Category Archives: women’s fiction

Fiona Barton — The Child

During an excavation in London to upgrade an old neighborhood, the skeleton of a newborn baby is found. The police estimate the burial to be thirty to forty years ago. This grabs newspaper reporter Kate Waters’ attention, and she starts digging to find people who lived on the street at the time. She finds an old story about a baby stolen from the hospital, but as the date of the burial becomes clearer some things don’t match. The missing child was kidnapped a decade earlier and in a different neighborhood. Working the story, Kate finds more information and secrets, plus some unexpected surprises.

Trying to figure out what had happened, the book held my interest from the beginning, but it didn’t really grab me until the latter part of the story, keeping me up late the last night to finish it.

I guess the novel would be women’s fiction, mystery, maybe literary, maybe psychological thriller. I know that I say I’m not into women’s fiction, but there are some very talented writers in that genre. Author Barton kept me reading and kept me guessing. I would definitely read another of her novels.

Amy Gentry — Good as Gone

Thirteen-year-old Julie is abducted from her home in the middle of the night as her ten-year-old sister Jane looks on in fear from the closet. Eight years later, Julie shows up at her family’s door. That’s the beginning and the end of two stories. The current story moves forward through mother Anna’s eyes as she begins to doubt that the girl who appeared on her doorstep is her daughter. And the story of Julie moves backward through the eight years as Julie takes on one persona then another to the time when she left her home.

This thriller is about the two women and how they deal with tragedy. A mother who drinks and hides from life, ignoring the daughter and husband who are still with her, cannot except that the returning daughter is lying and might not be who she says. The daughter who does whatever it takes to survive—changing names and life stories as she moves from one situation to another— is always running, always lying to herself as well as others.

As a writer, I found the point of view (POV) in this novel interesting, The Prologue is the only place the author uses sister Jane’s POV—third person past. In Chapter 1 we jump to the mother Anna’s POV—first person present. When the story shifts to Julie and her various role’s POV it’s third person past, until the last part of the book where it’s Julie’s POV—first person past. It sounds confusing but it works.

The book grabbed my attention and held it to the end.

Thrity Umrigar — The Story Hour

This author drills into the minds and hearts of her characters. She crafted a story that kept me reading until three o’clock this morning.

The book is built around two characters from diverse cultures and backgrounds. One woman is a professional (psychologist) in a comfortable almost idyllic marriage. The other is an immigrant wife, unappreciated by her husband, who works her hard and gives her nothing (emotionally or materially). The two women’s lives come together and they become friends.

Ms. Umrigar looks into the best and the worst of both women—their desire to help others, their hopes and dreams, passions, and ambitions. She also shows us their mistakes or “sins” as one of the women classifies them, despair, guilt, loneliness…

Whew! I make it sound dark and depressing, but it’s not. It’s a delightful story with all the three H’s I talk about other places in my blog—head, heart, and humor—and a new “H” for hope.

It’s also in the women’s fiction (or literary) genre I claim to not like. Yet I keep finding good books in that category. Another thing this novel has in common with others I like and have reviewed is the switching back and forth between two main characters.

All I can say is this book is a good read. Remember it kept me reading until 3 a.m.

Carol Cassella – Gemini

I am impressed. Cassella is an amazing writer! Gemini is a captivating story switching between two main characters with very different stories and lives.

A doctor becomes involved, against her better judgment, with discovering the identity of a “Jane Doe” in her care. “Jane” lies in a coma in the hospital after she is found alongside the road almost dead from a hit-and-run.

The author also follows a young artist growing up with her grandfather in a backwoods small town. We see her first love, marriage, motherhood, her frustrations, struggles to survive, her spirit, her connection to grandfather, son, husband, to the land.

The genre is medical mystery, but I think it could also be classified as women’s fiction or literary. There is so much to grab you and keep you reading—hopes and fears, love and loss, heartbreak and joy, family, communication, morality, medicine, genetics…

I’m going to find Cassella’s two earlier novels, Oxygen and Healer, and spend more sleepless nights reading her work.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh – The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers. Isn’t that an intriguing name for a book? Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s first novel is superb. She tells the story of a young women coming out into the world from foster care with no family, no home, no education, no job… She has a love and knowledge of flowers, which finds her a job and connects her to people. The story swings between her current life and a past life with a foster mother who wanted to adopt her.

The novel is probably classified as literary or women’s fiction. Not my first choice for reading, but this book is exceptional. Diffenbaugh grabs your attention (and your heart) and holds it from beginning to end.

Lisa Genova – Love Anthony

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova is not a first novel, but she’s a new author for me. The story is about two women living on Nantucket who have no connection until late in the book. One is the mother of three daughters in the process of divorcing her husband and the other is a woman hiding out on the island after losing her autistic son who consumed her life for his eight short years. I won’t get into the plot or the story or I might ruin it for you. The book was fascinating. The author pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.

I plucked the book off the library shelf because I liked the cover or maybe because it takes place on Nantucket. I love the ocean and the Massachusetts islands. I’ve spent some time on Martha’s Vineyard and taken a few trips to Nantucket. The book was a surprise because I didn’t read the reviews on the back or the synopsis on the inside flap. I might not have picked it up. I’m not sure this book has a genre. If does it’s probably women’s fiction or it might fall into the literary category. I read very few of either. They are usually too sad for me, or in the case of women’s fiction, I find the main characters to be too victimized or too wrapped up in their own problems (although by the end of the book they usually get better). In this case, both women were believable and intriguing. I loved this story.

Joanne Simon Tailele – Accident

Great writing!  I finished Accident in one night. The author must have done a lot of research for this book – alcoholism, women’s prisons, legal issues…on and on. But more important to me, her characters are up close and personal – you get right into their heads. The book holds the reader’s attention from start to finish. I’m delighted that I bought it.