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July 24, 2021

3 Summer Women's Fiction Novels Not to Miss

by Susan Roberts

Summer Women's Fiction

I haven't read many books publishing in July but here are three stand-out women's fiction books that were published this summer.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.  Free books were provided for an honest review.

No More Words: A Novel by Kerry Lonsdale

No More Words
July 2021; Lake Union; ‎ 978-1542019057
audio, ebook, print (331 pages); domestic thriller

"You assume the worst of people.  You don't trust anyone, so everything you touch or do blows up."
(loc 501)

I've read every book that Kerry Lonsdale has written and she just keeps getting better.  No More Words is the first book in a trilogy about family and love but most of all it's about secrets and how the past affects the future.

The novel begins in the Summer of '95 when the three Carson children get dropped off at the lake home of the Whitman family.  At the time  Olivia is 8, Lucas is 6 and Lily is 3. Summers at the lake are idyllic and the children spend all of their time outside enjoying the freedom and the time they spend together.  Years later when they are adults, the fun that they had together as children is gone and they are no longer close.   Olivia is an artist, Josh has spent time in prison and Lily has run away and no one has heard from her in years.  This is book 1 in a new trilogy and is Olivia's story.

Olivia is a well-known illustrator and is afraid to get close to anyone emotionally. Josh is a 13-year-old boy who turns up at her house and she is shocked to find out that he is her nephew. Lily got pregnant at 15 and when her parents insisted on either an abortion or adoption, she ran away and no one in the family knows where she is.  Once a year she sends Olivia a letter with a picture of Josh but that is the only contact that they've had over the years.  Josh is terrified when he gets to Olivia's and due to a recent accident that caused aphasia - he is often unable to find the right words to use and is no longer able to read or write.  He isn't able to tell Olivia what happened to his mom except that she is gone!  Josh is an artist beyond his years and Olivia attempts to find out what happened to her sister by using Josh's drawings as a road map.  The more that she tries to help Josh, the more she learns about her family and that makes her question everything that they had ever told her.  Will Olivia somehow be able to find Lily so that the three siblings can become a family again?

No More Words is the first book in a trilogy about love, betrayal, and the secrets families keep.

Warning - before you start this book, make sure that your calendar is clear because I can guarantee that you won't want to put it down until the end.  I can't wait to read the next two books in the series to find out more about Olivia, Josh, and Ivy and their quest to become family again.

Buy No More Words at Amazon
(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read and listen for free)

It's Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

It's Better This Way Debbie Macomber
July 2021; Ballantine Books; 978-1984818782
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); women's fiction

After divorce shatters her family, one woman's struggle to pick up the pieces finally leads to a new beginning--but is the past truly behind her? 

You can always depend on Debbie Macomber to bring her readers exceptional books full of real-life characters facing situations that many of us face but always providing a feel-good happily ever after ending.  She gives us all that and more in her new book  It's Better This Way.

Six years ago, Julie tried to save her marriage after her husband of over 25 years told her that he had fallen in love with another woman.  Their two grown daughters side with their mother and will have nothing to do with their father and his new wife.  Julie meets Heath in the exercise room of her new condo.  At first, they ignore each other, then they smile at each other and soon they start having coffee together.  This friendship quickly moves to another level and they fall in love.  Heath is also divorced and has two grown sons that are close to both him and his ex-wife.  When a dramatic truth comes to light, Julie and Heath realize how difficult it will be to combine both families when there is so much animosity between the four children.  Will they give up on their love and give in to their children or will they be able to have their happily ever after.  Will Julie's father's saying 'It's better this way" prove to be true in Julie and Heath's future life?

It was difficult to put this book down once I started it.  I loved the characters and the way that they handled their family situation.  I was hoping that their love would survive and quickly turned the pages to find the outcome.  Another fantastic book by a legendary author.

Buy It's Better this Way at Amazon

Message in the Sand by Hannah McKinnon

Message in the Sand
June 2021; Atria/Emily Bestler Books; 978-1982114572
ebook, print (352 pages); women's fiction

"What makes up the fabric of a family?  And what tears it apart?"

When I first saw this book, I thought it would be a light, fluffy beach read.  Was I ever wrong!  This book is definitely not light and deals with a myriad of issues about life and love and family.  This is my first book by this author but definitely won't be my last.

This novel brings together a group of seemingly unrelated people but there are connections between all of them.  Wendell is a local boy who has a severe case of PTSD due to his time in Afghanistan.  He prefers to spend his life isolated from friends and works as a caretaker at White Pines farm owned by Alan Lancaster.  Wendell enjoys the peace and quiet of the estate.  Julia and Pippa are Alan's daughters.  At 15, Julia loves her home and her horse and is falling in love with the boy next door.  When an accident occurs, the girls' aunt, who they have never met, comes from London to take care of the estate and plans to return to London with the two girls.  Julia is distraught at leaving White Pines and the life that she's known and searches for ways to stay there. Add in Roberta, a retired judge and Ginny, Wendell's first love who returns to town after years in Chicago and you have a group of wonderful characters who will tug at your heart.  

The author doesn't shy away from difficult subjects in this novel.  Wendell's PTSD is a very important part of the story as he deals with it on a daily basis.  Overall this story is full of wonderful characters who are faced with issues that they never expected and have to either accept or fight the changes in their lives.  This is a story that proves that family is more than blood relatives -- it is made up of the people you love and love you back.  This was a beautiful and emotional novel with characters who will make you laugh and make you cry but will stay in your mind long after the last page.  

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. 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 historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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