Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Review copy courtesy of Lake Union and Little Bird Publicity

Lake Union Publishing | June 19, 2018
Paperback: $14.95 | ISBN: 978-1503900394
eBook: $4.99 | ASIN: B076KYS66K

Description: Roseanna Chaldecott wants just one thing: peace and quiet. After the sudden loss of her lifelong best friend and law partner, Roseanna abandons her cushy yet unfulfilling life as a New York City lawyer and drives into the countryside without a firm destination in mind. As the car is just about out of gas, she stumbles upon the place she didn’t even know she was looking for: a tiny
house on a beautiful patch of green, tucked away in the hills, with a “For Sale” sign out front. Not a few hours later, Roseanna is the proud owner of this little slice of paradise and committed to a new
life away from the city.
But in HEAVEN ADJACENT (Lake Union Publishing; on sale June 19th, 2018), there’s a catch: Roseanna isn’t the only person enamored by her peaceful hideaway. On the first night in her new
abode she meets Patty and her five-year-old daughter Willa, who’ve been living on the property and can’t afford their own place. Soon others start traveling through, and as Roseanna explains why she exchanged her comfortable lifestyle for the simplicity of a shack in the woods, a few passersby become additional squatters interrupting her silence and solitude. Though she is adamant their days on the property are numbered, she reluctantly lets them stay.
Back in Manhattan, no one knows Roseanna’s whereabouts for months, not even her remaining ex-law partner, Jerry, or her estranged son, Lance. But after the New York Times runs an article about
Roseanna and the peculiar array of metal sculptures she’s created, Lance arrives to convince her to return home—and Jerry threatens her with a hefty lawsuit for abandoning the firm. As she comes to grips with the possibility of losing everything, Roseanna begins to ask herself what—and who—matters the most to her, and whether the isolation she yearned for is truly the cornerstone of her next chapter in life.
The author of more than 30 books, including the critically-acclaimed novel Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde presents readers with a middle-aged woman who still has a lot to learn about who she really is, and a cast of characters who chip away at the hard exterior she’s built up over the hectic life that’s passed her by. As Roseanna beings to accept a new reality free of material wealth, she discovers that she is rich in something that can’t be replaced: family. HEAVEN ADJACENT is a novel about realizing life is too short to put off happiness, and that shows the people we celebrate each day with should make us the most joyful of all. (publisher)

My take:  Roseanna’s approach to work was do it for as long as it took to ensure she could retire at some point and enjoy a comfortable life. When her best friend who held the same mindset suddenly died Roseanna made a change that bewildered her coworkers, family and even herself.

This is a story about resetting one’s priorities. Filled with quirky characters who were part of Roseanna’s new life this novel made me chuckle at times and it made me think about the possibilities that are always around us – but are we brave enough to consider making changes. I really enjoyed it. It’s the third of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novels I’ve read and, just like the previous ones, it left me with a warm feeling and very happy to have read it. Recommended.


About the author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 33 published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It
Forward, was adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, made the American Library
Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list, and has been translated into more than two dozen
languages in 30 countries. More than 50 of her short stories have been published in journals, and her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.
Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation.


 

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The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Finished copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

Description:  Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets? (publisher)

My take:  With her life determined by the adults when she was a young girl, Loveday grows up relying on no one but herself and her love of books. As a young adult aging out of the foster system she found comfort in the used bookstore where she got a job that paid the rent for a bed sit and gave her access to books. She’s always on her guard knowing only she can protect herself from what life can deal out. Equal parts charming, sad, humorous and life-affirming The Lost for Words Bookshop is filled with quirky characters who hold their own secrets. I enjoyed it all and recommend it to bibliophiles and people who love a love story. Discussion questions and a conversation with the author are included at the end.


About the author:

Stephanie Butland lives with her family near the sea in the northeast of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet.


Praise for The Lost For Words Bookshop:

“The latest from Butland is an appealing novel about love’s many forms and the power of books. Rich characterizations, a vibrant bookstore setting, and several poignant Wednesday poetry nights will have readers hoping for a sequel.” – Publishers Weekly

“Witty and irreverent…a bibliophile’s delight.” – Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

“Burns fiercely with love and hurt. A rare and beautiful novel.” – Linda Green, bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed

“Filled with mystery and intrigue, Butland’s latest takes readers on a literary journey via chapters that jump through time and are named for distinct genres of crime, poetry, history and travel. Lovers of literature will enjoy this mix of contemporary women’s fiction and mystery.” – Library Journal


 

Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Published June 5th 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  On the shores of Cape Cod, the Bailey sisters reunite with their long-lost father for a summer of hope and forgiveness in this heartfelt novel from the author of the “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) Mystic Summer, The Lake Season, and The Summer House, sure to appeal to “fans of Elin Hilderbrand” (Booklist).

Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.

But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer he left the Cape and did not return again.

Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants, and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings. (publisher)

My take:  A momentous event resulting in the sudden absence of their father shaped the lives of three young girls. Each had her own perception of the event and was followed into adulthood with the effect of their loss. The novel takes place on beautiful Cape Cod – a setting I love reading about. Sailing Lessons is a story of forgiveness – what can happen when one is allowed to forgive or be forgiven. I had no problem finding sympathy for all of these flawed characters – a credit to author Hannah McKinnon. Recommended to fans of novels about less-than-perfect families. Last year I enjoyed The Summer House and now I look forward to reading the rest of McKinnon’s books.


 

Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Review copy courtesy of Berkley and NetGalley

Description:

On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping–including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions….

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways. (publisher)

My take:  Dreams of Falling is told via dual timelines moving from the 1950s to 2010. Karen White’s story is one of friendship and love that changed the lives of all involved – including future generations. The novel has a sultry setting replete with the humid, salty air of coastal Carolina, a town where everyone “knew you when…”, and secrets. Lots of secrets. It’s a time of transition for the three friends who are ready to burst forth on the world having just graduated from high school. They (and the future generations) will discover how strong they can be. They’ll find that in order to survive their mistakes they’ll “have to learn to live with their choices”. Falling isn’t necessarily bad if there’s someone there to catch you. And that someone might not be who you’d expect. I enjoyed this novel but there were times when I was confused about the generational relationships. That took me out of the story at times – but I’m not sure it would for other readers. So I’ll recommend it – especially to fans of southern fiction and Karen White.


 

Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble

Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble

William Morrow Paperbacks (May 29, 2018)

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Noble comes a heartrending and uplifting novel about friendship, love, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for our dreams.

What was supposed to be an idyllic wedding leads to an unexpected journey of self-discovery…

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancé with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach. (publisher)

My take:  Lighthouse Beach is about the friendship of 4 women in their early 30s. They’re old enough to have endured some disappointments but young enough to have retained some optimism for the future.

What starts out as the wedding of one of the four ends up being an unexpected girls getaway. And what better place to spend a girls’ week than Lighthouse Beach, Maine – a place where the town’s welcome sign says “Once you visit Lighthouse Beach, life will never be the same”. New possibilities are found and suddenly the future seems a little brighter for all involved.

I liked Lighthouse Beach. Grab a copy this summer and enjoy a visit to the Maine shore.


Praise for LIGHTHOUSE BEACH:

“Noble delivers another compelling beach read, just in time to pack it in your tote beside your sunscreen and beach towel.” – RT Book Reviews on LIGHTHOUSE BEACH

“New readers and fans of Noble’s previous novels will find much to appreciate in this ensemble drama with fully realized characters and a vivid, enchanting setting. This is a novel perfect for reading on a beach, with or without a lighthouse.” – Booklist on LIGHTHOUSE BEACH


About the author:  SHELLEY NOBLE is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of the women’s fiction novel BEACH COLORS, a #1 Nook bestseller, STARGAZEY POINT three novellas, Holidays at Crescent Cove, Stargazey Nights, BREAKWATER BAY and WHISPER BEACH.

As SHELLEY FREYDONT she is the author of the CELEBRATION BAY FESTIVAL MYSTERIES (Berkley Prime Crime) as well and two other mystery series, and the upcoming Gilded Age Newport Mystery series. Her mysteries have been translated into ten languages.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley lives near the New Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses and vintage carousels.


 

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

William Morrow Paperbacks (May 22, 2018)

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

When Flora MacKenzie traded her glum career in London for the remote Scottish island of Mure, she never dreamed that Joel—her difficult, adorable boss—would follow. Yet now, not only has Flora been reunited with her family and opened a charming café by the sea, but she and Joel are taking their first faltering steps into romance.

With Joel away on business in New York, Flora is preparing for the next stage in her life. And that would be…? Love? She’s feeling it. Security? In Joel’s arms, sure. Marriage? Not open to discussion.

In the meanwhile, Flora is finding pleasure in a magnificent sight: whales breaking waves off the beaches of Mure. But it also signals something less joyful. According to local superstition, it’s an omen—and a warning that Flora’s future could be as fleeting as the sea-spray…

A bracing season on the shore sets the stage for Jenny Colgan’s delightful novel that’s as funny, heartwarming, and unpredictable as love itself. (publisher)

My take:  With The Endless Beach Jenny Colgan continues the story of the close-knit village on the island of Mure. I loved catching up with the MacKenzie family and all connected to them. The theme that we all just need/want to be accepted, loved – regardless of what has come before – runs through the novel. It doesn’t matter who we are or what our circumstances are – it’s a universal need. Jenny Colgan gets it just right and left me hoping this is not my last visit to Mure and the lovely people who live there. I highly recommend reading The Cafe By The Sea to get a true introduction to the characters and setting. It will be worth it!


 

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

Review copy provided by Gallery Books

Series: The Beach House (Book 5)

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Gallery Books (May 22, 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1501193295

ISBN-13: 978-1501193293

 

Description:  Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate who doesn’t know where her life will take her, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original “turtle lady,” Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition. (publisher)

My take:  Readers return to Isle Of Palms, South Carolina to find Cara moving back to her mother’s beloved cottage for a new chapter in her life. She’s been a widow for three years but there are changes – one big one that has set in motion a few more. Cara’s niece Linnea is a recent college graduate without a job offer so she jumps at the chance to join her aunt on Isle of Palms for the summer. The two women will find a few surprises on the island but will also learn if they have what it takes to stand up when faced with challenges. I really enjoyed the story of the Rutledge women. Mary Alice Monroe wove into her story the environmental thread of the annual trek of the sea turtles. Each chapter began with facts about the turtles and their plight. With the support of mindful people they’ll continue to do what they do – just like the women in Beach House Reunion. This is book 5 in the series but it can stand alone. The author does a good job of catching up readers who haven’t read the previous books.


About the author:

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels and three children’s books. She has received numerous awards, including the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, the Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, and The SC Academy of Authors inducted Monroe into the Literary Hall of Fame in 2018. Her bestselling novel The Beach House will be a Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie set to premiere in April, 2018, starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, Minka Kelly, and Chad Michael Murray. Mary Alice is an active conservationist and lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.


While in Florida last month I passed this sign on my way to the beach each day. It always brought to mind Mary Alice Monroe’s novels.