Choices from my reading during January are:
Mary Fitzgerald - The Very Thought of You
This novel, set at the end of World War 2, follows three young women as they join an ENSA concert party, travelling through Britain and then into France to entertain workers and troops. Catherine, a talented singer, is grieving for her husband Chris, who was reported missing in action. Della is a feisty young entertainer from Liverpool with a big heart and a cheeky personality, and needs to make money to look after her family at home. Frances is from a privileged background, but her family is now struggling to maintain their home while her brother is a prisoner of war in the Far East. Into this mix come various young men who capture the young women's hearts, not least the attractive but enigmatic Robert Lennox. All three women have secrets of their own, and dramatic secrets are uncovered during the tension and struggles of their time with the entertainment group. The plot has plenty of twists and turns, and is full of intriguing characters.
John Marrs - The One
There has been a lot of hype over this novel, but I was attracted by the story and wasn't disappointed. It's a sort of science fiction story set in the present day but with one distinct difference - the discovery of a way of matching people up with their perfect mate. It only involves taking a free DNA swab and sending it off for analysis. If you're matched, then you pay a nominal fee and get the identity of your Match. It sounds simple, but there are lots of pitfalls. What if you're already happily married but not to your actual Match? There could also be a large age difference between you and your Match. And what if you were matched with a serial killer? The author doesn't pull any punches - it's not a soft read, but it keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Written from the point of view of both men and women, it certainly makes you think about love and what constitutes a successful relationship.
Jill Mansell - The Unpredictable Consequences of Love
Not a catchy title, but the book itself is very memorable. Written in the author's easy-to-read style, with likeable characters trying to solve the problems in their lives and find happiness. Sophie lives and works as a photographer in a Cornish village, but she cannot bring herself to start a new relationship due to the emotional scars left from her failed marriage. Ex-manager of a successful pop group, Josh returns to the village to help his grandmother with her hotel, stirring the heart of Tula, Sophie's friend - but he isn't interested. Instead, it's handsome layabout Riley who has his eye on her. And it's not just the younger generation who have secret longings and tricky relationships. Secrets abound in the village, and there are many revelations, some totally unexpected, before the novel comes to its conclusion.