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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.
Hastings in the seventies is not the coolest place to be. As Rachel and Susan teeter on the brink of adolescence, they realise safety lies in numbers and the best chance of surviving their teens is by sticking together. Their friendship protects them against the trials of parents, classmates, bullies who harass them in school, soggy chips, warm beer, aspiring guitar heroes, stoned hippies, men's clubs, derivative three chord bands and emotional neediness and weediness. But when Dave, local rock-star and general bad-boy, enters their lives, they discover that sex, drugs and rockâ€™nâ€™roll arenâ€™t always everything theyâ€™ve dreamed of. And then Punk music detonates the status quo and nothing will ever be the same again. This is a wonderfully funny and poignant novel about growing up in the seventies, the brittle nature of teenage friendship and the tough twists and turns of emerging adulthood.
This is terrific, there is no other word for it, an epic love story and romantic adventure set in a breathtaking location – the Antarctic. I know that Rosie went there while researching this, I heard her give a talk about it and my goodness it shows.Comparison: Anita Shreve, Joanna Trollope, Douglas Kennedy.
Just the thing for holiday/beach reading. A perfect, feel-good, fun, escapist holiday romance with girls on holiday themselves â€“ Tahiti. This author has so far taken us to Las Vegas, Capri and California and she is such fun. Light, frothy, witty and wise with just enough daring and giggles to make you chuckle. Sheâs great.Comparison: Sophie Kinsella, Lisa Jewell, Carmen Reid.Similar this month: Sarah Jackman, Chris Manby.
A young, sharply observed take on modern office life when all the possibilities of a degree landing you an excellent position are shattered by your first mundane job until suddenly the tide turns. This is very American but it is also very astute, good fun and lively page-turning stuff. Comparison: Sophie Kinsella, Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones), Carole Matthews.Similar this month: Plum Sykes, Sheila O’Flanagan.
A perfect drop of romance for anyone who wants an afternoon of pure escapism. Follow Imogen as she has her ugly duckling moment, transforming from mousey librarian in to a stunning St Tropez beauty. Don’t expect the raciness of Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicle novels, but this is charming and great fun. July 2009 Guest Editor Louise Wener on JILLY COOPERI rediscovered Jilly Cooper last winter, having not read her since I was fifteen. As a kid I loved the books that concentrated on one woman, my favourite ever was Imogen. I can still remember the Pygmalion moment when she’s transformed from plain, meek librarian into sex siren with the help of a St Tropez tan (the real South of France one, not the bottle) and a decent hair cut. I started reading her again when my second baby was born and I was too tired to pick up anything that wasn’t instantly escapist and enjoyable. Her books are like pop songs. Daft, delicious and perfectly crafted, as comforting as a hot mug of cocoa. Even in the midst of sleep deprived madness, I loved reading Imogen again. It’s a brilliant period piece on top of everything else.
Two sisters, one recently moved to Canada and in cultural shock, the other trapped in keep-up-appearances London. Both with exasperating, disorganised, busy lives and ultra-demanding families. They exchange emails and we laugh, wince, empathise and cry at their antics.Comparison: Allison Pearson, India Knight, Helen Simpson.Similar this month: Judy Astley, Tony Parsons.
I so enjoyed this glamorous, over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek American “It” girl romp. It gives you the vocabulary and stamping ground of the super rich tied round a charming finding Mr Right tale as an English chic breathlessly relates her adventures. Such fun.Comparison: Alison Pearson, Candace Bushnell, Sophie Kinsella.Similar this month: Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, Sheila O’Flanagan.
Do you know it’s been 20 years since we had a Wilt novel and I honestly thought we’d never have another. It has also been eight years since we had a new Tom Sharpe and now he has really come up trumps. Madcap, farcical, over-the-top and un-PC, it really is the greatest of fun, just what you need on a rainy day. Comparison: P G Wodehouse, David Lodge, Joseph Connolly.Similar this month: Anthony Horowitz, Stephen Clarke.
To have or to have not, baby or no baby? Tony Parsons tackles the burning question from the different points of view of three couples and discovers Mother Nature can be one hell of a bitch! Heartwarming, sensitive and oh so true, this is modern living to a tee. Comparison: Nick Hornby, John O’Farrell, John Harding.Similar this month: Matthew Sharpe, Pauline McLynn.
This is a young writer whom I believe has something important to say, not about death as the title may imply, but about life and the way we live it. It is a wonderful book, beautifully written. I urge you to read it.Comparison: Audrey Niffenegger, Toby Litt, Maril Suriâ€™s The Death of Vishnu.
His last novel, a well-researched historical work, The Mulberry Empire, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and he is one of Granta’s Best of British novelists. This new one returns to the platform of his first novel, comic writing at its best. Light and strangely tender, it tells of an indexer stuck in a rut and now suddenly deserted by his wife. The title describes the rest! Comparison: Patrick Gale, Nicholas Shakespeare, David Lodge.Similar this month: Alan Hollinghurst, Muriel Spark.
Renowned children writer’s first adult novel and what fun he has had. A tasteless joke overheard in a pub sends our protagonist off in search of its origins. It is a crazy scenario, full of incident which suddenly changes gear and becomes a surreal tale, a thriller, a wacky caper. Interesting, clever, unusual and a little sinister.Comparison: Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams.Similar this month: Jasper Fforde, Tom Sharpe.
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: