general, Industry, Novels

Tropes in Suspense and Thriller Markets and Venus in Retrograde

Venus fresco in the Temple of Venus, Pompeii, Italy

Tropes in the Thriller/Suspense category—Philanderers

Studying market trends by looking at my social media feed leads me to make interesting connections (at least in my head they are interesting connections!) I’m bewildered by the overwhelming number of novels that focus on lonely desperate women who have been either dumped or widowed by philandering men. Is this a sign of the female anima awakening? Guys, are you ALL fooling around? Or are we just interested in reading and writing these stories for fun?

FROM GOODREADS

Look at this list that GoodReads sent me this morning (note: I don’t recall ever indicating that I even like to read thrillers):

The Good Widow, by Liz Fenton:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33852868-the-good-widow?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

“Elementary school teacher Jacqueline ‘Jacks’ Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…”

P.S. from Paris, by Marc Levy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34036335-p-s-from-paris?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

On the big screen, Mia plays a woman in love. But in real life, she’s an actress in need of a break from her real-life philandering husband—the megastar who plays her romantic interest in the movies. So she heads across the English Channel to hide in Paris behind a new haircut, fake eyeglasses, and a waitressing job at her best friend’s restaurant.

Paul is an American author hoping to recapture the fame of his first novel. When his best friend surreptitiously sets him up with Mia through a dating website, Paul and Mia’s relationship status is “complicated.”

Even though everything about Paris seems to be nudging them together, the two lonely ex-pats resist, concocting increasingly far-fetched strategies to stay “just friends.” A feat easier said than done, as fate has other plans in store. Is true love waiting for them in a postscript?

When Never Comes by Barbara Davis

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36054954-when-never-comes?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

As a teenage runaway and child of an addict, Christy-Lynn learned the hard way that no address was permanent, and no promise sacred. For a while, she found a safe haven in her marriage to bestselling crime novelist Stephen Ludlow—until his car skidded into Echo Bay. But Stephen’s wasn’t the only body pulled from the icy waters that night. When details about a mysterious violet-eyed blonde become public, a media circus ensues, and Christy-Lynn runs again.

Desperate for answers, she’s shattered to learn that Stephen and his mistress had a child—a little girl named Iris, who now lives in poverty with her ailing great-grandmother. The thought of Iris abandoned to the foster care system—as Christy-Lynn once was—is unbearable. But she’s spent her whole life running—determined never to be hurt again. Will she finally stand still long enough to open herself up to forgiveness and love?

Tips for Living by Renee Shafransky

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36810374-tips-for-living?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

On the day Nora discovered that her husband, Hugh, had gotten another woman pregnant, she made a vow: I will come back to life no matter how long it takes…

It’s taken Nora three years. With the help of her best friend, she fled New York City for a small resort town, snagged a job as the advice columnist for the local paper, and is cautiously letting a new man into her life. But when Hugh and his perfect new family move into a summer house nearby, Nora backslides. Coping with jealousy, humiliation, and resentment again is as hard as she feared. It’s harder still when Hugh and his wife are shot to death in their home.

If only Nora could account for the night of the murders. Unfortunately, her memories have gone as dark as her fantasies of revenge. But Nora’s not the only one with a reason to kill—and as prime suspect in the crime, she’d better be able to prove it.

The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30739768-the-barefoot-summer?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea.

Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning.

Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38261058-trespassing?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

Veronica Cavanaugh’s grasp on the world is slipping. Her latest round of fertility treatments not only failed but left her on edge and unbalanced. And her three-year-old daughter, Elizabella, has a new imaginary friend, who seems much more devilish than playful. So when Veronica’s husband fails to return home from a business trip, what’s left of her stability begins to crumble.

Given her family’s history of mental illness, and Elizabella’s insistence that her daddy is dead, Veronica starts questioning herself. Every move she makes is now suspect. Worse still, Veronica is positive that someone wants her and her daughter dead, too—unless it’s all in her mind…

Somewhere beneath her paranoia is the answer to her husband’s vanishing. To find it, she’s led to a house in the Florida Keys. But once there, she isn’t sure she wants to know the truth.

Digging In by Loretta Nyhan

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36174758-digging-in?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

In Loretta Nyhan’s warm and witty Amazon Charts bestselling novel, a widow discovers an unexpected chance to start over—right in her own backyard.

Paige Moresco found her true love in eighth grade—and lost him two years ago. Since his death, she’s been sleepwalking through life, barely holding on for the sake of her teenage son. Her house is a wreck, the grass is overrun with weeds, and she’s at risk of losing her job. As Paige stares at her neglected lawn, she knows she’s hit rock bottom. So she does something entirely unexpected: she begins to dig.

As the hole gets bigger, Paige decides to turn her entire yard into a vegetable garden. The neighbors in her tidy gated community are more than a little alarmed. Paige knows nothing about gardening, and she’s boldly flouting neighborhood-association bylaws. But with the help of new friends, a charming local cop, and the transformative power of the soil, Paige starts to see potential in the chaos of her life. Something big is beginning to take root—both in her garden and in herself.

After You Left by Carol Mason

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33975321-after-you-left?rto=x_gr_e_d_bp_sdd_bp

You want to know what the worst thing is? It’s not the embarrassment, or the looks on people’s faces when I tell them what happened. It isn’t the pain of him not being there—loneliness is manageable. The worst thing is not knowing why.

When Justin walks out on Alice on their honeymoon, with no explanation apart from a cryptic note, Alice is left alone and bewildered, her life in pieces.

Then she meets Evelyn, a visitor to the gallery where she works. It’s a seemingly chance encounter, but Alice gradually learns that Evelyn has motives, and a heartbreaking story, of her own. And that story has haunting parallels with Alice’s life.

As Alice delves into the mystery of why Justin left her, the questions are obvious. But the answers may lie in the most unlikely of places…

What could cause this emphasis on cheating husbands?

The similarities between these stories sent my mind drifting back to a Facebook post I read yesterday about the planet Venus entering a retrograde phase:

“Venus Retrograde 2018—What to Expect”

https://astrobutterfly.com/2018/09/05/venus-retrograde-2018-what-to-expect/

Venus Retrograde 2018 starts on October 5th at 10° Scorpio. Venus retrograde will last for 40 days, until November 15th when Venus goes direct at 25° Libra. Venus is the Goddess of love and relationships. When retrograde, your relationships are being tested. You have 40 days to review, revisit, re-evaluate your love life and your relationships. If Venus Retrograde 2018 is already giving you chills, listen to this: Venus goes retrograde in Scorpio, the most intense sign of the zodiac. Death, sex, finances, and taboos – in general, what people never talk about – are Scorpio’s territory. Can you imagine what it means to have the Goddess of Love going through Scorpio? The Valley of death, the inferno? Let’s put it like this: If Romeo and Juliet was an astrological transit, it would have been Venus Retrograde in Scorpio. . . .

It’s a tenuous connection at best, but sort of fun to contemplate. Might the influence of Venus going into retrograde have made the copywriter of that GoodReads bulletin gather all the suspense and thriller titles that involved philandering men? Should we send our prayers, love and light, whatever to that poor girl who has philandering men on her mind?

Happy Sunday, y’all!

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