Wed
Jul 9 2014 4:30pm

Life Changes, Motherhood, and B&Bs: Women’s Fiction Roundup July 2014

One Lavender Ribbon by Heather BurchJuly provides a wide selection of women’s fiction—with settings in the U.K, Paris, and the U.S.  Most showcase the journey of stalwart women (and a few men) as they find the courage to make changes in their lives for the better. And be sure to check out the first look of Rainbow Rowell's Landine, which gives much more detailed information than what I could include here!

One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch

Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier.

The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love.

Strengths: Touching, Inspirational, Multi-generational Story Arc, Second Chances, HEA
Measure of Love: A Tablespoon
Introspective Level:  High

One Evening in Paris by Nicholas Narreau

Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. . .  He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be?  One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner. The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. . . Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.
But the mystery woman Alain has just fallen in love with seems suddenly to have vanished. Is this just coincidence?  . . .

Strengths: Foreign Setting, Comedy of Errors, Serendipitous, HEA
Measure of Love: A Tablespoon
Introspective Level: Low
 

How to Tell Toldeo from the Night Sky by Lydia NetzerHow to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer

Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.

George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates.

When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.

Strengths: Quirky, Unpredictable, Kismet, HEA
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspective Level: Medium


House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another—perhaps all too well—while desperately restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies—although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once . . .

Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshiped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show . . . though he is intrigued by Maddie. . .

Strength: Inspiring Female Buddy Bond, Multiple Continuing Story Arc, Various Stages in Relationships,
Measure of Love: Tablespoon             
Introspective Level: Medium
 

One Plus One by Jojo MoyesOne Plus One: A Novel by JoJo Moyes

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

Strengths:  Engaging, Flawed Hero & Heroine, Authentic Conflict, Unique Child Characters, HEA
Measure of Love: Tablespoon                                                              
Introspection: Low
 

Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley                                            

With pitch-perfect honesty and heartwarming humor, this captivating debut explores marriage, motherhood, identity, and what it takes to love someone—family members, friends, or spouses—for life.

Former folk singer Helen Sear was a feminist wild child who proudly disdained monogamy, raising three daughters—each by a different father. Now in her sixties, Helen has fallen in love with a traditional man who desperately wants to marry her. And while she fears losing him, she’s equally afraid of abandoning everything she’s ever stood for if she goes through with it.

Helen’s youngest daughter, Liane, is in the heady early days of a relationship with her soul mate. But he has an ex-wife and two kids, and her new role as a “step-something” doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Ilsa, an artist, has put her bohemian past behind her . . . Yet her world feels like it is slowly shrinking, and her painting is suffering as a result—and she realizes she may need to break free again, even if it means disrupting the lives of her two young children. And then there’s Fiona, the eldest sister, who has worked tirelessly to make her world pristine, yet who still doesn’t feel at peace. When she discovers her husband has been harboring a huge secret, Fiona loses her tenuous grip on happiness and is forced to face some truths about herself that she’d rather keep buried.

Strength: Diverse Definitions of HEA, Realistic Complex Relationships, Journey of Growth
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection: High
 

A Good Year for Roses by Gil McNeilA Good Year for the Roses by Gil McNeil

Life hasn't been a bed of roses for Londoner Molly Taylor lately. Newly divorced and struggling to find a new home and a way to support her three boys, she's stunned when her beloved Aunt Helena dies and leaves her Harrington Hall, a three-hundred-year-old manor house on the Devon coast, where Molly grew up. But does Molly really want to run a bed-and-breakfast in an old house where the only thing that doesn't need urgent attention is Aunt Helena's beautiful rose garden? Or care for Uncle Bertie, an eccentric former navy officer with a cliff-top cannon? Or Betty, his rude parrot that bites whomever annoys it? . . . Warm, witty, and chock-full of quintessential British charm, A Good Year for Roses is a story for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over...

Strength: British Humor, Family Relationships, New Beginnings
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection: Low

 

Best Supporting Role by Sue Margolis

When her gambling addict husband died, Sarah Green was left penniless—and with two children to raise. Since then, she’s been desperate to keep her professional and personal lives on firm financial footing. . .

But then Sarah’s aunt dies, leaving Sarah her once famous—now flailing—lingerie shop. With her fashion background, Sarah reluctantly decides to make a go of it, even if that means breaking up with her too-prudent boyfriend over the risk.

Suddenly Sarah finds herself falling for Hugh, the handsome struggling actor she hired to renovate her new boutique, and entering a prestigious lingerie competition. Taking chances has never been her forte, but the built-in support of family and friends could give her the boost she’s been looking for...

Strength: British Setting and Humor, Persevering Heroine, Authentic Conflict, HEA
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspection: Low


 


Leigh Davis, blogger

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