Weekend reads: Garcia Marquez's last novel 'Until August', Emily Henry's 'Funny Story' and more

Combo of books' covers. Image courtesy: Amazon.in

Here are four books in which female characters play the central role. Among them García Marquez's Until August is the author's first book with a woman protagonist.

Until August by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Nobel Prize winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez had requested his sons to ensure the last novel in his archive is destroyed. It's said that he could not follow the plot structure he had planned as he was afflicted by dementia in later years. However, his sons found literary worth in the novel, and chose to edit and release it. The publication of 'Until August' was announced in April 2023. However, the decision of his sons to publish the novel against their father's wish was met with criticism.

This is the first literary work by García Marquez which has a female protagonist. The novel revolves around Ana Magdalena Bach, a happily married woman who lives with her husband and children. She has no reason to escape the world. But, every August, she travels to the island where her mother is buried, and for one night she takes a new lover. Throwing surprises at regular intervals, the meditative novel explores the magic of freedom, despair and love.

Funny Story by Emily Henry
The novel is a joy ride about a couple full of mismatches. Daphne loved it when her fiance Peter narrated how they met and fell in love over an errant hat and then shifted to his home town to begin their new life together. But as he narrated the story he realizes he was actually in love with his childhood best friend Petra.

As a children’s librarian, and proposing to be roommates with the only person who could possibly understand her predicament -Petra’s ex, Miles Nowak, Daphne is stranded in beautiful Waning Bay, Michigan, without friends or family. Meanwhile, Miles is exactly the opposite of practical, buttoned-up Daphne. The roommates mainly avoid one another, until one day, while drowning their sorrows, they form a tenuous friendship and a plan. Fraught with so many intriguing and complex characters and relationships, the book was considered as the most anticipated book of 2024.

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo
When Luzia Cotado's mistress discovers her maid is hiding a talent for little miracles, she demands Luzia use those gifts to win over the royal court. Luzia thus plunges into a world of power-hungry nobility, desperate kings, holy men and seers, where the lines between magic, science and fraud blur. Now, she must use every bit of her wit and resilience to win fame and hide the truth of her ancestry – even if that means enlisting the help of an embittered immortal familiar, whose own secrets could cost her everything. 'The Familiar' is touted as a bewitching novel, which demonstrates how a woman’s ambition can prove deadly in a world replete with catastrophes.

A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft
A romantic fantasy of manners, the novel revolves around a magical dressmaker commissioned for a royal wedding who finds herself embroiled in scandal when a gossip columnist draws attention to her undeniable chemistry with the groom. Determined to spend the little time she has left guaranteeing a better life for her family, Niamh jumps at the chance to design the wardrobe for a royal wedding in the neighbouring kingdom of Avaland. But the land is far from the fairytale that she imagined. While young nobles attend candlelit balls and elegant garden parties, unrest brews amid the working class.

Kit Carmine, the groom, is prickly and abrasive and he is being dragged to the altar as a political pawn. But Niamh and Kit grow closer, an unlikely friendship blossoms into something more―until an anonymous gossip columnist starts buzzing about their chemistry, promising to leave them alone only if Niamh helps to uncover the royal family’s secrets. 'A Fragile Enchantment' transports readers to a fantasy world and is a sweeping romance blended with intrigue, surprising characters, and an ageless love story.

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