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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

I have to be honest and admit that this, my second ‘First Reads’ win from Goodreads, perhaps wasn’t what I had been expecting.

‘A Place For Us’, turned out to be Part One, of a four part serialisation of the full length book of the same name, just recently released.

At the perfect novella length of 131 pages, I am very much hoping that this paperback copy can be read as a stand alone short story.

It does appear to have received some very positive ratings and reviews over the last few weeks, however, if any of you out there who have stopped by this week, have read this one personally, I would value and appreciate your views….

‘A PLACE FOR US’ … Part One ‘The Invitation’

The day Martha Winter decided to tear apart her family began like any other day.

The house has soft, purple wisteria twining around the door. You step inside.

The hall is cool after the hot summer’s day. The welcome is kind, and always warm.

Yet something makes you suspect life here can’t be as perfect as it seems.
After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.

But wouldn’t you pay any price to have a glorious place like this?

Welcome to Winterfold.

Martha Winter’s family is finally coming home.

HARRIET EVANS

Image Of Author Harriet EvansHarriet was born in London in 1974 and grew up on the streets of Chiswick, where she went to school. She was a completely undistinguished pupil in every way, except that she absolutely loved reading and drama.

After briefly leaving London, to study The Classics at Bristol University, she was soon headed back down the motorway, determined on a career in magazines.

After a disastrous couple of months at the ‘Lady’ magazine, she was lucky enough to get into publishing, first at Penguin, where she worked for seven years, progressing from secretary to editorial director, publishing mainly women’s fiction, leaving there to work for another publisher, Headline.

By 2008, Harriet, who had long since been writing in her spare time, left Headline to pursue her writing career full time and hasn’t looked back since, signing a publishing deal with HarperCollins in the UK and Simon and Schuster in the US, who have now published all five of her novels to date.

I am passionate about commercial fiction, especially commercial women’s fiction, which seems to me to come in for an extraordinary amount of bile and patronising comment, in contrast to the same kind of books by men, which get reviewed, discussed, accepted into the canon with far greater ease. Books about young women’s lives, their jobs, romances, nights out, what they like doing, are seen as frippery and silly; books about young men’s lives covering exactly the same topics are discussed and debated, often accepted as valid and interesting contributions to the current social and media scene.

Harriet’s Website:

https://www.harriet-evans.com

Harriet’s Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/harrietevansb

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … ‘Mailbox Monday’

 Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

 Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

 Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

 This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

 …

I am looking forward to sharing some of your great ‘new finds’ this week

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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32 comments
  • I’m not familiar with this, but it certainly sounds interesting. I can understand your disappointment. If I’m going to read something serialized, I honestly prefer to have all the installments on hand before beginning!

    • Hi Kelly,

      I would probably have preferred to have had either all the installments to hand, or a copy of the completed novel, however I shall start reading this first part of the serialisation and see what I think then!

      The premise of the book, is very reminiscent of the writing, style and subject matter of Irish author Maeve Binchy, whose books I have been reading and enjoying for many years.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have enjoyed your weekend. It is a long weekend for us here in the UK, however holiday Monday looks set for pouring rain and gale force winds, so a day indoors is probably on the cards!

      • Well you’ve piqued my interest even more with the reference to Maeve Binchy. I’ve read and loved all her books and was quite saddened by her death.

        • Hi Kelly,

          I can just imagine the synopsis for ‘A Place For Us’, being that of a Binchy book, she always did enjoy a good family saga.

          As you say, her death was very sad, although she leaves behind a whole raft of consummate Irish storytellers, who no doubt were brought up with Maeve Binchy very much as a role model.

          If you get the chance, check out Cathy Kelly, I love her writing style and stories too!

  • This sounds good. As the blurb suggests, nothing is ever what it seems to be anyway, so if it looks perfect, it probably isn’t. I don’t mind these kinds of novellas being part of a series, so long as they can be stand alone reads.
    That is an interesting point the author makes about how women’s fiction is viewed as opposed to books by men.

    • Hi Naida,

      Harriet certainly has some strong views and opinions about commercial women’s fiction, most of which, like yourself, I have to agree with.

      On the other hand, when commercial women’s fiction simply comes down to the level of banal chick-lit, I do tend to tune out and not really take much interest in it.

      Don’t get me wrong! I have read the occasional chick-lit novel, but they are often frivolous and not very meaningful as stories. The same can no doubt be said for the male equivalent, which is apparently classified as lad-lit (although the urban dictionary has coined a much more derogatory term for it, as you would expect!)

      I shall be reading ‘A Place For Us’ as a novella in the first instance, before I decide whether to invest in the full length novel, or the remaining three installments of the series.

      Thanks for stopping by, I hope that all is well with you and that you have a good week.

  • I have read many great things about Harriet Evans in the past, though I haven’t had the opportunity to read anything of hers yet. But, it sure can be annoying when you expect a full story only to get a “part 1 of…” I’ve had it happened a few times, and while it got me to read some awesome series, I was always a little bummed that I wouldn’t know how it all ended right away. Hopefully this one has enough closure that you’re not left hanging!

    • Hi Kay,

      I don’t think I would have minded so much if the four parts of the series were individual full length novels in their own right, but I have never come across this scenario of splitting one novel into individual sections and selling it in installments, then publishing the full length novel a few weeks later. I am not certain that I like this ‘magazine’ style concept personally, so I am going to be treating this one as an independent short story and reviewing it as such.

      Thanks for your interesting comment. It is always good to get someone else’s viewpoint about things.

      • Oh! I didn’t read this correctly, I didn’t realize this was one novel splitted in four!
        I have seen this style a lot in self-published fiction; I think it’s a way for the authors to publish more frequently, keep their readers interested. But I absolutely agree with you here. It’s not a concept I really get into, either – especially when I don’t expect it!

        • Hi Kay,

          I have never encountered this concept before, but I shall be certain to keep a keen eye out for it in the future and make sure I read the wording of things very carefully.

          Thanks for taking the trouble to re-visit, I really appreciate that and have a great weekend.

    • Hi Mystica,

      This is author Harriet Evans’s debut novel, however if the story lives up to its synopsis, I certainly hope that it won’t be her last!

      I particularly like the line …

      “After all, the brightest smile can hide the darkest secret.”

      Thanks for visiting today, I always appreciate your comments and I hope that you have a great week.

  • I’ve seen the author’s name quite a bit but haven’t had a chance to read her books. I’m guessing if this is the first in the series it should be a stand alone (perhaps with a cliffhanger?).

    • Hi Mary,

      As ‘A Place For Us’ is Harriet’s debut novel, it sounds as though the book has featured in quite a few other mailboxes, so I shall have to make time to do a little bloghopping, to see what others have made of the serialisation approach.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is always great to speak with you.

  • I’d read the book based on the intriguing synopsis even though I’m not usually a novella fan. I haven’t read anything by Harriet Evans but I tend to agree with her views on women’s fiction, a genre I love!
    Have a great week and happy reading 🙂

    • Hi Sheree,

      I like women’s fiction, if the story has a bit of backbone and intrigue to it, but I’m afraid I tend to switch off when a book is so obviously pure unadulterated chick-lit, unless I am really in the mood for such frivolous writing, which isn’t often these days, as there are just so many deeper more meaningful books to be read, in what little free time I have.

      I don’t mind a good novella from time to time either and even a short story at a push, although these do need to be of first rate quality for me to feel that I have got my moneys worth from them!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate your visits.

  • I am not familiar with this author. I like novellas or short stories when they are stand alone and complete. I’m not too sure about serialized parts of a story. I hope you enjoy it Yvonne.

    • Hi Pat,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books today. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      Serialised stories are only something I have ever come across in a magazine and as they are something I have never bought ( I only ever browse a selection when sat in the hairdressers), can’t really comment on.

      I wonder why Harriet decided, or was persuaded to go this route, or is this simply a new and emerging trend which we are going to see more and more of over the next weeks and months? If so, I am not sure that it is quite the path I will want to take with my future reading.

      I too can enjoy a good novella or short story with the best of readers, however, like yourself, I need a complete package of strong opening, fully developed storyline and conclusive ending, for it to work successfully.

      A piece which ends up more or less having ‘To Be Continued…’ at the end of it, doesn’t interest me at all!

      Have a great week and Happy Reading.

    • Thanks Serena.

      I hope that you received a few nice new goodies this week as well!

      Have a great week and Happy Reading.

  • How interesting to choose to publish a book in this way. I suppose its really no different than a book being serialised in a newspaper.

    Not a fan of Maeve Binchy but given that you think this book reminiscent of her works I’m sure my mother in law would enjoy it.

    • Hi Tracy,

      You do know how to make a girl feel old! LOL

      That is exactly what I thought about the publishing technique of this book … much more the newspaper or magazine style of delivery. As I never buy newspapers or magazines, this style probably isn’t going to suit me too well! Magazines are such a tremendous waste of money if you take out all the advertising and ‘celebrity’ drivel and newspapers are so overtly biased in their reporting, that watching one of the good television news broadcasts is usually much more informative.

      Give either of us a good book over tabloid content anyday!

      I am so hoping that this installment of ‘A Place For Us’, is going to work as a stand alone novella.

      I hope that you managed to enjoy the Bank Holiday, despite the torrential rain which has fallen ceaselessly today and have a good week.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      A good devisive family saga, is always going to have me hooked, all those disparate personalities together in one place!!

      Thanks for stopping by, I always value your comments.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      This is author Harriet Evans’s debut novel, although already her name seems to be appearing on several blogs, to excellent critical acclaim and first rate ratings and revews.

      I really like the idea of the premise and love a good feisty family saga. It is only the concept of the book being published in four separate novella sized offerings which is in any way putting me off and I am sure that won’t be too much of an issue.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that things are going okay for yourself and the family.

  • “Books about young women’s lives, their jobs, romances, nights out, what they like doing, are seen as frippery and silly; books about young men’s lives covering exactly the same topics are discussed and debated”

    She has a point. It’s why I try to not use the expressions ‘chick lit’ and ‘chick flick.’ The terms are often used in a very broad way to trivialize practically any book or movie that centers on a female character (and doesn’t perhaps contain mystery or sci-fi – which are often deemed more ‘masculine’). That really bothers me. Part of it originates from a male insecurity about seeing things from the POV of a female character – when men watch a female-centric movie and like it, they’ll often get a bit uneasy and say, “Well, it wasn’t exactly a chick flick, it was good!” (Like they’re really nervous about the possibility of being seen as less masculine for liking a movie that features women.) I suspect the same goes for books.

    • Hi Hila,

      As readers, we are conditioned and accepting of the vast contingent of female authors, who write in the genres once considered to be the sacrosanct domain of the male writer, and who carry it off so successfully. However, there is still some lingering reticence for us to embrace the male author, who chooses to write in what might be considered the traditional female genres. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed, one or two really good books, written by male authors, yet dealing with female issues and feelings and with a female-centric cast of characters.

      I personally don’t mind whether a book is written by a male or female author, so long as there is a good cast of strong characters and the story has a strong opening, a well developed storyline and a conclusive ending.

      I am not a fan of ‘labelling’ books and this seems to be happening more and more just recently, everything seems to need an acronym attached to it!

      I know that I am guilty of using chick-lit perhaps more than I should, but to me it always denotes a pretty superficial read, without much of a backstory. Personally, I am not interested in reading about modern issues in women’s lives, unless there is something a bit more to it and the same can equally be said for lad-lit. There needs to be that underpinning of a good solid storyline for it to grab my attention and keep me engaged.

      Thanks for the interesting comments, I do enjoy our exchange of views.

      Have a great week.

      • “However, there is still some lingering reticence for us to embrace the male author, who chooses to write in what might be considered the traditional female genres.”

        I don’t much care who’s writing the book, as long as it’s well-written. I’ve read female authors who write female characters poorly and have come across male authors who have written female characters quite well (John Sayles is one who I can think of off the top of my head – for one of his movies, Passion Fish, and a short story, “The Halfway Diner”). 🙂 But in terms of male readers (and obviously not all of them, but many of them) – I’ve seen a weird reticence about reading works by female authors… even sometimes for genres like sci-fi. It’s one reason female authors have sometimes gone for male or gender neutral pen names such as those using initials. (George Eliot, James Tiptree Jr., J.K. Rowling)

        And I agree with you about not being a fan of labeling books 🙂 And this part: “There needs to be that underpinning of a good solid storyline for it to grab my attention and keep me engaged.” This is what it all comes down to.

        • It is definitely the quality of the storyline and its characters which counts for me, rather than the gender of the author.

          I think the problem lies with the male readers, who obviously have rather sexist tendencies when it comes to choosing their books and authors. Thankfully we women are a little more liberal and open-minded!

          Enjoy the rest of your week.

  • I think I’d be a bit disappointed that it was the first part in a serialization, but maybe it’ll be good enough that you’ll want to read the rest. Somehow I have doubts that it will work as a stand-alone.

    • Hi Carol,

      It isn’t as if the four parts of the serialisation come to any more monetarily than the cost of the full length novel, it is purely the disappointment of having to faff around acquiring the remaining parts and possibly then not reading the complete story in one go!

      I am hoping against hope that you might be wrong and this portion of the serial will work as a novella.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion, I appreciate your comments.

Written by Yvonne

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