One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Sisters Hemingway by Annie England Noblin

THE SISTERS HEMINGWAY

A Novel


For fans of Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Susan Wiggs, this is a novel for anyone who loves stories about sisters, dogs, and family secrets. 

The Hemingway Sisters of Cold River, Missouri are local legends. Raised by a mother obsessed with Ernest Hemingway, they were named after the author’s four wives—Hadley, Pfeiffer, Martha, and Mary. The sisters couldn’t be more different—or more alike. Now they’re back in town, reunited to repair their fractured relationships.

Hadley is the poised, polished wife of a senator.

Pfeiffer is a successful New York book editor.

Martha has skyrocketed to Nashville stardom.

more …

For fans of Susan Mallery, Kristan Higgins, or Susan Wiggs, this is a novel for anyone who loves stories about sisters, dogs, and family secrets. 

The Hemingway Sisters of Cold River, Missouri are local legends. Raised by a mother obsessed with Ernest Hemingway, they were named after the author’s four wives—Hadley, Pfeiffer, Martha, and Mary. The sisters couldn’t be more different—or more alike. Now they’re back in town, reunited to repair their fractured relationships.

Hadley is the poised, polished wife of a senator.

Pfeiffer is a successful New York book editor.

Martha has skyrocketed to Nashville stardom.

They each have a secret—a marriage on the rocks,  a job lost, a stint in rehab…and they haven’t been together in years.

Together, they must stay in their childhood home, faced with a puzzle that may affect all their futures. As they learn the truth of what happened to their mother—and their youngest sister, Mary—they rekindle the bonds they had as children, bonds that have long seemed broken. With the help of neighbors, friends, love interests old and new—and one endearing and determined Basset Hound—the Sisters Hemingway learn that the happiness that has appeared so elusive may be right here at home, waiting to be claimed.

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  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Paperback
  • February 2019
  • 384 Pages
  • 9780062674531

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About Annie England Noblin

Annie England Noblin is the author of The Sisters HemingwayAnnie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Praise

“…for anyone who loves a family drama, with wit and heart to go around. Recommended for fans of Susan Mallery.” – Booklist

“Combining sibling rivalry, romantic story lines…a strong cast…and a realistic, colorful Ozarks setting, this well-paced story will appeal to those who enjoy family dramas. Its warm, engaging tone and happy ending for all will appeal to readers of Susan Wiggs or Mary Alice Monroe.” – Library Journal

“Fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy Noblin’s lighthearted second novel. For many readers, spending time immersed in Caroline’s world might be just the ticket.” – Library Journal

“Noblin’s fish-out-of-water story combines food, family, suspense, and romance into one delightful read. [… ] a comfort read that’s perfect for a summer night. The dog-centered plot will earn points from all animal lovers. A cozy read that’s full of dogs, romance, and small-town charm.” – Kirkus Reviews

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Pfeiffer

PFEIFFER HEMINGWAY IGNORED THE DOORBELL. INSTEAD, she rolled over on the couch to face the back cushions. No good could come of answering the doorbell. Not now. There had been a time, in the not-so-distant past, when the sound of the doorbell meant delight. When there was someone standing outside her expansive Chelsea apartment, it meant there had been a package delivered or it was Benny with the takeaway pad thai or her friends were there to pick her up for a night out.

Now when the doorbell rang, it just meant there was someone standing there waiting to take something away from her. This time, she assumed that there were people here for her couch. After all, it was the only piece of furniture left. The only thing she owned that had not been repossessed in recent months. The last time the furniture men had tried to take it, she’d sat there in her nightgown with a can of Mace, bits of pad thai stuck to the corners of her mouth as she ordered them to try it.

Still, the doorbell persisted.

“Go away,” she muttered, pulling the blanket up over her head.

“Pfeiffer Francine Hemingway, you open this door right now!”

Pfeiffer sat up. She knew that voice. “Seth?”

“Open the door, Pi.”

Pfeiffer flung off the blanket and stalked to the door. “What do you want, Seth?”

“To make sure the smell emanating from your apartment isn’t your decomposing body,” he replied. “Let me in.”

“Fine,” Pfeiffer said, unlocking the dead bolt and pulling open the door. “Come in.”

“Jesus Christ,” Seth whispered when he stepped inside. “What in the hell happened in here?”

“Unemployment.”

“Pi, that was nine months ago.”

“Two hundred and seventy-two days ago,” Pfeiffer replied. “Apparently, that’s how long it takes to drain a savings account.”

“Have you even applied for another job?” Seth asked, leading her over to the couch and sitting her down. “Surely you’ve got a lead or two.”

“If I had any leads, don’t you think I’d be out pursuing them instead of hiding in a ratty nightgown on my couch?” Pfeiffer asked. “Nobody will have me. No one.”

Seth sighed, pushing his glasses farther up his nose. “Well, you can hardly blame them.”

In fact, Pfeiffer did blame them. She did blame Henry Brothers Publishers for firing her after almost a decade as an editor, after almost a decade of finding bestsellers for them, and after a decade of making them money. Sure, she’d made a mistake. In fact, she’d made the worst mistake an editor could make: she’d passed on a future bestseller.

She had been, of course, the one to send the agent of the aforementioned author an email, tartly telling her that her client ought not to quit her day job. That had been just a few weeks before editors at five other houses got ahold of the book and began a frenzied bidding war, causing the author’s name and title of the book, Aurora’s Artifacts, to be the most sought-after prospect since the Harry Potter series—not the first Harry Potter book. No, not that one. An editor had once told J. K. Rowling not to quit her day job, too.

It didn’t take long for the Henry Brothers to figure out Pfeiffer’s grievous error, and matters only got worse after that damned email made its way around the publishing world. In less than twenty-four hours, she’d become a pariah. No one, not even her oldest friends—save Seth—would return a text message. The next day, Pfeiffer Hemingway, senior editor, had been told not to let the door hit her where the good lord split her, and just like that—she was out of a job. Nobody, not even the lowest of the lowest publishing houses, would touch her.

“You’re taking a risk being here,” Pfeiffer said, eyeing the empty room wildly. “Did anybody see you?”

Seth rolled his eyes. “It’s not like there’s a hit out on you,” he said.

“Might as well be,” she grumbled. “Nobody will hire me.”

“Give it time.”

Pfeiffer opened her arms wide. “Does it look like I have any more time? The only reason I still have this couch is because I look half-rabid, and the men from the furniture store were afraid to get too close for fear I’d bite.”

“I have it on good authority that you do,” Seth replied with a wink.

“Shut up,” Pfeiffer replied miserably, a smile creeping onto her lips despite herself. “I’m serious. What am I going to do? I’m out of money. Out of friends. Out of a job. I’m screwed, Seth, and you know it.”

“Maybe it’s time to consider another line of work,” Seth said in earnest.

Pfeiffer sighed, pushing her wild, strawberry curls out of her face. “I don’t know how to do anything else,” she said.

“When you first showed up here in the city, you said you wanted to be a writer,” Seth replied.

“But I ended up editing other writers instead,” Pfeiffer replied. “I’m better at that. At least I used to be.”

Seth patted her knee. “Wow, that’s hairy,” he muttered to himself before saying, “What about going home?”

“Home?” Pfeiffer blinked up at him. “Home? I am home. Well, at least this is home until the end of the month.”

“You know what I mean, Pi.”

Pfeiffer sat back, exposing both of her hairy knees. If this had been nine months ago, she would rather have died than let Seth or anyone else know she even had hair on her knees, let alone any other part of her body. But today was today and not nine months ago, and indeed, she did know what Seth meant. He meant that maybe she should go back to her childhood home.

To Missouri.

To the Missouri Ozarks.

To Cold River.

Pfeiffer winced at the thought. “I haven’t been home in almost two decades,” she said at last. “I can’t go home.”

Seth looked at her, very serious for what seemed like a long time. “Pi, honey, how long have you had your cell turned off?”

Pfeiffer shrugged. “A couple of weeks, probably.”

“Well, you got a call at the office today—several calls, in fact—from your sister Hadley. I finally had to promise that I’d deliver a message to you personally.”

Pfeiffer sat up a little straighter. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t really know how to tell you this,” Seth said, scratching at his perfectly coiffed head. “But your aunt Beatrice is dead.”

“What?”

“Dead,” Seth repeated. “Your sister said it happened yesterday.”

Pfeiffer sighed. Hadley. She always knew everything first. Maybe, Pfeiffer thought, not for the first time, it’s because she was born first. It had long been a suspicion of Pfeiffer, the second sister, that the oldest sister knew everything first, and it was her responsibility as the oldest sister to hold that information over her younger sisters for all eternity. It had been nearly a year since she’d talked to Hadley, and nearly five years since she’d seen her, despite the fact that Hadley lived in Washington, D.C., which really wasn’t that far away from New York. Pfeiffer didn’t like Hadley’s husband, and she didn’t like the person Hadley became around her husband, and so instead of wasting her time arguing about it, she found it best to keep her mouth closed and stay in New York. Their relationship was tenuous on a good day, and today was not a good day.

“She said she would be on the first flight home tomorrow morning,” Seth said. “Red-eye from D.C.”

“Did you tell her I don’t work at Henry Brothers anymore?” Pfeiffer asked. She couldn’t stand the thought of Hadley or Martha learning that she’d been fired.

“Of course not,” he said. “You know I wouldn’t do that to you.”

Pfeiffer eyed her friend and former colleague. He looked uncomfortable, like he would do anything to get out of her barren apartment and away from her shabby-without-the-chic appearance. She bit at the corner of her lip and then said, “Seth, do you still have that old car? The one you drove here from Nebraska?”

Seth’s eyes darted around the room, as if he thought at any moment spies from Henry Brothers might pop up out of nowhere. “You promised never to speak of . . . Nebraska.”

“Oh, come on,” Pfeiffer said, standing up to stretch. “Everybody knows you weren’t born inside the Kate Spade on Fifth.”

“Well, they at least have the decency not to say that,” Seth said with a sniff. “What do you want with my car?”

“I need to borrow it,” Pfeiffer replied. “I can’t afford a plane ticket, and I can’t let Hadley pay for a plane ticket, because then she’ll know I lost my job.”

“And you think showing up in a 1994 LeBaron won’t out you?”

“I’ll figure something out between here and Cold River,” Pfeiffer said.

“I know,” Seth replied, reaching out to touch her leg again and then thinking better of it. “You always do.”

“Can I borrow your phone?” Pfeiffer asked. “I should probably call Hadley.”

Seth stood up and worked his hand down into the pocket of his jeans. “Here.”

Pfeiffer eyed her friend. “Could your jeans be any tighter?”

“If I keep eating the scones at work, the answer is yes,” Seth replied.

Pfeiffer rolled her eyes and shuffled back into her empty bedroom to call her sister. She pressed the numbers into the phone and waited. Hadley answered on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Hadley?” Pfeiffer asked, even though she knew who it was. “It’s Pfeiffer.”

“I’ve been trying to get ahold of you,” Hadley said. “What is going on? You aren’t at work. Your phone is out of service.”

“My phone isn’t out of service.”

“That’s the message I get when I call.”

Pfeiffer sighed. “I’m having some trouble with it,” she said. “I’ll have it fixed soon.”

“And why haven’t you been at work?” Hadley continued. “I’ve never known you to take more than half a day off in all the years you’ve been at Henry Brothers.”

“I had some time coming,” Pfeiffer said simply. “I took it.”

“That doesn’t sound like you.”

“I didn’t call you so we could play twenty questions,” Pfeiffer replied.

“That sounds more like you,” Hadley replied. “I guess you got the message about Aunt Beatrice?”

“Just now.”

“We need to go home.”

“Why?” Pfeiffer wanted to know.

“Because that’s what you do when someone dies,” Hadley replied. “You go home and go to the funeral. I mean, really, Pfeiffer. I thought you of all people would want to go to the funeral. She loved you best, after all.”

And there it was. What Pfeiffer had been waiting for. “She didn’t love me best,” she said. “I just understood her.”

“I didn’t?”

“Look, Hadley,” Pfeiffer said. “Can we just not fight about this?”

There was a long pause on the other end of the line. “So are you coming or not?”

“Yes,” Pfeiffer replied. “I’ll be there.”

“Good,” Hadley said. “Oh . . . and Pi?”

“What?”

“I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I’m going to find out.”