Three More Plots Readers Love Plus A Giveaway


Three more you say? What about the first three?

Almost two and a half years ago I blogged about three plots readers seem to love. At the time I said the blog needed a sequel.  Then I moved on and never looked back.

Today I came across that post, and so I sat awhile, as the rain pattered on the roof of our sun room, and thought about the books I’ve read recently. And lo and behold, three more plots.

Interested? Then follow the link above to read the first post, especially my readers astute comments with their opinions and reading choices.

Busy? Then here is a quick synopsis:

  1. A woman in crisis returns to her hometown and makes peace with the past (and often the man) she left behind.
  2. A seemingly hopeless curmudgeon–male or female–is slowly, gently brought back into the light because of people who see his/her humanity and refuse to give up.
  3. A man or woman starts out with nothing and claws their way to the life they’ve always dreamed of.

With me so far? As I said, last time my blog readers came up with some great plots that they enjoy and some reasons why. Today, let’s look at three more.

Here we go:

Two or more very different women–often antagonists–are forced together to solve a mystery, a family problem, or because they’re required to work together in order to gain something they both want or need.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’ve probably done all these plots, sometimes more than once. For instance this one? How about Happiness Key and the two books that followed it? Four strangers who live in the same dilapidated beach community must band together to find the family of the old man in the fifth house who dies unexpectedly and alone.

Or what about the Goddesses Anonymous books beginning with One Mountain Away? Strangers are drawn together, one at a time, to form a group dedicated to helping women in trouble.

The book I’m about to begin uses this plot, too, but in a completely different way. Apparently I love this idea. How about you? Can you think of a book you’ve read that used this plot and inspired you?

Here’s the next one:

A woman who has been abused by a man, a boss, her family, or other people important to her who, often after a “last straw” moment rebels, stands up to the abuser and wins a new and better life for herself.

Do you remember A Woman of Substance, the mega-bestseller and mini-series written by Barbara Taylor Bradford and published in 1979? Suddenly books about women climbing to the top of whatever ladder they chose were everywhere. We all read them, and they fit into last year’s post on this subject. Are these plots as prevalent today? I think the emphasis has changed.

Today I don’t think this idea is used to show a woman climbing to the top as often as it is to show women can still find happiness after struggle and torment. Today she doesn’t have to control a corporation, she just has to find peace and hopefully love. I wrote No River Too Wide, about a woman who finally escapes from an abusive husband, and Prospect Street, about a woman who, after her marriage ends spectacularly, is forced to put her life back together in a very different way.

There’s a lot of room in that category, isn’t there?

And finally:

Surprises twists aren’t “exactly” a plot but I’ve seen them so frequently of late that it almost seems as if the twist is the reason behind the plot.

Have you noticed this, too? The last four books I’ve read for fun all had amazing twists, and no, I didn’t see them coming. Why not? I was so immersed in the story I took everything at face value. Exactly what the authors wanted me to do. Here’s what I read:

Each of these books has major twists unique to each plot. In the future I’ll be watching to see how many others have huge twists, too.

These days twists are in the air we authors are breathing. The fun of writing them didn’t escape me, either. A Family of Strangers, has lots.  As I plotted my newest book–title not yet approved–twists were on my mind, too. From a writerly point of view, twists are fun to plot and a struggle to pull off. You have to give enough clues that the reader doesn’t feel cheated and withhold enough not to spoil the surprise. Depending on the reviewer, I either did or didn’t pull off the twists in A Family of Strangers. A few reviewers swear they saw them coming–although that didn’t seem to spoil the book for them– others were completely surprised. Luckily far more thought I did pull them off, which was gratifying.

And now the giveaway!

Comment on this post during the next week and tell me one book you’ve read that fits into any of the general plots I’ve discussed, either now or in 2017. I used examples here of my own books, since I know them best, but let us know how the books you’ve read fit in. will choose one commenter to receive a copy of A Family of Strangers, my “twisted” book. You’ll receive either the eBook or a signed paperback, depending on where you live. But the real point will be to have fun and share what you think.

We’re listening!

When possible I link to my website, but if I can’t, I link to Amazon, where I am an associate and receive a cute little kickback for thinking of them. The associate program is more proof that Amazon may someday rule the world.


  1. Kathryn on July 31, 2019 at 3:28 am

    Today I just finished and loved Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (publishes 13th Aug) and I am pretty sure it fits the “A woman who has been abused by a man, a boss, her family, or other people important to her who, often after a “last straw” moment rebels, stands up to the abuser and wins a new and better life for herself.”.I LOVED how she dealt to him, it was perfect. I think I must like that kind of plot! Katherine Center aced this one. (not entering giveaway but wanted to comment! I have an E-arc and my paperback is winging its way towards me!

  2. Kathleen O'Donnell on July 31, 2019 at 9:05 am

    The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr comes to mind. It was about a woman who finally takes control of her life from verbally abusive husband and starting a new life in her own home. Her daughters take sides and her ex-husband escalates his abuse physically and how she handles this plus starting a new relationship. It was an intricate story and I loved it.

  3. Dawn N. on July 31, 2019 at 9:21 am

    I also am reading the same book Kathryn is reading – Things you Save in a Fire. I enjoy these plot lines, but my most favorite was yours, Emilie, from the Goddesses Anonymous. That was one series of books that I just couldn’t wait for the next one to come because it was like visiting with old friends and meeting new ones. There are other authors’ series that I feel that way about….Fern Michaels Sisterhood comes to mind.

  4. Ola Norman on July 31, 2019 at 10:15 am

    I have loved reading the Miss Julia books by Ann Ross. Miss Julia is an amazing older lady who surprises you in n everything she does from taking in her late husband’s mistress and child in the first book of the series to finding a man she truly loves.

  5. Coelle Baskel on July 31, 2019 at 10:42 am

    I believe because of my age, I’ve read all the genres you have mentioned throughout my life and found that what appealed to me changed….or maybe grew tired of. I am exactly where you describe now the ‘element of surprise’….twists….that’s what I’m totally enjoying to read…I no longer want to read the what I deem ‘tired and old’ plots of the past.

  6. Darla on July 31, 2019 at 11:07 am

    The Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe.
    I loved the comment about the Miss Julia books. My TBR list just got a little longer. 🤩

  7. Terri Chlapek on July 31, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Solace Island by Meg Tilly had a twist.

  8. Judy M Zell on July 31, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    This year I have read the first two of four books in each of two different series with your basic plot of two or more very different women forced to work together. In “The Sister Circle” series by Bright and Moser, a new widow is forced to take in three boarders in order to be able to keep her lovely Victorian home. In the “Sensible Shoes” series by Sharon Brown, four very different women become friends while attending a class about developing a personal relationship with God. Both series are more religious than Emilie Richards’ books, but have good character development. I’m looking forward to reading the remaining two books in each of these series, as well as “Family of Strangers.” My favorite books by Emilie Richards are her Appalachian Quilt series; I’m not sure which plot category they are in.

  9. Faith Creech on July 31, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    I love the plots and twists in your books! Also loved the Nightingale! That is one of my favorite books. Another book I recently read that I enjoyed with plots and twists was The Chateau Of Secrets by Melanie Dobson. It was the first book that I have read by her but I will definitely be reading more. She writes historical fiction.

  10. Trish McNeil on July 31, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Ironically, I just finished rereading Happiness Key for my July Read Along With Emilie challenge and have plans to reread the other books in the series soon. I tend to gravitate to a plotline of women who are thrown together and along the way solve issues and become friends. Wendy Wax’s Beach Road series, Robyn Carr’s The House On Olive Street as well as the Happiness Key series by Emilie Richards are among my favorites with this plot twist. Oh – I can’t forget The Accidental Bestseller also by Wendy Wax.

  11. DIANE Willard on August 10, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I had a hard time putting The Nightingale Down. It really opened my eyes to what all the French people had to do and had to endure during WWII. Growing up we did not talk about THE WAR. What you learned in school did not cover much of the other country. So it was like having a history lesson at the same time. Excellent book.

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