New books you’ll love to curl up with
In her latest book, Who Do You Love (Atria Books), New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner writes about love, heartbreak, second chances and, most importantly, the idea that it’s not what you do in life that’s important but who you love.
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are both 8 years old when they meet one night in the hospital. Because Andy is alone, Rachel comforts him by telling him a story; however, his mother arrives before she can finish her tale. Never expecting to meet again, Andy and Rachel cross paths years later when they’re on the same service trip in Atlanta. It is the spark that ignites a love spanning both distance and time, until life and differences drive them apart for good … or so they think. Heartbroken, Rachel and Andy move on with their lives in very different directions. And while they both ultimately get what they’ve always wanted, they’re still haunted by thoughts of what life could have been like with the one that got away.
Weiner’s novel is a testament to how love can change the course of one’s life, how it can change a person, and how sometimes it just can’t conquer all. Rachel and Andy’s story isn’t a typical fairy tale romance: Weiner spends more time developing her highly relatable characters than trying to tie up her story in a pretty bow. Life and love is messy, and happily ever after looks different for everyone, especially for Rachel and Andy.
During the time author and former emergency room doctor Gerard LaSalle worked in the medical field, he witnessed an abundance of female strength. In an attempt to honor the strong women around him, he picked a female protagonist as the focus of his book series, The Widow Walk Saga (Avasta Press). The first two books in the series, which is based on historical events and characters, are not only a nod to heroines but double as rich and exiting trips through American history.
In Widow Walk, the first installment of the series released in 2013, readers are introduced to Emmy Evers, the wife of Isaac Evers, a community leader and former militiaman who has established a small colony in and during the early days of the American Pacific Northwest. While Isaac is away on expeditions, Emmy must take over his responsibilities, leaving this bold character little time to mind social mores. The character of Emmy isn’t ripped from the pages of a comic book; she is a realistic heroine that must endure a pioneer life and devastating tragedy.
LaSalle’s second book, Isthmus, follows a fragile Emmy, still reeling from the events of a year ago (no spoilers here!), as she moves her family from the Pacific Northwest to Boston via the new Panama Isthmus Railroad, which in 1860, was the most modern transportation in the world. LaSalle painstakingly describes the atmosphere of the pre-Canal era and the characters and events that made it a dangerous trek for travelers like Emmy and her two children. Like the other passengers, Emmy and her children board the train with hopes and dreams, but not everyone will survive.