Recently I got married to my wonderful husband. It was amazing and incredible, and I plan to write about it soon. We had so many great vendors and people who helped us have the most amazing day.
We got married in New Zealand, and then jetted off to Europe for a couple of weeks. I had great plans to spend a lot of time reading, and I was very happy with my reading adventures! They are as follows:
1. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali
As we flew over to New Zealand for our wedding about 10 days before the big day, we had a bit of a pre-honeymoon (amongst all of the insane things we needed to do to prepare of course. Like hair and make-up trials, getting a marriage licence, meeting our celebrant and checking out the venue! Phew.), and this is when I read most of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. But I finished it 2 days after the wedding, so it also fits into the honeymoon category ;)
I had wanted to read this book for so long, and I loved it even more than I expected to! This was such a fantastic young adult book, that was incredibly realistic, heart-warming and hilarious. So often YA books can be a little far-fetched or melodramatic, especially when dealing with really important and intense topics, but this novel was approached in such a great, realistic way. It was very refreshing! This book focuses on the main character, Simon, and him coming out as gay to his family and friends. Becky Albertalli writes such an important topic in a seriously hilarious way. But at the same time, gets across the importance of Simon’s worries about talking to those around him about his sexuality. So often, YA books on similar topics can be so depressing, as the peripheral characters are not understanding. But this was honestly just so nice to read. It was uplifting, sweet, humorous and made me feel so happy at the end! I look forward to reading the companion novel to this: Leah on The Offbeat.
2. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
This was incredible. However, there was a very specific reason that I read it on my honeymoon. That being: The Rijksmuseum. I knew we would have the chance to visit the Rijksmuseum, which houses the miniature doll’s house that Jessie Burton based this novel on. And I really wanted to see it! So, this is definitely not something light and romance-y that one would normally read on holidays, or their honeymoon! However, it’s everything I love: a gritty, intense historical fiction, based on true events/people. While this is a highly fictionalised version of the lives of Petronella Oortman and her husband, the historical setting was incredibly accurate and well researched. It was also so fun reading about historical Amsterdam, and then visiting the city, seeing how much of the historic buildings were still there.
This was a beautifully written, atmospheric, and enthralling read. I love when I’m able to find an historical fiction that truly sucks me in and immerses me in the setting and the characters, and this novel did just that. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Nella’s life as a newlywed in Amsterdam, and the characters that were introduced throughout the novel were complex, intriguing and fascinating. The climax of this novel was quite intense, and it definitely doesn’t end on what you would call a high note, but Burton does such an amazing job of further exploring the characters right until the end, that you think you have already figured out. This was perfect, and I cannot wait to read more of Burton’s work.
3. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
I started this at the very end of the honeymoon, as I needed something incredibly light and effortless after the drama of The Miniaturist! The was essentially everything I expected. It was a light, fun, predictable but enjoyable romance novel. However, the author makes a point of discussing racial issues that arise between the two characters, with the woman being African-American and the man being Caucasian. This really added a more serious note to the novel, which I really appreciated.
The thing that mostly brought this book down for me was just the complete lack of communication between the two main characters. Yes, this creates tension, and arguably the whole basis of the story, but it was just so infuriating. So much of their issues could have been solved if they’d just talked to each other! But look, it was a light, fun and enjoyable read, and really fitted in with what I was looking for when on my honeymoon, and after just having read something as intense as The Miniaturist! I’d definitely give the author another shot. I feel like Jasmine Guillory can guarantee me a fun romance novel with a bit of drama. And I’m ok with that!
Honourable honeymoon book mentions:
I’ve been interested in reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver for years. A friend just read it recently and told me it was similar in style to The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, this is one of my all-time favourite books, so that really upped the ante, and I knew I had to get a copy of The Poisonwood Bible ASAP. I picked up this lovely edition in Amsterdam from a used English bookshop, and I cannot wait to start it :)
Also while in Amsterdam, I picked up this book on the history of tulips in The Netherlands, and started reading it whilst at a cafe. I’ve only just started Tulipomania by Mike Dash, but it is quite good! This also came from the Rijksmuseum gift shop. They had so many fantastic looking books on the history of Amsterdam and The Netherlands, it was hard to choose just one book! But the tulips won me over :)