A Small Indiscretion by Denise Rudberg translated by Laura Wideberg read by Joyce Bean

A well upholstered, crisply intelligent middle aged police inspector newly widowed from her faithless, politically agile husband, is called back to work after many years. She colors her hair, tries to eat less, and reconnoitres her domestic life across and through the  investigation of a murder, the enmity of the young office bitches,  the appreciation of her male colleagues, and the sideline of society parties and friendships accompanying her old world inherited wealth.

Lola’s Secret by Monica McInerney read by Catherine Milte

Lola is a puckish mostly happy 84 year old ex-motel keeper who works at a charity shop In Claire Australia .. She is much  loved by her granddaughters whom she has mothered and marshalled like a general, and who drop in to complain about their husband their children and each other. Funny senior citizen fiction….

Island Girls by Nancy Thayer read by Cassandra Campbell

Another Nantucket version of Three Sisters, with  three orphaned unmarried daughters living in the same old to-be inherited house. The sombre, fat, defensive A.B.D., teaching English at a Community College is writing a book about   May Alcott – no, not Louisa May just May Alcott, her neglected younger sister. The Very Pretty T.V. personnage  Arden is looking to charm some old wealthy Islanders to Simplify their homes for her House and Garden show. And Justine, the computer geek who is blamed with taking away the now dead stepfather is lucky in money, lucky in personality, lucky in turning up on the right block in the right family with the right mindset eating the right thing and wearing sunscreen…

Jodi Thomas Welcome to Harmony Narrated by Julia Gibson

“Look, Preacher, I don’t need saving; I’m not interested in dating, and I’d just as soon not be your friend. So why don’t you go peddle ‘let’s be friends’ somewhere else,” she tells Noah when he tries talking to her at lunchtime at school.

 

We have the perfect subject of the unconscious: a 15 year old orphan, a little tough, a little charming, a little liar with a heavy need for home. “Regan Truman” walks into old Jeremiah’s life as though she belongs there, makes a deal, and stays. Harmony is a town that happens when she makes the town her home.

 

Out of Order by Bonnie MacDougal read by Barbara Rosenblat

Campbell Smith wants only to lie behind the S of Mrs Douglas Alexander, soon to be Senator from the great state of Delaware, a place where Washingtonians go to hide. But a woman who is hiding does not make a good political wife, and Campbell soon takes to gardening and disappointment. Alas. A good but over-plotted story.

The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller read by Karen White

It is not enough to attach 5 generations of women to a tree or a patch of trees to give them character. Yes, one is very old, and one is a felon, and one was a stewardess, and one slept with a dozen different men each time she wanted to get pregnant. But these women remain rootless metalogically, as symbols or devices or even glosses of each other.

Twisted Creek (& the Harmony series) by Jodi Thomas read by Scott Sowers & Julia Gibson

Imagine a little fishing village with a general store somewhere in Texas where it rains. There is lots of kindness, and lots of very quirky individuals who don’t mesh, but aggregate. Mostly around a lake. Old maids, young maids, poor beaten women, big burly men, volunteer firefighters, sheriffs, and brutes. Mostly poor, but there is also a very wealthy ex-wife and widow of seven or eight husbands. She runs a Bed and Breakfast, and has facelifts in Dallas, collects lawyers, and establishes the pecking order. In Twisted Creek, however, everybody is poor. Especially Lucky Ali and Grandma who wake up one day to find themselves the beneficiaries of an empty General Store but not much else. They move in and clean and get to know the regulars. The mailman leaves a sack of mail for them to sort and put to rest.

Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy read by Barbara Caruso

Maeve Binchy is the grand-mistress of the domestic imaginary: that hearty, busy, pretty  space where women make themselves primal. It is late Capitalism and the lumpen proletariat of Dublin are caterers, not cooks.   Katy is prole and caterer and the figure of a Dublin that caters to others, to Europe, to America, to Money. Spunky, sassy, no-nonsense ..Katy Scarlet is a full bodied, red-blooded Irishwoman with a disinclination to bow to class structures, and a desire to cater private parties to the eating population of Dublin.

Here is just one of a series of magical books about women in between old and new worlds. Read and re-read and recognize Maeve Binchy as treasure.