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May 20, 2017

3 Books with Interesting Female Characters

by Susan Roberts

Fiction books have changed a lot during the last ten years. It used to be that novels were mainly written by men with male main characters who were always rescuing the women in distress. Today I have reviews of three books that were all not only written by women but have female main characters. I definitely enjoyed all three books.
Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. Free books were was provided for an honest review.

Can't Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon

Can't Buy Forever
May 2015; Page Publishing; 978-1681393742
print (218 pages); mystery
In the early 1950s, Odessa Drake (Dessa) is rescued from a bleak existence with a single mother. She takes a chance on the unknown to work in a boarding house owned by a widowed great aunt in Mineville, New York. Dessa is devoted to Aunt Flo and especially a young man, Nicholas, who appears and takes shelter in the attic, the only available space. Four years pass. She looks forward to each day because of his presence, in spite of the tedious work. Dessa is now eighteen and knows little more of Nicholas than the day he arrived to work the mines. She knows only he is a remarkable man who has a limp and she trusts Nicholas explicitly. There is a familiarity both recognize and an unshakeable bond develops. Nicholas has reasons to keep his past buried. Dangers loom and become evident when Nicholas gets too close and exposes their bond. What is the mystery behind this threat? To discover the answer, they escape by railway heading West, colliding with treachery and uncovering secrets, mile by mile. Their journey is impossible, but, they are supported by friends who risk their lives to make sure a great love and lineage is preserved. Or is it? None will forget their odyssey as they proceed to their destiny farther than they imagined. (from Goodreads)

My Review:  This is an interesting little book set in the 1950s. It's a love story between Dessa, who is now 18 years old, and Nicholas, a border in her aunt's boarding house; Dessa knows almost nothing about him but she knows that she's in love with him and he with her, though he spends most of his time avoiding making any commitments. When the book starts, they have known each other for four years but after a botched kidnapping of Dessa, Nicholas takes her away to keep her safe. As they travel west on a very perilous, their love continues to grow despite all of the problems that they have with people trying to harm them. There is a twist near the end that I didn't see coming which made the story even more interesting.

This is Laffoon's first book and she occasionally struggled with her story and dialogue. She has a lot of potential as an author and I look forward to what she will write in the future.

Buy Can't Buy Forever at Amazon

You Were Here by Gian Sardar

You Were Here
May 2017; G.P. Putnam's Sons; 978-0399575006
ebook, audio, print (384 pages); gothic romance
This was a fantastic mystery that kept me turning pages well into the night to find out how the story would end. The first 50 pages or so were kind of slow but keep on reading because once things start to happen, you won't want to put it down.

The story is told in two time periods. The modern story is Abby's. Abby lives in LA and keeps having the same dream that she's had for years but this time she hears a name in her dream and when her mother knew of the person that she dreamed about she decided that she needs to go home to Minnesota for the first time in years to try to find out what was causing her dreams. While she is home, she meets one of the first boys that she had a crush on. He is now a police detective working on the case of a serial rapist in their town. So Abby's story is all about her dreams and her history and the case of the serial rapist. Her grandmother's story takes in her best friend, whose husband is having an affair and plans to leave her. The author did a fantastic job of interweaving these two timelines and two plots and her characters are great.

I really enjoyed this novel - there was a lot of mystery, a major bad guy and a bit of romance - how can you go wrong?

Buy You Were Here at Amazon

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost
May 2017; G.P. Putnam's Sons; 978-0735212756
ebook, audio, print (336 pages); women's fiction
I enjoyed this book of love and loss but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was younger. The main character's flair for drama really kind of bothered me throughout the book - actually I didn't like her much. Overall though it is an interesting and well-written book and I read it until the end. The author's way of writing - like Lucy was writing in a journal - took me a little time to get used to but now that I've read the entire book, I think that it was the perfect way to tell the story.

Lucy and Gabe met at college in NYC on 9/11 and could see the smoke and the dust in the city from their dorms. They developed an immediate lust (for lack of a better word) for each other and even though they quit seeing each other soon after, Lucy's memories of Gabe stayed strong. They met again in the city after they had both graduated and had a passionate love affair until Gabe left to go the Middle East as an embedded correspondent. Even as she continued to live her life without him, Gabe was never far from Lucy's mind. How she deals with his memory and goes on with her life is the basis of this book.

Pure and simple, this is a love story about two people who can't forget each other no matter where life takes them. It was well written and an enjoyable read.

Buy The Light We Lost at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She 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. Connect with Susan on Facebook.

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  1. Sad you've only found 3. Try "Shards of Honor" by Lois McMaster Bujold, then the rest of the Vorkoverse and the 5 Gods series, anything by Sharon Lee & steve Miller, most books by Robin McKinley, Dianna Wynne Jones, Diane Duane, Patricia Briggs, Seanan McGuire, Dorothy Gilman Butters, Usula Vernon- and yes, I include her children's books - Anne Bishop, Anne McCAffrey, Andre Norton. That's a starter list.