Similar in style to my last Women’s Fic Picks author, Allison Winn Scotch, Katherine Center writes lighthearted women’s fiction that packs an emotional punch while making you laugh out loud.
Center’s first novel, The Bright Side of Disaster, was one of those books that made me think, “OK, I need to follow this new author and read whatever she puts out next”. When Jenny’s boyfriend has a panic attack and leaves her the day before she gives birth, she finds herself raising a baby alone. Luckily, she has a feisty mother and a stalwart best friend for help, and a very cute neighbor who just keeps appearing whenever she needs him. When her contrite boyfriend appears on her doorstep months later… will she take him back or send him packing?
In her second novel, Everyone Is Beautiful, Lainie’s husband moves the family from Texas to Cambridge, MA, so he can attend music school. Which would be fine, except they end up in a dingy apartment, Lainie has no friends, and her husband is completely wrapped up in his studies.
Center’s newest, Get Lucky, was just published this month in trade paperback, so even though it’s new it won’t be a hassle to obtain for groups. Sarah, an ad exec, is fired from her job when she forwards an inappropriate email to her entire firm. She decides to leave the rat race of New York to stay with her sister in Houston for a while. Her sister, Mackie, has been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby. Sarah decides that what the heck, she’s not working anyway, she’ll be the surrogate! While of course, wackiness ensues… this is also a story with real heart and depth.
Which sums up what I enjoy about Center’s novels. They are funny, they are light, but, the characters really seem to have something to say. From family dynamics, to independence, to being a modern woman (and all that entails). For book groups with younger readers looking to be entertained, Center is a great pick.