Romantic Fiction

Stories from the heart. This category combines Romantic Fiction with Sagas and Romance to create a collection of lovely tales. From rags to riches stories to tales of tight-knit communities, this carefully curated collection is bound to have the perfect match for you, and as the Beatles said, ‘love is all you need’. 

September 2021 Featured Books

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Beautiful World, Where Are You

Author: Sally Rooney Format: Hardback Release Date: 27/09/2021

One of literature’s brightest talents and most talked about authors of her generation, Sally Rooney follows up 2018 Waterstones Book of the Year and Costa Novel Award Winner Normal People with another sure-fire award winner. Once you get past the fact that Sally Rooney isn’t a lover of conventional punctuation (there are no speech marks in her work), you sink into this beautiful novel following the life and love, the trials and tribulations of four young Irish friends. Yet again you are gripped from the first page with her searingly honest observational prose and dialogue. Both first books Normal People and Conversations with Friends featured characters in late adolescence and early adulthood struggling through first relationships whilst starting to find their way in the world. Just four years after her debut, this is another twenty-first-century love story of sexual entanglements and love lives of two best friends on the eve of their thirties. Alice, a successful novelist who has moved to the Irish countryside following a breakdown meets Felix a warehouse worker with a troubled past, via Tinder. Her best friend Eileen is in Dublin, working for a literary magazine, working through a painful break up and still battling with the on-off “friends with benefits” relationship between her and one of their oldest friends Simon. Her compelling writing just grabs you and her way of investigating the complexity of relationships and dynamics is just so incisive. Whilst you feel they are “ordinary”, “normal” people, the beautiful dialogue is interspersed with long narratives on email between Eileen and Alice. So cleverly done, rhetorical and didactic and it really serves to getting you thinking about the current state of our social fabric, of society, our global challenges, day to day political helplessness and environmental collapse. And it gets you to thinking: beautiful world, where are you? Beautiful? Yes. Serious? Definitely. I loved it. Barriers and all. Magnum opus. Without a doubt.

Star Books
Everything is Beautiful

Everything is Beautiful

Author: Eleanor Ray Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2021

When Amy Ashton's world fell apart eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been. Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves - soon there'll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery, and Amy's carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she'd lost still be hers for the taking? Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places 

Star Books
The Heart Principle

The Heart Principle

Author: Helen Hoang Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

It takes a certain skill to make a novel that’s part of a series feel like a standalone, while also pleasing loyal fans. It’s what Helen Hoang, with her latest release, has managed to pull off – and in style. At the start of The Heart Principle, we are thrown into the life of Anna. She’s a young violinist who’s found fame online. It quickly transpires, though, that she has a few problems on her talented hands. First there’s the professional one about anxiety around performing. And another: her boyfriend wants to sleep with other women. (To, you know, make sure she’s really the one, of course.) Understandably, this throws Anna into a state of chaos – and eventually into the arms of Quan.  Pearl clutchers, best not to read much further. This book has all the hallmarks of a contemporary romance, plus the deleted bedroom scenes. It’s steamy, very steamy. Yet it’s incredibly tender, emotive and revealing too. Hoang doesn’t hold back on subjects other writers may shy away from, and she explores sensitive issues with a boldness that’s hard not to admire. The Heart Principle introduces newbies to her work (like me) to her confident and gutsy storytelling, and to characters you’ll want to revisit again. 

eBooks of the Month
Meet Me in Tahiti

Meet Me in Tahiti

Author: Georgia Toffolo Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

The third romance novel from TV personality Georgia Toffolo (better known as Toff), following Meet Me in London, and Meet Me in Hawaii, sees travel writer Zoe having to deal with life-changing decisions, something she’s more than familiar with. After a car accident left her unable to walk, and having had her heart broken by bad boy Finn (with her wealthy, protective parents a constant presence), she’s now based in a luxury Tahitian resort for work. And then Finn reappears in unexpected circumstances, and Zoe has a whole lot of soul-searching on her hands. Of course, the glamourous setting is a boon - what’s not to enjoy about a fictional escape to the French Polynesian islands? That said, I’m not sure Zoe’s experience is truly representative of the life of a typical travel writer, but that’s not the point - this is pure escapism, a book for the beach; a book to be transported by on a cold, rainy day; a warm and well-intentioned, universal tale about weighing up second chances.

The Return

The Return

Author: Nicholas Sparks Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a moving new novel about an injured army doctor and the two women whose secrets will change the course of his life. Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, he comes to regroup in the dilapidated cabin inherited from his grandfather. Trevor isn't prepared to fall in love, yet from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a deep connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson. Though she seems to reciprocate his feelings, Natalie remains frustratingly distant. Further complicating his stay is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie. Claiming to be 17, she works at the local store and keeps to herself. Discovering that she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather's death, but she offers few clues - until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie's past. In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie's secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that often, to move forward we must return to the place where it all began.

Books of the Month
The Last Library

The Last Library

Author: Freya Sampson Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

You can tell a lot about a person from the library books they borrow Library assistant June knows a lot about the regulars at Chalcot Library, yet they know very little about her. When her mum - the beloved local librarian - passed away eight years ago, June stepped into her shoes. But despite their shared love of books, shy June has never felt she can live up to the village's memory of her mum. Instead, she's retreated into herself and her memories, surviving on Chinese takeaways-for-one and rereading their favourite books at home. When the library is threatened with closure, a ragtag band of eccentric locals establish the Friends of Chalcot Library campaign. There's gentlemanly pensioner Stanley, who visits the library for the computers and the crosswords, cantankerous Mrs B, who is yet to find a book she approves of, and teenager Chantal, who just wants a quiet place to study away from home. But can they compel reclusive June to join their cause? If June wants to save the library, she finally has to make some changes to her life: opening up her heart to friendship, opportunities and maybe even more . . .

History

History

Author: Miles Jupp Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2021

History, the first novel from actor, comedian and writer Miles Jupp (you’ll know him from his roles in Balamory and The Durrells, and appearances on popular comedy panel shows like Would I Lie To You?) is a funny, moving tale of modern family life and a man in the throes of midlife unravelling. Clive is a history teacher at a private school - he moved from a comprehensive as a result of his wife wanting a more rural life for them and their two daughters. Feeling increasingly stifled by school, and generally let down by life, Clive suggests they take a half-term holiday to France just as an incident at school throws his integrity into question. Their break turns out to be anything but the tonic Clive had sought for his well-being (and his marriage). It’s peppered with funny farcical moments - torrential rain followed by sun-burn; incidents with cars and a painful bike-ride accident - and on their return, Clive is more aware than ever of the need to change how he deals with life, and his actual life, for that matter. Underpinned by poignant realisations, Clive’s story has authentic, funny charm. If you’re aware of the author’s TV and radio persona, you’ll hear him narrating Clive’s character - a blend of hesitant, bumbling action and a realistic voice that’s both assured and endearingly rambling. Oh, and the ending is entirely surprising and leaves one desperate to know what Clive is about to do, and what path his life takes a little further down the road.

Debut Books of the Month
The Ex-Husband

The Ex-Husband

Author: Karen Hamilton Format: Ebook Release Date: 19/08/2021

Charlotte and Sam were partners. In life, and in crime. They never stole from anyone who couldn't afford it. Wealthy clients, luxury cruise ships. It was easy money, and harmless. At least, that's what Charlotte told herself, until the world caved in on her. But now, years after she tried to put that past life behind her, it comes rushing back when her estranged ex-husband Sam suddenly goes missing - and someone threatens to expose what they did. Desperate to escape whoever is tormenting her, Charlotte takes a job as events planner for an engagement party onboard a superyacht in the Caribbean. For a while, her plan seems to have worked, nothing but open ocean and clear skies ahead. Until it becomes clear that she's no longer a thousand miles away from harm. Because whoever is behind it all is onboard too. And now there's nowhere left to run.

eBooks of the Month
The Bridge to Rembrandt

The Bridge to Rembrandt

Author: Nelson K. Foley Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/07/2021

 ‘The Bridge to Rembrandt’ by Nelson K. Foley is a story that follows soul mates through time, culminating in a meeting with the famous eponymous artist. We start in modern day Amsterdam, Robert does appear to have enough going on - he has a wife and two growing children, a secret affair with Saskia who is looking for more from him, and a business selling reproduction art that’s got itself into legal trouble. One day when everything gets a bit too much but as Robert drives across a bridge in the city he is transported back in time. Each time this happens, Robert goes further and further into the past. I like how the author sets the scene, the book doesn’t seem to rush to get to all the time-twisting and we have a good understanding of the characters ready for when the time periods change. I liked the descriptions of Amsterdam, and how its history is used throughout the story. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the person but the author did a good job of making it feel familiar, and the historical events throughout the book were entertaining and educational. The time travelling aspect isn’t explored in that much technical detail and, even though there is a time travel element, I wouldn’t describe this as a science fiction story. I’d say this is more ‘About Time’ and ‘Time Traveller’s Wife’ than ‘Doctor Who’ in terms of atmosphere and what a reader could expect. I liked the additional complication of Robert’s diabetes as he ends up further and further in the past, I feel this adds a subtle layer of urgency to the narrative. In all I thought that this was a well-written and entertaining book, great for historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction fans.  Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love
Emilie

Emilie

Author: Ingrid Ramsdale Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2021

A historical fiction with a determined and strong-willed female lead. ‘Emilie’ by Ingrid Ramsdale explores the life of a noble Huguenot 16-year old, determined to do more with her life than society and her class demand of her. The scene in this story when Emilie is brutally beaten after being lured to a dangerous area by her scheming and conniving brother Pierre. Their relationship continues in much the same way as Emilie rebels against the meek and subservient daughter and potential wife role she is expected to play. Seeking solace among her friends in the kitchen and the garden and secretly following her ambitions to become a healer land her in trouble. Then the Bartholomew Day Massacre changes Emilie’s life in ways she would have never imagined. She’s faced with the choice to flee France or stay and fulfill her vocation as a healer. I liked the determined nature of Emilie and enjoyed following her story, set against the backdrop of the French wars of Religion in the 16th century. The narrative of a woman before her time looking to carve out a new place in the world is a popular one amongst historical fiction, especially in books with a younger protagonist and perhaps directed at the YA market as well as the adult one. I found ‘Emilie’ to be a well-crafted story, with action and twists that will keep you turning the page. With plenty of different characters to love and some that you will love to despise, this is a strong character-led story set against a period of history that I didn’t know much about.

Indie Books We Love
It Ends With Us

It Ends With Us

Author: Colleen Hoover Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/08/2016

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST. Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his no dating rule, she can't help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. With this bold and deeply personal novel, It Ends With Us is a heart-wrenching story and an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

What We Find

What We Find

Author: Robyn Carr Format: Audiobook Release Date: 05/04/2016

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman's journey to finding the happiness she's long been missing Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a lawsuit-and experiencing levels of anxiety she's never faced before. She knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan's Crossing. Named for Maggie's great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide Trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie's eccentric father, Sully. When she shows up unannounced, he welcomes her with open arms, and she relishes the opportunity to indulge in his simple way of life. But shortly after arriving, Maggie's world is rocked once again and she must take on more responsibility than she'd planned. Though she's relieved a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, is willing to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man's eagerness to help-until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation. Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon.if only they can learn to find peace and healing-and perhaps love-with each other.

Audiobooks of the Month

August 2021 Featured Books

Three's A Crowd

Three's A Crowd

Author: Simon Booker Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/08/2021

A thoroughly modern, wonderfully readable and clever romantic comedy that acts as a perfect pick-me-up. Tom, Dick, and Harry (well actually it’s Tom, Richard, and Harriet but who could resist!) find themselves in the most awkward of situations when they start dating. Estranged father and son Tom and Richard don’t share the same surname and when Harriet decides to date them both, by the time they realise, love has already worked its magic. I was hooked from the very first sentence, an entertaining web is woven as each distinct voice tells their own side of the story. The age range of characters is handled beautifully and there are a few knotty intrigues to unravel along the way. Simon Brooker writes with a truly witty pen, I smiled, laughed, and even exclaimed out loud. There are also sweet notes, canny moments, and a penetrating blast of reality. I genuinely had no idea where this diverting tale was going and I just want to applaud the ending, for me it was perfectly placed. Three’s A Crowd is a romantic comedy with bite, it’s a glorious blend of sweet and sharp, and sits very nicely in our LoveReading Star Books and as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Her Heart for a Compass

Her Heart for a Compass

Author: Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Co-written with Mills and Boon historical novelist Marguerite Kaye, Sarah Ferguson’s Her Heart for a Compass is an expansive fictionalised account of the life of the Duchess of York’s great-great-aunt, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott. Part romantic epic, part energetic exploration of wealthy women’s lives in Victorian England, it’s sure to satisfy fans of historical fiction who like their novels to be big in heart (and length), and based on real-life intrigue. It’s London, 1865, and Lady Margaret Montagu Scott cannot face the prospect of entering a marriage arranged by her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Given that her parents are close friends with Queen Victoria, this is nothing short of a scandal, and so Margaret must be banished from polite Victorian society. Margaret’s journey sees her venture to Ireland and America before returning to Britain. It reels with romance, historical detail and the protagonist’s indomitable spirit of adventure against a backdrop of grand-yet-stuffy drawing rooms and stifling societal conventions.

eBooks of the Month
The Book of Two Ways

The Book of Two Ways

Author: Jodi Picoult Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Who would you be, if you hadn't turned out to be the person you are now? Dawn is a death doula, and spends her life helping people make the final transition peacefully. But when the plane she's on plummets, she finds herself thinking not of the perfect life she has, but the life she was forced to abandon fifteen years ago - when she left behind a career in Egyptology, and a man she loved. Against the odds, she survives, and the airline offers her a ticket to wherever she needs to get to - but the answer to that question suddenly seems uncertain. As the path of her life forks in two very different directions, Dawn must confront questions she's never truly asked: What does a well-lived life look like? What do we leave behind when we go? And do we make our choices, or do our choices make us? Two possible futures. One impossible choice.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
On the Bright Side

On the Bright Side

Author: Nell Carter Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

A simply gorgeous and emotional tale about love and all the different forms it can take. Jack and Clare have the chance to learn that leaving love behind can potentially allow it back into your heart. Just one thing to note, while this is a relationship tale, it comes with an edge so be prepared for some thought-provoking themes. The characters in On The Bright Side make mistakes, find themselves on unexpected paths as thoughts alter and grow, and really put my feelings through the wringer! Jack, Clare, and Grace entered so fully into my heart that I truly cared about them, while certain other characters got so far into my head, that they evoked other strong feelings! I love how Nell Carter writes, she has the ability to encourage feelings to falter, fall, and soar, all while expressing herself with beautiful compassion. Plus she has an uncanny ability to get to the heart of what it is to be human. On the Bright Side is a truly lovely novel that I can wholeheartedly recommend as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Spirited

Spirited

Author: Julie Cohen Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her - and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye . . . Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them - but Victorian society is no place for reckless women. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight. Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom? Driven by passionate, courageous female characters, SPIRITED is your next unforgettable read! Perfect for fans of other bestselling historical novels The Binding by Bridget Collins, The Familiars by Stacey Halls, and Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield.

Books of the Month
The Evening and the Morning

The Evening and the Morning

Author: Ken Follett Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/08/2021

From the bestselling author Ken Follett, The Evening and the Morning is a historical epic that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins. A TIME OF CONFLICT It is 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages, and England faces attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Life is hard, and those with power wield it harshly, bending justice according to their will - often in conflict with the king. With his grip on the country fragile and with no clear rule of law, chaos and bloodshed reign. THREE LIVES INTERTWINED Into this uncertain world three people come to the fore: a young boatbuilder, who dreams of a better future when a devastating Viking raid shatters the life that he and the woman he loves hoped for; a Norman noblewoman, who follows her beloved husband across the sea to a new land only to find her life there shockingly different; and a capable monk at Shiring Abbey, who dreams of transforming his humble abbey into a centre of learning admired throughout Europe. THE DAWN OF A NEW AGE Now, with England at the dawn of the Middle Ages, these three people will each come into dangerous conflict with a ruthless bishop, who will do anything to increase his wealth and power, in an epic tale of ambition and rivalry, death and birth, and love and hate. Thirty years ago we were introduced to Kingsbridge in The Pillars of the Earth, and now in this masterful prequel international bestseller Ken Follett will take us on a journey into a rich past, which will end where his masterpiece begins.

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

The Timepiece and the Girl Who Went Astray

Author: O.R. Simmonds Format: Ebook Release Date: 30/07/2021

William is just an unassuming American who ends up in the wrong place and definitely the wrong time! He lives an unexciting life in London, but when he goes to buy a watch for his girlfriend his life take a very dramatic turn. He ends up being accused of murder,  and being chased through history by a secret organisation who will stop at nothing to get their “timepiece” back. Travel with William through his exciting journey and enjoy a thrilling and riveting read. Maureen Gourlay, A LoveReading Ambassador

Indie Books We Love

July 2021 Featured Books

Royal

Royal

Author: Danielle Steel Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/07/2021

In this spellbinding tale from Danielle Steel, a princess is sent away to safety during World War II, where she falls in love, and is lost forever. As the war rages on in the summer of 1943, causing massive destruction and widespread fear, the King and Queen choose to quietly send their youngest daughter, Princess Charlotte, to live with a trusted noble family in the Yorkshire countryside. Despite her fiery, headstrong nature, the princess's fragile health poses far too great a risk for her to remain in war-torn London. Third in line to the throne, seventeen year-old Charlotte reluctantly uses an alias upon her arrival in Yorkshire, her two guardians the only keepers of her true identity. A talented horsewoman, Charlotte begins to enjoy life out of the spotlight, concentrating on training with her beloved horse. But no one predicts that in the coming months she will fall deeply in love with her protectors' son. Far from her parents, a tragic turn of events leaves an infant orphaned. Alone in the world, that child will be raised in the most humble circumstances by a modest stable manager and his wife. No one, not even she, knows of her lineage. But when a stack of hidden letters comes to light, a secret kept for nearly two decades finally surfaces, and a long lost princess emerges. A fascinating story of family and royalty, and an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary young woman and the man who brings her home, Royal is an exhilarating work from the world's favourite storyteller.

The Piper's Dance

The Piper's Dance

Author: Maxim Jakubowski Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/07/2021

A fascinating take on an age old story that led me on a compelling and unique dance. Two of the children spirited away by the Pied Piper of Hamelin escape his clutches centuries later and find themselves attempting to survive in a world they no longer recognise. Maxim Jakubowski has previously written novels that span various genres, here The Piper’s Dance spins between legend and myth, fantasy and relationship (and contains moments of erotism), with Maxim himself describing it as: “hardboiled fantasy”. What awaits is an absorbing, delicious feast of a read. From the first sentence I was hooked, I truly loved where this tale took me, it’s a journey of discovery and I found myself exploring alongside Tristan and Katerina. The brilliant vivid characters feel entirely real, I didn’t stop to question, I just believed. Innocence, experience and knowledge join together in a heady mix that sent my thoughts in new directions. A different, potent and exhilarating read, I’ve chosen The Piper’s Dance to feature as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. Pre-order the signed hardback or the paperback of Piper's Dance from telos.co.uk and get a 20% discount using the code: lovereading

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Rehearsals

The Rehearsals

Author: Annette Christie Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/07/2021

If you’re looking for a lovely hit of romantic escapism then oooh hello, this could well be the book for you. With a Groundhog Day vibe, this thoroughly modern romance makes engaged couple Megan and Tom relive their day of their rehearsal dinner again and again after they call off their wedding. The Rehearsals is Annette Christie’s debut novel, and what a sparkle of a gem it is. The descriptions ensure the setting of San Juan Island just north of Seattle comes alive and acts as the perfect foil for Megan and Tom to be trapped in a time loop. Both are relatable and likeable, I found myself invested in their story and living alongside them every step of the way. This is such an entertaining yet heart-warming read, the delicious mix of will-they won’t-they and second chances is handled beautifully. I loved the surrounding family members, they ensure a wider exploration of relationships (and are rather diverting too). I’ve chosen The Rehearsals as a Liz Pick of the Month as it’s a sunshine dream of a romantic comedy.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Mercies

The Mercies

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Totally, completely, and utterly gorgeous, this is a beautifully written historical relationship tale with real bite. And can I just qualify the word relationship - this is about the relationships with family, community, fear, nature, as well as the more obvious love. A work of fiction inspired by history, the story begins on Christmas Eve in 1617 when a sudden and violent storm takes the lives of forty fishermen, leaving the stunned women folk learning to survive on their remote northerly Norwegian island. Still reeling from the tragedy, their lives turn in the most frightening direction when the King brings in sorcery laws and a commissioner is installed to root out evil. This is Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s debut adult novel, and I feel as though I have been waiting my reading life for it. The prologue hits with a huge sad inevitability. Kiran Millwood Hargrave writes with a sensitive and considerate pen, the descriptions are truly breathtaking. While there are some savage shocks in store, The Mercies is still a warm, thoughtful and touching read. Chosen as a Liz Robinson pick of the month, we also just had to include The Mercies as a LoveReading Star Book too. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Star Books
Would I Lie to You?

Would I Lie to You?

Author: Aliya Ali-Afzal Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Amusing yet poignant, uplifting yet sharply pointed, this is a very contemporary look at a woman spiralling out of control in an effort to keep up appearances. When Tom is made redundant and says the family will have to live off of their savings until he gets a new job, Faiza panics, she has secretly spent all of their money and is determined that Tom won’t find out. Faiza is warm and engaging, I felt as though I was sitting by her side and she was telling me her story. While there were times I winced and was frustrated by her actions, I also cheered her on and if I could, would have given her the hugest of huge hugs. A truly exquisite balance is maintained throughout this novel, Aliya Alif-Afzal writes with wit, perception, and emotional integrity. While sitting as a wonderfully readable and entertaining novel, this is a smart take on some of the problems faced in our society. Would I Lie To You is an engaging and moving debut, it’s also a little bit feisty, I loved it!  The LoveReading LitFest invited Aliya to the festival to talk about this fabulous debut. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Aliya in conversation with Deborah Maclaren and find out why everyone should read this book. Check out a preview of the event here

Debut Books of the Month
Woman of a Certain Rage

Woman of a Certain Rage

Author: Georgie Hall Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

The most wonderful, funny, and engaging novel, Woman of a Certain Rage simply danced into my hands and I read with true glee. Eliza has hit middle age and the menopause, as she navigates all that her hormones throw at her, can she rediscover the joys of her youth? I wanted to wriggle with excitement when I heard that this was Fiona Walker taking a writing step in a new direction as Georgie Hall. I completely understand why she is using a different name, as she says on her site: “I don’t want to mislead readers into expecting a big-cast Walker romp”. I genuinely feel as though I have been waiting for this novel, she takes the menopause years and runs with it, with laughter, warmth, and most of all empathy. She explores family life with teens and parents while maintaining a career, a relationship and home-life while the menopause is on the rampage. She made me snort with laughter on a number of occasions, and I frequently exclaimed as I recognised and related with different scenarios. While the midlife years and all the trials and tribulations that come with it sit centre stage, this is a book that can be read right through the age groups. All hail Georgie Hall as she uncovers the menopause with wit and honesty, excuse me while I find a few rooftops to camp out and shout from. Beautifully readable and laugh-out-loud funny, Woman of a Certain Rage is a LoveReading Star Book with attitude.

Star Books
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Author: Emily Austin Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Our July 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This deliciously quirky, amusing and sharply-pointed debut novel slowly wormed its way into my heart and soul. Anxiety is plaguing Gilda, who also has death on her mind, she unexpectedly finds herself in a new job, fending off unwanted attention from men while keeping her girlfriend secret, and investigating a suspicious death. Emily Austin writes with such honesty and empathy, I found her words burrowed their way into my mind before reaching beyond thought, to feelings. It took me a while to get to know and warm to Gilda, she borders on awkward as she tells her story. I gradually found myself getting closer and closer to this fragile yet thoughtful and beautiful woman. The plot weaves a unique magic as it ranges from mystery to family drama to relationship story. The humour is pithy and smart, the observations can sting yet are compassionate, and the descriptions simply sing. I really have fallen in love with this book, and can’t wait to see what comes next from Emily Austin, she is a writer I will be looking out for. Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead is a compelling, provocative, and beautiful LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books
Everyone Is Still Alive

Everyone Is Still Alive

Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Modern life, the real and vibrantly emotional side of modern life, is on show in this truly lovely and big-hearted novel that I simply adored. A small London community sits centre stage as the residents move about their business and inside and out of each others homes. While the focus remains on Juliet, Liam and their son Charlie, this is a wider look at navigating family and friendships. Everyone is Still Alive is bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink's first novel, and what an eloquently beautiful read it is. The setting is a relatively affluent suburban street that welcomes you in and feels like home. With huge compassion, themes concentrate on the more difficult side of life in our modern world, including grief, anxiety, and envy. I also walked with humour, encouragement and affection, and balanced that exquisite tightrope of emotions that people experience each day. This wonderful novel feels like a celebration, a hand held out in support and in love, and I just had to choose it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. Powerful yet gently soothing, Everyone is Still Alive is a novel that gives a warm embrace as it slips into emotions and makes them sing.   

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Secret Path

The Secret Path

Author: Karen Swan Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

An old flame. A new spark. Love can find you in the most unlikely places. Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan returns with The Secret Path, taking us deep into the heart of the Costa Rican jungle - complete with her trademark romance, glamour, and jaw-dropping twists. At only twenty, Tara Tremain has everything: she's a trainee doctor, engaged to the man of her dreams - Alex, a passionate American biology student. But just when life seems perfect, Alex betrays her in the worst way possible. Ten years later, she's moved on - with a successful career, good friends and a man who loves her. But when she's pulled back into her wealthy family's orbit for a party in the heart of Costa Rica, she's flung into a crisis: a child is desperately ill and the only treatment is several days' trek away, deep in the jungle. There's only one person who can help - but can she trust the man who broke her heart? Your Costa Rican adventure awaits.

Here is the Beehive

Here is the Beehive

Author: Sarah Crossan Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it. But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret. How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach - Connor's wife Rebecca. Peeling away the layers of two overlapping marriages, Here is the Beehive is a devastating excavation of risk, obsession and loss.

Star Books
Lucky

Lucky

Author: Rachel Edwards Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2021

Weaving between complex social issues, this is a powerful, tense, and striking second novel by Rachel Edwards. When Etta turns to online gambling her entire life begins to crumble, she is willing to do anything to stop her world from imploding. Rachel Edward’s  wonderfully captivating debut Darling was a LoveReading Star Book which concentrated on the new wife and young daughter of a man as they each fought for his love and attention. Lucky is entirely different in plot, yet a strong central character again sits to the fore. Etta can be stubborn (determined), manipulative (smart), she’s also addicted (lost and confused), kind, thoughtful, and loving. I found her frustrating and appealing in equal measures which lead to me forming a complex yet fascinating relationship with her character. Suspense kept me company throughout this novel, at times I almost read between my fingers as I waited to see what Etta would do next. I explored online gambling, migration, identity, race, and relationship traps and pitfalls all on top of a plot that that had me edging along a towering clifftop of tension. Rachel Edwards has created an intriguing and compelling main character, a cracking plot and sub-plot which collide to create the most fabulous ending. Lucky is an intriguing, smart, and thought-provoking novel I can highly recommend.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding

Author: Diksha Basu Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

For an easy comparison, many would call this is an Indian version of Crazy Rich Asians and of course My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In some ways they’re right: there’s a cross-cultural wedding and plenty of opportunity for miscommunication and hilarity. At the centre is Tina, an American-Indian in New York who feels she doesn’t fit anywhere. When she’s invited to a friend’s lavish wedding in New Delhi her sense of self and belonging comes under scrutiny. There were so many layers here: explorations of class, gender and wealth among them, helped by how the perspective shifts across a large array of characters. A fun read, full of dry humour, and one that will also guarantee to leave you dreaming of far flung climes…

Life's Too Short

Life's Too Short

Author: Abby Jimenez Format: Audiobook Release Date: 06/04/2021

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zone and The Happy Ever After Playlist**.** When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn't expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn't just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn't want to take anything for granted. But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from "daily adventure" to "next-level bad" (now with bonus baby vomit in hair). The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she'd be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua. Now she's feeling things she's vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see.

Audiobooks of the Month
Virgin River

Virgin River

Author: Robyn Carr Format: Audiobook Release Date: 05/01/2021

A Netflix Original Series! Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all… Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included. When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning. But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

Audiobooks of the Month
Symona's Still Single

Symona's Still Single

Author: Lisa Bent Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/10/2020

What do you do when you’ve reached 37 and your biological clock is ticking so loud you can’t hear anything else? Decide to change your fortunes by going out there and actively looking for Mr Right, of course. Symona’s journey through the dating world is as funny as it is frustrating and I had more than one laugh-out-moment. Smart and astute, I really enjoyed reading about her adventures in dating and often felt as though I’d met some of those men at certain points in my life.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

If I Don't Have You

If I Don't Have You

Author: Sareeta Domingo Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2020

Filmmaker Ren and journalist Kayla meet through work in New York and are immediately attracted to each other. They do give in to their feelings, but with so many other complications in both their lives – what will they have to do and who will they have to hurt, to be together? Told from both Ren and Kayla’s point of view, this is a fantastic story that picks you up with the promise of love at first sight and sweeps you along with the rollercoaster of the main relationship.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

Bad Love

Bad Love

Author: Maame Blue Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/06/2020

Ekuah is in an up-and-down, back-and-forth relationship with Dee. It’s not perfect, but it feels enough for her . . . that’s until Dee ghosts her. Bruised and heartbroken, Ekuah does her best to get on with her life and eventually meets Jay, a man who might just be the one to win her heart. That is, of course, when Dee reappears in her life… The protagonist in this tale is very young but her emotions are real and the tricky relationship she has with her parents is every bit as important as the romantic ones. I was impressed by the depth and authenticity that came through the pages, a fantastic read. Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece.

Imperfect Arrangements

Imperfect Arrangements

Author: Frances Mensah Williams Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2020

Best Friends Lyla, Maku and Theresa have a rock-solid friendship – it’s the other relationships in their lives that cause them heartache. When ambitious Theresa moves back to Accra with her husband, she doesn’t realise it’s going to show up the cracks in her relationship, and also make her friends look more closely at their lives. This drama is full of twists and turns some of them heartstopping, others heart-rending, all of them brilliantly played out and realistic. If you’re a fan of female-centered dramas, this is one for you.  Selected by Dorothy Koomson, Our Summer 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece. 

Sylvester

Sylvester

Author: Georgette Heyer Format: Ebook Release Date: 28/02/2011

Endowed with rank, wealth and elegance, Sylvester, Duke of Salford, posts into Wiltshire to discover if the Honorable Phoebe Marlow will meet his exacting requirements for a bride. If he does not expect to meet a tongue-tied stripling wanting both manners and conduct, then he is intrigued indeed when his visit causes Phoebe to flee her home. They meet again on the road to London, where her carriage has come to grief in the snow. Yet Phoebe, already caught in one imbroglio, now knows she soon could be well deep in another ... A typically wonderful historical novel, Sylvester shows once more why Georgette Heyer is the undisputed queen of the genre she created - the Regency romance.

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place

Author: Nora Roberts Format: Audiobook Release Date: 15/12/2009

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes Shelter in Placea powerful tale of heart, heroism . . . and propulsive suspense. It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived. The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies' room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art. But one person wasn't satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

Audiobooks of the Month

Love’s Labours Found

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Some people say it’s not their cup of tea. But have they tried every blend? From handsome aristocrats to family feuds, holiday flings, to forbidden fruits; local community taboos to young love’s dream there’s something here to ignite passion in the hardest of hearts.

 

Whether you’re looking for something for the beach, a happy place on the way to work, or the next instalment of a much-loved character’s car-crash love-life, we’ve hand-picked the very best in romantic fiction for all tastes. Why not sign up for our email to keep up to date with new love, check out the Book of the Month recommendations for inspiration, or simply judge a book by its cover? Love at first sight!

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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: