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.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Summer might be fading over the horizon but Straub's new novel is a perfect summer novel for all seasons: witty, touching, humane and gently humorous. A tale of complicated relationships set in Brooklyn this proves as light-hearted as her father, Peter Straub's books are dark and laden with horror, and confirms Emma as a major talent with an equal knack for entertaining. The story of friends who met in college and formed a short-lived rock band, following their fate some decades later as they linger in a state of disaffection and crave earlier glories. Small epiphanies and the weight of regrets, everyday love and companionship are celebrated: a lovely demonstration that book subjects can be small and delicately formed. ~ Maxim Jakubowski The Lovereading view... A penetrating, witty and very modern look at family life. Two sets of friends from Brooklyn are now middle aged parents of teenagers, focusing on both generations, we see the highs and lows of growing up and trying to be a grown up! Emma Straub writes with a beautifully light yet discerning touch, little eye opening shots of wit pepper the page. The occasional snippets of information from local newspapers really ground the novel in the setting. As I read, I slipped into the neighbourhood and I felt as though I was a friend, just dropping in for a catch up and gossip. There is a gentle subtlety at play, secrets are slowly revealed, life is seen here, as it really is. ‘Modern Lovers’ is a wrying amusing and observationally astute novel, it crept under my skin without me realising it, and was an absolute joy of a read. ~ Liz Robinson July 2016 Book of the Month and eBook of the Month.
A delightfully effortless and lovely read, that allows you to drift off into a hot summery romance. 29 year old Carrie, part-time drama teacher and script writer has become stuck in a self inflicted rut. Carrie, her sister Angela, and niece Jade find themselves in the South of France, once there, Carrie bumps into a handsome Hollywood star, a star who Carrie used to know… rather intimately. Carrie is full of sunshine, her occasional questionable decision ensures she feels genuinely real. Jules Wake introduces the glitter of Hollywood, yet this doesn't feel like an unattainable fantasy. ‘Escape to the Riviera’ is sparkly, energising, and the perfect tale, if you'd like to escape into the blue skies of a reading daydream.
Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they're single, they're not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren't filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine. She likes her independent life, but Laurie wants love and she wants it now. So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. She has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else's idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be? Romantic, funny and wine-fuelled, You Had Me at Merlot will have you crying with laughter one moment and nodding your head in agreement the next. Perfect for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Paige Toon and Mhairi McFarlane.
Escape into this hugely enjoyable, big-hearted and beautifully written debut novel, set in Vallerosa, an imaginary tea-producing, tiny European country tucked between Italy and Austria, has its election due. The President, Segio, stands hesitantly in his strong father’s shoes. The Government consists of twelve ministers whose positions have been passed from father to son for centuries for this is an ‘Elective’ Dictatorship! A letter arrives requesting a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh. Or does it? Perhaps the President’s English is not perfect. Taking advantage of this auspicious occasion the country prepares. What ensues is a pure delight. With echoes of a Peter Sellers or Peter Ustinov film, this is good old-fashioned fun. A tad wordy, a tad long-winded setting the scene but once into the style, the humour, satire, good intentions, misunderstandings and pure farce of the tale rip through the pages. Huge fun. One of our Books of the Year 2015.
A deliciously readable and enjoyable relationship tale featuring a wedding photographer as she struggles to overcome her heartache and a less than healthy bank balance. 30 year old Katy Peacock started Sister Act Photography with hope and excitement, yet two years on and everything has changed. Katy is likeable, she feels as though she could be a friend, a friend with an intriguing secret! Catherine Ferguson tells the story through four seasons, she adds family, friends, fun, two interesting men and one decidedly loathsome one, ensuring an energy flows through the pages. ‘Four Weddings and a Fiasco’ is a lovely warm tale, perfect for escaping reality with as you attend four very different weddings.
A lovely, gentle read, full of interesting characters, and at the heart of it all, a rather wonderful book shop called Nightingale Books. In this charming romance, we take a peek into the lives of a number of people, and all have a link of some kind, with the book shop. The range of characters means you dip in out of lives, witness a flirtation here, and moment of drama there. You don't get the chance to know anyone very intimately, rather this is a dance across a world of relationship possibilities. Every now and then Veronica Henry includes a list of top ten books for the characters, ranging from novels set in Ireland, to cult classics, this alone made for an interesting read, and I wondered what type of book list I would have. With some rather neat endings to be discovered, ‘How to Find Love in a Bookshop’ is a delightfully easy and heart warming read. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'What’s not to love about a novel that celebrates book shops, bookselling, and the joy of sharing the books that matter to us. When Ronnie first had the idea for HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOK SHOP, I knew she’d hit on something special. Through Nightingale Books, tucked in a little Cotswold village, Ronnie introduces us to a beautifully-drawn cast of characters: Emilia, grieving for her father but hoping to continue his legacy through his book shop; Sarah finding solace among the book shop shelve from a disappointing marriage; and my favourite, Thomasina, the painfully shy, mousy teacher who cooks like Nigella, but has no one to share her feasts with. Nightingale Books plays a special part in their lives, albeit in very different ways. Tender, touching and full of Ronnie’s trademark warmth and joie-de-vive, this is a delicious novel. Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to pack up your life and live in its very pages. This is exactly that book. I hope you enjoy it.' Kate Mills, Publishing Director, Orion June 2016 eBook of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016. July 2016 MEGA Debut of the Month. Pencraw Hall, Cornwall, is a beautiful old house, the holiday retreat for the well-off Alton family of four children, twins and then a couple much younger, a hard-working father and a young, gregarious American mother, very liberal. Wonderful times are had at Pencraw in the late 60s. It is nicknamed Black Rabbit Hall due to the silhouette of numerous rabbits which actually lead to the tragedy that shatters the family. We follow them and in alternating sections, Lorna, thirty years later who is looking for a wedding venue and is inexplicably drawn to the now decaying house and its mysterious occupants. This is straight down the line pure country house, classic mystery, wonderful stuff. Suspenseful, haunting, startling and full of the unexpected. It’s a family drama, beautifully written and highly recommended. You’ve got to read it.
Penny is a TV producer who, when filming in Cornwall, met and fell in love with the local vicar. Now, five years and a small child later, life is not treating her well. Coupled with her present hopelessness is her back story of sibling jealousy and childhood trauma. Then her sister turns up again and despite appearances, seems not to have changed. We end with a cliff-hanger, albeit for a peripheral character, so a sequel seems almost inevitable. I do hope so for this is a charming read. It is a most enjoyable foray into the Cornish scene of small villages, gossip and real characters, like a Cornish cream tea, utterly predictable but thoroughly enjoyable and very satisfying. There is lots of action, lots of plot and plenty to keep you on tenterhooks. Highly recommended.
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!
The second in the Lonely Hearts Travel Club series, featuring Georgia Green as she muddles her way through life and struggles to run her small and exclusive travel agents. Author Katy Colins gained a book deal after success with her travel blog ‘Not Wed or Dead’, she started this series with ‘Destination Thailand’, although I read ‘Destination India’ as a standalone novel quite easily. Georgia could charitably be described as a workaholic, and less charitably as a control freak, when a bad review threatens the reputation of the travel agents Georgia decides to go straight to the root of the problem in India. This is a lively spirited novel and while Georgia may at times be rather frustrating, I felt myself warming to her as she waded through a veritable catalogue of disasters. Entertaining and fun, this is a series that could travel around the world.
As light and bright as a breath of fresh air, even with the steamy summer romance that sizzles between the pages. When Alice discovers her celebrity husband is having an affair with his co-star, she tells him to leave, and resolves to keep her beloved home. To make ends meet she rents the manor out for six months to an American country music star, when sparks fly between them, is a holiday romance on the cards? Alice is delightful and Robinson gorgeous, yet Kat French really excels in adding quirky, funny, loveable friends (and animals) to the cast, ensuring this is a romance with an added sparkle. ‘One Hot Summer’ can be gobbled up, if you don't keep track of time, in one easy sitting, and is a delicious treat of a read.
A thriller, full of family drama and suspense… this is a story that sucks you in and keeps you on the edge of tense uncertainty. The short prologue set my mind racing, the few lines on the following page, proceeded to knock my thoughts right off course. Lily and Ed are married, are they both keeping secrets? Part one is set fifteen years before the prologue and Lily tells her own story. As you settle in, you're suddenly spun away to Carla and her Mum, who live in the same block of flats, although not told in the first person, Carla’s story feels more intimate and exposed. This is a novel that explores guilt, blame and hidden thoughts and feelings. Jane Corry creates fully fleshed characters, Lily and Carla are particularly fascinating, there were times when I could have hugged them, and others when I wanted to shout and stomp as they made their decisions. Containing so many twists, it almost turns itself inside out, ‘My Husband’s Wife’ is an extremely entertaining read. June 2016 eBook of the Month.
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: