Step out of the inspirational aisle

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Aunt Dimity's Death
Nancy Atherton

Lori Shepherd learns that she will inherit a sizeable estate from her recently deceased Aunt Dimity, but there is a catch—Lori must first discover the secret hidden in the letters in Dimity’s cottage.


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Dream When You're Feeling Blue
Elizabeth Berg

After sending their men off to fight in the war, sisters Kitty and Louise Heaney join their flirtatious younger sister, Tish, in writing letters to servicemen overseas. A study of life during World War II from the perspective of the young men on the battlefield and the women left behind on the home front.


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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, begins her adventure when a dead bird is found on the doorstep of her family’s mansion in the summer of 1950, thus propelling her into a mystery that involves an investigation into a man’s murder where her father is the main suspect.


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Prayers for Sale
Sandra Dallas

Drawn to the newly married seventeen-year-old Nit Spindle, who has moved to their small mountain Colorado town to escape the ravages of the Great Depression, octogenarian Hennie Comfort forges a friendship with the young woman based on shared hardships and secrets.


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Can't Wait to Get to Heaven
Fannie Flagg

Strange things begin to happen when Mrs. Shimfissle, an eighty-year-old woman, falls out of a fig tree in her own front yard, in a novel about one woman’s offbeat experiences in the hereafter.


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The Sweet By and By
Todd Johnson

Brought together by circumstance, five North Carolina women protect and provoke each other while they struggle with limited prospects, career ambitions, and vulnerable hearts.


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The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Laurie R. King

A chance meeting with an elderly beekeeper turns into a pivotal, personal transformation when fifteen-year-old Mary Russell discovers that the beekeeper is the reclusive Sherlock Holmes, who soon takes on the role of mentor and teacher


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Oh My Stars: A Novel
Lorna Landvik

In a novel set during the early days of rock ‘n roll, the life of Violet Mathers, a down-and-out woman, becomes embroiled with that of a handsome musical pioneer. By the author of Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons.


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The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Margot Livesey

After her widowed father drowns, Gemma Hardy leaves Iceland to live with family in Scotland where she encounters many difficulties as she grows up.


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La's Orchestra Saves the World
Alexander McCall Smith

It’s 1939 and the war in Europe casts a long, all-encompassing shadow. In a sleepy town in Suffolk, La, the generous and determined widow, forms an amateur orchestra to entertain the locals and soothe her own broken heart. She recruits Feliks, a refugee from Poland, to play the flute, and a touching friendship emerges.


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The Forgotten Garden
Kate Morton

Abandoned on a 1913 voyage to Australia, Nell is raised by a dock master and his wife who do not tell her until she grows up that she is not their child, a situation that causes her to return to England and eventually hand down her quest for answers to her granddaughter.


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The Housekeeper and the Professor
Yoko Ogawa

A relationship blossoms between a brilliant math professor suffering from short-term memory problems following a traumatic head injury and the young housekeeper, the mother of a ten-year-old son, hired to care for him.


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Eat Cake
Jeanne Ray

Ruth draws on her talent for concocting delectable cakes and desserts when her family begins to disintegrate around her—her husband loses his job, her mother moves in, and her long-estranged father shows up at the door with no place to go.


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Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind
Ann B. Ross

Recently widowed and newly wealthy, Miss Julia is visited one day by Hazel Marie who claims that her nine-year-old son is the child of Julia’s late husband, and when Julia is left to care for the child, she reveals the scandal that precipitated her husband’s death.


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The Light Between Oceans
ML Stedman

Moving his young bride to an isolated lighthouse home on Australia’s Janus Rock where the couple suffers miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom allows his wife to claim an infant that has washed up on the shore, a decision with devastating consequences.


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The Help
Kathryn Stockett

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. It is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.


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The Samurai's Garden
Gail Tsukiyama

Shortly before World War II, a Chinese man, sent to Japan to recover from tuberculosis, meets a lovely Japanese girl and four older residents, in a story of passion and sacrifice.


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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew, a governess looking for work, is sent by mistake to the home of Delysia LaFosse, a glamorous nightclub singer involved with three different men and is invited to stay after offering Miss LaFosse common sense advice about her love life.


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Maisie Dobbs
Jacqueline Winspear

Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.


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