All of Jenna Bush Hager's Read With Jenna book club picks

Can't get enough Read With Jenna? You've come to the right place.
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By Stephanie Larratt

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Since March 2019, TODAY host Jenna Bush Hager has chosen a new book every month to share with the Read With Jenna book club. Jenna works hard to choose stories that will delight, entertain and challenge readers. She understands the power of a good book to unite communities and ignite conversation.

As you read each month's novel, you can also join the discussion on the Read With Jenna Instagram, the Read With Jenna Facebook group and the Read With Jenna Goodreads group. Follow all the accounts to stay up to date and share your thoughts about all of Jenna's picks.

8. October 2019

"The Dutch House," by Ann Patchett

Set over five decades, "The Dutch House" follows the close sibling relationship of the book's main characters, Danny and Maeve, as they navigate life's obstacles.

Narrated by Danny, the story is set into motion when the two siblings' father, Cyril Conroy, makes a lucky real estate investment at the end of World War II. He uses his newly acquired wealth to surprise his family with the purchase of a large property known as The Dutch House. With this purchase, he unknowingly thrusts a series of tragedies upon Danny and Maeve.

Despite moving out of The Dutch House, Danny and Maeve continue to visit their old home to relive and remember their childhood. Their shared pain and their fascination with the physical house keep their unshakable bond intact throughout adulthood but also threaten to hold them back from moving forward with their lives.

“What I kept coming back to in this book was Danny and Maeve’s closeness, their bond, how they raise each other,” said Jenna. "I thought it was a beautiful story of a relationship between brother and sister.”

7. September 2019

"The Dearly Beloved," by Cara Wall

"The Dearly Beloved" follows two couples who are brought together to lead a historic church in New York City during the 1960s. The novel traces the course of their lives before and after they intersect.

The four main characters are all from different parts of the U.S. and different family backgrounds. They're forced to grapple with challenging circumstances during a tumultuous era in our country's history and their past continues to shape the decisions they make, while their faith continues to shift.

Cara Wall's debut novel navigates multiple themes as it chronicles the lives of its four main characters through their evolving relationships.

Jenna said, "It’s a book about faith, friendship, relationships and what connects us."

6. August 2019

"Patsy," by Nicole Dennis-Benn

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In "Patsy," the story begins in Jamaica as the titular character gets her visa and makes the difficult decision to leave her daughter, Tru, behind while she seeks a better life for herself in the U.S. After that pivotal moment, the perspective shifts back and forth between Patsy's new life in New York and Tru's life back in Jamaica.

The novel follows the difficult challenges Patsy faces as an immigrant, the relationships she forms in her new environment and explores the concept of the unwilling mother.

Patsy is a character who is looking to better her own life but also make major sacrifices along the way to do so. The book explores themes of identity, empathy and the immigrant experience against the backdrop of New York City.

"At the end this is a beautiful story of love," said Jenna.

5. July 2019

"Evvie Drake Starts Over," by Linda Holmes

This debut novel for author Linda Holmes, who's best known as the host of NPR's "Pop Culture Happy Hour" podcast, follows the titular character, Evvie, a year after the death of her husband.

When she's introduced to some fresh faces, Evvie forges a new friendship that has the potential to turn into something more. She and her old friend Dean explore the possibilities that lie in the future and must also grapple with the secrets of their past.

"I was captivated by Evvie Drake right away," said Jenna. "By the character of Evvie — and her predicament of finding herself as a young widow and trying to find herself."

4. June 2019

"Searching for Sylvie Lee," by Jean Kwok

The gripping story begins when Sylvie Lee goes missing on a trip to visit her extended family in the Netherlands. When no one hears from Sylvie for several days, her timid younger sister Amy must step up to lead the charge for her search.

As Amy desperately searches for answers, the truth about her beautiful, successful and seemingly put-together sister, Sylvie Lee begins to unravel.

The suspense-filled novel is an emotional tribute to sisterhood and the immigrant experience. It explores themes of love, loss and family secrets.

"Mysteries are my guilty pleasures. I always think I'm kind of good at solving what's happened early on in the book," Jenna explained. "I couldn't help but continue to read to figure out where she was and what happened to her."

3. May 2019

"A Woman Is No Man," by Etaf Rum

Following three women in a Palestinian family, "A Woman Is No Man" explores the tension between each woman's expectations and their dreams as they raise the next generation of women in the U.S.

The author transports readers into an insular immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, where the highest possible achievement for a woman is to marry and bear sons. But what if she wants more?

Bouncing back and forth between newlywed Isra's life in the early '90s and her daughter Deya's life in 2008, the narrative is filled with moments of suspense as Deya discovers dark secrets behind her complex community.

"It's about what is acceptable for a woman — how a woman can use her voice," Jenna told TODAY. "And to see these women change, and to see their idea of what can be changed over generations is really the story of so many women."

2. April 2019

"The Unwinding of the Miracle," by Julie Yip-Williams

Published posthumously, Julie Yip-Williams' memoir traces her life beginning with her tumultuous childhood in Vietnam through her personal and professional successes as an adult. After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Yip-Williams set out to document the miraculous life she'd led and the difficult task of grappling with its early end.

"It's a beautiful story about what it means to live," Jenna told TODAY. "So, it's sad in some ways. But also, for us still living, it's a great reminder that life is precious, and it's a gift — and to live every single day like it's our last."

1. March 2019

"The Last Romantics," by Tara Conklin

The Last Romantics is an unforgettable story about a Connecticut family as they face a crisis. The Skinner siblings, Renee, Caroline, Joe and Fiona, find themselves forced to question the choices they have made in their lives and decide what they are really willing to do for love.

The novel explores family bonds and responsibilities as the four siblings navigate a difficult time in search of a way into the future.

“It’s about siblings coping with a tragedy and how their whole lives unravel and come together,” said Jenna.

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