Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney: It’s New Years Eve 1984 in New York City and 85 year old Lillian Boxfish takes a walk around her neighborhood and down memory lane. Inspired by the life of real-life Margaret Fishback – the world’s highest-paid female advertising copywriter in the 1930s, Lillian is likable and worth listening to. The novel reads like a conversation with an older woman you meet at a park and can’t resist getting to know.
If this book had been published in 1984, Katharine Hepburn would surely have played Lillian Boxfish in a movie adaptation. I didn’t start out imagining Kate in the role but by the end I could hear her voice and picture her every gesture. Kate’s memoir Me is another trip down memory lane with a female trailblazer. In The Lion In Winter, Eleanor of Aquitaine (played by Katharine) shares Lillian’s history of success, sharp wit and charming personality.
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin: Queen Victoria is iconic. Most imagine an elder woman, dressed in black with a dour expression but she was a girl queen once and this novel tells the story of her first years on the throne. A (embellished?) romance with palace intrigue, it’s hard to put down and you help but feel that the novel ends far too early in her reign.
I’m always drawn to historical novels about prominent figures and Victoria stands head and shoulders (figuratively speaking) above most. I read this book completely oblivious to the Masterpiece series and was delighted to learn about it. I caught episode 5 and it’s breathtakingly gorgeous to watch and follows the book in great detail. I hope it reruns or plays on Netflix/Amazon so I can watch it in full, fortunately there are still two more episodes to air. As for a complimentary book recommendation, Victoria’s Daughters is a fascinating look at the impact the Queen had on Europe’s monarchies.
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines: Joanna and Chip Gaines are charming on Fixer Upper and they are charming in this book. It’s literally a conversation in which they share their journey as business (and life) partners. They have been blessed and their story is one for a television movie one day but more than that it’s inspirational. I finished the book in a day and stayed up during the night evaluating where my life is and where I want it to go.
You’ll finish The Magnolia Story feeling inspired and if you need more inspiration look to Dave Ramsey and Sarah Richardson. Debt is a big part of the Gaines’ story and The Total Money Makeover is a must-read for anyone not independently wealthy. If you prefer to stick with the ‘pretty’ inspirations, I continue to be a big fan of Sarah Richardson. Her style is a bit more colorful than Joanna’s but they are both classic. Read one her home decor books or catch one of her shows on HGTV.