By Guest Blogger Lisa Witherspoon

I have a love-hate relationship with book stores. I LOVE perusing all the books, reading the summaries, and adding to my  “to-read” list. I HATE that I can’t read them all!

When my three daughters were little, my love for reading is one of the many things that I put on the back burner because I simply didn’t have the time or energy. However, as my kids got older, I re-invested in my love of reading and, now, I am almost always in the middle of a book. Last year, I even started a monthly book club with friends!

For the past few years, my goal has been at least twelve books a year – one per month (which probably seems minuscule to some avid readers!). With a new decade, I decided on a new goal – 20 books in 2020!

Here are the twenty books on my list:

Historical Fiction

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger – Set in 1932 Minnesota, this is the story of four orphans who escape from the Lincoln School and set off on an epic journey in hopes of finding a better life and a place of their own.

The Only Woman In the Room by Marie Benedict – Hedy is a beautiful actress married to a powerful Austrian arms dealer. When she flees her husband and the rise of the Nazis, she lands in Hollywood. But, Hedy is not just beautiful – she is a brilliant scientist with a remarkable idea. Based on a true story.

Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – The story of five depression era women in Kentucky who set out to answer Eleanor Roosevelt’s call for traveling libraries. (There has been some controversy around this book, essentially accusing Moyes of plagiarizing a lesser known book called The Book Women of Troublesome Creek. Moyes & her publisher have denied these claims.)

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris – 1931 – When prohibition and economic depression are prominent, struggling reporter, Ellis Reed, stumbles upon two children in the countryside holding a sign that reads “Children For Sale.” What Reed, and secretary to the newspaper chief, Lillian Palmer, do with the photo sets off an unpredictable chain of events.

A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake – Alternating between past and present, grad student Kate Drayton, goes to Charleston hoping to uncover the reasons behind her recently deceased mother’s obsession with the city while also researching the slave revolt of 1822. In the process, she discovers historical and family connections she never knew about.


The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – At 25, Libby learns she has inherited a mansion in an upscale London neighborhood. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to the same house where they found three dead bodies, one baby, and the other four children missing.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher – Thursday is one of Seth’s wives. He has two others, Monday & Tuesday, but Thursday has never met them and has never wanted to – until she stumbles across a the name, Hannah, and her curiosity is stirred.

Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – Rowan accepts a live-in nannying position with a generous salary. As she writes to her lawyer from prison, she tries to explain the events that unraveled, leaving a child dead and Rowan in prison for murder. But, is she is not the murderer, who is?

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – Jules is enamored by the majesty of the building where she has taken a job as an apartment sitter in Manhattan. She becomes friends with fellow apartment sitter, Ingrid who tells her the building is not what it seems. The next day Ingrid is gone and Jules sets out to uncover the building’s past.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – Jessica signs up to participate in a psychology experiment that she thinks will entail answering some simple questions. Then, the questions become more invasive and the task more intense. Soon, it is hard to tell what is real and what is part of Dr. Shields’ experiment.

Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline – Four teenagers decided to pull a prank on a new friend that went horribly wrong and tore them apart. Twenty years later, three of the four reunite and secrets resurface as well as the desire to uncover the truth about what happened.

General Fiction

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane – (From the Publisher) A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Things You Save in A Fire by Katherine Center – Cassie is used to being one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse. However, when she moves back to Boston to care for her mother, what she find in that firehouse there is a very different story.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – When aging and reclusive Hollywood icon, Evelyn Hugo, requests Monique to interview her, Monique is ecstatic, but unsure why Evelyn would have chosen her. As Evelyn tells the story of her life (including her seven husbands) it becomes clear that their lives are intertwined.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano – Twelve year old Edward Adler is the sole survivor of a plane crash. Without his family, Edward struggles to find his place in the world – until he makes a surprising discovery.

You Were There, Too by Colleen Oakley – Mia’s life seems perfect – everything people dream of. But, Mia has a recurring dream that always includes the same man. Then, when she and her husband relocate to a small Pennsylvania town, she comes face to face with the man in her dreams- and, he has been dreaming of her, too.

The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood – Zee is tough as nails. Gentry is shy and autistic. When an abduction rips Zee’s family apart, she turns to the last person she ever anticipated – Gentry. This is the beginning of a series of events that will change both their lives and bind them together forever.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah- After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna returns to rural Illinois to resume her research, but she is interrupted by a mysterious girl, Ursa. Concerned for the girl’s well-being, Joann takes her in and asks her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel, to help her solve the mystery of the child.

Everything I Never Told You by Celest Ng – A Chinese American family in the 1970s, Lydia’s parents are determined that their daughter will fulfill the dreams they were not able to pursue. But, when Lydia’s body is found in a local lake, their family is destroyed.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain – It is 1970 and Caroline is devastated to find out her unborn child has a heart defect. Hunter, whose appearance in their lives and his past both remain mysterious, tells her that something can be done – something that will require an incredible leap of faith.

What great books did you read in 2019? What books are on your reading list for 2020?

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