For those of you who missed the announcement, this week I’ll be revealing some of the best books I read in 2012. (If you’re super bored or honing your procrastination skills, you can view yesterday’s post here.)
Today, I want to introduce you to the best memoir and historical fiction books I met last year.
Best Memoir: The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels—A Love Story by Ree Drummond
I don’t know if this book technically has been classified as a memoir or even autobiography, but hey, I get to make up the rules this week. (I’m really living on the wild side. I even purchased a new brand of flatbread crisps the other day.)
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the fabulous Ree Drummond—aka The Pioneer Woman—she’s the face behind the witty Pioneer Woman blog, which has led to cookbooks, children’s books, a Food Network cooking show, and of course, her “memoir.”
On her blog, Ree began detailing how she and her husband Ladd—aka Marlborough Man—met and fell in love, making Ree an “accidental country girl” who now lives on a ranch with handsome cowboy hubby and their four darling kids. (I watch the show A LOT and therefore feel like I belong with the Drummond clan.) The blog posts were such a success that Ree turned them into a book, added extra sections about their honeymoon and early ranch life, and voila! A new American classic was born. Or at the very least, an entertaining and relatable book.
Ree’s voice in the novel is clever and strong, and I guarantee you will laugh out loud. Her life is brimming with romance, adventure, and realism—Ree is honest and earnest, and you will love her for it.
And, I have the distinct pleasure of saying that I HAVE MET HER. And I have a signed copy of this book. Life made? I think so.
Although poor Ree will probably never return to the Mall of America ever again for fear of running into the over-zealous mother-daughter fans who gushed for a full five minutes and gave her sweaty hugs because they were so nervous to meet her.
Best Historical Fiction: All Things New by Lynn Austin
Lynn Austin is my favorite author EVER.
Let me repeat: MY FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER.
Is she the best author in the history of the world? No, and her historical fiction books probably aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you DO like well-researched historical fiction filled with real characters and fresh plots and creative descriptions and an ear for dialogue, you will adore Lynn.
All Things New is her newest release, set during the American Reconstruction period in the South. Lynn deftly intertwines the stories of a plantation owner’s daughter, her mother, and their remaining slave to show not just the reality of life after the Civil War, but the hidden hurts and whispered desires of these three women. You will feel their pain, anguish, and tentative hope. Only Lynn can write a novel that I’ll reread over ten times because I want to visit my friends again.
Postscript: Which books would you nominate for these categories? Check back tomorrow for more award winners!