Top Ten Women's Fiction Books of 2016

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There should be something for everyone's tastes here: they're all great fun and we've presented them alphabetically by author.

The Regulars by Georgia Clark

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If offered the chance to immensely upgrade your beauty, to become the very definition of gorgeous, to have a face and body the likes of which are only ever seen on magazine covers and catwalks, would you take it? This is the question posed to best friends Evie, Krista and Willow, when they are presented with Pretty, an enchanted solution of which a single drop guarantees a stunning physical appearance for a week. Before the Pretty, the girls had regular faces, faced regular problems, and found themselves regularly disappointed by the dating world. But this bottle has the potential to change everything. The adventure that ensues takes all three young women on a whirlwind journey of self-discovery as dreams are fulfilled, hearts are broken, and the addiction to such a lifestyle proves to be far more sinister than they ever imagined. Full review...

The Sisters of St Croix by Diney Costeloe

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On her 21st birthday Adelaide discovers a family she wasn't aware of: a Mother Superior aunt in a French convent and a father who died in WWI rather than Richard - her mother's husband and the man who raised her. Adeline decides to go to France for a short holiday in order to learn more from her aunt whom her family knew as Sarah Hunt. Both Sarah and Adelaide part, hoping that they will see each other again soon and they will, but in circumstances that neither of them envisaged. As the Second World War begins and Germany captures France, there's danger ahead for each of them. Full review...

Strictly Between Us by Jane Fallon

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Tamsin and Michelle have been friends for decades. Aside from parents, they're the longest relationship in the book, longer than Michelle and Patrick's marriage, longer than Bea has worked as Tamsin's assistant. All four characters feature heavily, though, in a story that is always moving and never boring. Full review...

If I Forget You by T C Greene

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A college love affair splintered apart by an accident that could not have been either predicted or avoided, this is truly a story of star-crossed lovers. Henry, forced to decide between a prison term that will change his life forever in ways that he would never be able to repair and his relationship with Margot, whom he believes, even then, to be the love of his life, simply decides that he cannot go to jail. He reluctantly ends his affair with Margot but knows he will never forget her. Twenty-one years later, haunted every day by the love he gave away, Henry spots Margot on the crowded streets of New York. Their eyes meet and he sees recognition in her eyes – for he has seen them in his dreams for all of his life. He calls out to her but she lowers her head and is quickly absorbed into the crowd and Henry hurries after her. Full review...

Playing FTSE by Penelope Jacobs

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Melanie is something of a wunderkind, a graduate at an investment bank with brains to match her body. In a male dominated environment she's finding that one gets in the way of the other, but she's a smart girl and can learn to play this to her advantage. With her friend Jenny keen to lead her astray, Mel must learn the give and take of life in the City, and how far to push the limits to get ahead. Full review...

Song of the Skylark by Erica James

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'Song of the Skylark' has quite a cast of characters, and I found it a little difficult, at first, to keep track of everyone. Lizzie is the main protagonist; we meet her trying in vain to apply for new jobs after losing her previous one. We quickly learn that she was sacked for rather blatant immoral behaviour with her boss, a married man. Full review...

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

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A man is missing, and his new wife is worried. Miles away, a man is found alone and confused on a beach, and his new friend is concerned. Are the two in any way connected and what events have occurred, in the past and in the present, to lead us all here? Full review...

The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney

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Anna is missing; a difficult truth for her mother Jess to absorb. Anna went ski-ing with friends, leaving Jess to look after Anna's daughter, Jess' granddaughter. Little Rose is now a comforting presence for Jess as she thinks about Anna, piecing together the person and life that Jess thought she knew about. However, Anna has secrets, at least one of which will have repercussions… and not just for Jess. Full review...

Acts of Love by Talulah Riley

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Bernadette St John presents herself as the very face of contemporary feminine independence. She is strong, career-driven, beautiful… and definitely holds the attention of the public. For Bernadette is the Man Whisperer, winning herself fame with her ability to coax secrets from the richest and most powerful men of the world, exposing them with controversial distaste in her articles. Hidden behind such a conniving and judgemental persona, however, is a deep insecurity, and a desperate longing to be loved by the perfect man. She has already decided that the newly engaged Tim Bazier is the only candidate for such a position in her heart, and will stop at nothing to win him back from his all-too-lovely fiancé. Yet what is perfect is a subject for discussion, and charismatic entrepreneur Radley Blake's unwavering attention has also fallen upon the feisty journalist. It is a weaving tale of will-they-wont-they that Riley spins here, one that I found myself unable to put down. Full review...

The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon

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I'm not sure whether it would be flattering or stressful to have three beautiful women lusting after you. In the case of Angus, it's itchy footed Phoebe who'd rather be flitting around the French Alps than stagnating in suburban Sale, boho musician Eliza who's still waiting for her big break, and former nurse Rose who is leaving behind an unsuitable boyfriend and a life in the city to move back up north… and live with her mother. It's a complicated situation, made only more complex by the fact that the girls know each other. In the past they've shared a room, and a womb. Hello, triplets. Full review...

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