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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’.
Light, bright, and tremendously entertaining, The Wife Who Got a Life also tackles some difficult subjects with balance and consideration. After years of putting her family first, Cathy decides to take back control of her life and sets up a list of monthly goals. Over the year I spent with her, I smirked, sniggered, and laughed, oh how I laughed! While Cathy is heading towards menopause, the writing ensures this is a read that everyone could enjoy. Tracy Bloom has a seriously witty pen, and knows exactly when a smile is needed, there were times when the words buffeted my thoughts and then in the next moment hugged me. She has the ability to write about tough times with love and empathy while being sharply aware and ensuring Cathy has an authentic voice. I absolutely adored this novel and would describe it as a wonderfully smart and joyous celebration of life. The Wife Who Got a Life is feel-good writing at its best as it lifts you up while remaining completely aware of the sharp reality of life. A LoveReading Star Book, this is one to pop to the top of your reading pile.
A beautifully gentle yet pointed, and amusing yet thoughtful, feel-good relationship tale. When head teacher and separated mum of two Lucy, meets butcher, babysitter, and aspiring DJ Joseph, their age gap is just one of the obstacles in their path to finding love. This isn’t an overly sensational or dramatic tale, it’s more subtle than that, though it does cover three years during and after the EU referendum. Don’t groan, as Nick Hornby looks back in the most mindful way possible. Thoughts are provoked and rich pickings are to be found, as lots of little lightbulb moments clicked on as I read. The plot settled in the lightest of dances through some pretty weighty subjects. It’s not shouty, or finger-pointy, a relationship is created within a set of circumstances that allows you to form your own thoughts. I feel Nick Hornby has written the perfect story for anyone suffering from Covid 19 blues. Just Like You is an incredibly uplifting, engaging and stimulating read, and I absolutely loved it.
An evocative and satisfyingly engaging story focusing on family, friendship, and hope. Ellie knows she needs to step beyond the sanctuary offered by her home and garden, but she hasn’t left it for over two years. Sitting alongside the main story in 2018, we also visit Romanian state orphanages with journalist Harriet in 1990 and the two stories begin to merge. I so love Catherine Isaac’s writing, she has the gift of transporting you both in heart and mind. She encourages a connection to her characters, and makes them relatable, even when exploring darkness. This is as much about Ellie’s relationship with herself as it is with others. The story explores trauma in an open yet balanced way and encourages thoughts to expand. I similarly adored Messy, Wonderful Us which journeys to Italy and I described as both heart warming and achy. The World at my Feet just has so much heart, it really is a lovely read.
An entertaining and charmingly poignant portrait of a provincial widower’s burgeoning new life following the death of his wife. It’s 1964, and 57 year-old antiques dealer George has lost his wife after they’ve lived a contented sort of life for the past twenty-six years, but he still has his beloved Bassett hound Monty, along with a heart that aches with a readiness to be filled anew. Indeed, George brims with a swirling sense of new possibilities: “Life. It meant walks holding hands in meadows freckled with buttercups… It swept him across grand landscapes; it meant riding bareback over the plains.” As he gets on with his business, his wife’s friends - an ensemble of larger-than-life, amusingly evoked characters - rally around with pies, while George himself feels frisson after frisson of desire. He’s an endearing, generous-spirited character, a gent who radiates a cosy glow of affection, and readers will truly root for him as he lays his heart bare, sometimes feeling “as if he had strayed off the edge into the unknown, like in the old maps – the mysterious, foggy territory”. Flawlessly rounded off by a heart-lifting twist, this is a delightfully tender read. ~ Joanne Owen
Follow-up to Facing the Light â€“ how a bleak Yorkshire childhood was transformed into a career as a prima ballerina. Comparison: Maeve Binchy, Rosamunde Pilcher, Elizabeth Jane Howard.Similar this month: None but try Sarah Challis, Lesley Pearse.
Preparing a perfect wedding for her second marriage was oh so important for somehow Zannah believed it would safeguard the marriage itself â€¦ it too would be perfect. Running alongside the meticulous arrangements is the story of her motherâ€™s love-life, her daughterâ€™s wellbeing and her first husbandâ€™s demands, all very involved. Adele is a lovely writer, this is not her best book, but I enjoyed it, so anticipate better when you read her others.Similar this month: None but try Alison Jameson.Comparison: Madeleine Wickham, Marcia Willett, Amanda Brookfield.
Shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2008. RNA panel comment: "An excellent modern romance, sharp and witty. The characters were well defined and dialogue flowed along nicely. For me, a perfect read."
TWO YOUNG MEN WITH EXPECTATIONS. ONE PREDICTED TO SUCCEED, THE OTHER TO FAIL... Prince Albert Victor is heir presumptive to the British throne at its late Victorian zenith. Handsome and good-hearted, he is regarded as disastrously inadequate to be the king. By contrast, Jem Stephen is a golden boy worshipped by all - a renowned intellectual and the Keeper and outstanding player of the famous Eton Wall Game. He is appointed as Prince Albert's tutor at Cambridge - the relationship that will change both of their lives. 'A gilded cast of characters parades through this sumptuous tale. A clever mixture of history, psychology and sex.' - Alastair Stewart OBE, ITN anchor
Timothy Gandy has kept his lifetime's ambition secret for forty years. Now, suddenly (if tragically) released from the hen-pecked tedium of his ordinary existence, he is unexpectedly free to realize his dreams. He will embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of the aristocrats of the eighteenth century. He anticipates high art, culture and pleasant weather. He never expected to encounter new friendships - and possibly even love - along the way. It seems that Mr Gandy has embarked on the journey of a lifetime...
A lovely, warm-hearted and compassionate tale, this is the third in ‘The Tindledale’ series yet can easily be read as a standalone novel. April returns to the village of Tindledale, 18 months after her husband died, she looks after her great-aunt and gets to know the villagers, including Matt, the local farrier. April’s great-aunt has dementia and sometimes mistakes April for Winnie, there is a mystery in the air, can April discover the truth and learn to live her life again? Alex Brown excels in writing about characters of all ages, in particular the older generation come vibrantly to life under her considerate hand. A few characters from the other books in the series pop in to say hello, yet it’s Winnie’s hidden tale that makes this a particularly absorbing read. ‘The Secret of Orchard Cottage’ is an engaging and charming story, with the added bonus of a rather tantalising romance, what more could you ask for!
August 2014 eBook of the Month. A remarkably captivating book that starts as a slow-burner then sparks into an absolute firecracker of a read. The introduction to Fascism in Florence just before World War Two, when we know life is on the brink of upheaval and collapse, is artfully portrayed by the author. Lazy summer days full of vibrant idealists and English eccentricity is peppered by prejudice, corruption and brutality, deliberately keeping you on edge and apprehensive. As war breaks out, we observe as Esmond the title character is influenced by others, we bear witness as he alters, changes, transforms. The author brings this time, this city, these people, their ideals vividly to life. At times this is an extremely uncomfortable read, however every word, every thought, every emotion feels completely essential. Prepare to sit on the edge of the precipice, prepare for the heartrending plummet of shock and upset, prepare for the impact that a powerful and compelling novel leaves behind. ~ Liz Robinson
One of our Books of the Year 2016. June 2016 Book of the Month. A fabulously quirky, ‘standalone’ romance-cum-farce from this feel-good author. Abandoned by his long-time girlfriend, travel writer Paul goes to Tuscany to research his next book. Arrangements are made but upon arrival no car is available. Enter one bulldozer, a wacky scenario which results in some charming pieces. Paul enters village life and that atmosphere is vividly and warmly described. Attempting to rescue an American ‘damsel in distress’ he falls instantly in love. Then long-time girlfriend turns up and life gets complicated. Full of joy and wellbeing, of sunshine and wine this affectionate, gently tale, a love triangle, or possibly a love square as more women seem to enter Paul’s life, is a sheer delight from start to finish. Highly recommended. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'Alexander McCall Smith is fantastic at writing about Italy: its food & wine, its music, the history, the landscape and la bella figura. Onto this beautiful canvas he’s introduced una macchina colossale– a bulldozer. Only McCall Smith has the literary dexterity to pull this off. Funny, elegant and moving – occasionally earth-moving – this book is a joy; you’ll be swept away, literally.' ~ Neville Moir, Publishing Director, Polygon
January 2013 Debut of the Month. First in a series of deliciously indulgent and funny books following the ups and downs in life and work for sales assistant, Georgie Hart, who loves her job running the luxury handbags concession in a seaside department store. But the arrival of femme fatale ‘cost cutter’ Maxine means that she finds herself having to fend off more than avid shoppers.
Georgie Hart, handbag expert and personal shopper par excellance is back for a Christmas-themed adventure. All is very good in Georgie’s life; she has the perfect man in Tom, the perfect job in the handbag department at Carrington’s and she simply adores Christmas.... But her life and plans are turned upside down when a reality TV show comes to the store and the daughter of the shows star has designs on Tom! Can Christmas Magic save the day? An Equally charming, witty and romantic follow-up to Cupcakes at Carrington’s. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan ad Karen Swan.
Movie addict Scarlett O'Brien is finally living the jet-setting life she's dreamed of - but it all hangs by a shiny, golden thread. Flying between London and New York, running two businesses, planning her wedding to handsome fiance, Sean, with best friends Oscar and Maddie - life couldn't be better. But then Scarlett meets paparazzi darling, Gabriella Romero, and life suddenly becomes even more extravagant and glamorous. As she begins to experience the other side to being rich and famous, it's not only Scarlett's perfect wedding that's put in jeopardy, but her whole world.
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.