Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly
This is the third in Kelly's flower titled series (Lilac Girls, Lost Roses). Lilac Girls featured Caroline Ferriday, a real life New York socialite and philanthropist during WW2, and the lead characters in the other books are antecedents of hers. The new one is about Georgeanna Woolsey, an ancestor of Caroline Ferriday, whose family are abolitionists and who trains as a nurse during the American Civil War to care for wounded soldiers on the front; in a parallel narrative, Jemma is a slave on a Maryland Plantation who escapes and makes her way north where she meets the Woolseys, with a Plantation owner hot on her heels determined to find her and drag her back. It’s terrific history with great characters and I highly recommend all three of these books.
The Beauty of Living Twice by Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone’s career has often been defined by the movie Basic Instinct but there is so much more to her than that. From a deeply traumatic upbringing, she arrived in Hollywood where the kinds of assaults that marked her childhood continued under the more acceptable guise of money and glamour. And then, after suffering a major stroke she lost everything and has painstakingly rebuilt her life. It’s full of warmth, dignity, humour and compassion, and a hard-won self awareness.