First For Women

7 books we’re loving now

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Cozy mystery

A Catered Mother’s Day by Isis Crawford

“With my kids now living in different areas of the country, I knew I wouldn’t be able to see them all for Mother’s Day this year,” shares Rebecca Haynes, FIRST Senior Editor. “So I picked up this book as a little treat to help me relax and celebrate the holiday—it was great!” Ellen decides she wants more attention from her family, who all tend to take the things she does for granted. To get them to appreciate her more, she concocts a plan with her friend, Bernie, to fake her own kidnapping. But things take a sour turn when a dead body appears in the hotel room where she’s hiding—and then she’s arrested for murder. Bernie and her sister, Libby, put on their detective caps to pitch in and help find the real culprit. They also get help from Ellen’s kids, who really do love their mom. “Most mothers can relate to feeling under-appreciate­d,” admits Rebecca. “But I know even when I’m miles away, my kids will always love me!” (Kensington, 2016; Paperback $8, Kindle $2, Nook $7)

Biography

Diana: Her True

Story—In Her Own

Words by Andrew Morton

“In the past, I wasn’t a huge follower of royal-family news or gossip, but after binge-watching The Crown on Netflix, I just needed to know more about the show’s reallife characters—especially Diana,” says Danielle Saliman, FIRST Beauty Director. “And this book fit my mood to a tee!” Written with her cooperatio­n in 1992, the biography gives a rich, unfiltered look into the princess’ marriage to Prince Charles, her relationsh­ip with the queen, her constant mental health struggles and more. “I always knew Diana’s life as a royal was extremely difficult, and I remember hearing all about the affairs and the eating disorder that plagued her marriage,” notes Danielle. “But ‘hearing’ about her struggles in her own words turned what once seemed like gossip into a very human story about a woman who just wanted to be loved and accepted by all—and I could relate, because, really, who doesn’t?!”

(Simon & Schuster, 2017; Paperback $20, Kindle $15, Nook $15)

Fantasy

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

“Sometimes, seeing one dishearten­ing news story after another on TV makes me feel a bit helpless,” sighs Melissa Sorrells, FIRST Health Director. “But fantastica­l stories, like this one, are my mental retreat! This twisted fairy tale really helped me reconsider my ability to make a difference in the world.” When a terrible sleeping enchantmen­t begins spreading throughout her kingdom, a young queen goes in search of the cause—and her own purpose in life. “I was rooting for the queen the whole way, hoping she’d rid her kingdom of the bad guys,” cheers Melissa. “And I was so inspired by how she took stock of her life and used her power to make the world around her better.” (Harper Collins, 2019; Paperback $10, Kindle $10, Nook $8)

Women’s fiction

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver “After I’ve had a really tough day, I like to reach for a book that’s filled with hope to lift my spirits,” says Lauren Stachiw, FIRST Senior Editor. “So I grabbed this book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for months, and I was hooked from the start!” After losing her fiancé, Freddie, to a tragic car accident, Lydia Bird begins having “lucid dreams” that keep her united with Freddie and her old life. This worries her friend Jonah who tries to help her grieve and move on. Will Lydia soon realize that she can find love in reality instead? Raves Lauren, “I was rooting for Lydia—this story was both hopeful and heartfelt.” (Ballantine, 2020; Hardcover $27, Kindle $13, Nook $13)

Adventure

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab “Last week, I found myself missing family and friends I haven’t seen in a while,” says Kate Arcell, FIRST Editorial Assistant. “So I curled up with this book—and it was such good company!” In 1714 France, Addie LaRue is cursed to live forever and be forgotten by everyone she meets. Determined to be remembered, her story takes place over centuries as she tries to make her mark on the world. That is, until she meets a man in a bookstore 300 years later who remembers her name. Says Kate, “This epic tale swept me away!” (Tor, 2020; Hardcover $27, Kindle $14, Nook $14)

Suspense

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins “When I saw this story described as a modern-day twist on Jane Eyre, a book I loved when I first read it, I dove in,” says Patty Bontekoe, FIRST Executive Editor. Jane has had a difficult life, so no one is more surprised than she is when she finds herself dating handsome, wealthy widower Eddie Rochester. As their relationsh­ip gets serious, she can’t stop thinking about Eddie’s wife, Bea, who drowned in a boating accident but whose body was never found. Says Patty, “This story was thrilling—it also inspired me to reread the classic!” (St. Martin’s, 2021; Hardcover $28, Kindle $15, Nook $15)

Romance

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

“Recently, a friend canceled our plans, and I was feeling a little down,” admits Lauren Blum, FIRST Assistant Editor. “To boost my mood, I got lost in this fun read.” Eliza, a single jewelry shop owner with an online following, accidental­ly posts a photo of herself wearing an engagement ring, leading to a storm of press inquiries…and sales. With all the buzz, she forgoes owning up to her mistake, and instead starts a search for her faux Mr. Right. Says Lauren, “Eliza is smart, funny and full of adventure, and I couldn’t wait to see how her story would play out!” (Atria, 2019; Paperback $12, Kindle $12, Nook $12)

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