About two years ago, I started downloading free book samples to my Kindle app of books I wanted to read but wasn’t able to indulge in straight away. A way to bookmark a novel for Future Sheridan to enjoy.
I’m not sure about you, but before I formed this “sample” habit, I struggled to keep tabs on books I wanted to read. Often I forgot which book had piqued my interest while chatting with a friend, reading a blog post or browsing social media, so saving these samples meant I could keep a record of stories which interested me.
Now Future Sheridan knows which books to borrow or buy because Past Sheridan has done all the research. 😉
A few months ago I went on a “women’s fiction rampage” and saved a bunch of samples. Novels by amazing authors like Lynn Austin, Robin Lee Hatcher, Deborah Raney and Cynthia Ruchi, to name a few. I also saved several of Erin Bartels’ books and had the privilege of reading two recently.
We Hope for Better Things and The Words Between Us are remarkable stories which not only squeezed my heart but shot several insecure tremors through it. Apparently, reading someone else’s exceptional writing can highlight one’s own deficiencies. 😉
We Hope for Better Things is Ms Bartels’ debut following three women living in three separate eras with intermingled familial ties to one Michigan farmhouse. The author explores the hard realities of humanity spanning the ages, tackling slavery and its impact on American culture, wartime life, and interracial marriage. Whether the chapter followed Mary in the 1860s, Nora in the 1960s or Elizabeth in the 2000s, the evils of racial prejudice remained ingrained in society.
Each storyline captured me without inflicting “jumping between timelines” whiplash, and I oozed with compassion for the three leading ladies, despite their flaws and ill judgement. Ms Bartels’ brave, emotional storytelling delighted and entranced me.
The Words Between Us is another literary masterpiece with two timelines following one woman. The unexpected story unfolds Robin’s splintered world piece by piece, adult Robin coming to terms with what happened to teen Robin in alternating chapters until their timelines converge. This time I felt the jerking effect of being ripped from one time to the next after certain chapters, but thankfully survived. 😊
For those into lighter women’s fiction/chick lit, this might not be one for you. Sometimes gritty and pervaded with darkness and overwhelming odds, Robin’s tale was a story where hope slipped but concluded with some promise. If you’re a romantic like me, you might also struggle with the abrupt ending, but after having spent time with Robin, you’ll also discover that a neat bow would be uncharacteristic for her.
Have you enjoyed any women’s fiction recently? Please leave your recommendations in the comments.
Until next time,