Carlene Rivers is many things. Dutiful, reliable, kind. Lucky? Not so much. At thirty, she's living a stifling existence in Cleveland, Ohio. Then one day, Carlene buys a raffle ticket. The prize: a pub on the west coast of Ireland. Carlene is stunned when she wins. Everyone else is stunned when she actually goes. As soon as she arrives in Ballybeog, Carlene is smitten not just by the town's beguiling mix of ancient and modern, but by the welcome she receives. In this small town near Galway Bay, strife is no stranger, strangers are family, and no one is ever too busy for a cup of tea or a pint. And though her new job presents challenges - from a meddling neighbor to the pub's colorful regulars - there are compensations galore. Like the freedom to sing, joke, and tell stories, and in doing so, find her own voice. And in her flirtation with Ronan McBride, the pub's charming, reckless former owner, she just may find the freedom to follow where impulse leads and trust her heart - and her luck - for the very first time.
At thirty-five, Gabriella Graham—“Ella” to her family and friends—has already made a name for herself as a successful portrait artist in London. She can capture the essential truth in each of her subjects’ faces—a tilt of the chin, a glint in the eye—and immortalize it on canvas. This gift has earned Ella commissions from royals and regular folks alike. But closer to home, Ella finds the truth more elusive. Her father abandoned the family when she was five, and her mother has remained silent on the subject ever since. Ella’s sister, Chloe, is engaged to Nate, an American working in London, but Ella suspects that he may not be so committed. Then, at Chloe’s behest, Ella agrees to paint Nate’s portrait. From session to session, Ella begins to see Nate in a different light, which gives rise to conflicted feelings. In fact, through the various people she paints—an elderly client reflecting on her life, another woman dreading the prospect of turning forty, a young cyclist (from a photograph) who met a tragic end—Ella realizes that there is so much more to a person’s life than what is seen on the surface, a notion made even clearer when an unexpected email arrives from the other side of the world. And as her portraits of Nate and the others progress, they begin to reveal less about their subjects than the artist herself. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in Isabel Wolff’s vibrant and textured story, these words are brilliantly crafted to convey the humor, mystery, and beauty that exists within each of us.
From Suzanne Corso comes a spirited debut novel about a girl’s lost innocence and dreams found just the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge . . . an affectionate, true-to-life tale of growing up, breaking away, and dreaming big. In the summer of 1978, Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old and navigating a dangerous relationship with an older boyfriend who’s devastatingly good looking—and an aspiring mobster. Half-Jewish, half-Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, Samantha lives in Bensonhurst with her mother Joan, a cynic shackled with addictions, and with Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family. But when a girl wants something more, when tradition is a terrifying roadblock to the independent woman she wants to become, it’s time to break free and find one’s own way. Told from the adult perspective, this is a powerful story of leaving the past to history and the future to fate—as Samantha makes a move to restore hope where there was none, and reach for her dream of a new life as a writer in an inspiring promise of paradise called Manhattan.--
Mark your calendar. It's the Christmas Cookie Club! Every year on the first Monday of December, Marnie and her twelve closest girlfriends gather in the evening with batches of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies. Everyone brings a dish, a bottle of wine and their stories. This year, the stories are especially important. Marnie's oldest daughter has a risky pregnancy. Will she find out tonight how that story might end? Jeannie's father is having an affair with her best friend. Who else knew about the betrayal, and how can that be forgiven or forgotten, even among old friends such as these? Rosie's husband doesn't want children, and she has to decide whether that's a deal breaker for the marriage. Taylor's life is in financial free-fall. Each woman, each friend has a story to tell, and they are all interwoven, just as their lives are. On this evening, at least, they can feel as a group the impulses of sisterly love and conflict, the passion and hopefulness of a new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, the agony of losing a child and, above all, the love they have for one another. As Marnie says, the Christmas Cookie Club, if it's anything, is a reminder of delight. The Christmas Cookie Club is about the paths Marnie and her friends have taken and the absolute joy they take in life. Ultimately, The Christmas Cookie Club is every woman's story. By celebrating courage and joy in spite of hard times, honoring the importance of women's friendships and embracing bonds of community, you'll see yourself and some of the ingredients of your own story.
Daisy Flattery is an incorrigible free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story and a bit of adventure. Why else would she agree to the outrageous deal offered by her button-down, workaholic neighbor Linc Blaise? The history professor is desperately in need of a fiancée to capture a dream job at a local college—and Daisy is up for the challenge. But something funny happens on their way to the altar that breaks all the rules and changes the game. Falling in love was never part of the bargain. Their little charade has taken in everyone—including themselves. Now with the proverbial midnight hour approaching, will the fairytale finally be over or will opposites not just attract but live happily ever after?
Linda Davis’s local fabric shop is a place where women gather to share their creations: quilts commemorating important events in their lives. Wedding quilts, baby quilts, memorial quilts — each is bound tight with dreams, hopes, and yearnings. Now, as her only child readies for college, Linda is torn between excitement for Molly and heartache for herself. Who will she be when she is no longer needed in her role as mom? What will become of her days? Of her marriage? Mother and daughter decide to share one last adventure together — a cross-country road trip to move Molly into her dorm. As they wend their way through the heart of the country, Linda stitches together the scraps that make up Molly’s young life. And in the quilting of each bit of fabric — the hem of a christening gown, a snippet from a Halloween costume — Linda discovers that the memories of a shared journey can come together in a way that will keep them both warm in the years to come.