Contemporary women's fiction
True confession: I loved the television shows Thirtysomething and Parenthood, and I’d classify The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart, as a book similarly driven by well-developed characters. So, if your cup of tea is action-packed novels over touchy-feely, spill-your-guts literature, then I’d strongly advise you to move on to another blog post!
Jennifer Young has recently moved with her young son into the house next to Margaret Riley. Although the two abodes are separated by a pond, each woman can see the other from her own back porch. At the age of ninety, Margaret is not as spry as she once was, and, over the years, her prickly personality has alienated any number of potential friends. But she’s lonely and finds herself insatiably curious about her new neighbor.
Best friends since childhood, Rosie and Alex thought not even an ocean could separate them when Alex's father accepted a job in the United States, but that was until Rosie received life-altering news and decided to remain in Ireland. Rosie's dreams of college and running a glamorous hotel were dashed, while Alex's life went on as planned, attending Harvard and eventually becoming a surgeon.
Christine has amnesia. Every day she wakes up not knowing where she is or who’s sleeping next to her. As the day unfolds, she learns that she was involved in a horrific car accident. And, although she has no recollection of him, the man in her bed turns out to be her husband Ben, who has patiently stuck with her throughout her lengthy ordeal. Thus begins Before I Go to Sleep, the debut novel by S. J. Watson.
Johanna Morgan knows she is an embarrassment. After humiliating herself on live television, she realizes that to be cool, hip, and respected, she can’t be herself. In How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran, we watch Johanna reinvent herself into the girl she wants to be.
Jenna's mother vanished ten years ago without a trace. In Jody Picoult's latest novel Leaving Time, the precocious 13-year-old is on a mission to crack the mystery and locate her missing parent. Her father Thomas, now committed to a mental institution, can barely recognize his daughter, let alone assist her in her quest. Instead, Jenna solicits the help of Virgil, a washed-up private investigator—one of two former cops who actually worked her mother’s case—and Serenity—a once famous psychic, now fallen from grace.
After a valiant struggle, Carmen’s husband, Jobe, succumbs to leukemia. Although she admired Jobe, and bore and raised three children with him, Carmen felt little passion for her husband while he was alive and occasionally strayed outside of her marriage to savor that missing ingredient. In The Forever Marriage, by Ann Bauer, Carmen has daydreamed for years about being a “free” woman, but the reality of Jobe’s death affects her in unexpected ways as she looks back on their life together.
While wandering through Europe after her junior year, Carmen—beautiful, worldly, and untamed—was mortified when she accidentally spilled hot tea on a stranger in London’s Kensington Gardens. It’s through this encounter that she met ungainly Jobe, who was pursuing his PhD in mathematics at Oxford. Never was there a more mismatched couple. But despite their differences, Jobe always seemed available to rescue Carmen when her future was most uncertain.