Tue
Feb 28 2017 2:30pm

February 2017’s Women’s Fiction Best Bets—Embrace the Love!

What were the best women's fiction novels of February?

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.
-Maya Angelou

Women’s fiction is about the journey but it’s also about the relationships –with family, friends, children, and that special partner. We're told all our lives to make a difference in someone else's life—by acts of kindness or the hand of friendship and in some cases the embrace of love. These wonderful stories illustration the veracity of that. You can't helped but be charmed, entertained, and touched as these strong women face tough and difficult challenges.

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter, Zoe, have been a family of two, living quietly in Northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works―until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets―secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the most dismal moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters and the new ways in which families are forged.

Strengths: Engaging characters; captivating plot; emotionally moving
Measure of Love:  Dash
Mood: Poignant
Why You Should Read this: This is a story that just pulls you in. Not only are the characters likeable and appealing, their journey is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Wonderful mixture of poignant and uplifting moments.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

Strengths: Multi-faceted characters; Imaginative concept; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  Dash
Mood: Poignant
Why You Should Read this: Such an interesting quirky premise with wonderful storytelling.  Although the drama is low-keyed, the character growth is very rewarding, as is the feel-good ending.

The Young Wife’s Club by Julie Pennell

The Young Wife’s Club by Julie Pennell

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.

Strengths:  Complex marital issues; engaging younger characters; uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  Tablespoon  
Mood: Mixture of lightheartedness and poignancy 
Why You Should Read this: A very appealing story filled with charm, youthful folly and a dose of realism as four young women navigate the complexities of love and marriage.

A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery

A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation. 

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think “alone” doesn't sound so bad, after all. 

Strengths: Multi-generational characters, diverse conflicts, Uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  Tablespoon
Mood: Mixture of lightheartedness and poignancy 
Why You Should Read this: There are wonderful resolutions to a host of romantic conflicts to satisfy both the reader looking for romance and the reader looking for more complex interpersonal relationships.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

(Amazon | B&N | Kobo)

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.
 
An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.

Strengths:  Wonderful backdrop and setting; multi-faceted characters; uplifting ending
Measure of Love: Teaspoon  
Mood: Mixture of lightheartedness and poignancy
Why You Should Read this:  Told in diary excerpts from a host a characters this a wonderful glimpse of village life during the World War II. While their men are off battling evil in the world, these women have their own battles against corruption, deceit and heartbreak as they keep the home fires going.   


H&H Editor Picks:

Escape with Women’s Fiction Best Bets for January 2017

Why Romance is the Perfect Place to Tackle Tough Issues

March 2017 Romance New Releases

 

 

 

 

 


Scarlettleigh, blogger. 

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2 comments
Lee Brewer
1. LeeB.
Looking forward to Ms. Hepworth's second novel as well as the new Mallery. The Chilbury Ladies Choir looks very appealing. Thanks for the recommendations.
Maggie Boyd
2. maggieboyd66
Will definitely be checking out The Chilbury Ladies Choir, that looks perfect! Thanks for the recommendations.
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