Sometimes I just need to escape. Maybe life has been especially stressful or I’m feeling lonely or even lazy. All I want is to curl up with a book that is fun and even sometimes familiar. And for me, this generally means a female writer with a female protagonist and a theme in some way connected to relationships. Some would say women’s fiction, chic lit or beach read. I say fun! Fun to read and fun to write.
But just not any fun women’s fiction will do. I’ve read many authors who’s books I didn’t enjoy very much. Some I didn’t even make it all the way through. (And I really try to make it all the way through out of respect or something akin to that.) It isn’t that they weren’t’ good writers or good books. Many were bestsellers and critically acclaimed. But for some reason they didn’t pull me in, when they obviously did engage many others.
I know it comes back to personal preference, like choosing your favorite ice cream flavor or vacation destination. There are as many different writing styles as there are authors and we all have our personal favorites. I have several authors who can’t write fast enough for me. I’ve read everything they’ve written, sometimes more than once, and excitedly await their next book.
As I mentioned earlier (Blog #2: Who remembers Trixie Belden?) Cara Black, author of the Aimee Leduc Mystery Series, is one of those writers for me. She writes a book a year and each year I wait to see where Aimee’s life will take her, what new dangers and adventurers will befall her. Her books are fun and exciting and I don’t want to put them down! But I try. I really do, even though it can be very difficult with an exciting mystery. I have to repeatedly coach myself to savor each title, because it will be another year before I catch up with Aimee again.
Liane Moriarty is another author that falls into this category for me, although her books don’t revolve around one central character like Cara Black’s. My first introduction was with The Hypnotist’s Love Story which is the middle title of her seven adult books. I loved it so much that I went scrambling for everything she had previously written, and have read everything since. I love her characters and storylines. She always surprises me and that is what makes it fun for me.
Another author, Mary Kay Andrews, doesn’t surprise me as much as she brings me comfort. Her books speak to the transplanted southern girl in me. I love my home in California and have been here nearly forty years, but I still miss things about the south. And Mary Kay takes me back there in her fun and engaging books. I’ve enjoyed them all but I think my favorite is Ladies Night. The therapist in me loved the themes explored in the book, and the setting was so much like my hometown that I felt transported back in time!
I could, and will, write several blogs about books in this genre. I’ve already talked about Mia March’s books (Blog #6: Colin Firth revisited) and Curtis Sittenfeld’s book Eligible (Blog #5: All Things Jane Austen) but I have many others in the genre that I love, so more to come.
Until then, for you women’s fiction fans, who are your favorite authors and what do you like about their books?