5 Well Read Women’s Literature Novels
This round-up includes some of the most-read women’s literature books that have come through the Hidden Gems ARC program. Ranging from lighthearted to heart wrenching, these relatable women’s lit novels have elements of exploration and redemption while delving into relationships within families and friendships. Perfect for “me time”, or your next book club pick.
No Home Like Nantucket by Grace Palmer
Grace Palmer, a favorite women’s literature author among Hidden Gems readers, brings us love, loss, heartbreak and hope in No Home Like Nantucket. Mae Benson was happy—a beloved wife, beloved mother, beloved neighbor. But even she wasn’t ready for the tragedy looming around the corner. The accident that claims her husband’s life rocks the whole family. And it’s not the only thing stirring up trouble.
“What a great book to escape the quarantine pandemic of this coronavirus time,” writes Rebecca B. in her 5-star review. “There are so many emotions executed in this storyline that kept me entertained. The reality of a family losing their loved one, an unexpected pregnancy, romance galore, a marriage in the skids, and a tragedy unforeseen. Life on Nantucket for the Benson family gives us all insight into the happenings of running an inn, fisherman’s excursions, and life on an island with family drama. The mother, Mae, runs the inn after losing her husband of 41 years from a boating accident. Brent, the son, who has a hard time after his father dies as he blames himself for the accident. Elisa, a daughter, who finds herself with an unexpected pregnancy. Sara, a daughter, who helps her mom at the inn and has a budding romance with Russell, acquaintance from her childhood. Holly, a daughter, who comes home after leaving her children at a summer camp to reflect on her own life with her husband, Pete.
I thoroughly enjoyed No Home Like Nantucket even though this book has a cliffhanger ending, and I will surely be reading No Beach Like Nantucket, and No Wedding Like Nantucket!”
KRP writes in their 5-star review, “This is the beginning of one of the best, heartwarming stories of a family that is all in and they take care of their own. It is truly amazing to see what everyone goes through, how they deal with the ups and downs of life and how they interact with each other. I so enjoyed this part of the story, there are three parts and you won’t be able to stop with just one.”
Honeymoon Alone by Nicole Macaulay
With depth and humor, author Nicole Macaulay has crafted a lighthearted, charming read with Honeymoon Alone. Relatable and full of personality, readers will undoubtedly see a little of themselves and their own families in the characters that seem to leap off the pages. At its heart is a story about friendship and romance, and how the most unconventional path can lead to a happy ending.
“This was a scintillating novel with many twists and turns,” writes Diane in her 5-star review. “The main character, Lucy, after being the maid-of-honor and planner at her sister’s wedding, decides to go on an adventure of a lifetime. She is usually the person who is routine-oriented and a people pleaser so her deciding to go to London during Christmas throws her family into a whirlwind. The story takes you on her adventures through London and Paris meeting new people along the way while searching for love. In London, she is tangled in a web of lies while trying to keep her true self intact. Her ‘honeymoon alone’ turns out to be a crazy adventure indeed. A must-read for those romantics as well as those who enjoy detailed settings of places they may never visit. You will fall in love with Lucy and her quirky character as her life changes and she finds herself becoming who she was meant to be.”
“From the first page I was hooked and then I just could not put the book down!” says Renee H. in her 5-star review. “I was looking for an easy read…. life has its own stresses and sometimes you just want to get lost for a period of time in a feel good story. Well for a first book the author nailed it! This story was fun, it was believable, it was exciting, and it was real in today’s crazy world of trying to find Mr. Right, even if you are not looking. So grab a cup of coffee and curl up on your couch….it is time to enjoy your “me time” as you wander the street of Paris and enjoy the sights. Looking forward to more from his very talented author.”
Let the Willows Weep by Sherry Parnell
In the tradition of the best Southern fiction—from Bastard Out of Carolina to Where the Crawdads Sing—Sherry Parnell’s Let the Willows Weep is a heart-wrenching portrait of hardscrabble, humble lives in rural America. A keenly-observed and unflinching look at the life of Birddog Harlin as she grows up in her dysfunctional family, this novel explores the line between destruction and redemption.
“I’m a changed reader,” writes James H. in their 5-star review. “I heard wonderful things about this book from family members so I gave it a try. The author of Let The Willows Weep was able to draw me in and keep me there without my typical impatience. Although we never know the exact town or location of this story I had the feeling that it was in the south “any town USA”. The characters were so beautifully depicted that I felt like I knew them personally. From the beginning of the book you will route for the main character, Bird dog. I cried with her, but also cheered for her. I highly recommend getting lost in this beautifully written story. I look forward to reading more from this author!”
Allison S. writes in her 5-star review, “This is a beautifully written book. The prose just flows and is often poetic. Ms. Parnell really knows how to turn a phrase in a way that is so succinctly descriptive and sweepingly emotional. I admit I did have to go back and reread the first chapter and the last when I had finished the book. The ending was a little abrupt and a teeny bit disjointed. I was left with so many questions.
This is BirdDog’s story. The youngest child, only girl and a very emotionally damaged member of a coal miner’s family. Their life is so bleak and dysfunctional. The Mother of the family is so damaged that she projects that damage onto her entire family. Rather than pulling them together, she breaks them apart. Her desperation for a better life that she will never have, seeps into each family member. The reader can literally feel the desperation build to the breaking point as each change to the family structure occurs. This is a tragic story. So tragic I had to set it down for a few days before I could face the remainder of it. I knew it wasn’t going to get any better. But I was wrong. The book did end on a note of hope and for that I am relieved.”
Suddenly Susan by Virgina Gray
To land her dream job, Susan’s only missing two things: experience and any sense of style. Suddenly Susan is a refreshingly funny, supremely optimistic rite of passage story, rife with psychotic roommates, questionable fashion choices, and an epic search for the perfect cup of coffee.
“After being in a bit of a reading slump it was exactly what I needed,” writes Sheri F. in her 5-star review. “This book is well written, smooth flowing and easy to read. It is a quick read. The characters, their emotions and the experiences they go through are depicted extremely well. I really enjoyed this book. Susan’s personality, attitude and snarky comments kept me reading, wanting to see what would happen next. I laughed, giggled, held my breath, and felt so many different emotions while reading the book.”
Robin A. writes in her 5-star review, “A simply amazing book about that moment when life comes rushing towards you with a fork in the road. The main character is in her senior year of college and choices about life all seem to be needed at once. How does one choose between personal dreams, comfortable mediocrity and settling expectations? Excellent conveyance of emotions, thoughts and external obstacles college graduates face on the road to self fulfillment.”
What’s Left Untold by Sherri Leimkuhler
Anna Clark and Lia Clay were unlikely best friends in high school, but their yin-and-yang personalities drew them together in a sister-like bond. Then during college, Lia inexplicably walked out on their friendship and disappeared, leaving Anna hurt, confused, and disillusioned. As the layers of deceit and betrayal begin to unravel, Anna is forced to question everything she believes and come to terms with what it means to forgive the one person who hurt her in the worst way imaginable.
“WOW! Sherri Leimkuhler, author of What’s Left Untold has written a suspenseful, intriguing, captivating, compelling, and thought-provoking novel,” says TeachLZ in their 5-star review. “The genres for this novel are Literary Fiction, Suspense, and Women’s Fiction. The story is set in the present and in the past, where it pertains to the characters and events in the story. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. This is a story about family, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, forgiveness, love, and hope.”
Susan P., Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, writes in her 5-star review, “What’s Left Untold is compelling women’s fiction at its very best, a sweeping story of friendship and betrayal, secrets and forgiveness. I felt empathy for the characters as untold stories of the last twenty years come to light, leaving me shocked and saddened yet hopeful. If your book club is looking for something to read and discuss, look no further!”