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March 19, 2017

March Women's Fiction Novels

by Susan Roberts

There are lots of great books out this month. Here are four that I really enjoyed:

March 2017; Crown; 978-1101906668
ebook & print (288 pages); suspense
a free ARC was provided for this review
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

The Roanoke Girls is being marketed as a thriller which I think is misleading. It was more of a family drama about how a family secret can affect generations in a family.

Lane is sent to live with her grandparents and her cousin Allegra after her mother commits suicide when Lane is 15. Her mother had been a very poor parent so Lane is thrilled to have a family. Once she gets to Kansas and meets her new family and learns the family secret, she quickly leaves Kansas behind to exist (just exist, not thrive) in California.

What I liked about this book: The setting in Kansas is very well described - you could almost feel the heat and the dryness when the author wrote about it. The characters of Lane and Allegra were well done - even though they were both very unlikable.

What I didn't like: The family secret was revealed too early in the book and the reader learned too early what a despicable family this really is. There was way too much sex and swearing in the book - a lot of it unnecessary to the plot.

I would like to read this author's books in the future as I think she has a lot of potential as an author of adult books.

Buy The Roanoke Girls at Amazon

March 2017; Ballantine Books
9780553391961; ebook & print (284 pages)
women's fiction
a free ARC was provided for this review
If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) by Debbie Macomber

You can always depend on Debbie Macomber to give you a good story to take your mind off everything else going on around you. That said, this was not my favorite story by her but it was a fun satisfying read.      

As the book begins, Beth meets Sam on a blind date. They are total opposites - Beth is a music teacher and very prim and proper. Sam is a mechanic with long hair and beard. The blind date doesn't go well and it's apparent that they will never see each again. On their drives home, Sam is behind Beth's car when she is hit in an intersection and hurt very badly. He runs to the car and holds her hand and then starts to visit her in the hospital and a relationship between them develops very quickly. The big questions then become - will they be able to find true love despite their differences and the opposition of her controlling mother? It's a fun, quick satisfying read to find out the answer to this question.

Buy If Not For You at Amazon

March 2017; Algonquin Books
9781616206222; ebook & print (352 pages)
literary fiction
a free ARC was provided for this review
Our Short History by Lauren Grodstein

It may sound strange to say that a book about a single mother dying of cancer is a fantastic book, but let me tell you that it really is. Our Short History is the first book that I've read by this author and I plan to go back and read her previous books after reading this one.

Karen is a successful political consultant in NYC with a young son when she finds out that she has stage IV ovarian cancer. When she got pregnant with her son, the father broke up with her and she never told him about the baby. When her son is six, he asks to meet his father. Up until this time, they had been a family of two and Karen is very apprehensive about bringing his father into her son's life. However father and son bond very quickly and despite Karen's anger over including the dad into her son's life, she realizes that time is running out for her. Will she be able to learn to share her son with his father or will she continue to try to keep them apart?

The novel is written as a book that Karen is writing for her son to read when he is grown to explain the life that they had together. I thought she was an extremely fantastic character and the anger that she held against her ex-boyfriend, her cancer, and life in general is definitely justified. This is a fantastic book -- warning - keep Kleenex close at hand!

Buy Our Short History at Amazon

March 2017; Atria Books; 978-1476704456
ebook & print (320 pages); women's fiction
a free ARC was provided for this review
It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Once again, Amy Hatvany has given her readers a book that explores a topic that is often in the news - date rape and consent. It was a tough book to read and readers are able to see the storyline through the eyes of Amber and Tyler as they work to understand what happened and how they are going to live the rest of their lives.

Amber and Tyler met when they were 10 and became best friends. Amber always felt a platonic friendship with Ty but he was in love with her. She became engaged while in college but when she was home after graduation, she spent considerable time with Ty and when she kissed him at a party after an evening of heavy drinking by both, things spiraled out of control. This is the story of the emotion and pain caused by that one night. It's told in alternating chapters from each character's point of view so the reader is aware of how it is affecting both of them.

It was a tough book to read but it needs to be read and discussed with everyone's daughters AND sons. If you have a teenager or college student, I beg you to have them read this book and then discuss it with them. At this age, they feel invincible and they need to understand how one night can totally change their plans for the future.

Buy It Happens All the Time at Amazon

Susan Roberts was born and raised in Michigan but after college decided that she wanted to live somewhere much warmer.  Susan lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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