Fabulous Fiction Firsts #785, Women's Fiction Debuts
Fri, 07/23/2021 - 8:55pm by muffy
Once an aspiring artist, Amy Ashton now rescues and collects beautiful objects, online and from charity shops, ever since her boyfriend Tim and her best friend Chantel left her on the same day more than 10 years ago. These days, Amy is hardly able to move around under piles of trinkets and treasures, risking safety violation and eviction as she desperately try to keep the world at the door. But with the arrival of a young family next door, Amy’s carefully managed and guarded routine starts to unravel.
She finds herself charmed by the two young boys, one with a treasured collection of toy bulldozers (Amy could relate to THAT!) and their helpful sort-of single father. Then she discovers a ring hidden in a flower pot (the one Tim was going to propose with) and a sodden letter, thus throwing her into the role of amateur detective.
“Heartwarming and tender… an ideal read for anyone looking for a good-humored and uplifting story, but especially for those who enjoyed Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things.”(BookPage)
“Mystery lovers and fans of Liane Moriarty will also enjoy the quick-paced plot and perfectly timed reveals.” (Booklist)
Lizzie & Dante * * (also in downloadable eBook and audiobook) by Mary Bly is a “poignant, character-driven novel about living, loving, and looking mortality in the eye...Fans of emotional tearjerkers, of romance, or of authors Kristin Hannah and Elin Hilderbrand will not be able to put this down.” (Library Journal)
Shakespeare scholar Lizzie Delford is spending what would likely be her last summer, on the Island of Elba, at a luxurious seaside resort as a guest of her life-long friend Grey and his boyfriend, movie-star Rohan Das. Between catching sun and lavish parties, Lizzie is to help Rohan develop an unconventional script for Romeo and Juliet, his first movie as a director.
At the public beach, Lizzie is befriended by a bedraggled dog named Lulu, and her cantankerous owner Dante, a celebrated chef and a single father to precocious 12 year-old Etta.
“Bly, known best for the best-selling historical romances she writes as Eloisa James, deftly pivots to contemporary fiction with an emotional roller coaster of a novel that candidly explores such complicated subjects as sex and desire, love and loss, and family and friendship. Whether toothsomely describing Italian dishes, celebrating the natural beauty of Elba, or performing some literary dissection of Romeo and Juliet, Bly writes with a Prosecco-fizzy wit that is simply irresistible, but what will equally resonate with readers is her richly nuanced characters and their embrace of life in all its glorious messiness.” (Booklist)
* * = 2 starred reviews
* = Starred review