Book Reviews for March 2023

Written by Michelle Watson

March 14, 2023

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It was a GOOD reading month for me!

Here is some candid footage of me sneaking in some reading time:

Yeah, my pants feel tight. 🫣

My book reviews for March 2023 include

  • An extra-long, bucket-list classic (finished ahead of schedule, go me!)
  • An absolutely adorable regency romance (no smut!)
  • An addicting modern romcom (PG-13)
  • An emotional novel that made me cry
  • Cute kids’ series and middle-grade books

Here’s where you can find me on Goodreads and The Storygraph. Connect with me so that I can see what you’re reading, too!

Middlemarch

By George Eliot

Small-town comings and goings brilliantly described

You’ll love it if you crave a story with subtext.

I FINISHED. The amazing thing about this book is how deeply the characters are drawn. Let’s pretend all the characters in this book are trees. At some point, each one is cut down by something—some tragedy or disappointment or twist of fate—and then, we look at the stump and examine the rings. Each ring-layer reveals an aspect of the inner person that wasn’t known or understood until the hewing down.

There’s no point in trying to describe the plot. But know this: George Eliot takes seemingly mundane things (and a few not-so mundane things) and makes them feel immense. And aren’t all the little dramas of our lives intensely dear to us as we’re living them in the moment? Don’t all the little choices we make add up to something of great significance?

Content warnings: None

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting

By Sophie Irwin

Kitty must save her family from poverty by marrying money. Can she snag a husband before the repo men come callin’?

You’ll love it if you want a fun little escape from everyday life, Jane Austen-style

This is now my go-to recommendation for a feel-good, clean romance!!! Fast-paced, sweet, funny. This is the best kind of cupcake book! Kitty is a fortune hunter, yes, but she’s selling herself in marriage to save her sisters from poverty and disgrace, so we’re rooting for her. 😂

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Eleanor Tomlinson, the actress who played Demelza in Poldark, and she’s GREAT.

Content warnings: None, really. Everyone keeps their bloomers and pantaloons on. YAY!

The Bodyguard

By Katherine Center

An emotionally stressed female bodyguard is assigned to protect a hunky film star, and ANTICS.

You’ll love it if you want to inhale a cute romcom in one gulp

This book was like a romcom movie in my head—totally unbelievable but totally adorable and cheer-worthy. This is the kind of escapist, wish-fulfillment book that I’m often wary of…we can’t read a book like this and then be sad because Hollywood A-listers aren’t falling in love with our personalities. 😆 But, it’s a worthy beach read—tons of fun and very sweet. (Just make sure your disbelief is fully suspended.)

Content warnings: There’s PG-13 language with a few F-bombs. This was decidedly closed door, which I appreciated. There’s kissing and references to sex but nothing explicit is described.

The Light Between Oceans

By M. L. Stedman

A couple living on an isolated lighthouse island find a rowboat with a dead man and a baby inside.

You’ll love it if you’re craving a gorgeously crafted story with tons of moral layers.

I received this book as part of a Christmas book exchange—Hi Natalie!!!—and I knew that I wanted to savor it. Based on what I’d heard and the excellent taste of the giver, I knew I’d enjoy it!

This is the type of book that’ll rip your heart out if you allow it. It’s written with so much empathy for everyone. It forces you to see these people as people, to feel with them, even as you’re begging them, “No! Please don’t! Don’t do it!”

Content warnings: Miscarriage and adoption loss are two huge triggers for this book.

Fortunately, the Milk

By Neil Gaiman

A father runs out to the store for some milk. What could go wrong?

You’ll love it if you want a lightning-quick, funny book to read aloud with your kids (ages 8+)

I read this in about 30 minutes one night. This is the kind of “pure fun” book that you can read for a good chuckle. Snap it closed, and you’re done. Personally, I prefer kids’ books with a little more there there.

Content warnings: It’s a weird book. You may love the weirdness or detest it. I decided to wait before sharing this one with my kids, just because I think the humor will fly over their heads.

The Storm

By Cynthia Rylant

A lonely lighthouse cat saves a dog, and they adopt mice.

You’ll love it if you enjoyed Brambly Hedge, the Heartwood Hotel, and other simple animal tales.

Super cute animal story and the first in this notable series by the wonderful Cynthia Rylant. My boys and I listened to this 45-minute audiobook in the car one day as we were running errands around town. It’s very gentle and sweet.

Content warnings: None

Eight Cousins

By Louisa May Alcott

A spoiled, sickly teenage girl is restored to health and happiness with help from her eight cousins.

You’ll love it if you want a cross between The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables

Rose is prim and delicate, just like the flower she’s named after. When her father dies, she’s ultimately put in custody of her uncle, a cheerful sailor-doctor. (What do they call the doctor aboard a ship—is there a name for that job?) He quickly realizes that what Rose needs is plenty of time outdoors and lots of adventures with her eight cousins—a clan of rough-and-tumble boys ranging in age from 16 to 6.

This is just what you expect from Alcott. Lots of amazing parenting advice packaged in a sweet story. Yay.

Content warnings: None

Tales from Deckawoo Drive

By Kate DiCamillo

FUN chapter books loaded with pictures and tons of homeschool potential

You’ll love it if you enjoyed Mercy Watson and want deeper, longer stories where the supporting cast take center stage

I’ve read these with my boys before, but we’re doing it again, just for fun. These chapter books are longer and more complex than the original Mercy Watson books. As a homeschool mom, I see lots of awesome potential for teaching vocabulary, theme, foreshadowing, and detail in a way that’s fun. These books are nothing if not funny!

Hot off the press! The latest installment is available for pre-order: Mercy Watson Is Missing. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that hot buttered toast may play a pivotal role.

Content warnings: None

The Fabled Stables

By Jonathan Auxier

Auggie is a kid with a job—to care for the fantastic beasts living in the Fabled Stables

You’ll love it if you want a fun adventure story decorated with incredible full-color pictures

Honestly, the first book in this series didn’t capture me like I thought it would, but I absolutely loved the second (The Tattle-tail) and the third (Belly of the Beast). The amazing full-color illustrations in this series make it total eye-candy for kids!

Auxier said that his goal is to write a book series that’s equally enjoyed by young and older kids. Basically, he wants to write the ultimate family-pleasing read-aloud. And it’s a contender, for sure.

Content warnings: None

Adding to your TBR? Try this! 👇

Check out all the books I’ve reviewed

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