Author Archive | Ariel

YA Book Review: The Unexpected Everything

Today’s post by Melissa Carpenter | @MelissaCarp

unexpected-everythingThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

One great YA title that might help us all hold fast to summer days is Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything, a seriously cute and heartwarming novel that showcases everything there is to love about YA literature.

In it, Andie is a teenage girl with a very clear plan for her summer, for college, and for life in general. She’s the daughter of a politician, so her childhood has been lived under public scrutiny, and she strives for perfection. She hardly sees her dad, and since her mom passed away when she was young, she has basically raised herself. She’s fiercely independent and has very little relationship with her father, but somehow she’s satisfied with the way things are. She has her plans for the future, she has her friends, and she knows where she’s going.

But what will Andie do when a very public political scandal sends those plans sailing out the window? How will she deal with her lost summer internship? What will her unexpected summer be like when she had so many clear expectations that just won’t happen?

After she answers a help wanted ad that turns out to be for a dog walking service, all kinds of unexpected things pop up: a dad who’s suddenly in town a whole lot more than usual, a part time job without the prestige of a medical internship, a seriously great group of friends, a cute boy who keeps popping up, and so much more. What I love about The Unexpected Everything is that it’s fun and authentic (the text conversations, complete with emojis, are fantastic), but it still has strong themes of family and friendship and the power of change. We, along with Andie, get to see that sometimes beautiful things happen when life veers off the path we’ve decided it should stay on.

This novel is perfect for teenage girls and grown up women alike. Check it out, and enjoy!

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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A New Trend In Book Covers: The Rainy Window Pane

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon

Several years ago we discovered a curious trend in book covers: the exploding rose. It was all the rage for a good six months and then, as is common with trends, quickly passed away. However, the rainy window pane has eagerly taken it’s place and has graced the covers of four recent novels. As you can see, they’re all dark and moody and suspenseful. We like it.


the-woman-in-cabin-10THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware

From New York Times bestselling author of the “twisty-mystery” (Vulture) novel In a Dark, Dark Wood, comes The Woman in Cabin 10, an equally suspenseful and haunting novel from Ruth Ware—this time, set at sea.

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.


the-forgetting-timeTHE FORGETTING TIME by Sharon Guskin

What happens to us after we die? What happens before we are born? At once a riveting mystery and a testament to the profound connection between a child and parent, The Forgetting Time will lead you to reevaluate everything you believe…

What would you do if your four-year-old son claimed he had lived another life and that he wants to go back to it? That he wants his other mother?

Single mom Janie is trying to figure out what is going on with her beloved son Noah. Noah has never been ordinary. He loves to make up stories, and he is constantly surprising her with random trivia someone his age has no right knowing. She always chalked it up to the fact that Noah was precocious―mature beyond his years. But Noah’s eccentricities are starting to become worrisome. One afternoon, Noah’s preschool teacher calls Janie: Noah has been talking about shooting guns and being held under water until he can’t breathe. Suddenly, Janie can’t pretend anymore. The school orders him to get a psychiatric evaluation. And life as she knows it stops for herself and her darling boy.

For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has already stopped. Diagnosed with aphasia, his first thought as he approaches the end of his life is, I’m not finished yet. Once an academic star, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw everything away to pursue an obsession: the stories of children who remembered past lives. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he never stopped believing that there was something beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for a case that would finally prove it. And with Noah, he thinks he may have found it.

Soon, Noah, Janie, and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years. When that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.

Gorgeously written and fearlessly provocative, Sharon Guskin’s debut explores the lengths we will go for our children. It examines what we regret in the end of our lives and hope for in the beginning, and everything in between.


shelterSHELTER by Jung Yun

Kyung Cho is a young father burdened by a house he can’t afford. For years, he and his wife, Gillian, have lived beyond their means. Now their debts and bad decisions are catching up with them, and Kyung is anxious for his family’s future.

A few miles away, his parents, Jin and Mae, live in the town’s most exclusive neighborhood, surrounded by the material comforts that Kyung desires for his wife and son. Growing up, they gave him every possible advantage―private tutors, expensive hobbies―but they never showed him kindness. Kyung can hardly bear to see them now, much less ask for their help. Yet when an act of violence leaves Jin and Mae unable to live on their own, the dynamic suddenly changes, and he’s compelled to take them in. For the first time in years, the Chos find themselves living under the same roof. Tensions quickly mount as Kyung’s proximity to his parents forces old feelings of guilt and anger to the surface, along with a terrible and persistent question: how can he ever be a good husband, father, and son when he never knew affection as a child?

As Shelter veers swiftly toward its startling conclusion, Jung Yun leads us through dark and violent territory, where, unexpectedly, the Chos discover hope. Shelter is a masterfully crafted debut novel that asks what it means to provide for one’s family and, in answer, delivers a story as riveting as it is profound.


watching-edieWATCHING EDIE by Camilla Way

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train: A dazzling work of psychological suspense that weaves together the past and present of two women’s twisted friendship.
Beautiful, creative, a little wild… Edie was the kind of girl who immediately caused a stir when she walked into your life. And she had dreams back then—but it didn’t take long for her to learn that things don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

Now, at thirty-three, Edie is working as a waitress, pregnant and alone. And when she becomes overwhelmed by the needs of her new baby and sinks into a bleak despair, she thinks that there’s no one to turn to…

But someone’s been watching Edie, waiting for the chance to prove once again what a perfect friend she can be. It’s no coincidence that Heather shows up on Edie’s doorstep, just when Edie needs her the most. So much has passed between them—so much envy, longing, and betrayal. And Edie’s about to learn a new lesson: those who have hurt us deeply—or who we have hurt—never let us go, not entirely…

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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A Word On Words, With Ariel Lawhon and J.T. Ellison

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon

I recently had a blast filming an episode of Nashville Public Television’s “A Word on Words” with my good friend and fellow-writer, J.T. Ellison. Not only did we have a fabulous conversation about all things Hindenburg, but we filmed the show in a classic Beechcraft museum. All in all, a perfect day. So if you have three spare minutes today, you’re welcome to eavesdrop.

**Email readers can view the video here.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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Three Reasons To Take A Social Media Break

Today’s post is by Ariel Lawhon, She Reads co-founder, and author of the critically acclaimed novels, THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS and FLIGHT OF DREAMS.


There’s a good chance you’re reading this because of a link you saw on social media. But here’s what you need to know: I didn’t post it there. As of this morning I am officially on an extended social media break. My husband has changed all of my passwords with strict instructions not to tell me what they are until I finish my current novel (he’s Texan, so there’s no way he’ll cave) and I’ve deleted all social media apps from my phone, including Pinterest and Words with Friends. It’s a pretty extreme thing to do, I know. But I am convinced that there are seasons in life where the best things we can do for our personal and professional lives is to walk away from the distraction of social media. And my guess is you’ve thought of doing the same. So, today I’m offering three reasons why you might want to join me in this radical experiment. All three apply to me at the moment and I’d wager you can relate to one or more yourself.


You Need To Focus On That Big Project.

I’m in the homestretch with a new novel and I won’t finish on time unless I am ruthless about eliminating distractions from my life. The book is called I WAS ANASTASIA and is about the last days of Anastasia Romanov and the woman believed to be her most famous imposter. It explores the long-standing mystery of whether or not the young, Russian Grand Duchess survived the massacre that killed her family and is…well…something of a beast to write. To do this story justice I have to be fully present. I have to, as Dr. Cal Newport says, do deep work. At the moment there is nothing social media can provide that will replace time spent with my manuscript and in my research material.

Do you have a big project that needs to get finished? Maybe you’re also writing a book. But maybe you’re remodeling your kitchen or rebuilding a car engine with your teenage son. If you have a big, glaring project on your to-do list that just doesn’t ever seem to get finished, then perhaps it’s time to take a social media break.


You Need To Focus On Your People.

Speaking of teenage sons, I have one of those as well. I also have a pre-teen and two elementary age boys. And while none of them are driving yet, all of them are playing baseball at the moment. And it’s amazing! It’s also time consuming and a lot to keep up with. Four boys. Four teams. Each with two games every week and, well, I have to be on my A-game to keep everything straight. But it’s not just the schedule. Lately I’ve found myself on the stands watching a ballgame on a beautiful evening. And what am I doing? Looking around to see if there’s anything interesting I can Instagram. I’m embarrassed that I’ve become that person. My children need me to be present and accounted for because in a few years there won’t be any more baseball games or choir concerts or awards ceremonies to photograph. I don’t want to miss them while trying to record them.

Do you have people in your life that you need to focus on? Maybe it’s a friend who’s going through a rough patch. Or your spouse is in the middle of a tough work transition. Or your children are struggling in school. Maybe your relationships are in a good place right now and you simply want to enjoy them. If you’ve been thinking that your people need more of you these days, then perhaps it’s time to take a social media break.


You Need To Focus On Your Heart.

Sometimes it’s all a bit too much. And social media gives us a million reasons every day to feel discontent, jealousy, isolation, anger, frustration, comparison, and any number of other blood-pressure-raising emotions. Sure, there are plenty of good things about it. But there are also seasons in life when the bad things outweigh the good things and our poor, battered hearts could really use a rest. We could use a bit of curated silence. We could use some time with the real people in our real lives. We could use a break from the Twitter/Facebook fight du jour.

Do you find that you can’t log on to social media these days without flinching first? If you type in your password and automatically wonder who is hurling abuse, or who is sticking their foot in their mouth, or who is getting publicly shamed today, then perhaps it’s time to take a social media break.

Really, I suppose, the point of this exercise is simply to focus. To focus on the things that matter. Your work matters. Your people matter. Your heart matters. Social media? Not so much.

Here’s the Ted Talk that convinced me to step away from the “social media slot machine” and engage in some really deep work for the remainder of this year. If you decide to join me, leave a comment below.





Interested in this subject? Read DEEP WORK by Cal Newport

deep-workOne of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.

In DEEP WORK, author and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite. Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits. He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

A mix of cultural criticism and actionable advice, DEEP WORK takes the reader on a journey through memorable stories — from Carl Jung building a stone tower in the woods to focus his mind, to a social media pioneer buying a round-trip business class ticket to Tokyo to write a book free from distraction in the air — and no-nonsense advice, such as the claim that most serious professionals should quit social media and that you should practice being bored. DEEP WORK is an indispensable guide to anyone seeking focused success in a distracted world.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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Making the Leap from Contemporary to Historical Fiction

Today’s post by Juliette Fay | @JulietteFay

We’re thrilled to have Juliette Fay on the blog today as she shares a bit about her new novel, THE TUMBLING TURNER SISTERS, and how she navigated the departure from contemporary fiction to historical fiction. Welcome, Juliette! And add this one to your lists, friends. I think you’ll love it.

juliette-fayIn the past, just as I’d finish one novel, there was always another idea out there simmering, waiting for me to bring it to a full boil. That didn’t happen after my last book, and it was really starting to get to me. I had a lot of “first dates” with story ideas, but no seconds.

One day my father came over for lunch, and in an effort to help, he started listing things he thought I should write about. These included a book on President Lincoln — and I’m thinking Yeah, because that’s never been done before. No competition whatsoever – or on Oliver Cromwell’s violent domination of Ireland, which basically started out as a tragic bloodbath and went downhill from there.

As he talked about how his own ancestors had fled the Irish famine and English repression, I suddenly remembered a picture he’d sent me of his grandfather dancing onstage, along with newspaper clippings about his vaudeville career in the early 1900s. Vaudeville! Sitting there over the remains of our lunch, my head was suddenly exploding with ideas.

I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, but shied away from writing it because I didn’t think I had the background. Don’t you need some sort of history degree to write about a completely different time? It turns out the answer is no. As with any story about a complicated topic, you just have to be willing to submerge yourself in the subject matter and learn everything you can.

The research for The Tumbling Turner Sisters turned out to be a surprising amount of fun. The world was changing quickly in 1919; World War I had just ended, and Prohibition and Women’s Suffrage were looming on the horizon. People were forced to take a critical look at the status quo and question if there weren’t better ways. With women’s rights headline news and sexual politics evolving, I knew the main characters had to be young women struggling to figure out where they fit in.

Amid of all the social and political turmoil, the subculture of vaudeville was this crazy little brother-and-sisterhood, with its own customs, rules and slang. It was fascinating to learn how much of American entertainment—especially humor—has its roots deep in the rich vaudeville soil. So many of the greats went on to have long and iconic careers in radio, TV and movies, people like Groucho Marx, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jr., Cary Grant, Mae West, WC Fields, Bill Bojangles Robinson, George Burns and Gracie Allen.

I still don’t have a history degree, but I now know an awful lot about vaudeville in 1919, thanks to my great-grandfather, a man I unfortunately never met. In gratitude, I gave one of the characters his name. I like to think it would appeal to the entertainer in him to be back in the spotlight again a hundred years after his prime.


tumbling-turner-sistersFor fans of Orphan Train and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.

In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival.

Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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Run The Downhill Parts

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon | @ArielLawhon


I used to be a runner. And I used to love it. It worked for me. My body responded well to the routine and consistency and when I think back, I’ve never been healthier than when I was was running thirty-plus miles a week. Life changes of course. Mine certainly did. I got married and had children and my days soon filled with other things: namely a desperate need for sleep.

Sixteen years later I’ve started running again. When the kids went back to school in August I started hitting the pavement in the mornings. And while I’ve been pleased to learn that I still love running, it’s discouraging to realize just how out of shape I truly am. I’m slower than I’ve ever been. My aerobic stamina is pathetic. My body is older and stiffer and less inclined to cooperate. I blister easily. But I am running. And this makes me very happy.

But because I live in Tennessee there is another obstacle in my path: hills. Many, many hills, all of them seemingly in my neighborhood. It’s hard enough to run a mile on flat ground without getting red-faced and winded. But it’s even worse when hills are involved. So, a few weeks ago I made a decision: until I build up speed and stamina I am just going to run the downhill parts.

And it’s working! I’ve stopped dreading my runs. My speed is increasing. My time is decreasing. It still isn’t all that pretty, but it is progress. Allowing myself to take the easy route has allowed me to establish this new habit. And I’m healthier as a result. My clothes fit better. My circulation and skin are better. I feel better.

It’s been a revelation to me: I don’t have to make things hard on my myself. I don’t have to run up the hills. They aren’t going anywhere. I have to climb them anyway. But I don’t have to do it in a way that will hurt or exhaust  me.

So, today, here’s your homework:

Run the downhill parts.

Pick the low-hanging fruit.

Write the easy chapter.

Make the easy sales call.

Let yourself see a bit of progress.

Of course we can do all the hard things. And we will. But sometimes we need permission to do the easy things first. Save that uphill run for later.

For now, take the win.


A few things that are helping me form this new habit:

A fun playlist. Mine includes everything from Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger (Yes, I’m serious. Yes I love Rocky. And yes it really does help me keep the pace up—you try not running when it’s playing) to Thunderstruck by AC/DC. It also has Pink, Beyonce, Aloe Blac, Ram Jam, Hozier, Taio Cruz, and Andy Grammer. It’s all over the map but if I’m going to run to it, I want upbeat. I want it to make me happy.

The Map My Run app. It keeps track of time, distance, and calories. I can map specific runs through my neighborhood and share them with my husband so he knows where I am. It tracks my progress weekly and emails me a gentle reminder if I’ve skipped too many days. I like the accountability.

The realization that I write better if I’ve gone for a run that morning. Even on the days when I don’t really have time. Even on the days when I don’t feel like it. I write twice as many words on the days that I run. Every. Single. Time.


Reading Suggestion:

runningJen Miller has fallen in and out of love, but no man has been there for her the way running has.

In Running: A Love Story, Jen tells the story of her lifelong relationship with running with wit, thoughtfulness, and brutal honesty. Jen first laces up her sneakers in high school, when, like many people, she sees running as a painful part of conditioning for other sports. But when she discovers early in her career as a journalist that it helps her clear her mind, focus her efforts, and achieve new goals, she becomes hooked for good.

Jen, a middle-of-the-pack but tenacious runner, hones her skill while navigating relationships with men that, like a tricky marathon route, have their ups and downs, relying on running to keep her steady in the hard times. As Jen pushes herself toward ever-greater challenges, she finds that running helps her walk away from the wrong men and learn to love herself while revealing focus, discipline, and confidence she didn’t realize she had.

Relatable, inspiring, and brutally honest, Running: A Love Story, explores the many ways that distance running carves a path to inner peace and empowerment by charting one woman’s evolution in the sport.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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#READ Savannah Update and a Book Club Giveaway

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon | @ArielLawhon


This coming Sunday, September 18th, we will gather with 200 of our closest, book-loving friends for #READSavannah. We’ll begin the day by sharing lunch with 20 amazing authors and 100 amazing booksellers and then go into an afternoon of panels, conversations, and bonding over books. Then, when we’re all giddy and filled to the brim with stories, we’ll cap the day off with a keynote interview between Anne Bogel (Modern Mrs. Darcy) and Liane Moriarty. Marybeth and I have been working on this event for six months. So much has gone on behind the scenes to make this day a reality. And if you’ve seen less of us here it’s because we’ve been working overtime there. And now #READSavannah is just days away!

We’ve been amazed at the response to this year’s event. Tickets to the lunch portion sold out in just a few weeks and there’s been a waiting list to get in ever since. But we’ve reserved a handful of tickets for the afternoon panels and keynote just for today. If you’re in a Savannah book club (or within driving distance of Savannah) and you’d like to bring your friends and join us on Sunday, this is your lucky day. We’re giving away tickets to two lucky book clubs. Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win tickets for your entire book club. Winners will be chosen randomly tomorrow.

Good luck! And see you Sunday!

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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Our Fall Book Club Selection

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon | @ArielLawhon

One of the strangest things about this particular job has always been the dueling realities of TALKING about books while at the same time WRITING books. Granted, we share less about the writing in this space. Maybe because that process is so quiet and private? Or maybe because there’s so little to talk about until the book is actually here. But that brings me to my point. Because I am utterly thrilled to share that Marybeth Whalen’s new novel is finally here! As you know, she’s my dearest friend, my She Reads co-founder, and one of the best, most loyal, funniest, and all-around brilliant people that I know. Her new book, THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE, is not only her best novel so far, but it was a true labor of love. I had the great privilege of watching her write this book (mostly from a distance, but occasionally across the room) and I can assure you she poured her entire heart into it. And then some.

Would you join me in congratulating Marybeth? One way to do that, of course, is by picking up a copy and reading it for yourself. I think you’ll you’ll see yourself on these pages, and you’ll most likely see your neighbors as well.

I don’t often endorse novels but I jumped at the chance to do so with this one. Here’s my official, glowing endorsement for THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE:

The Things We Wish Were True is a brilliant glimpse into the realities of suburban life. Startling. Compelling. Redemptive. It’s the kind of story that makes us wonder how well we really know ourselves—much less our neighbors. Marybeth Whalen has a gift for turning over the pretty surfaces of life, finding the hidden things beneath, and then exposing them to the light. I found myself drawn in, unable to look away from these characters and their dark, tender, familiar lives. I utterly loved this novel.”

You can grab your copy here.

You can add THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE to your Goodreads want-to-read list here.

And you can join us this fall as we discuss this novel in depth with Marybeth.


TTWWWTIn an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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We’ll See You On The Flip Side

Today’s post by Ariel Lawhon | @ArielLawhon


Hi friends. Just a quick note to let you know we will be on hiatus for the remainder of August. Marybeth and I both drowning in back to school preparations for our kids and tight deadlines for our next books. But we’ll be back at the beginning of September with big news, a great book club giveaway, and updates on #READSavannah. In the meantime, we’ll still be online a bit–mostly on Instagram. You can find Marybeth here and Ariel here.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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Author to Author Interview: Alix Rickloff and Jennifer Robson, Part Two

Today’s post by Alix Rickloff and Jennifer Robson | @AlixRickloff and @JenniferRobsonR

We’re delighted to bring you part two of our interview with Alix Rickloff and Jennifer Robson as they discuss their new novels, SECRETS OF NANREATH HALL and MOONLIGHT OVER PARIS. You can read part one here.


Jennifer: I was really impressed by your mastery of period detail in “Secrets of Nanreath Hall”, and all the more so because it’s such a departure for you. What drew you to the twentieth century and the crucible of its world wars as a setting?

Alix: My interest in WWII began while I was in college. I watched Greer Garson in Mrs. Miniver and was forever hooked on the time period. But for twenty plus years and nine plus books, it remained merely a side interest until a recent conversation with my agent during which she asked the fateful question; “What do you really want to write about?” Suddenly, I was confronted with all sorts of exciting possibilities in genres and settings I’d never considered. As authors we thrive on tension, drama, and conflict to shape our stories. And there are few decades more loaded with all three than those surrounding WWI and WWII. Those years were the fault lines between old values and new when the world was reshaping itself in violent ways and ordinary people were caught up in the struggle to, not only survive, but find their place within a changing social landscape. Both Kitty and Anna are at the mercy of these tumultuous events. Coming from the closeted life of an aristocrat, Kitty fights against expectations of class and gender when it comes to following her dreams while her daughter Anna, as a VAD nurse in a military hospital, confronts both the immediate cost of war as well as the aftermath of her mother’s fateful choices.

Jennifer: It’s been a few months since I gobbled up my advance copy of “Secrets of Nanreath Hall” and I am eager for more from you! Can you tell me anything about your next book?

Alix: Not much as I only just turned it into my editor, but I can tell you it’s loosely connected to the first book, though there’s no need to have read the first one to pick up the second. Lucy Stanhope is the spoiled daughter of an ex-pat socialite living in Singapore. Due to a scandal, she’s sent home to England in disgrace just ahead of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Japan’s entrance into the war. Unhappy and alone, she befriends a young evacuee and the very unlikely pair end up running away to London in search of his mother. In essence, it’s sort of a buddy road-trip book set against the backdrop of the WWII British home front. I had a blast writing both Lucy and her twelve year old delinquent sidekick in crime, Bill (any resemblance to my own son are merely coincidence) and can’t wait to hear what readers think.


Secrets of Nanreath HallThis incredible debut historical novel—in the tradition of Beatriz Williams and Jennifer Robson—tells the fascinating story of a young mother who flees her home on the rocky cliffs of Cornwall and the daughter who finds her way back, seeking answers.

Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth is shocked to learn her adoptive parents Graham and Prue Handley have been killed in an air raid. She desperately needs their advice as she’s been assigned to the military hospital that has set up camp inside her biological mother’s childhood home—Nanreath Hall. Anna was just six-years-old when her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, died. All she has left are vague memories that tease her with clues she can’t unravel. Anna’s assignment to Nanreath Hall could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she’s never known—and to unbury the truth and secrets surrounding her past.

Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage and have a respectable life. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices begin to lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love. But as everything begins to fall apart, Katherine finds herself destitute and alone.

As Anna is drawn into her newfound family’s lives and their tangled loyalties, she discovers herself at the center of old heartbreaks and unbearable tragedies, leaving her to decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she’s discovered is one she can keep.

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). She is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS and the forthcoming HINDENBURG (both published by Doubleday).

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