BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney I want to be Lillian Boxfish when I get old. This is the story of an 80 something year old woman who in 1984 who has lived in New York City for her entire adult life. So she moved there some time in the 1920s and became a highest paid advertising writer for Macy's. And she’s a total badass. The whole story is her taking a walk on New Year's Eve and reflecting on her life in NYC. Along the way she meets people, talks her way out of getting mugged, goes to a party that far younger people are throwing. It is an amazing story and she owns every success and every failure of her life along the way as she’s retelling it. And I seriously want to be her when I grow up.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen This was a quick read and I was completely obsessed with it. Ava is a Chinese American woman, married and a mom to a toddler. She left practicing law to be a stay at home mother, and her husband is a famous surgeon who is never home. Her old college roommate, another Chinese American woman, reaches out to her because her boss, a Chinese man, needs a liver transplant. So she puts ther friend in contact with her husband to see what can be done. In reconnecting with the friend she learns that the friend is making a very good living on importing counterfeit designer handbags. Then you learn that as Ava is narrating the story she’s relating the events to a detective. She got caught up in Winnie’s import business and somehow got caught. This was a fascinating glimpse into the counterfeit handbag scam, and I knew as I was reading that eventually they would get caught but how? Super interesting.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus I absolutely LOVED this one. Elizabeth is a chemist working in a research lab in the 1950s, and of course she isn’t at all taken seriously in her career. She falls in love with Calvin, a very famous researcher at her lab, and of course all sorts of nasty things are said about her. Then Calvin dies in an accident and she realizes she’s unwed, pregnant and partnerless. She’s fired from the lab due to her status and then takes on a job as a host on a daytime cooking show. But in her show she talks more about the chemistry behind cooking rather than then conventional “let’s make your husband happy” kind of cooking show that is expected of her. Her show is wildly popular and the viewers find it empowering. This was such a refreshing and unexpected story, definitely awesome.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed The Family Game by Catherine Steadman

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman I was so into this one! Harriet is about to marry into a very wealthy and powerful family. Her fiancé Edward is kind of on the outs with the family and trying to make his own way instead of just riding on the coattails of his parents. But when they get engaged the family wants to meet Harriet. Her first interaction with the family is when her soon to be sister in law wants to meet, but Harriet has a meeting with her book publisher. So the sister in law goes and cancels Harriet's meeting with her publisher--like the thing that gives her livelihood, because she is that powerful and connected. She ends up attending a few family functions around the holidays and realized just how crazy pants these people are. They play these “games” but really they are these massively sick power trips. All the while her future father in law gives her a tape to listen to on which he has the family secrets. He gives it to her because he wants her to figure out the truth behind the secrets without actually telling her. He gives her bits and pieces of information and she goes on a deep dive and figures it all out. It would seem that a few women that her fiancé was involved with in the past have gone missing. Also, her fiance’s older brother had died by suicice but was it? (Again, extremely powerful family). So she’s trying to find out the truth about this crazy family and it is an insane story.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.