Dec 28 2016 10:00am

It Opens at the Close: 2016’s Women’s Fiction Best Bets

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

The beginning is the word and the end is silence. And in between are all the stories.
~Kate Atkinson

For some of us the end of 2016 will be in silence—as we stay at home curled up with a great book. Others will be out painting the town red. But no matter how your year ends—with a bang or quietly—there is no doubt that we all love the stories.

And in 2016 we have had some great stories. In addition to December’s Best Bets  it’s also the time of year when we talk about the best books of 2016. Each month in the blog, I've mentioned some great books. Each are memorable in their own way. Some have charmed us–some have challenged our beliefs–and some have just entertained us. But it is the books that touch our emotions that are the most memorable. We all have friends visit and peruse our bookshelves, looking for something good to read. These are the 2016 women’s fiction books that I would pull off the shelf and say to them “you must read this – it is so good!”  

2016 Women’s Fiction Best Bets:

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Why you should read it:

This is the perfect book for those of you, who have always wanted to be a free spirit –just a little bit bad, and a lot creative. Live vicariously as heroine Olivia Rawlings makes music and bakes her way to happiness!

The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

Why you should read it:

There is something so appealing about a woman who seems to have it all. Liddy James handles everything with aplomb— her divorce, raising two children, and her high-powered job, but suddenly she is juggling too many balls and everything comes tumbling down. It’s empowering to watch Libby learn from her mistakes, and start anew.

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Why you should read it:

This book is pure perfection. Coleman handles so many sensitive subjects with an amazingly deft hand— exploring death, ethical and martial issues. The main character helps people facing death with closure, but in her personal life, she fighting the death of her marriage.  If you looking for an emotional, touching story and yes, an uplifting story, then this is the book you must read

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman

Why you should read it:

In a word - family! In today’s modern times, it is difficult to stay close. The Charm Bracelet explores how to reconnect to those who mean the most to us. Three generation of woman learn to share their secrets and regain more than they dreamed!

The Sparrow Sisters: A Novel by Ellen Herrick

Why you should read it:

Filled with magical realism, this book is imaginative, a little bit heartbreaking, but also joyous. The New England town Granite Point has always accepted the Sparrow Sisters and all their eccentricities, but when a local tragedy happens 300-year-old fears of witches resurface. You won't be able to put this book down!

December Best Bets:

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

The truth lies between the lines...
A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come.
Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story.
As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…

Strengths: Poignant premise; wonderful sense of karma; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Poignant
Thoughts: A truly touching read, as two people help each other heal, and ultimately find happiness.

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

When Charlotte Sawyer is unable to contact her stepsister, Jocelyn, to tell her that one of her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that Jocelyn has vanished. 
Beautiful, brilliant—and reckless—Jocelyn has gone off the grid before, but never like this. In a desperate effort to find her, Charlotte joins forces with Max Cutler, a struggling PI who recently moved to Seattle after his previous career as a criminal profiler went down in flames—literally. Burned out, divorced and almost broke, Max needs the job.  
After surviving a near-fatal attack, Charlotte and Max turn to Jocelyn’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers. But what they find is chilling...
When her uneasy alliance with Max turns into a full-blown affair, Charlotte has no choice but to trust him with her life. For the shadows of Jocelyn’s past are threatening to consume her—and anyone else who gets in their way...

Strengths: Red Herring mystery; Relatable character;  HEA  
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Upbeat 
Thoughts: Pure Escapism

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

One admission can change your life...forever.

When ambitious grad student Kate Pearson’s handsome French “almost fiancé” ditches her, she definitely does not roll with the punches, despite the best efforts of family and friends. It seems that nothing will get Kate out of pajamas and back into the world.

Miraculously, one cringe-worthy job interview leads to a position in the admissions department at the revered Hudson Day School. Kate’s instantly thrown into a highly competitive and occasionally absurd culture, where she interviews all types of children: suitable, wildly unsuitable, charming, loathsome, ingratiating, or spoiled beyond all measure. And then there are the Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

As Kate begins to learn there’s no room for self-pity or nonsense during the height of admissions season or life itself, her sister and friends find themselves keeping secrets, dropping bombshells, and arguing with each other about how to keep Kate on her feet. Meanwhile, Kate seems to be doing very nicely, thank you, and is even beginning to find out that her broken heart is very much on the mend. Welcome to the world of Small Admissions.

Strengths: Multi-faceted characters; Droll and Witty Scenarios; HEA  
Measure of Love:  Teaspoon
Mood: Uplifting
Thoughts: a entertaining and feel good book!  

Wishing you a happy new year and great reading!

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

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman
The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman
The Sparrow Sisters: A Novel by Ellen Herrick
Love, Alice by Barbara Davis
When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

H&H Editor Picks:

First Look: Amy Poeppel’s Small Admissions

Are Romantic Comedies on Their Way Back?

January 2017 Romance New Releases






Scarlettleigh, blogger.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Maggie Boyd
1. maggieboyd66
I'm looking forward to the Krentz since I always love her books. Good list here!
Lee Brewer
2. LeeB.
I have read We Are All Made of Stars (so good) and Love Alice and The Sparrow Sisters (both very enjoyable). Looking forward to Small Admissions. Thanks for the recommendations.
3. Scarlettleigh
@maggieboyd66 -- the Krentz was fun -- plenty of twists and turns but more realistic twists and turns.

@LeeB. --You can tell I have the Sparrow Sisters on my mind<g>. It was released in 2015 instead of 2016 but I have been thinking about it because the sequel is coming up -- Forbidden Garden--out in April 2017.

We Are All Made of Stars is excellent -- definitely put Rowan Coleman on my radar!
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