Alicia Keys- More Myself: A Journey
For those of us who have long been fans, and in awe of the all around musical talent of Alicia Keys, we may assume that she was raised in a privileged environment that cultivated her gifts. To say I was surprised that wasn't the case would be an understatement. Being a native New Yorker, I remember what the neighborhoods were like where Alicia was raised. I found them scary and intimidating just to drive through, I can't imagine what it was truly like being raised there, by a single parent, no less.
Alicia takes us on a journey through her past with unbelievable grace. It is evident that she has done a lot of healing, but is no victim. Her story is not only inspirational, it showcases that each of us is born with gifts that we must cultivate no matter where we are raised.
I listened to this book in the audible version while taking a long drive. It was as if Alicia was sitting in the passenger seat, like a friend, sharing her story. I could have driven all day. I was enthralled.
This read will serve as a motivating launch to be our authentic selves in 2021.
Sue Monk Kidd- The Book of Longings
When a favorite author has a book release coming, it is like waiting to go on a much-anticipated vacation. Sue's latest novel, featuring a young woman, Ana, fiercely trying to be her authentic self in an oppressive, male dominated era is an eye opening reminder of how far women have come, and yet, how much more we have to go to experience true equality. Even being married to Jesus, we all know who he is, didn't elevate her status or make her journey that much easier. Her devoted Aunt Yaltha, however, shows us how powerful female mentors can be in our lives.
The historical detail of this well-researched novel left me feeling as if I were there in the first century, dusty, with limited color. I feel compelled to share with you that the first part of the story may not be an easy read. In fact, if you are triggered by abuse, please be forewarned. At one point, I put the book down, thinking that maybe this isn't what I wanted to read during an already stressful Pandemic. However, after listening to some podcast interviews with the author about the book, and trusting that Sue would not leave her readers feeling traumatized, I picked it back up and continued on Ana's quest. I'm glad that I did and I think you will too.
Barbara O'Neal: When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel
This book was by far one of the greatest surprise reads of the year for me. I stumbled upon it while flicking through reviews of women's fiction books on Amazon. It was actually published in later 2019, but I discovered it in 2020 so I am including it on my list. With over 19,000 four and a half reviews, I was intrigued.
Part suspense, part family drama, this story featuring two sisters, whose lives became drastically separated in a profound way, will hook you from the beginning. Untangling their complicated past, while experiencing the pain and healing along the way, left me with a satisfied feeling that love can heal all wounds.
Learn more and order these books if you like. What were your favorite reads this year?