Fri
Oct 31 2014 3:00pm

Striving Through Adversity: October 2014 Women’s Fiction Roundup

Wanting Forever by Diana GardinAdversity, trials and tribulations—who doesn’t dread when they come knocking on our door? But getting past that to survive makes the outcome worth even more. Not only that, but through our daunting experiences we develop strength of character. As much as we hate to admit it, Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he stated:

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.

Our characters in October’s women’s fiction releases are sure getting their share of science this month.

Wanting Forever by Diana Gardin

For Sam Waters, it's Aston Hopewell. Talk about a girl out of his league. But he's just a hired hand, happy to keep his head down and work hard on her father's ranch. With a warrant out for his arrest, he can't afford trouble.

Everyone thinks Aston's life is perfect, but she knows the truth: nothing is as it seems. The only one who gets that is Sam. He understands her in a way no one ever has. But even he won't tell her everything-until the night that changes their destiny forever . . .

Strengths: New Age, Surprising elements, Happy Ending
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.

Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?

Strengths: Mystical, Imaginative setting, Unique conflict, Appealing Characters
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

The Silent Sister by Diane ChamberlainThe Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain. 

Strengths: Complex family relationships, Mystery, Happy Ending
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer

As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.

As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.

Strengths: Lighthearted, Family relationships, Happy ending,
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: low

Reunion by Hannah Pittard

Five minutes before her flight is set to take off, Kate Pulaski, failed screenwriter and newly failed wife with scarcely a hundred dollars to her name, learns that her estranged father has killed himself. More shocked than saddened by the news, she gives in to her siblings' request that she join them, along with her many half-siblings and most of her father's five former wives, in Atlanta, their birthplace, for a final farewell.

Written with huge heart and bracing wit, REUNION takes place over the following four days, as family secrets are revealed, personal foibles are exposed, and Kate-an inveterate liar looking for a way to come clean-slowly begins to acknowledge the overwhelming similarities between herself and the man she never thought she'd claim as an influence, much less a father. Hannah Pittard's “engaging and vigorous”* prose masterfully illuminates the problems that can divide modern families—and the ties that prove impossible to break.

Strengths: Genuine complex problems, Family relationships, Character growth
Measure of Love: dash
Introspection Level: High

The Missing Place by Sophie LittlefieldThe Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield

The booming North Dakota oil business is spawning “man camps,” shantytowns full of men hired to work on the rigs, in towns without enough housing to accommodate them. In such twilight spaces, it’s easy for a person to vanish. And when two young men in their first year on the job disappear without a trace, only their mothers believe there’s hope of finding them. Despite reassurances that the police are on the case, the two women think the oil company is covering up the disappearances—and maybe something more.

Colleen, used to her decorous life in a wealthy Massachusetts suburb, is determined to find her son. And hard-bitten Shay, from the wrong side of the California tracks, is the only person in town even willing to deal with her—because she’s on the same mission. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, these two unlikely partners question each other’s methods and motivations, but must work together against the town of strangers if they want any chance of finding their lost boys. But what they uncover could destroy them both...

Sure to please fans of Sandra Brown and Gillian Flynn, The Missing Place is a moving chronicle of survival, determination, and powerful bonds forged in the face of adversity.

Strengths: Exploration of Mothers’ love, Complex characters, Mystery
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

You Were Meant for Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Thirty-five-year-old Miranda is not an impulsive person. She’s been at Domestic Goddess magazine for eight years, she has great friends, and she’s finally moving on after a breakup. Having a baby isn’t even on her radar until the day she discovers an abandoned newborn on the platform of a Brooklyn subway station. Rushing the little girl to the closest police station, Miranda hopes and prays she’ll be all right and that a loving family will step forward to take her.

Yet Miranda can’t seem to get the baby off her mind and keeps coming up with excuses to go check on her, until finally a family court judge asks whether she’d like to be the baby’s foster parent-maybe even adopt her. To her own surprise, Miranda jumps at the chance. But nothing could have prepared her for the ecstasy of new-mother love or the heartbreak she faces when the baby’s father surfaces....

Strengths: Appealing Characters, Maternal bond, HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspective Level: Low

The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler SzarlanThe Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan

Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

Brimming with rich history, suspense, and magic, The Hawley Book of the Dead is a brilliantly imagined debut novel from a riveting new voice.

Strengths: Imaginative, Mystery, Supernatural
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspective Level: Low

 

To learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

Wanting Forever by Diana Gardin  
The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen  
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain  
An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer  
Reunion by Hannah Pittard  
The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield  
You Were Meant for Me by Yona Zeldis McDonough  
The Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Scarlettleigh, blogger

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2 comments
Maggie Boyd
2. maggieboyd66
The Silent Sister and The Missing Place sound terrific. I will definitely have to check those two out. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.
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