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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

First for Women Magazine: "7 Books We're Loving Right Now."

Here are our seven top picks for July 2023

June 29, 2023

"7 Books We're Loving Right Now"

Welcome, fellow readers, to the very first FIRST for Women monthly book club!

Here at FIRST, we're all about a good story. And when we're not hard at work bringing you stories about health, nutrition, beauty and lifestyle (that we hope you'll love), we like to kick back with a good book.

We know first-hand that reading provides relief from stress, improves brain health and ushers in more joy. So we decided to create a new kind of book club is that doesn't just classify our picks by genre, but also tells you lets you know how we used that book to self-medicate whatever emotional challenge we were facing. We see fiction as a kind of medicine for the psyche and the soul — and we're thinking you do too. And so we want to let you know how exactly what emotional state we "prescribe" our book picks for.

Here are our seven top picks for July 2023 — from uplifting romance to energizing thriller to soothing self-help. We'd also love to hear from you what books you're reading this month and how they made you feel!


The Secret Book of Flora Lea

by Patty Callahan Henry

“Feeling down after a small tiff with a dear friend recently, I needed a

mental break,” says Kristina Mastrocola FIRST Senior Editor. “So I picked up this beautiful story, and it lifted my mood!” In 1960s London, Hazel is working in a bookstore, when she receives a children’s novel in the mail.

It’s the manuscript of the fairy tale she invented as a 14-year-old to soothe

her 5-year-old sister, Flora, during the Blitz. Evacuated to the countryside,

Hazel and Flora were living with Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage

son, Harry. Then Flora went missing. The arrival of this book sends Hazel

to find answers about her sister and other people she thought she’d never

see again.

“I was swept away by the enduring relationships,” says Kristina,

“from the unbreakable bond between sisters to the ‘lost’ love we never really

leave behind.” (Atria, 2023)

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

First For Women aims to feature only the best products and services.


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