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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.
Both heart warming and achy, how gorgeously unpredictable and wonderful is this! Secrets spill and emotions spin when best friends Alice and Ed fly to Italy to find out the truth about her mother. I think I stepped into this novel expecting a relationship story, I also found a beautifully balanced and convincing tale of family mystery and intrigue. Catherine Isaac gradually completed the intricate jigsaw surrounding Alice and Ed, ensuring my attention was well and truly snared while also allowing me to enjoy the gentle unravelling of the story. Italy unveils its charm as another tale travels alongside Alice and Ed’s journey, revealing hidden thoughts and feelings. I love it when I read a book and have absolutely no idea where the ending is going to take me. I ranged from apprehensive to enchanted and inspired, while an overall feeling of hope kept me company throughout. I absolutely adored the unexpected and delightful Messy, Wonderful Us and so was compelled to choose it as a Liz Robinson pick of the month.
Raw, honest, punchy and smirky, Containment, the third Sam Shephard book, continues the series in fabulous style. When a container ship spills its cargo on a New Zealand beach it sets in motion a series of events that puts Sam right in the middle of a whole heap of trouble. To have an understanding of Sam and what makes her just that little bit different, you really do need to start with Overkill and The Ringmaster. Vanda Symon has written a bold, gutsy protagonist who fights her way through life. Sam’s thoughts and feelings stamp her way all over this book, ready to kick and squabble just to keep her head above water. There is a relationship in the background, and that is where we see Sam’s vulnerable side (have to say that I wanted to settle her down for a good old chat on occasion). If you enjoy a quick-firing, fast-moving tale with a tight storyline then Containment could just be the very book for you.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER AND WOMAN & HOME BEST BOOKS OF SUMMER Betty is running for her life. When Betty's husband returns from the war broken and haunted, she knows her marriage is doomed. Taking a fleeting chance to escape, she goes on the run armed with a new identity. Yet penniless and alone, Betty quickly finds that starting again is much harder than she thought. And she never imagined it could end in murder . . . But sometimes you have to keep running if you want to survive.
I always do so enjoy sinking into the latest Pam Rhodes, I can almost feel myself unwinding as the story unfolds. This is the first in a trilogy set in and around Hope Hall, administrator Kath is the all important cog in the wheel that keeps the hall at the centre of the community. All the trials and tribulations that face us can be found here, yet there is always hope waiting just around the corner. There is such a sense of community on offer, and at times I felt as though I was reading about my own village. In just a few words Pam Rhodes introduces all the characters, and I could imagine exactly who they were, I could hear the gossip, see the hugs, feel the support. There are smiles a plenty to be found, even during the sadness that sometimes visits the pages. With a gentle fondness Springtime at Hope Hall showcases the centre of a town, the heart of a community, and rather lovely it is too.
I was intrigued by the plot of this book. It was a pleasantly surprising read that I would recommend. Two people who are complete opposites and are from different worlds manage to meet and fall in love. I love how Sue has managed to bring all the characters to life, she has done it really well. The twists really help with setting up the story. A story not too be missed. Hannah Ward, A LoveReading Ambassador
An exquisitely written and beautifully emotional novel that will remain in my heart and thoughts. Edward survives a plane crash in which every other person, including his parents and brother, die. As the only survivor he becomes the lodestone for the relatives of the other passengers. Ann Napolitano writes with huge compassion as she explores overwhelming grief, and the tragedy is sensitively and skilfully handled. Knowing what is coming, in no way prepares you for the journey. Two time frames travel together, the first immediately leading up to the crash, the second as Edward learns how to survive the aftermath. Scattered within are smaller, intense, briefly short stories that added to, and intertwined with the overall tale. I was allowed to find my own way, to consider and contemplate as I walked alongside Edward. I felt the most profound heartache and joy as I sank into the lives of the passengers, not only incredibly thoughtful, it is also a thought-provoking read. Dear Edward has been chosen as one of our LoveReading Star Books, it is a must-read and truly deserves to be a huge success.
An absolutely delightful story ready and waiting to wrap you up in a delicious blanket of warming feel-good. Ellie thinks she is happy, assumes she is happy, but a present from a harp-making stranger heralds change. Oh I did enjoy this story, told in alternate chapters by Ellie and Dan, I settled myself into a comfy spot and stayed there until I had finished. Dan introduces himself in the most simple and beautiful way, he is able to see through clutter to the heart of things and I have to admit to rather falling in love with him. Hazel Prior doesn’t spell things out for you, instead I felt that I was able to explore and encouraged to contemplate. The descriptions of Exmoor, nature, and colour are particularly special, and I now find myself taking the time to look properly, to really see, to feel, to smile. Ellie and the Harp Maker is truly lovely and rather special, if you feel like a hug, then read this book!
A quietly powerful book containing an inner core of steely strength. Set in the heart of Hitler’s hideaway lair the Wolfsschanze, this story focuses on Rosa, one of ten women chosen to taste his food in case of poison. Inspired by the true story of one of Hitler’s food tasters, and translated from Italian, this penetrating story concentrates on the intimate to highlight the truth of human behaviour and war. Author Rosella Postorino has the beautiful skill of pointing out the hidden in normality to allow a greater understanding. The seemingly simple story connected to my thoughts, she made me think in a different way, to consider the small things that can turn into an avalanche of awareness. There is one point where the very structure of the Nazi salute is dissected and the shock of realisation that hit has stayed with me. The Women at Hitler’s Table is fascinating, haunting, and a worthy read indeed.
Coffee Shop Girl by Chris Waddington is a funny, perceptive and heart-wrenching tale, vividly describing the roller coaster of falling in love. Anyone who has ever been in this situation, i.e. most of us, will recognise the agony of the lows and the ecstasy of the incredible highs and the speed of moving from one to the other. Taking place in the few short days before one Christmas, the story tells of Ben, a Post Office counter hand approaching his 50th year, whose real passion in life is writing children's literature, in verse no less. That is, until one afternoon, when working away in his 'office', the local coffee shop in Ulverston, Cumbria, Alessia walks in and, for him, it's love at first sight. Not knowing that Alessia is only in town from London till Christmas Eve settling her late aunt's affairs, Ben redoubles his efforts on his latest book, spending every spare opening hour in Costa (other coffee shops are available), hoping against hope that this vision of beauty will reappear for more than a takeaway drink. His torment is finally ended a few days later, when she takes a seat at his table, the only one available, and strikes up a conversation. Sorry, I should have said his torment now begins. Learning that Alessia is in a loveless marriage, a powerful relationship rapidly develops between them, which tears them both apart. The author cleverly manages to convey extreme eroticism without there being any actual sex. The climax might not be what the reader is expecting or indeed wanting but it's the only one possible for them both. All the characters, even the minor ones with no real bearing on the plot, are relatable but the book, for me, stands out because of the variety of quotes the author uses to introduce and epitomise each chapter. Towards the end, he uses a Jim Steinman lyric from a Meatloaf song and, I would go so far as to suggest, the whole book could be encapsulated in the title of another Meatloaf hit, 'I would do Anything for Love (but I won't do that)'. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
A debut novel to enjoy slowly, to savour, to adore. Yes, this is a rather special and beautiful book, and I want to climb a few rooftops to shout about it. Missy Carmichael is lonely, she lives by herself in a huge house, when opportunities arise for friendship and more, can she reach out and take them? I admit to having fallen in love with Missy, she isn’t perfect and she makes mistakes (who doesn’t!), yet there is something about her that tiptoed into my heart and soul and has taken up residence. So often we just see a snapshot of someone, a moment or period in their life, however not here. Beth Morrey has not only brought her to life, but by also dipping into the past, we discover the gems that make Missy, well, Missy! The surrounding characters are a wonderfully quirky bunch, and Bob is an absolute delight. I laughed and I cried (oh how I cried). Saving Missy meanders gently, poignantly, beautifully, to what was for me, a perfect ending. I adored meeting Missy and so have chosen this lovely debut novel as one of our star books.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO FALL IN LOVE... Caro Swanson has taken a job in a remote part of Scotland. She's answered an ad in The Lady: being a companion to an elderly gentleman who lives in a country estate could be perfect! Surely it's time to make a change and do something different for a while? The fact that she may also see Alec, the young man who she met some years previously and who she has always thought of as her 'one who got away', is of course purely incidental. Soon Caro is falling in love - not only with Alec but with the stunning country house she's now living in. But the estate is in financial difficulties, and Caro soon realises there's only one way to rescue it. So begins a magical romantic summer, one that will take Caro from Scotland to London and the south of France, in search of a classic lost perfume that might just restore all their fortunes. Romance, humour, a cast of warm and totally believable characters and the tantalising possibility of happily-ever-after? It must be a Katie Fforde novel.
ARE YOU TIRED OF BEING A GROWN UP? WHY NOT ESCAPE IT ALL WITH MARIAN KEYES' BRAND NEW NO. 1 IRISH BESTSELLER. They're a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together - birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they're a happy family. Johnny's wife, Jessie - who has the most money - insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . . Everything stays under control until Ed's wife Cara, gets concussion and can't keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny's birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it's time - finally - to grow up?
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!