Sep 30 2016 12:00pm

September 2016 Women’s Fiction Best Bets—Dance in the Rain

What women's fiction got your heart singing this September?

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... It's about learning to dance in the rain.

The thing about storms is that they always different, as are the challenges facing our heroines from this month’s women’s fiction selection. It seems like I say this every month, doesn't it? Nevertheless, this month selection is bursting with interesting, complex women. Some are highly successful professional women; some are working for minimum wage but no matter what their socio-economic status they all discover the importance of love, friendship and family!

The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

A witty and captivating novel about a modern-day superwoman who leans in so far she falls over

Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.

Fun, fearless, and full of heart, The Real Liddy James takes a fresh look at the balancing act every family performs. With the deft characterization and sharp wit that made her first novel an international bestseller, Anne-Marie Casey invites us into the ambitions, passions, and misadventures of this extraordinary heroine.

Strengths: Multi-faceted characters; present day dilemmas; Unorthodox modern day family; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  More than Dash
Mood: Poignant and Upbeat
Thoughts: I loved Liddy James –flaws and all! Her compelling need to be perfect will strike a chord. Witty and Insightful—this book is a definite page turner!

The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr

The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing.

Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.

Strengths: Taboo friendship conflict; Genuine career paths and financial struggles; Engaging characters; HEA
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Poignant
Thoughts: Carr shines at writing everyday people and their struggles, and she definitely shines here! Emotionally satisfying.

The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb

The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb
Toni Kozlovsky can’t explain how she knows exactly what her sisters are feeling—only that the connection seems to happen out of the blue, just when they need it most. Since Toni, Valerie, and Ellie were little girls growing up in Communist Russia, their parents have insisted it’s simply further proof that the Kozlovskys are special and different.

Now a crime and justice reporter, Toni lives on a yellow tugboat on Oregon’s Willamette River. As far as her parents are concerned, the pain of their old life and their dangerous escape should remain buried in the Moscow they left behind, as should the mysterious past of their adopted brother, Dmitry. But lately, Toni’s talent for putting on a smile isn’t enough to keep memories at bay.

Valerie, a prosecuting attorney, wages constant war against the wrongs she could do nothing about as a child. Youngest sister Ellie is engaged to marry an Italian, breaking her mother’s heart in the process. Toni fears she’s about to lose her home, while the hard edged DEA agent down the dock keeps trying to break through her reserve. Meanwhile, beneath the culture clashes and endearing quirks within her huge, noisy, loving family are deeper secrets that Toni has sworn to keep—even from the one person she longs to help most.

As poignant as it is humorous, The Language of Sisters explores the echoes of the past that can cling to the present—and how love, laughter, and family can rescue us time and again.

Strengths: Wonderful, crazy unique family; Diverse characters; Bit of magicHEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Mood: Upbeat and Poignant
Thoughts: A  wonderful mixture of absurdity, heartbreak, healing and family. I want to be an Kozlovsky or at least eat in mama’s kitchen! A pure delight!

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

Strengths: Fascinating premise; Forgiveness theme; Charming characters; Uplifting Ending
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Poignant
Thoughts: The imaginative world will pull you in, the characters will keep you reading and the theme of broken families being mended will touch you!  

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Nina Redmond is a librarian with a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? In this valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over, the New York Times-bestselling author of Little Beach Street Bakery returns with a funny, moving new novel for fans of Meg Donohue, Sophie Kinsella, and Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop.

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. 

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Strengths: Foreign setting; Appealing characters, booklovers theme; HEA
Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Mood: Upbeat
Thoughts: Lighthearted and fun! Readers will love how the heroine with her selection of books changes lives.

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane

A laugh-out-loud romance from the author of the bestselling YOU HAD ME AT HELLO

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracized by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

Strengths: Exploration of social media and bullying; Foreign setting; familial absurdities and conflicts; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Upbeat
Thoughts: Another fun, entertaining book, but with a message.  McFarlane’s not afraid to take on social media bullying.

A Little More Love by Kendra Castle Leigh

A Little More Love by Kendra Leigh Castle

Kira Andersen’s professional instinct for a story has never led her wrong. So when she learns of a famous writer hiding in plain sight in a tiny New England town, she can’t resist following the trail. The only problem is everyone in Harvest Cove seems intent on keeping her from tracking down the elusive author—especially a handsome distraction who’s making it very hard to focus on the job...

Henry “Fitz” Fitzroy has no intention of letting a nosy journalist uncover his alter-ego as superstar writer Malcom Roy. Only Kira’s persistence is hard to deny—as is his own attraction to her. The more time he spends with her, the more he discovers he’d give almost anything to keep her in his life. But as work and play become inexorably entwined for Kira and Fitz, they realize that getting what they want for their careers might mean losing everything their hearts desire.

Strengths: Authentic characters; Supportive friendships and family bonds; Strong Romance; HEA
Measure of Love:  Tablespoon
Mood: Upbeat
Thoughts: Kira and Fitz are simply charming and watching them discover that they’re a perfect match is both pleasurable and satisfying.

Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:

The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey
The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr
The Language of Sisters by Cathy Lamb
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane
A Little More Love by Kendra Leigh Castle

H&H Editor Picks:

Best Women’s Fiction for August 2016

Romance is the Perfect Place to Tackle Tough Issues

October 2016 Romance New Releases






Scarlettleigh, blogger.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
These all sound mighty tempting! Thanks for the list, Scarlettleigh.
Lee Brewer
2. LeeB.
Have read The Bookshop on the Corner (loved it and very sweet) as well as The Language of Sisters (Cathy Lamb is one of my favorite authors).
Maggie Boyd
3. maggieboyd66
Jenny Colgan The Bookshop on the Corner. I love her books.
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