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November 25, 2021

3 Books for Fans of Women's Fiction

by Susan Roberts


Women's fiction is one of the most popular literary genres. I think the draw is the strong female character facing issues that most women can identify with. We often see ourselves, coworkers, relatives, and friends in the characters. The story often gives us hope that we too can overcome our own struggles.
 
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Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here
November 2021; Ballantine Books; 978-1984818416
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction

A  deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.

"Life happens when you least expect it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a blueprint in your back pocket." (loc 295)

There are some readers who might think that it's too soon to read books about the pandemic 2020.  It was difficult to be reminded of what went on in the world after March 2020, and it did bring back some bad memories.  Wish You Were Here is much more than a novel about how the world changed.  It's a reminder of how wonderful the front-line workers - doctors and nurses -worked in conditions dangerous to their health and were committed to fight to keep Covid patients alive.  Primarily this is a book about bravery, love, and resilience.  

Diana is in her late 20s and so far her life has followed the path that she has planned. She wants to be married by 30, have her kids by 35 and move out of NYC to the suburbs while she moves up the corporate ladder.  Her boyfriend, Finn, is a resident at a NYC hospital and they are planning a trip to the Gal├ípagos to celebrate her birthday.  It was early March and people weren't worried about Covid and believed that it would be gone by Easter.  Finn comes home from the hospital and his comments make it all very real.  His caseload is growing by the day and he expects the country to shut down soon from the indicators he's seeing.  Diana is a bit of a skeptic and decides to the Gal├ípagos by herself.  Her trip goes well until she gets to the island and finds out that there will be no ferry back to the mainland for at least two weeks, the hotel she was planning to stay at has shut down and her luggage was lost on the trip plus there is very poor wifi and she can't communicate with Finn daily as they'd planned.  The longer she stays on the island, the calmer she gets about life and her bucket plans for her future.  When she does hear from Finn, he gives her information about shutdowns and how many people are dying.  His emails to her really bring back the memories of what life was like in 2020 and at times, they were difficult to read.  Diana's two weeks on the island becomes longer as the island stays closed down.  She meets a local woman who helps her and provides a room for her as well as a man and his daughter.  Since she has more free time than she's ever had, she begins to think about her life and the things she wants to accomplish and she begins to wonder about the changes this trip will make on her life.  Will her life change when she gets back to New York City?

As with all Jodi Picoult's books, it's apparent that she has done a lot of research --this time on medical issues and the beauty of the Galapagos.  Her characters are very well written and they reflect how all of us were dealing with the changes in our lives last year.  Have tissue close at hand and get ready to read a fantastic book.  Yes, parts of it are painful reminders but at the end of the book, the overall feeling is one of hope and love and finding new happiness.  

Buy Wish you Were Here at Amazon

On My Terms by Ashley Farley

On My Terms
October 2021; AHF Publishing; 978-1736876190
ebook, print (212 pages); romantic suspense

On My Terms
 is a different type of book by Ashley Farley who normally writes women's fiction and it proves that she can write a fantastic book in any genre. Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down until the end.  I stayed up much later at night than I usually do but it was well worth it.

Jolie Hogan is a cop - a real kickass cop with a heart of gold that she tries to keep hidden.  She often acts reckless and wants to get the job done.  She and her twin brother had a tough upbringing.  Their mother left them at a police station when they were young and they tried (and succeeded) to stay together in foster care.  Despite their differences, they are very close to each other.  As the book begins, she is a private investigator who gets set up by a rich lawyer to help him kill his wife and her boyfriend who also happened to be Jolie's husband.  She knows that she'll be accused of the murders and starts investigating to clear her name.  She is fearless and takes lots of chances to make other people safe from harm.  When a terrible event happens in her life she has to decide if she'll go on living or make changes in her life.

There were lots of interesting plots in this story but I don't want to give any spoilers.  All I can tell you is to READ this book.  It will make you laugh and it may make you cry but I ended up with a lot of admiration for Jolie.  This is about romance, sex, abandonment, and life-changing decisions.  Jolie is not a character that you'll soon forget.

Buy On My Terms at Amazon

Friends from Home by Lauryn Chamberlain

Friends from Home
May 2021; Dutton; 978-0593182802
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); women's fiction

"The first time Michelle and I talked about her wedding, we were in elementary school.  It was actually the week we met - the first week of the third grade."
  (p 11)

Friends from Home is an interesting look at friendship and how it changes as you grow older.  Jules and Michelle have been friends since third grade after Jules and her mom moved to a small town in Alabama.  Their upbringing was very different - Michelle was the privileged daughter of wealthy parents and Jules was being raised by a single mother who spent more time looking for a new boyfriend than she spent with her daughter.  Jukes was accepted into Michelle's family and spent more time there than she did at home.  They remained best friends until high school graduation when they headed in different directions.  Michelle stayed near home and graduated from the University of Alabama and now works in a jewelry boutique.  Jules went to school in New York and lives in New York City making a living as a book editor.  They are both in their 20s when Michelle asks Jules to be the maid of honor at her wedding.  The differences in their lives is apparent - Michelle plans to get married and quit her job and live happily ever after.  Jules is dating someone but has no plans of ever getting married or having children.  Their views on social issues have also changed dramatically and a fight over one issue threatens to tear their friendship apart.  Will they be able to find common ground and remain friends or will their changes over the years end their long-term friendship?

I enjoyed the plot of this book and really like Jules.  I wasn't too crazy about Michelle - she just seemed so shallow and impressed with herself and her plans for the future.  The author definitely understood the way people change and how it affects friendships.  I have a friend from third grade and we are still good friends even though our lives have been very different so I understood the main characters' struggles to maintain their friendship even their lives had changed over the years. This is a debut novel for this author and I look forward to her future books.

Buy Friends from Home at Amazon


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. 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 Facebook.




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