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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 fascinating and truly memorable read concentrating on one family, with the centre of the story resting in East Germany. Two families join, with the marriage of Margret and Hans in the 1960’s. They as children, and both sets of parents lived through the Second World War. The repercussions from that time deeply affect all, with the story finishing in 1992, a few years after the fall of the wall. The opening note, before the novel begins was for me necessary and interesting. It charts the rise of the Nazi party and how all opposition was forcibly removed. It describes how after the war, as part of the Eastern bloc, industry was centralised and agriculture state controlled with workers housing being heavily subsidised. Defection was high and the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, with East and West Germany eventually reunified in 1990. Anne Richter focuses on just a few characters, their thoughts and feelings clamour from the page and show the wider world around them. The story grows, becomes clearer as the focal point moves from one person to the next. This is such an incredibly intimate novel, my understanding altered as I read, as events became clear. I always know that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a novel when I want to research the history and time it is set in. I just want to say that the translation is excellent, with a glossary of terms and literary references also available. ‘Distant Signs’ set my thoughts thrumming, it is so intruiging, compelling and beautifully readable too.
The normal, the extraordinary, the highest ups and very deepest downs, this absolutely gorgeous book is about life, in all of its wonderful, charming, heartbreaking glory. I’m very conscious about the fact that I will probably gush with enthusiasm because I quite simply adored it, sorry (not sorry), you’ll just have to go with me on this one. Erin and Dom marry in 1996, and her father gives them an empty book, a book to write what can not be said, an opportunity to create honesty, love, commitment, and so we are introduced to The Book of Love. Little excerpts from the book start each chapter, we hear from either Erin or Dom as we view their life, travelling in time from now which is 2017, and then, which starts in 1996 and travels forward to meet now. I will warn you that I whimpered and cried, I also smiled, laughed, and felt the joy of this couple, but there are points when I really really cried. Fionnuala Kearney allows you to get to know Erin and Dom without judgement getting in the way, she writes with huge compassion and brings their story to vibrant life, this is glorious writing, just glorious. I gobbled up the words, which join together to create a simple, touchable, beautiful tale. The Book of Love is one of my picks of the month, yes, yes, I loved it!
The new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Josephine Cox - the master storyteller. With her family's fate resting on her shoulders, Evie learns her lessons in life fast. It's going to take a woman's courage to find a new beginning... One night, after her father gambles everything away, Evie and her family are forced to do a moonlight flit. It's a fresh start in the South, where no-one knows their name, and Evie desperately misses all they've left behind. Yet Evie's troubles are just beginning. Her mother, worn down by life, deserts them for a new man, and with her grandmother's sight failing, Evie must carry the burden of earning their keep. Holding the family together becomes harder when tragedy strikes at its heart, but there is hope on the horizon . . . Evie Carter just needs the courage to change the fortunes of her family.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The third book in the stunning `River Maid' series from Sunday Times bestseller, Dilly Court! Standing on London's Victoria docks with the wind biting through her shawl, Rose Munday realises she's been abandoned by her sweetheart. She had risked everything to get to London but, stumbling through the peasoup fog, she has nowhere to go, and no one to turn to. Scared and alone, Rose steps straight into danger, only to be rescued by two women with even less to their names - a woman of the night and her young sidekick, Sparrow. With only a cluster of love letters to her name and all hope of her sweetheart's return fading, Rose finds herself forging a new life with her unlikely companions. But when a good deed turns sour, a dangerous enemy threatens to ruin them all. Will Rose be able to save her new friends and her future? If she can, a Christmas gift awaits that will change her life forever...
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.
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. Featured in the LoveReading Christmas Gift Guide.
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. Featured in the LoveReading Christmas Gift Guide.
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.