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Stories from the heart. This category combines Romantic Fiction with Sagas and Romance to create a collection of lovely tales. From rags to riches stories to tales of tight-knit communities, this carefully curated collection is bound to have the perfect match for you, and as the Beatles said, ‘love is all you need’.
A rather special, magically quirky yet deeply dark novel, with a potentially misleading title - until you’ve read the book and all becomes clear! Sisters Lilly and Neave set up a cosmetics empire as the USA becomes involved in the Second World War. When Lilly goes missing, Neave finds herself in incredible danger. Sharon Powell writes with a sparkling pen, adding just enough enchantment, while retaining a gritty feeling of reality. Mr Boppit became a firm favourite of mine, I quite fell under his spell, particularly regarding his choice of shoewear. Another tale runs alongside and inside the main storyline, adding an extra dimension to the read. There is a sparkling alchemy to the writing, yet an ominous undertone ensured I was kept on the edge of my seat as the tension increased. ‘The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life’ is a particularly charming, wonderfully compelling read, do I recommend it, why yes, I most assuredly do!
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.
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 Cafe forms part of the 'Comfort Food Cafe' series of books, it reads quite beautifully as a standalone, yet you will recognise the other characters and of course the cafe if you’re already a fan. I would love to pay a visit to Budbury, to sit down to tea and toast in the cafe 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.
A lovely, fascinating, proper treat of a read set during the Blitz of World War Two. The Brogan family sit at the heart of A Ration Book Christmas which is the start of a new saga series. Concentrating on sisters Jo and Mattie, we see their lives unfold as the bombing raids take their toll. Jean Fullerton brings to life the war on the home front, the small details and descriptions fully set the scene, supporting the storyline beautifully. I took this close knit family to my heart, from little rascal Billy through to unshakable Gran Queenie. Each and every character feels rounded, real, tangible. I let myself simply sink into the story, and it wrapped itself cosily around me. Romance, gossip, scandal, pain, friendship and love make their mark and I was left wanting to know more about this family. A Ration Book Christmas is food for the soul, it’s simply deliciously readable and enjoyable.
A delightfully warm and easy to sink into romance. Becky returns home to the Yorkshire Dales, wanting to fit back into the local community she and a group of villagers decide a Christmas Pantomime may just save the local village hall. This is the second in the ‘Love in the Dales’ series, and yet my first by Mary Jane Baker. I found it to be a perfect standalone read though I have no doubt that the first book A Bicycle Made For Two would have introduced me to several of the characters. Becky embraces village life, the age range of the villagers from young Pip through to grandparents with attitude ensures an all-encompassing hug. There are some wonderfully larger than life supporting characters who certainly encouraged several smirks to come forth and there are enough pantomime innuendos to please the most devilish of dames! I could see where The Perfect Fit was heading, and that was the joy of the read, as it was comforting, supportive, and highly entertaining.
Dust off your dance cards and practice your repartee, as the Bennet sisters are back. Kitty Bennet is lonely, with three of her sisters married, she begins to consider her previous antics. Spending time with both Jane and Lizzy, Kitty’s eyes open to new possibilities. I adore anything that lengthens my forays into Jane Austen’s world and I immediately felt at home. I could see, hear, almost reach out and touch the much-loved characters as they walked in my mind. This is such a gentle, loving, and beautifully readable novel, you don’t actually need to have read Pride and Prejudice to step into the pages. Carrie Kablean perhaps sees certain well-loved characters with a slightly different eye to my own, which was fascinating as I felt myself evaluating my own impressions and thoughts. What Kitty Did Next is a delightful, thoroughly enjoyable read, and I fairly skipped through from beginning to end.
A feverishly seductive story, it whispers, cajoles, beckons from history until the past forcefully assaults the present. When Ruth’s estranged father dies she returns to Edinburgh and discovers the hidden diary of her ancestor Thomas Erskine. Fascinated by his story Ruth finds herself in extraordinary danger when she starts to delve into the past. The prologue offers a warning, while the first chapter thoroughly sets the scene in 1760 as 10 year old Thomas witnesses a murder and sees the shadow of the dead man as it leaves the body. Barbara Erskine has based the story on her own family history, she paints a picture with a beautiful delicate balance and inner strength as the drama starts to unfold. Ruth’s story stands resolute in this time, and with a delicious shiver of fear I let the story take me where it willed. I always knew where I was, even as the past pushed ever closer. Spellbinding and gorgeously readable, as all becomes clear The Ghost Tree really is the most perfect title - highly recommended.
32-year-old multi-lingual Nova works as an interpreter for the police. Blind since birth, an operation that restores her sight heralds the beginning of a bewildering journey to understand the world from scratch. The novel is brilliant in offering insights into Nova’s experience of blindness as readers feel her struggle to re-learn everything through her newly-opened eyes. While recovering from the operation, Nova meets Kate, who’s in hospital after sustaining a head injury. The women strike up an immediate bond, which becomes a tender friendship – and more – as they find they are entirely at home in each other’s company, able to open up, experience joy and see the world in new ways through each other’s interpretation of the world. Throughout, Nova’s “Rules of Seeing” notes serve as practical guidelines with metaphoric meaning - “The brain will hang onto objects after you have stopped looking” – and the novel is fascinating on the nature of perception. Nova’s “childlike wonder” when enjoying new experiences is infectious, while the intense expositions of Kate’s husband’s increasingly chilling actions are powerfully authentic and give this novel the page-turning urgency of a thriller. Raw, and radiant with the promise of new life and love, this dazzling debut comes recommended for readers who relish new novels by Mark Haddon, Matt Haig and Marina Lewycka.
A new emotional and gritty drama from the bestselling author of The Throwaway Children. After her mother's death, twenty-year-old Sophie Ross is left orphaned, with only her erstwhile nursemaid and faithful friend, Hannah for company. Penniless and little chance of an income, she looks for work as a governess in London to avoid destitution. But unbeknown to Sophie, her mother instructed Hannah to post a letter to Trescadinnick House in Cornwall upon her death. The letter will be the catalyst that changes Sophie's life forever as she learns of her mother's doomed romance and family she left behind in Cornwall. The Penvarrow family welcomes Sophie into their fold, but the new life she's built is threatened by secrets and lies that soon come to light...
Will Pam's secret tear her family apart? After the market crash of 1929, the Bowmaker family in Leigh-on-Sea are struggling to make ends meet. In these harsh times they must support each other or they risk their tight-knit family falling apart. But Pamela Bowmaker has a secret. Her sweetheart is George Bryant, whose family has been feuding with the Bowmakers' since before she was born. With a baby on the way, Pam will need her family's help more than ever. Can their love heal old wounds for the sake of their baby, or are some grudges too deep to mend? A warm-hearted and gripping saga, from the author of The Factory Girl and A Girl in Wartime
A sparkling, witty, occasionally rather sexy debut that made me nod in agreement and splutter with laughter. 30 year old Polly works for Posh! magazine, she excels in making the aristocracy look spectacular on paper, however her love life is wilting dramatically… and she needs a Plus One for her best friend’s wedding. Polly quickly settled into a fabulous friend status, we sat together gossiping, I giggled, winced, and regularly raised my eyebrows as I read. Sophia Money-Coutts has a wonderfully light touch, she also keeps laughing gas in her pen, and isn’t afraid to use it. I alternated in reading bits out loud to my husband (who was as shocked as I’d hoped he’d be), and just sinking into, and enjoying the story. There is a heart-felt reality kick along the way, however for me this was an outrageously feel-good read. ‘The Plus One’ became my best friend while I read it, very funny, sometimes shocking, always extremely entertaining.
In Fairytale, Danielle Steel weaves a captivating story of a daughter's love and courage, and the hope that good really can prevail over evil. Camille Lammenais had a perfect childhood growing up in California's beautiful Napa Valley, surrounded by acres of her family's vineyards. Her parents, Christophe and Joy, still deeply in love after two decades of marriage, have built a renowned winery and chateau inspired by Christophe's native Bordeaux. After graduating, Camille returns to fulfil her lifetime ambition - helping to run Chateau Joy. But the fairytale suddenly ends with her Joy's death. Six months after losing his wife, Christophe is easy prey for a mysterious, charming French countess visiting the valley. Camille, still grieving for her mother, is shocked that her father risks being trapped, and cannot seem to see past the alluring looks, designer clothes and elegant manners. As Camille's world falls apart, it will take all of her strength and all the help she can get to fight for her family's legacy.
`You know those cracks in your heart, Lorna, where things didn't work out, but you picked yourself up and carried on? That's where the fear gets out. And where the light gets in.' It was Betty, defiant to the end, who sent Lorna back to Longhampton. If Lorna's learned one thing from Betty it's that courage is something you paint on like red lipstick, even when you're panicking inside. And right now, with the keys to the town's gallery in her hand, Lorna feels about as courageous as Betty's anxious little dachshund, trembling beside her. Lorna's come home to Longhampton to fulfil a long-held dream, but she knows, deep down, there are ghosts she needs to lay to rest first. This is where her tight-knit family shattered into silent pieces. It's where her unspoken fears about herself took root and where her own secret, complicated love began. It's not exactly a fresh start. But as Lorna - and the little dog - tentatively open their cracked hearts to old friends and new ones, facing hard truths and fresh promises, something surprisingly beautiful begins to grow around the gallery, something so inspirational even Lorna couldn't have predicted the light it lets into her world . . . An inspiring, life-enhancing novel that will make you see your life afresh . . . Fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond and Veronica Henry will love it.
Love in a Cold Climate
We all love a good saga. From Wuthering Heights and Jamaica Inn, to the modern works of authors like Katie Flynn, Katherine Webb and Nadine Dorries, there is something so captivating about the journey of a romantic heroine through an unfamiliar world, where the hearts and desires of all around her form the centre of everything. These stories can take place on grand settings: on the High Seas and foreign lands, or on a small cobbled street in a northern mining town. It doesn’t matter, as the journey of the heart is the most important of all. Get your tissues at the ready and find yourself happily shipwrecked on the ragged rocks of epic romance.
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