Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

Advance Review- The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society

Title: The Jane Austen Society: A Novel

Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction/Romance

Author: Natalie Jenner

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St Martin’s Press, May 26, 2020

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

**

This is totally a work of fiction the only actual part of the story that is real is the town of Chawton and the house reputed to be where Jane Austen lived and wrote for part of her life. However, this book just sucks you in and the characters become totally real. There are some surprises and twists which is always fun. I felt like I was transported to post-war Britain and I could actually picture the village, the streets, the rolling hills of the countryside. The characters are all well realized. The plot well written. There is nothing short of superb about this book. I loved it.

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Recent Release- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The two Lives of Lydia Bird

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary Romance

Author: Josie Silver

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Ballentine, March 2020

Pages: 432

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

**
This is a tearjerker. Be prepared with a full tissue box at your side. It is about grief and how it envelopes a life. Lydia is so distraught she cannot sleep. Her mother talks the doctor into giving Lydia a prescription for sleeping pills. Lydia takes the pink pill and finds herself asleep and waking in another dimension where Freddie is still alive and they are living their life together. But when she awakes from the sleep she is thrust back into the grief filled life without Freddie. This back and forth plays out over the next year. Lydia makes some independent strides and finds a way to live again. What didn’t ring true was Lydia’s job. She was away for months at a time and they still kept her on. Don’t we all want jobs like that.
I recommend this book only to those who won’t be pulled under by the sadness, it is a sad but eventually uplifting read.

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Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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Review- Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It

Title: Now That You Mention It
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Kristan Higgins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: HQN, Dec. 2017
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5-not graphic
Violence rating: 5-very graphic
Description from Amazon:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

**
Spoiler Trigger Warning: There is an attempted Rape in this book.

Kristan Higgins can bring characters to life like no other author. They live and breathe on the page and because of this they draw us into the web of their lives so that we are living on that small Maine island along with them. Nora has had more hard times than anyone should have to endure but she is not a quitter, she is determined to bring her family together in spite of all their objections.

I love this author! I love that she can write violent dark scenes and then bring about laugh-out-loud scenes. She has me turning pages and losing sleep because I cannot put the book down. She is brilliant. I highly recommend this book.

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Release Day Review- Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words

Title: Love And Other Words
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Christina Lauren
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Gallery Books, April 10, 2018
Pages: 432
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

**
This novel keeps you turning pages to discover what the life altering break-up was all about. These two, Macy and Elliot, are so made for each other that we can’t imagine them coming apart. But come apart they do and they separate for eleven years.

Delve into the minds and hearts of adolescents then teens and finally adults. It took them a long time to come together, needing to put past mistakes and misunderstandings to rest.

This book was somewhat depressing. There was little in the way of humor or light-heartedness. The two protagonists did little more than read together for most of their teen years. Macy did confide her feelings to Elliot and he was there for a shoulder to support her but she didn’t seem to return the favor. But then, Elliot didn’t seem to need support. There is a surprise that I didn’t see coming. It was an engrossing read and very well written.

 

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Review-Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithful

Title: Faithful

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Alice Hoffnman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 272

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 (not explicit)

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

**

The book blurb pretty much says it all. This a story of the journey from the depths of despair to the realization of dreams and happiness. Shelby is nearly totally destroyed by the accident that left her best friend in a vegetative coma.  She struggles through that despair with drugs, time in the mental ward and self-hatred by shaving her head. She makes mistakes that cost her emotionally but at the same time encourage her growth as a mature person.  The prose in this book is superb, the characterization of every character true to each personality.  You will laugh and cry for Shelby and with her but you won’t forget this book.

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Buzzworthy Advance review- First Comes Love by Emily Griffin

Title: First Comes Love

First Comes Love

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romantic Elements

Author: Emily Griffin

Publisher: Ballantine Books, June 2016, preorder available

Pages: 400

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

A pair of sisters find themselves at a crossroads in this dazzling new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only. First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.   On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.   As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.

***

Daniel Garland, 26 year old med school grad with a bright future, has died suddenly in a car accident.  This we learn in the prologue and then we are thrust 15 years into the future lives of the family he left behind. Especially the lives of his two younger sisters, Josie, a first grade teacher, and Meredith an attorney.  Through alternating chapters we learn of each woman’s present life and flashbacks to the prior years since Daniel’s death.

Although this is 400 pages it is a quick read.  I could not help but be immersed in the lives of each of these women.  Their animosity toward each other at times was annoying but Ms. Griffin is at the top of her game in fleshing out the women’s motivations.  There are secrets uncovered and some surprises. 

I can recommend this book for the fascinating character study that it is and also for an entertaining read.

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Review- Forgotten by Catherine MacKenzie

Title:  Forgotten

Forgotten

 Genre:  Women’s fiction

Author: Catherine Mackenzie

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks, Oct. 2012

Source: Kindle Purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

If your old life vanished completely, should you try to get it back or create a whole new one? That’s the intriguing question at the heart of Catherine McKenzie’s Forgotten.  The smart, funny, and provocative story of a woman who returns home after being stranded for months in Africa by an earthquake only to find that everyone in her life believed she was dead and moved on.

**

Emma’s mother died.  She left Emma an open-end ticket to Africa in her will.  Emma knew her mother was always intrigued by all things African but doesn’t know why she wanted her to go there.  Emma takes a month off from her demanding job and flys to a remote mid-African country.  That is where she gets stranded for six months. She bides her time working with charity workers and has no idea that the people back home have already had a memorial service for her. When she returns her life is never the same.

The author weaves a romance within the mess of Emma’s life.  Emma’s ex-boyfriend moved on when he thought she died but when she returns he has doubts about his actions.  Dominic, the professional photographer who had leased Emma’s apartment is a kind soul who tries to help Emma reintegrate into her life.  Emma’s personal life and work life is in shambles but she is tough and pushes on.  The pages turn as we want to see what is to become of Emma and the side characters she is involved with.

This is another spell binding novel by Catherine MacKenzie.  There is no setting the book aside to attend to your life.  I guarantee you will start and finish this book in one sitting and arise from your chair stiff but satisfied, and ready to read more of Catherine MacKenzie’s novels. This book would make a great summer beach read.

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Review-Scandalous by Tilly Bagshawe

Title:  Scandalous

Scandalous by Tilly B.

Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Author:  Tilly Bagshawe

Publisher: Montlake Romance, March 2013

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Sasha Miller arrives at Cambridge University with a single goal: to earn a place among the great scientists of her time. But that dream comes crashing down when the naïve student is seduced by her womanizing professor, Theo Dexter. She trusted him with her heart—and with the brilliant original theory that would jump-start her career. Now Theo is claiming her work as his own, and a devastated Sasha vows revenge.

Eight years later, the newly rich and famous Theo Dexter is the darling of the American media and every woman’s fantasy. Every woman except one. Now head of a successful business empire, Sasha has spent years laying the groundwork for the payback Theo so richly deserves. But if she’s going to do this thing right, she can’t do it alone. She’ll need the help of the only other woman who knows the ugly truth hidden behind Theo’s handsome façade: his spurned ex-wife Theresa. Together, the pair will concoct a plan for revenge so spectacular it will make every man think twice.

**

This novel seethes with obsession and revenge. This is not Chik-Lit. (I felt it necessary to mention that because the cover seems to me to indicate it might be a Chik-Lit type book)  Sasha doesn’t care how long it takes as long as vengeance is served.  Theo is more than a womanizer, he is a scociopath.  He is only concerned with himself and he leaves shattered lives in his wake.

I could not put this book down.  Ms. Bagshawe writes complex, interesting main characters that are perfectly nuanced.  The side characters were integral to the plot and added depth to the story.  The plot is totally engrossing.  The setting of Cambridge University was a character in itself.  The sex scenes were well written. The look at big-time corporate politics as well as university politics was attention-grabbing. If you are looking for a really great, entertaining read then look no further.

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Review- The Time Of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Title:  The Time of My Life

The Time of My Life

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: William Morrow, April 2013

Source:  Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 5 (behind closed doors)

Description from amazon.com:

Lucy Silchester keeps receiving this strange appointment card and sweeping its gold embossed envelope under the rug. Literally. She busies herself with a job she doesn’t like, helping out friends, fixing her car, feeding her cat, and devoting her time to her family’s dramas. But Lucy is about to find out that this is one appointment she can’t miss, when Life shows up at her door, in the form of a sloppy but determined man.

Life follows her everywhere – from the office, to the bar, and to her bedroom – and Lucy learns that some of the choices she has made and the stories she has told aren’t what they seem. Now her half-truths are about to be revealed, unless Lucy tells the truth about what really matters to her.

**

This premise sounded like a good one.  Lucy’s Life is an actual physical entity.  He has shown up to get Lucy out of her broken relationship, job loss, habitual lying funk.  Of course Lucy balks at all of her Life’s attempts to set her on the straight and narrow.  But I’m guessing that you can guess the outcome. Too predictable, too long (over 500pages) and way too boring.

 

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