New TODAY from Jessica Calla:
Maple Summer Wallace
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Adventure/Suspense
Release Date: April 30, 2019
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Available on Kindle Unlimited for Free!
About Maple Summer Wallace
After learning she has only six months to live, twenty-two-year-old socialite, Maple Summer Wallace, plans to spend her remaining time hanging over a roulette table in Vegas and squandering her family’s fortune. Her plan takes a wrong turn when she finds Veronica, her twenty-year-old housekeeper and daughter of her beloved nanny, Lola, hovering over the dead body of octogenarian Randolph Brentwood, the fifth richest man in the world.
Maple, hardened from her own personal loss, resists involvement until she learns that Veronica is pregnant with Lola’s grandchild, an heir to the Brentwood estate. To make good on an old promise, Maple vows to help Veronica. With the assistance of Michael, a handsome and savvy PI, they journey up and down the East Coast, dodging the authorities, a shady lawyer, a cold-hearted hit man, and the powerful widow, Mrs. Brentwood. As Maple’s bitterness about spending her last days saving Veronica dissipates and her friendship with Michael develops, she realizes that on the way to death, she’s found something she’s never had—life.
(Please note: This is not a Romance. It is the author’s Women’s Fiction debut. Further, this book contains serious situations which may affect more sensitive readers.)
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An Excerpt from Maple Summer Wallace
What struck me the most about the elderly man bleeding out on the floor of my parents’ multi-million dollar Manhattan penthouse wasn’t that he was the fifth richest man in the world. Nor did it strike me odd that his old, wrinkled body lay naked as a newborn. And I didn’t even care that my housekeeper, Veronica, hovered over him, almost nude and clearly shaken.
What struck me the most was the color of the blood pulsing from his body. Deep, rich, red blood. Healthy blood. He must have been close to a hundred years old, but I’d give anything to trade my twenty-two-year-old blood for his, which now flowed into the cracks of the imported hardwood floor that my parents had installed the year before they died.
Veronica was frozen in place, crouched down next to the body. I scanned her from behind, and despite the blood splattered over her skin, she seemed intact. She didn’t acknowledge me. Of course, it appeared she’d just killed a man—an extremely well-known and connected man—so who knew where her brain was at the moment. Certainly wasn’t overlooking Central Park in the fifteen thousand square foot penthouse on the Upper East Side that I’d inherited. I cursed myself for picking that day, that moment, to walk into my home for the first time in two years—and for the last time ever.
“Did you call nine-one-one?” I asked.
Startled, she twisted and looked up at me from her unflattering position. A knife I hadn’t noticed fell from her hand into the pool of blood, clanking onto the floor and splattering the rich liquid onto her cheek. Her long, black hair stuck to her face, and her dark, tear-streaked eyes widened at the sight of me.
“Sunny?” she whispered. ….
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My Review of Maple Summer Wallace
Maple Summer Wallace, Jessica Calla’s first women’s fiction novel, is a riveting, suspenseful story about a young socialite, faced with a terminal illness, who decides to go on one last, wild, adventure and gets much more than she bargained for: a murder, a pregnant housekeeper, a mysterious rescuer, and a plot to destroy them all. From the first sentence to the last, it’s not only packed full of action and suspense, it weaves in some hard-hitting universal truths about life, death, family, and loss. Full of breath-taking, heart-pounding plot twists and painful back-stories, it’s dark and sometimes hard to read, but I couldn’t put it down.
This is not a romance, and the ending is not your typical happy-ever-after, but then you know that going in: Maple Summer Wallace is destined to die. Nevertheless, her journey is meaningful, and in the end, she leaves a legacy far different and thought-provoking than what you might expect. The supporting characters are well-developed and compelling, each with their own motivations, fears, guilt, secrets and desires.
It took me awhile to even begin to like Maple, the reluctant heroine of the story; and several chapters to understand and sympathize with her partner in crime, Veronica. Early on, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to sympathize or appreciate the perspective of either of these women. But that’s what makes this story so unique, dramatic, and emotional. The conflicts within and between each principal character are relatable, even if the characters themselves are not. For me, there was only one drawback, and that was the author’s occasional deviation from showing to telling, which momentarily pulled me out of this otherwise riveting story.
I’ve enjoyed every one of Jessica’s novels, especially her romantic and emotional Sheridan Hall series. And while I can’t say I exactly “enjoyed” Maple Summer Wallace, it was well worth reading, a unique and welcome departure from typical women’s fiction tropes, with an unforgettable storyline, compelling characters, and a meaningful message. It was a bold, worthwhile leap for the author, and I look forward to more.
Jessica Calla (THE LOVE SQUARE, The Sheridan Hall Series) is a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she’s not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you’ll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once). A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.
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