Winning women’s fiction.

GAMBLING FOR GOOD MAIL

A middle-aged woman seeks happiness from within.

Felicia Wood lives for “good mail”–specifically, catalog mail–so much so that her fourth husband leaves her because of her obsession. Her southern California condo is filled to the breaking point with all of the knickknacks and household tools she has ordered over the years. Faced with being on her own again, Felicia doesn’t want to return to nursing because she finds caring for sick people too depressing. Selling timeshares fulfills her desire to make people happy, but fails to pay the bills. Just when she thinks she may lose her condo, her niece, Caitland, moves in with her and begins helping with the mortgage payments. To accommodate her new roommate, Felicia is forced to throw away all of the junk she’s accumulated, and must keep her mail addiction under control. Caitland, a biochemist with a Ph.D., is reconstructing her life in a different way, following her suicide attempt a year earlier. Though the two women are different in many ways, they prove to be good influences on each other. Reconnecting with family leads Felicia to confront the residual anger she harbors from the emotional abuse she suffered from the aunt who raised her, as well as the real reasons why four husbands have left her. This well-crafted novel, which belies its awkward title, is a heartfelt story of a middle-aged woman finally achieving self-realization, and healing the deep emotional scars that were driving her to obsession over superficial signs of happiness. While deftly handling multiple subplots, the author creates a well-drawn cast of multifaceted characters. The relationship between Felicia and Caitland is particularly well-imagined; though Felicia is the protagonist, Caitland is no mere foil. Cole renders their respective personalities with equal sensitivity and without cliché or caricature.

Winning women’s fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2006

ISBN: 1-60002-181-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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FINDERS KEEPERS

Smashingly successful soapster Michaels (Vegas Sunrise, 1997, etc.) takes on Charleston, South Carolina, and the story of wealthy young Jessie Roland—old soap in a new wrapper. What can you say about Jessie’s bony adoptive mother, Thea Roland, who—thrice miscarrying, with two stillborns and a dead baby daughter—lights a cigarette on page two, drinks from a gold flask, then blows a smoke ring, and—stunning them—improbably announces to her surprised doctor and husband that she’s a drunk? Next, Thea kidnaps a golden-haired baby from a filling station and cries, “FINDERS KEEPERS!” as her husband drives her and her new treasure home. Years pass. Kidnaped baby Jessie becomes a solemn schoolgirl equipped with a $100 book-bag and a three-room playhouse, then as a college girl splits from tearful Thea, who replenishes Jessie’s trust fund by selling, one by one, her 73 Greek tankers. When Jessie becomes pregnant, she marries lover Tanner Kingsley but loses the baby during an accident—a baby she hopes will be cared for in heaven by Sophie, the best friend who committed suicide and has left her a fortune. When Thea dies, she leaves her tell-all diaries to Jessie, who discovers the identity of her real parents and, after reuniting with them, leaves for Nairobi. Paralyzingly ladylike junk that’s bloated with redundant dialogue and that, going by Michaels’s record, will sell.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1998

ISBN: 1-57566-323-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998

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