Librarian’s Choice -Past Favourites

This weeks blog is from Lynn, one of our Senior Communities Librarians. There are some real classic blasts from the past here, as well as a more recent recommendation.

Although I’m an avid reader of crime I thought I would give you a taste of some of my favourites from the past, starting with

Lynn Lady of HayLady of Hay – Barbara Erskine

I can’t believe this book is 30 years old!

This story is about Jo Clifford a successful 20th Century journalist, who is set to debunk the idea of past life regression but when she is regressed under hypnosis she finds herself reliving the experiences of Matilda, the Lady of Hay, the wife of a baron at the time of King John.

Jo learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage and of her love for another man and of the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John.

The plot is full of twists and turns as Matilda’s life and pain threaten to take Jo’s life as she spontaneously regresses…………………

Lynn Lorna DooneLorna Doone – RD Blackmore

A teenage favourite!

Lorna Doone is a romance set in 17th Century in Somerset and Devon and is the story of John Ridd a farmer who finds love amid religious and social turmoil. John is just a boy when his father a respectable farmer is murdered by the outlawed Doones, a lawless clan who live in Exmoor. Battling his desire for revenge John also grows into a respectable farmer looking after his mother and siblings. He falls in love with Lorna a girl he meets by accident who turns out to be the granddaughter of the Lord of Doones and is destined to marry (against her will) Carver Doone. A tale of secrets, lies and deceit. A fantastic story of star crossed lovers.

Lynn RebeccaRebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”

The novel begins in Monte Carlo where our orphaned lady’s maid is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter- carried along on her giddy adventure it’s not until they arrive at his impressive country estate that she realises the threat his late wife is to their new relationship. Young, shy and socially awkward the new Mrs De Winter finds herself lonely and alone as she battles to establish herself as the lady of the house in a tense, sinister household headed by the mean and spiteful Mrs Danvers who is loyal to the ghostly presence of Rebecca. Surprisingly scary with a psychological edge.

Lynn Black BeautyBlack Beauty – Anna Sewell

One of my favourite childhood stories.

Black Beauty is a horse with a fine black coat, a white foot and a silver star on his forehead, a real beauty indeed.

Seen through his eyes, the story tells of his idyllic upbringing living on Farmer Grey’s farm with his Mum frolicking in the fields. When he turns four he’s trained to carry riders and pull carriages and then sold and goes to live at Birtwick Hall where he meets Merrylegs, Ginger and Sir Oliver.

Hardship and cruelty follow as he is sold to a number of different homes and worked hard until he collapses from overwork before he finds security and happiness in a new home.

Lynn Little WomenLittle Women – Louisa May Alcott

The novel follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. The four girls live with their Marmee in genteel poverty, whilst their father is away fighting in the American Civil War. Their mother encourages them to be the best version of themselves at all times and to celebrate their uniqueness, which for some of the sisters is hard, they pull together as a family in times of need, the loss of loved ones, feelings of failure, talent unappreciated, fear of the future and ever changing family dynamics just a few of the situations the family have to deal with.

Any finally something a little more up to date;

Lynn Elizabeth is missingElizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

Maud an ageing gran is slowly losing her memory – yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth who she believes is missing and in terrible danger, no one will listen.

Vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more than fifty years ago come flooding back, could Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth – a hauntingly beautiful book.

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.

 

Poem of the Week – To Caroline (1) by Lord Byron

Byron Selected PoemsI love finding poems for the poem of the week on this blog. I will admit that although I enjoy poetry I really don’t read enough of it. However in doing this blog, and perusing the poetry shelves at Central library to find poems to add, I have come across some real gems. I would count this poem amongst them. It comes from the Selected Poems of Lord Byron and it is beautiful.

To Caroline (1)
Think’st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes,
Suffused in tears, implore to stay;
And heard unmoved thy plenteous sighs,
Which said far more than words can say?

Though keen the grief thy tears exprest,
When love and hope lay both o’erthrown,
Yet still, my girl, this bleeding breast
Throbb’d with deep sorrow as thine own.

But when our cheeks with anguish glow’d
When thy sweet lips were join’d to mine,
The tears that from my eyelids flow’d
Were lost in those which fell from thine.

Thou couldst not feel my burning cheek,
Thy gushing tears had quench’d its flame;
And as thy tongue essay’d to speak,
In signs alone it breathed my name.

And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,
In vain our fate in sighs deplore;
Remembrance only can remain, -
But that will make us weep the more.

Again, thou best beloved, adieu!
Ah! If thou canst, o’ercome regret;
Not let thy mind past joys review, -
Our only hope is to forget!

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

 

Girl Online tops the bestsellers

Girl onlineZoe Sugg, a YouTube sensation, has eclipsed writing superstars such J K Rowling, Dan Brown and E L James with the biggest first week sales for a début novel, Girl Online, since records began. Sales data has been compiled since 1998 and only 97 other weekly number ones have exceeded the total sales achieved by Girl Online. Borrow it from Leeds Libraries.

Zoe is known as Zoella on her fashion and beauty blog, which has over five million subscribers. She’s sold nearly 80,000 copies of the Young Adult novel, which makes it chart topping in the UK Official Top 50.

What’s it about?

Penny has a secret. Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever

 

Love and sagas this week

frenchSome good love stories coming to a library near you this week, including Katie Fforde and Joanna Trollope

Arney – Leave before the storm  When Megan marries into the Lockwood family of Folly House during the Easter of 1939, she believes that the rumblings of war in Europe cannot touch their livbes in the peace of the New Forest. But the winds of war blow, scattering family and friends in all directions, like so many leaves before the storm, and Megan is forced to cope with disappointment in love, illicit passion, and the terrible tragedy of war, only to realize, as life unfolds, that peace and happiness can be found in the strangest places

Carter – Goddess inheritance During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her, until Cronus offers a deal. Fantasy romance

Chamberlain – Secret lives  Disillusioned actress leaves a life of Hollywood glamour and a broken marriage to return to her mother’s childhood home in rural Virginia. In search of answers about her mother, a famous children’s author who died when she was very young, she meets the handsome yet mysterious archaeologist and friend of her Uncle. Love story

Evans – On her own two feet Bringing the keep fit movement vividly to life in 1940s’ London, Pam Evans’ family saga will inspire and enthral anyone who has ever dared to dream of a better life. In the middle of a party to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, Mollie Fisher’s good-for-nothing husband walks out on his wife and baby girl. Saga

Fforde – A French affair Gina and Sally Makepiece have inherited a stall in the French House, an antiques centre. Gina is determined to drag the French House and its grumpy owner into the 21st century. Matthew Ballinger is not happy with the whirlwind that has arrived on his doorstep. The last thing either of them want is to fall in love. But will a trip to France change their minds? Love Story

Flynn – Still waters  Set on the atmospheric Norfolk Broads during the Second World War, this novel tells of Tess Delamere and her relationship with an Australian man named Mal Chandler. Love Story

Kinsella – Wedding night Lottie is tired of long-term boyfriends who don’t want to commit to marriage. When her old boyfriend Ben reappears and reminds her of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. Chick lit

Lawrie – Tiny acts of love To Cassie’s horror, her overly-excited husband Jonathan has sent a grisly blow-by-blow account of her labour – plus attached photo – to everyone in her email contacts list, including her clients! Amid mood swings, post-natal hypochondria and the side effects of the fated email, who saunters into her world again but her sexy, swaggering ex-boyfriend Malkie – the one who got away. Is she strong enough to face everything her new life has to throw at her? General/love

MacLean – No good duke goes unpunished Another 5 star rating A rogue ruined. He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London’s corners for 12 years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he’s dreamed of – absolution Love Story

MacOmber – This matter of marriage 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. Love Story

Matthews – For better, for worse Josie is convinced that her American cousin is about to marry the wrong man. In fact she contemplates talking her out of the affair until she meets Matt Jarvis and appears to be about to fall for the wrong man herself. Love Story

Matthews – Promises after dark Fifty shades of gray-ish

McCullough – Bittersweet The four Latimer sisters are famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit and ambition. They have always been close; always happy. They thought this would never change..Love Story/Saga

Taylor – An Irish country wedding   Country doctors and romance

Trollope – Balancing act New Joanna Trollope — Susie Moran is a success. She has founded and run her own highly profitable company, and now her three daughters are all involved in the business. But what of the men in the family? Aga Saga