Recommendations

Books on love

With the most romantic day of the year fast approaching, we have put together a selection of the best books about love for you to enjoy. Whether you’ll be marking the occasion with your friends, having a candlelit dinner with your partner or gearing up for a first date, there is always something to celebrate. This selection offers some beautiful story telling in audiobook about love and companionship and offers a rich exploration of all of life’s messy decisions in the pursuit of it. Listen to a great love story this Valentines day.

These choices are not all going to offer happy endings, and cheerful love stories but expertly crafted narratives that cover myriad depictions of love, both lost and longstanding.


Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Narrated by: Torrey Peters

A brilliant debut that follows the lives of three intertwined characters, navigating the pitfalls and difficulties of finding their identities. As they juggle life and jobs in New York, friends Ames, (previously Amy) and Reese hatch a plan with Ames’s partner Katrina to have a child altogether, complex? Yes. Cliche? Definitely not. Detransition, Baby explores thirty-something ‘baby fever’, with a fresh and vivid perspective from characters in the trans community. The prose is engaging and electric and gives you an insight into the desires and fears of deftly written characters. You will be sure to enjoy this book and recommend it to your friends afterwards.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019

Narrated by: Aoife McMahon

If for any reason you missed the global sensation that is Normal People and are looking for a masterful depiction of a relationship that forms the foundational love in two young people’s lives, this is and will be the perfect book. Rooney’s sparse prose and delicate insight speaks to how universally hard it can be to communicate with someone who see’s us more wholly than we see ourselves. Connell and Marianne truly are one of the most well constructed and memorable couples ever written in fiction. Be ready for heartache and longing, and an achingly beautiful novel.

The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2001

Narrated by: Odette Joannidis

Set in a tiny town in New South Wales, The idea of Perfection is a funny and touching romance between two people who’ve given up on love. Grenville has created two characters, both socially awkward that as a reader, you can’t help but root for. The small town feel of Karakarook, pop. 1374, coupled with Australia’s simmering heat, brings together an intense focus on these relationships, starkly contrasted with the town’s other inhabitants who have a more rigid view of perfection. These are normal people, falling in love in an ordinary way and it’s simply perfect.

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2012

Narrated by: Frazer Douglas

A riveting tale of love, ambition and immortal fame, this award-winning debut from the author of Circe retells the story of the Trojan War and its greatest hero from the point of view of his closest friend Patroclus. Whether you are a Greek myths aficionado or new to the legend of Achilles, Miller’s retelling centres on the human side of this very famous story. Almost YA in its beginnings, this is a friends to lovers story that blends the heavy weights of expectation and destiny with the raw emotions of love and loss.

 

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021

Narrated by: Aoife McMahon

If you have ever grappled with feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment and longed to make bold changes to your work and sex life then this book will be the one for you. A perfect, if slightly sordid antidote to the red roses and chocolate boxes of Valentine’s Day that confronts us each year. Violet has cut herself off from her friends, been stuck at a job she hates and so is destabilised when she meets the intriguing and glamorous Lottie. Insatiable is about women and desire – lust, longing and the need to be loved. It is a story about being unable to tell whether you are running towards your future or simply running away from your past.

 

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019

Narrated by: Jennifer Sayeeng

Other than the title, and the themes of love and identity, Ordinary People is not to be confused with Sally Rooney’s novel of a similar name. Diana Evans tackles themes of sex and grief, friendship and ageing, and the fragile architecture of love in twenty-first century South London. With change comes consideration and adjustments and Evans explores relationships in a way that is remarkably both unique and universal. If you are looking for a novel that is realistic in its depiction of long term love, and independence vs commitment then this is the perfect novel this Valentine’s Day. Why not choose this book to start a Galentine’s Book club with your friends?

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019

Narrated by: Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis

One of the many reasons American Marriage was voted our winner in 2019 was Tayari Jones’ heartbreaking depiction of three unforgettable characters. She offers a profound insight into their hearts and minds and the forces beyond their control that bring them together and tear them apart. Devastated and unmoored by her husband’s wrongful conviction, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. This book will offer important lessons of compassion and empathy woven into the beautifully crafted and intimate narrative.

 


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Keep up to date with the Women’s Prize for Fiction announcements here. The shortlist will be revealed on the 27th April.

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