September Mainstream Overview

With kids returning to school and cold weather on its way, it is a good thing that there are so many great mainstream fiction novels releasing this month. One of September’s mainstream romances takes readers to the beach as a debut author earns a coveted Top Pick! review. To celebrate, newcomer Grace Greene shares to favorite seaside memories. Then we learn that sometimes good things come in threes, as a number of new releases focus on the their storylines on groups of women. Next we turn our attention to a pair of authors whose collaboration had us on the edge of our seats. And finally we round-up novels that send their heroines on a journey to smaller towns for some much needed soul-searching. Needing a great read? Look no further than these mainstream picks. 


Grace Greene’s tear-jerking debut, Beach Rental, introduces an overworked single mom and her one chance at obtaining financial freedom — marrying a man with terminal cancer in a modern-day marriage of convenience. For Juli Cooke, joining her life with Ben Bradshaw would solve most of her problems. But it would create a few more, especially since Ben’s cousin, Luke, doesn’t support their union. Life in this beach town gets a whole lot rockier than they bargained for when Juli comes to care for Ben and eventually loses him ... and the only one to turn to for comfort is the once-cold Luke. RT’s Jaime praised Greene’s ability to capture “the awe-inspiring essence of the North Carolina coast.” As a Virginia native, Greene is familiar with the seaside, so we asked her to share one of her most memorable beach moments:

When I was a child my family vacationed at the beach and the jellyfish always zeroed in on me. I huddled on the beach in pain while well-intentioned strangers shared their remedies for easing the sting and the swelling. A year or two later, I wandered into a large area of sand dunes and became lost. I saw only sand and ocean for several scary hours until my father found me. Had I not been crying so hard, I would’ve seen the path back to civilization! When I was thirteen and at summer camp, I broke the rules by going into the ocean without my assigned ‘buddy’ and almost drowned.

Given those beach experiences, you might think I’d stay well away from sand and sea. Not so.

There’s something deep inside me that responds instantly to the rhythm of the breaking waves and the mystery of the ever-changing landscape, battered and shaped by force of nature. The eternal rhythm of the ocean mixes with the processes of life, faith, hope and death in an inevitable and forever recurring cycle. It inspires awe and instills peace. I tried to share some part of that overwhelming experience and inspiration in Beach Rental. I hope I succeeded.

- Grace Greene


It’s been said that bad things come in threes, but in mainstream romance we’re seeing good things come in that exact same number. Three childhood best friends find themselves navigating the bumpy path to adulthood in Washington, D.C., in Angela Winter’s Almost Doesn’t Count. Sherise, Erica and Billie juggle careers and love lives in a city where finding (and keeping) power is always a struggle. Will they make it, or will they fall victim to the big city? In Daaimah S. Poole’s Another Man Will, it’s three sisters who steal the show. Crystal, Yvette and Dana are not only related by blood, but they are related by a common struggle: The need to find a man who’ll treat them right. The novel sets the siblings on a course to realizing the relationships of their dreams, and it’s quite the ride. Next up is the friendship between Waverly, Kate and Amy in How Lucky You Are by Kristyn Kusek Lewis. As lifelong friends they’ve been each other’s confidants, but, in times of change, secrets they’ve kept will rise to the surface to threaten bonds that were once airtight. Can their friendships survive what life has in store? Pick up a copy to find out.


You’ll find a little bit of everything in Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman’s The Edgar — mystery, humor, murder and more! RT reviewer Brown called this novel “superb.”

It’s one thing to have an unrequited crush on your college art professor, but it’s quite another to find him, years later, mowing your lawn. This awkward reunion between Alexandra Newborn and Nick Anselmo is just the beginning of the curveballs that life can throw. Now the wife of a workaholic and a mother to twins, Alex had let her own painting career lapse. But with the advice and support of Nick, she decides to take it back up - which leads to the revelation of her husband's affair and his untimely and mysterious death. And to think it all started when she saw a familiar face tending to her lawn! This is one e-book that’s not to miss. 


The Ozarks, an island off the coast of Georgia and the small town of Catfish Cove; these are the destinations of some mainstream heroines as they search for answers and healing. If there were a cure for a broken heart (besides ice cream), who wouldn’t want to take it? After Jesse’s fiancé calls off the wedding in Pamela Morsi’s The Lovesick Cure, she decides to retreat and lick her wounds in her aunt’s small town in the Ozarks. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that her folksy-aunt manufactures her own “lovesick” cure. It seems to work too, or it just might be the sexy single dad she starts dating. For the heroine of Kimberly Brock’s The River Witch, her getaway is anything but a vacation. After suffering a miscarriage, Roslyn Byrne needs to recuperate, and the small island recommended by her mother sounds like just what she needs. But will this Tennessean find all a new lease on life in Georgia? Here’s to hoping that she does. And finally, sometimes you need to go home before you can move forward. In A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci, journalist Emma Frazier had attended high school with NASCAR star Trip Malone. To win points with her boss, she arranges for a trip back home to Catfish Cove to score the interview of her career — but she finds more than she bargained for in her old stomping grounds. 

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