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Diane Marie Brown recommends 5 books to read after 'Black Candle Women'

More magical reads on the way.

“Black Candle Women," Jenna Bush Hager's March 2023 pick for her Read With Jenna book club, is a magical read.

Diane Marie Brown’s debut novel follows the Montrose family across years and generations, with the book moving from 1950s New Orleans to California. The Montrose family’s grandmother was cursed long ago, and as a result, any man that a Montrose woman falls in love with is destined to die. “It’s about love, it’s about mothers and daughters, and it will bring you so much joy,” says Jenna.

Ahead of her appearance on TODAY, Brown recommended a few other books that also involve relationships between mothers and daughters ... and a bit of magic.

'Daughters of the New Year' by E.M. Tran

Three sisters fight to live individual lives while in the face of long-buried ancestral secrets and their mother's expectations. Trac is a well-to-do lawyer hiding her sexual identity from her parents. Nhi is a participant in a romantic reality television competition. Trieu is a novice writer. The three sisters upend their mothers’ expectations, which were based on their astrological signs.

In this debut novel, E.M. Tran invites the reader on a centuries’ long journey through New Orleans to Saigon beauty pageants to long-ago plantations, during which these sisters may realize they have more in common with their immigrant parents than they first thought.

The coolest part? It moves in reverse.

'Conjure Women' by Afia Atakora

Set before and after the Civil War, this is a story of a mother and daughter caught up in history. Rue grows up watching her mother, Miss May Belle, as a midwife — and Rue wants to do everything she can to avoid that fate. Still, in addition to sharing the same physical features, they also have natural healing talents and the ability to conjure up curses. Then, a a cursed child is born. Cue suspenseful music.

'The Lost Apothecary' by Sarah Penner

In 18th century London, Nella’s apothecary register is one of her most prized possessions. She guards its many pages, filled to the brim with various women’s names, with her life. A reformed healer, her apothecary now tends to women wishing to get rid of the men in their lives — for good. Her latest customer, Eliza Fanning, isn’t the typical desperate woman who comes to Nella’s door in need of poison. Eliza is only a 12-year-old girl, one who threatens the safety of the women Nella has helped.

Meanwhile, Caroline Parcewell discovers an old vial near the Thames in present-day London that might solve the mystery of the unsolved murders that happened nearly two centuries ago, but not without a price.

'What the Fireflies Knew' by Kai Harris

This coming-of-age novel follows 10-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB) during a tumultuous and formative summer. Her father has just died from an overdose, leading her family to lose their Detroit house. Her mother, overwhelmed by grief, has sent KB and KB’s sister, Nia, to live with their distant grandfather. KB struggles to build a new life for herself, innocent in her youth despite her grandfather’s stony silence, the strange behavior of the white kids across the street and the growing divide within her relationship with her sister.

'All That She Carried' by Tiya Miles

“All That She Carried” is a story of generational love surviving against all odds, based on a cotton bag called “Ashley’s Sack” that sits in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Rose, an enslaved woman living in 1850s South Carolina, gifted this sack to her daughter Ashley soon before Ashley was ripped from her mother and sold into slavery. Ashley’s granddaughter Ruth eventually embroidered this family story onto the sack. Now, historian Tiya Miles has traced these women’s presence in historical archives in order to rebirth their story of survival, sacrifice and family.