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March 21, 2023

3 Wonderful Women's Fiction Stories You Don't Want to Miss

by MK French

If you love a good women's fiction story then I have three wonderful novels that you don't want to miss. The first two have a little romance and the third is quite chilling. So whether you are looking for a sweet read, a fun read, or a thrilling read - you will find it within the pages of these books.

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

The Lost Mother of Ireland by Susanne O'Leary

book cover of women's fiction novel The Lost Mother of Ireland by Susan O'Leary
March 2023; Bookouture; ebook (290 pages)
women's fiction

Laura inherits a cottage in Sandy Cove from a friend who was like a mother to her. The village is on the west coast of Ireland and seems like a fresh start. There she meets Gino, a handsome local she's attracted to. As they grow closer and Laura settles into village life, her friend's son disputes the will. In addition to the house, Laura had also gotten an heirloom that reveals a long-forgotten family secret. And as if that isn't enough, Laura finds out that Gino might love someone else. With all of this, how can she rebuild her life?

The Lost Mother of Ireland is book six in the Starlight Cottages series but can be read as a standalone. Laura is 52, and had a full life nursing and caring for others, which is how she met Josephine, who left her the cottage and painting. She settled into village life, appreciating the community and friendliness. Because if said village life, she sees a photo of the painting's subject, and people remembered the sixties, allowing her to track down the woman and try figuring out who the painter was. At the same time, she has a growing attraction to Gino, and an art gallery owner wining and dining her. The romantic aspect doesn't get spicier than kissing on the page, and I honestly was more focused on the mystery painting. I appreciated that she and her new friends are older and have full, fun lives. Romance is a bonus, not a necessity as it sometimes feels like in romances starring young adults. The book takes its time so that you get to know everyone, a really nice and cozy feeling. 

Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort

book cover of women's fiction novel Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort
January 2023; Montlake; 978-1542038515
audio, ebook, print (347 pages); women's fiction

Erika is the former diva who was disfigured in an accident, now living in her grandmother's old opera house in Paris, Nevada. To avoid foreclosure or Raoul Descomte buying the property, she rents it out to German rock band Nachtmusik to record their new album. Erika and Christof are attracted to each other, but the rest of the band still thinks he's dating the keyboardist, even though she broke things off before the rest of them left Germany. She'll keep the secret for a price, and arrange for singing lessons. Can their relationship actually survive?

This is a genderswapped "Phantom of the Opera," so it's full of fun details in the names and locations if you know the show at all. Erika is the former diva who was disfigured in an accident, now living in her grandmother's old opera house in Paris, Nevada. She's very aware that she's not a good person, and really does try to do the right thing. The lure of money and sex is too alluring for her to pass up, and Christof is just as enamored with her. I found it hilarious that Christof's sister is a spirit-obsessed goth chick floating through the story, interrupting at odd times and being far more observant than she thinks. Of course, Erika and Christof have opportunities to talk and bond as well as act on their attraction to each other. Raoul is rich and smarmy, making me think Jen disliked his character in Phantom as much as I did!

Even without the fun nods to Broadway, this is a great romance novel. Erika thinks she's not a good person and has no one to care about her, and Christof is anxious all the time and thinks he has nothing besides the band. Of course, they will connect with each other, and help point out that they are more than the past or what use they can be to others. I love Erika realizing she wants to admire herself and feel proud of her achievements, and that she's worthy of love no matter what. Christof also realized that fear of loss and change held him back. Add in truly dramatic revelations, and it certainly is a Broadway-worthy ending for the novel. This was lots of great fun to read.

Buy Midnight Duet at Amazon
(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

The Things We Do To Our Friends by Heather Darwent

book cover of women's fiction novel The Things We Do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent
January 2023; Bantam; 978-0593497166
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction

Clare wants to reinvent herself in Edinburgh, Scotland. There, she meets the wealthy Tabitha and her circle of friends and is immediately drawn in. She is now part of an elite group, everything she ever wanted. Tabitha has a project she needs Clare's help with, which threatens to undo all of the work she did to change herself. But she's too entwined with Tabitha and her friends and wants this new life too much to turn back.

Chapters are short and punchy, little snapshots of moments in Clare's life. She wanted so badly to be someone better and flashier than who she used to be, and getting noticed by Tabitha fueled the envy and desire to be more. Even Tabitha's friends understand there's an undercurrent to that friendship: "Whatever happens with Tabitha, it just happens, and you have to go along with it." Clare writes off other people she knows as not worth friendship, which only further pushes her into Tabitha's orbit. In time, it's easy enough to fall in line and participate in Tabitha's project, essentially creating a honey trap for men if their wives doubted them. From there it becomes a revenge operation, and Clare does whatever is asked of her, even after she wants out.

Clare wants friends so desperately, and we eventually find out exactly what her past is, and what led her down that path in the first place. She wants to impress others and feel a connection and friendship, and it's unfortunate that Tabitha was the one to find her and capture that need. Tabatha wants to be important and have the world work the way she believes it does, but of course, nothing in life goes according to plan. The novel progresses down a darker path until we get to the twist and we find out it wasn't the way Clare thought it was at all. Events suddenly gain a clarity that makes it that much more shocking, and the ending had me reading with my mouth dropped open in surprise. Even the past wasn't exactly what I thought it was, and neither was the future that had been implied. Very well done, and very chilling to the end.

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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