Saturday, June 30

Like a lot of people, I tend to want to read something a little more lightweight and breezy during the summer. The dark watches of February may lend themselves to heavy tomes detailing the history of the plague in Western Europe, but you sure don't want something like that with you by the pool!

I recently discovered three series that fit the summer reading bill: fast-paced and well-written, entertaining but with a little "meat" slipped in for some light brain fodder. I have not read all of the books in each series (that's something to be thankful for, as summer has just started) but I am going to go ahead and recommend them anyway.

The Shenandoah Album Series by Emilie Richards. The titles (Wedding Ring, Endless Chain, Lover's Knot) are based on quilt patterns, and these fast-moving mystery novels also give you a whopping dose of Virginia's Shenandoah mountains history, culture and folklore. Actually, I realize now that I HAVE read them all. Hurry up with the writing Ms. Richards!

The Margaret of Ashbury trilogy, by Judith Merkle Riley. I read the last one first by mistake, but I am looking forward to reading the first two in order. Set in late medieval Europe, and thoroughly researched (I believe Ms. Riley is a college history professor) the one I read was sort of a mystery/suspense/humor melange: hard to describe but very enjoyable.

The Barleybridge Novels by Rebecca Shaw. This series about a veterinary clinic situated in a small English town appears to be a sort of hybrid of James Herriott and Miss Read...perfect vacation reading!

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