Wed
Apr 22 2015 4:45pm

Storm Brewing: Women’s Fiction Best Bets for April 2015

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick

I'm not afraid of storms,
for I'm learning to sail my ship.
~ Louisa May Alcott ~

There is no greater fear than being rudderless in a storm—not knowing which direction to turn or what decision to make. April’s heroines have their own storms to weather, but lucky for them, they are not traveling down new paths, because in most cases their future resolution is hidden in the past.

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick

Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey's boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson's Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.

An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson's Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice's eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister's cottage—and begins to see the town, and Alice's life, anew. Alice's diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister's enduring gift—a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing. . .

Strengths: Poignant sibling bond; Engaging friendships; HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Winning story of how you can go home again. Even in death, Alice is such notable presence.

The Memory House by Linda Goodnight

New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that's rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities 

Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley—though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man's gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging…until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world. 

Julia suspects there's more to Eli Donovan's past than his motherless son, Alex. There's a reason he's chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who—like her—has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn's violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday's darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.

Strengths: Well deserve new beginnings; Spotlight on missing children; HEA
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Perfect blend of the plight of missing children, and how that impacts the family, and hopefulness.

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing-for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to her, Sara faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew-about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. Though divided by centuries, these two women are united in a quest to discover the limits of trust and the unlikely coincidences of fate.

Strengths: Intriguing  blend of historical time period with present, Intriguing Codebreaking, Illustration of High functioning Autism,  HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Ms. Kearsley’s trademark blend of past and present!

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown

An acclaimed international bestseller, The Perfume Garden is a sensuously written story of lost love, family secrets-and the art of creating a perfect scent.

High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco's forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, and the garden, laden with orange blossom, grows wild. Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Emma is London's leading perfumier, but her blessed life has taken a difficult turn. Her free-spirited mother, Liberty, who taught her the art of fragrance making, has just passed away. At the same time, she broke up with her long-time lover and business partner, Joe, whose baby she happens to be carrying.

While Joe is in New York trying to sell his majority share in their company, Emma, guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed to her in Liberty's will, decides to leave her job and travel to Valencia, where she will give birth in the house her mother mysteriously purchased just before her death. The villa is a perfect retreat: redolent with the exotic scents of orange blossom and neroli, dappled with light and with the rich colors of a forgotten time. Emma makes it her mission to restore the place to its former glory. But for her aging grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed in Valencia during Spain's devastating civil war, Emma's new home evokes memories of a terrible secret, a part of her family's past that until now has managed to stay hidden. With two beautifully interwoven narratives and a lush, atmospheric setting, Kate Lord Brown's The Perfume Garden is a dramatic, emotional debut that readers won't soon forget.

Strengths: Uplifting story of loss and new beginnings; Historical and Contemporary time period; HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Interesting and usual time setting. Fascinating look at Spain’s history. Perfect for readers who enjoy books with both contemporary and historical setting.

Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova

From the New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice Lisa Genova comes a powerful and transcendent new novel about a family struggling with the impact of Huntington’s disease.

Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

Praised for writing that “explores the resilience of the human spirit” (The San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Genova has once again delivered a novel as powerful and unforgettable as the human insights at its core.

Strengths:  Fleshed out characters; Family Support; Inspirational; Serenity in Adversity
Measure of Love:
 Dash
Introspection Level: High
Thoughts: A very balanced view of the struggles, and sorrow of this devastating illness, but also the power of family and love.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

In their first adult novel, authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan take on a story of romance and rivalries inspired by today's most talked-about royal couple: Will and Kate.

“If I'm Cinderella today, I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next.”

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy-tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it's adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall - and thus Bex who accidentally finds herself in love with the eventual heir to the British throne. Nick is everything she could have imagined, but Prince Nicholas has unimaginable baggage: grasping friends, a thorny family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a native. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she's sacrificed for love — and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

Strengths:  True Prince premise; Imaginative use of real-life events; Engaging Characters; HEA
Measure of Love: Tablespoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts:  If you have ever dreamed of marrying into a royal family then this is the perfect book for you.

Meadowlands: A World War I Family Saga by Elizabeth Jeffrey

Meadowlands: A World War I Family Saga by Elizabeth Jeffrey

August, 1914. The silver wedding celebrations of Sir George Barsham, MP, and his wife, Lady Adelaide, are overshadowed by the declaration of war with Germany. Over the following months, as the male estate workers head for the Front and the maids disappear to work in the newly-opened munitions factory, the Barsham family’s comfortable, aristocratic lifestyle is set to change forever.

Determined to do his bit for King and country, James Barsham enlists as an officer and heads for Flanders, leaving Lady Adelaide’s maid Polly devastated. To Lady Adelaide’s dismay, her younger daughter Millie learns to drive an ambulance: a most unladylike skill. Meanwhile Millie’s sister Gina finds fulfilment in helping the local wives and children, left destitute while their husbands are away fighting.

During the course of the war, with devastating loses, the strength of character of the four d siblings will be tested as never before. They will encounter hardship, danger, heartache – and unexpected love.

Strengths: Appealing historical setting; Class conflict; Resilient heroines, HEA
Measure of Love:
 Teaspoon
Introspection Level: low
Thoughts: Engaging story of two women from the upper class, and one from the servant class as they cope with the turmoil and devastation that WWI brings to England.

Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore

From the #1 internationally bestselling author, her first book set in America, the story of a mother and daughter searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind them. To find what they are longing for they must confront the past, and unravel the lies told long ago.

England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up on the beautiful estate of the Marquess and Marchioness of Penselwood. The beekeeper’s daughter, she knows her place and what the future holds—that is until her father dies. Her childhood friend Freddie has recently become her lover, and she is thankful when they are able to marry and take over her father’s duties. But there is another man who she just can’t shake from her thoughts…

Massachusetts, 1973: Grace’s daughter Trixie Valentine is in love with an unsuitable young man. Jasper Duncliffe is wild and romantic, and in a band that might hit it big. But when his brother dies and he is called home to England, Jasper promises to come back for Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him. Grace thinks that Trixie is surely abandoned and tries to support her daughter, but Trixie brushes off her mother’s advice and comfort. She is confident that Jasper’s love for her was real…

Strengths: Mother-Daughter Saga; Two fascinating historical settings; Class Conflict; HEA
Measure of Love:
 Teaspoon
Introspection Level: Medium
Thoughts: Mother and daughter eerily face similar paths.

***

Learn more about the books mentioned in this post:

The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick  
The Memory House by Linda Goodnight  
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley  
The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown  
Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova  
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan  
Meadowlands: A World War I Family Saga by Elizabeth Jeffrey  
Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Scarlettleigh, blogger

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1 comment
Maggie Boyd
1. maggieboyd66
The Perfume Garden and Meadowlands both sound like they would be perfect for me.
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