October Choices: Secret Lives, and a Stirring Memoir

in Girly Book Club by

Members of the Girly Book Club are voting on the following four titles to determine the book selection for their October club meetings in 70 chapters around the world.

If You Knew Her (Harper Books) by Emily Elgar (384 pages)

Cassie had it all – the fairytale wedding, the stunning home, the perfect husband. But when she arrives at the intensive care ward at St Catherine’s Hospital in a coma, it soon becomes clear she has a secret — a secret that changes everything.

Alice, the chief nurse on the ward, begins to feel a connection with Cassie and can’t help but wonder if things are not quite as they seem.

Frank, another patient, can hear and see everything around him but cannot communicate. He understands that Cassie’s life is in danger and only he holds the truth, which no one can know and he cannot tell . . .

If You Knew Her (HarperLuxe) is a gripping and emotional story about a young woman fighting to survive and the shocking secret that could destroy her. If you like Clare Mackintosh, Caz Frear, Jane Corry, Adele Parks, Laura Marshall, Amanda Prowse or Louise Jensen, then you will be hooked by this psychological thriller.

My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward (Harper Wave) by Mark Lukach (320 pages)

A heart-wrenching yet hopeful memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love.

Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at 18, married at 24, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was 27, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe.

Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.

A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward (Harper Wave) is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (William Morrow) by Balli Kaur Jaswal (304 pages)

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story (William Morrow) about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a “creative writing” course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s “moral police.” But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

The Last Mrs. Parrish (Harper Books) by Liv Constantine

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain,

invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, CT, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish (HarperLuxe) is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Interested in joining a Girly Book Club chapter in your neighborhood? Visit https://girlybookclub.com for everything you need to know!

Club members, there’s still time to vote for your October book. Visit https://girlybookclub.com/books/

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