Book picks similar to
The Long-Lost Jules by Jane Elizabeth Hughes


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fiction
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Under Almond Blossoms


Anja Saskia Beyer - 2020
    The only child of a distant mother, she has no other family, and even her forthcoming marriage to Paul feels more like settling than true romance. But then a letter arrives, announcing that a Spanish grandmother she knew nothing about has recently died and left her a small shop in Mallorca.Milla is confused and hurt, but determined to uncover the truth. She travels to Palma, where she is enchanted by the beauty of the old town in springtime. At the shop she now owns, she meets Leandro, a handsome local who helps her piece together the story of her grandmother, Abbi. But it’s a story full of unexpected secrets, of hidden love and bitter betrayal, and it challenges everything Milla thought she knew about her family—and herself.Faced with these new truths, Milla has a difficult choice to make. Will she go back to Paul and be the person she was before, or follow her heart on a blossom-strewn island?

One Minute Later


Susan Lewis - 2019
    . .Vivi Shager is living her dream. Raised with drive and ambition by a resolutely single mother, Vivi has a thriving law career, a gorgeous London apartment, and a full calendar that keeps her busy at work and at play. Then on the day of her twenty-seventh birthday, an undiagnosed heart condition sends Vivi’s prospects for the future into a tailspin. Though she escaped her roots nearly a decade ago, she’s forced to return to her childhood home to be cared for by her enigmatic mother. Vivi has always known the woman is hiding something and now that she’s once again under the same roof, she’s determined to find out what it is. While her condition makes her fragile, vulnerable, and fearful of what may happen, her spirit remains strong. Then comes an unexpected ray of light.Josh Raynor, a local veterinarian who his sisters claim is too handsome for his own good, brings a forbidden love to Vivi’s world. Unaware of their families’ difficult shared past, they are soon inseparable; all Vivi knows is that Josh is wrestling with a demon of his own.Then quite suddenly the awful truth is staring Vivi in the face and it changes everything.

Just for the Summer (Willowbury #3)


Fay Keenan - 2021
    While her three sons spend the summer holiday with their father, Kate has an opportunity to prove to herself that there is a new life, after her divorce.Harry Sinclair is the owner of Vale Volumes book shop on Willowbury High Street. Content, if a little bored with his lot, his shop, as well as his life, could do with freshening up. When Kate offers to spruce up Vale Volumes ready for the visit of a famous author, they find they have a lot more in common than colour schemes.But both have secrets and responsibilities, and when the trials of family life threaten their burgeoning friendship, can they overcome the experiences of their pasts? Will Somerset’s most magical town cast its spell on them? Or will Kate and Harry have to concede that their friendship really is just for the summer?Let Fay Keenan transport you to the perfect British summertime, with beautiful countryside, an unforgettable romance, and just the right dose of escapism. Perfect for all fans of Debbie Macomber, Cathy Bramley and Katie Fforde.

Secrets in the Sand


Carolyn Brown - 2021
    Not when they are deep within the heart like Angela Conrad's. Ten years ago, Clancy Morgan broke her heart and even though she's made a successful life for herself, she's never gotten over that pain. Angel didn't intend to ever go back home, but when the Alumni Association asked her to return to her hometown to play for the dance at their alumni gathering, she agreed.Clancy wasn't planning to attend, but he does, and he recognizes Angela immediately. He never expected to see her again, and definitely didn't expect to see her standing up there looking like a movie star and singing like a seasoned famous country artist. She's the Angel he walked away from and has been kicking himself ever since.He made a big mistake, but maybe he can mend it, if only she'll let him. She's not so easily inclined, but he gets to know her posse of protective girlfriends, and they cook up a scheme to help her get over him once and for all. Or, maybe she'll let him win her back.

No More Words


Kerry Lonsdale - 2021
    Sixteen and pregnant, she never returns. But she writes. Once a year, Lily mails a picture of her son, Josh, to Olivia until his thirteenth year. Then it’s Josh himself who arrives at Olivia’s house, alone, terrified, and in possession of a notarized declaration from Lily. It begins, “In the event I go missing…”Josh has difficulty talking. He can’t read or write, but he’s a prolific artist, exhibiting skill beyond his age. His drawings are as detailed as they are horrific. Olivia soon realizes Josh’s artwork tells a story. There’s more to his arrival and to Lily’s untimely disappearance than it seems. Using the drawings as a road map, Olivia traces Josh’s path back to his mom. Each drawing sheds light on Lily’s past and reveals a darkness that forces Olivia to question everything she thought she knew about her family.

Halstead House


Aspen Hadley - 2021
    Growing up under an iron thumb, she's never gone off script, yet as she stares at the candles on her twenty-fifth birthday, she determines to reach for more.Terrified but hopeful, Grace buys a one-way airline ticket to Lavender Island in order to visit Halstead House, the once upon a time home of the only person Grace had ever been safe with, her honorary grandmother Mary. When Grace arrives on the island she's immediately caught up in the warmth-filled life she'd always imagined.What she hadn't imagined, however, was John Lucas Halstead or the feelings he would stir in her – especially when he’ll do anything to keep her at arms length. Just as Grace is finding her feet, her mother arrives on the island uninvited, forcing Grace to decide where she’ll stand once and for all. Is it finally time to rip up the script? Or will she accept her role and return?Only Grace can decide.

The Lifeguards


Amanda Eyre Ward
    Austin's Zilker Park neighborhood is a wonderland of greenbelt trails, live music, and moms who drink a few too many margaritas. Whitney, Annette, and Liza have grown thick as thieves as they have raised their children together for fifteen years, believing that they can shelter them their children from an increasingly dangerous world. Their friendship is unbreakable--as safe as the neighborhood where they've raised their sweet little boys.Or so they think.One night, the three women have been enjoying happy hour when their boys, lifeguards for the summer, come back on bicycles from a late-night dip in their favorite swimming hole. The boys share a secret--news that will shatter the perfect world their mothers have so painstakingly created.Combining three mothers' points of view in a powerful narrative tale with commentary from entertaining neighborhood listservs, secret text messages, and police reports, The Lifeguards is both a story about the secrets we tell to protect the ones we love and a riveting novel of suspense filled with half-truths and betrayals, fierce love and complicated friendships, and the loss of innocence on one hot summer night.

The Lockhart Women


Mary Camarillo - 2021
    Brenda’s never worked outside the home, and the family’s economic situation quickly declines. Oldest daughter Peggy is certain she’s heading off to a university, until her father offers her a job sorting mail while she attends community college instead. Younger daughter Allison, a high school senior, can’t believe her luck that California golden boy Kevin has fallen in love with her. Meanwhile, the chatter about the O. J. Simpson murder investigations is always on in the background, a media frenzy that underscores domestic violence against women and race and class divisions in Southern California. Brenda, increasingly obsessed with the case, is convinced O. J. is innocent and has been framed by the LAPD. Both daughters are more interested in their own lives, until Peggy starts noticing bruises Allison can’t explain. For a while, it feels to everyone as if the family is falling apart; but in the end, they all come together again in unexpected ways.

Two Truths and a Lie


Meg Mitchell Moore - 2020
    Rebecca Coleman, widely acknowledged former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad (having taken a step back since her husband’s shocking and tragic death eighteen months ago), has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter Alexa has even been spotted babysitting Katie.Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows—but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Katie Griffin, who at age 11 probably doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, can’t be left alone because she has terrifying nightmares that don’t seem to jibe with the vague story Sherri has floated about the “bad divorce” she left behind in Ohio. Rebecca Coleman has been spending a lot of time with Sherri, it’s true, but she’s also been spending time with someone else she doesn’t want the Mom Squad to know about just yet.Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life, and definitely not someone connected to the Mom Squad. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Two Truths and a Lie reminds us that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared, and the most precious things are the people we love.

Meant to Be


Emily Giffin
    When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country. No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story. When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself. In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it . . . and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong.

Mistletoe at the Manor: A heart-warming festive romance


Teresa F. Morgan - 2021
    Each wilful and outspoken, Beth and Tristan are soon clashing whenever they cross paths.With the estate’s charity ball and Christmas fayre on the horizon, the two grudgingly put their differences aside and agree to work together. And as they spend more and more time in each other’s company, their uneasy truce blossoms into a strong mutual attraction.But with a young son, a fledgling business and a painful past to contend with, Beth needs someone she can rely on. And Tristan has demons of his own to face…Can Beth get her boutique up and running in time for Christmas? Will she and Tristan find happiness together?Or will the shadows of the past drive them apart…?MISTLETOE AT THE MANOR is a contemporary festive read you won’t be able to put down. Get lost among the snowy hills of Cornwall in this glittering Christmas romance, perfect for cosy winter nights.

Did I Say You Could Go


Melanie Gideon - 2021
    Finally, they’ll be accepted into a tribe. Marley will make friends and Ruth will be welcomed by the mothers. Instead, the parents are turned off by Ruth’s ostentatious wealth and before kindergarten even begins, Ruth and Marley are outcasts. The last guest to arrive at the meet-and-greet is Gemma, a widow and a single mother to her daughter, Bee. Ruth sets her sights on the mother-daughter duo, and soon the two families are inseparable. Ruth takes Gemma and Bee on Aspen vacations, offers VIP passes to Cirque du Soleil, and pays for dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants. For Gemma, who lives paycheck to paycheck, Ruth’s largesse is seductive, but as the years go by, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s accruing an increasingly unpayable debt. When Ruth’s affair with a married Hillside dad is exposed, and she’s publicly shunned, Gemma uses it to sever ties with Ruth. Six years later, when Gemma finds herself embroiled in a scandal of her own—Ruth comes to her defense. Their renewed friendship rehabilitates their reputations, but once again, Gemma starts to feel trapped as Ruth grows more and more obsessed with their relationship. A relentless page-turner, Did I Say You Could Go is the story of friendships steeped in lies and duplicity. It’s about two families who, when pushed to extremes, cross the line with devastating results.

The Wedding Veil


Kristy Woodson HarveyKristy Woodson Harvey
    One family heirloom. A secret connection that will change their lives—and history as they know it. Present Day: Julia Baxter’s wedding veil, bequeathed to her great-grandmother by a mysterious woman on a train in the 1930s, has passed through generations of her family as a symbol of a happy marriage. But on the morning of her wedding day, something tells her that even the veil’s good luck isn’t enough to make her marriage last forever. Overwhelmed and panicked, she escapes to the Virgin Islands to clear her head. Meanwhile, her grandmother Babs is also feeling shaken. Still grieving the death of her beloved husband, she decides to move out of the house they once shared and into a retirement community. Though she hopes it’s a new beginning, she does not expect to run into an old flame, dredging up the same complicated emotions she felt a lifetime ago. 1914: Socialite Edith Vanderbilt is struggling to manage the luxurious Biltmore Estate after the untimely death of her cherished husband. With 250 rooms to oversee and an entire village dependent on her family to stay afloat, Edith is determined to uphold the Vanderbilt legacy—and prepare her free-spirited daughter Cornelia to inherit it—in spite of her family’s deteriorating financial situation. But Cornelia has dreams of her own. Asheville, North Carolina has always been her safe haven away from the prying eyes of the press, but as she explores more of the rapidly changing world around her, she’s torn between upholding tradition and pursuing the exciting future that lies beyond Biltmore’s gilded gates. In the vein of Therese Anne Fowler’s A Well-Behaved Woman and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown, The Wedding Veil brings to vivid life a group of remarkable women forging their own paths—and explores the mystery of a national heirloom lost to time.

The Unsinkable Greta James


Jennifer E. SmithJennifer E. Smith - 2022
    Smith.Greta James's meteoric rise to indie stardom was hard-won. Before she graced magazine covers and sold out venues, she spent her girlhood strumming her guitar in the family garage. Her first fan was her mother, Helen, whose face shone bright in the dusty downtown bars where she got her start--but not everyone encouraged Greta to follow her dreams. While many daydream about a crowd chanting their name, her father, Conrad, saw only a precarious life ahead for his daughter. Greta has spent her life trying to prove him wrong, but three months after Helen's sudden death, and weeks before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta has an onstage meltdown that goes viral. Attempting to outrun the humiliation and heartbreak, she reluctantly agrees to accompany her father on a week-long Alaskan cruise, the very one that her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. This could be the James family's last chance to heal old wounds and will prove to be a voyage of discovery for them, as well as for Ben Wilder, a historian also struggling with a major upheaval in his life. Ben is on board to lecture about Jack London's The Call of the Wild, the adventure story Greta's mother adored, and he captures Greta's attention after her streak of dating hanger-ons. As Greta works to build up her confidence and heal, and Ben confronts his uncertain future, they must rely on one another to make sense of life’s difficult choices. In the end, Greta must make the most challenging decision of all: to listen to the song within her or make peace with those who love her.

West End Girls


Jenny Colgan - 2006
    They may be twin sisters, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites - Penny is blonde, thin and outrageous; Lizzie quiet, thoughtful and definitely not thin. The one trait they do share is a desire to DO something with their lives, and as far as they are concerned, the place to get noticed is London. Out of the blue they discover they have a grandmother living in Chelsea - and when she has to go into hospital, they find themselves flat-sitting on the King's Road. But, as they discover, it's not as easy to become It Girls as they'd imagined, and west end boys aren't at all like Hugh Grant ...