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.
The heartwarming new novel from the No. 1 Irish bestseller Emma Hannigan, author of The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift and the memoir All to Live For. Letters to my Daughters will make you laugh and it will make you cry. This books tells the tale of three close knit sisters who have been devastated by the loss of one mother figure and are at the end of their tether with another. The loss of Nanny May profoudly effects Beatrice and twins Jeannie and Rose as well as Rose's daughter and their father. Their loss at the start of the novel is only the beginning of a series of lifechanging events for the whole family. Each of the daughters have their own secrets and their bond as sisters could be the only thing that will stop them from falling apart completely. Their mother, Martha, is struggling with retirement and Jim is the glue that holds the mother and daughters together. This book has as many funny moments as heartbreaking ones, and makes you realise the importance of family and doing what makes you happy. The author's acknowledgements at the end of the novel reinforces this and had me in tears. I would definately recommend that you read this book from cover to cover.
‘Mine’ is a sharply focused, edgy, wonderfully compelling read, where the tension tightens into a lightning ball before powerfully exploding. Lawyer Francine Day begins an affair with client Martin Joy after taking on his divorce, when his wife goes missing danger edges ever closer. The prologue, particularly the first sentence hit me with a whammy, I was instantly hooked. There is a lot of information to take on board, yet I felt alert and energised as I read. My feelings for Fran tossed and turned, the more I learned, the closer I became, and the more real she felt to me. J. L. Butler is a former lawyer and journalist, the credibility of the writing can be felt through every word. Just as a little aside, this particular author also writes under another name (whose bestselling books I adore), I wouldn’t have recognised the writing style as it is so completely different, yet equally as enthralling. As the suspense multiplied, transferring from the page into my mind, I tested my suspicion against the characters, yet still didn’t expect the ending as it hurtled towards me. ‘Mine’ is a delicious serving of fiery drama and chilling darkness, it was a breath-taking non-stop read for me and I can whole-heartedly recommend it.
In a Nutshell: Rebellion, romance and an imprisoned princess set on revenge This ambitiously epic fantasy debut sees a captive princess rise from the ashes of her traumatic childhood to combat a cruel Kaiser. At the tender age of six Theodosia witnessed the brutal murder of her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury. Now, ten years on, and backed deeper into a no-hope situation by the cruel Kaiser who’s forced her to live in a degraded state as the Ash Princess, Theodosia is driven to concoct a scheme to exact her revenge. With the assistance of a band of magical rebels she will seduce the Kaiser’s son and ruin him from within in order to reclaim the throne. While this motif is far from new, the writing is bold and fresh, and this promising debut sparkles with Theodosia’s drive and desire. But, while she’s a straight-talking, sharp-thinking young woman, her lively first-person narrative also reveals hidden fears, doubts and personal conflicts which, alongside the gory grimness of the political climate (slavery, brutal colonisation) and a backdrop of elemental gods, makes for a riveting reading experience that comes recommended for fans of Sarah J Maas and Victoria Aveyard.
An exciting change of direction by Sarah Morgan has led to a deliciously entertaining and heartfelt read. Sisters Lauren and Jenna find that a life based on a secret can be a very destructive thing, yet love, compassion and honesty are waiting in the background, ready to be called. I’ve always loved Sarah Morgan’s novels, they’ve been beautifully simple and full of romance, now she has added a real depth, creating a world surrounding, yet entirely part of the story. The characters within this family, from teenager Mack to grandmother Nancy have a real energy and feel relatable. This is a standalone read, one that you can properly sink into, become a part of and enjoy. I feel as though Sarah Morgan has kept the best of her previous writing, and added a new, more poignant and expressive dimension. A relationship tale with romance and family drama, ‘How To Keep A Secret” is a warming delightful read.
A striking, rambunctious, Tom Ripley-ish debut about cuckoos in the family nest, the death of colonial Rhodesia and the bloody birth of corrupt Zimbabwe. This is a slow and challenging read about the change of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. It centres on an orphan boy, Zamani, who longs to be accepted as the “son” of his surrogate family with whom he lodges. Their natural son, Bukhosi, has disappeared during the internal struggle between rival supporters of Mugabe and Nkomo which followed independence. The boy’s father won’t talk about his past but Zamani needs the details filled in so he can feel he belongs and also to hopefully help him find Bukhosi. He plies the man with whisky to get him to talk and so the background unfolds. In a novel of genocide there is a great deal of violence and actually little historical detail. The concentration is on the effect of the conflict on individual lives in a tale of deceit and deception. Horrific stuff. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
An absorbing, twisting, uneasy reflection of a marriage, as it is being lived with an untold secret at its heart. Kate and Paul have been married for ten years, as they celebrate their anniversary Kate looks back to the time they met as children, and to what could lie ahead in their future. Holly Seddon has become a must-read author for me, each book has had different themes, even edged into different genres, yet the undeniable authenticity of each really shines through. Her writing feels heartfelt, honest, and she has the ability to create such tangible characters, I could turn to them, talk to them, explore their thoughts and feelings. I felt as though Kate was being candid as she spoke, yet information arrives gradually, slowly revealing truths, creating a feeling of uncertainty, building tension. I found myself holding my breath as the ending neared, wanting to know, yet almost afraid to reach for the answers. ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ is a cracking read, stimulating, engaging and also rather beautiful, I loved it.
A scorching and beautifully written epic tale set in 1348, a time that sends a jagged screech of fingernails down the blackboard of history. Step away from the present into the midst of the Black Death, to overwhelming fear and confusion. The moated centre of one estate in Dorset appears to offer sanctuary, yet the treacherous play of human emotions wreaks havoc. I am a fan of Minette Walters, she has the ability to look behind and beyond the obvious, and she is eminently suited to this new genre. A lot of characters are introduced, yet there is no confusion, each was clear in my mind, known to me and vibrantly alive. The descriptions took me directly through the words and into this compelling story. ‘The Last Hours’ is the first of two novels, it quickly puts down roots and takes hold, ensuring a gripping, striking and remarkably readable tale. ~ Liz Robinson
Wonderfully chilling, this is another thrilling treat from E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars. Two girls, in an intense relationship are both looking for escape but at what cost? When one disappears events suddenly become darker and we fall into a world of murder, fraud and villainy as identities are blurred and friendships crossed. There's a fine line between superhero and supervillain when someone needs to save herself. Lockhart's writing is edgy, fast paced and keeps you guessing until the end. Creepy, provocative and daring the protagonists (Jule and Imogen) continually leave you with a sense of unease as they draw you in not knowing what to believe and where the novel will take you next. We're looking in from the outside but Lockhart only lets you see what she wants you to before shocking you over and over with the sudden twists in events. Brilliant as always, E. Lockhart continues to enthrall with this, her latest thought provoking novel. ~ Shelley Fallows
To those around her she was a loyal subject. In her heart she was a traitor. The Queen of the title is Elizabeth Mortimer 1371-1417, married to Sir Henry Percy (known as Hotspur) and upon his death to Thomas de Camoys. This is another of the author’s excellent retelling of the lives of medieval women. Written in the first person, this untangles history in a highly readable manner. It seems Elizabeth loved her first husband who assisted Henry IV to dethrone Richard II and was killed in battle. But in fact Elizabeth wanted her nephew, eight-year old Edmond, to become King but she kept this to herself. Upon Hotspur’s death he was pronounced a traitor and Elizabeth arrested. The King then gave her a choice, marry de Camoys or go into a nunnery. She married de Camoys, he was in his sixties, and the books ends with her settling into a harmonious relationship. I think the strength of this is that it is written in the first person, highly enjoyable. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
A white teenage girl clashes with her new black stepmother in this debut reading group thriller Prepare yourself, this is a slicing, clever, wonderfully captivating tale ready to twist thoughts, to skewer feelings. Thomas falls in love with Darling, his 16 year old daughter Lola is horrified, each woman is determined not to lose Thomas. The intriguing prologue immediately hooked my attention, my eyebrows raised, my eyes opened wide, my mind gasped. We hear from both Darling and Lola, each so different, so vibrantly alive with conviction. Darling’s voice is rich and full of flavour, I could close my eyes and still hear her, while Lola is sharp with a head full of thoughts, brittle, yet flaming, fiery. I found myself reading faster, wanting to gobble up the pages, yet was determined not to miss a single word. By the time awareness started to prickle my consciousness, by the time understanding crashed in around me, I was on a non-stop collision course with the end. ‘Darling’ is a powerful read, a vibrant, punchy, thoughtful wow of a read, and I loved it. ~ Liz Robinson
An entertaining and readable foray into a fascinating veiled world, this is the third novel in the Diplomatic Crime Series and can easily be read as a standalone. Set in a duel time frame, in the present Diplomat Jess Turner and DI Tom Sangster are in London for the visit of the Chinese Premier, while in the past Marianne Henderson finds herself in the firing line when she discovers the British Ambassador dead in a Shanghai hotel room. Author Jean Harrod was a British diplomat and has lived and worked in China, her voice rings with authenticity and she has the ability to take you into her world. Parallel lines run between Jess and Marianne creating tension and I sat with my thoughts, waiting, on alert. I worried for Jess and Marianne, and was reluctant to trust anyone! The ending of ‘Missing in Shanghai’ rather rushed towards me to wrap up proceedings, though I was pleased to see that the door is left open for a return.
Tilly Frost has grown up reading her grandmother's bestselling romance novels - so when the one and only Beatrix Frost is taken ill, Tilly finishes writing her latest work. Then Tilly agrees to start the next book. But what is her gran hiding from her? And how can Tilly write a heart-pounding romance when she's never been in love? Can she turn her school crush into something more? One thing Tilly should know is that the course of true love never did run smooth... If you liked FANGIRL, you'll love this!
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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!
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