I’m writing this under a Valentines Day guise, but the truth is I’ve spent all day crying hormonal tears and really, I just wanted an excuse to write about these books of which all have a common theme – love. And while it’s true that love is the common denominator here, each novel takes a unique and exploratory look into different kinds of love. From forced together love that grows from dust, lost love, love for pets, love for hobbies, and of course – all consuming, romantic love. Each story gave me a different take on love, set the hairs at the back of my neck on end and left me deep in my thoughts for days after.
Spoiler Alert! TW: Book includes discussions on dysfunctional familial relationships. Addiction, Sexual assault and childhood illness.
Ok, so the above spoilers don’t read as though this is a book about love, but I can assure you, it is. First up is author of Brick Lane Monica Ali’s Love Marriage. Sorry to be the bearer of ills but- if you’re expecting this to be a romantic fairytale of the perfect love marriage tableau, I’m afraid to say you’re going to be disappointed. Instead what this book offers goes much, much deeper.
Love Marriage follows the lives of interracial couple Yasmin and Joe. Yasmin is a twenty four year old junior doctor. She’s engaged to be married to Joe but is still living at home with her Indian parents and brother Arif. Joe, a first year resident gynaecologist also lives at home with his mother, writer and activist Harriet Sangster. Yasmin believes she and Joe are destined for happy ever after. She’s so glad she decided to choose her own fate in a Love Marriage, not dissimilar to that of her own parents. That is until she realises her parents are hiding untold secrets of their own that will shatter her world as she knows it.
Meanwhile Joe is in therapy for sex addiction, Arif is about to have a baby with a white woman out of wedlock, and Yasmin finds comfort in forbidden places as she embarks on a journey of confronting self discovery.
This book is pure soul food! Enlightening, believable and raw. Ali writes with such passion Love Marriage will have you crying with laughter, sadness and a visceral joy. The meaning of life is wrapped up in these pages. An intelligent and addictive take on love in all relationships. Power dynamics are explored, feelings analysed and loyalty tested to its absolute limit – if you start reading it now, I guarantee you’ll be cancelling Valentine’s Day plans in favour of turning pages!
Spoiler Alert! Contains reference to suicide, grief, poor mental health and marriage breakdown.
The Queen of contemporary fiction does it again! Back with a bang and purr. The thing I love the most about a Dawn O’Porter book is the storylines never read the same. There’s no same same but different with a DOP novel. Each one is it’s own unique reading experience.
Married stepmother Mia’s life is a lie. Sure, on the outside it looks as though she has it all but deep down she’s falling apart, like the rest of us. Grief is what leads Mia to the group of bereaved pet owners, but it isn’t grief for a pet. It’s a tangible grief for a life lost, a marriage in pieces and a longing for her dead mother. It’s loneliness and a love of cats.
Dawn O’Porter’s ability to write two sides of a personality is my opinion unrivalled. You’re lured into a false sense of hero worshipping only to be plunged into reality when the antagonist reveals their exponential flaws. Mia’s journey is a brutally honest reminder that everyone makes mistakes, none of us are perfect and a cat is never just a cat. This is a tale of self love, unexplainable love and love that is truly unconditional. It’ll make you laugh and cry in the same paragraph, a real pleasure. Despite some hard hitting topics Cat Lady is written with humour and sensitivity, an easy book to devour.
Spoiler Alert! Nothing too triggering in this one, but references to sex and grief are present.
After I do came back with a republish in January this year and it was a long anticipated wait for me. I’d read a sample from the previous edition and then found myself not able to download the whole book. However, I can say it was very much worth the wait. Is it even a romance novel if TJR didn’t write it?
Lauren and Ryan have had enough. One can barely tolerate being in the room with the other. It gets so bad that they lose themselves in the monotony and the sniping. They decide to walk away, end their marriage and start over – but only for a year.
It’s the ultimate test and a little unbelievable, though isn’t that exactly what we ask for in a love story? Modern The Notebook vibes, California sunshine and all heart. This book had me relating so hard I was ready to file for divorce, until I got to the end. I felt every word and the pages were full of authenticity and magic. I love every single one of Taylor’s books, but this one will keep a special place in my heart.
You can thank me for these jewels later. Get the tissues ready, you’ll need them. Be prepared to absorb yourself in each story, clear your schedules, read at every opportunity and enjoy! 📚