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Highly-Rated Women’s Fiction

By: Hidden Gems on May 4, 2021

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on May 4, 2021


Women’s Fiction can range from flirty, fun and humorous to heartfelt and deeply emotional. Today we’ve rounded up 5 women’s fiction novels that were highly rated by Hidden Gems ARC readers recently. You’ll absolutely want to add these to your TBR list no matter what mood you’re in.


Under the Light

Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton

Over 650 reviews and an almost unheard of average 4.7 star rating on Amazon is reason enough to pick this one up. Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII. Fans of Elena Ferrante’s novels, Beneath A Scarlet Sky, All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz will enjoy this Italian saga about strong women, survival and love.

“I was immersed in the incredibly heartfelt story, which beautifully captures the power of love and resilience,” writes Rachel in her 5-star review. “Set in a rural area of Italy, Under the Light of the Italian Moon spans through both WWI and WWII and the years following. The novel follows the incredible life of Nina, and the women around her: her mother, sisters, and daughters. You feel, laugh and cry along with them as the story takes you through their happiest moments, daily life and the toughest of times. What I loved most about this novel is that it was based on the author’s family history. The love and research that Anton put into her novel could be felt on each page. There was rich history, along with vivid scenes and a story that kept me up reading late into night. This book is a reminder of past times and the struggles that so many women had to endure. It is an important tribute that needs to be shared with the world. I highly recommend it to Historical Fiction readers!”

“This book is one of those that will stay with me forever,” raves Caroline H. in her 5-star review. “The story and the characters were so strong and special, and it really opened up my heart to how difficult WW2 was for the people of Italy. The development of the characters and their personal journeys, as told over decades, really allows you to learn to love them and understand them, as if they are your own family. A beautifully written masterpiece.”

The Secrets We Keep

The Secrets We Keep by Nikki Lee Taylor

This is a women’s fiction thriller which is great for people who enjoyed Girl on the Train, Sharp Objects, and Gone Girl. If you like suspense and thrillers with an interesting female protagonist, you will enjoy The Secrets We Keep. Trigger warnings do exist with this one.

“A heartbreaking intense story about motherhood, loss, grief, love, sacrifices, hope and second chances,” writes Ghada in their 5-star review. “This is not a book you easily read or forget about, it’s incredibly hard sometimes to go through some parts of it…the unimaginable pain of Sophie’s loss and her crippling grief…the unthinkable horrors the sisters endured in that trailer not only by their criminal of a father but mostly by their indifferent mother who allowed it all. I loved the writing style, the originality of the storyline and the characters building, I mean there wasn’t stereotyping regarding the cheating husband, the evil mistress and the wife who must deserve it, the characters came out as human as possible with their weaknesses, flaws, instincts and natural behavior. The book didn’t fall into a very clichéd ending that would have been easily acceptable considering how the seemingly unconnected characters paths crossed gravely. The book’s ending gives the reader a couple of lines to think about, imagining how the characters will go on, is it really how their stories end?”

“This book grabbed my attention from the get go and kept me guessing,” says Orton5 in their 5-star review. “I knew from the synopsis that the characters were all interconnected but I didn’t correctly guess how they all fit together. Not a lot of books are able to surprise me like this one did. I really disliked Madelyn-May and honestly she was never redeemed in my eyes. Sophie had my heart. Her story was heartbreaking and I was rooting for her to the end. This is a thriller so a nice pretty bow is not what you will get. Enough questions were answered to satisfy my curiosity but the way it ended kept me thinking about this book long after I was done. 5 stars this book does not disappoint.”

When Robins Appear

When Robins Appear by Densie Webb

With nearly 150 Amazon reviews, When Robins Appear is delivered through alternating viewpoints of a mother and her 18 year old daughter. This is an emotional, raw, family drama you won’t be able to put down.

April The Book Dragon writes in her 5-star review, “Heartfelt and emotionally complex, When Robins Appear excels at bringing the nuanced dimensions of close relationships to the surface and exploring the shadow sides of grief, regret, and ambivalence that go with love. I was invested in Deb and Amanda’s parallel stories from the start, drawn into their worlds and committed to following them through their journeys of sorrow and joy alike. One of my favorite elements of this story was the talent with which Webb unveils the layers of the characters’ relationships to create a thoughtful study of humanity in all of its depth. Empathy breathes through the pages of this beautiful book, the thematic symbolism coming full circle from the first page to the last. Simply moving.”

“I stayed up late, furiously turning pages,” raves Linda R. in her 5-star review. “This is one book you will definitely not want to put down. It is a beautifully written, layered story that I want to talk about – need to talk about. Webb’s characters are so real your heart will tear in two, shred, though if I say more I’ll give away her incredible ending – perfect for book club discussion. I highly recommend this novel with the gorgeous cover and perfect title. Don’t miss it.”


Melita by Gill D. Anderson

With a 4.6 star average rating on Amazon, Melita is a women’s fiction novel about a complex relationship between a mother and daughter and the familial patterns that contributed to their bond being broken. The story is told in an engaging, easy-to-read way and is unforgettable.

K.L. Laetrner writes in her 5-star review,  “Ah, I love this author’s style and this one delivered again. I found this portrayal of human emotion and dynamics between generations to be raw, harsh, and sad. I ran the gamut with Melita from cheering her, to hating her, and in doing so, understood her much more. I found the serendipitous moments towards the end interesting, but came away from it as a whole as loving the conclusion and what it offered. I would recommend this and any others by this author. She hasn’t disappointed yet.”

“Prepare yourself to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster in the best way,” writes Amazon Customer in their 5-star review. “Anderson’s gripping storytelling and writing not only places you in the midst of some difficult situations but will also leave you captivated. This is a must read!”

Underneath it All

Underneath It All by Kathryn R. Biel

With an impressive 4.8 average star rating on Amazon, we join Marg who is faced with health crisis after health crisis, a failed marriage, and rebelling children. She can no longer keep up the facade of a perfect life. It’s time, with help from a most unlikely source, to realize that facades may crumble, but it’s underneath it all that really matters.

ViviBeee writes in her 5-star review, “As someone who lost her mother to breast cancer at 19, and has had her fair share of breast biopsies and wonky mammograms, I cannot begin to express how much the UnBRCAable series meant to me. I was already in love with the series, having read books one and two on my own, but I was given the wonderful opportunity to read an ARC copy of the third book in the series. All three books have the running theme of the importance of a support system and the unwavering respect and acceptance of the previvors choices, whether you agree with them or not. Underneath it all was the perfect storm of trying to balance life and health despite our internal struggles. All in all this series speaks to previvors, survivors, and those left behind unlike any other. It allows our voices to be heard and our light to be seen when oftentimes it may be easier on others to accept our imperfections if we were to lurk in the shadows. In the UnBRCAble series, we are unapologetically seen and revered for those very same imperfections.”

“A very powerful and moving story of a woman facing the BRCA-1 gene mutation and the decisions she has to make for HERSELF,” says Kathy B. in her 5-star review. “It brings to light that other people see us very differently than ourselves and are not as critical or harsh. It is an important story that is told to reassure us, with friendship, love of self, nothing is impossible.”

Hidden Gems readers got to read these gripping women’s fiction novels first, so if you want more stories that will stay with you, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus other titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. All we ask is that you consider leaving an honest review of them on Amazon when you’re done reading!

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