How Beautiful We Were, The Lost Apothecary and other books to read this week
From historical fiction to romance, here are our picks:
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue
Genre: Contemporary fiction
The fictional African town of Kosawa is all but destroyed by an American oil company. Farmlands are infertile because of oil spills, the water is contaminated with toxic material leading to the death of little kids and promises to clean things up have never been fulfilled. The government is run by a dictator, whose priority is personal gain over everything else. With nothing more to lose, the locals decide to fight against the regime. Lasting decades, the tales of this war are told through generations of children and by the family of the protagonist, Thula, a local girl who becomes a revolutionary.
The Dating Plan by Sara Desai
Daisy Patel, a software engineer, doesn't know the first thing about dating and relationships. So when her family start pressuring her into finding someone, she turns to Liam Murphy, her childhood crush, to be her fake fiance. When Liam, a venture capitalist, learns that he can only access his inheritance from his grandfather if he’s married, he thinks a marriage of convenience to Daisy will solve both their problems. As the duo start spending more time together, they realise that things are not as convenient as they seem.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Genre: Historical fiction
Set in 1790s’ London, the book starts off with an introduction to Nella, a medical healer who has an apothecary shop in a dark alley. Her store is visited by harassed and troubled women who are in need of Nella’s special concoctions that will get rid of the evil men in their lives, without any suspicion. But when she strikes a friendship with a new 12-year-old client, things slowly start to unravel for Nella. In present-day London, Caroline Parcewell, a budding historian, who has recently separated from her cheating husband, comes across a vintage apothecary vial. When she does a little bit of research she discovers that it’s connected to the well-known ‘apothecary murders’ of the 1790s. When she digs a little deeper, she finds out that she too has a connection to Nella and her young friend.
Black Boy Out Of Time: A Memoir by Hari Ziyad
Hari Ziyad is one of 19 children in a blended family. His mother is Hindu and his father, Muslim. In this memoir, Hari talks about the challenges and experience of growing up queer and black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of finding his identity in New York City. Covering issues related to gender and race, Hari details the importance of breaking stereotypes and social norms to be one’s true self.
Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am by Julia Cooke
This book features the stories of an interesting group of characters - from Lynne Totten who gave up her life in the field of science to become a stewardess to Hazel Bowie, one of the first black stewardesses. Julia Cooke narrates the story of the role of Pan Am stewardesses in the Vietnam War, which involved working on special planes used to fly soldiers from Saigon to Hong Kong on a regular basis and evacuating 2,000 children during ‘Operation Babylift.’