Why I read Candy Fiction (that really isn’t in the end)

I’m quite loyal to my friends so when they host a link-up or a carnival, I do my best to get involved.

So when my dear friend Anne introduced her “The best book you’ve never heard of carnival” I wanted to hop on board.

It was then that I had to face the fact that I am the sort of reader who jumps on board with what everyone else is reading…. when it’s already popular.


My bedside stack isn’t shocking or obscure in the slightest.

This is something I’d like to change, but haven’t yet.


So… I’m fudging it a little today because I’m not too sure that my “little known” book is all that “little known.”  However, I did text Modern Mrs Darcy herself who had never heard of either the book or the author so I’m using that as my street cred to proceed.  

I can honestly say that few of my friends have heard of or read this book.  

I grew up as an avid reader but took a really long (and sad) break in twenties.  Reading was a good habit that I fell out of and am now marching my way back into.

My cousin Katie was a big part of my journey back to reading simply because she gave me a huge stack of books one Christmas after we chatted about how I missed reading.

This pile contained a lot of Anita Shreve (her favorite), Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes.

I started my way through them, although I must confess I never really gave Sophie Kinsella a try after seeing the movie “confessions of a shopaholic.”  Maybe I’m missing out, tons of women love her, am I ?

These books were definitely what you would consider women’s fiction, which is a genre that some serious readers look down on.

But I need them sometimes and here’s why:  My life is too serious sometimes and I need a book that is an escape from my problems.  I need a book that sucks me in with it’s characters and their drama causing me to either:

A) forget my own  OR
B) realize that my own aren’t all that bad after all.  

Out of all the authors contained in that stack from my cousin, Marian Keyes was my favorite.  I now make a note to quickly obtain and devour all her new releases.

She writes witty, Irish women, many of whom come from the same family and all of whom deal with serious life issues and events with wit, candor and irreverence.

The book I’d like to recommend to you today is titledThis Charming Man” and it centers around 4 women, all of whom have a relationship (of sorts) with a charming and well-loved politician.

Who turns out to be an abusive, manipulating and controlling dick

The characters experience pain and abuse and go through massive points of discovery over what this popular, charismatic man is really doing to their lives and hearts.

And in the end it’s not too neat… it’s just…  right.

So, if you’re still looking for a beach read that feels like candy but has a bit of protein, I recommend picking up “This charming man” or another one of her books: “Brightest star in the Sky.”

And if you feel too serious to read women’s fiction, I think you should throw one of Keye’s books into your queue and see what you think.  And if you hate it, just don’t tell me, cool?


  • Katie

    Sophie kinsella writes the shopaholic series, they can be missed in my opinion. But! Emily Giffens newer books are quite good!

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Ugh… you’re so right. This is what happens when I try to get things done quickly without proofing those sort of things.

  • Deb

    Two summers ago I was literally addicted to all Elin Hilderbrand books…and from there got hooked on books that take place on the island of Nantucket. Then I came across another author who writes her books with Nantucket as the setting as well…Denise Hunter. The ones I have read have been great so far! For me, it’s an escape and a way to relax even if only for a few pages at a time! Bring on the candy fiction…I don’t care what anyone says! :)

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      I should try Denise Hunter because Elin Hildebrand is my absolute favorite too. I love her for an escape! Do you have her new one yet?

  • TJ

    I agree with your line. “Sometimes life is too serious and I need a book that is an escape from my problems.” I am also trying to branch out more in my reading.

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Me too. I think my goal list mentions reading biographies this year… maybe I should go print that. (fail)

  • Anne Bogel

    I love your description of why you need the candy lit (girl, ME TOO), and especially your nutshell character analysis of the politician in the book. I’m still giggling. :)

    Added it to my list. Thanks, Leanne!

  • http://rebekkaksteg.com/ Rebekka @ Becky’s Kaleidoscope

    I LOVE Marian Keyes, probably my favourite chick-lit writer because it’s actually NOT just “candy fiction”. My favourite is “Anybody Out There”.

    As for Sophie Kinsella, I’m really not a fan of the Shopaholic-series, but I really loved The Undomestic Goddess and Remember Me.

    Anita Shreve can be pretty awesome too.

    Another favourite Irish chick-lit writer is Cecelia Ahern, famous for P.S. I Love you, which is great, but personally my favourite is The Time of Your Life. I also recommend Thanks For the Memories, If you Could See me Now, and Love, Rosie.