BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WHAT HAPPENS IN PARADISE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book that has been on my Kindle since 2019, the second in a trilogy:  What Happens in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand.

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Beginning:

(Irene)

She wakes up facedown on a beach.  Someone is calling her name.

Irene!”

She lifts her head and feels her cheek and lips dusted with sand so white and fine, it might be powdered sugar.

***

Friday 56:

He’s almost more nervous about calling her than about calling the FBI.  He is more nervous about calling her because he has no idea how the conversation will go.

***

Synopsis:  A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life—and death—of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of America’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.

***

I have read the first book in this trilogy, and the second and third are still waiting.  Should I keep reading?  Would you?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE NEW WIFE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my new books:  The New Wife, by Sue Watson.

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Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

I’ll never forget the way she looked—the sun behind her like a halo, the fitted, ivory satin gown, long, glossy blonde hair coiled and twisted down her back.

***

Friday 56:

Suddenly, there was something in the road, a moorland sheep wandering into the lights of the car.  I yelped and jumped on the brakes, my chest pumping.

***

Synopsis:

My darling son, Sam, is marrying his childhood sweetheart and I couldn’t be prouder of the man he’s grown into. Walking out on his abusive father all those years ago was the best thing I ever did. And today he stands, tall and handsome, saying ‘I do’ to my dream daughter-in-law. If I hadn’t pushed them together all those years ago, he might never have found a girl as perfect as Lauren. It’s true what they say, mother always knows best.

But weeks later, Lauren is dead and police cars fill the driveway of their idyllic countryside home. As they question Sam, I sense he’s hiding something. Why won’t he look me in the eye? And who does he rush off to meet as soon as the police are gone?

Desperate, I do what every good mother would do: I let myself into Sam and Lauren’s bedroom. What I see, I will never be able to forget. My son’s beautiful new wife was hiding a dangerous secret. Can I clear my son’s name? And could my life be in danger now too?

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WAY WE WEREN’T”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my new downloads:  The Way We Weren’t, by Phoebe Fox.

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Book Beginning:

(Before)

It’s his hands that let her know everything is going to be okay after all.

***

Friday 56: (Marcie)

Marcie pressed her left hand, the phone still in her right, up against the side of the weathered gray building until she felt splinters pierce her skin.

***

Synopsis:

Marcie Malone didn’t think she was either, but when she drives from Georgia to the southwestern shore of Florida without a plan and wakes up in a stranger’s home, she doesn’t seem to know anymore. Despondent and heartbroken over an unexpected loss and the man she thought she could count on, Marcie leaves him behind, along with her job and her whole life, and finds she has nowhere to go.

Herman Flint has seen just about everything in his seventy years living in a fading, blue-collar Florida town, but the body collapsed on the beach outside his window is something new. The woman is clearly in some kind of trouble and Flint wants no part of it—he’s learned to live on his own just fine, without the hassle of worrying about others. But against his better judgment he takes Marcie in and lets her stay until she’s on her feet on the condition she keeps out of his way.

As the unlikely pair slowly copes with the damage life has wrought, Marcie and Flint have to decide whether to face up to the past they’ve each been running from, and find a way to move forward with the people they care about most.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my newest books:  What To Do When Someone Dies, by Nicci French.

***

Book Beginning:

Moments when your life changes:  there will always be a before and an after, separated, perhaps, by a knock at the door.  I had been interrupted.  I was tidying up.  I had cleared up yesterday’s newspapers, old envelopes, scraps of paper, left them in the basket by the grate ready to make a fire after supper.

***

Friday 56:

“There’s nothing to tell,” I said, as I sat in the chair he pulled out for me.  “There wasn’t anything strange.”

***

Synopsis:

Ellie Falkner’s world has been destroyed. Her husband, Greg, died in a car crash—and he wasn’t alone. In the passenger seat was the body of Milena Livingstone, a woman Ellie’s never heard of. But Ellie refuses to leap to the obvious conclusion, despite the whispers and suspicions of those around her. Maybe it’s the grief, but Ellie has to find out who this woman was—and prove Greg wasn’t having an affair. And soon she is chillingly certain their deaths were no accident.

Are Ellie’s accusations of murder her way of avoiding the truth about her marriage? Or does an even more sinister discovery await her?

***

I love this author, so I’m eager to dive in.  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FORGIVE ME”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I purchased in January 2021: Forgive Me, by Susan Lewis.

***

Book Beginning:

(Prologue)

You know how it goes, some people you like and some you just don’t.  I can tell you this much, you’re not going to like me. No one does.  I don’t even like myself, especially not after what I did.  Not even before it, really.

***

Friday 56:

Disappointingly she was bumped through to voicemail, so she left a message.  “Hi, my name’s Andee Lawrence.  Leanne Delaney gave me your number.  I was hoping to talk to you about some drapes that I need made in a hurry….”

***

Synopsis:

In prison, Archie Colbrook spends his time writing letters. Letters addressed to a person against whom he committed terrible, nameless harm. Archie knows he doesn’t deserve forgiveness. Yes, he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and sure, he was only following orders. But does that matter? He still did it.

In a small coastal town of Northern England, Claudia Winters hopes to feel safe for the first time in years after fleeing from her abusive husband with her mother and daughter. Their new life is supposed to be a fresh start. But Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long—and she can’t help but feel that someone is watching her. And that something terrible is about to happen.

Linked by one irrevocable act of violence, Archie and Claudia’s lives intertwine. Claudia can’t overlook what Archie did to her family—but is forgiveness the only way to truly move on?

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE UNHEARD”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a new purchase:  The Unheard, by Nicci French.

***

Book Beginning:

People say you can’t die in your dreams but last night I felt I was going to die.  I was falling, like she fell, and it was just before I hit the concrete—dark, rushing up at me—that I woke, gasping, sweating.  I hadn’t got away.  It was happening again.

***

Friday 56:

He was using his patient voice.  It made me want to shout.  I smiled instead, through gritted teeth.

***

Synopsis:

Maybe Tess is overprotective, but passing her daughter off to her ex and his new young wife fills her with a sense of dread. It’s not that Jason is a bad father—it just hurts to see him enjoying married life with someone else. Still, she owes it to her daughter Poppy to make this arrangement work.

But Poppy returns from the weekend tired and withdrawn. And when she shows Tess a crayon drawing—an image so simple and violent that Tess can hardly make sense of it——Poppy can only explain with the words, “He did kill her.”

Something is horribly wrong. Tess is certain Poppy saw something—or something happened to her—that she’s too young to understand. Jason insists the weekend went off without a hitch. Doctors advise that Poppy may be reacting to her parents’ separation. And as the days go on, even Poppy’s disturbing memory seems to fade. But a mother knows her daughter, and Tess is determined to discover the truth. Her search will set off an explosive tempest of dark secrets and buried crimes—and more than one life may be at stake.

***

What do you think?  I know I can’t wait to read it!

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE DUTCH HOUSE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I bought in September 2019. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett.  I thought I would have read it by now…but here we are.

***

Book Beginnings:

The first time our father brought Andrea to the Dutch House, Sandy, our housekeeper, came to my sister’s room and told us to come downstairs.  “Your father has a friend he wants you to meet,” she said.

***

Friday 56:

Bright laughed but then Norma ran out of the room in tears, suddenly understanding what taking Maeve’s room might mean to Maeve.  Maeve watched her go and I could see on her face she wasn’t sure whom she should be comforting:  Norma? Sandy? Me?

***

Synopsis:

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

***

What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “LAST GIRL GHOSTED”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is one of my newest books:  Last Girl Ghosted, by Lisa Unger.

***

Book Beginnings:

(Prologue – Mia)

Mia Thorpe drove, the road ahead of her long and twisting.  Dark.  She’d been driving on and off for two days, was stiff and bleary-eyed from the trip.  She’d stopped last night at a motel for a fitful sleep, half-waiting for word from Raife that didn’t come.

***

Friday 56:

That picture of you.  So far, I haven’t admitted that I know you.  In fact, I haven’t said much at all.

***

Synopsis:

She met him through a dating app. An intriguing picture on a screen, a date at a downtown bar. What she thought might be just a quick hookup quickly became much more. She fell for him—hard. It happens sometimes, a powerful connection with a perfect stranger takes you by surprise. Could it be love?

But then, just as things were getting real, he stood her up. Then he disappeared—profiles deleted, phone disconnected. She was ghosted.

Maybe it was her fault. She shared too much, too fast. But isn’t that always what women think—that they’re the ones to blame? Soon she learns there were others. Girls who thought they were in love. Girls who later went missing. She had been looking for a connection, but now she’s looking for answers. Chasing a digital trail into his dark past—and hers—she finds herself on a dangerous hunt. And she’s not sure whether she’s the predator—or the prey.

***

Would you keep reading?  I can’t wait to start!

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book that has been languishing on my Kindle for more than a year:  Always the Last to Know, by Kristan Higgins.

***

Book Beginning:

(Sadie)

“You’re engaged?  Oh! Uh…huzzah!”

Yes.  I had just said huzzah.

You know what?  I couldn’t blame myself.  Another engagement among the teachers of St. Catherine’s Catholic Elementary School in the Bronx.  The fifth this year, and yes, I was counting.

***

Friday 56:

(John)

The years have rushed by in a river.  There’s an old man living in his room.  John isn’t sure who he is.  His wife doesn’t notice.  It’s not his grandfather, but he looks familiar.  He’d ask his wife, but he can’t make words come out.

***

Synopsis:

The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.

Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.

Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.

And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.

***

Would you keep reading?  I waited a long time to begin, but now I’m immersed in this one.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BRAVE GIRL, QUIET GIRL”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.

Today’s feature is a book I bought in June 2020, and now I have brought it forward on my Kindle:  Brave Girl, Quiet Girl, by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

***

Beginning:

Brooke:  Shattered

It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy.  Which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty bad enough.  And some leftover feelings from the odd conversation I’d had with the young woman at my daughter’s new day care might have factored in.

***

Friday 56:

Part of me had been genuinely concerned for her.  And them.  I think.  Another big part of me was just avoiding steering the conversation to my own truths.

***

Synopsis:

Brooke is a divorced single mom, financially strapped, living with her mother, and holding tight to the one thing that matters most: her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Then, in a matter of seconds, Brooke’s life is shattered when she’s carjacked. Helpless and terrified, all Brooke can do is watch as Etta, still strapped in her seat, disappears into the Los Angeles night.

Miles away, Etta is found by Molly, a homeless teen who is all too used to darkness. Thrown away by her parents, and with a future as stable as the wooden crate she calls home, Molly survives day to day by her wits. As unpredictable as her life is, she’s stunned to find Etta, abandoned and alone. Shielding the little girl from more than the elements, Molly must put herself in harm’s way to protect a child as lost as she is.

Out of one terrible moment, Brooke’s and Molly’s desperate paths converge and an unlikely friendship across generations and circumstances is formed. With it, Brooke and Molly will come to discover that what’s lost—and what’s found—can change in a heartbeat.

***

What do you think?  I have overlooked this book for a while, so I’m grateful I found it again.

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