Humiliating pasts and dark memories are usually hidden back in the corner of our minds, never to be revealed. However, these five books take the dark pasts of their characters and create powerful redemption stories that all women can relate to in one form or another. On the NPR Books website, Eloisa James wrote a lovely review of some great reads for the summer. We summed up her top 5 picks here, but be sure to check out her full review Love’s Better in Books.
1.The Best Man By: Kristan Higgins
Faith Holland is standing on the altar, waiting to marry her wonderful husband-to-be. He has been faithful, kind, and everything she could imagine… except when he chooses their wedding day to come out. Prompted by the best man, Levi Cooper, Faith is mortified and furious. Newly heartbroken, Faith has to now deal with the sympathetic glances and comments from friends and family. However, what’s most frustrating is how she keeps running into arrogant, handsome, and lustful Levi Cooper- and she’s starting to like it. Read on to see how this sexy beach book turns out for Faith and her new (straight) man.
2.All Out of Love By: Lori Wilde
Lace Bettingfield is the epitome of the geek turned glam in this high school success story. Nerdy, pudgy, and hopelessly in love with the hottest senior in school, Lace writes a secret letter about how passionately she feels about the perfect Pierce Hollister. However, when the letter gets published in the school newspaper, she can barely contain her humiliation. By some miracle, Lace makes it successfully through high school, ending with a career and a now banging body. But, right when her life finally gets back on track, Pierce returns home from a successful run with the Dallas Cowboys. Perfect timing. Read this Cinderella story about the ugly duckling finally landing the hottest football player in the town.
3.Nobody’s Baby But Mine By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
If you love hearing about the adventures of gorgeous football players, you’ll fawn over this beach read! Cal Bonner is a professional football player with a surprisingly long dry spell. He usually constantly has women (between the ages of 20 and 22), but lately he’s been more than in a funk. As a surprise for his 36th birthday, the team decided to find him a girl more appropriate for his age. They figured about 25. However, when the best they can come up with is quirky and beyond brilliant physics professor Dr. Jane Darlington. She tries to seduce him with some humiliating semblance of a sexy dance, which only ends in “the thing of it is, you’re a little old for me.” Although their relationship starts off in one disaster after another, the two realize that opposites really do attract.
4.The Cursed By: Alyssa Day
Although this book is supernatural, the rejection and revenge that attributes to the passion between the main characters in this read is universally tangible. Rio Jones, a supernatural bike messenger who travels between the world of the humans and supernatural, has a raging crush on the top wizard in town, Luke Oliver. However, when she finally gets up the courage to ask him out, she’s rejected with barely a glance and a sneer remark, saying he doesn’t have time for “meaningless flings.” Needless to say, Rio is pissed, and now very insecure. Although she is a powerhouse of a woman in the supernatural world, her fears of not being good enough shine through during this story. However, she gets delicious revenge when Luke is poisoned and his own insecurity is revealed. This interesting dynamic of power and ploy creates for a truly one of a kind read.
5.The Time Between By: Karen White
Although most of these books focus primarily on humiliation and embarrassing moments, this one takes a turn for the darker. Eleanor, the hardworking main character of the story, is reminded every day of her dark past and traumatic events, which left her sister paralyzed. Eleanor works tirelessly at her job and then to care for her sister at home in order to make things right. However, when her boss Finn offers her a second job caring for his great aunt, who also has a traumatic secret about her escape from Nazi-occupied Budapest, Eleanor slowly learns that the past cannot define her. Through this beautiful, lyrical novel, Finn comes in as the strong and healing man that Eleanor has always needed.
Although we all hate reliving our past experiences, these books offer a great way to come to terms with our own past as we follow these strong women and their path through healing and into love.