Author Archive | marybeth

Our Pre-Summer Thriller Roundup

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start stocking your beach bags with page turners so riveting you’ll forget to reapply sunscreen. We’re getting your list started with a bang today– better stock up on aloe while you’re at it!

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Dont You cryDon’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

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woman with a secretWoman With A Secret by Sophie Hannah

Traffic on Elmhirst Road has come to a halt. The police are stopping cars, searching for something. Nicki Clements waits patiently, until she glimpses a face she hoped she’d never see again. It’s him—and he’s the cop checking each car. Desperate to avoid him, she makes a panicky U-turn and escapes.

But Nicki’s peculiar behavior did not go unnoticed, and now the police have summoned her for questioning. A resident of Elmhirst Road has been murdered—a controversial newspaper columnist named Damon Blundy. The detectives begin peppering her with questions. Why was she seen fleeing the scene? What is her connection to the victim? Why was the knife that killed him used in such a peculiar way? Why were the words “HE IS NO LESS DEAD” painted on the wall of Blundy’s study—and what do they signify?

One simple answer could clear her. But she can’t explain why she fled Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her.

Nicki isn’t guilty of murder. But she’s far from innocent. . . .

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the other widowThe Other Widow by Susan Crawford

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

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I let you goI Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

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The Girl From HomeeThe Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe—a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more—when his world comes crashing down, spiraling him into a relentless fall from grace. Devastated, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams. Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed. Now she is intrigued by the man he has become. But their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is Jackie’s jealous and abusive husband. Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation? Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?

 

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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Book, Meet Book

Today we continue our “Book, Meet Book” series and introduce two novels to each other– and to you guys– because we think they have some things in common and would make a good match. Today’s books feature single parents, new places, and unexpected love. Will you add one– or both– to your “Want To Read” list? Let us know!

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Stepping Into a New DayStepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins

In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can’t start over without stirring things up . . .

Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a back-seat to his 600-lb. hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the “new” her has only just hit Gen’s to-do list when T.C. Barbour appears in her life.

A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it’s just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It’s a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T.C.’s attention for good.

But it wouldn’t be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen’s ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.

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The Summer of MeThe Summer of Me by Angela Benson

As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying goodbye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finish getting her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up…until she meets Daniel. The handsome, warm and charming pastor soon sweeps Destiny off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices. But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood…and truly become the woman she wants to be.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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The Lighter Side of Spring

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Whether laugh out loud funny or just plain heartwarming, these recent releases focus on the lighter side of life– and spring is the perfect time for lightening things up!

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Wedding GirlWedding Girl by Stacey Ballis

You’ve Got Mail meets Julie & Julia in the new foodie fiction from the author of Recipe for Disaster.

Top pastry chef Sophie Bernstein and her sommelier fiancé were set to have Chicago’s culinary wedding of the year…until the groom eloped with someone else in a very public debacle, leaving Sophie splashed across the tabloids—fifty grand in debt on her dream wedding and one-hundred percent screwed on her dream life. The icing on the cake was when she lost her job and her home…

Laying low, Sophie moves in with her grandmother, Bubbles. That way, she can keep Bubbles and her sweater-wearing pug company and nurse her broken heart. But when Sophie gets a part-time job at the old-fashioned neighborhood bakery, she finds herself up to her elbows in dough and reluctantly giving a wedding cake customer advice on everything from gift bags to guest accommodations. Before she knows it, she’s an online wedding planner. It’s not mousse and macarons, but it pays the bills. But with the arrival of unexpected personal and professional twists, Sophie wonders if she’s really moving forward—or starting over from scratch…

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Rejected WritersThe Rejected Writer’s Book Club by Suzanne Kelvin

Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually publish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.

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Where We FallWhere We Fall by Rochelle Weinstein

By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together…

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Will YouWill You Won’t You Want Me? by Nora Zelevansky

Marjorie Plum never meant to peak in high school. She was Queen Bee. Now, 10 years later, she’s lost her sparkle. At her bleakest moment, she’s surprised by renewed interest from a questionable childhood crush, and the bickering with her cranky boss–at a potentially game-changing new job–grows increasingly like flirtatious banter. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice between the life she always dreamed of and one she never thought to imagine. With the help of a precocious 11-year-old tutee, who unknowingly becomes the Ghost of Marjorie Past, and a musician roommate, who looks like a pixie and talks like the Dalai Lama, Marjorie struggles with the ultimate question: Who does she want to be? Nora Zelevansky’s Will You Won’t You Want Me? is a funny, often surprising, novel about growing up when you are already supposed to be grown.

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The ONe that Got AwayThe One That Got Away by Leigh Himes

Meet Abbey Lahey . . .

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life–and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . .

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she’s only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago.

In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes’s irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self–whoever that may be.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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But When: A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

Today’s post by Amber Brock | @AmberBrockWrites

Pay attention and you’ll notice something. It’s a phrase, often used in book descriptions or back cover copy: “But When.” It sounds simple enough but it changes everything. “But when an old friend comes to visit…” Or, “But when her son goes missing…” That single phrase is the beginning of everything going wrong for a character (and, let’s face it, when things really interesting for the reader). When we began to pay attention to this phrase we thought it was time to begin a new series. So we have invited Amber Brock to share a bit about her new novel, A FINE IMITATION in this latest installment of “But When.” Enjoy!

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Amber Brock -- photo credit Nina Parker

Amber Brock — photo credit Nina Parker

My novel, A Fine Imitation, is the story of two crucial moments in socialite Vera Bellington’s life—the first crossroads comes when she is a junior at Vassar in 1913, and the second is in 1923, when she’s living in the most luxurious penthouse in Manhattan, the Angelus, in an unhappy marriage. As a college student, she’s considering the immediate choices her future offers. She’s torn between the enticing possibilities college has opened up for her and the role prescribed for her by society. Ten years later, she is locked in a cycle of pointless social engagements, suffocating under her overbearing mother’s close watch, and slowly coming to the realization that the life she’s living is not one she would have chosen for herself.  She’s been playing the role of dutiful daughter and happy wife for too long, and she at last begins to admit to herself that the part she’s playing has brought her only misery.

Vera gets two “but when” moments, both of which involve free-spirited artists who cause her to question the life dictated by her place in society. In 1913, the turning point is a night out on the town with her friend Bea Stillman. When Vera agrees to sneak out with Bea, she sets in motion a chain of events that lead to more broken hearts than just Vera’s own. In 1923, still haunted by the choices she made in the fallout after that night, Vera meets a handsome, mysterious artist who brings up the same choice between her heart and her reputation. Emil Hallan, much like Bea did ten years before, pushes her to challenge the things she’s blindly accepted. In doing so, Vera reaches deep inside to find the college girl who once had hope about her circumstances and choices. But with that hope comes painful memories, and before she can claim a new life, she must confront the mistakes of her past.

Vera’s “but when” moment in 1923 doesn’t come with easy answers. Though she’s falling in love with Emil, she knows he’s hiding his true identity. His secrets could ruin her if she decides to follow her heart. And while the life she’s trapped in at the top of the Angelus building does offer comfort and security, it means remaining in a marriage with a man who will never really be her partner. Still, even if the choices aren’t easy, Vera begins to realize that simply having choices at all helps her find a new strength. Ultimately, that strength has the potential to save her.

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A Fine Imitation jacketSet in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite’s restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.

Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus–the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home.

Then Emil Hallan arrives at The Angelus to paint a mural above its glittering subterranean pool. The handsome French artist moves into the building, shrouds his work in secrecy, and piques Vera’s curiosity, especially when the painter keeps dodging questions about his past. Is he the man he claims to be? Even as she finds herself increasingly drawn to Hallan’s warmth and passion, Vera can’t suppress her suspicions. After all, she has plenty of secrets, too–and some of them involve art forgers like her bold, artistically talented former friend, Bea, who years ago, at Vassar, brought Vera to the brink of catastrophe and social exile.

When the dangerous mysteries of Emil’s past are revealed, Vera faces an impossible choice–whether to cling to her familiar world of privilege and propriety or to risk her future with the enigmatic man who has taken her heart. A Fine Imitation explores what happens when we realize that the life we’ve always led is not the life we want to have.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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“But When” The Moment That Changes Everything

Today’s post by New York Times bestselling author, Karen White | @KarenWhiteWrite

Pay attention and you’ll notice something. It’s a phrase, often used in book descriptions or back cover copy: “But When.” It sounds simple enough but it changes everything. “But when an old friend comes to visit…” Or, “But when her son goes missing…” That single phrase is the beginning of everything going wrong for a character (and, let’s face it, when things really interesting for the reader). When we began to pay attention to this phrase we thought it was time to begin a new series. So we have invited Karen White to share a bit about her new novel, FLIGHT PATTERNS in this latest installment of “But When.” Enjoy!

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Karen White

Karen White

In my new novel, Flight Patterns, the main protagonist, Georgia Chambers, lives and works as an antiques dealer in New Orleans, specializing in old china.  She’s estranged from her family—sister Maisy, their unstable mother Birdie, and their beekeeper grandfather.  A serious rift between the sisters has exiled Georgia from Apalachicola and her dysfunctional family for over a decade, a distance she can accept as just punishment for old sins.

Georgia thinks she’s content with her life, collecting remnants of other people’s pasts, finding them easier to face than her own.  She collects antique keys and locks, always hoping to find a matched set so she can believe that every problem has a solution, every question an answer.  Except her own.  Her mother always told her that the greatest sin was that of being ordinary.  To Georgia, that is now what she strives for.

But when a new client, James Graf, approaches her with a request for an appraisal of his grandmother’s antique Limoges china, the past and present collide.  The china has an usual pattern of bees in flight, with vivid and memorable colors.  There is no name stamped on the bottom, and Georgia is sure she doesn’t recognize it from her vast collection of china identification books.  But she has seen it before—on a china cup found in her mother’s closet when she was a young girl.  A scene she remembers clearly because Birdie told her to keep it a secret.

This “but when” moment opens up a Pandora’s box into a past that goes back to World War II France, intersecting James’s life with Georgia’s in surprising and unexpected ways.  James has his own complicated past, one he only reluctantly shares with Georgia when he recognizes a fellow wounded soul.  They travel to Apalachicola together, both hoping for quick answers, neither realizing the story of family, love, and betrayal they are about to unearth.

Georgia’s sister, Maisy, is also struggling.  Left to care for their elderly grandfather and unbalanced mother, she is on the verge of divorce while trying to be the best mother she can to her young daughter.  She’d made her sister promise to never come back to Apalachicola, but now Georgia is home, searching for an illusive piece of china.  And even, perhaps, a forgiveness that Maisy is not sure she can give.  Or accept.

Set amidst the backdrop of their grandfather’s beehives, where the lives of the bees closely mimic those of the central players, Georgia and Maisy are forced to dig into their mother’s past to confront their own.  Except neither Georgia, Maisy or James are prepared for the revelations of the past, all set in motion by one “but when” moment when a set of china with a unique pattern of bees in flight and unknown provenance interrupts their lives.

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Flight PatternsThe New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be…

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit…

It’s been ten years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled.

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep…

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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Six Historical Novels You Don’t Want To Miss This Spring

As far as we’re concerned, historical fiction is always in season. And we’ve found six new titles you won’t want to miss this spring.

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The Secrets of LifeThe Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.

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While You Were MineWhile You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

Everything she loved could so easily be lost.

The end of World War II should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on V-J Day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim Mary, the baby abandoned to Gwen one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing the child she has nurtured and loves dearly.

With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach Lieutenant John McKee how to care for his child, knowing that he will ultimately take Mary away. What starts as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and Gwen must open her heart to learn that love means taking chances.

While You Were Mine paints a vivid portrait of 1940s New York and tells an enchanting tale of the nature of love and trust.

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The Memory of UsThe Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio

Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.

While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.

But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?

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The Railwayman's WifeThe Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

In 1948, in the strange, silent aftermath of war, in a town overlooking the vast, blue ocean, Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted—until a random act transforms her into another postwar widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Awash in grief, she looks for answers in the pages of her favorite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living.

A local poet, Roy McKinnon, experiences a different type of loss. How could his most powerful work come out of the brutal chaos of war, and why is he now struggling to regain his words and his purpose in peacetime? His childhood friend Dr. Frank Draper also seeks to reclaim his pre-war life but is haunted by his failure to help those who needed him most—the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Then one day, on the mantle of her sitting room, Ani finds a poem. She knows neither where it came from, nor who its author is. But she has her suspicions. An unexpected and poignant love triangle emerges, between Ani, the poem, and the poet—whoever he may be.

Written in clear, shining prose, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings—and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. It is an exploration of life, loss, and what comes after, of connection and separation, longing and acceptance, and an unadulterated celebration of love that will break your heart open.

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The Midnight WatchThe Midnight Watch by David Dyer

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored. The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. David Dyer’s The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.

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The WinemakersThe Winemakers by Jan Moran

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret―a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past―if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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Three Male Authors We’re Reading Right Now

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

A man that understands women? They do exist and sometimes they write books. We’re reading three great male authors right now and so should you. Because who doesn’t like being understood? No one. That’s who. So grab one or all of these books by insightful men and curl up with a cool drink in a sunny spot.

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Britt Marie Was HereBritt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Bachman

The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry returns with an irresistible novel about finding love and second chances in the most unlikely of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She begins her day at 6 a.m., because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination,bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she is more than a little unprepared. Employed as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center, the fastidious Britt-Marie has to cope with muddy floors, unruly children, and a (literal) rat for a roommate. She finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts—and a handsome local policeman whose romantic attentions to Britt-Marie are as unmistakable as they are unwanted. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of big-hearted misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

Funny and moving, observant and humane, Britt-Marie Was Here celebrates the unexpected friendships that change us forever, and the power of even the gentlest of spirits to make the world a better place.

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Everyone Brave Is ForgivenEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

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The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

A to ZHe has all kinds of everyday joy in his life ― he’s young, he’s in love, he has friends who promise to stand by him if life ever goes wrong.

Then one day, life does go wrong.

He makes a mistake, and it’s big and unforgiveable. Now time is running out, and his life is falling apart. But he’s going to put it back together again. His own way.

This is a story about how far love must stretch to gather a life in pieces ― and about how a strong friendship never dies.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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Book(s), Meet Book(s): Of Letters, Lies and Lipsticks

Today we continue our new “Book, Meet Book” series and introduce three novels to each other– and to you guys– because we think they have some things in common and would make a good match. We paired these books because they touch on the power of connection between women. If you’re in the mood for some good girlfriend time, these novels might be exactly what you’re looking for. Will you add one– or all– to your “Want To Read” list? Let us know!

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Some WomenSome Women by Emily Liebert

An engrossing novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin boys and keeping her household running smoothly. But when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving, she’s blind-sided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.

Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself while advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father shows up, throwing everything into a tailspin.

Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.

On the surface, these three women may not have much in common, but just when they each need someone to lean on, their lives are thrust together, forming unlikely friendships that help each woman navigate her new reality.

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Keep Me PostedKeep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Two sisters share the surprising highs and cringe-worthy lows of social media fame, when their most private thoughts become incredibly public in this fresh and funny debut novel.

Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.

It doesn’t help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet…

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Lies and other acts of loveLies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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The Books That Define Our Friendship

Today’s post by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke | @LizandLisa

We’re delighted to have Liz and Lisa with us today. They’re not just friends, but have the amazing distinction of being co-authors. Their latest novel, THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY, releases today and they’ve taken a bit of time out of a very busy schedule to share how a handful of books have cemented their friendship and inspired them to write. Enjoy!

Liz and LisaWe’ve been BFFs since MC Hammer pants were cool. We’ve weathered bad boyfriends, hideous fashion choices (shoulder pads!) and a lot of highs and lows in between. But through it all, the one thing we’ve bonded over has been our love of reading, a passion that connected us from the first day we met and discovered we were total bookworms.  We’ve read more books than we could count, but there are a few novels that define our 28 year friendship.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

We had already fallen in love with Judy Blume when she explained life to us in our early years in her novel, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. (Periods! Boobs!) And then we swooned for her all over again, when she educated us about sex in Forever. (You know you had a copy hidden under your bed too!). But when we read Summer Sisters, the story hit us in a way that we’ll never forget because we related to the characters: two very different best friends navigating early adulthood together.

Any book written by Danielle Steele

Oh how we loved this author and her saucy romance novels! We’d pass them back and forth to each other like bars of gold, re-reading them over and over until they literally fell apart. (Think: paperbacks covered in duct tape.)

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Liz finally loaned Lisa a copy of this novel after reading it three times. It exploded on the scene at the exact time when we were considering writing a book of our own. And it is this perfectly written story of love and friendship that we credit with inspiring us to put pen to paper.

Me vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski

This charming and magical story about a woman whose life splits into two got us thinking: what if we could weave magic into our own novels? That thought turned into the idea for our debut novel, Your Perfect Life.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Okay, so the backstory about this one is a bit awkward. Long story short, we got into a huge fight over a copy of this book in New York. And like most arguments, it had nothing to do with what we were disagreeing about on the surface (this novel) and everything to do with something deeper (the adjustment in morphing from best friends into co-authors and business partners). The trip and the ensuing disagreement became an important and much-needed turning point in our friendship, and for that reason, The Interestings will always hold a special place in our hearts. (Not to mention, we both loved it! Hence the fighting.)

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Liz and Lisa Collage

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the year we turned fortyIf you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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Fiction: A Window Or A Mirror?

Today’s post by our very own Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen

If you read fiction (and please don’t tell me if you don’t because… I’m not sure we can be friends) why do you read it? What do you want out of the story when you open that new book?

I was thinking about this the other day as I ran. (And please understand when I say “the other day” that is a generalization because it has lo been many days since I have run, thanks to all the rain. I hear confession is good for the soul. Hopefully by the time you read this I will have been to that new gym.)

Back to “the other day” when I was running. And thinking. I was thinking about some of the comments I’ve gotten on my new novel THE WISHING TREE. And how some people love my “lighter” books, books that are more romantic and dreamy. And some really like the ones where I dig in and really examine issues.

And I thought about how some people want a window when they read– a way of looking at the world beyond. And some want a mirror– they want to see themselves and the people they love, maybe in a new way or in a way that helps them think differently. There really does seem to be a dividing line among readers as far as what they look for in stories. The window people would tell you they just wanted to be entertained and transported. The mirror people would tell you they want to learn something about the human experience; they want to be challenged

And as I ran (if memory serves), I thought about how the best writing is the kind that is both window and mirror. The kind that shows you a world beyond but also makes you look inside yourself. Maybe that’s what all writers should be aiming for. Maybe it’s the ones who manage it who become the bestsellers, meeting both types of readers right where they are, enticing them with one, but surprising them with the other. And showing them the value in both.

About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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