LoveReading has teamed up with Audiobooks.com to give you the chance to get 2 free audiobooks when you sign up. Try it for 30 days for free with no strings attached. You can cancel anytime, although we're sure you'll love it. Click the button to find out more:Find out more
All relationships have their ups and downs, whether it’s struggles with a partner or difficulties in the family. Our Relationship Stories section shows the unique features of relationships in gloriously written technicolour.
Oh my word, this is an absolutely cracking psychological thriller. Anna is unable to leave her house, she views the world from her window and connects with it on her laptop, when she witnesses a horrific incident in a neighbouring house, turmoil awaits. The first few pages set me on edge, and I remained on high alert throughout the story, doubting and questioning my own reasoning. Even if you suspect, you can’t be confident, and there are plenty of shocks and surprises lying in wait. Set over a few weeks, the short chapters whipped into my consciousness, yet the story reveals itself gradually. A. J. Flynn allows the tension to build, slowly, torturously, and exquisitely. Anna tells her own story, wounded herself, can she be trusted? When the revelations came, they spilled from the page and slapped my thoughts. So clever and focused, yet utterly mind-bending, The Woman in the Window is a heart-hammering read and I highly recommend stepping into Anna’s world.
What a truly beautiful read this is, light, bright and cheerful (yet not at all frothy), there are also some heartachingly deep and dark depths waiting to be discovered. It’s 1941 and Emmeline desperately wants to become a war correspondent, she somehow finds herself working for an agony aunt and begins to secretly reply to the letters Mrs Bird refuses to answer. Emmeline tells her own tale in the most wonderfully spirited tone of voice, I could hear her so clearly, and immediately warmed to her energy and courage. A.J. Peace weaves the story of sparkling, heartfelt friendship quite marvellously through the air raids, dances, blackouts and rationing. I found myself immersed in 1941, I opened my eyes and my heart to the characters and evocative descriptions. Part of me wanted to encourage Emmeline, to clap and smile as her subterfuge escaped notice, while the other part offered caution, a number of ‘eeeks’, and I had a cushion ready to hide behind just in case. Dear Mrs Bird is just so gloriously readable, it really is an entertaining, affectionate discovery of delight and I’m keeping my fingers firmly crossed that there is more to come from the gorgeous Emmeline.
Oh I did enjoy More Than A Feeling, it gathered me up in smirks, love, and friendship. Annie finds herself exploring her past when her current life throws an unexpected spanner in the works. The prologue introduces the Annie from five years previously, a photographic assistant in the fashion world, she is bold, upbeat, and really knows how to party, then something awful happens, and we start chapter one back in the present day. Cate Woods opens up feelings and heartache allowing intimate access, I joined the group, supporting, giggling, caring about Annie and her friends. I have to admit I did on more than one occasion wince as certain decisions were made, and as I read, almost wanted to cover my eyes while simultaneously desperate to gallop through the pages so I could find out what happened. Delivering an amusing burst of energy More Than A Feeling is a feel-good read with a gorgeous squeeze of optimism and romance.
Oh my, I have quite fallen in love with this absolutely glorious and spellbinding tale. A wonderful infusion of themes means ‘Attend’ quite rightly, refuses to be labelled. Set in Deptford, London the streets, houses, and locations are as eloquently described and important as the characters. Skirting the violent criminal underbelly of the town and exploring the struggle of addiction, the story hovers within touching distance of an unseen mysterious power that planted itself in my mind and continued to lurk and explore my thoughts and feelings. The enigmatic and almost otherworldly Deborah sits centre stage, acting as a magnet, weaving Sam and Anne into her story. ‘Attend’ has a deliciously dark fairytale quality that sits alongside the heartfelt realism of life quite beautifully. This is West Camel’s debut, his writing is alluring and sang out to me, I simply can't wait to see what comes next. I recommend Attend with every fibre of my being, it has must-read stamped all over it.
A touchingly intimate yet scorchingly dramatic and fully realised view of a couple who meet just before the Second World War. This is a relationship tale that took hold of me, brought me to its very centre and allowed me access to innermost thoughts and feelings. Martin and Nancy fall in love, as Martin departs for the battlefields of France, they continue to communicate by letter, until suddenly Martin’s letters stop. My advice to you is to pick this book up, start to read, and whatever you do, do not allow the final few pages to fall open before you reach them. For me the ending was a heart-stopping moment, and is still very much in my mind, the emotion of the realisation continues to affect me. The letters are exquisitely crafted, with real heart, tying into the story perfectly and bringing a sense of nostalgia for this type of communication. S. C. Worrall allows the war to edge ever closer, until it strikes with a sharp hammer blow. The Very White of Love takes you step by step into another time, heartfelt and beautiful I can wholeheartedly recommend this read.
The Blue is an enthralling story of art and science, focusing on the competitive nature of the porcelain industry in the 18th century and the obsessive quest for excellence. Feisty protagonist Genevieve Planché is English-born but fiercely proud of her family’s Huguenot origins. A talented artist, she dreams of being a world-famous painter but is being ignored by the male-dominated art world. When she meets the charming and mysterious Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he promises to make her dreams come true if she can just do one ‘simple task’ for him – to discover the secrets of a highly sought-after shade of blue. Set against a vivid background of wartime England and France, The Blue provides a powerful blend of fact and fiction – switching between London’s Spitalfields, industrial Derby and France’s Sèvres, highlighting the politics, religious intolerance and social divide of that time period. This is an entertaining combination of history, adventure and mystery, filled with passion and secrets, deception and espionage, as Genevieve begins to question where her loyalties really lie. The Blue is a perfect choice for historical thriller fans, with its flowing prose, well-researched background, rich characters, vivid descriptive writing and escalating tension. This is certainly a novel to savour, ponder and enjoy. I loved it!
A sweeping saga set between 1884 and 1889 packed-full of the trials, endeavours, and love interests of five families. This is the start of a new series, and Barbara Taylor Bradford has introduced the different characters quite beautifully. The story glides from London, to Kent, Hull and Paris creating a fascinating full background in which it sits. From the up and coming Falconers to the Trevalians who head a private bank, fine threads connect the characters together, slowly creating a rich tapestry. This isn’t a book to rush through, it’s one to savour, to sink into and become at one with the story. Take time to introduce yourself to each individual, to understand them and where they sit in the story. Allow the highs and lows to fill your thoughts, to lift your heart, and be ready to console your feelings. Master of his Fate is a rather lovely and enjoyable opening to what promises to be a compelling new series.
A sweeping saga set between 1884 and 1889 packed-full of the trials, endeavours, and love interests of five families. This is the start of a new series, and Barbara Taylor Bradford has introduced the different characters quite beautifully. The story glides from London, to Kent, Hull and Paris creating a fascinating full background in which it sits. From the up and coming Falconers to the Trevalians who head a private bank, fine threads connect the characters together, slowly creating a rich tapestry. This isn’t a tale to rush through, it’s one to savour, to sink into and become at one with. Take time to introduce yourself to each individual, to understand them and where they sit in the story. Allow the highs and lows to fill your thoughts, to lift your heart, and be ready to console your feelings. Master of his Fate is a rather lovely and enjoyable opening to what promises to be a compelling new series.
A thrilling, chilling, shocking tale, perfect if you take delight in an icy shiver scuttling down your spine. A couple leaves their life behind them to join a commune in a former psychiatric hospital, events soon start to spin terrifyingly out of control. The prologue pounced on my imagination, I was immediately hooked and remained so until the very last page was turned. Several different characters take their turn in the spotlight in the present day, while a journal from the past casts a further shadow over proceedings. S.J.I Holliday weaves the different strands of the story together beautifully, each settling over the other while twisting thoughts and feelings. As I read my reasoning teetered one way and then the other. A supernatural presence heightens the tension further and my mind and heart fairly skittered in anticipation at what was to come. The Lingering is an exquisitely eerie tale, and I loved every single word of it.
'My mum always said, a fistful of rings is as good as a knuckleduster' As the Great Smog falls over London in 1952, Florrie Palmer has a choice to make. Will she stay with the Cutters, a gang of female criminals who have terrorized London for years and are led by her own mother? Or leave it all behind to make a safer, duller life with the man she loves? And what will she do if she's too crooked to go straight, and too good to go bad? Over the next five days, Florrie will have to find her own path and the courage to stumble along it - in a fog so thick that she can't see her own feet. Following the last days of a crumbling female gang in post-war London, this is a story of family, of love, of finding your way, and of deciphering a route through the greyest areas of morality.
This gorgeous festive book sweeps you up in a great big squishy loving hug. A glorious beach hut acts as a haven for Lizzy after she runs away from the stress of Christmas. Will her family realise what they are missing without her there to cater to their every need, and can Lizzy fall back in love with Christmas? I simply adore Veronica Henry’s writing, I smile as I’m reading, and she has the wonderful ability to make feelings, moods and issues relatable. From little tots, charming dogs, and tricky teens, through to a despicable bully, weary mum, and lonely grandmother, the characters fill the pages with a vibrant energy. There is a warmth to the writing that just settled over me in a lovely affectionate embrace. Christmas at the Beach Hut is a book you can curl up with, relax into, and really enjoy, and it is also perfect for anyone who adores Christmas in all its wonderful slightly mad glory. Featured in the LoveReading Christmas Gift Guide.
Thirty very different pieces about extraordinary women, keenly observed and astute. They cover the spectrum from triumphant to pathetic, sad to humerous, surprising to surreal. There is the woman who unravels, another who grows wings, one who secretly paints her grass green, one talks to ducks, one slips through a timeless crack and another is put on a shelf. Some will irritate, others make you laugh or cry. Do not read too many together else you will lose the flavour. I would believe it to be a good bedside book, read two or three a night and take the next day pondering and digesting them before the next batch. I also believe it would make an excellent Christmas present for any woman any age.
Before A Christmas Carol there was... Miss Marley A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister `tomorrow will be better' and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price. And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart... In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill and hope - a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.
A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl is a poignant novel about three generations of the Wise family - Evelyn, Laura, and Grace - as they hunt for contentment amid chaos of their own making. Evelyn set aside her career to marry, late, and motherhood never became her. Her daughter, Laura, felt this acutely and wants desperately to marry, but she soon discovers her husband, Gabe, to be a man who expects too much of everyone in his life, especially his musician son. Grace has moved out from Laura and Gabe's house but can't seem to live up to her potential - whatever that might be. In A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, we see these women and their trials, small and large: social slights and heartbreaks; marital disappointments and infidelities; familial dysfunction; mortality. Spanning from World War II to the present, Thompson reveals a matrilineal love story that is so perfectly grounded in our time - a story of three women regressing, stalling, and, yes, evolving over decades. One of the burning questions she asks is: By serving her family, is a woman destined to repeat the mistakes of previous generations, or can she transcend the expectations of a place and a time? Can she truly be free? Evelyn, Laura, and Grace are the glue that binds their family together, tethered to their small Midwestern town - by choice or chance. Jean Thompson seamlessly weaves together the stories of the Wise women with humanity and elegance, through their heartbreaks, setbacks, triumphs, and tragedies.
An electrifying and riveting tale, my thoughts and feelings were captured from the moment I started Watching You. Joey returns home to Bristol, she soon becomes rather obsessed with an older man, however doesn’t realise that while she is watching him, someone else is watching her. I was absolutely thrilled to hear I would be reviewing Lisa Jewell (sharp elbows and pushing to the front of the queue may have been involved), as her stories have the ability to really get under my skin. Intrigue and suspicion smiled slyly as they settled over the opening. I adored the way the plot opened out in front of me, tight and fast-moving, creating a throbbing energy which played havoc with my emotions. I met each character with a certain amount of uncertainty, weighing, judging, evaluating as I got to know them. Information is steadily and exquisitely revealed, a beautiful balance is maintained, keeping thoughts on a knife edge. Watching You is a completely wonderful, intensely satisfying tale. I can highly recommend just letting go and sinking into the storyline, be warned though, I didn’t want to come up for air and I devoured it in one-sitting.
An interesting, unusual, emotional novel which examines the after effects of the First World War. Four young people meet in Margate in 1920, Edward and William’s lives have been irreversibly altered by the horrors of the war, while Evelyn and Catherine are finding their wings. The book begins in 1940’s London, the scene is set so that it is abundantly clear what has happened to the main characters. I then stepped back in time to 1917 and 1920 to be introduced again, with the knowledge of what was to come still playing on my mind. I will admit that it took me a little while to settle in, Paul Marriner uses a lot of detailed description set the scene, I gradually found myself becoming fully immersed in the story as the characters entered my heart and soul. The knowledge of the future to come stayed with me, whispering, suggesting, not allowing me to settle. There is a painful certainty that travels through the novel, it doesn’t shy from uncomfortable or unsettling feelings, rather it embraces them, voices them, allows an almost visual understanding. ‘The Blue Bench’ reaches into the past, bringing thoughts and feelings within touching distance, and so gives a warning for our future.
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game - and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have.
I relished the first two books in this series (The Dark Days Club and The Dark Days Pact) and this final Bath-set instalment is a fittingly thrilling feast of fantastical foe-fighting and illicit liaisons. Spirited Lady Helen might be in the throes of finalising her wedding plans, but she has far greater matters to attend to, such as defeating the Grand Deceiver. Alongside the high-stakes, high-octane action, the delicious duplicity of Helen’s double-life existence further flavours this novel with edge and intrigue. While “her aunt and uncle, along with the rest of society, were under the impression that she had spent the last six months enjoying the delights of Brighton and Bath”, Helen had, in fact, been engaged in “killing murderers, and becoming one half of the Grand Reclaimer with Lord Carlston” as a member of the demon-fighting Dark Days Club. Talking of whom, Helen’s relationship with Carlston is a frisson-fuelled delight, thronging with “will they? Won’t they?” tension. Wildly inventive, and driven by the vitalities and conflicts of an engaging heroine, this trilogy is a magnificent melange of history, fantasy and heart-pounding passion.
An absolute wow of a relationship tale, gloriously beautiful yet it may well have broken my heart. Ben travels to Africa and volunteers at a lion reserve, as we remain with him in the present, we also look back to his past, where he meets Andrew, who keeps a Wish Box. When Louise writes it feels touchable, even if I have not experienced the emotions she describes I can feel them deep inside me. I remained in every moment, moving with the words, the feelings, knowing I was heading into unchartered territory, yet unable to pause, to stop reading. Another story heads each chapter, linking Ben and Andrew, yet creating a separate connection. As I neared the ending, I will admit to sobbing, the story hit me low in my stomach, unexpected, yet as true and real and felt as could be. Louise Beech has done it again, this will most definitely be on my list of favourite reads of the year. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a relationship tale with a difference, it is tender, gripping, eloquent, and I want to shout about it from the rooftops.
Tremendously entertaining, and truly captivating. Nate is in for a shock, after 16 years of marriage his wife has left him and their son, with just a note listing all of his faults. Nate is determined to right his wrongs, and win Sinead back. I always smile when I pick up a Fiona Gibson book as I know I’m in for a real treat, she has the ability to connect, to enter thoughts and feelings while delivering a wonderfully humorous and enticing read. This is a beautifully balanced novel with a decidedly knowing edge. It may well provoke thoughts, and create moments of awareness, as there are occasional provocative stings along the way. I found my feelings unravelling and then tangling again, there are some unexpected moments and I have to say that I absolutely adored that ending! ‘The Mum Who’d Had Enough’ is a joyful corker of a read, thoroughly recommended.
A steaming hot and beautifully tender love story, with an added element to appreciate and connect to. Stella Lane is a successful business woman in San Francisco, she has Asperger syndrome and has never had a relationship. Determined to learn how to be a good girlfriend with all that entails, Stella hires Michael a male escort, and the more time they spend together the closer they become. In 2016 the author was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Asperger syndrome), and felt inspired to write ‘The Kiss Quotient’. Helen Hoang releases short sharp bursts of words and feelings, then allows them to settle, encouraging the storyline to build. Asperger syndrome is very much a part of this book, however it isn’t the sum of it, the connection between two people takes centre stage, with all that they have to discover about each other. ‘The Kiss Quotient’ is an intoxicating tale, it wraps itself around thoughts and releases stings of awareness, creating a feast of a read.
Hippie is a spiritual journey of self-discovery. This autobiographical account of Paulo Coelho’s nomadic past is written in the third person as if it’s fiction, with the author drawing upon his own experiences on the hippie trail in the 1970s. The book focuses on a young Brazilian, Paulo, and his Dutch companion, Karla, who are travelling on a Magic Bus heading to Kathmandu, trying to define their place in the world. The author also gives voices to other characters, reflecting the diversity of those looking for adventure, spiritual enlightenment or an alternative lifestyle with few restrictions. At times, Hippie reads like a literary travelogue through Europe towards Nepal, with its vivid descriptions of people, places and cultures, evoking a great sense of place. And at other times, it reads like a guidebook of self-exploration. This is a book about liberation and freedom, set at a time where there was no political correctness to stifle people’s thoughts, actions and choices. Hippie is a nostalgic look at the drug-fuelled hippie culture, but also a snapshot of past memories that have shaped the author’s writing and outlook on life. Certainly an intriguing read.
Smart, taut and fabulous, Trap really does deliver a first-class read. Following quite beautifully on from Snare (and yes you do need to have read Snare first) can I just mention the covers, they are stunning in their simplicity and how they link to the novels. Set in Reykjavik just after the volcanic eruption in 2011, Sonja discovers that running away doesn’t solve anything, but declaring war can be just as deadly. Lilja Sigurdardottir ensures sharp shocks of chapters hit with increasing energy. The translation by Quentin Bates is again so fully complete, I existed in this Icelandic world without question. My feelings hovered with regards to the characters, swooping one way and then the other, which felt entirely right, as innocence and guilt are so often two sides of the same coin. A short book Trap may be, it’s also a towering powerhouse of read and I gobbled it up in one intense sitting. Please Orenda, may we have some more?!
Ahh, what a lovely, engaging read this is, there is also an edge to be found too, which makes it particularly relatable. Katie has made running away from difficult times an art form, now she is settled on the Dorset coast with her four-year-old son, she is determined to stay put. A Gift from the Comfort Good Café forms part of the 'Comfort Food Café' series of books, it reads quite beautifully as a standalone, yet you will recognise the other characters and of course the café if you’re already a fan. I would love to pay a visit to Budbury, to sit down to tea and toast in the café and allow the energy of the characters as they go about their daily business to surround me. Debbie Johnson has given Katie a really strong voice, while Katie has her vulnerabilities, it’s wonderful to see her confidence grow. The romance is of course as delicious as the cake on offer and a light sparkling sense of fun bounces from the pages. All in all a quite gorgeous and beautifully comforting read. Featured in the LoveReading Christmas Gift Guide.
Heartbreaking and uplifting, the story of the workhouse orphan, Eliza, will touch your heart... Eliza was left as a small baby at the workhouse in Whitechapel, wrapped in her mother's shawl, which is all she has of the mother she never knew. At eleven years-old, she has survived sickness, near starvation and harsh beatings. Master Simpkins and his cruel daughter rule the workhouse with a rod of iron, but when Romany boy, Joe, arrives at the workhouse, his spirit and courage give Eliza hope that another life is waiting for her outside. When she is sold into service, Eliza is relieved to be out of the workhouse and hopes her fortunes are changing for the better, but cruelty and unkindness are everywhere and her salvation could become her ruin...
Gosh, just stunning! For me, this is the very definition of a must-read… eloquent, absorbing, absolutely fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. I thought The Last Hours (which you really do need to read first) was exquisitely engaging and satisfying, and I enjoyed The Turn of Midnight just as much, perhaps even more as the characters were known to me, beloved by me. Lady Anne and educated serf Thaddeus have joined forces to prevent the Black Death from decimating their community. As they attempt to secure the independence of Develish however, trouble continues to haunt them, to hunt them down. Maps and a summary of the people, places and events from The Last Hours ensured I was able to step straight into the story. Minette Walters has the most beautiful voice, my soul became at one with the words. I sank so fully into the story that I was surprised at the end of each chapter when I suddenly came to and became aware of my surroundings. The time, the place are vibrantly alive, I could touch kindness, smell bitterness, taste fear. Please, please, please let there be more! The Turn of Midnight is a powerful, gripping read, and yes I am gushing most effusively over it, that’s because it really is rather wonderful and I highly recommend buying yourself a copy.
An Unsuitable Match, by number one bestselling author Joanna Trollope, is an uplifting story of love, family and second chances. `Why on earth, after all you've been through, all you've survived, all you've achieved, why do you want to get married?' Rose Woodrowe has just got engaged to Tyler Masson - a wonderful, sensitive man who is head-over-heels in love with her. The only problem? This isn't the first time for either of them, and their five grown-up children have strong opinions on the matter . . . Who to listen to? Who to please? Rose and Tyler are determined to get it right this time, but in trying to make everyone happy, can they ever be happy themselves?
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018 Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney's second novel breathes fiction with new life.
Makes the World Go Around
More than just romance, Relationship Stories can really strike a chord with us, at every stage of life. Just like relationships themselves, these books and there authors come in all shapes, sizes, atmospheres and aspirations. So, if something was missing from your last relationship read … we’ll help you find it in your next one! Here you’ll find the warm and the wise (Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Rosamunde Pilcher), the deliciously sexy (Jilly Cooper, Veronica Henry), the humourous and honest (Nick Hornby), the insightful (Joanna Trollope) and the … Perhaps, though you’re looking for a new relationship? Why not try our’ Author Like for Like’ tool or make a date with our Book of the Month recommendations and find your perfect match … for now, at least!
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’re never too far away from your next great read, great events, competitions and discounts? Sign up for our free emails and let the passion of our experts guide you to some wonderful new reading.
That book you loved has finally come to an end. Where do you go next? With our unique Author Like for Like tool, you’ll discover other authors guaranteed to be right up your street. Login, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy.
Reading Groups! Let us help you find your next hot topic. Visit our Special Section bursting with thought provoking titles and get an extra 5% discount if you buy 5 or more copies.
A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: