Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Summer Before the War

I have definitely been on a historical fiction kick lately. Not completely by choice, though, and I’m itching to switch it up a little bit. But they’ve been books I was either reading with friends or became available from my holds list. My last book, Lost Roses, was I think the first WWI historical fiction I had read and it just so turned out that this one was too – just from a very different perspective.

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson begins in England 1914, the summer before the country joins WWI. A young woman, Beatrice, has just been hired to be the new latin teacher at the school in the coastal town of Rye, which is unusual at best. She is a single woman whose money is wrapped up in a trust left by her late father and controlled by her vicious aunt. But she is determined to make a life for herself. She arrives in the summer to get settled and tutor some students. She is quickly taken under the wing of Agatha, who went out on a limb to get her hired as the first female in such a desired teaching position, and her two nephews who are staying for the summer.

The summer turns exciting when the town begins taking in Belgian refugees to do their part in the pre-war effort. This of course comes with plenty of drama as the wealthier class shuffles for recognition, not realizing what is coming for England. As the summer rolls on, Beatrice becomes close with Agatha’s two nephews, Hugh and Daniel, who are polar opposites and stir up some drama of their own. Hugh thinks he is in love with his mentor’s daughter and Daniel is a poet and everything is dramatic.

The war eventually comes to England, and Rye, and the end of the book is a whirlwind of battles, both local and abroad. But I won’t give anything away. The book was a little slow at the beginning but redeemed itself. And fair warning, I did cry a little at the end. I’m just glad I wasn’t riding the train when reading it – thanks corona virus! Can’t wait to discuss with my friends!


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After I Do

I have now read 3 books (one was a short story) by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I love her. They have all been different but have some similarities. They have all been about relationships in some way, shape, or form.

After I Do was obviously about a married couple who met young and got married after college. It was a little boring to me and probably my least favorite of the 3 I’ve read by Reid, but it was interesting to read being a [semi] newlywed. A year and a half isn’t truly still newlywed, right?

Lauren and Ryan hit a big rut in their marriage and are not communicating, not interacting, and resenting each other. So they decide to take a year off. He moves out, she stays in the house and keeps the dog. It is understandably tortuous, but they hold out. Life continues. Lauren’s life – which the book focuses on – has it’s own challenges apart from her marriage problems. Now, I don’t how realistic or common this is – to take a year off with no communication and no counseling. It seems a little far-fetched to me but it also takes place in Los Angles, so maybe it’s a thing there. I can’t imagine doing something like this, even if things are rocky in your marriage.

I won’t give away the end because that’s the whole story – do they get back together and work things out?! But overall the story has a great message about the importance of communication in a relationship and the importance of working for your marriage. It was also a very quick read and was free through Kindle unlimited (thanks 3 month trial)!


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Love and Respect

We love our small group through Buckhead Church and believe in the importance of community. It’s especially great to have other newly married couples in our lives as well as leaders who have been in our shoes. In the year and a half that we’ve been together, we’ve done various studies and books and we just finished Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Most of group had heard of this book and some had it already but hadn’t read it. My husband and I had never heard of it (though I was corrected by my sister-in-law that she told me about it 5 years ago – but I wasn’t married 5 years ago so that apparently went in one ear and out the other).

Overall, we enjoyed the book. The gist is that women crave love, while men crave respect. Obviously it’s never as black and white as it seems, but overall we agree with the book. Dr. Eggerichs goes through the ways that how, as husbands and wives, we do not show love or respect for our spouse, as well as ways to show love and respect to your spouse. I know when I put it this simply it seems very easy. But the book brought up ideas that I had never thought about before and it brought out some great conversation both within our group as well as between my husband and I.

I will say that there were times when the suggestions or topics felt a little out-dated. But again, overall the message was one that was good, that applied to our relationship within our marriage, and that we learned from.