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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.
I donâ€™t know whether to start by telling you about the author, the book or the cover for all three are fascinating. Author first: A professional tennis player, she developed rheumatoid arthritis which put her in a wheelchair. She wrote about her courageous battle in A Will to Win. Now she is able to lead a relatively active life. The Book: An extraordinary, sensitive tale about waking up to responsibilities and living a meaningful life as a successful elder sister accepts her Down Syndrome sibling and finds the many sides of love. Warm, uplifting, emotional and very moving. Do read it. The cover: I really donâ€™t understand it! Comparison: Anna Maxted, Cecelia Ahern. Similar this month: Noelle Harrison, Lorna Landvik.
Despite the very young, beach-like cover design, this is actually a sophisticated romp about image changing and the consequences. Our tomboy heroine is forced into a rich and glamorous world, how she copes is the essence of this entertaining, lovely story told with real tongue-in-cheek humour.Comparison: Jackie Collins, young Jilly Cooper, Tilly Bagshawe.Similar this month: Lesley Lokko, Daisy Jordan.
Continuing the themes of her first novel, The Baby Trail, our heroine, Emma, attempts to tackle the minefields of adoption. I had no idea it was quite such hard work applying for a baby. Besides learning all about the red tape, we have large chunks of family shenanigans, the big Irish sort! I bet the author comes from such a family herself, she’s brilliant at capturing it all, a great read.Comparison: Patricia Scanlan, Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan.Similar this month: Melissa Hill, Sophie King.
Do you remember Dynasty and Lace, great big eventful, passionate blockbusters? Well, this is one such. An area under-published at the moment but a book for all who love Desperate Housewives or Footballers’ Wives. It’s wonderful stuff. Rich, spoilt people, a rebellious daughter who knows she can do it on her own, and a nasty evil world to confront. It’s a cracking read, glamorous, sexy and totally compulsive.Comparison: Jilly Cooper, Jackie Collins, Louise Bagshawe.Similar this month: None but try Annabel Dilke, Sara MacDonald.
I am a huge fan of this talented author who has given me much pleasure in the past. She sets her astute comedies amongst the 40+ age group, and really nails the problems facing so many women today. This is her fourth novel and I can recommend them all. I think sheâ€™s great.Comparison: Mavis Cheek, Adele Parks, Lou Wakefield.Similar this month: Kathleen Flynn-Hui, Wendy Holden.
Young, witty, bitchy read of behind-the-scenes glamour as a small-town girl climbs the ladder of hairdressing success in New York. An autobiographical novel quite startling in some of its revelations.Comparison: Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, Belinda Jones, Plum Sykes.Similar this month: None but try Wendy Holden and Melissa Hill.
Carole Matthews....A warm and witty author who puts her finger on contemporary relationships and delivers the goods with a light touch, a big heart and in an addictive style. She is good.Comparisons: Jill Mansell , Patricia Scanlan, Fiona Walker.Similar this month: Wendy Holden and Lisa Jewell.
In Blessing in Disguise Elvi introduced a single mother vicar, Venus, to a typically English village, Thurston. You can imagine she had a lot of folk to win over. Now Venus, well settled, is to marry the local doctor and add â€˜communityâ€™ wife to her many roles. Elvi is such an accomplished author who makes her characters very real and Venus is quite a woman.Comparison: Susan Sallis, Katie Fforde, Marcia Willett.Similar this month: Charlotte Bingham, Sara MacDonald.
Shortlisted for the Spread the Word : Books to Talk About 2008.I adore the American small town dramatic novel, preferably with a murder, and this debut is one of the best in this area. The characterisation is superb, the prejudice and pettiness beautifully handled and the heroine has such a dilemma you really cannot see how she will get through. Suspenseful, addictive and truly memorable, it is a must-read if ever there was one.Comparison: Adriana Trigiani, Rebecca Wells, Alice Hoffman.Similar this month: None, but try Annabel Dilke or Nicky Pellegrino.
Fans of Vincenzi may not feel this is her best book, though if you are a fan that’s not likely to stop you reading it, but if you’re new to her you’re better of starting elsewhere (such as No Angel or Old Sins). Three different women who meet travelling the world at the end of their teens have grown up to have lives very different lives. But one of them has been harbouring a secret all these years about the baby she bore and abandoned and now that baby is a teenager herself and looking for her birth mother these women’s lives are thrust back together.Comparison: Judith Lennox, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Julian Fellowes.Similar this month: Diana Appleyard, Santa Montefiore.
An enchanting, richly informative and perceptive novel which challenges the modern ideal of romantic love as a given and ponders whether true love can really be learned.
A lovely new, warm, Irish voice telling the story of three friends and how outwardly their lives seem content but inwardly … oh dear. It is very much Cathy Kelly territory.Comparison: Cathy Kelly, Sheila O’Flanagan, Patricia Scanlan.Similar this month: Sinead Moriarty, Sophie King.
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!