My Girlish Whims Book Club #6

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It's a rainy Sunday in Pennsylvania today and all I feel like doing is curling up on the couch and reading all day. Luckily I don't have many plans so I think I will be able to do a fair amount of lazing around and making some progress on my next book.  Before I start that though I wanted to do an update of my last book club and a round up of the last four books I read!

The January meet-up for my in person book club was held earlier this month at Founding Farmers in King of Prussia. This is a new restaurant that recently opened in our area and it was my first time trying it. We had our own private room for the night and the door to go in was decorated to look like a bookcase. Of course I had to strike a pose in front of it for a photo - how very fitting for our book club :)

 The restaurant was really nice: great service and everyone's food looked really yummy.  The atmosphere is really cool in there too: they had local artists do all the design work and there were some really interesting pieces throughout the restaurant.  I definitely want to come back sometime and sit at the bar to try some more of the yummy cocktails on the menu.  We all enjoyed having a few drinks and catching up on life and discussing out latest book! And so...without further ado... here is the book we read for our club followed by my other three recent reads!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

By Taylor Jenkins Reid. Synopsis from Amazon:

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

I adored this book.  I really enjoy novels that have two separate stories going on: one in the past and one in the present where we get to follow the two separate narratives in the book and ultimately learn how they intertwine at the end.  The major premise and one storyline in the book follows Monique interviewing a Hollywood icon to write about her story and her life.  Through this experience, we also learn about Monique’s life and struggles as a journalist and her own personal relationships.  The main story however focuses on Evelyn Hugo’s past and leads us through the tales of all of her seven separate husbands.  Surprisingly enough though: the husbands are not the main characters of the story and we get to follow quite a lot of scandal and intrigue as Evelyn tells the secrets of her past.  Ultimately the story climaxes with an event that connects Evelyn to Monique in a very interesting way and I was so fearful leading up to this point as to what that event was because I really grew to like and admire Evelyn through the story – even though she did not always have the best character traits she truly became a likeable protagonist.  I did not want to put the book down.  Lots of events to follow, this book kept me entertained the whole time and I would definitely recommend it and everyone in my book club really enjoyed it as well!

I Let You Go

By Clare Mackintosh. Synopsis from Amazon: 

On a rainy afternoon, a mother's life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street...
I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

This book surprised me. I read a few reviews of the book (without spoilers) that talked about a "twist" in the book they didn't see coming - but I REALLY didn't see it coming. And more than that - I didn't see where it came in the book - typically twists come towards the end but a major twist in this book happened only mid-way through the novel which left me saying - "wait...what?!?" and wondering how I still had half a book left to read! I was glad I still had half a book left though: I enjoyed the book a lot! I got mad at the main character at one's hard to say why without spoiling things but ultimately I think part of her story was SLIGHTLY unrealistic but it still fit in well to the storyline which helped to further the mystery and move along the plot. A good read with mystery, a love story, and even a little relationship drama and scandal as we followed a separate story line of the police investigators trying to investigate the car accident this was a solid read. Not spectacular, but a good book that I would I still read over again.

Not Perfect: A Novel

By Elizabeth LaBan. Synopsis from Amazon:

From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes a captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.

Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”

Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.
Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.

I got this book for free from my monthly Amazon Prime free book selection and it was good...for a free book.  It was a fun and easy read but parts of it made me mad because it was so unrealistic. Tabitha is pinching pennies because her husband disappears and so does her only income stream...and so she starts "stealing" things like toilet paper from restaurants or basil from someone's garden or extra food from a buffet at a free event to try and keep up her family's lifestyle.  She is a mother of two children and literally runs out of food for her family but just refuses to ask for help.  Like, come one. I don't think any mother in real life would ever care so much about "keeping up appearances" that she wouldn't reach out for help if she was literally having difficulty feeding her children.  Or make more of an effort to find a job instead of going on like two measly job interviews over a four month period. After I got over how slightly unrealistic the story line was I did end up enjoying the book overall but the far fetched story line and certain things the main character did just made me mad. A fun free read for me at least!

The Marriage Pact

By Michelle Richmond. Synopsis from Amazon:

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

This was a really good book! I did not want to stop reading it.  The idea of the Pact was very intriguing to me but as the story progressed it quickly became apparent that it was less of a "pact" and more of a cult.  There was a good amount of mystery throughout the book as we learned the true extent of how the pact operated and the different characters involved in it which kept me very interested. I really liked the two main characters, Jake and Alice, and I feel like the author did a great job with their character development I really found myself routing for them throughout the novel.  The only thing that bugged me about the book was how the author talked about how Jake and Alice were generally pretty fit/slender (one of the rules of the Pact was that they had to stay within so many pounds of their marriage weight, so they were actually weighted at one point in the story) but practically the only food the author ever describes them eating was greasy takeout, desserts, and alcohol. Major eye roll: if that's all the that the characters were actually eating there is NO WAY they would be so slim. Minor detail and really didn't derail from how good the book was, but as someone who focuses on diet so much and has to put so much effort into making healthy choices to stay in shape that detail made me mad haha.

Have you guys read any of the same books? If so let me know your thoughts or which of these books you may want to try next!


  1. I'm putting The Marriage Pact on my "to read" list. Sounds good!

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