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  • JillianForsberg

Recent Reads 2024: Jan-March

Hey there! I've been a busy bee, updating my Substack and socials more than my own blog! But I'm updating now with a list of my reads for the first three months of 2024.

THE AZIOLA'S CRY by Ezra Harker Shaw

I knew nothing about Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley besides that she was the author of Frankenstein until I read THE AZIOLA'S CRY by Ezra Harker Shaw.

Now, after finishing the biographical historical fiction novel, I am in awe of the life Mary lived. In Harker Shaw's novel, the relationship between Mary and her lover and eventual husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, takes center stage.

Harker Shaw's incredible prose and detailed story telling transport you to the 19th century in a way I had never experienced before. I felt as if I were living inside Mary and Percy's minds. More here.


This book gripped me. I love a little magical realism, though I normally wouldn't pair it with 1950s Missouri. Loretta, a Bible college housewife, experiences wild visions of those passed on.

In Kennedy's suspenseful novel, Loretta shows us the dark side of suburbia and of mid-century mental health care. This book had it all: love, murder, mystery, women's rights, 50's fashion, friendship, and vintage food.

I read this book very quickly and did not want to put it down. I'm sure you'll love it too!

STAR GAZER by Chris Platt

I read this aloud to my 8 year old daughter, who literally begged for me to read one more page. This young adult novel was so fun to experience with my horse-obsessed kiddo.

It's really important to read multiple genres, and young reader books are no different. Characterization is often much easier to grasp, even when dealing with big topics, like this book did: animal abuse, divorce, young love, religious discrimination, poverty, small town politics.

We both really enjoyed it and I'm glad for horsey books for my daughter.

PLEASURE & AMBITION: The Life, Loves, and Wars of Augustus the Strong by Tony Sharp

The only biography in English I could find of Augustus the Strong, Tony Sharp take us on a literary journey of a very well-rounded ruler.

By well-rounded I mean at times abhorrent, and at times such a patron of the arts that's it's difficult to hate the guy. But let me be clear: Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland in the early 1700s, was not a nice guy. All of us have good and bad in us. Most of us won't have our bad stuff documented in such historical detail like Augustus did.

We have a British courtier to thank for most of this record. Sharp's work often led me to believe he really liked Augustus despite his many mistresses, drunken escapades, bastards, and overall unpleasant decisions. This book definitely helped me with characterization in my work in progress!

That's it for now! I'm currently re-reading MARVELOUS by Molly Greeley, which is a 16th century histfic wonder.

More later, friends!

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