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.
A bang up-to-date, bright, hugely entertaining read set in the world of social media. Digital marketing agency owner and ultra competitive Annie and her business may be up for three awards, however they still need their clients to pay on time, otherwise the business may be over before it can really establish itself. A rather demanding bet, to make a stranger famous on instagram in just 30 days, leads Annie into a Pygmalion dance of discovery. Lindsey Kelk really does have the most delightfully amusing and engaging writing style. I often found myself smirking and at several points actually snorting with laughter. The supporting characters surrounding Annie are wonderful in their own right, and help create an all-embracing world. The romance element forms beautifully, in no particular rush, allowing time to get to know Annie and friends and really care about them. ‘One in a Million’ is lively, lovely, friendly and absolutely perfect if you like your romance served with wit and humour.
Ben is the sole survivor of a crime that claims his mother and countless others. He is just six years old, and already he must find a new place for himself in the world. Lucy, the doctor who tends to Ben, is grappling with a personal upheaval of her own. She feels a profound connection to the little boy who has lived through the unthinkable. Will recovering his memory heal him, or damage him further? Clare has long believed that the lifetime of secrets she's been keeping don't matter to anyone anymore, until an unexpected encounter prompts her to tell her story. As they each struggle to confront the events - past and present - that have defined their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together...
A beautifully constructed, absolute dream of a read. Three women (including the wickedly wonderful Emily from ‘The Devil Wears Prada’) join forces when one of them is set up, publicly discarded and viciously humiliated by her husband. Emily, Miriam and Karolina live what may appear to be a charmed jet-setting, party-licious life, however there is a very long way to fall when the knives are out. I absolutely adore Lauren Weisberger’s novels, they read as a master class in setting the scene and creating an eloquently enjoyable and pointedly wicked read. Each chapter focuses on one of the women, so perfectly describing their life I could not only picture myself there, I was there. My eye-popping disbelief mounted at the tactics, the lifestyle, and I seethed away, joining ranks, willing them on. A quick note, just in case you’ve already hunted this down and read it, ‘The Wives’ was published in the USA as ‘When Life Gives you Lululemons’. ‘The Wives’ is a hugely entertaining, read in one sitting, smoking-hot loaded gun of a read - and I highly recommend it.
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.
Warm, enticing, and hugely enjoyable, ‘A Summer Scandal’ is a perfect summery read to take a moment for yourself and relax into. Oh what a joy of read this was, deliciously entertaining and just so easy to just sink into and become a part of. 25 year old vintage costumer Violet follows her heart after receiving an inheritance and moves to Swallow Beach to breathe life back into an abandoned pier. Meeting resistance from some locals, she also finds friends, including the rather lovely Calvin. Kat French has a wonderfully light touch, crafting entertaining, welcoming books with a beautiful heartbeat. I loved getting to know Violet, discovering her background, and what made her tick. The romance is heavenly but not the be all and end all, Violet’s family, friends and the exquisite pier ensures even more meaning and satisfaction. Warm, enticing and hugely enjoyable, ‘A Summer Scandal’ is a perfect summery read.
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.
A touchingly intimate yet scorchingly dramatic and fully realised view of a couple who meet just before the Second World War. This is a relationship tale that took hold of me, brought me to its very centre and allowed me access to innermost thoughts and feelings. Martin and Nancy fall in love, as Martin departs for the battlefields of France, they continue to communicate by letter, until suddenly Martin’s letters stop. My advice to you is to pick this book up, start to read, and whatever you do, do not allow the final few pages to fall open before you reach them. For me the ending was a heart-stopping moment, and is still very much in my mind, the emotion of the realisation continues to affect me. The letters are exquisitely crafted, with real heart, tying into the story perfectly and bringing a sense of nostalgia for this type of communication. S. C. Worrall allows the war to edge ever closer, until it strikes with a sharp hammer blow. ‘The Very White of Love’ takes you step by step into another time, heartfelt and beautiful I can wholeheartedly recommend this read.
Tremendously entertaining, and truly captivating. Nate is in for a shock, after 16 years of marriage his wife has left him and their son, with just a note listing all of his faults. Nate is determined to right his wrongs, and win Sinead back. I always smile when I pick up a Fiona Gibson book as I know I’m in for a real treat, she has the ability to connect, to enter thoughts and feelings while delivering a wonderfully humorous and enticing read. This is a beautifully balanced novel with a decidedly knowing edge. It may well provoke thoughts, and create moments of awareness, as there are occasional provocative stings along the way. I found my feelings unravelling and then tangling again, there are some unexpected moments and I have to say that I absolutely adored that ending! ‘The Mum Who’d Had Enough’ is a joyful corker of a read, thoroughly recommended.
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.
Makes the World Go Around
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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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: