If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins
Publication Date: September 2015
What’s it about: A funny, frank and bittersweet look at sisters, marriage and moving on, from the New York Timesbestselling author of the Blue Heron series.
Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny’s new best friend. Needing closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, who’s utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.
Rachel’s idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers what looks like her husband’s infidelity. She always thought she’d walk away in this situation but now she’s wavering, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship—and reveal a family secret she’s been keeping since childhood.
Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present, and find a way to help each other get what they want most of all.
Becky’s thoughts: Kristan Higgins’s books never disappoint! They’re funny, heartwarming, relatable, and smart and they make perfect vacation reads. Whenever I’m in need of a book that I know I’ll be able to count on, I reach for one of Kristan’s.
Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Howard Books
What’s it about: From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.
As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.
But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”
Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.
As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?
Becky’s thoughts: I love historical romances! I love them, in part, because I thoroughly enjoy learning about the lives of people in other places and centuries. Deeanne Gist does a fantastic job of weaving detail and history into her romances. This one, about a woman who works on Louis Tiffany’s chapel, looks especially wonderful.
The Gifting by Katie Ganshert
Publication Date: May 1, 2015
What it’s about:
If science is right, then I am crazy. And crazy is dangerous.
In a world where nothing supernatural exists, Tess Eckhart is positive she’s going crazy. After her complete freakout at a high school party, her family is too. So much that they pack their bags and move across the country, next to a nationally-renowned facility for the mentally ill.
Tess is determined to fit in at her new school, despite the whispers and stares. But when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy in her class, she’s unused to a stare that intense. Then the headaches start, and the seemingly prophetic dreams that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder to hide them, she becomes increasingly convinced that Luka knows something–that he might somehow be responsible.
But what if she’s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing separating her from a madness too terrifying to fathom?
Becky’s thoughts: Katie Ganshert and I are great friends. The two of us hold twice yearly Pinterest Wars (in which we both attempt projects we find on Pinterest). If you’re in need of a laugh, you can see more about that here.
Katie is a super, super talented writer. I’ve read her lovely women’s fiction novels, but I’ve yet to read her YA Science Fiction/Fantasy series. I’ve heard that it’s outstanding!
Against The Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House
What’s it about: After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself. She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
Lydia’s talents bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man in need of a translator. Driven by a campaign to end the opium trade, Bane is coolly analytical and relentless in his quest. He cannot afford to fall for Lydia and must fight the bittersweet love growing between them.
When Bane’s enemies gain the upper hand, he is forced to turn to Lydia for help. Determined to prove her worth, Lydia soon discovers that carrying out Bane’s mission will test her wits and her courage to the very limits.
When forces conspire against them from without and within, can their love survive?
Becky’s thoughts: Three years ago, Elizabeth and I were both nominated for a RITA Award in the same category. She ended up winning the RITA with this very book. As it happens, I’m nominated again this year. Thus, I think it might be fun (?!) to read the novel that beat mine the last time before I head to the RWA conference to get beaten by someone new.
By the way, Against the Tide also won a Christy Award and the Daphne du Maurier. It has a sterling resume and a heroine who’s a translator. Yes, please!
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Flatiron Books
What’s it about: Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.
Becky’s thoughts: Liane Moriarty has become one of my favorite authors. Her Australian characters are so genuine, flawed, and likeable that they take up residence in your heart and won’t leave, even after the final page has been turned. I love her way of slowly unveiling her stories and I adore her humorous, intelligent, and wise writer’s voice. I’ve already read all her other books, so I’m eagerly awaiting Truly Madly Guilty, her summer release.