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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.
September 2009 Good Housekeeping selection. This was never intended to be a feel-good book but in a perverse way it proves itself a great mood-shifter and lifter. Darkly humorous Ariel Leve lays out her daily insecurities like a patchwork quilt of modern anxiety and inadequacy, sparkling with tiny appliquéd gems of self-deprecating cynicism. Her hand-wringing at social trends: breast-sharing for new mothers/therapy ‘n’ jogging sessions; fessing up to her afternoon naps and Blackberry deficiency… Every admission of falling short makes us all feel a bit better.
Greed, vengeance, lust and, of course, betrayal all rear their ugly heads in this fabulous tale of the Kent dynasty. The billionaire family are caught up in disgrace and scandal, no one is satisfied with their lot and no one seems to have any loyalty to anyone else. Pure escapism and brilliantly written. The authors name is a pseudonym for a very well known author so you can expect a great read as well as lots of fun.
Winner of the prestigious National Book Award. Julia Eccleshare's comment: Utterly gripping and beautifully told, this is a stunning rite of passage novel full of powerful and conflicting emotions, which captures Evie’s dramatic shift from child to adult in pinpoint sharp, painful detail. Excited at the thought of the new opportunities that the family will benefit from when her stepfather returns from the war, Evie’s life is turned upside down when the family suddenly take off for Palm Springs. Here Evie meets a young ex-GI who served with her stepfather with whom she falls head over heals in love. But her simple romance is played out against a backdrop of dangerous adult secrets, racism and intrigues. When tragedy strikes, Evie has to reconsider all the adults in her life and her story will determine their future. Lovereading comment: I was lucky enough to meet the author at a dinner to celebrate publication of this sophisticated and atmospheric coming-of-age novel. Stylish with all the hallmarks of classic film-noir it's the story of the tumultuous awakening of adolescene uniquely framed by the complex situation of America at the end of the Second World War. A soldier with a hidden past, greed, the threat of blackmail, jealousy, a mysterious death, moral ambiguity and a femme fatale with sexual motivation, Blundell powerfully places an innocent teenage girl as the investigator who must discover what has happened and make moral judgements. The author amplifies the darkness and anxiety of the post-war mood whilst the storyline addresses the complexities of a society that challenged anti-semitism at the end of a war, only to find it still rife at home. Reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, What I saw and How I Lied is set to become a future classic.
A stand alone novel, this is a gentle tale of a woman relocating to the Suffolk countryside just before the Second World War. La (shot for Lavender) decides to start up an orchestra with the locals and members from the nearby RAF base. The story revolves around La’s relationships with the locals, with the local farmer she works for and her love interest, grounded Polish pilot Feliks. This reads like a book written in another era, no doubt the tone McCall Smith was going for. Very enjoyable.
His fans will love another wittily observed gem of a book. With McCall Smith, the places change – you could be in Botswana or Scotland or, now, London - but the sheer humanity is the same. Here, a new group of interesting and disparate characters face the daily trials and tribulations of life that affect us all, wherever we may be.
Shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year Award 2010. When newly single Tilly Cole quits her London job for a fresh start in a small town she finds she’s arrived in a hotbed of intrigue and rampant rivalry for the most desirable men. Tilly has no intention of joining in – she’s just happy with her new Girl Friday job. Then she meets Jack Lucas. There are shocking rumours about his wicked reputation and Tilly doesn’t want to be just another notch on anyone’s bedpost.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 26 November 2009. Unlike the previous two books by this author this has been marketed as fiction however, the story is about how things may have turned out for Belle and her friends so it will be up to you to decide if you believe this is fiction or what has actually happened. Full of amusing anecdotes and antics as we have come to expect from this author, with honest, straight-forward talking. it may not contain quite the ‘shock’ value of the first book but still makes for an interesting and funny read. Exclusive to Lovereading Click the screen below to watch the full interview with Belle de Jour.
Laurie Graham never fails to tell her story with sharp observations and a quick wit. Buzz Wexler is about to be unexpectedly sidelined in her career but maybe things that seem terrible in the beginning can bring a surprisingly much brighter future. A great story of unexpected friendships.
An unlikely rags-to-riches story of a young supermarket girl who becomes a supermodel – the charm of the tale is in the telling. It fizzes along, the dialogue is perfectly alive, riveting stuff that turns dark in a most satisfying manner. He is the creator of Little Voice, a play which was filmed and which starred Jane Horrocks. Comparison: Willy Russell, Ben Elton, James Hawes.
These gentle tales are great for spending a few indulgent hours visiting the characters of Blossom Street. New characters are introduced and old favourites return. When Lydia starts a new knitting group called “Knit to Quit” she gets her first male member who has joined to try and de-stress. As each member airs their woes friendships are forged and romance is never far away in this feel good story.
A delightful read in the vein of that feel-good film Pretty Woman, only here the girl is not a hooker, just desperate as she is so badly in debt. Both main characters have loads of baggage and each needs to sort the mess of their lives out before they can move on. How they achieve this and find happiness is so addictively written you’ll love every minute of it. Comparison: Lisa Jewell, Milly Johnson, Maria Beaumont.
The British Queen of Burlesque, Immodesty Blaize, turns her talents to writing, with great success. With all the racy, raunchy fun you could expect from a novel about a girl who has risen to the top of her game in burlesque, but has dark secrets just waiting to be uncovered, this is the perfect, indulgent, fun read for the summer holidays!
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: