Newest Women's Fiction Reviews

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Killer Affair by Rebecca Chance

3star.jpg Women's Fiction

Rebecca Chance's much anticipated and praised latest novel is definitely worth a 'chance' but for me it was a very mixed read. The cover blurb describes it as 'irresistibly readable' and 'a glittering page-turner' which it most certainly was, starting with a famed but as yet unidentified woman on a revengeful warpath against a second glamorous mystery woman. The story then restarts from the beginning setting the scene, characters and events that will eventually lead up to the revengeful opening act. It's not until the end of the book that this mystery betrayal is fully revealed which is what kept me hooked throughout what is quite a long book. Full review...

Madame Bovary of the Suburbs by Sophie Divry and Alison Anderson (translator)

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It starts with becoming a homeowner, then settling in, then reproducing.

Well, it actually starts a lot before then, with a set of fractured memories of our heroine's childhood – things she recalls her parents and relatives saying both to and about her. It goes through her childhood, and pen letters to a best friend conveying her wishes for her life, those wishes being revised and affirmed by the liberty of university years, those wishes being met with or denied by married life… Someone archly could point out that you should be careful what you wish for, but not even our wise, modern woman could not see the next step after the reproducing – standing disappointed in front of the refrigerator. Full review...

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

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World famous fashion and beauty vlogger Louise Pentland, also known as Sprinkle of Glitter, takes on a new challenge in the form of her touching debut novel, Wilde Like Me. You will be transported into a world full of exasperating drama with the PSMs (Posh School Mums), heart-warming mother daughter moments and self-righteous men who you realise aren't the be all and end all. Now enters Robin Wilde, a single mum to Lyla and make-up artist living in her granny's house simply just trying to get by. The novel follows her journey of self discovery, which even she'd admit sounds like some awful cliche, and shows you that only you can make you happy. Full review...

The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

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Maxie, Anaya, Hazel and Yvonne – four friends and school-gate-mums who meet for coffee, wine, gossip and momentary escape from their respective lives. Nothing unusual about that until Yvonne is found battered and half-dead in the playground. Three weeks later Cece moves into the area, her children starting that same school. Gradually she finds herself falling into the orbit of Maxie, Anaya and Hazel and hears what happened to the still comatose Yvonne. Two questions still hang in the air though: who did it and why? The police believe that the perpetrator is one of the three remaining friends and that Cece is in the perfect position to help them with their enquiries… a very dangerous position to be in. Full review...

Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

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Bodine Longbow's family has learnt to live with tragedy. A quarter of a century earlier Bodine's Aunt Alice disappeared without a trace. Nothing has softened the pain but life goes on and the family business (a ranch-style resort) certainly keeps them all busy. Bo is fully focussed as the resort's manager but distraction is on the horizon in the form of Callen Skinner. Local lad Callen comes home with a successful Hollywood film career on his CV and an eye for a certain Longbow lady. However, when a woman's body is found on resort land Callen is implicated. Is history repeating itself? Can Callen and Bo shake themselves free of a lawman's prejudice in order to discover the truth? The clock's ticking as Bo and Callen try to solve a mystery while putting themselves in the firing line and then Aunt Alice returns... Full review...

Spandex and the City by Jenny Colgan

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Touted as a super-hero romantic comedy, Spandex and the City features a girl-next-door Holly, a typically insecure 20-something rom-com heroine, enjoying her life in Centerton (Colgan's stand in for Gotham). When a handsome stranger she meets at a bar turns out to be the Ultimate Man, a vigilante superhero straight from the Marvel or DC universe (the superpowers are more of a Marvel kind, but the character - both of the UM and of his adversary - reference Batman, among others), she can't help falling for him. Full review...

The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson

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To say that Sophie Bennett didn't want to move to London is something of an understatement. She's a shy person who doesn't make friends easily and the thought of losing all her support systems and having to start again fills her with dread. But, husband Michael has been offered a big job on London's RailLink project and it's not a chance he can turn down - even if he wanted to, and he doesn't. So before long their three-year old daughter, Kaya, has been left with Sophie's parents and Michael and Sophie have found a flat in west London and they've even, against all the odds, managed to secure a place for Kaya at London's most exclusive nursery school. Well, when I say that they managed to secure the place, I actually mean that they required the services of a nursery consultant, who has a double-barrelled name and a friendship with the headmistress. Full review...

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

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Naomi Carson lives in New York but she hasn't always lived there. Actually her name hasn't always been Naomi Carson. Naomi's life had to start again when, aged 11, she sneakily followed her father into the woods to see if he was hiding her birthday present. That night she saw something no child… no person... should see. As an adult she's now putting her life back together and even coping with the advances of Xander Keaton but danger still lurks. The past will one day repeat itself and this time Naomi will find she's the target. Full review...

Friends and Liars by Kaela Coble

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Kaela Coble's debut novel Friends and Liars is a gripping read that tells the tale of 'the crew', a group of friends who once made a pact to always be honest with eachother. So what happens when none of them keep this pact? After not being together for over ten years the crew are reunited at the wake of one of their own, Danny Deuso, who has left a haunting suicide note along with an envelope for each crew member containing their darkest secret. They are now faced with two options: reveal their secrets or face the risk that Danny will reveal them from beyond the grave. Full review...

The Last Piece of my Heart by Paige Toon

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Bridget is a travel writer and blogger with dreams of writing a book, but so far that has remained just a dream. Then an opportunity arises: not to write a book of her own, but to ghost write someone else's. Nicole died with a bestseller in print and plans for a sequel, and her publishers are keen that Bridget picks up where she left off. It's an unusual proposition, even more so because she will need to go and spend time with Nicole's husband and baby daughter as part of her research, but it might be the foot in the door she needs to segway into that book she's been planning. Full review...

The Girls of Ennismore: A Heart-Rending Irish Saga by Patricia Falvey

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Ireland 1900: Ennismore House's young heiress Victoria had hoped that she and Rosie Killeen would be friends forever. Rosie soon comes to know better as there's a social chasm between those who live in the House and those, like Rosie's family, who have been brought up merely to serve them. The days of innocence are coming to an end in many ways. Soon, as the cry for Irish Home Rule becomes louder, there'll be more than steps on society's ladder between them as each must discover their own way in a nation that will never be the same again. Full review...

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

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One time, a boy kissed me and I almost died...My lips started tingling. My tongue swelled to fill my mouth. My throat closed; I couldn't breathe. Everything went black.

So begins the tale of an unlikely romantic heroine: a girl who is allergic to other human beings. After the extreme humiliation suffered in the aftermath of the events above, Jubilee Jenkins becomes a recluse and hides herself away from the world for nine years. When her source of income suddenly dries up, Jubilee needs to overcome her fears, step out into the world and find a job. Working at the local library, she meets divorced dad Eric and his quirky adopted son, Aja and strikes up a friendship with them. As their mutual attraction starts to grow, can there be any future for a relationship where even a simple kiss could be fatal? Full review...

Shipyard Girls at War: (Shipyard Girls 2) by Nancy Revell

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Warning: This review contains spoilers for Book 1 in the series from the beginning. The war bites deeper and the shipyard girls at Thompsons have more to contend with than a heavier workload. The Elliott household is in mourning now Teddy has been killed in Africa, muting the celebrations when his twin, Joe, comes home, albeit injured. Rosie is getting over her horrendous episode with her murderous uncle but she's still not back to full health. Working shifts at the yard during the day and secretly by night as a brothel manager to afford her little sister's school fees is a bit of a strain at times but the worst seems to be over. The complications in Rosie's life aren't over yet though. A complication of the heart is on the horizon: can she afford to fall in love with a police detective? Meanwhile Gloria attempts to move on from her abusive husband aren't that easy. The war is taking more than its share of casualties but then so is life. Full review...

The New Neighbours by Diney Costeloe

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Dartmouth Circle has always been the epitome of British middle class propriety. Manicured lawns, well-kept house facades… All is where it should be and life is ordered, with the disrupting influence of the town's university students out of sight and out of mind. Imagine, then, the horror when the good citizens of the Circle hear that one of their houses… THEIR houses… has been bought as student accommodation. Will it be the harbinger of doom they expect? Full review...

Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies

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Eliza has tragically punctuated childhood memories of India that have feed her desire to return. Therefore in 1930, following the death of her husband, when the British government commission her to photograph scenes of Indian life, she jumps at the chance. What she doesn't realise is that not everyone she comes across is delighted with the idea. Living within the Sultana's opulent palace complex is definitely an attraction for her, as is Jay, an Indian price who shows Eliza the real India. However, attractions are sometimes dangerous and even deadly. Full review...

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

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Herr Neuroff's circus has a secret: as well as a much needed wartime source of entertainment, it's also refuge to Jews escaping uncertain concentration camp fates. One such person, Astrid, a trapeze and high wire artist, lives a precarious life in which her possible discovery would be more dangerous than her nightly act. She's an expert who has perfected her art over time and therefore resents Neuroff demanding she teach Noa, a non-circus family new comer, quickly. There's a reason behind the circus owner's demand though. Noa arrives at the circus endangered by an act of kindness: a Jewish baby she stole from a Nazi train before leaving the Netherlands. It was a spur of the moment decision that will bind her to Astrid and their future, no matter how long… or short… a time that may be. Full review...

The Roots of the Tree by Amanda Roberts

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The strength of a tree comes not from what you can see, not from the trunk, the branches and the leaves, but from what you can't see - the roots. Disturbance to the roots can be devastating. It's similar in human beings. Annie had lived for 63 years, secure in the love of her parents, Elsie and Frank. She'd looked after them in her home in their final years and it was quite by chance that she came across their wedding certificate when she was sorting out their effects. They had not been married until after her birth, but her birth certificate showed Frank as her father and that her mother was married to him. Something didn't add up and there was one inescapable conclusion: the man she'd loved as her father all those years wasn't her father after all. Full review...

Granny with Benefits by Marilyn Bennett

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Thirty nine is a difficult age for a woman, particularly if she's not married. Has she given up on the idea of having a family? Does her career mean everything to her? On the other hand is she desperately looking for a man? Grace found herself in a difficult situation when she first met Dale (or Heaven on Legs - HoL - as she thought of him). She'd volunteered to sort out her late grandmother's home, but she couldn't resist the opportunity to do a little dressing up. So, wearing her grandmother's clothes, wig resting just above her eyebrows and heavy-rimmed glasses perched on the end of her nose she met the man of her dreams. Only, rather than laughing and explaining what she'd been doing, Grace carried on the pantomime - and called herself Louise. Full review...

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

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Colgan has a diverse portfolio of chick lit (and she also writes Dr Who novels) under her belt but starting with Meet me at the Cupcake Café in 2011, she has established herself as one of the queens of the chick-lit subgenre of comedy romance with food, the Queen of Hearts and the queen of fruit tarts, to an obvious benefit of her popularity and presumably her bank balance and to the sound of satisfied ahhhhs and mmmms from her growing fanbase. As you can see I do miss the Old Jenny a little bit, the brasher and swearier characters and the much more cutting humour. But. There is something to be said for a well written feelgood novel and I did enjoy the sweetshop, the café, the bakery and now the Summer Seaside Kitchen which has all the tried, tested and well loved ingredients of a perfectly escapist, mostly but not totally predictable chick-lit romance with a foodie angle that Jenny Colgan has made something of her house special. Full review...

The Good Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

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We begin the story with Lexi and her boyfriend. Lexi is one of those women, who has a begrudging relationship with her mother, who is constantly pestering to get her down the aisle, a father who has a spine missing and a boyfriend who leaves her as a sports widow. The more I talk to my female friends about this, the luckier I realise I am to not have. A partner who is entirely uninterested in sport but does fixate on Star Trek, Star Wars and anything else that revolves around space and guns. Full review...

The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

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Reading the blurb for this novel, the first novel for adults by author Dawn O'Porter, I got very excited. It talks about the cow being a piece of meat, born to breed, one of the herd, and compares this to women, saying how they don't have to fall into a stereotype. I expected a slightly subversive novel about feminism. What I found was an easy to read, enjoyable romp through three modern women's lives. Full review...

Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan

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As predicted by Caroline and Janice's mother on Caroline and Henry's wedding day, their marriage is over, albeit 15 years and two daughters further along than predicted. Indeed, this is definitely not a good weekend for Janice to be babysitting at Caroline's house. There's the split and the awkwardness of the girls' schoolteacher being the other woman for a start. Then there's that mistaken identity moment involving the neighbours. At least Janice is well adjusted and over her ex-husband Alec. She still dreams of him, yes, but it's so over! Just as well really… guess who's at the door? Full review...

Honeymoon Suite by Wendy Holden

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This is an excellent read, weaving together many stories. We have Nell who, yes, is left at the altar after a whirlwind romance. It's horrible and horrifying and she is, understandably, distraught. Her last modicum of self-respect vanishes when she rings to cancel her honeymoon, only to find it non-refundable. And so, in a rare show of gumption, she decides to go anyway, taking along her friend Rachel and Rachel's daughter Juno for the ride. At the same time, bestselling novelist Dylan is having romantic woes of his own. An almighty fire has chased him out of town and he needs to disappear, at least for a bit. As luck, and artistic license, would have it, the two end up in the same place. But this is not the first time they have crossed paths, and they are both in for an almighty shock. Full review...

How to Get a Love Life by Rosie Blake

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Nicola is the sort of girl who knows what's for dinner based on what day of the week it is. Meticulously tidy, she employs a cleaner as well just to make doubly sure nothing is out of place. And you can set your watch by the time she eats her daily treat of a Mini Roll. Not all of this is bad. I believe in scheduled relaxation, and felt my heart skip a beat when, on the first day of my honeymoon, we received a schedule with our activities for the week. But the point is, Nicola is at the far end of the spectrum, and she certainly does not seem the kind to have a messy, chaotic love life. Full review...

The Secret Lives of the Amir Sisters by Nadiya Hussain

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The Amirs are dysfunctional: there's really no other way of putting it. They're of Bangladeshi origin and they're the only Muslim family in the small village of Wyvernage. On the surface they look to be happy, but actually each of the sisters is struggling in her own way. For the most part they're doing it quietly, but it's not always the case. The eldest is Fatima. Her name's often abbreviated to Fatti: it's not meant unkindly, but she's well upholstered and at thirty she's unmarried. Even her mother doesn't seem to think that there's much point in trying to find a husband for her. Full review...

A Fairy Tale For Christmas by Chrissie Manby

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Kirsty meets Jon while working as a singer on a cruise ship. He is the impressive Director of Entertainment on board, and they fall into a relationship which Kirsty hopes will grow and develop into something special. When Jon announces he wants to return to England to his West Country seaside home, Kirsty is faced with a difficult decision: whether to follow him and cement their flourishing relationship or pursue her own career with a Cruise Line contract in the Caribbean. Full review...