Yes, these are novels that are likely to incite some painfully exquisite emotions, don’t turn away though because they are truly beautiful too. From literary through to historical, from crime to modern and contemporary and of course relationship novels, the books in this collection are incredibly worthwhile and rewarding. Some of my favourite novels have been those that have made me positively ache as the words caught my emotions and tethered them to the page. 

Sometimes it is difficult to read a book that you know is going to be emotionally turbulent, you might need to choose your time carefully, set aside the ideal moment. We believe these are books to be loved and adored even as you feel the pain, if a book truly speaks to you, if it fills your heart, then it is worth the perfect torment.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is a prime example of a glorious yet heartbreaking read. This is the imagined story behind the writing of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it has an almost otherworldly feel and yet is as earthy and believable as can be. I could quite literally feel the words as they echoed deep inside me creating pools of emotion. I cried on finishing, all those feelings gathering into a torrent that slipped out of me and trickled down my cheeks. 

Stefan Merrill Block creates the most profoundly moving and captivating novel in Oliver Loving. The story focuses on Oliver, his mother Eve, and brother Charlie, and how one event has trapped and maimed them all. This is so thoughtfully written, an almost gentle lyrical quality caresses the pages, yet he encourages searching questions, for you to travel deeper. Profoundly moving yet beautiful, prepare for your heart to ache, weep, and possibly even break.

A relationship tale that is tender, gripping, and eloquent, The Lion Tamer Who Lost made me sob. Ben volunteers at a lion reserve in Africa, as we read his story in the present, we also look back to his past. When Louise Beech writes, it feels touchable, I can feel the emotions she creates deep inside of me. I remained in every moment, moving with the words and feelings, knowing I was heading into uncharted territory, and yet I couldn’t stop reading. 

Editorial Expert Joanne Owen describes The Innocents by Michael Crummey as: “Beautiful, brutal and raw”. She declared it a LoveReading Star Book and  that she couldn’t praise it highly enough. A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove in Canada in the nineteen century and are on the edge of  survival. “Inspired by a story the author found in local archives, this is an incredibly haunting novel - the language powerfully pure, the story uniquely thought-provoking”.

Shappi Khorsandi wrote the most provocative, emotional, yet beautifully worthwhile read in Nina Is Not OK. Nina is 17 years old when her life starts to unravel, she tells her story and made me flinch, made me cry, and made me think. This is uncomfortable and occasionally jaw droopingly shocking stuff. Although I positively ached for Nina, and her journey was at times so very painful to watch, she made me smile, even made me laugh. This is compassionate beautiful writing at its best. 


So prepare yourself, have some tissues handy just in case. Be in a place where you can accept the emotion and let it fill you with its stormy caress knowing that there is also beauty within reach to salve your wounds.