Confessions From The Quilting Circle
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
Mills & Boon
(4 May 2021)
It takes secrets of the heart to unlock their future The Ashwood sisters have never had anything in common. Except their ability to keep secrets. But when their grandmother dies they must all return to their hometown to clear her estate… and face up to the reasons they all left. Lark has been running away from her past for years. But now finally she must face up to the secret she's been hiding…and the man she's never stopped loving? Hannah spent her whole childhood dreaming of escaping and she plans to leave as soon as she can. Until she comes face to face with the only man who's ever been able to distract her… Avery has built the perfect life in her hometown. But can she carry on paying the price of perfection? Or will the support of her sisters help her find a different version of perfect? The Ashwood family must learn to heal. But first they must learn to trust each other like never before…
The heartwarming, feel-good romance of 2021 of family secrets and finding your happy ever after. Perfect for fans of Veronica Henry and Robyn Carr’s Virgin River.
A book about strong women and their relationships with a family set of dynamics. Being multi-generational we see issues from many different different viewpoints. The skills and emotional mindsets of the different characters also combine to enliven the storyline.
Quilting Circles are quite traditional in certain areas within the USA. In fact, the Encyclopaedia of the Great Plains University says that quilting served as a means to connect women within the Great Plains. They connected them also with their past homelands especially through using traditional patterns, and they also gave women an ‘acceptable’ creative outlet as the object they were making was practical. Quilts would be made, as with rag rugs, from scraps of fabric from discarded clothing. No piece of fabric could be discarded as it was too expensive to purchase new.
Quilts were given to mark important life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, a family member leaving home, or graduations. And often had particular patterns associated. For instance, for a marriage the quilt might be of interlocking rings: this was thought to come to America through German immigrants, as during an engagement the man wore one ring, the woman the other, and after marriage she wore both.
Another type of quilt, often made now, is as a going away to University/College gift. Fabric from the child’s clothing through the years would be put together in a suitable pattern (or not – there is a ‘Crazy’ pattern) as a reminder of home life and family.
Modern quilts are often pieces of exquisite art and not intended for use on a bed, but rather as a wall hanging, and may have applique and embroidery on them.
Here the Quilt is used as the device that brings the family of women together and enables their reconciliation and sharing of secrets brought about by the trust engendered in sharing of a delicate craft.
The Start Up Wife
Women's fiction, Contemporary fiction
3 Jun 2021
A quirky, funny, deeply intelligent story of love, big dreams, starting up and feminist geekdom
Halfway through her PhD and already dreaming of running her own lab, computer scientist Asha has her future all mapped out. Then a chance meeting and whirlwind romance with her old high-school crush, Cyrus, changes everything.
Dreaming big, together with their friend Jules they come up with a revolutionary idea: to build a social networking app that could bring meaning to millions of lives. While Asha creates an ingenious algorithm, Cyrus’ charismatic appeal throws him into the spotlight.
When the app explodes into the next big thing, Asha should be happy, shouldn’t she? But why does she feel invisible in the boardroom of her own company? Why are decisions being made without her? Gripping, witty and razor-sharp, The Startup Wife is a blistering novel about big ambitions, speaking out and standing up for what you believe in.
So this is a story with several morals – and the two images above tell you what you need to know about the story.
If you are feminist you will understand the first, and if you are a doubter and believer in destiny and that actions have consequences, then the second will resonate with you.
Both are true of this story. With start with idealism and then capitalism rears up and the ideals are distorted or ignores.
Three friends, Asha and Cyrus are a couple and their gay friend Jules, start up a business together whereby she undertakes the coding, Cyrus fronts the business and Jules manages it and undertakes the other stuff. It is a digital death cafe whereby you can curate your own funeral, but it is also a way to create through the app your own celebration of anything from a dog’s birthday, to marriage, to naming ceremonies to….
Cyrus is a philosopher of the ultimate and a guru to the millions who use the app, he knows many different religions and is always curious about rituals and beliefs and all of these are added to the app’s database by Asha. Asha is the genius in the background who codes brilliantly but is unknown to the many users. Gradually she becomes the wife who is never seen or heard but is necessary for the genius of her husband as without her there is no app.
As a non-religious person who vaguely belongs in the humanist camp I have already curated my own funeral. And it would certainly have been simpler using an app with a database of rituals; and having also attended a death cafe I understand why people would bond around particular rituals and beliefs. So the idea behind the app was not unfamiliar territory. But I can well see there becoming a Guru attached as many of the meditation apps try to suck you in this way with their designers wanting you buy more and attend classes and and and.
I thought this book resonated with our time and the way we use apps to reassure us in our way of belief and life. It was well written and gradually you come to realise the trap that Asha has fallen into that so many wives do behind ‘great’ men.
Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning.
by Stacy Fisher
Nonfiction (Adult) | Travel
Pub Date 5 Dec 2020
Have you ever faced a life-changing decision?
You won’t always know you’re ready until you’re ready, but when you’re ready, you’ll go.
When it became clear that my marriage was ending, I felt paralyzed and overwhelmed. In an attempt to simplify my life, I bought a Sprinter van, pared down my possessions to only what would fit inside it, and set out on a spontaneous drive across the country to explore new possibilities for my life.
Travel is good medicine.
During my cross-country trip, I grieved. I wrestled with forgiveness. And I slowly reclaimed my sense of personal sovereignty.
LivingUpp is a participant in affiliate programs, which means we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases on affiliate links to Amazon.
In Go: One Woman. One Van. A New Beginning*, I share some of my greatest lessons from the road, and how I transitioned from living in survival mode to becoming the designer of my life.
This is a true story told by the author about her drive and stay in a van to find where she would go next after her divorce – her 2nd as it happens.
Initially, she just had the bare van – with nothing in it but some furniture for a sink – with 2 bottles of water – fresh and grey in the cupboard under it and a camping mattress and boxes of her belongings.
She was lucky in that as she travelled from Washington State to Florida in this van, she had friends she could call into to have a night on a real bed and a proper shower rather than any that she could find in a campsite. She did have plenty of experience of camping and van type travelling luckily, even though her van was not tricked out properly. By the end of her journey her van looked more like the one pictured above as she had some building work done and also she and her Dad did some work on it.
What surprised me, being in the UK, was that she had lots of doctor visits before she set off as travelling from state to state on her journey she had no health care insurance if anything happened to her. I am so thankful for our health service and the arrangements we have in Europe too…
One thing I found very interesting, and that made me realise that I needed, was her daily habit of journaling. Gratitude journaling. I had heard about it before but as someone who has survived what could have been an extremely serious illness and is now still unwell and will need to take a lot of care for the rest of my life, I need to work more on gratitude and less on negativity as to what has been taken away from me. Her 8 dimensions of self-care are also interesting as I been told to take more time on my self-care by several health professionals, so it was interesting to see what she means by it.
Stacy lives and talks about her self-care and has a website that she plugs but overall I was disappointed that her van journey was short and whilst she ‘explored’ on her journey, the places she visited were really obvious tourist sites.
This could have been a better book in my opinion as Stacy really uses it to plug her business and I wonder about her motivation in writing it and whether she had decided to do this before she started the journey. But still the style was good and easy to read.
STACY FISHER is a registered dietitian, lifestyle coach, health & travel writer, and speaker with more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. As the founder of LivingUpp, she teaches women how to build a solid self-care foundation using a unique framework and planning system that she developed. Her methodology empowers women to simplify their lifestyles, so they can experience more ease and better health. Stacy has been featured in The Costco Connection and is the author of three other books, including The Lifestyle Design Planner.
How Not to Fake Marry a Billionaire
(How Not to Marry a Billionaire, #2)
by Ashlee Mallory
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
Publication date: May 17th 2021
People say I’m smart.
Probably because I have a PhD in astrophysics and am on the cusp of publishing a theory that just might change our perception of the known universe.
The verdict, however, is still out for me.
After all, I fell for a colleague who broke my heart and then stole the grant money from the Camella Franklin Foundation that had been funding my research. Did I mention he’s also engaged to Camella Franklin?
Then the gorgeous and charming billionaire Colin Fitzgerald came to me with a proposal that might just change my life.
A marriage in name only in return for the grant money needed to fund my research.
Marrying a hot billionaire wouldn’t be so bad, right?
Except that from the moment I laid eyes on the guy, it felt like the stars had aligned and I had actually met my destiny. He, on the other hand, had been totally in love with my best friend.
But, as people say, I’m smart. I wouldn’t do anything so foolish as to fall in love with my fake husband.
“Excuse me, but I’m looking for Holly Mazinski,” said someone with a distinctively British accent.
I whirled around and stared at the guy standing in the door, looking all tall and dignified and sexy—yes, definitely sexy. I blinked my eyes as if to clear them from this possible apparition. Could Colin Fitzgerald actually be standing in the doorway of my office here in Tucson? Jane’s Colin, who she’d dated as part of her operation to marry a billionaire that ended with his proposal—that’s right, for marriage—and her ultimate rejection? Twice?
As I pondered this, Colin’s gaze swept the room. When he saw me, his mouth curved into a smile that made my stomach feel like a dozen circus monkeys were flipping somersaults inside.
Yeah, so I kind of liked him. A lot.
“Holly. There you are.”
I sat frozen in my seat as he walked into the room. Our prior two meetings in Hawaii—once when he came to pick Jane up for a date and the other when I had a sort of weird double date with him, Jane, and Jane’s bartender—had both left me tongue-tied in his presence.
“Colin. Hi,” I croaked out.
It was safe to say that today was not going to be any different.
He stood in front of me, close enough that I could see the warmth in those lovely light blue eyes made lighter by the sky-blue sweater he wore. He’d had a haircut since I last saw him, shorter on the sides but a bit messy on top and swept over in a casual but sexy style. His jawline had a hint of stubble that hadn’t erased the slight indent in his chin or the perfection of those lips that any Italian artist worth his salt would beg to chisel onto a sculpture of a god.
I looked away to get my bearings, settling on the breadth of his shoulders—which might have been a mistake.
“Are you going to introduce us to your guest, Holly?” Katrina asked, poking me in the side.
Right. Introductions. “Colin, this is Katrina.”
“How do you do?” Colin said in his delectable accent and nodded in greeting.
“And that’s Remy and Julia,” I continued while each of them waved in greeting. I stopped when I reached George and Camella. George had a funny look on his face as he stepped forward and held his hand out to Colin. “George McConnell. And this is my fiancée, Camella Franklin.”
Colin turned to me and I saw a wave of understanding cross his face as he met my gaze. He’d been there in Hawaii after I heard the news of their engagement and knew how devastated I’d been.
With barely more than a nod to George, Colin trained his attention on me. “I’m terribly sorry to bother you while you’re at work, but I thought that our discussion might better be handled in person.” He checked his very expensive-looking watch. “It’s almost lunchtime. Would you care to grab something to eat?”
I blinked a few more times before Katrina jabbed me again. “Lunch? Yes, I could probably get away for a few minutes.”
I was still confused about why he would have come all the way here to seek me out. I knew that he’d arrived at Jane’s office in Legal Aid last week and renewed his marriage proposal and been shot down. I had assumed that he would have returned to England by now or wherever he usually did whatever work a billionaire did. Unlike Jane, I didn’t know much about this particular handsome billionaire and hadn’t seen any reason to, other than…
A new possibility hit me. Could he be here to discuss the email? I’d sent it last week and hadn’t heard a word since.
Well, I could sit here for another five minutes ruminating on the reason or just get my butt out of the chair and follow him.
Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.
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Once upon a time there were a series of books about women living in the Regency period who dared. Who dared each other to do something somewhat scandalous in that period of time. There are 12 books in this series – and another series just starting about their daughters. [You should be aware that due to timing of babies and that one marriage had 8 children, daughters were being born just as the oldest daughters were being married – not that wasn’t unusual in those days, it happened to my own grandmother!]
The books are of course rather feminist in tone and include women who dare to break the conventions – to begin with because the original set of ladies were unconventional – bookworms, unmarriageable due to birth circumstances, and so on. So they formed a club – The Peculiar Ladies. Note that birth circumstances in that time included being Irish or Scottish as well as partly Indian, illegitimate, without a dowry etc etc and definitely including having some intelligence and showing it. Remember, this was a time when the law made women effectively chattels. Once married they were ‘owned’ by their husbands. There was no law to protect them from any abuse, their property was controlled by their husbands unless it was legally tied up before their marriage as some fathers did, and opinions were things they should not have. Some men went so far as to forbid their wives to read because it meant they might form their own opinions rather than accepting his.
Now 12 books is too many to review. Suffice to say they are all fun, include some naughty Bridgerton scenes, and I shall indicate by an image for each one, the denouement or a keen clue.
I thought I would just add a rider about marriage and the 3 ways you could marry in Regency times.
According to the Marriage Act of 1754 you could:
Call Banns in a church where you were a congregant. as now.
Have a Special Licence – which enabled you to marry in haste. Archbishop of Canterbury and allowed a marriage to take place anywhere, not just within a place of worship licenced for marriages. A handful were granted each year, usually to members of the upper reaches of the aristocracy. See Jane Austen’s London for more details of Marriage in Regency times.
Obtain a Commons Licence. this was normally issued by one of the following – an Archbishop, an Archdeacon, the Minister of a named parish such as St Paul’s. You went to Doctor’s Commons in London for the Registry. There needed to be no impediments. You had to be over age of consent for marriage. Sometimes you had to provide a money bond. And in theory you needed to be resident in the Parish where you were to be married, for 4 weeks – but often ignored.