Welcome to our Ten Book Challenge where our favorite authors share their “Book-It List”—a book bucket list with 10 of their most beloved and memorable reads—from the books with their favorite covers and best opening lines, to the reads they gift and the bookstores they frequent. This is a peek into your favorite authors’ perfect bowl of literary comfort food. We hope you discover something delicious!
In 2019, New York Times best-selling author Virginia Kantra charmed readers everywhere with Meg & Jo, her modern retelling of Little Women—and now readers everywhere are eager to get their hands on part two of the March sisters’ story, in the much-anticipated sequel, Beth & Amy. Kantra’s portrayal of the well-known March sisters not only gives a refreshing look at a beloved classic, but the relatable characters offer a mirror for young women today, and the decisions they face.
In Beth & Amy, a wedding is on the horizon, and each of the March sisters are approaching the upcoming family reunion with different feelings and decidedly different goals. Amy has been thriving in New York at her job as a fashion designer, and Beth is stepping way out of her comfort zone to tour with country superstar Colt Henderson. Both see their older sister Jo’s wedding as an opportunity to fix things in their own lives and the March family as a whole, but what is waiting for them on the other side may change things for all four sisters forever.
And speaking of modern retellings, check out Virginia’s SheReads guest post on the modern retellings of female characters that she’d like to see.
I last bought/am currently reading: Advance copy of Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly (Eloisa James), women’s fiction inspired by Romeo and Juliet. It’s so, so good.
I recommend to everyone: Obvious choice, but . . . Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The ultimate sisters’ book.
Whose author I would love to have lunch with: Kristan Higgins, author of Pack Up the Moon. Because she’s funny and smart and kind, and I haven’t seen her since the pandemic started.
That made me realize language had power: The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. The cadence and imagery has stayed with me all my life.
I’d like to see adapted to the screen: I binge-watched Bridgerton. I’d love to see Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn family series adapted!
That made me laugh out loud—or cry—while reading it: Jojo Moyes One Plus One. Humor, hope and heartbreak.
With the best opening line: Cheating here, but I’m so happy with the opening of Beth & Amy: “It’s always a mistake to sleep with a man who’s in love with your sister. Even in Paris.”
I learned the power of first lines from.. : Jennifer Crusie: “Once upon a time, Minerva Dobbs thought as she stood in the middle of a loud yuppie bar, the world was full of good men. She looked into the handsome face of the man she’d planned on taking to her sister’s wedding and thought, Those days are gone.” (Bet Me)
Bookstore that I frequent/is my favorite: There are three wonderful bookstores I visit in North Carolina. Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh is my local indie. Bookmarks in Winston-Salem has fabulous programming. And Downtown Books in Manteo is my go-to bookstore on vacation.
BONUS: That’s my go-to comfort read: Vision in White by Nora Roberts.