Newest Women's Fiction Reviews

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Review of

Widowland by C J Carey

4star.jpg General Fiction

It's April 1953, and Adolf Hitler's schedule includes going to Moscow to attend the state funeral of Joseph Stalin then within weeks coming to London, parading around a bit, and watching over the sanctioned return to the throne of Edward VIII with his wife, Queen Wallis. For yes, Britain caved in the lead-up to the World War Two that certainly didn't happen as we know it, and we are now a protectorate – well, we share enough of the same blood as the Germanic peoples on the mainland. But this is most certainly a different Britain, for Nazi-styled phrenology, and ideas of female purpose, has put all of that gender into a caste system, ranging from high-brow office bigwigs to the drudges, and beyond those, right on down to the childless, the husbandless and the widows. Female literacy is actively discouraged. And in this puritanical existence, our heroine, Rose Ransom, is employed with the task of bowdlerising classical literature to take all encouragement for female emancipation out of it – after all, not every book can be banned, and not every story excised immediately from British civilisation, and so they just get a hefty tweak towards the party line before they're stamped ready for reprint. That is her job, at least, until the first emerging signs of female protest come to light, with their potential to spoil Hitler's visit. Full Review

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Review of

Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan

4.5star.jpg General Fiction

This book lets us discover several people in different stages of life in the early 1970s, all vaguely connected. So we have a bullied half-cast boy (as he would have been called then), a girl in a humdrum job wanting to become a singer, and chiefly, Imelda, the third generation of Madame Burova, Tarot-Reader, Palmist and Clairvoyant, to use her family's sea-front booth. The singer, the scryer and the sufferer's mother will all become staff at a revamped holiday camp, but just before then we see Imelda fly solo for the first time in the family stall. We also see her on her last day, fifty years later, in possession of a pair of letters that will change everything for a woman called Billie. Just who is she, and who delivered the secrets about her to Imelda, and why did it have to remain a secret all this time? Full Review

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Review of

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

4.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

This re-telling of the myth of Ariadne and the Minotaur is interesting and unusual. Jennifer Saint presents the story in a way that is sympathetic to its origins but also appealing to a modern audience. Saint's narrative is told predominantly through the viewpoint of Ariadne, spanning from her childhood to her death, allowing the reader to really connect with Ariadne as a character in her own right rather than just a prop in the heroics of Theseus. Full Review

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Review of

Sistersong by Lucy Holland

5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Sistersong is part of a genre I particularly enjoy, the modern retelling of folk and fairy tales. These stories, for most of us, are a cornerstone of childhood and I relish seeing them retold with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. If handled well these retellings give new life and new meaning to stories that are now becoming increasingly narrow and outdated, fleshing out characters, examining relationships and re-evaluating the role of women. Sistersong is a perfect example of a modern retelling done well, the plot is handled with care, keeping its archaic historical feel but allowing the characters to come to life, to feel real and human, most importantly they feel relatable in a modern world whilst still feeling appropriate for the pre-Saxon age they live in. This is a masterpiece of storytelling and I was captivated from beginning to end. Full Review

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Review of

Cherry Blossom Boutique by Brooke Adams

3star.jpg Women's Fiction

Thirty-one-year old Liberty Rossini has had her shop, the Cherry Blossom Boutique, for just six months when she's nominated for - and wins - the Retail Best Newcomer Award. She's delighted and the two people she's brought with her to the event couldn't be more pleased. Sonja, her mother, is an ex-model and Brazilian: you can see where Liberty got her looks from. Jessica's thirty-four and Liberty's best friend: they've known each other since university and Liberty adores Jessica's husband, Charles and their four-year-old daughter, Ava. Life would be perfect for Liberty if it wasn't for one thing: she misses having a man in her life. Full Review

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Review of

The Karma Trap by Lisette Boyd

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

George Jackson is thirty-three years old, absolutely gorgeous to look at - and single. She's not had sex for eight months and she's stuck in the karma trap: an awful lot of bad luck is being visited on her and she has a real talent for attracting drama. Her life's chaotic: she dealt with the leak from the shower by putting something down at the bottom of the stairs to absorb the water - then the shower fell through the roof whilst she was in it and left her, stark naked, staring at the pervy postman. She only has to take her mother's dog out for a walk for her to end up with dog poo spattered across her face - and a photo being taken by someone who shares it around the office. Full Review

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Review of

Capturing Emilia by Brooke Adams

3star.jpg Women's Fiction

He's Charles Devereaux, thirty-eight and a partner at Wickham Jones, the Mayfair letting agents. She's Emilia, twenty-nine, librarian and archivist in the heritage library next door. Emilia has read The Secret but she's moved on from new age books like that, which leave you dependent on someone else's philosophies, to something a little deeper. Charles is more of a Jack Reacher man himself, but, above all, he's shocked that Emilia reads The Guardian. They're obviously not at all compatible, so why can Charles not get this woman out of his mind? She's not his usual type at all: it's obvious to his friends. And given that Emilia regularly feels repulsed by Charles's superficiality, why does she feel drawn to him? The relationship's obviously a non-starter, isn't it? Full Review

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Review of

The Shelf by Helly Acton

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

When we meet Amy, she's in a relationship with Jamie. You can't really call it a partnership, because things tend to get done on his terms, but she's sticking around because she hopes she can change him. Ah, yes. Haven't we all been there? Things are looking up when he tells her to pack for a surprise trip. Could this be it? Is he finally going to get down on one knee? Was the work (and the wait) worth it? Full Review

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Review of

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

Doing something when you're scared is braver than doing something when you're not

When Mike Parker's girlfriend comes into school with a black eye, claiming he gave it to her, her whole world is tipped upside down. Her relationship has just ended and now she's the talk of the school. Mike was the most popular boy in school who was always so in love with her, everyone knew that, so why did he do what he did? Some people believe her and some don't, but one thing is for sure, this isn't going to blow over any time soon. Full Review

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Review of

A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

I've wanted to read author Katie Fforde for ages and this was pretty much exactly what I was expecting - a warm, cosy read focused on romance, family and friendships. This provided two romances for the price of one, but it was actually the family element as opposed to the romance that I really enjoyed. Full Review

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Review of

Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey

4star.jpg General Fiction

It was coming up to Halloween in 1987 and a group of sixth-form schoolgirls wondered what they would be doing when they were fifty. When you're only seventeen that seems positively ancient, but Liz was convinced that your entire life depends on who you marry. The only eligible boys were the Young Farmers and the idea of living in a farmhouse and having a couple of children called Will and Olly appealed to Charlotte, or perhaps William and Oliver if you were Elizabeth who was determined to marry the rather superior Patrick Shepley-Botham. The place to start their search was obviously the Young Farmers' Halloween disco that weekend. There was just one problem - there were too many Elizabeths in the class. Full Review

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Review of

Falling Short by Lex Coulton

4star.jpg Humour

Lex Coulton's debut novel is a story about mistakes, failures, and relationships. The main protagonist, Frances Pilgrim, is a sixth form English teacher who has recently fallen out with her best friend Jackson, a work colleague and is grappling with the increasingly eccentric behaviour of her mother. This relationship is complicated by the fact that Frances's father disappeared at sea when she was five years old. Full Review

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Review of

Love and Other Things to Live For by Louise Leverett

1star.jpg Women's Fiction

Jess is single, again. She's recently heartbroken, jobless and has had to swallow her pride and move back in with her best friend. Jess looks to other areas of her life to lift her spirits, her friends, her city and her passion for photography. Full Review

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Review of

The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

Paradise. That's what it seemed like to nine-year-old Posy Anderson. Her father delighted in indulging her and playing with her. Together they caught butterflies and examined them before her father took them off to let them go free. Her mother was rather distant, but her father more than made up for that. The only blot on the horizon was that her father was a spitfire pilot, recovering from an injury, and it seemed likely that he would have to go back to the war. Everyone thought that it was drawing to a close, but men still had to go and fight - and risk their lives. Posy was staying with her grandmother in Cornwall when the news came through that her father had been killed in action. Her mother had travelled from Suffolk to tell her what was going to happen to her. Full Review

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Review of

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon

4.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Angie is someone who always wanted to travel, but it's taken her 27 years to leave the small mining town in South Australia which has been the only home she's ever known. She doesn't do things by half though, and once she does feel able to go (following a family death) she leaves not only the town, the state and the country, but also the continent, and finds herself following in her mother's footsteps and heading to Italy.s Full Review

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Review of

The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

I liked this book. Whilst not necessarily a page-turner, this was a thoroughly enjoyable heart-warming read from the Queen of chick-lit, Milly Johnson. Full Review

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Review of

Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough

4.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Life has just hidden behind a corner and stuck a foot out as Rhona Beech came past. She and Mark had been together for nine years and it was beginning to feel settled. Then Mark announced that he'd got a job in Canada and he was going whether Rhona wanted to come with him or not. The not bit of the sentence was the way it worked out and Rhona was left on her own. Well, she wasn't completely on her own: she had friends and family, but it's not the same as having that special someone in your life, that someone who makes you part of a couple. So Rhona had to start again, rejoining a world that bore little resemblance to the one she'd left nine years ago - and there's a lot of difference between being in the middle of your twenties and the middle of your thirties. Full Review

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Review of

I Can't Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North

5star.jpg Women's Fiction

When we first meet Dani she's about to get an offer that would appear to be all too easy to refuse. She's Alex Cambridge's agent and the indications are that he's about to make the big time. He's good looking, charismatic and appealing - well, he's an actor so that's part of the spec - but his suggestion that he and Dani should start a relationship is hedged by a statement that he's got no intention of leaving his wife and three children. So, what's in it for Dani? No, there's no need to answer that. Dani understands the situation all too well and tells him so. Full Review

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Review of

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

3.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

This is an epic love story spanning ten years of 'will they, won't they'. Stephanie and Jamie are 'meant to be'. When they meet on an art course they have an instant strong connection but both are with other people. However, what I loved was that it's not a 'typical boy meets girl, falls in love and lives happily ever after' story. In fact far from it, without wanting to give too much away, the ending was both refreshingly unexpected and achingly poignant. Full Review

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Review of

The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

3.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Rachel and James have made a new home for themselves, and their son, Oscar, on Bermuda. They have embraced island life, from the hired help (the delightful Cee-Cee) to the sailing life. It's a long way from her former life in England, but Rachel is rather enjoying the way things are working out. Full Review

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