The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and flowers are beginning to bud. With spring just around the corner, long-awaited new beginnings are in the air! It’s time to set aside all the ponderous tomes you’ve been dragging through in the dreary, winter months and pick up one of these tales of fresh starts and unexpected do-overs. By turns inspiring, rollicking, and poignant, these stories cover the gambit of love, loss, and hope as characters face new jobs, friends, homes, and loves. So, shrug off your winter coat, slip on some sandals, and take one (or two!) of these books to the nearest park. It’s going to be a beautiful day.
10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings
Part women’s fiction, part thriller/mystery, A SINGLE BREATH is a twisty, emotional drama with a dark core. After her husband of eight months dies in an accident, Eva goes to visit his estranged family to make a connection. But upon meeting his father and brother, Saul, Eva learns that her husband had been harboring a series of dark secrets and had built their relationship on lies. As Eva falls into a passionate affair with Saul, she begins to wonder if she’ll be haunted by her husband’s life for the rest of her own.
From the celebrated author of Swimming at Night, a powerful and moving saga of one woman’s struggle to overcome her husband’s death and uncover his dark, mysterious past.
A young widow discovers her husband was not who he claimed to be—and finds herself falling in love with the wrong man.
Eva has only been married for eight months when her husband, Jackson, is swept to his death while fishing. Weighed down by confusion and sorrow, Eva decides to take leave of her midwifery practice and visit Jackson’s estranged family with the hope of grieving together.
Instead, she discovers that the man she loved so deeply is not the man she thought she knew. Jackson’s father and brother reveal a dark past, exposing the lies her marriage was built upon. As Eva struggles to come to terms with the depth of Jackson’s deception, she must also confront her growing attraction to Jackson’s brother, Saul, who offers her intimacy, passion, and answers to her most troubling questions.
Will Eva be able to move forward, or will she be caught up in a romance with Saul, haunted by her husband’s past? Threading together beautiful, wild settings and suspenseful twists, A Single Breath is a gripping tale of secrets, betrayals, and new beginnings.
Evvie Drake is having a hard time opening up to anyone about the grief she’s still harboring a year after her husband died in a car accident. Meanwhile, former Major League pitcher Dean Tenney is wallowing in the downward spiral of his career. After Dean moves into Evvie’s guest apartment in an attempt to find a fresh start, the two strike up a tentative friendship that gradually progresses into something more. Funny, eccentric, and warm, EVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER is a big-hearted debut and witty romantic comedy.
Britt-Marie doesn’t like disorder. That’s why it’s so distressing when her life becomes a big, disordered mess in the wake of her husband’s infidelity. Now, Britt-Marie is isolated in the Podunk town of Borg. While its collections of outcasts at first find Britt-Marie overly critical and socially awkward, she’s determined to find a place where she truly belongs and takes on the impossible task of rejuvenating the town’s losing children’s soccer team. With all the charm of its predecessor, A MAN CALLED OVE (2013), BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE is equal parts moving and humorous.
The New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry “returns with this heartwarming story about a woman rediscovering herself after a personal crisis…fans of Backman will find another winner in these pages” (Publishers Weekly).
Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.
But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.
When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she finds work as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center. The fastidious Britt-Marie soon finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?
Funny and moving, sweet and inspiring, Britt-Marie Was Here celebrates the importance of community and connection in a world that can feel isolating.
In this fun-loving fan favorite, one woman has had enough. Connie McColl, a doting housewife and mother, is tired of having to handle every family crisis. Even with her children grown and her husband retired, she’s still left at home making dinner and fielding her grandchildren’s many demands while Roger enjoys the golf course. That’s why one day, in the middle of mashing potatoes, Connie decides to take off on a vacation with no end date in sight. Joyous and uplifting, THE RUNAWAY WIFE is the hilarious read you need at the end of a long day.
From the internationally bestselling author of Lessons in Laughing Out Loud comes a moving and heartwarming novel about a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and flees with her young daughter in search of a kind stranger she met many years earlier.
FIRST YOU LOSE YOUR WAY. THEN YOU FIND YOURSELF.
When Rose Pritchard flees her abusive husband in the middle of the night, there’s only one place she can think of going. Millthwaite is a remote village deep in the Lake District, hundreds of miles from her unhappy home. It’s also Rose’s only link to Frasier McCleod. They met just once, long ago, but his kindness sparked a connection that has sustained her ever since.
Rose checks in to a local B&B with her young daughter, earning the scrutiny of the nosy landlady and the attention of her charming musician son. After the tumult of Rose’s marriage, the beauty of the surrounding countryside restores her hope. Here she will seize a chance to reconnect with her estranged father, to watch her anxious daughter grow in confidence, and to discover whether she’s been chasing a foolish fantasy in loving a man she hardly knows or following her heart’s call.
Candid, moving, and unflinchingly honest, this is a powerful story of heartache and new beginnings, friendship and family. Rowan Coleman’s touching and ultimately triumphant novel is a reminder that it’s not what you leave behind that defines you but what you’re running toward.
Wrenn Bailey, her two sisters, and her mother have always lived together on Cape Cod, a place defined by grey, isolated winters and bright, bustling summers. Her father used to dip in and out of their lives for months at a time, unpredictable in his timing and moods, until one summer when he left and never came back. Twenty years later, he has returned one final time, forcing all four Bailey women to confront their past relationships with him and each other, as well as the fears and desires they’ve worked so hard to ignore.
Heart-rending and poignant, FAR FROM HERE tells the story of Danica Greene, whose world is thrown into chaos after her pilot husband’s plane disappears. Her husband, Etsell, had accepted a job in Alaska, despite their settled homelife in Iowa. When Danica goes to Alaska in search of answers in the wake of his disappearance, she discovers that not everything about their marriage was as it appeared. As all the secrets they’d kept from each other, come to the surface, Danica goes deeper into the mystery of what happened on that fateful flight.
From the author of Summer Snow—a suspenseful, breathtaking novel about true love, starting over, and finding the truth…at all costs.
How long do you hold on to hope?
Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell. But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.
For musical prodigy Grace, life hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would. Years after a traumatic experience in music school, she hasn’t played cello publicly in years and has settled into a quiet life making violins and conducting a long-distance affair with a married man. After her affair falls apart, Grace is forced to reflect on the dreams she’s abandoned. Fortunately, she has her beloved but eccentric friends in her small, English village to help her. GOODBYE PARIS is a charming novel that will appeal to fans of ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE (2017).
In this inspiring memoir, one writer learns the transformative power of hard labor and getting closer to nature. Kristin Kimball left New York City for rural upstate New York to interview Mark, a young and ambitious farmer with a vision. Soon, she moved to his five-hundred-acre farm permanently and began the adventure that would go on to define her life. THE DIRTY LIFE covers Kristin and Mark’s first year as a couple and their first year on the farm that has now become a prosperous agricultural community.
Kristin Kimball knew nothing about growing vegetables when she abandoned her city life and moved to Lake Champlain to start a new farm with a dynamic young farmer. Her vivid descriptions of landscape, food, cooking, and their eventual marriage are irresistible.
Leah is shocked when she receives the news that her beloved ex-boss and mentor Judy has died in a tragic accident, and even more shocked when she learns that Judy has left Leah her beloved red sports car. Motivated to take a closer look at her disappointing life, Leah leaves behind her possessive husband and road-trips to San Francisco to collect Judy’s car. Along the way, she discovers old lovers, new adventures, and the voice of her unpredictable, tough-as-nails mentor, who gives unasked for advice along the way.
In HEROES OF THE FRONTIER, award-winning author Dave Eggers spins a hilarious coming-of-age adventure of a woman and her two young kids on the most memorable of vacations. In the past few years, Josie has filed for divorce, been sued by a patient, and lost her dental practice. When her ex decides he wants their kids to meet his new fiancé’s family, she decides it’s the final straw. Josie and her children set off for Alaska, where they are forced further and further into an RV trip from hell by bears, bison, and wildfires.
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