Mon
Nov 20 2017 5:00pm

5 Women’s Fiction Best Bets for November 2017

Life is about making an impact, not making an income
—Kevin Kruse

Most of us will never be rich and famous but that doesn’t diminish our worth. We’re all had people in our lives that made a positive impact. And that is one of the heartwarming themes in this month’s selection of women’s fiction books. One of the most genuine gifts you can give is your time and your caring as these books show. While not holiday stories they're the perfect introduction to the holiday season.  

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. 

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

Strengths: Multi-generational characters; Beautiful theme of chosen family; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love: Dash
Mood: Poignant and lighthearted
Why You Should Read this:  What a truly wonderful story. The little bit of magical realism is a nice touch, but the heart of the story is the about lonely people coming together and forming a family. Heartwarming and touching.

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

Strengths: Great balance between mystery and interpersonal relationships; Intriguing characters: Uplifting ending                                                                                         
Measure of Love: Dash
Mood: Poignant and lighthearted
Why You Should Read this: Perfect for readers who want a more intense story! 

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

No one knows why Teddi Lerner left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.

Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded “Aunt Tee” to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it's been six years since Shay's mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend's husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.

Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she's caused and—maybe—how to fix it.

After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she'll finally see what she overlooked all along.

Strengths: Exploration of complex feelings of grief; Unique situations;  Uplifting ending
Measure of Love: Dash
Mood: Poignant
Why You Should Read this: Insightful look at how a daughter, brother, husband and best friend grieve the death of their love one. 

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.

When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.

Strengths: Exploration of sister bond; gratifying spirituality, uplifting ending Measure of Love: Teaspoon
Mood:Poignant
Why You Should Read this: Wonderful resolution of sibling conflicts, second chance at love, and letting go of old hurts.

A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay

(Amazon | Barnes & Noble)

From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman’s Wife, called a “literary and literate gem” by Psychology Today, comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.

When Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie’s life with Lucy.

In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life—the moments she can’t bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.

Over the course of one hot Brisbane summer, two families’ stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways. Through the richly intertwined narratives of two ordinary, extraordinary women, Ashley Hay uses her “lyrical prose, poetic dialogue, and stunning imagery” (RT magazine) to weave an intricate, bighearted story of what it is to be human.

Strengths: Great juxtaposition of beginnings and endings; Realistic exploration of family dynamics; Uplifting ending
Measure of Love: Dash
Mood: Poignant
Why You Should Read this: Insightful, authentic look at family.  


Scarlettleigh, blogger

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1 comment
Maggie Boyd
1. maggieboyd66
I would add Jamie Ford's Love and Other Consolation Prizes to the list. Rich in history, this story is about a young Chineese boy auctioned off during the San Francisco World's Fair. (True event!) Really touching tale.

From this list the Berg sounds really good. I like when people choose their own family.
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