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Someone Else's Shoes by Jojo Moyes
When I encountered a pair of Louboutins as the driving force here, I was ready to stop reading. But I love Moyes, so I stuck with it and was glad I did. Down-trodden Sam picks up the wrong bag at the gym, late for an important client meeting. She can’t wear those flip-flops so when she sticks her feet into said stilettos, it affects her demeanor, and she drives the sale home. Meanwhile, the shoes’ owner, Nisha, is locked out of her hotel room because her horrid husband is dumping her summarily. Sam’s on the rise despite her very depressed husband, and Nisha plummets into ignominy. But with delightful plotting, both eventually join forces and get what they need. A contemporary fable with lots of sly humor.
Aesthetica by Allie Rowbottom
I’m allergic to the world of influencers, but this book has a fascinating twist. The title refers to a radical procedure that removes all the “enhancements” to return the patient to her true, unvarnished self. We track Anna from her early years in which Jake (first her lover, then her “manager”) presses her to get painful procedures. In effect, he’s really her pimp; objectification of women writ large. Now at 35, working at the makeup counter in a department store—what a fall from grace—she’s ready to have it all reversed. An uncomfortable but reluctantly illuminating read.
Fox Creek by William Kent Krueger
Just across the Canadian border, a small town is rocked when an old man and two women disappear into the wild woods. The old man is a very savvy, wise Ojibwe healer who knows the territory intimately. But the bad guys are vicious and relentless, with money and dirty politics behind them. Their hired tracker makes headway but something inside him shifts and a new allegiance forms. Lots of suspense, and lots of native lore. Based on historical happenings. (I listened to this book and appreciated hearing all the Anishinaabe words aloud.)
How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler
Subtitled A Life in Ten Sea Creatures. A very surprising and delightful mix of natural history and personal narrative. Imbler describes the habits of these water-dwellers and tells of her own struggles as a person whose mixed-race, queer identity presents constant challenges. It’s a weave of adapting to environments that often seem hostile and celebrating the diversity that makes it work. An exhilarating exploration, from the humble goldfish to morphing cuttlefish and more. Her own stories add a vivid, candid, and touching dimension. A wonder!