What We’re Reading!

Christina here and can you believe it’s already time for our monthly round-up of Wenchly reads and recommendations! No idea where the time goes … As always, it is a very mixed selection, from generational stories to timeslips and everything in between. Have a look and see if anything takes your fancy!

UnnamedPat:  Sonali Dev, THE VIBRANT YEARS, is a fast-paced book that sucked me in from the very first, even if I usually despise women’s fiction where everyone is beautiful, talented, and brilliant. The three-generational protagonists here are Indian, so their obstacles aren’t just jealous bosses or spiteful exes, which was refreshing. They’re fighting against their culture, the expectations of family, and their own fears. The youngest is a genius computer programmer who can’t relate to people but is desperate to save her mental health software from an ex. Her mother destroyed her loving marriage by daring to take on a TV career that was destined to spit out someone her age and race. And the grandmother … We should all have grandmothers like Bindu, gorgeous, free-spirited, and trapped by humiliating old memories and fears. When a wealthy, famous lover dies in Bindu’s arms, causing outrage in her senior community, all three women come together in support. The last half of the book has a lot of mental perambulation, but by that time, you’re hooked into their stories and need to know how they fare in life and love. Definitely recommended.

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Celebrating Friendships!

Toy storyNicola here. Today I’m celebrating the power of friendship as yesterday was International Friendship Day. The value of friendship has been recognised since people first walked the earth – and it’s pretty strong between some animals too and between humans and animals. Greek philosopher Herodotus wrote “Of all possessions, a friend is the most precious.” More recently, the lyrics of the song is the Toy Story movie say “We stick together and can see it through, ‘Cause you've got a friend in me.”

What is friendship, really? A dictionary definition calls it “a state of mutual trust and support” but it’s so much more complicated than that sounds. Some of Friends us are lucky enough to have friends we have known since childhood, others from school or college. I’m part of a group of college friends who first came together almost 40 years ago and we still meet up twice a year as a group. It's lovely to have such enduring relationships with people I know so well and feel I can pick up with so easily. Then there are the other friends we make at different stages of our lives. You don’t even have to see each other that much, though when you do, it’s special. The Wenches are an amazing group of friends scattered across three continents; we don’t get the chance to see each other much but we’re so supportive of each other through the thick and thin of writing and life. In fact, being an author is a wonderful way to meet friends across the world, through readers’ and writers’ groups.

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What We’re Reading

Lizzieand dantePat here with the Word Wenches monthly reads!

My contribution is Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly (Eloisa James)

I imagine most of you recognize Eloisa James as a wonderful historical romance writer. This first contemporary under her real name is a romance, but also heartbreakingly uplifting, original women’s fiction. Lizzie is a Shakespeare professor with cancer who agrees to take an all-expenses paid trip to Elba with her gay best friend, a horror writer, and his still-in-the-closet famous superhero actor lover. I suppose everyone in the book needs to be rich and famous and talented to make up for the fact that the protagonist is dying. She is preparing for death throughout the story. What she isn’t prepared for is the rich life  she discovers dealing with her friend’s frustration, a twelve-year-old looking for a mother, a brash breast cancer survivor, and the man of Lizzie’s dreams, a brilliant cook who creates food she hates but who pours his joy into living. As this family of friends forms around her, Lizzie is faced with actual life-and-death decisions. And this is still the most romantic, tear-jerking, lovely story you may have ever read.

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