEAUUUUUUUTIFUL story that starts on the coast of Italy in a small village and reaches towards Scotland, France, England, and back.

Just read it.

I don’t want to spoil it.

It includes jewelry makers, late-night carnivals, convents and ship captains, good wine, and true love.    It’s about family, great-grandmother’s stories, young love, and decision-making.

The Good Left Undone truly transports you to another land, another time, and another life.  I’ll pass this one but always ask for it back – which means a lot because I never keep my books unless I loved it.

Other worthy reads:

  • Killers of a Certain Age – retired hit-women and girl group on one last adventure

  • Winter Counts – a man searches for who has been bringing heroin onto his Native American reservation

  • No One Can Know – three sisters face the past and their parents’ murder

If you got this far, thank you!  Let us know what you’re reading via the comments on @caughtinsouthie or catch me at @glossinbossin / @josiegl on Instagram.

Leave A Comment