After a very low-key month of reading in February, I read such enjoyable books in March! We had some snow days this month that coincided with my own days off, which encouraged plenty of reading, and I was away from home for Easter weekend, which helped me finish off two books before the month ended.
As I predicted last month, a big chunk of my recent reads were by British author Harriet Evans, who I discovered at the end of February. Her books have quickly joined the ranks alongside the work of people like Meg Cabot and Jill Mansell as stories I can just dive into and happily cruise through till the end. Exploring her canon and reading a good balance of fiction and non-fiction resulted in a very satisfying March lineup of seven books!
Happily Ever After, by Harriet Evans (★★★★☆)
Out of the three Harriet Evans books I read this month, this one was my favorite, likely because it was the first book I read by the author. Once I read some of her other books, I realized that she resorts to a lot of the same character traits and situations, which can make it a little tricky to keep her books straight – all of the ones I read were still very entertaining, though!
Happily Ever After first introduces Eleanor Bee as a young, clueless 22-year-old dreaming of a job in publishing. She falls in love with the wrong man, and as her career develops over the next 10 years, her family and personal life takes unexpected twists and turns. I’m a sucker for stories that follow the same characters over a long period of time, so this was a winning combination for my introduction to Harriet Evans’ work.
Most Dramatic Ever: The Bachelor, by Suzannah Showler (★★★☆☆)
I found out about this through a New York Times book review that also focused on Bachelor Nation, another new Bachelor-focused book that is more about the show production than the way people consume it, which is what Most Dramatic Ever covered. I have Bachelor Nation on my Overdrive waitlist and I’m dying to read it, especially after getting through Most Dramatic Ever. This collection of essays is a quick but slightly dull read, especially if you’re a Bachelor super fan who’s very up to speed with the nitty gritty of the show.
I started covering the Bachelor franchise for work at the start of Rachel Lindsay’s Bachelorette season, but I’ve watched the show fairly consistently since Brad Womack’s second season in 2011. After working even more in-depth on coverage of Arie Luyendyk’s Bachelor season and following a handful of Bachelor alums’ podcasts, I think I just knew too much to really enjoy this more analytical take on the overall franchise.
Roomies, by Christina Lauren (★★★★★)
This book was so fun and delightful! Holland is a MFA graduate who is struggling to write now that she’s out in the real world, so in the meantime, she works at a Broadway theater currently housing her uncle’s hit musical. When the production’s star musician suddenly quits, she devises a plan to employ the cute guitar-playing busker that she has a huge crush on. The catch? Calvin, the busker, is an Irish immigrant whose visa has long expired, and he and Holland decide to marry in order for Calvin to save her uncle’s show. Of course, in true marriage-of-convenience fashion, real feelings soon develop between the two.
I’m usually wary of the romance genre because I sometimes struggle to find those kind of stories that also have strong writing and well-developed, believable characters. Roomies was an amazing exception that proved me wrong about the genre. I loved that it was such an accurate, loving look into the Broadway world, and the relationship between Calvin and Holland was the perfect balance between being dramatic and realistic.
I Remember You, by Harriet Evans (★★★☆☆)
Probably the most predictable of all the Harriet Evans books this month, I Remember You still has a special place in my heart because I related to protagonist Tess the most out of the three books’ heroines. She leaves her London life to return to the country village she grew up in and teach Latin at the local college, but her relationship with lifelong best friend Adam is suddenly susceptible to change when a new roommate and an upcoming class trip to Rome come into play.
If there’s anything Harriet Evans is great at, it’s describing places. I adored Tess and Adam’s English village and loved the picture Evans painted of the college class’s time in Rome. I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, but after looking collectively at all three Evans books I finished this month, I Remember You just fell a little short compared to the other two.
The Love of Her Life, by Harriet Evans (★★★★☆)
Kate, the main character in The Love of Her Life, is a very close second when it comes to the Evans heroine that most reminded me of myself. After living in New York for a few years, Kate has to return to London to visit her father, who’s recovering from serious surgery. Her time at home forces her to revisit the life-changing events that drove her away from London in the first place.
This one contained various flashbacks throughout the book, and it actually took me awhile to adjust to those time changes and catch on to what exactly went wrong for Kate. However, the novel captured my heart because I totally related to Kate always acting older than her age and feeling emotionally torn between New York and London.
Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television, by Joy Press (★★★★☆)
Exploring the female-led cable and broadcast shows that were crucial to the ongoing feminist era of TV, Stealing the Show delved as far back as the origins of Murphy Brown and Roseanne and talked about shows as new as The Mindy Project and Orange is the New Black. Author Joy Press has worked for the entertainment section of the LA Times and she obviously knows her stuff. This book was so readable, and even though I’ve never watched the majority of the shows it covered, the histories and impacts of each one were explained so smoothly.
I lost a little interest in the book’s last few chapters, which covered recent cable and streaming hits like Girls and Transparent. Although I obviously admire those shows for how they’ve changed the TV game. the sections about them just confirmed to me that they’re way too sexually graphic and blunt for me to handle, which is why I became a smidge less invested toward the book’s end. However, I loved that it included a chapter on Gilmore Girls and even mentioned one of my underrated favorites, The Middle. My one slight annoyance with the plentiful amount of shows mentioned: where was the love for Call the Midwife?
Still Me, by Jojo Moyes (★★★☆☆)
Again, I’m not tech savvy, but I would actually give this one 3.5 stars. I didn’t even realize that another sequel to Me Before You was due out until I came across Still Me‘s page on my library Overdrive a few weeks before its release. The narration of Louisa Clark makes these books so enjoyable, and I really liked the first sequel After You. Still Me, detailing Louisa’s move to New York to become a depressed rich woman’s assistant, started out strong, but after the first big conflict happened, a lot of different storylines were suddenly thrown into the mix.
Some of these went more smoothly than others, and I definitely understood the value of each subplot’s role, but they all seemed to develop a bit too quickly. Everything came together in the end, which was very cute, but something about the second half of Still Me felt like a lackluster drag.