Love is in the air – Epic Romance novels

Its not for everybody but February seems to me to be the best possible time to get stuck into one of these epic romances. These are love stories that stood the test of time, or adversity and lets be honest are probably much better for your soul than those red roses from the corner shop!

ali-outlanderOutlander by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century – and a lover in another. In 1945, Claire Randall is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds. A wartime nurse, Claire can deal with the bloody wounds that face her. But it is harder to deal with the knowledge that she is in Jacobite Scotland and the carnage of Culloden is looming.

ali-bronze-horsemanThe Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

During the summer of 1941 the Metanov family are living a hard life in Leningrad. As the German armies advance their future looks bleak. For Tatiana, love arrives in the guise of Alexander, who harbours a deadly and extraordinary secret.

ali-time-traverllers-wifeThe Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story. That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

ali-gone-with-teh-windGone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Set against the historical backdrop of the American Civil War, this historical epic is a tale of a nation mortally divided. It is the love story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlet O’Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.

ali-wuthering-heightsWuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

At the centre of this novel is the passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff – recounted with such emotional intensity that a plain tale of the Yorkshire moors acquires the depth and simplicity of ancient tragedy.

ali-a-walk-to-rememberA Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Landon Carter would never have dreamed of asking Jamie Sullivan out, but a twist of fate throws them together. In the months that follow, Landon breaks down Jamie’s natural reserve and begins to get to know her, and to fall in love. Then he discovers that Jamie has a reason for not letting people close.

ali-the-thorn-birdsThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, this is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.

 

ali-love-storyLove Story by Erich Segal

Oliver Barrett IV is a rich jock from a stuffy Wasp family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law. Jenny Cavilleri is a wisecracking working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe. They are opposites in nearly every way – but they fell in love. This is their story.

ali-war-and-peaceWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s beguiling masterpiece entwines love, death and determinism with Russia’s war with Napoleon and its effects on those swept up by the terror it brings. The lives of Pierre, Prince Andrei and Natasha are changed forever as conflict rages throughout the early 19th century.

ali-bridges-of-madison-countyThe Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

The story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, this story gives voice to the longings of men and women everywhere-and shows us what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same again.

ali-atonementAtonement by Ian McEwan

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

ali-love-in-the-time-of-choleraLove in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Florentino Ariza has never forgotten his first love. He has waited nearly a lifetime in silence since his beloved Fermina married another man. Following the death of her husband, Florentino has another chance to declare his eternal passion and win her back. Will love that has survived half a century remain unrequited?

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 – Romance

This is the time of year where sometimes all you need is a sofa, a blanket, a hot chocolate and a book that provides pure escapism. These are the top 10 romance novels that went out from Leeds libraries in December.

Can I tempt you with a little love?

Tempting of Thomas CarrickThe Tempting of Thomas Carrick by Stephanie Laurens

Thomas Carrick is determined to make his own life in the bustling port city of Glasgow, far from the demands of the Carrick clan, eventually with an appropriate wife on his arm. But disturbing events on his family’s estate force Thomas to return to the Scottish countryside – where he is forced to ask for help from the last woman he wants to face. Thomas has never forgotten Lucilla Cynster and the connection that seethes between them, but to marry Lucilla would mean embracing a life he’s adamant is not for him.

Mastered by LoveMastered by Love by Stephanie Laurens

As the mysterious leader of the Bastion Club, Royce Varisey, 10th Duke of Wolverstone, served his country for decades, facing untold dangers. But as the holder of one of England’s most august noble titles, he must now take on that gravest duty of all: marriage.

second chance summerSecond Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

When it comes to search and rescue, Aiden Kincaid is one of the best in the Rockies. And never has he seen anyone who needs rescuing more than Lily. She just doesn’t know it yet … Lily left their small Colorado hometown right after her sister’s fatal accident. She couldn’t face the guilt, couldn’t face the mountain, couldn’t face the heartbreak of falling hard for the only guy her sister ever loved: Aiden Kincaid. But now she is back home, and Aidan is as hot as ever. How does she deal with that? By playing it cool and casual, of course. So cool and casual, in fact, that she doesn’t realise she’s fallen hard for his sexy charm until it’s too late.

Let Love find youLet Love Find You by Johanna Lindsey

Beautiful, titled and charming, Lady Amanda Locke doesn’t understand why love eludes her. So Amanda’s family hire Devin Baldwin to help find her a match. Soon she is being courted by the dashing Viscount Altone, but in his efforts to help find her a husband, Devin himself becomes the object of Amanda’s affections.

This matter of marriage

This Matter of Marriage by Debbie Macomber

A woman and her handsome neighbour come together to share their experiences as single people. He helps her to develop a one-year plan to find Mr. Right, but their scheming is tempered by the romantic connection that slowly builds between them.

Claimed by the LairdClaimed by the Laird by Nicola Cornick

An old maid – that’s all Lady Christina McMorlan, daughter to the Duke of Forres, is to society now that she’s past thirty. She hosts her father’s parties and cares for her siblings, knowing she’ll never have her own home and family. She has no time to pine, however. By night, she’s The Lady, head of a notorious whiskey-smuggling gang that supports her impoverished clan. They’re always one step ahead of the revenue man – until Lucas Black shows up. Rejecting his title and the proper society that disparaged his mother, Lucas earns his living running a successful gambling house. He’s also a spy, charged with bringing down the Forres Gang. He thinks The Lady’s just a bored society spinster. She thinks he’s a lost child playing at rebellion. And when the truth comes out, it’s not just their love on the line.

Cowboy Xmas TreeA Cowboy Under my Christmas Tree by Janet Dailey

Sam Bennett left a snowbound Colorado ranch for the glittering steel canyons of Manhattan – temporarily. Hard work was never this much fun as he sets up Christmas trees all around town. And now that he’s met Nicole Young, a gorgeous window designer, four weeks won’t be enough to romance her the way he wants to.

when i met youWhen I Met You by Jemma Forte

‘When I Met You’ tells the heartwarming story of Marianne, whose father is suddenly back in her life – but with the news that he’s dying, and with a rather gorgeous male nurse in tow.

in the shadow of winterIn the Shadow of Winter by Lorna Gray

The Cotswolds, 1947. The relentless winter holds post-war Britain in its deadly grip, and Eleanor Phillips rides out from her beleaguered Cotswold farm to rescue a stranger lost in the storm. But the near-dead man is no stranger and when she recognises Matthew Croft, the old ties of a failed romance tug deeply. Her sweetheart has returned from the war. Suspicion, the police and the panicked flight of a desperate man beat a path to her door. And with a wanted man hidden in her home and stealing back into her heart, Eleanor must be on her guard – for the net is closing in on them both and enemies are all around.

slightly sinfulSlightly Sinful by Mary Balogh

Injured on the battlefield, Lord Alleyne Bedwyn awakens in a ladies’ brothel, with no memory of who he is, in the care of the lovely Rachel York, who decides to use the dashing soldier she rescued to try to reclaim her stolen fortune.

 

Top 10 – Adult Fiction

Last week we started with children books but this week’s Top 10 features fiction for adults. These are the Top 10 books borrowed from Leeds Libraries in Oct 2015.

  1. Personal by Lee Child

Personal Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down, because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it, and Reacher is the one man who can find him.

2. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson

14th Deadly SinDetective Lindsay Boxer and her three best friends are back and recovering from the events that pushed them all to the edge. After her near-death experience, Yuki is seeing her life from a new perspective and is considering a change in her law career. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy has healed from her gunshot wound and has published a book on the infamous serial killers she helped to bring down. Lindsay is just happy that the gang are all still in one piece. But a new terror is sweeping the streets of San Francisco. A gang dressed as cops are ransacking the city, and leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake. Lindsay is on the case to track them down and needs to discover whether these killers could actually be police officers. Maybe even cops she already knows.

3. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving TimeJenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing. Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants. Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective – and a psychic. Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night.

4. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Gray mountainOne week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third-year associate at New York City’s largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line.

 

5. Thin Air by Ann Cleeves

Thin AirA group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air. It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The following day, Eleanor’s friend Polly receives an email. It appears to be a suicide note, saying she’ll never be found alive. And then Eleanor’s body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge. Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate.

6. The Dandelion Years by Erica James

The dandelion yearsAshcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood. Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

7. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson

Abattoir BluesWhen two boys vanish under mysterious circumstances, the local community is filled with unease. And when a caravan belonging to one of the youths is burned to the ground, and a bloodstain is discovered in a disused World War Two hangar nearby, things quickly become much more sinister. Assigned to the case, DCI Banks and his team are baffled by the mystery laid out before them. But when a motor accident throws up a gruesome discovery, the investigation spins into a higher gear – and in another direction.

8. The Missing and the Dead by Stuart Macbride

The missing and the deadWhen you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal. Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them. Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

9. Mightier than the sword by Jeffrey Archer

Mightier than the swordEmma Clifton, now the chairman of Barrington Shipping, is facing the repercussions of the IRA attack on the Buckingham. Some board members feel she should resign, but Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, is determined that she’ll stay. Sir Giles Barrington is now a minister of the Crown, and looks set for even higher office, until an official trip to Berlin does not end as a diplomatic success. Once again, his political career is thrown off balance by none other than his old adversary, Major Alex Fisher, who, for the second time, is selected to stand against him at the general election.

10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The girl on the trainRachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train.

It is Valentine’s Day this week. Romantic Novel awards shortlists

Return to MandalayThe spice merchant's wifeWe’re rooting for  Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley and The Spice Merchant’s Wife by Charlotte Betts –  both titles have had many 5* ratings by our readers.

But you might want to try novels by the three male authors who’ve made the Romantic Novel Awards 2015 shortlists. Stephen Burke has been shortlisted for his novel The Good Italian and David Atkinson’s Love Byte is shortlisted alongside The Best Thing That Never Happened To Me by Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait  in the Romantic Comedy Novel category.

Barbara Taylor Bradford will present the 2015 awards at the Gladstone Library in London on 16th March. The winner of the Romantic Novel of the Year award will receive a cheque for £5,000.

Chairman Pia Fenton commented: “The shortlists show that romantic fiction covers an amazing array of different sub-genres, all equal as far as we are concerned. I love the diversity of the shortlisted books and authors, and I am thrilled that we had such a high number of entries this year, showing the popularity of this type of fiction. We are very grateful to all the publishers who supported these awards by sending us their entries. Huge congratulations to all the authors who are shortlisted this year, it’s a great achievement.”

There were a record number of entries this year and each book was read by a panel of three independent readers drawn from a list of over 100 volunteers.   The full shortlists are below-

  Contemporary Romantic Novel

 Epic Romantic Novel

 Historical Romantic Novel

   Romantic Comedy Novel

Young Adult Romantic Novel

 The RoNA Rose Award

Romance is not dead – Good Reads most voted for Romance titles 2014.

 

LandlineDo you like a bit of romance in your life? If so, here’s Good Reads most voted for Romance titles 2014.

Top is Written in my own heart’s blood by Diana Gabaldon – it got over 50,000 votes! It’s rated 5* in Leeds too.

June 1778, and as the American War of Independence nears its turning point, time-travelling lovers Jamie and Claire find themselves torn apart by the warring forces. As sons fight against fathers and whole families are splintered by the conflict, even Claire’s foreknowledge of the future can only help her so much. Caught in the maelstrom of historical events, once again Jamie and Claire must battle to survive

Second is Maybe someday by Colleen Hoover with nearly 30,000 votes

Sydney has life sorted. She’s at college, she has a part-time job, a gorgeous boyfriend and a flat which she shares with her best friend – then she she finds out that Hunter has been cheating on her. As Sydney’s world crashes around her, she finds solace in the music of the guy next door, Ridge, a gorgeous guitar player who practises on his balcony every night. Sydney and Ridge are inevitably drawn to each other, and begin writing songs together -bBut life isn’t always as simple as it seems

 

 

 Or a bit more up to date, Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts