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Book Favourites from Library Staff 2022: Romantic and Feel-Good Fiction

Feel goodRomantic Fiction

These novels exploit problems of the modern world as well as stories set in the past; but whatever the setting and time, all have one thing in common: they're about the way people make connections - as lovers, neighbours or friends. 

The No-Show by Beth O’Leary 
When I first read The Flatshare a couple of years ago Beth O'Leary immediately became a must read author for me, and oh my word The No-Show is an absolute knock out. I loved the three women, and despite wanting to hate him at first Joseph Carter is undeniably charming and I couldn't help but like him too. Each story weaves together and I was figuring out some things before they were revealed, piecing together connections, but other twists I had no chance of guessing. I cannot recommend this enough! Lara

The Brown Sisters Trilogy – Talia Hibbert
Lara also highly recommends this series for modern romance lovers. Talia Hibbert writes excellent, diverse characters and provides sunny heart-filling feelings and this is a trilogy of wholesome romance. 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Eldest sister Chloe first. Chronically ill Chloe has a goal, a plan to help her “get a life.” She has moved out of her family’s huge home and into an apartment, where she got off on the wrong foot with the building handyman, Red. But Red can help her with her list, and Chloe’s design skills can help him with a website for his art, so they strike a deal, and a slow-burning romance begins. I loved them as a couple.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Middle sister Dani is a career-driven academic who sees romance as a distraction. Zaf, her friend and work building security guard, is trying to drum up publicity for his charity. After a photo of him rescuing Dani from a chaotic fire drill goes viral, a fake relationship could be just the way to do it. Zaf is also a hopeless romantic. He and Dani have a great dynamic throughout their friends-to fake-dating-to lovers journey.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown
Little sister Eve is on a journey of self-discovery and improvement, and on the way she stumbles upon extremely structured perfectionist Jacob, and also discovers a passion for cooking which she hadn't really thought much about before. Again, I loved the characters in this. Eve's self-doubting nature is super relatable, and Jacob reminds me a lot of a friend of mine which was nice. They are sunshine and grump.

The Secrets of Primrose Square by Claudia Carroll
A novel about neighbours and friendship, about the private anguish people hide away from each other while living nearby, if only people knew. Even though there are secrets behind every door, Primrose Square in Dublin is somewhere I want to live. Miss Moneypenny

Little Wing by Freya North
Three lives collide in this story about family secrets and new beginnings set across two time frames. We’ve got Florence who dreams of being an artist in 1969 when her world is turned upside down by an unwanted pregnancy. Jump ahead thirty-five years, there’s Dougie, a London photographer who can’t return home to Scotland; and Nell who runs a care-in-the-community café and who discovers a secret surrounding her birth. Everything draws them back to the Isle of Harris, which is evocatively described, and the past catches up to the present. JAM

The Visitors by Caroline Scott
This novel follows Esme Nicholls, a young war widow who spends a summer in Cornwall with a bunch of post-war misfits and finds a kind of family. Set in 1923, The Visitors evokes the issues of its time, particularly the strictures of society and the ongoing effects of a terrible war. But the lovely summery, seaside setting, the mixture of sadness and laughter, plus a warm-hearted ending makes this a charming feel-good read. JAM

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce
It’s the 1950s and Miss Benson, a spinster teaching in a girls school walks out on her job, throwing caution to the wind, to travel to New Caledonia in search of a rare beetle. Advertising for an assistant, she is thrown together with Enid Pretty, a most unlikely candidate. A story of an odd couple, but also adventure, sadness and triumph, featuring two unforgettable main characters. The e-audiobook version of this is read by Juliet Stevenson, which is a treat in itself. JAM

Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson
When Anastasia needs medical treatment, two strangers who rescue her dog, when it doesn’t need rescuing, agree to look after her boat. Sally and Eve are also at a turning point in their lives, and suddenly have to learn all about how to steer a narrowboat, and manage the locks while looking out for each other and the people they get to know on their journey. A quirky feel-good read that is like being on a narrowboat holiday. JAM


10 January 2023

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