My Life in Books

5 books that inspired actor and author Meg Tilly

The author of the new romantic thriller Solace Island shares some of her favourite books.
Solace Island is a novel by actress Meg Tilly. (Don Calame/Berkley)

Golden Globe Award-winning actress Meg Tilly's thriller Solace Island follows a young woman named Maggie Harris, jilted by her fiancé and living with her sister on Solace Island. When a car tries to run her over, Maggie is saved by her neighbour, Luke Benson. It soon becomes clear that someone wants Maggie dead and Luke, a security expert, will do everything he can to stop them.

Below, Tilly shares some of the books that have shaped her life.

The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The Blue Castle is a novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. (Canadian Press/National Archives of Canada)

"I first read The Blue Castle when I was 13. Our family was going through an extremely difficult time, and yet the world only saw the façade we presented. Like Valancy Stirling, I wanted more. In reading and re-reading this novel, I realized that I didn't need to wait to be diagnosed with a terminal heart ailment to take action. My future, or lack there of, was in my hands. Valancy's courage gave me courage as well. I was a little toughie, going nowhere fast. Trapped in different kind of shell than the one that Valancy had encased herself in, but it was a stifling, can't-breathe-container nevertheless.

"The next year our family moved to a new town. I used the opportunity to shed that old skin and start acquiring the skills I would need to move forward and create the kind of life I longed for."

Women & Money by Suze Orman

Women & Money is a nonfiction book by Suze Orman. (Spiegel & Grau/Twitter)

"I think the book I have recommended the most often to my girlfriends is Women & Money. Many women struggle with a very dysfunctional relationship to money. My generation was taught that it was low-class to talk about money and debt. If you didn't have fiscal security, you pretended you did. Well, if you can't talk about debt, how the heck are you going to get out of it? We learned all sorts of things in school, but not the fundamentals of saving and investing, and how credit works. It is vital when you are considering getting married, or moving in with someone, to have these discussions. The number one cause of divorce is because of the way people handle their money. When you tie your life with someone else, his or her debts and money habits become your burden to bear as well. Make sure you are on the same fiscal page before making that leap."

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

The Wave is a memoir by Sonali Deraniyagala. (Emblem Editions/Ann Billingsley)

"This memoir is brutally honest. Tender. Loving. Heartbreaking. I was humbled by Sonali's unflinching voice as she takes us through the landscape of what it is to lose everything. She doesn't whitewash her thoughts or emotions. It is so rare that one is allowed the privilege of witnessing someone's uncensored humanness, all the parts that make the whole. Un-homogenized. When Sonali takes us back to her family home in London, four years after the tsunami hit, and finds the mud-encrusted boots, the eyelash on the pillow, I wept so hard my skin hurt."

Mistress by Amanda Quick

Mistress is a novel by Amanda Quick. (Bantam/

"I was traveling to location and had finished whatever literary tome I had stuffed in my purse. Had time before my next flight, so browsed through the various books that were for sale. Nothing was piquing my interest until I picked up Mistress. I read the first few pages and was hooked. By the time I'd devoured the prologue and the first chapter I was hugging myself with delight. Mistress was such a cozy antidote to the day-to-day challenges of life that I became converted to the wonderful world of romantic suspense. I have since have read every single book Amanda Quick a.k.a. Jayne Anne Krentz a.k.a. Jayne Castle has written as well as branching out to discover a plethora of deliciously talented authors of romance."

Cathedral by Raymond Carver

Cathedral is a short story collection by Raymond Carver. (Vintage)

"I was at a writing workshop retreat and we were given the task of writing a short piece in the style of an author we admired. I attempted to channel Chekhov without much success, but one woman wrote a piece that was so beautiful it caused my breath to catch in my throat. 'Who was your author?' I asked. 'Raymond Carver,' she replied. When I returned home, I went to Bolen Books and purchased Cathedral. Loved it so much I returned a few days later and bought every Raymond Carver book they had in stock. His writing spoke to me of the world I'd grown up in, the places we'd lived and the people who inhabited them."


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