I don’t read much Irish fiction, I don’t read much chick lit, and I’m not generally a fan of sibling series (sorry, Mackade, MacKerrick, and all other MacHunkyBrothers fans!) – but when Jen asked me to write about a series I love, I immediately thought of Irish author Marian Keyes and her series of novels about the Irish Walsh sisters.
WATERMELON – which isn’t much of a title, if you ask me (though the many editors who’ve rejected what I thought were perfectly good titles for my own novels might disagree) – and I nearly passed it up because I thought the cover was, well, a bit too frothy for a serious reader like myself.
But then I started to read, and within half a page I was hooked. I don’t know if I put that book down once – I read it at the breakfast table, in the carpool lane, at the gym, and I even read it out loud to my then-much-younger daughter at bedtime. As soon as it was over I picked up the next in the series. As I write this, I believe I’ve talked myself into starting over again at the beginning.
Lately, it’s become more common to see “difficult” themes in romantic fiction – even, and perhaps especially, that written for young adults. But a decade ago it was still rare. I was a fan of addiction memoirs at the time, but I’d never read a story like RACHEL’S HOLIDAY, which managed to be hilarious even though the main character steadfastly refuses to believe in her own addiction. The sisters battle jealousy – career and romantic – and estrangement and tragedy and delusion and a host of other issues that plague “real” families. Because I tend to focus on very dark themes, people are occasionally surprised to see me reading lighter women’s fiction. But I cherish the gentle, wry, very human characters who populate the novels of writers like Keyes – and Rachael Herron and Kristan Higgins and Marisa de los Santos and Elinor Lipman. I’m a cynic with a gimlet eye for human failing, but even I occasionally need to be reminded that love – with all of its awkwardness, unlikeliness, and even heartbreak – is not only possible, it’s inevitable.
Thanks so much to Sophie Littlefield for sharing her favorites with me. I asked Sophie to participate in this feature because her Aftertime trilogy rocked my socks off. A post-apocalyptic world with zombies sets the backdrop for a very character-driven, wrenching story. Now, you can give both Sophie's books and her recommendation a try. Just enter the Rafflecopter forms below for a chance to win Watermelon or the Aftertime trilogy. US only please.
Be sure to check out all of the Favorites From My Favorites posts and giveaways this month, by clicking here.
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