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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

August 11, 2022

2 Books for Fans of Women's Fiction

by MK French

Women's fiction can be uplifting as we see a character grow, build relationships, and discover who she really is. They are great for readers who love character-driven stories but the plots can also be just as satisfying for those that are more interested in the action. If you are a fan of women's fiction, you can't go wrong with these two novels.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar

book cover of women's fiction novel Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar
August 2022; Random House; 978-1984855992
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); women's fiction

Rose O’Connell has a rocky marriage, a son struggling to fit in at his prestigious new school, and a tiny apartment in a gentrifying neighborhood that barely fits her family. As a junior bank teller, Rose is struggling far more than the wealthy moms at Woolf Academy. Amala Kaur leads the Circle, a tight-knit group of mothers at the Academy, and she decides to invite Rose when a mysterious death creates a vacancy in the group. This creates resentment as Rose's life improves, but Rose soon discovers what it truly takes to succeed inside the Circle. Can Rose escape with her life?

As with any neighborhood undergoing gentrification, prices for everyday items grow steep for residents that grew up there. With modest means and a desire for her four-year-old son to get an advantage in life, Rose applies to Woolf Academy. Tuition is free for those accepted, but uniforms and other basics are not. She was heavily bullied as a child, to the point she has flashbacks of it even twenty years later, and is very sensitive to the fact that she moves in very different circumstances than the other Moms; social media stalking them makes it even more clear than how they dress or where they shop. The scrutiny involved would be any socially anxious person's nightmare, but Rose pushes herself forward for Charlie's sake, ignoring Bea's warning from chapter one.

The difficult choices, strained relationships and resentment from the other women are painful to read about, as is Rose feeling less than and belittled. She thinks about her conman father a lot, and is often alone with her thoughts and doubts. All the women of the Circle have their secrets, and all of them have been weaponized. The finale is a breathtaking twist of expectations and a stunner that I didn't see coming. It's a fascinating look into the elitist world of private schools and how far people will go for the life they feel they deserve. 

Buy Such a Good Mother at Amazon

With Love from Wish & Co by Minnie Darke

book cover of women's fiction novel With Love from Wish & Co by Minnie Drake
August 2022; Dell; 978-0593357194
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); women's fiction

Marnie Fairchild owns Wish and Co, a professional gift buying shop and boutique, with her eye on the Fairchild and Sons storefront her grandfather used to own. A mixup threatens to destroy her customer base, she is desperate to keep one of her biggest clients, and the last thing she needs is to fall for his gorgeous son Luke.

The thought of a bespoke shopping is a fascinating one, and I loved the look into Marnie's business and how it works. Her explanation of how she finds the great gifts for people is very much what it takes to be great in a relationship: know the person's values, know what they like, and know what you hope for the future of the relationship. She doesn't see it as the emotional fraud that Luke does, but he's had his own secrets and his own problems. They connect quickly but do hesitate with laying themselves completely bare. Of course, that's what ultimately drives them apart, but they are pushed back together and then face the future.

I enjoyed the friend relationships that Marnie had, as well as the family relationships for the Charlesworths. The hurts that Suzanne feels is never glossed over or belittled, and she's given time to deal with the emotions and learn to live with them. Even Lydia gets a chance to explore her feelings and find an ending that fits her. They feel real, with all of their messiness and complications. It's the kind of book where you'd feel like you're listening in on neighborhood gossip, only with a front-row seat.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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