Family, Friends, Lovers: Pop Fiction Previews, Feb. 2021, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

Along with pros like Jill Shalvis and Lori Wilde, newcomers offer new twists on the relationship novel.

Christian, Claire. It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2021. 369p. ISBN 9780778331568. pap. $16.99. WOMEN’S

Cross-Smith, Leesa. This Close to Okay. Grand Central. Feb. 2021. cover of Rogers's Honeygirl320p. ISBN 9781538715376. $27. Downloadable. FAMILY LIFE

Eaton, Ellie. The Divines. Morrow. Jan. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9780063012196. $27.99. WOMEN’S

Mason, Meg. Sorrow and Bliss. Harper. Feb. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780063049581. $26.99. WOMEN’S

Rogers, Morgan. Honey Girl. Park Row: Harlequin. Feb. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9780778311027. pap. $17.99. LESBIAN

Shalvis, Jill. The Forever Girl. Morrow. Jan. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780063059399. $27.99; pap. ISBN 9780062897855. $16.99. lrg. prnt. WOMEN’S

Wilde, Lori. The Keepsake Sisters. Morrow Paperbacks. Feb. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780062953186. pap. $16.99. WOMEN'S

In award-winning Australian YA/children’s author Christian’s It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake, the eponymous heroine is smarting from a breakup at age 36 and decides to revisit all the men and women from her past she wishes she’d had the nerve to sleep with (50,000-copy first printing). Kentucky-based Whiskey & Ribbons author Cross-Smith’s This Close to Okay features a recently divorced therapist who talks a man down from a bridge’s railing, then brings him home to tend to his life (30,000-copy first printing). In The Divines, debuter Eaton veers between contemporary Los Angeles and 1990s Britain as Josephine recalls her experiences at an elite English boarding school, circling ever closer to a dark secret that finally upends her life. Another debuter, Mason turns out Sorrow and Bliss, whose caustic fortyish heroine has lost her aspirations, her husband, and her will to get out of bed and must face the mental crisis she had at 17 that has since tarnished her life (50,000-copy first printing). Yet another debuter, queer black millennial Rogers gives us Honey Girl, the story of overachiever Grace Porter, a freshly minted Ph.D. in astronomy who gets drunk in Las Vegas, then gets married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know and devotes a summer to getting to know her new wife (millennial interest is already spiking). In Shalvis’s The Forever Girl, Maze heads to Wildstone for the wedding of estranged friend Cat, hoping they can reknit what once held them close while rediscovering her attraction to the mysterious Walker (200,000 paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). And Wilde’s The Keepsake Sisters are identical twins, separated at birth, who first meet when Amelia has an urgent request for Anna.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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