10 of the best books to fall in love with

The lockdown should be the perfect time to catch up with all those books you’ve always meant to read but never had time so to help you forget your worries, my top 10 romantic reads. Prepare to fall in love.

The Pursuit of Love

The Pursuit of Love

by Nancy Mitford 

Inspired by Nancy Mitford’s own famously eccentric family (still a subject of perennial fascination to biographers), this is a delicious soufflé of a book. First published in 1945, it’s narrated by shy, awkward Fanny and centres on the adventures of her beautiful and hopelessly romantic cousin Linda. Full of outlandishly funny characters, witty lines, intrigue and genuine heartbreak, The ­Pursuit of Love is a masterpiece.

A Woman of Substance

A Woman of Substance

by Barbara Taylor Bradford

This was Barbara Taylor Bradford’s first novel and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1979. Charting the life of the fiercely determined Emma Harte, from her humble beginnings as a servant girl in Yorkshire to her position as head of a multinational company, this is the family saga with everything: betrayal, infidelity, passion, revenge, unrequited love, ungrateful children and a gutsy, tough-as-nails heroine. Despite its length, you’ll want to devour it in one gulp.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Brontë 

The eponymous heroine of this novel, first published in 1847, is an orphan who describes herself as ‘poor, obscure, plain and little’. None of this stops her employer, the forbidding Mr Rochester of Thornfield Hall in Yorkshire, from falling in love with her. Just as they are about to marry, Jane learns the dreadful truth about Mr Rochester’s past and the terrible secret he has been concealing. One of the most famous and influential romance novels ever written, this is a totally engrossing read.

Who’s That Girl?

Who’s That Girl?

by Mhairi McFarlane 

Writer Edie is in love with Jack, but after they are caught in mid-kiss on his wedding day, she is ostracised by her friends and booted out of her job. Reluctantly, she agrees to ghost-write the autobiography of Elliot, the charmless star of a Game of Thrones-style TV series. Back home with her father and her magnificently surly sister, Edie is forced to reassess her life and her feelings for Elliot — all while being pursued by paparazzi. This is a heart-warming book whose characters stay with you long after the end.

The Secret Countess

The Secret Countess

by Eva Ibbotson 

During the Russian Revolution, Anna and her wealthy and distinguished family flee to London and end up penniless, lodging with her old governess. Determined to save the family, Anna gets a job as a maid in the household of a young aristocrat, who is puzzled by the new housemaid’s lack of domestic skills, her flawless French and her talent at the piano. Originally called A Countess Below Stairs, this sparkling book avoids all the clichés of the genre. If you haven’t discovered Eva Ibbotson yet, you’re in for a treat.

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile

by Jenny T. Colgan 

Connie is a brilliant mathematician and is used to feeling like a fish out of water around most people. When she is unexpectedly recruited for her dream job in Cambridge, working on a top secret codebreaking project, she ends up being part of a group of other brilliant nerds, including the very mysterious Luke. There is more than a touch of sci-fi about this novel, and maths features quite heavily, but please don’t let that put you off. It’s funny, thought-provoking, very original and, above all, a wonderfully poignant story of friendship and romance.

The Undomestic Goddess

The Undomestic Goddess

by Sophie Kinsella

High-powered lawyer Samantha is so consumed by work that she never cooks, cleans or turns on the oven at home: she’s far too busy to waste time on household chores.

After making a catastrophic mistake and losing millions for her firm, she bolts to the countryside and stumbles into a job as a housekeeper and chef. Can Samantha fool her new employers, not to mention handsome Nathaniel, the gardener? Will she get her job back and clear her name? Kinsella is one of the wittiest romcom writers around and this glorious romp is one of her very best.

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles 

When the dashing Count Rostov is brought before a Bolshevik tribunal in 1922, he fully expects to be shot.

Instead, he is condemned to lifelong house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel.

This totally original novel follows the count’s life, and that of the staff and residents of the hotel, as he adopts a daughter, falls in love with an enigmatic actress and contrives to live life to the full despite his decades of confinement.

A great deal of Russian history is also subtly woven into this magical book, which is tear jerking but never sentimental, with a quite unexpected and thrilling ending.

The Thorn Birds

The Thorn Birds

by Colleen McCullough

Long before Fleabag’s hot priest, there was Father Ralph de Bricassart, the dreamily handsome Irish Catholic who captivates young Meggie Cleary in The Thorn Birds. Published in 1977, this was dubbed ‘Australia’s Gone with the Wind’; it was a massive best-seller and became a very successful TV mini-series. A sprawling family saga which covers three generations, it’s a great book to immerse yourself in. As Ralph and Meggie struggle with their forbidden love, you’ll be transported to swelteringly hot Drogheda, the sheep station in the Outback which is almost a character in its own right.

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

With one of the most famous closing lines ever — ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’ — this is Dickens’ most plot-driven novel (and one of his shortest). Dissolute lawyer Sydney Carton falls head over heels in love with Lucie Manette, whose family has escaped the French Revolution, but there is no safety for them, even in England. When Lucie’s whole future is at stake, how much will Sydney sacrifice for love? A marvellously fast-paced, thrilling and romantic read.

Simon Carroll at VHS

Simon Carrollby Simon Carroll

Simon is originally from Manchester England

A graduate of Durham University BA (Hons) English Literature & History and Manchester University MA in English Language (Linguistic Approach Also hold DELTA qualification)

More about Simon Carroll

Previous employment included Senior Managerial Experience and project management for a huge UK Company (Royal Mail) did meet The Queen and Former PM Tony Blair, however work rather took over.

So a lucky escape led Simon to Teaching English overseas and he has never looked back and has a vast English teaching experience gained on three continents including the following countries Sudan, Egypt, India, Singapore, Maldives, Spain and Switzerland which is now my home and have spent the last 10 years here in the very heart of Europe

Work wise multi-task as an English Teacher, Trainer, Cambridge Speaking Examiner and Writer and Contributor for Pearson English Language books.
Free time: like to live and believe less is more.

Published writer «Don Simon» and «The Temp is it?»

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