WSIRN Ep 18: Compelling, character-driven books steeped in time and place with Jessica Turner

WSIRN Ep 18: Compelling, character-driven books steeped in time and place with Jessica Turner

It's Tuesday, which means a new episode of What Should I Read Next!

Today I'm talking with Jessica Turner, author of The Fringe Hours and My Fringe Hours. Jessica lives in Nashville with her family, where she works full time outside the home and blogs regularly at The Mom Creative.

Of all the guests I’ve talked to, Jessica’s the most consistent with her picks. We have a lot of fun talking about compelling stories and character-driven plots in her favorite genre. She also hates a book that many listeners adore, and she’s not afraid to say why.

Jessica Turner profile

Connect with Jessica on her site The Mom Creative, facebooktwitter and instagram.

Books discussed in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you, you support what we do here on What Should I Read Next. More details here.

The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Also mentioned in this episode: 

• I recommended Jessica's hated book to Janssen Bradshaw in episode 10 here.
Expert investigates 10-year-old's reincarnation claims on The Today Show.
When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel
• I recommended Everything I Never Told You to Seth Haines in episode 4 here.
How a non-fiction writer finds his next subject: Erik Larson on the "dark country of no ideas."


Book of the Month

This episode is sponsored by Book of the Month.

Every month a panel of five judges each chooses a book they love; subscribers pick one from that curated list and get it shipped straight to their door with free shipping. It's a fun, convenient, and affordable way to discover books you might not find otherwise.

If you're not interested in any of the selections, you can skip that month.

Book of the Month has a special deal for What Should I Read Next listeners: get 50% off a new 3-month subscription with the code READNEXT. That means you get 3 new hardcovers for $7.50 each.

Can't pick just one? Subscribers can order additional titles each month for $9.99 each. (Free shipping is always included.)

Try Audible for yourself: 

Click here to try Audible for yourself today and get two free audiobooks with your free 30-day trial.

Like the podcast? Your review helps the new show so much!

  1. Tap/click iTunes or App Store.
  2. Search for "What Should I Read Next"
  3. Tap/click on the square picture of the book + headphones
  4. If you're not signed in, tap Use Existing Apple ID. (If you don't have an Apple ID, tape Create New Apple ID.)
  5. Select a star rating, enter a title, write your short review, and tap/click Send.
Follow @whatshouldireadnext on instagram.
Get even more book recommendations by signing up for the WSIRN newsletter.
Do YOU have an idea for what Caroline should read next? Tell us in comments!
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page


  1. Heather Finley says:

    I grabbed Angle of Repose at the library last night, and I LOVE it! It kind of reminds me of Willa Cather, who is one of my favorites. I will be trying several of your recommendations to Jessica.

  2. erica says:

    I need to give The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet another try. A couple of years ago I visited the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle and their building is on that alley in the International District and the do walking tours. The story of the internment in Seattle is especially shameful. One reason Seattle has an International District rather than separate ethnic areas is that when the Japanese returned to the city they were not given their land and buildings back and were basically told “possession is 9/10 of the law.”
    A historical series I really enjoy is the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig. They are light and fun and yet there is a lot of good historical information and suspense and intrigue (think The Scarlet Pimpernel)

  3. Heather Clements says:

    I have read your blog for stem time now and just started listening to podcasts today. Picked this episode at random and loved it. Will be checking out the Erik Larson book. And, it you have not read The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, do! I listened on audio and will say there is a little romance cheesiness, the story that that spans 3 generations is wonderful. If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, this is a good choice for you.

  4. Tea.n.toast says:

    Catching up on old episodes I’ve missed and have some suggestions for Jessica’s desired changes in her reading life. For audio books, listen to things you are interested in but hesitant to read. For me that is usually non-fiction (a great way to work in more of that!) I especially like Malcom Gladwell on audio because it’s ok if I can’t get back to it right away. Plot driven fiction is more frustrating when you’re dying to know what happens! Hillbilly Elegy was fantastic on audio too!
    To read more on kindle, make yourself read 3 or 4 in a row electronically. You’ll get used to it and find its perfect for some books and in some situations. These tips helped me make changes in my reading life. Hope they helps someone else.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.