The best kind of beautiful by Frances Whiting

Amy Best Kind of BeautifulFlorence Saint Claire is a former child star from a famous, musical family. These days, she works for a horticultural group based in a library (?!), alongside Albert Flowers, who seems to have his social life sorted, unlike Florence. It’s about overcoming fears, fitting in, connecting, and kindness. A sweet, gentle, quirky read, for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

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Steel Magnolias

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Having read Sally Field’s autobiography earlier this year, I thought it was time to revisit the movie from which I know her best. It was a delightfully nostalgic movie. Set in the American South, in the 1980s, it is full of fabulous actors (Dolly Parton!), and is funny, sweet, heartbreaking, and whimsical.

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The bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

amy-the-bookshop.jpgI thought the film was pretty bleak, so I wanted to read the book to see if it was different. If anything, it is significantly more bleak, but also simpler, and somehow more affecting. Florence Green is a widow who opens a bookshop in a small, not especially lovely, coastal English town. It’s not a happy story, not even a little, and it isn’t about the power of books, really, either. It is, however, a quietly powerful story of relationships, strength, and quirky personalities.

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Normal people by Sally Rooney

amy-normal-people.jpgSet between 2011 and 2015, this is the story of Marianne and Connell whose relationship begins in secret while they are at school, and how it and they change as they leave their small town and go to Dublin for university. It’s about class, communication, love, abuse, mental illness, friendship and the struggle to find one’s place in the world as an adult. It’s very modern, and made me feel old, but it was very compelling.

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