Summertime is in full swing, meaning it’s time to announce our new Summer 2023 book club choices for The Silver Petticoat Book Club!
So, join us as we unveil our latest selections. We admit we’re in a bit of a historical mood this summer, so expect a variety of historical fiction reads from various subgenres.
We have one quick update. And, as always, information for all the newbies looking to dip their toes in our book club.
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ABOUT THE SILVER PETTICOAT BOOK CLUB – OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION
Every season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer), Amber and Autumn – twin sisters behind The Silver Petticoat Review and The Silver Petticoat Book Club – select six book recommendations. A book club focused on choosing books with love stories (it does not need to be a romance) or books with Romanticism.
Think sweet, smart, imaginative, or Austenesque in style, from classics to debut authors, bestsellers, book club books, personal nostalgic favorites, and more.
Amber and Autumn have made it their mission to select books that inspire or excite them – books that ignite a love of reading, whether it’s a fun, sensationalist read or an upmarket literary novel that explores themes of humanity.
All selected book club books range between one and three out of five on the steaminess scale and do not typically have tons of gore, profanity, or explicit content. Some novels may include a little bit of graphic text, profanity, or violence; however, it will not be throughout the book, and Amber and Autumn will give a content warning.
See the official Silver Petticoat Book Club page for more information on the genres we cover, romance steam levels, and more.
WHEN WILL THE NEW BOOK SELECTIONS BE ANNOUNCED?
New announcements will typically come near the beginning of a new season. But it could come any time during that season.
Generally, you will have a few months to choose from the current list of books and join in on reading the ones that interest you! You can also add the books to your reading list and get around to them when you want.
They’re also great choices to add to your local book clubs.
ONLINE BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO FOLLOW
The discussion is simple. Amber and Autumn will ask members on Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram about each book – albeit giving people time to read first! They’ll ask members if they’ve read the book and what they thought. You can join in at any time to share your thoughts.
You can also follow the hashtag: #TheSilverPetticoatBookClub. Also, please use the hashtag to show how you’re participating. And remember to invite your friends to join.
FOLLOW THE BOOK CLUB ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
To make it easier to buy from the selection of Silver Petticoat Book Club picks (while also supporting local bookstores), you can check out Amber and Autumn’s new bookshop on bookshop.org with a list of all the book club selections – plus some fun extras!
Check it out. It’s a fun way to support local bookstores.
A BRIEF UPDATE
In our recent re-launch of the book club, we announced that we would always include a book we haven’t read yet – so we can read it fresh with the club.
While we will still do that, we may only do it in some seasons.
THE SILVER PETTICOAT BOOK CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT FOR SUMMER 2023: SIX ENTERTAINING READS
That brings us to our Summer 2023 book club announcement, with six entertaining books to check out. As always, you can read them all or select the books that interest you.
So, let’s get to it! We hope you’ll join us in reading these six fabulous books. Below, you’ll discover why we selected each book, find the official descriptions, and buy links.
THE EMILY OF NEW MOON/EMILY STARR TRILOGY BY L.M. MONTGOMERY (CELEBRATE 100 YEARS!)
Genres: Classics, Literary Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Coming of Age, Romance
Publication Date: December 13, 1923
We chose the Emily Starr Trilogy by the beloved Canadian author, L.M. Montgomery because 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the first book, Emily of New Moon!
The Emily books ignited a spark for classic literature with us that hasn’t flamed out since. While Montgomery is most known for her Anne of Green Gables books (which are fabulous, too!), it was the Emily books we most connected with and loved.
They’re a bit darker with gothic undertones, a touch of the supernatural, and an emotional love story between characters with a soul mate-like connection.
The Emily Starr Trilogy follows Emily as she grows from a young girl to a woman with dreams of climbing the alpine path to become a writer. She deals with family issues, finds powerful friendships, and falls in love.
Ultimately, the classic series is perfect for tweens, teens, and adults and can be read time and time again.
Content Note: Nothing much except it can be depressing sometimes. And an older man wants Emily to grow up and marry him – which is altogether a strange plot. It’s entirely very G.
ABOUT EMILY OF NEW MOON
Emily Starr never knew what it was to be lonely–until her beloved father died. Now Emily’s an orphan, and her snobbish relatives are taking her to live with them at New Moon Farm. Although she’s sure she’ll never be happy there, Emily deals with her stern aunt Elizabeth and her malicious classmates by using her quick wit and holding her head high.
Things slowly begin to change for the better when Emily makes some new friends. There’s Teddy Kent, who does marvelous drawings; Perry Miller, the hired boy, who’s sailed the world with his father yet has never been to school; and above all, Ilse Burnley, a tomboy with a blazing temper. With these wonderful companions at her side and adventures around every corner, Emily begins to find her new home beautiful and fascinating–so much so that she comes to think of herself as Emily of New Moon.
In this first volume of the celebrated Emily trilogy, Lucy Maud Montgomery draws a more realistic portrait of a young orphan girl’s life on early twentieth-century Prince Edward Island.
THE BENEVOLENT SOCIETY OF ILL-MANNERED LADIES BY ALISON GOODMAN
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Publication Date: May 30, 2023, by Berkley.
Okay, we admit we’re a bit biased with this choice! A romantic mystery series about twins who also happen to be vigilante spinsters? SO MUCH, YES!
This book is for you if you like Jane Austen, the TV series Miss Scarlet and the Duke, or suspenseful detective fiction with romance (a highwayman may be involved!). We love that the book series is about non-traditional heroines and how strong the research is about the Regency Era. Plus, it’s an entertaining read.
Now, before you jump in, here are two warnings: One, this is Book 1 in the Ill-Mannered Ladies series. So, expect a cliffhanger at the end.
And two, don’t be deceived by the cute cover! While it looks like a cozy mystery on the outside, it’s a much darker book inside. The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies shows the dark underbelly of Regency times and includes some difficult content.
But if you love independent heroines (who aren’t 20), and appreciate intelligent writing, wit, and historical accuracy, don’t miss this exciting new book series.
Content Note: It’s all very PG-13-like for content that includes child and human trafficking, graphic medical surgery, cancer, some profanity, innuendo, and violence.
A high society amateur detective at the heart of Regency London uses her wits and invisibility as an ‘old maid’ to protect other women in a new and fiercely feminist historical mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman.
Lady Augusta Colebrook, “Gus,” is determinedly unmarried, bored by society life, and tired of being dismissed at the age of forty-two. She and her twin sister, Julia, who is grieving her dead betrothed, need a distraction. One soon presents itself: to rescue their friend’s goddaughter, Caroline, from her violent husband.
The sisters set out to Caroline’s country estate with a plan, but their carriage is accosted by a highwayman. In the scuffle, Gus accidentally shoots and injures the ruffian, only to discover he is Lord Evan Belford, an acquaintance from their past who was charged with murder and exiled to Australia twenty years ago. What follows is a high adventure full of danger, clever improvisation, heart-racing near misses, and a little help from a revived and rather charming Lord Evan.
Back in London, Gus can’t stop thinking about her unlikely (not to mention handsome) comrade-in-arms. She is convinced Lord Evan was falsely accused of murder, and she is going to prove it. She persuades Julia to join her in a quest to help Lord Evan, and others in need—society be damned! And so begins the beguiling secret life and adventures of the Colebrook twins.
THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN BY KATE MORTON
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Fairy Tales, Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Gothic
Publication Date: June 1, 2008, by Pan Books.
The Forgotten Garden is a New York Times bestselling novel and wonderful to read. If you love dual timeline books like Possession or the gothic children’s novel, The Secret Garden, you’ll love The Forgotten Garden.
The book follows three women from the early 20th century into the 21st with mesmerizing mysteries, captivating characters, gorgeous prose, and all with a page-turning quality within a story of imaginative Romanticism.
Content Note: The book doesn’t have profanity or violence but does include some minor (non-graphic) sensuality relevant to the story. PG-like read.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Homecoming comes a novel that takes readers on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.
A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
Find out more from Kate Morton’s official website.
SISTER NOVELISTS: THE TRAILBLAZING PORTER SISTERS, WHO PAVED THE WAY FOR AUSTEN AND THE BRONTËS BY DEVONEY LOOSER
Genres: Historical, Literary Figures, Biography, Nonfiction
Publication Date: October 25, 2022, by Bloomsbury Publishing
You’re not alone if you haven’t heard of The Porter Sisters, the women behind the historical fiction genre.
The fascinating (and beautiful) sisters were Jane Austen’s contemporaries, published authors, and mingled with the rich and famous. But unlike Austen, their letters survived, leaving a trail of intriguing historical real-life stories.
We’ve selected this biography because of its historical significance. It’s about time these women received more recognition for their accomplishments!
So, check out the well-written and researched biography. It’s a must-read for every Jane Austen or historical fiction fan, not to mention anyone interested in women’s lives from history.
For readers of Prairie Fires and The Peabody Sisters, a fascinating, insightful biography of the most famous sister novelists before the Brontës.
Before the Brontë sisters picked up their pens, or Jane Austen’s heroines Elizabeth and Jane Bennet became household names, the literary world was celebrating a different pair of sisters: Jane and Anna Maria Porter. The Porters-exact contemporaries of Jane Austen-were brilliant, attractive, self-made single women of polite reputation who between them published 26 books and achieved global fame. They socialized among the rich and famous, tried to hide their family’s considerable debt, and fell dramatically in and out of love. Their moving letters to each other confess every detail. Because the celebrity sisters expected their renown to live on, they preserved their papers, and the secrets they contained, for any biographers to come.
But history hasn’t been kind to the Porters. Credit for their literary invention was given to their childhood friend, Sir Walter Scott, who never publicly acknowledged the sisters’ works as his inspiration. With Scott’s more prolific publication and even greater fame, the Porter sisters gradually fell from the pinnacle of celebrity to eventual obscurity. Now, Professor Devoney Looser, a Guggenheim fellow in English Literature, sets out to re-introduce the world to the authors who cleared the way for Austen, Mary Shelley, and the Brontë sisters. Capturing the Porter sisters’ incredible rise, from when Anna Maria published her first book at age 14 in 1793, through to Jane’s fall from the pinnacle of fame in the Victorian era, and then to the auctioning off for a pittance of the family’s massive archive, Sister Novelists is a groundbreaking and enthralling biography of two pioneering geniuses in historical fiction.
LOVELY WAR BY JULIE BERRY
Genres: Historical Romance, War, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 5, 2019, by Viking Books for Young Readers
Lovely War is a compelling WWI saga that intertwines historical fiction, Greek mythology, and richly developed characters. It’s also an epic romance every period drama fan will love.
There’s even more than one memorable love story to enjoy.
The award-winning teen novel is a brilliant book that should be at the top of your TBR pile. It made our list of the best YA novels of 2019 – among many other lists elsewhere, including a Goodreads Choice Award. And we can’t recommend it enough.
Content Note: Racism, Racial discrimination – hate speech is used but shown in a negative light, an attempted assault, and some violence relating to the War.
Read the novel New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network Kate Quinn called “easily one of the best novels I have read all year!” A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates–and the hearts–of four mortals in their hands.
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called “a modern master of historical fiction” by Bookpage and “a celestially inspired storyteller” by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork.
ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER BY REBECCA ANDERSON
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Clean Romance, Victorian
Publication Date: May 4, 2021, by Shadow Mountain
Isabelle and Alexander is the perfect book to read if you love Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South since it’s set in Victorian times with a slow-burn romance, industrialization, and even cotton mills.
The sweet read contains swoony moments, memorable characters, and lovely prose.
You can also read an excerpt from Isabelle and Alexander here.
Content Note: G-like. It’s very wholesome.
“Beautifully depicts love in its many forms. Characters illustrate the ways these expressions of love carry us through even the darkest hours.”
Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time. Alexander Osgood is handsome, well-known, and wealthy, but he is distant and aloof, spending much of his time at his textile mill.
Moreover, Northern England is nothing like Isabelle’s home in the Lake Country, and her marriage is far from the fairy tale she expected. Conversations with Alexander are awkward, when they happen at all, and Isabelle struggles with loneliness.
Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander brings Isabelle to his country estate. During their time together, the couple begins to build a friendship, opening up to each other about the details of their lives. But when a tragic accident leaves Alexander unable to walk, their fledgling relationship is tested.
Isabelle is determined to see to her husband’s recovery, and in caring for him, she discovers within herself an untapped well of strength and courage. In learning to rely on each other, the couple has an opportunity to forge a love connection that they both have longed for but never dreamed could be.
So, who’s reading with us this summer? And what books will you be reading? Let us know in the comments below!