Sep 25 2014 1:00pm

Longing and Courage: September 2014 Women’s Fiction Roundup

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell KriegmanEmily Dickinson’s words, “The past is not a package one can lay away,” are very much apropos for September’s women’s fiction releases. Many of the characters long for the “way we were”—whether it is for their prestigious life style or the comfort of physical books or even former loves. More than one book nostalgically romanticizes the past’s style of dress, or distinctive sophistication. Another book shows the hardship and courage of the characters as they fight unimaginable evil during World War II. Then there are the characters that just want to put their past behind them, and move forward. More than one character has a surprise in store, as the past finally reveals its hidden secrets. But no matter what their previous lives entailed, they are all heading for new beginnings filled with hope and joy. Happy Reading!

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman

Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.

Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.

In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…

Strengths: Appealing Characters, Innovative mix of multiple eras, Character growth, Nostalgic elegance, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

Hello Love by Karen McQuestionHello Love by Karen McQuestion

A year after the death of his wife, Christine, Dan is barely holding on. But one thing gets him through the long, lonely nights and that is his cherished dog, Anni. When she is stolen from his front yard, Dan and his daughter, Lindsay, are devastated. Meanwhile in another part of town, Andrea Keller is recovering from the heartbreak of a messy divorce. After she rescues a defenseless dog from an abusive tenant, her life changes in ways she never could have anticipated.

Dan and Andrea cross paths again and again, only to keep missing each other and the opportunity of a lifetime. As Anni works to find her way home, can she bring together these two lost souls desperately in need of a second chance at happiness?

Strengths: Serendipitous, engaging story, Pleasing and realistic character growth, touching human-animal bond, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

Life is Sweet by Elizabeth BassLife is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass

Three years ago, Becca Hudson threw a dart at a map, hit Leesburg, Virginia, and decided it was the perfect place to start over. Now she has her own bakery, The Strawberry Cake Shop, loyal customers, and close friends. She also has something that success as a Hollywood child star couldn't give her: a mostly normal existence. Not that it's without complications. One best friend, Pam, is in the wary early days of a new relationship; another is fighting to save her marriage in the midst of infidelity. And then there's Becca's growing attraction to Matthew, surrogate stepdad to Olivia, a smart, sensitive ten-year-old who's become a fixture in the bakery and in Becca's affections.

Still, Becca is content to live in the present and ignore the “Whatever happened to?” speculation and occasional curious fan—until her past barges in again. Amid revelations and unexpected dilemmas, Becca must confront the life she stepped away from and the love she struggles to accept. It's the only way she'll truly find what she needs: a recipe for living that's honest, messy, sweet, and true.

In an eloquent novel as moving as it is funny, acclaimed author Elizabeth Bass tells a story of forgiveness, resilience—and the unexpected detours that shape every journey to happiness.

Strengths: Great diversity of interpersonal relationships, Appealing Characters, Reconciliations, New beginnings, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Low

The Moment of Everything by Shelly KingMoment of Everything by Shelly King

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.

Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley startup, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly's Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.

When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance-even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley's Lover, a book she hasn't encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley-it's an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.

Strengths: Quixotic quest, New beginnings, Diverse characters, Real life issues, alluring appeal to booklovers.
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy DillonA Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon (U.S. Release)

Reeling from her recent divorce, Gina Bellamy suddenly finds herself figuring out how to live on her own. Determined to make a fresh start—with her beloved rescue greyhound by her side—Gina knows drastic measures are in order.

First up: throwing away all her possessions except for the one hundred things that mean the most to her. But what items are worth saving? Letters from the only man she’s ever loved? A keepsake of the father she never knew? Or a blue glass vase that perfectly captures the light?

As she lets go of the past, Gina begins to come to terms with what has happened in her life and discovers that seizing the day is sometimes the only thing to do. And when one decides to do just that...magic happens.

Strengths: Intriguing premise, Character growth, Real Life challenges, Time honored philosophy of one day at a time and living in the moment.
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: High

Season of Storms by Susanna KearsleySeason of Storms by Susanna Kearsley (originally published in 2001)

A mystery trapped in time

In 1921, infamous Italian poet Galeazzo D'Ascanio wrote his last and greatest play, inspired by his muse and mistress, actress Celia Sands. On the eve of opening night, Celia vanished, and the play was never performed.

Now, two generations later, Alessandro D'Ascanio plans to stage his grandfather's masterpiece and has offered the lead to a promising young English actress, also named Celia Sands-at the whim of her actress mother, or so she has always thought. When Celia arrives at D'Ascanio's magnificent, isolated Italian villa, she is drawn to the mystery of her namesake's disappearance-and to the compelling, enigmatic Alessandro.

But the closer Celia gets to learning the first Celia's fate, the more she is drawn into a web of murder, passion, and the obsession of genius. Though she knows she should let go of the past, in the dark, in her dreams, it comes back...

Strengths: Tremendous sense of place and time, Historical and contemporary settings, engaging characters, Mystical element, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

The Garden of Letters by Alyson RichmanThe Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman

Portofino, Italy, 1943. A young woman steps off a boat in a scenic coastal village. Although she knows how to disappear in a crowd, Elodie is too terrified to slip by the German officers while carrying her poorly forged identity papers. She is frozen until a man she’s never met before claims to know her. In desperate need of shelter, Elodie follows him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

Only months before, Elodie Bertolotti was a cello prodigy in Verona, unconcerned with world events. But when Mussolini’s Fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by Luca, a young and impassioned bookseller. As the occupation looms, she discovers that her unique musical talents, and her courage, have the power to save lives.

In Portofino, young doctor Angelo Rosselli gives the frightened and exhausted girl sanctuary. He is a man with painful secrets of his own, haunted by guilt and remorse. But Elodie’s arrival has the power to awaken a sense of hope and joy that Angelo thought was lost to him forever.

Strengths: Fascinating premise, World War, II setting, Courageous Characters, numinous musical theme, New beginnings
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

Honeymoon Hotel by Hester BrowneHoneymoon Hotel by Hester Browne

A charming novel in the vein of The Wedding Planner featuring an ambitious and by-the-books event planner who finds herself at odds with her new assistant, who happens to be the son of her boss, on the eve of the biggest wedding of her career—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Runaway Princess and the Little Lady Agency series.

The Bonneville Hotel is the best-kept secret in London: its elegant rooms and discreet wood-paneled cocktail lounge were the home-away-from-home for royalty and movie stars alike during the golden age of glamour. Recent years haven’t been kind, but thanks to events manager Rosie, it’s reclaiming some of its old cachet as a wish list wedding venue. While Rosie’s weddings are the ultimate in romance, Rosie herself isn’t; her focus is fixed firmly on the details, not on the dramas. She lives with a professionally furious food critic and works tirelessly toward that coveted promotion. But when the hotel owner appoints his eccentric son Joe to help run Rosie’s department, she’s suddenly butting heads with the free spirit whose predilection for the unconventional threatens to unravel her picture-perfect plans for the most elaborate—not to mention high-profile—wedding the hotel has ever seen, a wedding that could make or break not only the hotel’s reputation, but also Rosie’s career.

Strengths: Old-Opulence setting, Attraction of opposites, Appealing characters, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Low

What books are making you happy to be in the now?

To find out more about each book mentioned:

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman  
Hello Love by Karen McQuestion    
Life is Sweet by Elizabeth Bass  
Moment of Everything by Shelly King  
A Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon  
Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley  
The Garden of Letters by Alyson Richman    
Honeymoon Hotel by Hester Browne  










Leigh Davis, blogger

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. keen23
I've added all of these titles to my TBR list! They're all interesting sounding!
2. Scarlettleigh
@keen23 -- you have got some great hours of reading ahead of you!
Lee Brewer
3. LeeB.
I just picked up Honeymoon Hotel from the library today. And have read Season of Storms and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Will check out the other titles.
Maggie Boyd
4. maggieboyd66
Love the new cover for Season of Storms. The old one really wasn't that great. Will have to check out the other titles - the Moment of Everything sounds really good.
5. Scarlettleigh
@LeeB. & @maggieboyd -- I'm sure you will find something you really enjoy in this group!
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