Book picks similar to
Cranberry Queen by Kathleen DeMarco


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The Underside of Joy


Seré Prince Halverson - 2012
    Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule--never turn your back on the ocean--and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars--both physical and emotional--to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotions.

The Year of Pleasures


Elizabeth Berg - 2005
    Pursuing a dream of a different kind of life, she is determined to find pleasure in her simple daily routines. Among those who help her in both expected and unexpected ways are the ten-year-old boy next door, three wild women friends from her college days, a twenty-year-old who is struggling to find his place in the world, and a handsome man who is ready for love.Elizabeth Berg's The Year of Pleasuresis about acknowledging the solace found in ordinary things: a warm bath, good food, the beauty of nature, music, friends, and art. "Berg writes with humor and a big heart about resilience, loneliness, love, and hope. And the transcendence that redeems," said Andre Dubus about Durable Goods. And the same could be said about The Year of Pleasures.

If Only I Could Tell You


Hannah Beckerman - 2019
    Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two, but is also the one thing keeping them connected.As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?

South of Superior


Ellen Airgood - 2011
     When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change. Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As Madeline begins to experience the ways of the small, tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and dramas of its residents. It's a place where times are tough and debts run deep, but friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. As the story hurtles along-featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident, a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, Arbutus, and the rest of the town teach Madeline more about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned in a lifetime. A heartwarming novel, South of Superior explores the deep reward in caring for others, and shows how one who is poor in pocket can be rich in so many other ways, and how little it often takes to make someone happy.

Things I Want My Daughters to Know


Elizabeth Noble - 2007
    But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do?Take Lisa, in her midthirties but incapable of making a commitment; or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst. Twentysomething Amanda, the traveler, has always distanced herself from the rest of the family; and then there's Hannah, a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood about to be parted from the mother she adores.But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara's letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with their loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy their lives with all the passion and love each deserves?

The Children


Ann Leary - 2016
    While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at "Lakeside," their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace--and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family's polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities - both material and psychological - left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.

The Promise of Stardust


Priscille Sibley - 2013
    Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything-except the baby they've always wanted.When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing-a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court-armed with Elle's living will.Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.

Every Last Cuckoo


Kate Maloy - 2008
    But now, with Charles's sudden passing, seventy-five-year-old Sarah is left inconsolably alone. As grief settles in, Sarah's mind lingers on her past: her imperfect but devoted fifty-year marriage to Charles; the years they spent raising their three very different children; and her childhood during the Great Depression, when her parents opened their home to countless relatives and neighbors. So, when a variety of wayward souls come seeking shelter in Sarah's own big, empty home, her past comes full circle. As this unruly flock forms a family of sorts, they—with Sarah—nurture and protect one another, all the while discovering their unsuspected strengths and courage. In the tradition of Jane Smiley and Sue Miller, Kate Maloy has crafted a wise and gratifying novel about a woman who gracefully accepts a surprising new role just when she thought her best years were behind her.

A Week in Winter


Marcia Willett - 2001
    A Week in Winter is such a tale. Moorgate is an enchanting old country house that belongs to Maudie Todhunter, a spirited widow who has been holding on to the place for the sake of her beloved granddaughter. But Maudie can no longer afford a second home, so she reluctantly puts it up for sale. Moorgate immediately attracts more buyers than Maudie knows what to do with. The first is Selina, her stepdaughter, who has never seen eye-to-eye with Maudie on anything. The second potential buyer is Rob Abbot, a contractor who has lovingly restored every nook and cranny and who is embarrassed by his own passionate devotion to the house. The third is Melissa Clayton, a young woman with a sad, sad secret who discovers at Moorgate all she's ever wanted.As the story weaves between the past and present, Maudie is startled to uncover patterns of deceit and betrayal that contradict all her most cherished beliefs. At times it seems that her most trustworthy companion is her granddaughter's giant English mastiff Polonius, who is boarding with Maudie after having been banished from his own home by an irate Selina.As the final revelations stun both Maudie and the reader, A Week in Winter achieves a combined richness of character and circumstance that raises it above most modern contemporary fiction. Marcia Willett is a writer to discover and to celebrate.

The Good Mother


Sue Miller - 1986
    Swept away by happiness and passion, Anna feels she has everything she's ever wanted. Then come the shocking charges that would threaten her new love, her new "family" ... that force her to prove she is a good mother.

One Moment, One Morning


Sarah Rayner - 2010
    The 07:44 train. Carriages packed with commuters. A woman applies her make-up. Another occupies her time observing the people around her. A husband and wife share an affectionate gesture. Further along, a woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man has a heart attack, and can't be resuscitated; the train is stopped, an ambulance called. For at least three passengers on the 07:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. Lou witnesses the man's final moments. Anna and Lou share a cab when they realise the train is going nowhere fast. Anna is Karen's best friend. And Karen? Karen's husband is the man who dies. Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel about love and loss, about family and - above all - friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes, it also reminds us that somehow, and despite everything, life can and does go on.

A Good Year for the Roses


Gil McNeil - 2014
    Newly divorced and struggling to find a new home and a way to support her three boys, she's stunned when her beloved Aunt Helena dies and leaves her Harrington Hall, a three-hundred-year-old manor house on the Devon coast, where Molly grew up. But does Molly really want to run a bed-and-breakfast in an old house where the only thing that doesn't need urgent attention is Aunt Helena's beautiful rose garden? Or care for Uncle Bertie, an eccentric former navy officer with a cliff-top cannon? Or Betty, his rude parrot that bites whomever annoys it? Yet Molly's best friend Lola is all for the plan. "My heart bleeds. Your very own beach, the beautiful house, and Helena's garden. All you have to do is grill a bit of bacon."But with Molly's conniving brother running the family hotel nearby, the return of a high school flame with ulterior motives, and three sons whose idea of a new country life seems to involve vast quantities of mud, this is not going to be easy. And then Harrington Hall begins to work its magic, and the roses start to bloom...Warm, witty, and chock-full of quintessential British charm, A GOOD YEAR FOR THE ROSES is a story for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over...with or without bacon.

The Interruption of Everything


Terry McMillan - 2003
    A chef. An interior decorator. A landscape architect, as well as a gardener. I’ve been a painter. A furniture restorer. A personal shopper. A veterinarian’s assistant and sometimes the veterinarian.... An accountant, a banker, and on occasion, a broker. I’ve been a beautician. A map. A psychic. Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The T.V. Guide. A movie reviewer. An angel. God....For a long time I have felt like I inadvertently got my master’s in How to Take Care of Everybody Except Yourself and then a Ph.D. in How to Pretend Like You Don’t Mind. But I do mind." Since Terry McMillan’s breakout novel Waiting to Exhale surged onto the bestseller lists, critics and readers alike have been captivated by her irreverent, hilarious, pitch-perfect tales of women’s lives and contemporary issues. With The Interruption of Everything, her sixth novel, McMillan takes on the fault lines of midlife and family life, reminds us once again of the redeeming power of friendship, and turns her eye toward the dilemma of how a woman starts to put her own needs higher on the to-do list while not shortchanging everyone else.Marilyn Grimes, wife and mother of three, has made a career of deferring her dreams to build a suburban California home and lifestyle with her husband, Leon. She troubleshoots for her grown kids, cares for her live-in mother-in-law, Arthurine (and elderly poodle, Snuffy); keeps tabs on her girlfriends Paulette and Bunny and her own aging mother and foster sister—all the while holding down a part-time job. But at forty-four, Marilyn’s got too much on her plate and nothing to feed her passion. She feels like she’s about ready to jump. She’s just not sure where.Highly entertaining, deeply human, a page-turner full of heart and soul, The Interruption of Everything is vintage Terry McMillan—and a triumphant testament to the fact that the detour is the path, and living life "by the numbers" never quite adds up.

The Quaker Café


Brenda Bevan Remmes - 2014
    Twenty-five years later, she still feels like she’s falling short of expectations. Fortunately, her faith and her friends in the small, rural North Carolina town of Cedar Branch keep her strong.After her best friend’s politically powerful father dies, Liz stumbles upon secrets from the past that threaten to unravel the current harmony in Cedar Branch, a town with a history of racial tension. As she researches more and eavesdrops on gossip at the Quaker Café, where everyone meets each morning, Liz soon discovers the truth about an injustice that she cannot reveal to anyone—not even her husband.Surrounded by a cast of richly drawn Southern characters, Liz learns that even good people can make bad choices. Now, she must decide whether she has the strength to bring a past wrong to light, despite the consequences. This is a new release of a previously published edition.

The Myth of You and Me


Leah Stewart - 2005
    Now Cameron is a twenty-nine-year-old research assistant with no meaningful ties to anyone except her aging boss, noted historian Oliver Doucet.Nearly a decade after the incident that ended their friendship, Cameron receives an unexpected letter from her old friend. Despite Oliver’s urging, she doesn’t reply. But when he passes away, Cameron discovers that he has left her with one final task: to track down Sonia and hand-deliver a mysterious package to her. The Myth of You and Me captures the intensity of a friendship as well as the real sense of loss that lingers after the end of one. Searingly honest and beautiful, it is a celebration and portrait of a friendship that will appeal to anyone who still feels the absence of that first true friend.A People Magazine “10 Great Reads,” 2005A BookSense Pick