Friends may not always be what they seem, and people can be capable of just about anything given the right set of circumstances. All three of today's picks fall into this theme, although with wildly different settings.
The Fifth Letter, by Nicola Moriarty. Not to be confused with fellow Australian author Liane Moriarty, Nicola Moriarty's debut follows a vacationing group of girlfriends, friends since childhood, whose lives have slowly been pulling them further apart. During a wine-fueled, laugh-filled evening, the four women embark on a little game--each will write an anonymous letter, spilling her darkest secret. But the game turns dark--the secrets revealed include substance abuse, a troubled marriage, etc. But it's the late discovery on the last night of their vacation of a partially burned fifth letter which unearths a decades-long, festering grudge. Now that the secret is out, what happens next? I'm recommending this to fans of JoJo Moyes and Liane Moriarty.
The River at Night, by Erica Ferencik. Winifred Allen needs a vacation. Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings. What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But friend may just turn out to be foe. My thought is that this suspense debut will have readers clamoring for more.
The Second Mrs. Hockaday, by Susan Rivers. Inspired by a true event, Rivers's debut opens as Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, leaving his new bride behind to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away? Recommending this for fans of novels like Kathleen Grissom's The Kitchen House and Robert Goolrick's A Reliable Wife.