Snuggle up with a little romance, a lot of love across continents and time

By John Hoover


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Chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, red roses, candle-lit dinners for  two: If it’s February, it must be time for Valentine’s Day and Good Reads’ First Romance Story column.  Each month we develop a theme for the Good Reads column, and we can think of no better theme for February than love and romance.

AdeStarting off our recommendations this month, Lynne suggests Adé ($20) by Rebecca Walker. Lynne says, “This debut novel is a passionate cross-cultural love story set on a beautiful island off the coast of Kenya. Shimmering and poignant and, ultimately, what happens to our first real love.”  Walker was chosen as one of Misty Valley’s New Voices for 2014.  Me Before You

Bill’s suggestion for the “love” edition of Good Reads is Me Before You ($16) by Jojo Moyes.  “Two very different Brits from the opposite sides of the tracks – or, in this case, of the castle on a hill — create between each other, without knowing it, what has to be acknowledged as true love.  Alas, it is between an able, determined woman from far less than privileged circumstances and a bitter, snobbish quadriplegic.  What had slowly led to mutual love then leads to … well, better read it.”

The GoldfinchAmanda really liked Donna Tartt’s current bestseller The Goldfinch ($30).  “The theme of love runs throughout this amazing story – love for one’s parents (despite tragedy and betrayal), for friends and works of art.  Tartt’s characters are original and well-drawn and the settings (Manhattan, Las Vegas) are beautifully evinced.  I found myself contemplating this book long after I’d finished it – one of the best novels I’ve read in 10 years.”

Since Kim couldn’t decide on just one recommendation she suggests two Good Reads.  Her first recommendation is AustenlandAustenland ($14) by Shannon Hale.  Kim says, “set in contemporary times, the main character — appropriately named Jane — goes to England on a ‘Jane Austen themed’ holiday. Being obsessed with Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, Jane gets to live out her own Darcy fantasy and become a re-enactor at a Georgian manor estate, living out life as depicted in Austen’s books. Along the way she wrestles with trying to be the ‘perfect Lizzie,’ and ultimately finds a ‘Mr. Darcy’ of her own. Sweet, funny, and an enjoyable read for anyone who’s ever curled up and lost themselves in any of Austen’s romances.”

FangirlKim’s second suggestion is The Rosie Project ($24) by Graeme Simsion.  “Socially inept genetics professor Don Tillman sets about trying to find a wife in a very clinical and scientific way with disastrous results. Along the way he meets Rosie, a woman attempting to find her biological father, who completely throws his highly organized world into utter chaos. It’s an unconventional romance to say the least, but a very sweet, very amusing and very darling one.”

Jory, our resident youth Good Reads expert, suggests Fangirl ($13.99) by Rainbow Rowell. “Cath writes fanfiction, and loves the fictional structures that she lives within. She’s a freshman in college, but is retreating more and more into fanfic. When her roommate’s boyfriend, Levi, creeps into her life more and more, at first Cath doesn’t notice. Soon, though, she can’t help but be drawn into the story of her own life. Ages 13 & up.”

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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