MSA is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read the full disclosure.

Book of the Month Subscription Review + Coupon – May 2019

Book of the Month May 2019

Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, 5 curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month. You can also add up to 2 additional books for only $9.99 each.

Book of the Month May 2019 open

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Check out all of our reviews of Book Subscription Boxes for more options, too!

Book of the Month May 2019 contents

About this Box

The Subscription Box: Book of the Month

The Cost: $14.99 a month (less with 3 and 12 month subscriptions)

COUPON: Use code MAYREADS to get your first book for just $9.99 with code MAYREADS at checkout.

The Product: Subscribers get to pick from a selection of hardcover books each month. Skip any month you aren’t interested in. Add up to two additional books for $9.99 each.

Ships to: US Only

Book of the Month May 2019 Review

This month, subscribers picked from the following 5 books:

I’m reviewing The Flight Portfolio:

Book of the Month May 2019 book cover

The Flight Portfolio, by Julie Orringer – Retail Value $28.95 (found here for $18.87)

Book of the Month May 2019 inside cover flap

Book Summary from Amazon:

In 1940, Varian Fry traveled to Marseille carrying three thousand dollars and a list of imperiled artists and writers he hoped to help escape within a few weeks. Instead, he stayed more than a year, working to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and arrange journeys across Spain and Portugal, where the refugees would embark for safer ports. His many clients included Hannah Arendt, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall, and the race against time to save them is a tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage.

Book of the Month May 2019 book back

I didn’t know exactly what I was in for with this book. I enjoy historical fiction and I am a lover of art, so a book about the rescue of quite notable artists (think Ernst, Duchamp, and Chagall) from Nazi-occupied France seemed like the obvious choice this month. Loads of creatives lived in Marseilles during this time, and even after the Germans invaded France, quite a few of them waited too long to safely flee. Enter Varian Fry and the Emergency Rescue Committee. A journalist who became distraught at the treatment of Jewish refugees while covering the Nazi occupation in Berlin, Fry later returned to France to smuggle out Jewish artists, writers, and other anti-Nazi, politically-active individuals. In addition to the riveting and daring rescues and gloriously visual descriptions of the French setting, there is also the story of a forbidden relationship between Fry and his (fictional) college friend, the secretly bi-racial, half-Jewish Elliot Grant, who is likely somewhat based on Lincoln Kirstein. This is where the book gets a little murky for me. I couldn’t really find any references that the married Fry had a romantic and adulterous relationship with Kirstein or really anyone else while in France. Though I can see why the author included this additional narrative to add human depth to this very complicated, superhero of a man, this story absolutely would have been enough for me without the addition of the fictionalized romance and there is just something in me that is uncomfortable with that sort of liberty being taken for the sake of making an already incredible story even more extraordinary. Orringer handles these often delicate themes capably, and her writing is beautiful, human, and exceptionally believable. A part of me still can’t help but feel that this sort of intimacy just feels too personal to fictionalize.

Varian Fry

Book of the Month May 2019 bookmark

And Book of the Month includes a bookmark every month.

Book of the Month May 2019 bookmark back

If you picked this book this month, please let me know what you think of it!

Verdict: Book of the Month took me a lot deeper than I expected to go this round. My book was a great read, and I enjoyed learning about the rescue of some of my favorite artists by such a complicated and interesting man. While I had qualms with some of the fictionalized themes, those questions did lead me to further research on my own about Mr. Fry, and I feel like discovering where truth and fiction split in the eyes of history lead me to even more knowledge regarding this man and his heroic accomplishments. This is a great sub for any book lover, and the feature allowing you to choose your own book each month or skip (if necessary) should be appealing to anyone looking for an affordable and flexible literary subscription.

To Wrap Up:

If I sign-up now can I get this book? No, but you can select from the new June collection!

COUPON: Use code MAYREADS to get your first book for just $9.99 with code MAYREADS at checkout.

Check out all of our Book of the Month reviews and see what other book subscriptions made our favorites list!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wish list!

What do you think of the Book of the Month subscription? Which book (or books) did you pick this month?

Book of the Month

How do subscribers rate Book of the Month?

Created with Sketch.

Never miss a post: get email alerts about Book of the Month!

Enable notifications () to get the latest Book of the Month spoilers, reviews, deals, and news delivered to your inbox.

Written by Megan


I love natural/vegan beauty products, Korean skincare, unique jewelry, and weird candies from far away places. When I am not waiting for my next exciting box you can find me painting or taking photographs of interesting people. I never leave home without pug hair somewhere on my shirt and a bold lipstick on my smile.

Posted in Book of the Month Reviews, Book Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: book of the month | 16 comments

Comments (16)

  1. I chose Necessary People, which is pretty average, like all the thrillers they offer. My gripes about BOTMC are that the five selections are usually low-brow, with heavy emphasis on formulaic thrillers. The physical book quality feels cheap. These are hardcovers, so that’s nice, but the pages are rough and thin. It feels like the publishers use lesser materials to produce these copies specifically because they’re discounted books for BOTMC. Shipping is unacceptably slow. If you expect your book to come before a vacation that’s in, say, the middle of the month, forget it. Granted, we’re spoiled now living in an age of instant shipping, but BOTMC’s shipping time is beyond bad. So there you go. I’ll probably end up canceling, unfortunately.

    • Yeah, the selections are why I ended up canceling my BOTM account. I found that I was super uninterested in everything they were offering. I have Boxwalla now and I love it. The books they send have made my reading life so much richer.

  2. I got this book and stopped reading it less than 20 pages in. I’m a WWII buff so, even though the particular angle of this book didn’t excite me, I figured it matched my interests well enough. I saw shadings of the romantic relationship you mention right away and felt a little annoyed. The synopses of the book doesn’t mention that part of the plot at all and I felt like I’d been tricked into reading something I never would have chosen had that been a known factor. I don’t know that I blame BofM for that but I do see something dishonest in the way this book is marketed.

  3. I was drawn to this book but had the concerns you describe – the fictionalized love story of a real and heroic man. I read Cynthia Ozick’s review in the NY Times and she seemed to me to be saying that same thing – that it’s a great read but it is not to be taken as a portrait of Varian Fry (“Orringer’s Varian is movie-tone make-believe. Do not mistake him for Varian Fry.”) So I didn’t get it (in fact I skipped May) but then got an email absolutely raving about it from a friend whose taste in books and background are similar to mine. So I now have a hold on it at my local library. Meanwhile the NYT Book Review published a selection of letters in response to Ozick’s review, some of them questioning the veracity of the assumption that Fry was gay. But one of them was from Fry’s own son who confirms that Fry was indeed a closeted gay man. I still wonder why the author chose to portray the real Varian Fry in this speculative manner as a novelization, instead of, say, creating a fully fictional character based on him.

    • Interesting! Thanks for the extra info Amy. I will have to do some additional reading. I think I truly would have been much more comfortable with a fully fictionalized character!

  4. I loved your review of that book! That sounds like a great read. I went for my fluff this month and chose The Bride Test, which I really enjoyed! Book of the Month has introduced me to some of my favorite books of the year…I’m always excited to see what the selections will be each month! Also, I’m loving the new YA books! I’ve been adding them on to my order each month!

    • Thanks Audra! I need to pick something fluffy next month. I always seem to pick such serious books and then the reviews seem harder to write! Did you enjoy The Bride Test?

  5. I mean to say I hope BotM keeps both boxes going forward.

  6. I did not pick this particular book, I chose The Bride Test and two add ons. I love BotM and my daughter and my husband joined the new YA BotM. I hope they keep both. Your review of the book is excellent. Thank you.

    • The Bride Test seems to have been popular! Have you started it yet? What do you think?

      • I am loving it! I usually like to read thrillers and true crime, however this is lighter fare and it is a nice break. I plan on getting The Kissing Quotient by the same author.

  7. Just wanted to let you all know this coming cheats people. They charged me even though I skipped a month and now they refuse to refund my money. I cancelled and will never join again. I have emailed them several times and they do not respond.

    • Does it show you have one credit or two? They always charge you, and if you skip, you’re skipping but keeping the credit. If you have two credits available, then you were charged twice (once for the month and once for the skipped month).

      I’ve never had issues contacting their customer care and have done it multiple times.

    • Unless you cancel your subscription, they do charge you every month unless you skipped the PREVIOUS month in which case you have a carried-over credit which will be applied to your book. The charge is made before you either select or skip your current-month’s book. If you choose a book, your credit is used and they will charge you the next month. If you skip, your credit carries over to the next month and you will not be charged then. That is their system; they are not cheating you. If you have a credit from having skipped the previous month, they owe you a book and you should get that book before cancelling.

    • I have been with BOTM for almost 3 years and never had an issue. I am sorry to hear of your issue with BOTM.

    • Joyce, try interacting with them directly on their Instagram page. They seem to respond there pretty well (maybe because of all the eyes on the posts).

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!

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

Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.