After years of feeling that love was always out of reach, journalist Natasha Lunn set out to understand how relationships work and evolve over a lifetime. She turned to authors and experts to learn about their experiences, as well as drawing on her own, asking: How do we find love? How do we sustain it? And how do we survive when we lose it?
In Conversations on Love she began to find the answers:
Philippa Perry on falling in love slowly Dolly Alderton on vulnerability Stephen Grosz on accepting change Candice Carty-Williams on friendship Lisa Taddeo on the loneliness of loss Diana Evans on parenthood Emily Nagoski on the science of sex Alain de Botton on the psychology of being alone Esther Perel on unrealistic expectations Roxane Gay on redefining romance and many more…
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An enjoyable and useful collection of emotional experiences, interviews and thoughts on love. It explores what it means to us and how it manifests in our lives. The writing is eloquent, engaging and transparent. The author shares her experiences and her motivations for writing the book. The interviews are intrinsically interesting and thought-provoking. Some experiences and ideas will resonate, but all are fascinating.
This book is a riveting read and also something to revisit at different times in your life.
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?
1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.
Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?
I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.
Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.
This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
This is an atmospheric and lyrical story of love, loss and familial relationships. Written in dual timelines, 2019 and the early twentieth century during WW1 and its tragic aftermath. The Cornish setting is wonderfully described and gives the story its mystical and timeless qualities.
The characters are diverse and relatable, and the different relationships are full of emotion. The plot is layered and beautifully woven together to allow the reader some precious moments of escapism.
Guest Post: Top Five…Cornish Restaurants – Liz Fenwick
I love food. Some days I wish I didn’t but I do. I’m lucky that Cornwall produces some of the best and that local restaurants have so much fabulous produce to work with which makes choosing my top five restaurants hard so I’ve called in the family for their input.
New Yard Restaurant (and New Yard Pantry) at Trelowarren – they’ve just received a green Michelin star and they have earned it. The restaurant adapted through the pandemic and now operates in a slightly different way. It is a set menu which different every night and it is an adventure. I have been delightfully surprised at the combinations and new foods I’ve been introduced to. When booking make sure they know of any food allergies so they can adapt your meal. And the attached New Yard Pantry produces great small plates plus pizzas for lunch, and their cakes….
Porthminster Beach Café…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great food and superb setting. My mouth is watering thinking about the salt and pepper squid…
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow…I’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice. Superb.
The Square in Porthleven…again local foods brilliantly served.
The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven (note: on the quay side in the open and a very small kitchen so there can be no rush. Food is only served from 12:30 to 18:30)
Liz Fenwick – I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.
For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.
Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.
Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.
When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.
Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, and about what happens when we finally share our truths.
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a poignant story about culture, family, friendships and love. Yvonne and Emma became friends at university, their cultures and family lives differed, but their friendship was strong until Lewis. There is a love triangle at the centre of this story, but only two people are aware they are in it. Yvonne’s life, marred by her guilt over Emma and her loss of the two people she loved most in life, agrees to a journey to Kenya with Kiama Emma’s son.
The story moves between the early days of their friendship to the present day. A tragic event alters everyone’s lives. Believable characters, relatable relationships and well-described setting make this an absorbing read. Parenting, culture, race and social class underpin the narrative in a way that resonates. There are many poignant moments in this story, but ultimately it is positive and uplifting.
Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.
Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.
When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.
A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.
The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.
This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.
The Spirit of the Horse is about following dreams, finding your truth and how much stronger joy can be when we learn to interconnect with all that is.
‘Masterful, uplifting and insightful, this book has left an indelible stamp on my heart.’ Justin Featherstone MC ‘
When Pam follows her dream to a farmhouse with five acres in northern France, she is able to live alongside her horses for the first time. Here, in the heart of nature, deeper insights are revealed into the healing connection between horse and human and the incredible power of presence to transform. Might it be that learning to honour and communicate with another species helps us to reframe the way we perceive each other, as well as how we might see ourselves?
I received a copy of this book from Blackbird in return for an honest review.
I haven’t read The Spell of the Horse, the book this is a sequel to, but this book reads well without having done so, although it did make me keen to read the book that came first. This book hard to define but is very readable, with messages that everyone can take away and think about.
As a memoir, it is engaging and honest. It has depth, Pam’s experience working with her ‘herd’ to help her clients to work out their anxieties, future choices and problems, is emotional, fascinating and thought-provoking.
It’s compelling to explore the spiritual connection between humans and horses through case studies and Pam’s insights. This is a poignant and powerful book.
Pam Billinge is a therapist, coach and author who specialises in embodied horse-led learning.
This unique approach relies entirely on the emergent relational process between horse and human. At her bases in the UK and in France, Pam supports people of all nationalities, ages and walks of life with their personal and professional development.
Through her workshops and her writing Pam wishes to share the healing wisdom of horses whilst advancing the cause of this sometimes much-misunderstood species. She hopes also through her work to reconnect us with the natural world from which we are too often separated.
A country torn apart by war. Two love stories divided by decades. One chance to discover the truth…
Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past.
As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart.
But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…?
Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love.
I received a copy of this book from the Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This dual timeline novel explores two tragic and turbulent times in Spanish history through the eyes of the people who lived through them. Two love stories echo the other in many ways. Family, love, loss and forgiveness are predominant themes in this politically astute story.
The setting and time periods are the ones that affected Spain and drew the attention and interference of the wider world. This is an emotional story, the political struggles, in both of the timelines, were personal to the people living through them, and the writing reflects this.
Believable and vibrant characters give life to familial relationships and friendships. It’s immersive and insightful, evoking all the reader’s senses, so they feel part of it.
The poignant but positive ending is a perfect conclusion.
I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.
My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.
I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.
Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016.
Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate?
On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope.
But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A bereaved young woman is the main focus of this insightful and sensitively written story. It shows that grief and finding the positivity to move on with your life is unique. Original plot twists and relatable characters make this an engaging story. The friendship that builds between the bereaved woman and the man who answers her husband’s old phone is realistically paced. You believe in the characters and the many heartbreaking moments in this story resonate. Ultimately, its a story of loss, love and most of all, hope.
Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.
But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?
A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family.
I received a copy of this audiobook from One More Chapter (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to listen to this story. Eudora Honeysett is an older woman who is ready to die. The artwork on the cover is so bright and cheerful, so I continued to listen. The story unfolds into a delightfully, gentle, poignant story about finding friendship and family in later life.
Eudora is eccentric, opinionated and sad until she meets a young girl Rose and Stanley, a good-hearted widower and their friends and family. They see something worth saving in Eudora. Eudora’s current life experiences are increasingly positive, but flashback chapters show a life full of betrayal, loss and sacrifice.
Excellent narration makes the characters vibrant, especially Eudora. Her introspection and dialogue are witty, making her memorable.
This is a lovely story with relatable characters and events.
Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.
Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.
Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.
Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.
I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.
It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.
The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.