Meet Me in Bombay by Jenny Ashcroft (2021)
In 1913, on the eve of World War I, Maddy and Luke meet in Bombay, India. Their whirlwind romance and marriage are interrupted when Luke is called to serve in the war. An injury causes him to lose his memory of his wife and child; will Maddy ever find out what happened to her husband? I really enjoyed this book because it had a little bit of everything - romance, family secrets, amnesia, mistaken identity. I liked the interspersed chapters of Luke in the hospital, desperately trying to remember who he is, with Maddy clinging to his memory while almost everyone around her encourages her to move on. The writing was beautiful, elegant, and so atmospheric - I could really feel the heat and humidity of the Bombay days and nights. Although I thought the ending was a little abrupt, I really enjoyed this story of family and love. 4 stars
Santa Monica by Cassidy Lucas (2020)
Secrets abound after a handsome physical trainer is found dead. The blurb for this book compares it to Liane Moriarty, and I found that to be a pretty accurate assessment. This is definitely a domestic drama, with a splash of murder mystery thrown in. The novel starts with Zack's half-sister, Lettie, finding his body, and then it flashes back to the months before his murder. Lettie, an illegal immigrant who relies on Zack to keep her and her son in the United States, is just one of the women in Zack's life. There's also Regina, who is in debt and trying to start a business with him, while also doing some shady things, and Mel, who is new to the Santa Monica area, doesn't quite fit in, and finds herself very attracted to Zack despite her marriage. I loved watching how all the characters are intertwined with each other. Each has secrets that would be very harmful if they got out. I thought Mel was a little too over-the-top and there was too much political talk, but the story moved quickly and held my interest. 4 stars
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