Dec 30 2014 9:30am

Mingled Yarns: Women’s Fiction Best Bets for December 2014

The Winter Sea by Di MorrisseyWilliam Shakespeare spoke no truer words when he stated: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together." And the characters in this month’s women’s fiction offerings have a lot of untangling to do. Some are able to unravel their messes, but others have learn that no matter how ardently they try, those knots are there to stay, leaving them no choice but to cut them out.

The Winter Sea by Di Morrissey

Escaping an unhappy marriage and an unsatisfactory job, Cassie Holloway moves to the little Australian coastal town of Whitby Point. There she meets the Aquino family, whose fishing business was founded by their ancestor, Giuseppe, an Italian immigrant, some ninety years before. Life for Cassie on the south west coast is sweet as she sets up a successful restaurant and falls in love with Giuseppe's great grandson Michael. But when the family patriarch dies, a devastating family secret is revealed which threatens to destroy her dreams. Cassie's future happiness now rests with her quest for the truth.

Strengths: Appealing setting, Multi-generational story, Character growth, HEA,
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

Forget Love by Babsy TomForget Love by Babsy Tom (author) Kate Northrop (Translator)

When Penny Plage wakes up in the hospital, she has no idea who she is, where she is, how she got there—or even which man she loves. Does she belong with Tom, her aloof but disarmingly attractive artist ex-husband who looks great in his jeans and with whom she still shares a house and a dog? Or is she in love with George, her handsome boss in the designer suit who would do anything for her? As Penny begins to piece together her past with the help of her devoted—and highly opinionated—BFFs, she discovers that she has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to begin anew. Although amnesia is no picnic, there’s a surprising amount of fun and laughter to be had in reinventing her life in ways she never, ever expected. 

Strengths: HEA, Comedic Premise, example of German romance novels.
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium

Love Is Pink! by Roxann HillLove Is Pink! by Roxann Hill (Author), Elena Mancini (Translator)

Michelle has everything: good looks, a great job, a fancy apartment, and cash to burn. She also has a boyfriend, Valentin—her dream man. There’s just one tiny snag: his wife.

Valentin promised Michelle that as soon as his children were grown, he would leave his marriage to be with her. But when the time comes—and to no one’s surprise but her own—Valentin chooses his wealthy wife, leaving Michelle stranded in the French Alps. Michelle finds herself lost and without a way back to Berlin. Out of options, Michelle hitches a ride in a rickety pink Citroën with the attractive but ostensibly penniless David and his precocious daughter, Emma.

Over the course of their three-day trip, Michelle comes face-to-face with the life she’s created. With David and Emma offering a fresh perspective, Michelle redefines what love is, and wonders whether it might truly be pink.

Strengths: HEA, Transformation of heroine, Cute scenarios, example of German romance novels
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspection Level: Low

Makin' Miracles by Lin SteppMakin’ Miracles by Lin Stepp

Set in Tennessee's postcard-perfect Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp's Makin' Miracles is an inspiring tale that reveals why love and forgiveness are most important just when they seem most impossible. . .

Zola Devon has always been a little different. Half Tahitian, with long black hair and dark eyes, she's especially distinctive in the mountain town of Gatlinburg. She even stocks her gift shop, Nature's Corner, with items that reflect her island heritage and tantalize tourists. But it's her spot-on intuition that truly sets Zola apart. When she gets a hunch about a person, she's almost always right. And when the surly photographer who owns the gallery next door starts meddling in her business, she can only hope that, for once, her instincts are wrong.

The one thing Spencer Jackson loves more than his camera is the majestic scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Reeling from his painful past, he's settled in a cabin in the woods to train his lens on the breathtaking landscape. A woman as uniquely beguiling as Zola could only throw his simple, uncomplicated days into chaos—and force him to lay bare his darkest secrets. But as their lives become unavoidably intertwined, they both may discover the beauty of the truth, and the joy of the unexpected.

Strengths: Inspirational theme, HEA, Likeable characters, Appealing setting
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspection Level: Low

Saving Grace by Jane GreenSaving Grace by Jane Green

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.

Strengths: Dramatic journey, Cunning antagonist, Compelling story, Twofold ending
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

Stella Mia by Rosanna ChiofaloStella Mia by Rosanna Chiofalo

Rosanna Chiofalo's poignant, beautifully written new novel evokes the stunning scenery of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands and tells of mothers and daughters, love and sacrifice—and the choices that resound across continents and through generations.

Julia Parlatone doesn't have much to remember her Italian mother by. A grapevine that Sarina planted still flourishes in the backyard of Julia's childhood home in Astoria, Queens. And there's a song, “Stella Mia,” she recalls her mother singing—my star, my star, you are the most beautiful star—until the day she left three-year-old Julia behind and returned to Italy.

Now a happily married school teacher, Julia tries not to dwell on a past she can't change or on a mother who chose to leave. But in an old trunk in the family basement, she discovers items that belonged to her mother—a song book, Tarot cards, a Sicilian folk costume—and a diary. Sarina writes unflinchingly of her harsh childhood and of a first, passionate love affair;of blissful months spent living in the enchanting coastal resort town of Taormina and the unspoiled Aeolian Islands north of Sicily as well as the reasons she came to New York. By the diary's end, Julia knows she must track down her mother in Italy and piece together the rest of the complex, bittersweet truth—a journey that, for better or worse, will change her own life forever.

Strengths: Appealing Characters, Multiple eras, Character growth, HEA
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

Save Me by Kristyn Kusek LewisSave Me by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Daphne Mitchell has always believed in cause and effect, right and wrong, good and bad. The good: her dream job as a doctor; Owen, her childhood sweetheart and now husband; the beautiful farmhouse they're restoring together. In fact, most of her life has been good—until the day Owen comes home early from work to tell her he's fallen head over heels for someone else.

Unable to hate him, but also equally incapable of moving forward, Daphne's life hangs in limbo until the day Owen's new girlfriend sustains near-fatal injuries in a car accident. As Daphne becomes a pillar of support for the devastated Owen, and realizes that reconciliation may lie within her grasp, she has to find out whether forgiveness is possible and decide which path is the right one for her.

Strengths: Relatable characters and situations, Character growth, Optimistic Future,
Measure of Love: Dash
Introspection Level: Medium

What tangled skeins of romantic women's fiction are you unraveling this month?

To find out more about each book mentioned:

The Winter Sea by Di Morrissey


Forget Love by Babsy Tom (author) Kate Northrop (Translator)


Love Is Pink! by Roxann Hill (Author), Elena Mancini (Translator)


Makin’ Miracles by Lin Stepp


Saving Grace by Jane Green


Stella Mia by Rosanna Chiofalo


Save Me by Kristyn Kusek Lewis
















Scarlettleigh, blogger

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Maggie Boyd
1. maggieboyd66
Thanks for this look at some really interesting books. I'll be looking into Makin' Miracles, it looks like my kind of story.
Lee Brewer
2. LeeB.
I've already read the Jane Green novel and have The Winter Sea on hold at the library. Thanks for the list!
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