Recently I was asked to share about my favorite authors. Since I read romance, mystery, and women’s fiction, I had a hard time limiting the number. Here in alphabetical order (hey, I’m a librarian!) are nine of my current, go-to writers.
Maeve Binchy is the queen. I never tire of the confluence of characters, beliefs, demons, and struggles in her books. When we learned that A Week in Winter was finished just before her death, my cousin remarked, “What a wonderful goodbye she’s given us.”
Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mysteries and Her Royal Spyness mysteries take me to other places and other times. Each murder mystery is fully developed in a unique setting with its own set of characters, along with the usual hero, heroine, and supporting cast. Together they’ve shown me around New York, Newport, Nice, Dublin and Transylvania.
Alan Bradley’s historical “Flavia DeLuce” mysteries are funny, poignant, and charmingly original. Bradley engages the reader in such a variety of ways—through historical knowledge, through outrageous family dynamics, through larger-than-life victims, and on and on. A master storyteller! I love it that he was 70 before he turned to writing popular novels.
Sally Goldenbaum’s mysteries always stay at the top of the TBR stack, especially the Sea Harbor knitting series. Each book in the series transports me to my beloved Cape Ann and introduces me to new characters while catching me up on old favorites and engaging me in a fascinating mystery.
Debbie Macomber’s books are filled with human caring. I love her ever-changing cast of characters and those settings that pull at my heart—small town, neighborhood, island harbor, all so beautiful. She brings alive the need for love, the struggle to love, the comfort of love, the joy of love, and the courage to move beyond heart-breaking loss into a second chance at love.
Louise Penny is another extraordinary writer. Her Inspector Gamache mysteries feature a community of richly drawn characters, plus detectives with their own personal dramas who must work with the locals to solve the crime.
Mariah Stewart’s Chesapeake Diaries are the quintessential small-community romance series for me. She draws me in with a strong sense of place. Each heroine is flawed and likable, strong but open to change. The romantic heroes are distinctive, none of them exactly my type but always intriguing.
Nancy Thayer’s beach reads pull together several very different women and pair them with men who touch their hearts, in settings that open their minds to new possibilities. I just finished Island Girls (Ah, Nantucket!), and I look forward to next year’s refreshing, satisfying novel.
I find Jennifer Weiner’s books to be engaging and thought-provoking. I admire the way she uses multiple characters to explore multiple sides of controversial current issues, such as surrogate pregnancy. No matter the issue, her stories are both personal and satisfying.