The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

TheBoysintheBoatOur book club recently read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  If you read only a handful of books this year, please put it at the top of your list. It is non-fiction at its finest, filled with facts, yet reads like story.  Daniel Brown tells the story of the University of Washington’s men’s crew team competing in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  The story starts long before Berlin, with 9 boys coming together in Seattle, when the city was barely establishing itself.  The story of Joe, the main character is heart-breaking and inspiring.  With little support, or hardly a family to call his own, he begins to row at the University of Washington.  Joe’s story is an incredible tale of tenacity and overcoming adversity.  Brown explains the technicalities of rowing in such simple rich language that you will be enveloped and enthralled as you read.  As Hitler is rising to power and putting a gleaming sheen on Germany for the entire world to see; these humble boys come and fight for the Gold, with every ounce of strength they have.  The Boys in the Boat is rich with World War II history, Seattle history, and the thrill of competition.  If you liked stories like Rudy, Hoosiers, or Cinderella Man, you will love this book.  Put it in your top 5 for the year.  The audiobook is fantastic.

To Download on Amazon, click the link here:

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

To Download the Audiobooks, click the link here:

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The History of the Fortune Hunter

When I read historical fiction I always like to know a little back story on the real events.  It helps connect me to the story and understand nuances when the author brings the era or person to life.  Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria is one of the main characters in The Fortune Hunter.  She became an empress at 16, did not care for life at court, and rebelled against her traditional duties.  She was known for her very long hair and rigorous beauty routines.   During her life time she had 2 daughters and finally a son, an heir to the throne.  Her mother in law was very controlling and did not allow her to care for her own children.  She spent a great deal of her life traveling apart from her husband and riding horses until her health did not permit it anymore.  The Fortune Hunter brings her to life beautifully.  Here is a picture of her with her very long hair, it is said it took 3 hours a day to care for it and caused her extreme headaches.

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Bay Middleton was a handsome equestrian as well and was asked by the Empress to be her pilot on her hunting excursions.  Charlotte Baird was later his wife.  This book tells the story of their life before marriage.

To Order this book on Amazon, click here: The Fortune Hunter: A Novel

The Fortune Hunter

the fortune hunterOld England as a setting always wins me over, and it was no different with The Fortune Hunter.  When the book opens, it is hunting season and these high class English are up for a good fox hunt.  The main characters in this story are Charlotte Baird, an heiress and photographer, and The Empress of Austria.  Charlotte is heir to the Lennox fortune and naturally has to wade through conniving men wanting her money more than her.  She bucks tradition and follows her love of photography and horses more than society and social expectations.   Throw in a handsome equestrian named Bay Middleton, and you have quite a love story during hunting season.  I loved this book on audio, if you do audio books at all this is a perfect one to listen to.  There are 3 different accents that bring this story to life.  The beginning takes a bit of perseverance to get through, but it is a strong story.  It is an opulent portrayal of royalty and wealth, the search for true love and the longing to be known and cherished as a person, not an opportunity.