7 Women’s Fiction Books To Unwind With

Women’s fiction gets a bad rap. I think maybe because of the name people get turned off. Personally, I love women’s fiction. I enjoy reading about things women my own age go through. The books discussed below definitely reflect that. I think it’s okay to be a proud reader of books aimed at women, at this version of contemporary fiction. Each of the books below was a pretty quick read and honestly, I enjoyed each book in it’s own way and fashion.

Also: FYI as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Personally, I love women's fiction. I enjoy reading about things women my own age go through. The books discussed below definitely reflect that. I think it's okay to be a proud reader of books aimed at women, at this version of contemporary fiction.

The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas

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The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas really scratched an itch for me. I am kind of at the point where I just want to read nothing but contemporary fiction this summer. And so, this book totally fits the bill. It’s one that I probably would not entirely have sought out on my own if I did not have it on my Netgalley queue requiring review. However, I actually am REALLY glad I read this book.

Thomas’s The Future She Left Behind features Katelyn, a 40 year old divorcee. She’s just been served divorce papers by her husband Don who is currently away for business in another country. And oh by the way, he cheated on her too. Multiple times. So, Katelyn makes the decision to drive home from St. Louis to Little Springs, Texas where she was born and raised. Only, her ex-mother in law is coming with her. Shirley, the mother in law, is forgetful and there’s no one really to take care of her so, Katelyn takes that responsibility on.

Once in Texas, Katelyn stays at her childhood home with her mother, Birdie. She’s decided to give Birdie a break from her job by working Birdie’s shifts at the Bag & Go grocery store while she figures out where to go next and how to handle the divorce. Meanwhile, Katelyn is also reconnecting with an old flame, Jackson. Speaking of flames, sparks ignite for Shirley too.

The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas really scratched an itch for me. I am kind of at the point where I just want to read nothing but contemporary fiction this summer. And so, this book totally fits the bill.

So, this book is a gentle, fun read. It’s about a small town peopled with eccentric, good people. There really isn’t any over the top drama. It is all about women (and a man) who just come into their own. For Katelyn, she discovers her old passion for art again and gives herself permission to create and make mistakes. I think that some people might find this book boring. But for others who want a good, low key read about characters, this is really going to fill that craving. I personally LOVED it.

California Summer by Anita Hughes

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California Summer by Anita Hughes seemed like it would be the kind of book that would be perfect to read out on the deck and kick off summer. It’s got this great cover with some real beach vibes. As it turns out, this book is okay but I just never jived perfectly with it.

California Summer follows Rosie who was this up and coming producer in Hollywood along with her longtime boyfriend, Ben. Only one day she comes home after scouting a location and the sheets are mused in a way that reveals Ben has slept with another woman. Ben has had an affair and so, Rosie runs away to the home of a friend’s parents in Montecito where she goes to lick her wounds. There, Rosie rediscovers a passion for cooking. She also discovers another man, a surfer named Josh.

So, okay, I loved the setting of this book. That was incredibly well written. I haven’t really had much of a desire to go to California before reading this. I think that Hughes really makes the setting seem so lush and warm and lovely. However, I just was not a big fan of Rosie. She comes across as kind of pathetic and hung up on this guy who isn’t worth it. I mean, maybe that is also the pitfall of comparison to the previous book I read. In the other book, the woman who is cheated on finds an old passion but never once is she hell bent on getting back together with the cheater.

California Summer by Anita Hughes seemed like it would be the kind of book that would be perfect to read out on the deck and kick off summer.

I guess this book is easy and breezy. It does go quick and you could probably read it all in one sitting. However, I just did not end up feeling any real depth or emotions. But, if you like a good setting book, you may like California Summer more than I did.


The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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What Did I Think Of The Bride Test?

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is set in the same universe as The Kiss Quotient and it proves that Hoang is not just some flash in the pan author. Her talent is genuine. This story follows Esme and Khai. Esme is essentially a janitor working in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam supporting her daughter and mother. She’s basically a single mother. Anyways, one day she happens to receive this opportunity to go to America and seduce Khai, this one woman’s son because Khai’s mother seems to think he’ll never get married and be forever alone. So, Esme takes the opportunity (it is a bit more complex than that) and flies out to California and ends up living with Khai while also attending all the weddings with him and working in his mother’s restaurant. Now, Khai is autistic and only speaks English. He can understand Vietnamese though. Meanwhile, Esme only speaks Vietnamese and understands English, but she wants to learn, badly.


For Esme, this is a huge chance to change her life around. And well, she ends up falling hard for Khai. Except, he doesn’t seem to reciprocate her feelings. I can’t really say anything at all about rep. But, I will say, I loved this book. I thought Esme’s character was very well written and so admirable. Her drive to obtain an education and make something of herself was so cool to read. I really rooted for her. And then Khai, I rooted for him as well. He makes some pretty big realizations. I think if you like character driven, you will for sure like The Bride Test. Also, definitely would recommend both books via audio.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook of The Bride Test is narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. I am kind of neutral with her narration. There’s some books that she’s narrated that I love and some that I could take or leave. Blessedly, The Bride Test is a book that I loved. Granted, again, this is an audiobook that I listened to at 2x speed, because I think Zeller’s narration tends to be really slow. However, it was worth the listen. I think I liked this as much as I enjoyed listening to The Kiss Quotient. The audiobook is ten hours long. It’s very compelling and honestly Zeller does a superb job bringing the story to life. Plus, it was good to listen to because I was questioning how to pronounce things in the book and it was awesome to know how they should be pronounced.

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

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What Did I Think of Waiting For Tom Hanks?

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey is a super cute, super quick read. Was it earth shattering and life changing? No, definitely not. However, it is easy to follow and easy to like. For me, it probably suffers a little bit in comparison to The Friend Zone which I had read within like a week or two of Waiting For Tom Hanks. So, inevitably, I was comparing books of the same genre.

Winfrey’s book is about a writer named Annie who is obsessed with romantic comedies. She grew up watching them with her mom. So, she expects to have a love story that is similar to a romantic comedy and will not settle for less. Anyways, one day Annie has an encounter with this movie star named Drew who has come to town to star in a romantic comedy. Annie decides she cannot stand Drew. Unfortunately for her, she ends up working as an assistant on the movie and has to work a lot with Drew. As all romantic comedies go, the hate ends up turning into something that absolutely does not look like hate.


Well, I liked all the references to movies that I love. I thought it was funny how Annie is so determined to live her life that way. And then there’s a part of me that thinks, we all deserve a great love story and for someone to treat us excellently. So, I could get behind her state of mind and life in Waiting For Tom Hanks. Also, Annie’s Uncle is a treasure. Most of the side characters are great in this book.

How’s The Narration?

The audiobook of Waiting For Tom Hanks is narrated by Rachel L. Jacobs and is 8 hours 33 minutes long. Of course, I listened to this sped up and in a single day. Jacobs does a great job voicing Annie — making her sound a bit on the young side and kind of naive. But still, nailing her growth as a character. I’d for sure recommend this audiobook.

In This Moment by Karma Brown

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One of my favorite people in the world, my dear friend Allison is a massive Karma Brown fan. So I have been meaning to get to her books for what feels like forever. Finally I got the chance to just sit down and read In This Moment by Karma Brown. The experience was one that I am absolutely willing to repeat. I am so glad that I waited to read this book and read it while I am married with a kid. It just makes it so much easier to relate to the main character and what she’s experiencing in the plot.

In This Moment follows Meg Pepper who is driving her daughter Audrey to a dentist appointment after school when she makes a terrible mistake. She waves a boy, Jack, to cross the road in front of her car. Unfortunately, a driver in the opposite lane doesn’t see Jack and hits him. It’s a horrific accident and Meg blames herself for what happens. The repercussions of this spread throughout Meg’s life, impacting her work as well as her marriage. Meg is unable to focus at work and finds herself screwing up. Meanwhile, she finds herself not maintaining healthy boundaries and trying to do more and more to help Jack’s family – including forming a bit of an unhealthy attachment/friendship with his father Andrew.

And well, the accident brings up some trauma from Meg’s teenage years that it looks like she hasn’t ever really processed. So, Meg is losing sleep. Her daughter is acting in an uncharacteristic way. Plus, she’s feeling distant from her husband, Ryan.

Finally I got the chance to just sit down and read In This Moment by Karma Brown. The experience was one that I am absolutely willing to repeat.

I really enjoyed my time reading this book. The chapters are short. Meg is so compelling – the woman just needs a break. I can see how her exhaustion and overwhelmed state is driving a lot of her bad choices. Plus all the pressure she puts on herself. I loved her friendship with Julie. Also, how she batch cooks and how I should probably do that after learning how to cook. ALSO In This Moment is therapy positive which also very much appreciate. Definitely would recommend – particularly if you’re also an overwhelmed person – it’s great to wind down with.

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

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The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel is exactly what I wanted to read at the time I wanted to read. This book is a story of lost love and love reignited, set against the backdrop of a wedding in England. Of course I loved my time with The One That Got Away, although there’s just one small thing that bothered me while reading.

The One That Got Away follows Ruby Atlas, a thirty something NYC dweller who works in advertising. Ruby is heading to England for her sister Piper’s wedding. Unfortunately for Ruby, her ex boyfriend Ethan will be at the wedding as well, as Ethan is best friends with the groom, Charlie. So, the story goes back and forth between past and present leading up to why Ruby and Ethan broke up in the first place.

I’d say this book isn’t earth shattering or anything. It is supposedly a retelling of Persuasion, but there’s no Captain Wentworth letter. I can see how certain parts of the plot and characterization connect to the Jane Austen story, but for the most part, I’d say this is a very loose retelling without the best part (the letter). On the whole though, The One That Got Away is a quick, engaging light read and you will absolutely root for Ruby and Ethan.

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel is exactly what I wanted to read at the time I wanted to read. This book is a story of lost love and love reignited, set against the backdrop of a wedding in England.

The only thing I didn’t like was the reason Ruby and Ethan broke up as well as the blame Ruby carries. What happened is: [spoiler]Ruby went out for a drink with her boss, an older man. He kept plying her with alcohol and she basically wakes up drunk at his home and it turns out they slept together. To me, that’s a non consensual situation, but it wasn’t written like that. And I don’t feel the reaction to the situation is fair to Ruby.[/spoiler]

Definitely give this a book shot though if you want something light and easy.

The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

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The Choices We Make by Karma Brown really has quite the difficult to get through plot. I mean about 2/3 of the way through the book something happens that kind of put me off this book – which I guess is the whole point the story pivots around. Anyways, if you enjoy reading Jodi Piccoult, I guarantee you will enjoy this book. It has that same kind of ethical dilemma.

The Choices We Make is about two best friends – Kate and Hannah. Kate is a stay at home mother to two girls. Hannah is a recipe developer for a magazine and dealing with infertility. Kate who is too pure for this world offers to be a surrogate for Hannah as well as an egg donor. And so, she carries a baby for Hannah – going completely above and beyond for her friend. This book navigates that friendship and then navigates into when the unthinkable happens and how to handle it.

On the whole, this book didn’t quite jibe with me as much as In This Moment. I guess I just didn’t care for the twist. There were a lot of hints of what was going to happen. And I didn’t like at all how it played out. I feel somewhat emotionally manipulated into being sad over this book – sort of how I felt after two of Jodi Picoult’s books. The friendship between Kate and Hannah and the interactions with their respective spouses David and Ben were great and seemed realistic.


Overall The Choices We Make by Karma Brown is a quick read and even though I absolutely did not connect with it like I wanted to, there’s an audience. That audience is not me per se, but people who like ethical dilemmas and sad stories and tragedies.

The Choices We Make is about two best friends - Kate and Hannah. Kate is a stay at home mother to two girls. Hannah is a recipe developer for a magazine and dealing with infertility. Kate who is too pure for this world offers to be a surrogate for Hannah as well as an egg donor. And so, she carries a baby for Hannah - going completely above and beyond for her friend. This book navigates that friendship and then navigates into when the unthinkable happens and how to handle it.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. Nice list but… some of the romance ones don’t really look like women’s fiction to me. No matter.

Trackbacks

  1. […] is another book that had me itching to watch romantic comedies after reading it (kind of like Waiting For Tom Hanks). I am a sucker for a rom com and a sucker for exploration of many tropes. Plus, reading this book […]

  2. […] Yours by Kerry Winfrey Narrator: Patti Murin Length: 10 Hours 5 Minutes Also by this author: The Future She Left Behind Published by Penguin on November 5, 2021 Pages: 384 Format: Audiobook, eARC Source: Library, […]

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