Tag: Meant to Be

Econogal’s Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021

The List

The top ten “Favorite” books of 2021 is a bit easier to compile this year. Not as much reading, and a few books read and not reviewed impact the pool of eligible books. Interestingly, several non-fiction book reviews yielded the most traffic on the website. A combination of reader and blogger interest generated the list. I hope you enjoy these recommendations.

Non-Fiction Books of 2021

As a kid I loved biographies. However, I don’t remember any autobiographies. Writing for children and teenagers can be quite challenging, so perhaps that explains a lack of memoirs. The books of 2021 are lacking in reviews of memoirs. A few were read, but I did not feel compelled to share my opinions.

Instead, self-help books and multiple entries revolving around Covid-19 became fodder for reviews. Thus this type of writing is found on the Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021. The reading audience enjoyed, or at least visited, the reviews of non-fiction entries frequently.

Interestingly, the most visited post of all types belongs to the review of Liquids Till Lunch. (Perhaps many people did gain weight during lockdown.) I continue to use many suggestions from the book. However, the book I have given to several as a gift is Cleaning Sucks. The tips from Rachel Hoffman have really helped my household organization.

The remaining entries are quite thought provoking. We are living through a period of time that future generations will study thoroughly. Thus, it is not surprising multiple books discussing the pandemic make the list. Additionally, the New Great Depression is worth a mention although just falls short of making the top books of 2021 list.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America is a must read. Even though this book is a 2011 release, it is a perfect gift for any student of history from late teens to octogenarians.

Top Favorite Fiction Books of 2021

This category is tough for me as I love fiction. Genres covered range from Christian to Romance to Murder. The YA entry Instant Karma just barely missed making the list as did a reader favorite, Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Many of this year’s fiction reviews were new releases for blockbuster authors. However, one of my favorites was released back in 2015. Much like American Nations, I think finding a copy of Jack of Spies is very worthwhile.

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021

Fiction

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Jack of Spies by David Downing

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

A Distant Shore by Karen Kingsbury

Meant To Be by Jude Deveraux

Non-Fiction

Liquids Till Lunch by MaryRuth Ghiyam

American Nations by Colin Woodard

Cleaning Sucks by Rachel Hoffman

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria

Meant to Be Book Review

Small Town America

Fictional Mason, Kansas, the setting for Meant to Be, is representative of hundreds of small towns across the Great Plains. And thousands of similar communities all across flyover country. Even though Jude Deveraux paints a less gritty picture than those of author Kent Haruf, the depiction of small town life hits a bull’s eye.

Outsiders to rural America are not immediately accepted. Adapting to places without stoplights and shopping malls can be difficult. Unravelling who is related to whom and how, is even more challenging. Over time individuals either become part of the community. Or move away.

The roadblocks in life are just as taxing for those born and bred in small towns. The yearning to explore the outside world can run strong. The struggle between desire and duty to family is very real. Deveraux captures this conflict in her latest novel.

Meant to Be

Growing up I often heard the phrase “It wasn’t meant to be.” My paternal grandmother used it most often. The words were an effort to console a youngster when she couldn’t have everything she wanted. Deveraux’s use of the phrase takes a slight twist. Sometimes things are meant to be-regardless of what life presents. In this book, true love among the key characters is inevitable. Life delays, but doesn’t erase.

The storyline revolves around the Exton sisters. Close in age, but far apart in dreams. Vera yearns to explore the world while Kelly desires to make the small town of Mason her world. Throw in multiple love interests and you have an intriguing tale of passion and true love.

Generational Themes

Meant to Be begins in the early 1970s and continues to the present day. The sisters age and remain close in heart if not proximity. There are twists and turns as each generation faces consequences stemming from the actions of the initial characters. The author’s writing tugs at the heart strings. Life is messy and world events impact small towns on a grand scale.

I thoroughly enjoyed Meant to Be. Deveraux captures the conflict of the Vietnam War, the complexity of Equal Rights and many other challenges of the past fifty years. Both technological and sociological. She paints a picture of change without preachiness. Or superiority. Instead, her writing reflects the culture. All while weaving a story of love, lost and found.

Book Cover of novel Meant to Be