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Books to Read this Valentine's Day

Books to Read this Valentine's Day

By Pan MacMillan

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Friendspire curated this based on a list by Pan MacMillan on 9 February 2021.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" books and movies are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that scent of paperback novels or t
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One person is all it takes to change a lifetime . . . But how will you know if they’re the one? Present Letty and Alf are the only English speakers at an Italian class in Rome, where they discover the language that really connects them is dance: Letty’s first love was ballet, while Alf was a junior ballroom champion. They come from different worlds, until the moment they waltz around the Piazza Navona, and everything changes. Past But one moment can’t change the past, and it’s clear that Alf and Letty still have their secrets. What caused them to leave their lives behind in England? And who, or what, are they running from? As their relationship deepens, it becomes harder and harder to tell the truth... Future When the unthinkable happens, Letty returns to London and Alf to Blackpool. Will they spend their lives apart, or discover a future together?

In Poems to Fall in Love With Chris Riddell has selected and illustrated his very favourite classic and modern poems about love. This gorgeously illustrated collection, Chris's follow-up to one of the Bookseller's best poetry books of the last twenty-five years, Poems to Live Your Life By, celebrates love in all its guises, from silent admiration, passion and married bliss to tearful resignation. These poems speak of the universal experiences of the heart and are brought to life with Chris's exquisite, intricate artwork. This perfect gift features famous poems, old and new, and a few surprises. Classic verses sit alongside the modern to create the ultimate collection. Includes poems from Neil Gaiman, Nikita Gill, Carol Ann Duffy, E. E. Cummings, Shakespeare, Leonard Cohen, Derek Walcott, Hollie McNish, Kate Tempest, John Betjeman and Roger McGough and many more.

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The Other Bennet Sister

2020 . Janice Hadlow

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A NPR CONCIERGE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR "Jane fans rejoice! . . . Exceptional storytelling and a true delight." —Helen Simonson, author of the New York Times bestselling novels Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before the War Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own. What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans. Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love. Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

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A NPR CONCIERGE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR "Jane fans rejoice! . . . Exceptional storytelling and a true delight." —Helen Simonson, author of the New York Times bestselling novels Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before the War Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own. What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans. Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love. Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

This is a laugh-out-loud exploration of sexuality, family, female friendship, grief, and community. With the heart and hilarity of Netflix's critically-acclaimed Sex Education, Wibke Brueggemann's sex positive debut Love Is for Losers is required reading for Generation Z teens. Did you know you can marry yourself? How strange / brilliant is that? Fifteen-year-old Phoebe thinks falling in love is vile and degrading, and vows never to do it. Then, due to circumstances not entirely in her control, she finds herself volunteering at a local thrift shop. There she meets Emma . . . who might unwittingly upend her whole theory on life.

Posy Montague is approaching her seventieth birthday. Still living in her beautiful family home, Admiral House, set in the glorious Suffolk countryside where she spent her own idyllic childhood catching butterflies with her beloved father, and raised her own children, Posy knows she must make an agonising decision. Despite the memories the house holds, and the exquisite garden she has spent twenty-five years creating, the house is crumbling around her, and Posy knows the time has come to sell it. Then a face appears from the past - Freddie, her first love, who abandoned her and left her heartbroken fifty years ago. Already struggling to cope with her son Sam’s inept business dealings, and the sudden reappearance of her younger son Nick after ten years in Australia, Posy is reluctant to trust in Freddie’s renewed affection. And unbeknown to Posy, Freddie - and Admiral House - have a devastating secret to reveal . . . Full of her trademark mix of unforgettable characters and heart-breaking secrets, The Butterfly Room is the new spellbinding, multi-generational story from Sunday Times bestseller Lucinda Riley.

Imagine you meet a man, spend six glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call. Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they're wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence. What do you do when you finally discover you're right? That there is a reason -- and that reason is the one thing you didn't share with each other? The truth.

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven't met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . . Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can't get it out of her head, even though she's in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever - but not in the way she expects. Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be. For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England. Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there's no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

Elizabeth Bennett is young, clever, and attractive, but she and her four sisters are in dire need of financial security in the shape of husbands. The arrival of the pleasant nice Mr. Bingley and the obscenely arrogant Mr. Darcy in the neighborhood turns all of their lives upside down in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, enmity, and love.  Jane Austen is arguably the finest female novelist who ever lived and Pride and Prejudice is arguably the finest, and is certainly the most popular, of her novels. An undoubted classic of world literature, its profound Christian morality is all too often missed or wilfully overlooked by today's (post)modern critics. Yet Austen saw the follies and foibles of human nature, and the frictions and fidelities of family life, with an incisive eye that penetrates to the very heart of the human condition. This edition of Austen's masterpiece includes an introduction by Professor Christopher Blum and several insightful critical essays by leading Austen scholars.

The Spanish Promise is another sizzling summer novel from Globe and Mail bestselling author Karen Swan, set in the vibrant streets of Madrid, for fans of Victoria Hislop and Elin Hilderbrand.Charlotte, a wealth counsellor who knows from personal experience the complications that a sudden inheritance can bring, helps her clients navigate the emotional side effects of sudden wealth syndrome. When she is asked by Mateo Mendoza, heir to a huge Spanish estate, to fly to Madrid to help resolve an issue in his father's will, she's confident it will be straightforward. The timing isn't great as Charlotte's due to get married the following week, but once her client signs on the dotted line, she can return to her life in London and her wedding, and live happily ever after. Marrying Stephen might not fill her with excitement, but she doesn't want to live in the fast lane anymore - safe and predictable is good.But Carlos Mendoza's final bequest opens up a generation of secrets, and Charlotte finds herself compelled to unravel the mystery. As she digs deeper, Charlotte uncovers the story of a family divided by Spain's Civil War, and of a love affair across the battle lines that ended in tragedy.And while she is consumed in the drama of the Mendozas, Charlotte's own tragic past catches up with her, threatening to overturn everything in her life she's worked so hard to build.

For the Fourth Edition, the editor collated the 1847 text with the two modern texts (Norton s William J. Sale collation and the Clarendon), and found a great number of variants, including accidentals. This discovery led to changes in the body of the Norton Critical Edition text that are explained in the preface. New to "Backgrounds and Contexts" are additional letters, a compositional chronology, related prose, and reviews of the 1847 text. "Criticism" collects five important assessments of Wuthering Heights, three of them new to the Fourth Edition, including Lin Haire-Sargeant s essay on film adaptations of the novel."

Now a Major Motion Picture from Director Luca Guadagnino, Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, and Written by Three-Time OscarTM Nominee James Ivory The Basis of the Oscar-Winning Best Adapted Screenplay A New York Times Bestseller A USA Today Bestseller A Los Angeles Times Bestseller A Vulture Book Club Pick An Instant Classic and One of the Great Love Stories of Our Time Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Ficition A New York Times Notable Book of the Year • A Publishers Weekly and The Washington Post Best Book of the Year • A New York Magazine "Future Canon" Selection • A Chicago Tribune and Seattle Times (Michael Upchurch's) Favorite Favorite Book of the Year

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Alex and Eliza

2017 . Melissa De la Cruz

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and the Descendants series comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. 1777. Albany, New York. As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society's biggest events: the Schuylers' grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country's founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters--Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she'd rather be aiding the colonists' cause than dressing up for some silly ball. Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington's right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can't believe his luck--as an orphan, and a bastard one at that--to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and the Descendants series comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. 1777. Albany, New York. As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society's biggest events: the Schuylers' grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country's founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters--Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she'd rather be aiding the colonists' cause than dressing up for some silly ball. Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington's right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can't believe his luck--as an orphan, and a bastard one at that--to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future. In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. Their brave adventures—their pleasures and their difficulties—are hugely involving and truly resonant, makingOur Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

After thirty years of marriage, Wilson Lewis, son-in-law of Allie and Noah Calhoun (of The Notebook), is forced to admit that the romance has gone out of his marriage. Desperate to win back his wife, Jane's, heart, he must figure out how to make her fall in love with him... again. Despite the shining example of Allie and Noah's marriage, Wilson is himself a man unable to easily express his emotions. A successful estate attorney, he has provided well for his family, but now, with his daughter's upcoming wedding, he is forced to face the fact that he and Jane have grown apart and he wonders if she even loves him anymore. Wilson is sure of one thing--his love for his wife has only deepened and intensified over the years. Now, with the memories of his in-laws' magnificent fifty-year love affair as his guide, Wilson struggles to find his way back into the heart of the woman he adores. Did You Know? The Wedding is a follow-up to The Notebook? The Wedding was inspired by a few unnamed couples that Nicholas knows well? The novel is set in the North Carolina town in which Nicholas now lives?

"Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt!" Throughout the hardships of her childhood - spent with a severe aunt and abusive cousin, and later at the austere Lowood charity school - Jane Eyre clings to a sense of self-worth, despite of her treatment from those close to her. At the age of eighteen, sick of her narrow existence, she seeks work as a governess. The monotony of Jane's new life at Thornfield Hall is broken up by the arrival of her peculiar and changeful employer, Mr Rochester. Routine at the mansion is further disrupted by mysterious incidents that draw the pair closer together but which, once explained, threaten Jane's happiness and integrity. A flagship of Victorian fiction, Jane Eyre draws the reader in by the vigour of Jane's voice and the novel's forceful depiction of childhood injustice, of the restraints placed upon women, and the complexities of both faith and passion. The emotional charge of Jane's story is as strong today as it was more than 150 years ago, as she seeks dignity and freedom on her own terms. In this new edition, Juliette Atkinson explores the power of narrative voice and looks at the striking physicality of the novel, which is both shocking and romantic.

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