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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.
When youâ€™re in a perfect marriage (only sans sex) and running the perfect home with a nanny and a cleaner, a part-time job just seals the package. Then across the road your university boyfriend of 20 years previously moves in with his perfectly perfect wife â€“ Trouble! This is a funny, acutely observed tale of modern manners reminiscent of early Wendy Holden.Comparisons: Wendy Holden, Jilly Cooper, Lou Wakefield.Similar this month: Jessica Adams, Julian Fellowes.
A friendship novel, a Hollywood novel, an entertaining read packed with incident and the added bonus of authoritative insight into the Hollywood scene. The author has worked in the industry for seven years and this is obviously based on her experiences. It’s fast, glamorous, easy-read, addictive stuff with an interesting twist. Comparisons: Marian Keyes, Jackie Collins, Louise Bagshawe.Similar this month: Barbara Taylor Bradford, Julian Fellowes.
Wow, he doesn’t let up. It’s been four years since we had one of these international blockbusters and he’s got seventeen bestsellers under his belt. He still delivers a cracking good plot-based yarn with unexpected twists and good characters. You’ll love it. Comparison: John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer, James Patterson. Similar this month: David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille.
I so enjoyed her first novel, Marsha Mellow and Me about a mousey secretary writing a porn novel in secret, that I approached this with trepidation, fearing it would not be as good as her first and actually found it better! It has a wonderful Anglo-Greek heroine who aspires to run a fashionable central London fitness â€˜emporiumâ€™ while coping with her love/sex life, her crazy Greek family and their traditional ideas and a wacky bunch of work mates. The style is fresh, pacy, addictive and humorous. Itâ€™s raunchy, bitchy, warm, enormous fun and a bit different. In a word, itâ€™s fab.Comparisons: Kathy Lette, Carmen Reid, Jennifer Crusie.
His novels are very much in the same vein as his famous A Year in Provence, gentle, atmospheric, steeped in the love of France, here as an ailing vineyard needs resurrecting. It is all very addictively charming with a fun story thrown in, a lovely, comfortable read.Comparisons: Christobel Kent, John Mortimer.Similar this month: Alexander McCall Smith, Julian Fellowes.
I wonder if perhaps Emily Barr used Jacqueline du Pre for her inspiration here for this centres on a highly-strung, strong-willed classical musician whose personal life conflicts with her professional one. It is a very human story from a talented author who, up until now, has used her experiences in world travel as the backdrop to her novels. This takes our protagonist off to America but it’s life’s dramas that dominate. Comparisons: Libby Purves, Bella Pollen, Michelle Paver. Similar this month: Roisin McAuley, Anita Shreve.
A few years ago contemporary, frothy romances were labelled ‘chic lit’ and as the genre became popular, so publishers responded with a lot of indifferent offerings, swamping the market. A number of authors rose above the ‘also ran’ and really stood out. This lady is one such. She is superb. This has the added delight of being set in the publishing industry and is really the most enormous fun. Comparisons: Jane Green, Cathy Kelly, Penny Vincenzi.Similar this month: Patricia Scanlan, Maria Beaumont.
A novel of the strength of family ties and values with a war between hairdressing salons thrown in. Good fun.Comparisons: Cathy Kelly, Marian Keyes, Claire Calman.Similar this month: Patricia Scanlan, Lisa Armstrong.
This is Katie’s tenth novel, I think she is wonderful. Good, old-fashioned storytelling, warm-hearted, addictive and very satisfying. She started writing when that awful phrase ‘aga saga’ became prevalent and in many ways got tainted by being lumped with a lot of uninspiring novels that tackled bored middleclass women trying to find some purpose in their lives. Joanna Trollope was swept into the same bracket for a time although Katie is slightly lighter than Joanna, they both tackle serious contemporary issues. I recommend her wholeheartedly. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Comparisons: Joanna Trollope, Elizabeth Buchan, Isla Dewar.Similar this month: Alexander McCall Smith, Daisy Waugh, Jessica Adams.
Picture the Italian Alps in summer and a mixed group of canoeists going white water rafting for the first time on a glacier fed river. Parks brilliantly portrays the disparate individuals and the river in its most dangerous poise brings out qualities and failings in the most urgent fashion, provokes sudden conflicts and unexpected shifts of alliance. An ideal love affair breaks down and an apparently impossible one timidly buds. A banal disagreement turns violent. Rapids is alive with the drama of the water and the fragility of the people it bears along. Comparisons: Brian Moore, Ian McEwan, Justin Cartwright
An Emmy-nominated comedy script writer â€“ so what? â€“ But the author also happens to be Al Goreâ€™s daughter and to our surprise she can write and itâ€™s entertaining to boot. Balancing seventy-hour working weeks on Capitol Hill as an aide to a Senator, an exciting love affair and an over-active imagination fuelled by coffee and cosmopolitans would keep anyone busy. But Sammy's also trying to run a national political campaign whilst battling against journalists, treachery and a tendency to sabotage herself... Says Newsweek, â€˜Sammyâ€™s Hill is a laugh-out-loud literary debut, certain to draw comparisons to Bridget Jonesâ€™s Diaryâ€™ and we rather agree. Comparisons: Helen Fielding
I can never understand how anyone could possibly wish to share such a special day as a wedding, even with your supposedly best friend. Patricia Scanlon seems to feel the same for anything that can go wrong in the scenario in this bittersweet book, does, some of it very unexpected, making this warm, eventful read a little bit different. She has that magic Irish charm, well worth trying.Comparisons: Maeve Binchy, Danielle Steel, Cathy Kelly.Similar this month: Jessica Adams, Tina Reilly.
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!