While I Was Gone – Sue Miller
Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease.
Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret.
Songs in Ordinary Time – Mary McGarry Morris
This book is set in the summer of 1960 – the last of quiet times and America’s innocence. It centers on Marie Fermoyle, a strong but vulnerable woman whose loneliness and ambition for her children make her easy prey for the dangerous con man Omar Duvall.
Marie’s children are Alice, seventeen – involved with a troubled young priest; Norm, sixteen – hotheaded and idealistic; and Benjy, twelve – isolated and misunderstood, and so desperate for his mother’s happiness that he hides the deadly truth only he knows about Duvall.
Among a fascinating cast of characters we meet the children’s alcoholic father, Sam Fermoyle, now living with his senile mother and embittered sister; Sam’s meek brother-in-law, who makes anonymous “love” calls from the bathroom of his ailing appliance store; and the Klubock family, who – in complete contrast to the Fermoyles – live an orderly life in the perfect house next door.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox has vanished.
When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown.
And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume
Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.
But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.
Margaret is funny and real, and her thoughts and feelings are oh-so-relatable—you’ll feel like she’s talking right to you, sharing her secrets with a friend.
Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbours secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
12 Saturdays – F.P. Lione
Homelessness on the streets of New York was the last thing on newly engaged, advertising executive, Jenna Russo’s mind.
A family heirloom and her alcoholic father’s dying wish turned out to be a powerful incentive to take notice.
Jenna has to either spend 12 Saturdays on the streets of New York City feeding the poor with a Christian outreach or risk losing her beloved grandmother’s ring to an estranged and manipulative sister.
Will she see the lost through the eyes of faith and learn that there are blessings beyond the family heirloom? Or will she fall victim to her past and crumble under the great expectations of her deceased father?