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June 14, 2023

2 Books for Fans of Women's Fiction

by MK French

Along with romance, women's fiction is probably the most popular genre for summer beach reads. If you are looking for more to add to your reading list, check out these two new books.

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

You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard

book cover of women's fiction novel You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard
June 2023; Bantam; 978-0593599310
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); women's fiction

Summer and Leo traveled around California, doing small-time grifts and thefts to pay their bills. Leo hoped for a big score, charming billionaire philanthropist Michael Forrester into inviting her to his private island. She was hoping for photos to sell to paparazzi or jewelry to steal but instead disappears. Trying to find her, Summer goes to Michael’s island. No one has seen Leo and she's not anywhere. There's only one way on or off the island, so Summer is now trapped there and possibly caught in her own schemes.

Summer was raised by a free spirit mother who camped out and traveled around; she doesn't have a birth certificate or identification and doesn't even know her own birth date. She grifts and pickpockets to maintain living in a van, and Leo joined her in that lifestyle. The two acted like sisters, so Leo's sudden radio silence worries Summer. The island has its own network, cut off from the rest of California, with all electronic devices confiscated. We see her entry and search, intercut with Leo's story to heighten the suspense.

The glitz and glamour of the rich and powerful are what draws in Leo and Summer, but this is a world that has a dark undercurrent. Even the "nice" ones still have a dangerous side to them that's revealed when challenged. The rich are used to getting what they want, and it takes determination to survive that. Summer is clever and will stop at nothing to find Leo and the truth of the weekend on the island. Some questions are never answered, but we know the important answers by the end of it. A tense and well-crafted story from start to finish. 

Buy You Can Trust Me at Amazon

The Belonger by Mary Kathleen Mehuron

book cover of women's fiction novel The Belonger by Mary Kathleen Mehuron
June 2023; SparkPress; 978-1684632060
ebook, print (272 pages); women's fiction

As a hurricane bears down on the Caribbeans, Holly Walker is trying to ensure she survives it. Lord Anthony Bascombe excuses his bad behavior by saying he's descended from pirates, and won't leave her alone. Holly cares about her grown son Byron and her ex Montez going missing. Others on the island are hurt or dying, and they're all awaiting help.

Belongers are those that live on Turks and Caicos and aren't tourists. They have their own way of doing things, with prejudices against others. Anthony is one of those who think money and a title make him charming. While I don't resent him as much as Holly does, I'm also not in the same position of having to cater to his whims to keep her business going. He goes so far to be proud of the fact that he's a "lesser lord" and hadn't ever been to England, saying it's all he aspires to be. He's supposed to be charming, but I find him annoying and can't finish scenes with him in it fast enough. The first third of the book feels very slice of life, and then the storm arrives. At that point, I'm upset with all of the men in Holly's life. Without consulting her, they made plans about where she should stay to ride out the storm and expected her to be happy about it. I'm glad she was finally listened to, though everyone together in close quarters meant bickering and Holly getting closer to Anthony.

I still didn't like Anthony and kept rolling my eyes at most things he said or did in the novel. In fact, I didn't like most of the characters. The tension building due to damage from the hurricane kept me reading, because I wanted to know how it would end. There is the inevitable looting, repairing damaged homes, tending to those who were injured, a home birth, and trying to band together to help. In those times, we see the best and worst of people, and the disaster forces all of the people to reevaluate their lives and see what's most important to them. With all of the rebuilding after Hurricane Nestor, hopefully, there isn't another disaster to make them realize what's truly valuable in life.

Buy The Belonger at Amazon

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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