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On Second ThoughtON SECOND THOUGHT A Novel
By Kristan Higgins

$15.99 HQN Books

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins new novel, ON ECO
SND THOUGHT is an authentically emotional tale about love, loss and the family ties that bind us whether we want them to or not.

Kate is a successful, single photographer who’s looking 40 dead in the eye. Her dream of motherhood seems all but lost when she falls in love with Nathan, a brilliant architect, who sweeps her off her feet, out of her Brooklyn Brownstone and into his enormous, custom-built house in the charming hamlet of Cambry-On-Hudson. But when a freak accident claims his life, Kate, still technically a newlywed, suddenly becomes a Widow, and as she grapples with the realities of her new status, life as she knows it begins to unravel at a rapid pace.

Ainsley, Kate’s younger half-sister, has been with her boyfriend for 11 years. The two of them also share a house in Cambry-On-Hudson, as well as an understanding that marriage is in the cards. But instead of proposing as he’s supposed to do, Ainsley’s boyfriend breaks up with her. And when he blogs about the breakup and his blogs go viral, she’s forced to take a closer look at the choices that have brought her to this point. Moving in with Kate seems like a win-win as Kate needs looking after and Ainsley needs to be needed. And as the sisters forge a bond that they never had growing up, they realize that the unconditional love they’ve come to share has given them the courage to endure the losses they’re grieving and to believe that love will come again.

Undeniably addictive, this is a book you won’t want to put down. Ms. Higgins has a knack for creating characters you come to care about and that stay with you long after you’ve finished the final sentence. If you’re already a fan of Katherine Higgins’ work, this is a book you won’t want to miss. And if you’re not already a fan, this would be a great place to get your start.

Echoes of EdistoECHOES OF EDISTO A Novel
By C. Hope Clark

$16.95 Bell Bridge Books

From award winning author C. Hope Clark comes ECHOES OF EDISTO, the third installment in her Edisto Island Mysteries series.

Callie Jean Morgan is finally beginning to get her footing as Edisto’s new Police Chief. That is, until all hell breaks loose and one of her officers loses his life while attempting to free a car from the marsh, where it has crashed. On the face of things this looks like a freak accident but Callie’s instincts say otherwise. Sara, the driver of the car, is an older neighbor whom Callie wants to protect, but she can sense that Sara’s hiding something. To make matters worse, Callie’s overbearing mother suddenly appears on the scene, leading Callie to wonder if she was complicit in Sara’s accident. And as the clues pile up and suspicions mount, so too do questions about her mother’s motives and the history between the two women.

Meanwhile, the heat is still building between hunky Officer Mike Seabrook and Callie. Logistics and politics have made it hard to get things going, which frustrates both of them to no end. In addition, Mike’s been absent, both physically and emotionally, just when Callie’s needed him most, and this only adds to her angst. But when she comes to find that he’s close to solving his wife’s mysterious death and has been working overtime to do so, she tries to cut him some slack; a tall order for our fiery heroine who over-thinks everything including her increasing desire for booze. And as secrets from the past come hurtling towards her with a vengeance, mounting danger combined with Callie’s struggle to keep her patience, which is already set on a hair’s trigger, threaten to be her undoing.

As usual, Ms. Clark delivers a riveting ride, with her irrepressible characters set squarely in the driver’s seat. If it wasn’t so much fun to be re-united with Callie Jean Morgan and the rest of the Edisto gang I might have to scold Clark for keeping me up way past my bedtime.  But lucky for her, this read is worth every lost wink.

The Edge of the OrchardTHE EDGE OF THE ORCHARD A Novel
By Tracy Chevalier

$16.00 Penguin

From New York Times best-selling author Tracy Chevalier comes her latest novel, THE EDGE OF THE ORCHARD, now out in paperback. Set in the mid-1800s, it’s a story about loyalty, love and survival of the fittest during one family’s migration to the Western frontier of America.

James and Sadie Goodenough had a decent life in Connecticut growing apples and maintaining their place in the sprawling Goodenough clan. But in 1838 the couple finds that times demand a change and they decide to head west, finally coming to rest in The Black Swamps of Ohio where their wagon has gotten hopelessly stuck. Here, James, Sadie and their five children struggle to survive, and with the help of the famed Johnny Appleseed, from whom they buy their seeds and saplings, they plant an orchard and manage to cultivate just enough apple trees to make their patch of land a viable commodity. But war is raging between James and Sadie. James wants to grow eating apples and Sadie only wants to cultivate the “spitters” from which she can make applejack and drink her troubles away. And as the war between the couple begins to escalate, tragedy ensues, leaving the family in disarray.

Fast forward to 1853, where we find Robert Goodenough, the youngest of the Goodenough children, who’s spent years wandering across America. After trying his hand at a slew of odd jobs that include panning for gold, he stumbles upon a grove of giant Redwoods and Sequoias where William Lobb, a naturalist, puts him to work collecting seeds and saplings for shipment to England, where the giant trees are in heavy demand. Harkening back to his childhood and the years spent with his father cultivating trees, he finds a modicum of peace. But unfinished business in The Black Swamp still haunts his days and nights as he struggles to build a new life for himself on the rubble of his old one.

A riveting and compulsively readable story, this novel had me at word one. Chevalier is such a master storyteller, and her talent for creating characters who live and breathe on the page is extraordinary. Well researched and brilliantly executed, this is a book you won’t want to miss. / Issue 188 - June 5307
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