August’s mainstream novels cover a wide range of topics, a diversity that is part of what draws readers to genre. This month we’re seeing several books that feature the theme of moving (and everything that that entails). We also hear from a talented debut author Samantha Hoffman about her first novel. Plus, we spotlight several family planning dramas that have the characters feeling growing pains. There’s all this and more in this month’s Mainstream round-up!
MAINSTREAM MOVERS AND SHAKERS
The act of packing up and relocating is never an easy one. But this month it is occupying our thoughts — and those of the characters in August’s new releases. Childhood sweeties-turned-spouses Bailey and Brad have decided to uproot themselves from their NYC life and instead buy a lighthouse and B&B. But the move may spell the end of their relationship in The Things I Do For You by Mary Carter. Meanwhile in Enchanting Lily, the new novel from Anjali Banerjee, heroine Lily has just lost her husband when she decides to pick up and move to an island in the Pacific Northwest. But will a change of scenery be enough to help her get back on her feet? You’ll have to read the book to find out! And finally, not all moves have to do with going somewhere new, sometimes, it’s just about the stress of moving back to somewhere you’ve been before. This is what happens to Beth Kincaid, the heroine of Grace Greene’s new novel Kincaid’s Hope, a novel that pairs family drama with more than a little bit of suspense.
DEBUTING THIS MONTH: SAMANTHA HOFFMAN
Author Samantha Hoffman begins her career as a published author with August’s What More Could You Wish For. The story follows Libby, a fifty-something heroine, who is torn between the love she had and the one she has, relationships with two very different men — both of whom are pressing her for marriage. So today we’ve asked the author to share a little bit about what makes Libby’s dilemma so difficult, and a few wishes that the author herself could hope for — but doesn’t. Here is what Hoffman had to say:
When I was three I had it made – I had alone-time with my mother who read me stories and played paper dolls with me and baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. But what I wished for was to be off with my big sister who got to go to school in her sparkling new saddle shoes and her little plaid dress.
Eventually I got there, of course, and, surprise, surprise…school didn’t quite measure up to those few years when I had Mom all to myself.
In my novel, What More Could You Wish For, people keep asking the title question of 50-year-old Libby Carson, suggesting she should just be happy with the life she has. It’s a good life, she knows that, but does that mean she should stop striving for more?
Well, where’s the fun in that?
See what happens with Libby as she reconnects online with her high school sweetheart (someone she hasn’t seen in thirty years) on the same day her significant other proposes, throwing a monkey wrench into the perfectly safe and comfortable life she thought she had mapped out.
Whether you’re three or you’re fifty, whether it’s a plaid dress or just more passion in your life, we can always wish for more than what we have.
But is that wise?
- Samantha Hoffman
Two featured novels this month focus on the challenges of making a family larger, and where babies come from. One novel, the latest from Emily Giffin, talks about adoption and raises the question do we all end up Where We Belong? The story features an adopted young woman who has reached out to her birth mother in a move that strains all of the family relationships involved. RT reviewer Jennifer says of the novel, “Giffin tackles a difficult subject and makes the story real.” Meanwhile, the second tale about family planning takes a less traditional route. The new novel from Lisa Jewell, The Making of Us, tells the story of a young woman named Lydia who learns that not only was she fathered by a sperm donor but that his other offspring are interested in meeting. But will learning more about her biological background give this lonely woman the family that she craves? This story about a group of connected people discovering each other at the bedside of their sperm donor may have you considering your own relationships with friends and family!
One of the most interesting reads releasing this month is author Laurie Frankel’s latest release, Goodbye for Now. This story focuses on a computer programmer named Sam who invents a computer program that can connect people with avatars of loved ones that have passed on. But when the unthinkable occurs, hero Sam is forced to confront that the true limitations of digital grieving. As this story focuses so much on the quality time that characters miss spending with their deceased loved ones, we asked the author to talk about a few of her favorite ways to make memories with the important people in her life. Here is what she said:
I connect to the world through books. I like to connect to people I actually know that way too, but reading is a pretty solitary activity for adults. For kids, on the other hand, reading is very social. One of my favorite ways to spend time with my almost-four-year-old is with books. We love to read together - to do the voices, recite the passages we both know by heart, guess what’s going to happen next. We read books I remember loving when I was growing up. We find new books we both love that I know he’ll remember years from now and maybe read to kids of his own. Reading together makes for such wonderful memories because then we both have this memento, an actual object we can hold and flip through and come back to again and again.
My cousin is two years older than I am. She used to read to me when we were little, and we both have very clear, fond memories of those times. The first time my son went to her house to visit, she had a huge box of books for him -- books her own kids had outgrown, books she used to read to me, books she knew we’d both love. It was like any other heirloom you’d pass down through the family, but far less delicate than china and much more appreciated by the toddler set.
- Laurie Frankel