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.


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One Day in December

Surprise, surprise – more love! Sorry I’m not sorry – I love these books. Although I do like a thriller or nonfiction break occasionally (which is coming up soon). One Day in December by Josie Silver was a quick, easy read about missed chances and what-ifs. It’s not quite a rom com because honestly I didn’t find much humor in it. Some was even a little sad.

Laurie experiences love at first sight through a bus window and is pretty sure the guy felt the same way. But he didn’t make it on the bus before it pulled away (I’m sure in a highly dramatic fashion). She spends the next year searching for ‘bus boy’. (Side note – when you’re dating, you HAVE to have nicknames.) And eventually she does find him….when he is introduced to her as her roommate’s new boyfriend who she is falling head-over-heels for. What would you do?! Would you immediately tell your roommate (who has been searching with you) that she is dating ‘bus boy’??

Laurie has to make this decision and (spoiler alert) she doesn’t say a word. She continues to live with this secret for years and I think it literally eats away at her. The story covers many years and the relationships of the two roommates, both with each other and with their significant others, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I won’t give everything away because where’s the fun in that.

But this would make another GREAT movie, as with my last book, and if you like the cheesy, gushy stories (but with a little more real life thrown in) this one is for you. Enjoy!

onedayindec

 


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Every Breath

I used to read Nicholas Sparks books as soon as they were printed, but I haven’t read any of his in a long time. They honestly got to be a little predictable and blah. But my mom brought one of his newer books to me recently so I gave it a shot.

Every Breath is based on a true story and it’s obviously (if you know anything about Sparks’ novels) a love story. Main character, Hope, is “on a break” in her relationship and escapes to her family’s beach house to think about some things. Other main character, Tru, born and raised in Africa, receives a letter and plane ticket from his biological father, who he has never met before. Tru, of course, ends up staying at the beach house next to Hope’s and they have an instant connection.

They spent a little less than a week together, walking the beach, cooking dinner, getting to know each other. They visit a known nearby destination called Kindred Spirit – a mailbox where people leave stories, letters, and thoughts and other people can come and read them. Kindred Spirit will play an incredible role in their story later on.

Again, I’m always torn on how much detail to give. The story is pretty absurd but you can expect nothing less from a Sparks novel. It’s a story of love, loss, and making difficult decisions. Good, quick read. Enjoy!


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The Language of Love

No relationship is perfect – be it romantic or friendship, there will be ups and downs. There are many ways to show someone that you care – but everyone values those various ways differently. And in any relationship it can be helpful to not only know you’re own preferences, but also the preferences of the other person. For example, some people don’t care about getting actual gifts, but for some people that is how they know to show they care. I had heard of the 5 love languages a while ago and had discussions with friends about what their language was, but I just recently did my own profile.

Gary Chapman is a marriage guru and created the love languages series. You can take the survey for free on the website and you can find out what language has the most meaning for you. There are 5 love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. And I think it’s pretty accurate. I had a tie between two: quality time and words of affirmation (described below). Not surprised at all. I’ve added the book to my list so will report back on that after reading – there’s even a singles edition.

Are you single? Learn what your languages mean the most to you and use that info in friendships and future relationships. In a relationship or married? Learn your language and your significant others’ language. Read the description for what matters to them so you can show them you care in the most meaningful way for them. Why would you not want to do that?

love1

 

love2


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American Young

Another new duo found through my Spotify Discover – American Young. Their voices fit perfectly together. And I really like this song. Despite what anyone thinks or hopes, love – be it romantic, friendship, or family – is never perfect and isn’t always easy. Ok, sure, everyone probably knows that, but I think we all need to be reminded.

Sometimes love is a white flag

Sometimes love is standing tall

Sometimes love is a feather

Sometimes a cannon ball

But it’s worth fighting for

Baby, sometimes love is war