For August, we are celebrating women’s fiction titles that showcase characters relocating from a small town to a big city. Big cities and small towns can be canvas on which authors develop their characters or even characters in and of themselves. Here are four books that perfectly capture this plot device.
Prosperity Island: A Novel by Kate Lott Betz
An arranged marriage … a false identity … a fake pregnancy—all for the love of money or justice?
When seventeen-year-old Harley Jane Reynolds runs away from her group home and gets a job in a bar, she’s not expecting to meet William Prelioux, the son of the wealthiest couple in the Southeast and the sole heir to his family’s estate. She’s a tough-minded, no-nonsense woman with business savvy and grit and is trying to make a future for herself. But when William proposes a plan to get Harley Jane financial independence, she says yes. She agrees to become his wife and take on a new identity as Mrs. Amelia Prelioux.
The couple has one goal: to win over the elite of Prosperity Island so they can inherit William’s fortune and their freedom. One problem: William’s ex-girlfriend isn’t ready to let him go.
The Island Sisters by Berthelot Morency
Four women from Haiti, St. Thomas, and Guam meet at a college counseling session for first-year students and learn they have a shared history of abuse. Dubbing themselves the “island sisters,” their unyielding friendship is their touchstone across oceans, through labyrinths of forced marriages and violent men, motherhood, and their dreams of freedom.
To succeed, each woman must make choices that will challenge her long-held cultural beliefs, choices that will come with consequences, in the pursuit of her own individual freedom.
Thanks, Universe by Cheri Krueger
Wilma Azevedo became a mother in her forties, after years of trying. Her rebellious daughter Pauline became a mother at fifteen. Deeply depressed, Pauline rejects her newborn daughter and Wilma becomes more mother than grandmother to the baby she named Jewel: precious and valuable.
With her mother’s blessing, eighteen-year-old Pauline accepts a job at a friend’s estate in Portugal. While Wilma raises her granddaughter, free-spirit Pauline embraces an exciting new life with her found family in Portugal, and she has no intention of ever returning to California.
But when Pauline sees her chance to earn forgiveness, she is prepared to sacrifice everything for both of her families.
Across fifteen years and two continents, three generations of mothers and daughters navigate fraught relationships, and define ‘family’ on their own terms.
The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton
It is 1971. The fictional city of Bellport, Massachusetts, is in decline with an urban redevelopment project on the horizon expected to transform this dying factory town into a thriving economic center. This planned transformation has a profound effect on the residents who live in Bellport as their own personal transformations take place. Sydney Stallworth steps away from her fellowship and law studies at an elite university to support husband Malachi’s dream of opening a business in the heart of the Black community of his hometown, Bellport.
For Omar Bassari, an immigrant from Senegal, Bellport is where he will establish his drumming career and the launching pad from which he will spread African culture across the world, while trying to hold onto his marriage. Della Tolliver has built a fragile sanctuary in Bellport for herself, boyfriend Kwamé Rodriguez, and daughter Jasmine, a troubled child prone to nightmares and outbursts.
Tensions rise as the demolition date moves closer, plans for gentrification are laid out, and the pace of suspicious fires picks up. The residents find themselves at odds with a political system manipulating their lives and question the future of their relationships.