For your reading pleasure!
Here are a few recommendations from books I have recently read (and liked!)

Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater

Those of you who have known me for a while know my fascination with India. I went there, on business, many years ago. We first went to Heimtex in Frankfurt, then on to Delhi. I was working in textile factories, staying with our supplier in his family’s house in Panipat, and then had time to stay and see the sites in Delhi. To say it was fascinating is SUCH an understatement!

I think it was about a year later that The Jewel in the Crown series of books came out, and I was hooked.

I’ve remained friends with our Indian supplier..he invited us over to his daughter’s wedding a few years ago but unfortunately we had to decline the invitation.

So, in lieu of a return trip, I read. This book was recommended by a friend who lived in many different countries and cities in the Far East and is also fascinated by India. May I present:

Alex Frater, an English travel writer and journalist, was born in the Far East and has written extensively about it. In this book he sets out to follow the Indian summer monsoon as it makes its mysterious but annual trek through India. It is humorous and yet oh so serious as he travels by foot, bus, broken cars, numerous delays, dealing with the often frustratingly slow  Indian bureaucracy. It is an unusual tour of this colorful and unique land.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Another from one very famous and prolific author. This is the first book I have read by Sue Monk Kidd, her most famous being The Secret Life of Bees.
This book is set in Charleston in 1810 and follows the Grimke family. It is one of those loosely correct historical novels that , while it keeps you enthralled and wanting to continue, it is a kind of soap opera theme. I finished it, and yes, enjoyed it, but maybe….it was a bit predictable.

The Lavender Garden
by Lucinda Riley

This story goes back and forth between the contemporary Cote d’Azur and Paris of 1944 with stops in the north of England. Being a Francophile I zeroed in on the title right away! I really enjoyed it: part love story, part family heritage, part mystery and part travelogue…it had it all. A good read!

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs

by Elaine Sciolino

The former New York Times Paris bureau chief writes about the city, and the neighborhood, she loves and knows so well. What could be better? The author shares stories…of people and of places and each one is told in vivid detail. Highly recommended!

I’ve also been ordering and reading many garden books, so I’ll plan a post on those in the near future.

I hope you will comment and let us know of any books you recommend!


  1. Just bought Monsoon on Audible. Can’t wait for the mental vacation!

  2. Martha Moore says:

    Hi Libby…I am reading a wonderful and beautifully written book…”A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. I cannot put it down. His only other novel is “Rules of Civility”-you might have heard of it. I will give “Chasing the Monsoon” a try on your recommendation!

    • Martha: Yes, I’ve heard of “A Gentleman in Moscow” and wondered about it. Ok, will put it on my Wish List!

  3. HAVE YOU READ MRS. WHALEY’s garden?It has been years since I read it THREE times but I SO ENJOYED IT!
    LA CONTESSA recently posted…I NEED YOUR HELP!My Profile

    • Yes!!!! I have heard of it and guess what? We are headed to Charleston next Monday for our almost yearly visit. The Gibbes Museum has reopened, plus it is Garden Tour week/month so I might do one of those. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  4. I loved The Invention of Wings! I also loved the other Sue Monk Kidd novel you mentioned, The Secret Life of Bees. I have added The Only Street in Paris to my “Want to read” list on Goodreads. I’m currently reading A Walk Across the Sun which partly takes place in India (about human trafficking) and Trailerpark, a collection of short stories by Russell Banks.
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    • Thanks for the suggestions, Claudia! So many great books to read: I’ve added your suggestions and my Wish List is enormous on Amazon. Never enough time, right? How have you been? My tulips (which I will try to post later this week) have had quite a time. They came up early and look so stunted; poor things, they just don’t know what to do! And now I’m covering all my hydrangeas as they began to turn brown with last week’s cold nights. Oh dear!

  5. Libby, you seem to love reading and writing about France. Have you ever taught of retiring in there?
    P.S. My question is a little bit off-topic, but I have the impression that most of the Americans who have passion about France want to spend their last days in there.