The Wide Smiles of Girls

Jennifer Mankse Fenske

Thomas Dunne Books

Sisters Mae Wallace and March are two years apart, and worlds away from being anything alike. Mae Wallace is the dependable, older sister, who weighs her words before she speaks, and sees the world as a project to be saved. March, happily overweight and charismatic, has the world on a string. Babies, men, and teachers love March, and she loves them right back. Mae Wallace doesn’t so much live in her sister’s shadow as be amused by it, and generally try to manage her younger sister’s scrapes.  

     But a tragic accident tears them apart, and all of a sudden the vivacious March is incapacitated and Mae Wallace bears the guilt from the incident. Relocated to a small island-town in South Carolina where March undergoes therapy, Mae Wallace befriends a local artist who is still grieving his wife’s mysterious death. As the two become closer, their mutual pain turns into a budding friendship. But Mae Wallace must free herself from guilt if she’s ever to live and love again---and March must grapple with the loss of her vibrant self, and accept the new realities of her life and sisterhood.

     The Wide Smiles of Girls is a poignant ode to the bond of two sisters, the grief we sometimes have to overcome, and the redemptive power of love that can make us smile again.


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Arrival, Langdon Island

Before Ruth died, before there was a fall or a push or a jump from the old bridge, she lived on Langdon Island and loved Hale Brock. Before she loved Hale, she lived in a large beach house with her two sisters, who were wicked like those sisters in fairy tales, and who mocked Ruth's choice of wide-brimmed hats and dramatic long skirts. Ruth felt as if she had been born in the wrong century and, like a lot of people who believed that, she sighed and read old journals and talked about what life could or should have been if she had lived


Praise for The Wide Smiles of Girls

Praise for Toss the Bride


“A captivating joy ride, bustling with memorable characters, hilarious wedding-planning escapades, and enormous heart. I loved it.”

---Emily Giffin


Toss the Bride is the warm and hilarious story of a hardworking wedding planner who also happens to be a reluctant bride-to-be. Fall in love with Macie Fuller and with author Jennifer Manske Fenske’s delightful first novel.”

---Lynne Hinton, author of Friendship Cake


“Toss aside your cares and spend some time with a real original. Jennifer Manske Fenske offers a new voice in the age-old field of matrimony: Anyone who’s spent even a minute fantasizing about her dream wedding will be astounded at Fenske’s imaginative look at all things nuptial. This is a wildly imaginative ride through bridal do’s and don’ts, presented through a series of weddings you'll actually love attending---and you don't even have to dress up!”

---Linda Lenhoff, author of Life a la Mode and Latte Lessons


“A delightful read---better than a day at the spa. Funny, entertaining, and endearing.”

---Haywood Smith, bestselling author of The Red Hat Club Rides Again

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jennifer Mankse Fenske

  • Jennifer  Manske Fenske is the author of the novel Toss the Bride. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters.

  • Jennifer Manske Fenske © Elizabeth Strauss
    Jennifer Manske Fenske


Available Formats and Book Details

The Wide Smiles of Girls

Jennifer Mankse Fenske

  • e-Book



Thomas Dunne Books