What I'll Be Reading This February

Since I've been writing both contemporary and historical romance this winter, I've been doing my best to read outside of the genre for relaxation. Judging packets for the RITA Awards came out this winter which makes taking a break from romance a bit tricky but here are a few of the books I'm reading off of my TBR pile this month:

I'll See You in Paris, by Michelle Gable

This was a gift from my friend Mary Chris Escobar as part of a secret Santa present. This women's fiction follows a mother and daughter as they return to the mother's long-lost home in England. As the story unfolds, you get little bits of a mystery about a third woman as well.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue, by Melanie Benjamin

Every reader's got catnip. Books about New York in the 1920s, '30s, '40s, and '50s are mine. I haven't started this book yet, but The Swans of Fifth Avenue came as a strong recommendation from a good friend who shares the same obsession as I do.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, by Therese Oneill

This was a birthday gift from my sister and her boyfriend. I've read through a couple sections already, and it's a really irreverent, fascinating look at history. Think of all the unglamorous things you don't usually read about the Victorians: poisonous cosmetics, menstruation, weight loss and gain. I can already tell it's going to be really helpful for research.

The Mystery of Princess Louise, by Lucinda Hawksley

This book is strictly for research, although I really enjoy Hawksley's other books I've read. Princess Louise was a talented artist in her own right and served as stand-in for her mother, Queen Victoria, at many state functions while Victoria was deep in mourning.

She's also the subject of one of my favorite portraits. (One day, someone please paint a portrait of me that is as complimentary as this one.)

Grit:The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth

I'm tearing through this book about the psychology behind success and determination. A friend of my recommended reading it because it looks at the common traits that successful people share: passion and determination, or as Duckworth calls it, grit. (FYI, romance authors are some really gritty ladies.) Normally I don't think of myself as a big fan of psychology books, but I'm really enjoying this one and I also thought Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller was fascinating so I might have to revise my thoughts on the genre.